San Juan 23 mailing list
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The whole situation with single VS tandem axle trailers is one of safety
and control all tempered by the risks the driver is willing to take or
is ignorant of.
If you tow with a heavy (F250 or Dodge Ram e/w Cummins diesel, etc.) or long
wheel based towing vehicle (crew cab) then you can pull an SJ23 around all
day and never feel it behind you. Especially if your towing distance is short
and on quiet, paved, level roads The more cylinders the smoother the pull
by the way. In this situation it's pretty easy to conclude that a single
axle is OK.
However, if you pull with a short wheel based vehicle, especially one with
just sufficient power, then you will definitely feel that SJ23 behind you.
The towing vehicle will twist and squirm making you feel very uncomfortable,
especially during a side wind with trucks and traffic passing around you.
Add a bit of rain or sleet on the road and you have an accident looking for
a place to happen. Take that same trailer over a quiet road and you'll think
that everything OK again. "I can handle this."
This is the whole point behind Tech Tips A09 & A04.
Never mind opinion, here are some facts. An SJ23 grosses out at about 3000
lbs. (that is if the guy who sprayed the gel coat on had the touch of Rembrandt
that morning). Then add about 300 lbs of junk inside the boat. You have
just loaded the axle to 100% load capacity with NO reserve. Now you actually
want to haul this down the highway with this little margin for safety? Check
your axle to see how much it is bent. If you have a flat at highway speed
you will almost certainly do damage to the trailer, and then the hull, as
it crunches down on the pavement. Now lets consider the costs; flat, tow
truck, axle, hull, etc. See where I'm going? I don't think the risk is worth
it. These are the primary reasons why I converted my trailer to tandem.
Believe me, a tandem axle is superior in so many ways. I've towed the same
boat with a single and a tandem axle and I much prefer the ease of pull,
control and safety of the tandem.
Sorry to unload, but this is not a simple issue.
I have a single axel Calkins trailer with
my SJ 23 and it seems to work fine. I've pulled my boat on several trips
over 300 hundred miles with no promblems and its easy to pull with my Chevy
1/2 ton pickup. I did have a scare one time when two of us were in the back
of the boat on the trailer and it was not hitched to the truck and suddenly
tipped back. Fortunately we shifted our weight quickly and avoided going
all the way down. I now put a short piece of 2x4 under the back frame of
the trailer to keep that from happening again.
(Always stay curious)
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