Buying a twin-axle
I hope to be upgrading my caravan soon and Ive seen a couple of twin axle caravans that I like.
I love the extra space that twin axle caravans provide, but are there any negatives that I should be aware of.
The few I can imagine are as follows.
1) Difficult to manoeuvre by hand.
2) Fitting a mover will be expensive.
3) Perhaps getting a large enough pitch at a busy site might be an issue?
Should I be considering any other factors? Have I talked myself out of one already?
Well, having had the last two years with a Twin-Axle Fleetwood, I can certainly say that it was a great choice. As to your worries 1-3
1. as long as you practice your manouvering and have a large enough towcar or 4×4 manouvering will be no problem.
2. Never needed one, as i fitted a front towbar (Watling) and have only needed to use it a couple of times.
3. Unless you go for a ‘romany’ type XL sized caravan, then pitching should be no problem. There are plenty of sites with large pitches, and even been on CLs with plenty of space. Normandy last year was a good trip.
Worth it for the space alone.
We have travelled Europe for the last 5 years with a twin axle and never had a problem. Have Motor Mover but very rarely have to use it as twins are easier to reverse than single axles. Never had a problem in the UK either.
This is my first year with a caravan and I opted for a twin axle. I got a motor mover as it is needed where I store it. But as yet I have not needed it on site as I was a hgv driver for too long to remember and reversing is a doddle. The main reason I got one was it is a lot more stable when towing and it just follows the car plus the extra room is worth it.
But if you need to move it by hand a twin axle can be awkward to swivel in a tight location. But a motor mover is helpful.
Servicing is dearer, as is storage
And tyre costs are dearer when it’s time to replace them.
As for moving it by hand, unless you’re doing nothing more than moving it backwards or forwards forget it!
Not as straightforward to level on uneven ground as a single, but not impossible!
tyre costs are not that bad because the wieght is spread across 4 wheels so not such a high load rating required
if you raise the front axle up on the jockey wheel you can turn the caravan easier
i have travelled across europe and no problems with a twin axle i would rather have 4 sets of brakees 4 wheels on a 1800kgs trailer and if you can afford a twin axle whats a £100 on 2 tyres its less then 2 tanks of fuel on the correct tow car
I’ve used twin axle caravans since 1993, and found them to be no different from a single, with the exception that there is generally more space inside, and a greater payload available.
I can’t recall ever having to move a twin by hand, although I have chosen to on occasions. Back and forth is no different from a single, other than the increased weight, and turning is fine by hand with two people, one pushing, the other steering by pushing sideways on a corner.
I have never found the increased size to be a problem in finding a pitch, although I’ve certainly had to reverse it into some interesting locations. The trick when placing the caravan on a pitch is to remember that it does not matter where the towcar ends up as that will be unhitched and moved, so long as the caravan is in position. Beware too on some CLs and CSs as access can at times be restrictive. There are all sorts of stories about twins not being allowed on French sites, but this is not something I have come up against as I always book ahead and ensure the site knows we have a twin axle caravan.
Leveling is no different from a single axle caravan. I personally chose to use a single long wedge under the wheels, although I know others use two short wedges in various configurations, or a pair of wheel jacks. On soft ground, I also place a board under the wheels not being lifted, to prevent them sinking. The same board can be used under the large wedge for additional lift on extreme slopes. Once level side-to-side, as with any caravan, fore and aft leveling is achieved by adjusting the the jockey wheel.
As highlighted earlier, the tyres often do not need to have such a high load index, since the weight is distributed over four wheels, so they tend to cost less, however the rear pair do scrub more on corners and so their useful life is shorter than those on the front axle. I have had to replace worn out tyres on twin axle caravans after about three years use, whereas I have only ever replaced tyres on single axle caravans because of their age.
I feel that towing stability is better with a twin, although you will have to get used to the increased pitching motion as the two axles cross a hole or lump in the road, however this in my opinion is more than compensated for by the increased lateral stability.
Have I talked myself out of one already?
I hope not
Original thread: October 2011
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