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Old 08-13-2017, 10:36 AM   #1
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Sway Bars

We recently got a 30' Serenity that we tow with a Ford F250 Super Duty and we are wonder what y'all experienced airstream folks would recommend re sway bars? Get them or not? If yes, which brand? Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:40 AM   #2
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Do you have a weight distribution hitch?
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #3
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We just have the Ford and Airstream factory ball and hitch.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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My suggestion would be to invest in a weight distribution system first then apply the appropriate sway control for that system. While your tow vehicle is more than adequate for towing your trailer on just the ball, the difference in towing experience with a wd system is simply amazing. I've towed for years, many different trailers, on just a ball but since investing in a wd hitch, I'll never go back. Whether it's my 16' box trailer or my 31' travel trailer.
Night and day.

Best of luck!
Ian
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:57 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. This is our first trip and so far so good.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:14 PM   #6
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Sway Bars

Do your due diligence. There are lots of opinions on hitches--it tends to look a lot like religion and politics. What works best for one is viewed as overkill by others, and vice versa. My choice was based on engineering analysis and may be overkill, but I'm happy in that situation regardless. Look around and make your own decision.

But, yes. Some form of weight distribution is the first need, then some form of sway control. Consider price, convenience, and how effectively the system does both weight distribution and sway control, then look at how and where you travel, and your budget.

I travel in the western mountains, absolutely won't put up with sway, and have a lighter truck and smaller trailer. My opinions are out there--search away!
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:15 PM   #7
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I had no idea people towed *any* Airstream without a WD hitch! Is this common?
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:19 PM   #8
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With a small enough Airstream and a big enough truck it's possible to just tow on the ball. Note that small enough and big enough are wildly contested opinions on the forums...
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Philip Jones View Post
I had no idea people towed *any* Airstream without a WD hitch! Is this common?
Hi

If you watch big trailers get delivered to dealers, they all come in towed with simple hitches. It's "easier" and the tongue does not get messed up with a WD install. In that sense, yes, it's common.

Some vehicles tow ratings force you to a WD hitch to match it up with your AS. One would hope that 100% of those impacted by this use WD hitches. Somehow I have my doubts .....

Sitting in a dealer lot watching things ship out, some do pull out of the lot without a WD hitch. I know that the dealer pushes people to have WD hitches. It's not because nobody brought it up. Since that dealer is happy to install any brand of hitch, it's not a "we don't do them" kind of thing.

Watching what people do "on the road", most with larger trailers do have some sort of WD setup. Some seem to have an odd idea about how to set their hitch up, but that's a different topic. You see a lot of large boats with no WD. You also see a lot of heavy utility trailers with no WD.

Once you get down to the small stuff, you don't see WD at all. Things that are similar to or smaller than a Basecamp (~3,000 lb / 16 feet) rarely seem to get WD if they are behind a "large" TV (= truck / big SUV).

So yes, it varies a bit.

=====

My big question is --- did this trailer come from a dealer or was it a private sale? If a dealer sold it, I'm really surprised that WD hitches did not get discussed.

====

To answer the original question - yes sway bars are a good idea. I believe the "camper" option added them to my F250.

Bob
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Jones View Post
I had no idea people towed *any* Airstream without a WD hitch! Is this common?
It is fairly common, I have towed with and without a WD hitch, the only difference I have seen is the WD hitch takes a LOT longer to hookup and it stiffens the ride. I currently tow a 31' Sovereign without one and have no plans to buy one.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Jones View Post
I had no idea people towed *any* Airstream without a WD hitch! Is this common?
I hope not 😱
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
With a small enough Airstream and a big enough truck it's possible to just tow on the ball. Note that small enough and big enough are wildly contested opinions on the forums...
I know the F250 is pretty stout but don't most trucks have a max tongue weight ratings with and without WD... without WD being the lower spec?

The 30' AS must have close to 1000 lb hitch weight? Seems to me having WD on such a large trailer is a 'must have' not optional.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:50 PM   #13
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I know the F250 is pretty stout but don't most trucks have a max tongue weight ratings with and without WD... without WD being the lower spec?

The 30' AS must have close to 1000 lb hitch weight? Seems to me having WD on such a large trailer is a 'must have' not optional.
Hi

The F250 is a bit weird. It has the same ratings with and without a WD hitch. Exactly *why* is one of those un-answered questions. Some have speculated it's simply a marketing ploy. I kind of doubt that ....

The hitch capacity is 15,000 lb tow and tongue weight 1,500 on most versions regardless of WD or not. That's *not* the towing capacity of the vehicle which varies a bit depending on this or that (but not depending on WD).

Yes, it's crazy, but them's that's how Ford rates it.

Bob
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:31 PM   #14
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I knew I would get worthwhile input from this site. I am a novice at this, but my conclusion is that before going to the sway bar I need to decide about the benefit, or not, of WD. Given my truck and trailer combination WD does not seem totally necessary, but it probably can't hurt; yes?
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alissaopp View Post
I knew I would get worthwhile input from this site. I am a novice at this, but my conclusion is that before going to the sway bar I need to decide about the benefit, or not, of WD. Given my truck and trailer combination WD does not seem totally necessary, but it probably can't hurt; yes?
Take my advice (FWIW) and just do it. Many types of WD hitch systems have sway control built in, others need a separate friction bar.... but get a WD hitch.
You have a really large trailer with significant hitch weight. Go with WD.

Wanna really start a war? 😱 Ask this forum for pro's & cons of the various hitch systems. Then sit back & enjoy the fireworks 😂 As for me I don't have experience with them all so I can't really say which one. But they all seem to work. Maybe consider ease of setup if that's important to you.
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by alissaopp View Post
-- snip -- yes?
Yes, as suggested above, do your research. Lots of threads on hitches. Pat

"Sway bars" is likely not a correct designation. A tow vehicle will have sway bars - a bar that connects left and right suspension to limit body lean. You may need to upgrade them, but what you are likely asking about and what the above responses are intended to address are weight distribution hitches. These hitches use spring bars to transfer weight to the front axle to retain the ability to steer and maintain stability. Sway control is achieved in several different methods. Understanding what works best for your rig is your research assignment. Have fun. Pat
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:22 PM   #17
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Sway bars are part of the hitch assembly separate from the WD part on some hitches such as some Reese and easlift. Thay are attached to the a frame and the hitch head with small,hitch balls. I towed exclusively on the ball only with two sway control devices. Occasionally using an eazlift adjusted for little or no WD also with the same two sway control bars. No WD...I towed with a oneton truck. Don't try that with your bimmer.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:38 PM   #18
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AS - don't take that bet. Pat
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:51 PM   #19
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I'm not about to tell you what wd brand to get, as mentioned, it's like politics or religion here. But, I will tell you that the difference is very noticeable in a very positive way. The good thing is that even entry level systems at +/- $500 show that difference. I'm probably starting a war here by saying that, but it's true.

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Old 08-14-2017, 09:06 AM   #20
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Hi

Well, there are multiple things called "sway bars". One reference is to the anti-sway bars that are (or are not) part of a vehicle's suspension. You can have them on either the front or the rear suspension. They come in various sizes and are a surprising omission on various vehicles. Because they get "left out" by the factory, it's not uncommon to install (or upgrade) them as an after market item.

On some versions of hitch, you can get a friction gizmo to damp out sway. That anti-sway device is very dependent on the type of hitch you get. They are very uncommon without a WD hitch.

So, which one are we talking about ...

Bob
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