Frames & Suspensions – What you need to know.

Sheep Camp - Sheepherders Wagon -Range Camp

When purchasing a Sheep Camp aka. Range Camp or Sheepherders Wagon. You should know about the different frame, axle and suspensions.

Let’s talk a little about axles and suspensions. Leaf Spring Axles (double eye and slipper), Timbren, and Torsion Axles. Before we jump into the different Sheep Camp / Sheepherders Wagon Frames.

Application and Load determine the axle and spring system. To see the best results from any axle / suspension system. It’s important to load the trailer with the aim of getting the most wear out of that system. Your satisfaction with your suspension system. Will depend on the proper loading your Camp.

Double-eye leaf spring systems

There are several reasons that we prefer the Double-eye leaf spring system. Leaf spring axles come with most complete trailers. They consist of several flat, curved leaves stacked on top of each other. The two main types of leaf suspension are double-eye springs and slipper springs.

Sheep Camp Tandem Axle

Slipper springs generally have a greater weight capacity, and fewer moving parts. So, there are fewer components to maintain. But, double-eye springs ride smoother than the slipper spring systems.

This is the most used suspension system due to its affordability. The parts are replaceable and need more maintenance than torsion axles. Yet, many prefer them over torsion for this very reason – they can be fixed.

If you have more than one axle on your trailer. Leaf spring systems are the most dependable for even tire wear and a steady ride. If you’re storing your trailer on uneven ground. Leaf spring will hold up better over the long term due to the independent nature of each leaf spring.

  • 1. Leaf Springs, proven, proven, proven. (military, trucking industry)
  • 2. It’s possible to perform extensive maintenance. Unlike torsion axles parts can be changed out.
  • 3. Spring axles provide the most dependable tire wear, especially on multi-axle trailers.
  • 4. They’re inexpensive and easy for the manufacturer to install. (this helps keeps your cost down)
  • 5. Spring axles don’t need rewelding to replace an entire axle.

We are often asked why we don’t use torsion axles or Timbren axles-less suspensions,

Torsion Systems and Timbren Benefit’s;

  • 1. Simple construction (fewer moving parts) usually means that repairs are seldom.
  • 2. Maintenance free design. Lube your wheel bearings and that’s it!
  • 3. No metal-on-metal contact points
  • 4. Quieter during travel

If the axles are ever faulty. The entire suspension system must be replaced by cutting off the old one and installing new. Both systems are available in bolt on configurations.

It’s my opinion that the Timbren axle-less system is a glorified torsion axle. It works on the same basic principles. They use a hard rubber or urethane to provide tension / restriction of movement.

Ok, enough about suspensions. Let’s talk frame set-ups.

Let’s Start with the Range Camp in recent years the sheep camp has also become known as a Range Camp. Range Camps are generally more of a recreational version of traditional Sheep Camps.

The foundation for these camps is almost always on a tandem axle frame. If you do come a crossed a single axle setup, make sure it is going to have the weight capacity that you will need.

The tandem axle is by far the most reliable and popular setup. With correct axle placement. The tandem axle configuration pulls very well at highway speeds. It is very stable and the most forgiving of the different setups.

When correctly positioned there is little need for sway control hitches. Tandem trailers are as easy as any other to level up and are by far the easiest of the setups to back up. The downside of the tandem axle trailer is that it off-tracks from the path of the tow vehicle.

  • Pros.
  • · Pulls very well at Hwy. Speeds
  • · Easy to back-up
  • · Very Stable
  • · Has brakes at each wheel (4)
  • · Preforms well both on and off-road
  • Cons.
  • · Must be moved with a vehicle
  • · Tongue weight
  • · Off-tracks from tow vehicle path

Tandem Axle

The Sheepherders Wagon / Sheep Camp

The easiest way to in vision this setup is to think about a little red wagon. It has a turning axle at the front and a single axle at the rear of the trailer.

In recent years the fifth wheel plate or dolly. Has become popular with the different manufactures. Due to the simplicity of its construction, cost and ease of maintenance. Because of this the Tie-rod setups have disappeared until now.

These are the systems of choice for most agriculture camps. Especially among those farmers and ranchers who pull camps in tandem, i.e., camp and commissary

Fifth wheel plate / dolly – Sheep Camps and Sheepherder Wagons

  • Pros.
  • · Simple Construction
  • · Low maintenance
  • · Low-Cost
  • · Can be moved without a vehicle
  • · No Tongue Weight
  • · Follows the path of the tow vehicle
  • · Does well off-road
  • Cons.
  • · Less stable than the tandem or Tie-rod systems
  • · Harder to hook up or move when compared to the tie-rod system. (The axle and both wheels move when turned)
  • · Difficult to back-up
  • · Only has brakes on rear axle (2)
  • · Doesn’t pull well at Hwy. speeds

Tie-rod system – Sheep Camps and Sheepherder Wagons

  • Pros.
  • · More Stable than the fifth wheel / dolly
  • · Easier to hook up and move compared to the fifth wheel / dolly system. (Only the wheels move when turned)
  • · No Tongue Weight.
  • · Can be moved without a vehicle.
  • · Follows the path of the tow vehicle
  • · Lower center of gravity than a similar fifth wheel camp.
  • · Does well off-road
  • Cons.
  • · Difficult to back-up
  • · Only has brakes on rear axle (2)
  • · Doesn’t pull well at Hwy. Speeds

Have a questions about Sheep camps or Sheepherder Wagons we would love to answer them. We are your Camp experts.


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