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Old 05-23-2014, 08:06 AM   #1
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1994 34' Excella
Kalamazoo , Michigan
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Some sway w Reese hitch...set up tips?

Just finished our first long cross country trip and I noticed some level of sway due to crosswind gusts. I would say that the departure is seldom more than an inch or two, but it seems to take 3-4 cycles to damp out. Worse at 65 mph, better at 60.

We have a Reese Dual Cam, w old style bars (separate saddle pieces). TV is 2013 F350 Diesel. Setup is level for truck and trailer, and was done by the dealer.

Trailer is a 1994 Excella 34'.

My questions:

1. Is this kind of sway normal? Seems manageable..

2. If not, what parts of the setup should I look at?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:42 AM   #2
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34 ft sway

I have a 89 34 footer and a Reese Twin Cam. I tow with a crew cab Chevy Dually with a full size box, For an experiment, I did not hook up the anti sway frictional dampener one morning on the start of a long run in moderate wind. I did notice that there was a very slow minor sway when passed by trailer trucks, when I was doing 62 mph. We were on an express way with consistent conditions. I hooked up the frictional dampener at the next rest stop and there was a noticeable improvement in the amount of sway experienced. I do not normally operate above 65 mph, but last weekend I looked down and I was doing 70 while keeping up with traffic on Illinois I 39. The rig was pretty stable.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:44 AM   #3
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I have never used that setup. In theory it uses a ramp and cam type system what when you are turning the force in increased when the load bar rides over a cam. This same system helps reduce sway by providing some resistance when the trailer is not perfectly straight relative to the tow vehicle. I would think increasing the preload on the bars might help some. You could also add a friction sway device to augment what you have. Moving more weight to the front of the trailer might help and running with holding tanks empty if you have a rear bath trailer.

Some oscillation is ok as long as it is self damping. If it gets bigger or requires you to apply the trailer brakes to stop it, then you may have an unstable rig.

Perry
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:50 AM   #4
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How much extra weight (supplies, batteries, etc., ) do you have in the last three feet of trailer?
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I have never used that setup. In theory it uses a ramp and cam type system what when you are turning the force in increased when the load bar rides over a cam. This same system helps reduce sway by providing some resistance when the trailer is not perfectly straight relative to the tow vehicle. I would think increasing the preload on the bars might help some. You could also add a friction sway device to augment what you have. Moving more weight to the front of the trailer might help and running with holding tanks empty if you have a rear bath trailer.

Some oscillation is ok as long as it is self damping. If it gets bigger or requires you to apply the trailer brakes to stop it, then you may have an unstable rig.

Perry
You better call Reese about a "frictional" anti sway device AND the dual cam. The frictional device is marginal at best, if the Dual Cam is properly set up, with enough tension on the trunion bars, you will not have sway, period.
The dually truck is overkill, but if you use 800, maybe even 600 pound bars, and put enough tension on them so you will have AT LEAST a 1 to 1 1/2 inch bow, that should solve the problem.
For whatever it's worth.
Larry
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
I have a 89 34 footer and a Reese Twin Cam. I tow with a crew cab Chevy Dually with a full size box, For an experiment, I did not hook up the anti sway frictional dampener one morning on the start of a long run in moderate wind. I did notice that there was a very slow minor sway when passed by trailer trucks, when I was doing 62 mph. We were on an express way with consistent conditions. I hooked up the frictional dampener at the next rest stop and there was a noticeable improvement in the amount of sway experienced. I do not normally operate above 65 mph, but last weekend I looked down and I was doing 70 while keeping up with traffic on Illinois I 39. The rig was pretty stable.
What rating bars are you using with your HD truck?

They should not be more than 600 pounds.

Andy
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:54 AM   #7
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Thanks, all. I am going to play with the bar load a bit, and see what happens. The truck is single rear wheels...I agree that duallies would be overkill! :-)

Tom
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:58 AM   #8
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Question...

How do you tell the difference between 600, 800, 1000 lb bars?

Tnx
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Question...

How do you tell the difference between 600, 800, 1000 lb bars?

Tnx
600 pound bars measure 1 inch at the front edge of the trunnion, which is the part that goes into the ball mount.

800 pound bars measure 1 1/8 inch and 1000 pound bars measure 1 1/4 inch.

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Old 05-23-2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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There is much ado about bar sizes however you will find that the forum posters with a background in mechanical engineering do not believe that using the proper size bars recommended by the hitch manufacturer will result in higher shock loads that could damage the trailer. Reese recommends bars that have a rating at least as high as your tongue weight.

Most problems with WD hitches are due to insufficient tension in the WD bars. Under typical loading conditions you should have about the same weight on the front axle of the truck when fully hitched as you do with the trailer completely disconnected. You can use a tape measure to measure height of the front fender from the road as a reasonable proxy for weight since it will show how much the front suspension is compressed.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:49 AM   #11
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I seem to recall that there was a problem with some 34' Excellas having insufficient tongue weight. There was a recall where they just welded iron weights to the frame.

One thing to check would be to hit the scales and see if your tongue weight is somewhere in the 10-15% of trailer weight range.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:56 AM   #12
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Smile reese bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomS View Post
Question...

How do you tell the difference between 600, 800, 1000 lb bars?

Tnx
measure thickness of bar at trunnion. 1inch bar 550, 1/18 inch 750, 1/14 inch 1000 Bill
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomS View Post
Just finished our first long cross country trip and I noticed some level of sway due to crosswind gusts. I would say that the departure is seldom more than an inch or two, but it seems to take 3-4 cycles to damp out. Worse at 65 mph, better at 60.

We have a Reese Dual Cam, w old style bars (separate saddle pieces). TV is 2013 F350 Diesel. Setup is level for truck and trailer, and was done by the dealer.

Trailer is a 1994 Excella 34'.

My questions:

1. Is this kind of sway normal? Seems manageable..

2. If not, what parts of the setup should I look at?

Thanks in advance...
It is my opinion having recently gone from a 31' trailer to a 34' trailer that the 34' is more easily effected by wind, and wind from passing trucks than the smaller trailers simply because of it's size.

I would recommend you weigh the tow vehicle without to trailer to establish the front axle weight, and then weigh with the trailer to insure the front axle is being returned to the unloaded weight. Just because the dealer set it up, and it is level, does not mean the weights are right.

After that is done, make sure the cam adjustment is right, because with the Reese Dual Cam hitch, if the cams are not adjusted perfectly, not only will the anti-sway function not work right, it will actually tend to allow the trailer to sway.

You need to use the bars that are the sufficient weight rating to adequately transfer the tongue weight of your trailer, no matter what you are towing with.
After the WD is set right, and the cams are set right, make sure you have the right air pressure in your tow vehicle tires to carry the weight on the front and rear axle that you weighed, plus 10 pounds of pressure.

These things having been done and in that order, you should have the most stable setup possible with your rig.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:42 PM   #14
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Have towed several 30 footers with this same setup (older style dual cam Reese with a reese head properly set up by Andy Thomson, a/s dealer in Ontario, cda) but not that heavy a tow vehicle. Been all over usa and canada. 15 years of towing. about 100,000 miles at least. never more than 60 mph. Always used 1000 lbs bars ( tounge weight 900 lbs) But always used 2 friction anti-sway bars as well. ( a bit of overkill; cost $200.) Reese is one of the best assemblies out there. Never ever had any trailer sway. Both tow vehicle and trailer moved as one when transports passed ( a couple of inches). If you don't have at least 900 lbs (10 -15%) tounge weight, your rig is loaded wrong.
If anything a triple axle should always tow better than a dual axle. Front kitchens 34fts were a problem: too heavy on the tounge. other than that, I've never heard of any other problems with towing a 34 ft. Tanks are at the axles.

ps. you might want to slow down somewhat especially on rough roads. The 34s are known for rear sag. Cracks in the alumium will appear right behind wheels. check your loaded weight at a scale to be sure you are not overloading. (see gross vehicle weight rating.) I've seen a few of these.
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