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Motorhome With Rear Axle vs Rear Axle With Tag Axle?

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I have had three coaches, two 40's single and a 43 tag. The difference is if I had to go back to a single I would go all the way to the new small coaches with front engine. The safety and comfort is worth all the negatives, in addition I get the same mileage with the tag and larger engine. Also when I go up a mountain I seldom lose 20-25% of my speed. Even if I got lower mileage and paid higher tolls, and everything else mentioned I would have a tag, by the way I understand one of the MH companies has a 40' with a tag, that,s a perfect marriage,

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Either last month or the month before, a bill was passed by congress exempting rv motorhomes from the 20,000lb axle limits. We are now now permitted to run 24,000lbs the same as passenger buses. There was a posting on the IRV2 forum about this. I would imagine that an internet search would also show now if one was inclined to look for it. It was part of an obscure Transportation Dept legislation.

The above applies only if your axles are actually rated for the additional weight. As I understand it some manufacturers only rate the axles according to the tires they installed on the coach at the time and the axles may have additional capacity up to the 24,000lb limit. You must either crawl under the unit and check the manufacturer's tag on the axle or call the coach manufacturer and get the correct maximum axle ratings from them.

Good luck and safe travels!

Edited by wolfe10

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Either last month or the month before, a bill was passed by congress exempting rv motorhomes from the 20,000lb axle limits. We are now now permitted to run 24,000lbs the same as passenger buses. There was a posting on the IRV2 forum about this. I would imagine that an internet search would also show now if one was inclined to look for it. It was part of an obscure Transportation Dept legislation.

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Good luck and safe travels!

Really, Congress found time for that with all of the other IMO more important things to do? Of course I'm not surprised. :D

A 20k axle law was created by Congress a long time ago to stop the Missisippi valley states from impeding interstate commerce via retrictive axle limits. The law states the lowest max rear axle limit is 20k for roads that are part of the National Network. The Network is the Interstate/US highways and one mile from interchanges. Other states have had larger axle limits for years and higher rated axles and tires have been available for decades.

There are design standards for bridges that use axle load and spacing and that can create some funny looking axle spacings for heavy loads.

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Don't forget the tag axles that were added to the gas coaches in the 90s. They were added because the original chassis couldn't handle the weight or length and were purely an add-on by the coach manufacturer. Today the chassis have more CCC and larger tires so we can safely have a 38' coach on a single rear axle. I am still underweight and mine handles great.

I did drive tour buses for several years after my first retirement and do know how a 45' Van Hool with a tag handles.

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I have a 35' Fleetwood Pace Arrow with a tag axle. and it is very stable. When I bought my coach I knew from past experience that it had to have a tag axle. It is a 1998 year model 34k (35') The 36s (36' 10") also has a tag axle. These units use a 235/85/16 tire. which are inexpensive compared to larger tires used on 1999 and up models. The tag axel was necessary because of the weight of those units and chassis being built by ford and Chevy at that time. Mine does not get any pull push from large trucks as they pass even if one is passing on each side at the same time on a three lane road. Love the way it handles!!!

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I just switched from no tag to a tag axle and drove the latter 1,000 miles.

Frankly, there is little difference between the two rigs. I found the Fleetwood Excursion to be delightfully stable, like mounted on rails. Our Patriot Thunder is similarly stable; the difference seems to be in the vertical: perhaps due in part to the heavier aft end, the Thunder gently "bobs" its head galloping down the highway.

An interesting footnote: my wife, who is a 50% driver and our preferred harbor pilot (with me marshalling from outdoors), swears that the Beaver has less body sway. Is that a function of the tag? I don't know. As evidence, she says reading without becoming nauseous, while impossible in the Fleetwood, is no problem in the Beaver.

To be fair, I've driven a Prevost, a Revolution and a variety of Monacos with tags and thought they were much more stable than the non-tags driven during the same period.

Still, if a tag comes with the bus you like, go for it. In the grand scheme of things the slightly lower gas mileage and maintenance costs pale compared to the overall price of ownership.

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I find it interesting to note all of the comments on here about tags or no tags all seem to relate to weight capacity or handling in cross winds. Personally when I did my research to find my ideal setup, one of the things I considered was wheel base and steering cut. These two things equate to steering radius which for me is something I was concerned about. I wanted lots of living space, but also wanted to get into some tighter areas that most tag units wouldn't maneuver easily. From my 39V Discovery with a 256" wheel base, the next size up was a 40X Discovery with a 276" wheel base. I love the room we have even though we are 1 foot shorter, The wheel base is almost 2 feet shorter and I don't do the three point turns into my favorite spots like I've seen others do.

As for cross winds, I have had only one occasion when I was working to keep straight on the highway, the tractor trailers in front of me were playing pinball with each other and the grey dog behind me was like my mirror image with every gust. I think if you figure out what it is you really want through a list of "Must Haves, Nice to Haves, and Can Do Withouts", you'll find that perfect unit for yourself and be happy with it.

Floorplan is really huge, you must love the inside too, not just the way it drives. I love the way a Porche drives, but I can't live in it! Everyone will have their own reasons for certain models, makes, and tags or no tags, but the only opinion that really counts is yours in what makes you happy.

Spend the time to research, test drive and compare to find your ideal set up, your happiness will be worth it in the end.

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DR,

You make some valid points. One thing about coaches with Tag axles is that the majority of the coaches have air bags. With most they also can lift the tag axle to allow for tighter turn radiues. My coach with its tag axle handles so much better then our other 2 coaches. And as you said when every thing is said an done if you are happy with your coach that is all that matters. (now if someone wants to make the payments I will drive what they provide. Ha ha.)

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if your not towing a trailer that is heavy the tag is not 100% essential. i would of gladly taken a tag coach over a single axle for my purposes but i haul a heavy stacker trailer behind me. i bought my first coach last week a 40' Beaver Patriot and its a single axle. never driven a Motorhome of any size before i felt it was a dream going down the road on the 8 bag magnum air ride chassis.

Tag is like a luxury option that really has no negative effects other then on your wallet.

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All this has been very interesting to read, and I have learned some things I did not know about tag axles. I have never driven a coach with a tag axle, so I cannot comment on the ride.

I have driven a lot of motorhomes before buying our first 36' Alpine in 2000. We were so pleased with its ride and drivability that we now

have a 07 40' Alpine I am very pleased with the way it handles, unfortunately WRV is now out of business and that chassis is no longer available. I believe that Tiffin is now producing a chassis for its bus that is very similar (designed by the same person who designed the Peck Chassis for Alpine) that was on all Alpine coaches. Tiffin may now have a coach with a tag axle that incorporates the new chassis. I would be very interested to drive that coach.

Jim

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We have owned 3 Motor Homes with single axles and bought the 45 Monaco Signature with tag axle 2 years ago.

We took a trip on New Years Eve 2015 from Oklahoma to Long Beach, CA. We were also pulling a 37ft Boat trailer about 8750lbs. We hit a big snow storm just out side of Flagstaff and had really bad road conditions all the way to Kingman, AZ. The tag axle was worth its weight in GOLD. It kept us stable and on the road down Ash Fork at 6% grades. Many cars and trucks were off in the ditch. We stopped in Kingman because the closed down I-40. When starting back we began to spin the drive axle wheels at start up roll. We just hit the tag axle air retract and got it moving and dropped the tag back down. It was awesome! It has made us a believer and will not buy anything without a tag in the future. Fantastic ride and worth every penny of any extra expense.

http://www.liquidmarine.us/rvboat.jpg

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...if your not towing a trailer that is heavy the tag is not 100% essential. i would of gladly taken a tag coach over a single axle for my purposes but i haul a heavy stacker trailer behind me.....

I think you will find that a tag has nothing to do with tow capacity. My single axle AC has a tow capacity of 15k...as do all the ACs with tags.

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We're on our third MH. The first two were single rear axle. The very first was a 34 foot pusher that was nice inside but a very scary thing to drive in any wind except calm, and the bow wave from a passing semi would nearly send us off the road if we were not aware of it coming. In short, it took most of the fun out of the RV experience.

The second was much better, a different manufacturer, but lacked the power we wanted considering the mountainous terrain in the western states where we live and do most of our travel.

We finally settled on a 40 foot 9 inch Newmar Dutch Star, with a tag, and could not be happier. Handling characteristics all around are simply a pleasure and winds have become a non-issue. Our only regret with the Dutch Star is that we did not make it our first purchase for a motorhome. In terms of fuel consumption, we get an overall average of about 8+ per gallon, driving a target speed of 65 on highways.

As for any additional expense for the extra two tires or additional fuel consumption that may be associated with the tag, speaking only for us, it is worth every cent for the rock solid stability and extra margin of safety we enjoy. Just our two cents, for what it's worth.

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I won't say anything negative about a tag-axle coach since I have never had one.

What kind of fuel mileage do you get with a larger engine and higher gross weight (the tag adds 5000 pounds by itself)?

How much does the tag axle and larger diesel engine add to the purchase price?

How many axles do you pay for when you go through the toll booth?

Will any of these cost factors affect how much you spend on traveling and enjoying your travels to the fullest?

Your fuel mileage will vary just like anything else. The size of the engine, The transmission.

Cost again depends on the options

Tolls. Some coaches have a tag axle lift so in reality if the tag is not touching the road surface you pay for two. Heavy duty dump trucks do it all the time.

With a tag you can increase your GVW, Most tag axles unlock at slow speeds to give you 4 wheel steering while parking at a curb. I lifting tag also makes turning much easier since it changes the pivot point of the turn

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if your not towing a trailer that is heavy the tag is not 100% essential. i would of gladly taken a tag coach over a single axle for my purposes but i haul a heavy stacker trailer behind me. i bought my first coach last week a 40' Beaver Patriot and its a single axle. never driven a Motorhome of any size before i felt it was a dream going down the road on the 8 bag magnum air ride chassis.

Tag is like a luxury option that really has no negative effects other then on your wallet.

The Tag axle also offers you an extra set of brakes so you have 6 rather than 4 and those brakes will also cut your braking distance by up to 50 feet.

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My large Detroit Series 60 is not the standard motor. You can get tag axle MHs with the smaller motors than mine and now get the bigger ISX 650's. I just had to have the Detroit. With the Detroit at 55 mph I get 8 mpg and for every one MPH increase I lose 0.1 mpg. My VISA card gives my a 5% discount money back on fuel so it makes up for the Detroit but I just love that smooth power. There is no way the tag axle weighs 2 1/2 tons maybe 3/4 to a ton or less. These days the prices on MHs are below wholesale so it is a good time to buy without worrying too much about paying any extra. Get what you want while the prices are down. I agree it has to add something that wasn't a factor for me. We knew what we wanted and it was either a Navigator or a Signature. One goes through very few toll roads when traveling other than in the North East. When I go to Maine I do go through several and most of the time they do not see the tag axle and I don't get charged for it or they just don't charge MHs for a tag axle. They spend more time looking for the toad. Even then the cost of the third axle is not that bad when you are also paying for the toad. When I travel these factors do not come into play. I do wish I would get the same MPG as by previous MH but all the motor homes above a certain weight and size motor just get poor mileage.

I am retired and love to travel and I don't want to be cramped and I am not and I also like an easy driving MH.

On trucks, a tag axle adds about 1000#

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