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Old 01-28-2024, 06:15 PM   #1
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Dexter axle ratings and manufacturers installs

For some time I have wondered about the ratings of the axles under travel trailers. In most cases TTs under 28 feet that I have owned or looked at purchasing were tandem axles with 3500 lb single axles. So if you double that you would think that you were limited to a 7000 lb total loading.

But if you read numerous mid 20 TTs that weight is far exceeded , especially when loaded even a little bit. Of course to reinforce my concern and interest is that while watching some you tube videos issues have developed on the undercarriage where hangers and stock springs break. Tire wear and blow outs from overheating seems to be a common issue , completely independent of the axle ratings too.

Personally when I had my larger 80s camper we had to have the axles bent back to the slight upward as a result of being overloaded and the inside toes of the tires had excessive wear. So maybe someone can explain to me how do most all manufacturers get by with installing undersized axles, as I understand things by the ratings data.

As a point of note I have been seriously looking at upgrading to a larger camper, and sought out comparisons of several brands in the process and the same applies no matter the name on the outside of the campers.
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Old 01-28-2024, 07:37 PM   #2
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I would bet most of the Amish buggies in the employee parking don't have too small of an axle. Do these manufacturers even employ engineers or architects?
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Old 01-28-2024, 08:29 PM   #3
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Keep in mind the axles aren't supporting all the trailer's weight. Generally, 10 to 15 percent of the weight is on the tongue.
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Old 01-28-2024, 09:04 PM   #4
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Keep in mind the axles aren't supporting all the trailer's weight. Generally, 10 to 15 percent of the weight is on the tongue.
For sure, but specifically looking at a TT with the dry weight of 6870 lbs, built with 3500 axles, 900 lb tongue weight, carrying capacity of 1639 , which is most fairly suspect if you are pretty close to full timing, add to the need to carry a full tank of water for off the grid use too, 54 gallons, am I missing something?

We covered the Tampa show pretty thoroughly and looked closely to at the better quality rvs and have spent a week double checking with calls and as much online information as we could obtain.But its like pulling hens teeth to get a straight answer from some of the head garus in most of the dealers. I am still surprised at the manufacturers that still put junk tires on units on the upper price range builds.
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Old 01-30-2024, 06:28 AM   #5
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You're using it wrong, clearly .

As mentioned, they spec out strong enough axles assuming the tongue load and give you the pittance left over for your food, clothes, and water. Technically they aren't overweight/under speccing, the consumers are overloading. If you want to travel with a full tank, you have that much less cargo capacity.

These days engineering isn't about building things stronger, it's about building things just strong enough. Like it or not, price is the first or second consideration for most consumers (and if you say it isn't, why doesn't everyone have a 500k custom trailer?) and if they go from dual 3500 axles that are 95% of max load, going to dual 5k axles will cost them a thousand dollars which they charge the customer another $5k, 99% of customers don't know the difference but go buy a different trailer that costs 5k less. Same goes for the tin-foil frames. They don't deal with most of the problems between the short warranty, difficulty in getting warranty claims approved, and the lead time, many customers get field repairs where the failure happens, or say "to heck with it, I'll fix it myself".

Dealership "gurus" as in sales guys or service/technical? in either case, they only know what the mfr tells them. Nobody profits when the whole chain's educated. Don't worry about the details, we're the manufacturer, we're the expert, just follow the specs we give and oooo look at the shiny parts.
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Old 01-30-2024, 06:50 AM   #6
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You're using it wrong, clearly .

As mentioned, they spec out strong enough axles assuming the tongue load and give you the pittance left over for your food, clothes, and water. Technically they aren't overweight/under speccing, the consumers are overloading. If you want to travel with a full tank, you have that much less cargo capacity.

These days engineering isn't about building things stronger, it's about building things just strong enough. Like it or not, price is the first or second consideration for most consumers (and if you say it isn't, why doesn't everyone have a 500k custom trailer?) and if they go from dual 3500 axles that are 95% of max load, going to dual 5k axles will cost them a thousand dollars which they charge the customer another $5k, 99% of customers don't know the difference but go buy a different trailer that costs 5k less. Same goes for the tin-foil frames. They don't deal with most of the problems between the short warranty, difficulty in getting warranty claims approved, and the lead time, many customers get field repairs where the failure happens, or say "to heck with it, I'll fix it myself".

Dealership "gurus" as in sales guys or service/technical? in either case, they only know what the mfr tells them. Nobody profits when the whole chain's educated. Don't worry about the details, we're the manufacturer, we're the expert, just follow the specs we give and oooo look at the shiny parts.
Do you really mean someone is wrong on the internet? Maybe i should go back and read the manuals on the TT where it states a bunch of either or or when it pertains to loading. Gee there are two tanks for freshwater , but you must forgo carrying food and don't dare carry any changes of underwear. spoken in the true form of smarty pants]

Seriously I know what you are saying. But I try to learn something new everyday. And as the old saying goes, "its better to be a fool for five minutes than a fool forever. This issue has always eluded me. And asking dealership salesmen or service guys rarely brings out much truth.

I guess common sense to make a somewhat educated decision before spending money and hitting the road a bit more should not be part of the learning curve though. I should just sit down, write the check to some pushy sales manager and then let the door hit me in the back bumper.

Stuff like this just bugs me. I have been a hands on guy, attempting to build stuff correctly the first time around, being in the boating industry. Its important that your keel and bottom is right, before any bling is built above the waterline. So this spills over to the running gear on my own rv.
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Old 02-01-2024, 11:17 AM   #7
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Do you really mean someone is wrong on the internet? Maybe i should go back and read the manuals on the TT where it states a bunch of either or or when it pertains to loading. Gee there are two tanks for freshwater , but you must forgo carrying food and don't dare carry any changes of underwear. spoken in the true form of smarty pants]

Seriously I know what you are saying. But I try to learn something new everyday. And as the old saying goes, "its better to be a fool for five minutes than a fool forever. This issue has always eluded me. And asking dealership salesmen or service guys rarely brings out much truth.

I guess common sense to make a somewhat educated decision before spending money and hitting the road a bit more should not be part of the learning curve though. I should just sit down, write the check to some pushy sales manager and then let the door hit me in the back bumper.

Stuff like this just bugs me. I have been a hands on guy, attempting to build stuff correctly the first time around, being in the boating industry. Its important that your keel and bottom is right, before any bling is built above the waterline. So this spills over to the running gear on my own rv.
Sorry, humor doesn't carry in text, that was said with a healthy dose of sarcasm at the futility of the options. Manufacturers write the manual as you have to choose what you want to carry as an easy out to dodge liability for making products right on the edge of capability. They'll do better when people quit buying them. People will quit buying crap when there are better oiptions. I want to bring that up in every thread where someone suggests not buying crappy campers... do they have a suggestion of a camper manufacturer that DOESN'T make crap anywhere near the price point? even double?
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Old 02-08-2024, 04:24 PM   #8
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If you haven't ran you TT over a Cat scale you need to. It is an eye opener. The only thing better is if you have the opportunity to have a set of scales to weigh each tire separately. Either method will explain a lot.

When I go and look at campers I look at three things: floorplan, GVWR and payload. Our 5th wheel has a 16.5K GVWR with a 2500 lbs payload. I can put a bunch of stuff in there without exceeding the GVWR. I have seen 5th wheels the same size as ours with a payload of 1500 lbs or less. I'm not sure why any would buy that unit unless it is going to be parked somewhere.

BTW when I weighed the camper, the (pin and axles) weight was 15460 lbs. The axle weight was only 11980 lbs (on 7K Dexter) axles.
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Old 02-09-2024, 08:40 AM   #9
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Itís another area manufacturers cut corners. Thereís no way the axles under most TTís can handle the load combined with a full water tank especially it hot climates.
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