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Old 08-06-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
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Family debate

We have an F350 diesel. Should we need a sway control? The man of the house says it is pulling great but I want some more experienced input. I just got my lovely 1974 31' and I want to keep it for a while. I know the truck is great with the 7.3 and I know we can pull anything but this is my baby. If I should have one, which one is everyone having the best luck with.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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My humble opinion --

Your Tow Vehicle has tremendous capacity and power. Great brakes. Huge mass.

However, if the trailer gets moved by, say an 18 wheeler passing at 75mph, what is going to prevent (or at the very least dampen) the induced sway?

I wouldn't tow my 31' without anti-sway of some kind. You get 4 tons oscillating and trouble is afoot.

mike
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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31 feet is a lot of trailer to keep under control. Yes a big ol' truck will pull great, but pulling is not always the same thing as controlling...

We only have a 19' Bambi and we have anti-sway.

Be safe.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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If you feel you should have sway control, get sway control. There are engineers that calculate and prove you don't need them with that truck. But there may be another un calculated cause that makes you feel you need them for an unknown event down the road, and that sway control your intuition tells you you need will save all your babies.
Just looked at a tire on my brother's pop up tent trailer that blew on a flat, beautiful road. Very few miles on it, looked like the tire exploded inside the belts.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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My .02 cents.

For a few hundred bucks the piece of mind alone is worth the cost.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:15 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Tdcraw;1184732]We have an F350 diesel. Should we need a sway control? QUOTE]

I think it depends on the trailer, some trailers are rock steady no matter what you do and some will go into a sway fairly easily.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:34 PM   #7
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We have an F350. Pulled our 31 ft Sovereign with and without. The prior post about a semi passing you is spot on. Or if you hit a bad spot on the road at top speed.
As the "driver" in our team and experienced bad sway with the above 2 examples I would not drive without all recommended tow package options. Your first response to bad sway is to hit the brakes which transfers the sway to your truck. A bad thing... Best you can do is let off the gas and let the sway work out. One time of this and you will get the sway bar. Hopefully you are not going down hill when this happens...
We have every available tow package option. Have not had a "sway" induced problem since. Knock on wood.......
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:23 AM   #8
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Hitting the trailer brakes with the manual override is the best way to straighten out...
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:58 AM   #9
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We have the same trailer, and the same kind of truck. We have sway control.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Hitting the trailer brakes with the manual override is the best way to straighten out...
The human mind does not work as fast as a developing sway.

Therefore applying the trailer brakes manually, is a very poor way to quickly stop a sway, even when your pre-warned that a sway will suddenly happen.

That fact was proven by Caravanner Insurance company tests, in 1970.

That's also why a device known as "Safety Tow", came on the market for a short period of time, way back then.

Andy
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:41 AM   #11
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The need for a weight distribution hitch [WDH] is tied to trailer tongue weight [TW]. From about 350 to 500-lbs a WDH is required. Doesn't sound like much weight . . it isn't, but it is only a static representation of forces when at rest. The "lever arm" from the hitch coupler back to the travel trailer [TT] axle center can produce thousands of pounds of force to act on the tow vehicle [TV] going down the road under adverse conditions. Loss of control accidents with travel trailers is understood to be centered around steering in particular. The WDH "helps" the driver in that "normal" steering is "felt" even in adversity (all of this is in a manner of speaking; one gets into discussions about yaw, etc).

Anti-sway components of that hitch type (designed in or added on) will lessen (resist) the natural tendency of the TT to try and pass the TV. The difference between the various antisway types is in how well they do this. Most require best hitch rigging per weight scale formulaic data to "spread" the TW to the two vehicles properly for the anti-sway to work best. The virtual pivot point [VPP] types are sophisticated enough not to require this, but the rig benefits equally in handling/braking improvements over no WDH w/ or w/o antisway when set up properly.

Big & heavy seems nice in a TV . . but when the TV is also the most rollover prone vehicle type (pickup truck) and the trailer is capable of higher speeds through the slalom behind a better TV than the pickup can negotiate while solo it can also be seen that it is not the TT that needs a high quality design WDH + antisway, but the truck itself, so to speak.

A travel trailer has forces acting on it (wind, primarily) that a low, open trailer will not. The tire contact patch of the TV is quite small, overall, and one does not want to lose traction as a result of the TT acting against that contact patch, in part or in total.

And, while an Airstream has the best towing characteristics by design over many other types, it, too, benefits from a WDH + antisway set up according to formula. Decades of experience go into this, and this forum has numerous threads on the "how to" of set-up.

.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
There are engineers that calculate and prove you don't need them with that truck.
I'm an engineer, but I haven't calculated anything here, and this is just my opinionů

Any time you've got a trailer that is heavier than the vehicle pulling it, sway control is a good idea. Especially when you consider that the distance from the trailer's front axle to the hitch is a lot longer than the distance from the tow vehicle's rear axle to the hitch. That provides a huge difference in moment of inertia, and means that a small amount of trailer sway becomes a big force yanking the tow vehicle from side to side. There is an old saying, "tail wagging the dog," that perfectly describes this situation.

Anti-sway is like a lot of safety equipment and techniques. When you first have reason to wonder if you need it, that's when you need it. Later might be too late.

Just make sure whatever anti-sway you get is properly sized for your tow vehicle & trailer combination. That's where the engineering really comes into play, and the companies that make the sway control have already done the engineering for you.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:41 AM   #13
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Modern weight distribution hitches have integrated sway control.
Yes, you need a weight distribution hitch. You have a big trailer with close to 1000 pounds of tongue weight and even with a 1 ton pickup, you need it for reasons suggested by previous posters.
Add to the list of times when you need a good hitch are long curvy down hills, blowouts, trailer brake malfunctions and emergency handling situations. You will find that your trailer wants to drive itself. You don't want to look out your side window and see your trailer. A good hitch will keep it in line.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tdcraw
We have an F350 diesel. Should we need a sway control? The man of the house says it is pulling great but I want some more experienced input. I just got my lovely 1974 31' and I want to keep it for a while. I know the truck is great with the 7.3 and I know we can pull anything but this is my baby. If I should have one, which one is everyone having the best luck with.
The real BIG deal is control when STOPPING all that mass in a panic stop! Have been there stopping 34' on Queen 402 near London, Ontario, CAN.
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