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Old 03-25-2014, 06:38 AM   #41
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The answer to your question is, it depends on the trailer and truck.
We regularly tow a couple dozen travel trailers, mostly SOBs, back and forth to shows. I sometimes use WD on trailers I am towing, depending on the trailer. Our shop duallie never uses WD. Our new shop truck, a Silverado, doesn't tow more than a popup without WD. Our parts manager nearly put it, and the trailer he was towing, in the ditch with it.
So, some trailers should have WD, some trucks shouldn't leave the driveway without it, and some never even notice it's not there.
So, while I recommend both WD and sway control from a safety standpoint and personal experience, you will have to decide what is best for you.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:53 AM   #42
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I have towed most of my heavier loads with WD, and most recently with simple friction-type SC as well. I have experienced minor (luckily) sway without WD and I had the brakes fail once with a 7500 lb trailer pushing me into a curve (managed OK, but not fun).

Where I work we have a dual-axle enclosed cargo trailer (20', 10,000 lb) and some people chose to tow it without WD a few times with HD 2500 and 3500 series trucks. A couple of people came back really rattled saying they had a tough time keeping the rig on the road due to sway. One driver narrowly avoided rolling when going down hill he crossed a set of railway tracks, bounced a little, and started swaying badly.

Some had a rough time and some didn't - the difference it seemed was load distribution on the trailer, hitch type (some the ball was a long way out from the hitch frame), road conditions, and possibly tire quality and/or condition. Also, driver skill and habits seemed to make a difference (some drivers travel 70 while others do 55, some people tend to oversteer) and sometimes weather contributed to the problem with gusty sidewinds.

Bottom line - no one was really comfortable until the WD started to be used consistently since all of the factors couldn't be controlled in all circumstances. The only real control the driver has initially is how the tow rig is set up, and if set up solidly - the variables have much less influence while you are moving down the road.

So, you can tow larger trailers without WD or SC, but why would you want to?
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:57 AM   #43
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In a pinch I have towed two different Airstreams several hundred miles when picking them up from previous owners and did not have WD or sway control.
I did it, didn't enjoy the driving experience at all, felt tired when I got home and would rather not repeat it. Short distance and slower is OK but not long fast moving cross country drives.
- Truck is a short bed 3/4 ton.
- Trailer #1 - 30' Classic - A windy November day - felt every passing truck, porpoised on bridge abutments, felt pushed a bit by the wind, trailer felt more "Twitchy".
- Trailer #2 - 25' Safari - A windy April day - felt every passing truck, porpoised on bridge abutments, trailer felt more "Twitchy".
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:29 AM   #44
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You towed without wd or sc. How do you know if you would have been okay with just sc?
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:48 AM   #45
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The answer to your question is, it depends on the trailer and truck.
We regularly tow a couple dozen travel trailers, mostly SOBs, back and forth to shows. I sometimes use WD on trailers I am towing, depending on the trailer. Our shop duallie never uses WD.
I recall following a dually pickup once and on a wet road he had to stop quickly. The rear wheels locked up and the back end drifted to the left.

Thinking that if he had a trailer in tow with it just on the ball, it could have been a jack knife incident.

Also thinking that if he had a trailer in tow and used a WDH/with/Sway Control the jackknife situation could have been avoided.

All theory but something worth thinking about.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:30 AM   #46
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I'm currently downsizing, selling my 40' 5er so I can sell the Freightliner I now use to tow with. No issues with passing trucks bow waves or 15mph desert breezes, only using a ball. Pix in my gallery
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:02 PM   #47
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I recall following a dually pickup once and on a wet road he had to stop quickly. The rear wheels locked up and the back end drifted to the left.

Thinking that if he had a trailer in tow with it just on the ball, it could have been a jack knife incident.

Also thinking that if he had a trailer in tow and used a WDH/with/Sway Control the jackknife situation could have been avoided.

All theory but something worth thinking about.
That would be an issue of the setup of the trailer brakes. No WD or sway control setup will prevent jackknifing under such a scenario. There are other maneuvers you can encounter that will overcome sway control. No system is perfect or 100%.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:05 PM   #48
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I'm currently downsizing, selling my 40' 5er so I can sell the Freightliner I now use to tow with. No issues with passing trucks bow waves or 15mph desert breezes, only using a ball. Pix in my gallery
Wow, that's a tremendous truck. What's the weight on something like that?
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:37 PM   #49
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I'm towing on the bumper of my Dodge 2500 cummins short bed -- the bumper came with the truck and is a "farm" bumper, I guess you'd call it. Very, very well built plate steel. My trailer is longer than you are asking about -- 31' and 1977. I also have four 75lb batteries in the front of the trailer, which isn't great for weight distribution, but I wonder if it contributes to the stability while towing. It could be hurting it for all I know.

I was paranoid about towing with out a WD anti-sway hitch after reading all the stuff on these forums, before buying the trailer. With the crazy farm bumper on the truck, I didn't have a receiver hitch available to use WD devices when I picked up the trailer so I just thought I'd be careful on the bumper until I reconfigured the truck. Well, it's been so stable that I have not bothered to do so yet. I have a brand new receiver hitch sitting in storage.

As others have said here, I think one thing that helps is that the distance between the tongue and axle is as short as it can be in this setup, and I suspect this helps with the stability. Adding a receiver hitch would push the ball back a few inches or more, and then I think WD setups can push the ball back even more. I'm sure the argument is that the benefits of the WD equipment offset the negative effects of pushing the ball back (if indeed the ball does get pushed back).

I am a full-timer so put a LOT of miles in while towing. Early on in my towing career, I would tense up when passing or being passed by semi's and was on guard for sway and such. Now, I don't worry much about it. I can't tell you if it is because the sway and such isn't bad or if maybe it's because I tow so much that I'm able to adjust and correct for these conditions without thinking about it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:39 AM   #50
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Wow, that's a tremendous truck. What's the weight on something like that?
11,600#, as a 6 series truck it will carry up to 23,900#. The biggest truck you can drive without a commercial license.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:43 PM   #51
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Keeping it simple

Howdy,

My wife and I are going through a similar situation in that we can't decide if its risky to not tow with WD or anti-sway. I'll share our story and any input would be helpful from all you experienced people out there.
We've got a 2014 Bambi 16' and 2006 Honda Pilot. Our Husky WD/AS hitch is huge, heavy and weighted for a tongue weight and trailer 2x the size of ours. We did a trip this weekend and felt great towing without our fancy hitch setup without the Husky Hitch. With the fancy hitch on, it feels like the tail is wagging the dog. Without the hitch - feels more natural and free.
Didn't get any sway oh the highway (65 max speed), no problems when semi trucks passed, and in the strong crosswinds on our way home, I felt them in the car, not the trailer.
So my gut feeling is to go with our simple, direct set up. Hope our story helps. Lets hear others experiences.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:52 AM   #52
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WD and Sway Control: don't leave home without them!

In Airstream Life a couple of years ago a very nice article was published on WD and SC. In essence, the shorter the TT, the more you need SC and to a lesser extent WD. The higher the weight, the more you needed WD.
Top quote my wife ..."don't leave home without them [the wdh w/ sc]" ... even the fairer of the half understands the need.

Make sure that your hitch is properly set up !!!
That may or may not be the case as set up by a dealer ... read the manual.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:31 AM   #53
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Howdy, My wife and I are going through a similar situation in that we can't decide if its risky to not tow with WD or anti-sway. I'll share our story and any input would be helpful from all you experienced people out there. We've got a 2014 Bambi 16' and 2006 Honda Pilot. Our Husky WD/AS hitch is huge, heavy and weighted for a tongue weight and trailer 2x the size of ours. We did a trip this weekend and felt great towing without our fancy hitch setup without the Husky Hitch. With the fancy hitch on, it feels like the tail is wagging the dog. Without the hitch - feels more natural and free. Didn't get any sway oh the highway (65 max speed), no problems when semi trucks passed, and in the strong crosswinds on our way home, I felt them in the car, not the trailer. So my gut feeling is to go with our simple, direct set up. Hope our story helps. Lets hear others experiences.
You may have a good combination for your vehicle - light, short trailer with low tongue weight and an SUV heavy enough that can handle this tongue weight and has sufficient wheelbase. Probably your next best thing for simplicity and light weight would be the Anderson hitch setup - they are Amazon for $400 if you find you want one.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:40 AM   #54
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Howdy,

My wife and I are going through a similar situation in that we can't decide if its risky to not tow with WD or anti-sway. I'll share our story and any input would be helpful from all you experienced people out there.
We've got a 2014 Bambi 16' and 2006 Honda Pilot. Our Husky WD/AS hitch is huge, heavy and weighted for a tongue weight and trailer 2x the size of ours. We did a trip this weekend and felt great towing without our fancy hitch setup without the Husky Hitch. With the fancy hitch on, it feels like the tail is wagging the dog. Without the hitch - feels more natural and free.
Didn't get any sway oh the highway (65 max speed), no problems when semi trucks passed, and in the strong crosswinds on our way home, I felt them in the car, not the trailer.
So my gut feeling is to go with our simple, direct set up. Hope our story helps. Lets hear others experiences.
The comparison you experienced doesn't make any sense. Thinking your WDH set up is not right.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:36 AM   #55
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Light, Tight and Right

Thanks for all the comments and wisdom so far.

I called up the towing shop that installed our brake controller and they had the following to say. They felt that WD and anti sway is mainly for larger/heavier setups. A 3500 lb camper and 6000 lb SUV set up right could be just the ticket. They said that they'd recommend just 'putting it on the ball" and going after proper packing/loading.

Called up Can Am and they said that though the Bambi 16 is the easiest airstream to tow....they liked the idea of anti-sway for emergency situations.

What do you guys think?
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:39 AM   #56
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Can Am are the pro's.

Putting it just on the ball, just seems like a bad idea.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:58 AM   #57
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Thanks for all the comments and wisdom so far.

I called up the towing shop that installed our brake controller and they had the following to say. They felt that WD and anti sway is mainly for larger/heavier setups. A 3500 lb camper and 6000 lb SUV set up right could be just the ticket. They said that they'd recommend just 'putting it on the ball" and going after proper packing/loading.

Called up Can Am and they said that though the Bambi 16 is the easiest airstream to tow....they liked the idea of anti-sway for emergency situations.

What do you guys think?
Well - you ask what folks think so this is not from personal towing experience. But I think when it comes to safety - better to have and not need than the other way around.

I also think the advice of using WD and SC only on larger rigs isn't sound. First - they are 2 separate issues.

WD - for a light trailer and a heavy tow vehicle - it is possible that WD is not needed as much since a lot of weight isn't pulled off the front axle (so there may not be a need to put much back). Having said that, if you lift a few hundred pounds off the front and don't restore it according to manufacturer's recommendations, you might have trouble negotiating emergency maneuvers and/or wet pavement with your steering wheel. You can "get away with it" 95% of the time - but the 5% of the time you need it, you should have it.

Sway control is different in that WD is 100% in your control - you do or don't use it (consequences are yours). Sway can be driver error AND can be a myriad of things outside of your control. Can a 3500# trailer (moving at 60 mph) affect a 6000# tow vehicle? I'm no physicist but my money's on "holy crap yes!"

Large trucks passing you, winds crossing you, emergency maneuvers, etc. - too many things out of your control to risk going without in my opinion.

So second - refer to have/need equation above. And that's what I think. :-)

Safe camping everyone!
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:23 PM   #58
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Thanks for all the comments and wisdom so far.

I called up the towing shop that installed our brake controller and they had the following to say. They felt that WD and anti sway is mainly for larger/heavier setups. A 3500 lb camper and 6000 lb SUV set up right could be just the ticket. They said that they'd recommend just 'putting it on the ball" and going after proper packing/loading.

Called up Can Am and they said that though the Bambi 16 is the easiest airstream to tow....they liked the idea of anti-sway for emergency situations.

What do you guys think?
You have several options for anti-sway if you choose to want it for peace of mind. The Anderson hitch has it built into the hitch ball, so it's really nothing to tinker with. You can also just get an anti-sway bar installed, but that will require a hitch head with the ball for it, as well as one on the trailer frame.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #59
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The key for comfort is to keep the ball as close to the rear axle as possible...
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Small hijack here, but it seems like a good spot to ask.

We just towed home an SOB behind our Flex. Seemed to perform well, and I'll report on that in the "Small Tow Vehicle" thread.

Here is how its set up:



Specifically, it looks like I could just have another hole drilled in the hitch and move it about 3" closer to the receiver:



I've checked and the rear gate would still clear.

Do you think this is worthwhile? The fellow at the dealer said it would make backing more difficult, but I'm not quite following that logic.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:49 PM   #60
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The further the hitch head is from the back of the car the tighter you can turn before the corner of the trailer meets the car.
It wouldn't necessarily be any more difficult, you just couldn't turn as tight.
The difference would really be miniscule.
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