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Dual vs Triple Axle trailer > Triple Tow ( 23LSV behind a 5th wheel )


Montana

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Hello Crew,

We "Triple Tow" meaning we tow our 23LSV behind our 26.5 Jayco 5th wheel.  Tow rig is a 2012 F350 Diesel.  Here's the back story > We previously owned an 04 23LSV with an Extreme tandem axle with surge brakes and it triple tow'd perfectly for 4 years.  We upgraded to a 2021 23LSV with M6Di, tandem axle, 14" snowflake wheels this year and ran into some issues towing.  During steep descents on mountain passes, the boat wanted to push and we experienced a decent amount of boat trailer sway "tail wanting to wag the dog" and the occasional porpoising when traveling at hwy speeds with dips in the road etc.  We just sold our 2021 and building a new 2022 23 LSV.  I am already upgrading the trailer with Electric over Hydraulic so I can tension the 5th wheel and boat trailer on descents.  I am also planning on going to 18" wheels for better contact patch and reduce side to side trailer sway.  I am considering adding a 3rd axle to theoretically reduce porpoising.  Thanks crew for sharing your opinion if adding a 3rd axle will reduce porpoising and also I'd love to hear from other Triple Tow crew members on your experiences and trailer configs to add safety and stability.  Cheers

Edited by Montana
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55 minutes ago, Montana said:

Hello Crew,

We "Triple Tow" meaning we tow our 23LSV behind our 26.5 Jayco 5th wheel.  Tow rig is a 2012 F350 Diesel.  Here's the back story > We previously owned an 04 23LSV with an Extreme tandem axle with surge brakes and it triple tow'd perfectly for 4 years.  We upgraded to a 2021 23LSV with M6Di, tandem axle, 14" snowflake wheels this year and ran into some issues towing.  During steep descents on mountain passes, the boat wanted to push and we experienced a decent amount of boat trailer sway "tail wanting to wag the dog" and the occasional porpoising when traveling at hwy speeds with dips in the road etc.  We just sold our 2021 and building a new 2022 23 LSV.  I am already upgrading the trailer with Electric over Hydraulic so I can tension the 5th wheel and boat trailer on descents.  I am also planning on going to 18" wheels for better contact patch and reduce side to side trailer sway.  I am considering adding a 3rd axle to theoretically reduce porpoising.  Thanks crew for sharing your opinion if adding a 3rd axle will reduce porpoising and also I'd love to hear from other Triple Tow crew members on your experiences and trailer configs to add safety and stability.  Cheers

Non-commercial triple rigs are not legal in Florida, so I have never attempted it. 

I don't think that a triple axle will hurt your situation, but it seems to me that porpoising is a function of tongue weight and overall weight distribution.  Of course, any tongue weight you add to the rear trailer is weight added to the rear of the front trailer, effectively reducing its tongue weight. 

Also, setting the ball height correctly for the rear trailer will help a lot.  This would be even more important on a triple axle than a double, and especially if they are torsion axles rather than equalized.  Was your '04 trailer equalized, or torsion?  Maybe that's your big difference.

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@jjackkrash Thanks for the comment.  Both my 2004 and my 2021 were torsion axles.  Ball height was dialed in and trailer was level so I don't believe this is playing a role.  Regarding porpoising, when I hit a bump and the rear axle of the truck dips so does the 5th wheel kingpin and the rear of the 5th wheel goes up and so does the boat hitch.  We are talking decent distances of probably 20' between 5th wheel and boat axles and that 5th wheel is acting like a long pry bar and over exaggerating the movement at the truck.   I guess 2 options I should consider is adding air ride suspension to the truck and because I will have Electric over Hydraulic I could also move to a load leveling hitch.  This just occurred to me as the right solution for the porpoising.

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I am also a tandem tow guy.  I towed my old 21' sterndrive for years (and my thousands of miles) behind my 32' 5er.

When I bought my 2014 LSV, I had some service work done on my 5er.  When the pulled the enclosed under belly off the trailer, I found that the custom welded hitch on the back of the trailer had about a 9" crack, and I'm lucky it didn't fail.  I told the mechanic to beef up the 5er so I could tow the Malibu.  He fabricated a very heavy hitch, and reinforced the frame of the trailer all the way forward of the trailer axles.  I tried it once, and still had more trailer sway than I liked, and have never done it again.  Now, when we take the RV and the boat, my wife tows the RV, and I tow the Malibu behind a 2019 Expedition MAX (which is an improvement over the Yukon XL it replaced, but still not nearly as effortless as I would like).

So that is a long winded way of saying I have done what you are suggestion, and not in love with the outcome.  My personal experience is first that RVs simply aren't made to take that type of stress, and that your driving experience really suffers when you try to do it.  

But that isn't what you asked.

To answer your question, yes I would absolutely go with electric brakes (I've also upgraded them on my boat, and will never go back to surge after having electric).  Triple axle trailer will reduce trailer sway, and make the boat track better.  It will also reduce tongue weight, which should reduce porpoising.  On my 5er, I also upgraded to a hitch with an airbag on it.  I think it is called a trail air Tri-Glide.  That did help, but not a ton.  If I did a lot of tandem towing with a bigger boat, I would look at getting rid of the standard hitch, and upgrading to something that had airbags installed.  Something like a Hensley.  There is also a drawbar that would go in the back of your 5er that is called a "shocker" hitch, that should reduce porpoising as well.

As you can see, and have experienced, trying to do this "right", is a huge undertaking.  And I'm not sure you will ever get it where you want it.

And, FWIW, I still tow my 18' Ranger behind my trailer.  But man, towing a 7000 pound boat behind a RV (which is notoriously under engineered) is a big ask.

Edited by RyanB
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3 hours ago, RyanB said:

 But man, towing a 7000 pound boat behind a RV (which is notoriously under engineered) is a big ask.

It can be hard to get just one big Fiver towing nice, LOL.  Triples takes some real [email protected]  My hats off to you both.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did you bulk up your camper frame?  I haul my ATVs behind my Jayco 29.5 BHDS 5th wheel, but that's a lot lighter load.  I would love to haul my boat, but I'm worried  how the frame would hold up.  

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