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Old 10-24-2003, 10:15 AM   #1
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Winter Towing

I would like to hear the experiences of any who have taken winter trips towing their Airstream. I would like to go skiing in Colorado - like Breckenridge. But I would think that ice/snow could turn a little trailer sway into a disaster - your thoughts/experiences?
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:30 AM   #2
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carry chains and know how to use them - for both the tow vehicle and the trailer.

try to avoid driving in storms or until the crews have the road cleared.

worrying about sway is a misdirection. If your rig is prone to handling problems (i.e. sway) fix them. And this doesn't mean to hide them with something like a Hensley as that can make things worse if the roads are very slick.

drive for conditions and keep a close eye out for black ice (avoid driving in early morning or at night).

Make sure your entire rig is in top notch mechanical shape, especially suspension and tires.

Make sure you have good communications so you can get help if you need it.

don't be in a hurry to get anywhere.

seek http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/ow...epingwarm.html for some ideas and links on keeping warm and winter camping
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:38 AM   #3
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My trailer is only 10 mo old, and the 4WD tow vehicle is just over a year old - so they are in good condition. I do not have a sway problem, but buffeting from passing semis does concern me. Also, when braking on ice I can imagine the trailer wanting to swap ends with the tow vehicle.
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:57 AM   #4
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Also, when braking on ice I can imagine the trailer wanting to swap ends with the tow vehicle.
this is why chains or similar traction devices on the trailer are needed!

But then, if you find yourself on an icy highway, find a good stopping spot and wait until the crews have cleared and sanded the highway if you can.

Otherwise keep the speed down, way down, until you can get off the road to wait for better conditions. Avoid any sudden maneuvering, braking, or acceleration.

Also, watch out for 4WD hubris. We measure storm severity around here by how many 4WD vehicles are in the ditch on the way to town!
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:06 AM   #5
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From the earliest of my 30 years of 4WD ownership - 4WD gets you another 100 feet further into the mud/snow/rocks such that the tow truck can't even get you out!

But without 4WD, and low range, I am unable to get the trailer out of the steep gravel driveway at my lake home in the summer! I don't think it's possible in the winter even with 4WD. This is one of the reasons I'm retrieving the trailer this weekend, and storing it in a pole barn closer to civilization.
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Old 10-24-2003, 05:34 PM   #6
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insta ice chains

http://www.insta-chain.com/index.html

This is what our local ambulance corps. use. Most drivers love them, I still have to try them myself.

Maybe they could be mounted on the AS...any of you have experience with them on a trailer?
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Old 10-24-2003, 06:28 PM   #7
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KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! I would have loved a set of those about 25 or so years ago when we were coming down the AL-CAN hiway during an ice storm, in a dually p/u with a slide in, trying to put the chains on with the truck moving, if you stopped you would slide sideways off of the road because of the crown in the road. The website says they will work on trailers. Wonder how much a set costs?$$

Aaron
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Old 10-24-2003, 07:12 PM   #8
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Is this a publicly traded company !!

Great Idea and there's a hugh market!


Dan,

If you do this trip during Jan or Feb, could you please mount a video camera on the back-top of your trailer facing forward??
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:30 PM   #9
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I don't wanna get into a pissin' contest over the Hensley, but that or the Pullrite are the ONLY sway control option you have on slick pavement.

Whether your trailer tends to sway or not, DO NOT use a friction control or dual-cam arms on slick pavement if you have a conventional hitch. Both can keep the truck locked in a straight line with the trailer when you turn the wheel to round a curve or corner, and the rig can keep going straight.

If the trailer skids sideways a bit, the tow vehicle can be turned sideways with it as the conventional control keeps the rig in a straight line.

The Equal-I-Zer hitch isn't an option at all, since you can't disable the friction sway control without losing your weight distribution.

The Hensley and Pullrite provide no resistance at all to the tow vehicle turning and putting an angle between itself and the trailer, so you don't get the understeer that can cause the rig to drive straight off the curve. They also will let the trailer slide sideways some without turning the tow vehicle sideways... to a point... but that's a lot more than a conventional sway control will give you.

In Ohio and neighboring states they use a lot of salt. I'd never take my Airstream out on that. Salt water gets in places you'd never be able to rinse it out of.
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Old 10-25-2003, 10:50 AM   #10
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One of our local unit members was hospitalized down south during the late fall and ended up coming back home during the winter. While he didn't travel on any snow covered roads he did travel on wet roads which were salt covered. He now has a severe case of rust on all of the painted frame surfaces of his trailer and will have to do a lot of work to get this trailer looking good again. You really don't realize the wear and tear on the frame coatings that while not being evident when you stick to warm weather towing, become quite evident once salt hits them.

I'm still somewhat squeemish about my new Classic coming from the factory in December or early January. My hope is that it gets here during a dry period.

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Old 10-25-2003, 12:25 PM   #11
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Roadkingmoe; boy, are you a downer! Especially as I have an Eqaul-i-zer and am about to drive the Alcan. I hope your fatalistic portrayal of all this is as exaggerated as it seems (oitherwise I'd imagine the company making Equal-i-zers would quickly fold due to litigation costs). I also wonder how clear coat protects against salt/pitting, or if there is some wax or ? that should be applied prior to winter driving. It would be great if AS web site had some ssection on winter use.
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Old 10-25-2003, 01:16 PM   #12
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FC, your profile is basically empty, and it doesn't say where you're from, but if you've driven on ice and snow, you've probably at least once experienced understeer, where you turn the wheel and the front wheels turn but just slide, and the vehicle remains moving in the original direction, hopefully into nothing more than a snowbank. This is much more likely to happen when there's a conventional sway control trying to lock the tow vehicle and trailer together in a straight line, and it can even happen on rain-slick roads. That's why all the hitch manufacturers with long histories recommend loosening friction sway controls on slick surfaces.

It doesn't take salt water. Even salt dust will cause damage. I had it eat into the clearcoat of a Harley I once rode through the winters. Lost the shine and the surface felt very rough. It'll sure pit aluminum if it gets through to it, as it does frequently on motorcycle fork sliders, where gravel, etc has nicked the clearcoat on them. Something to consider on the Alcan where gravel can be a problem.

There's some stuff saltwater boaters use to dissolve the salt and flush it away. Land speed record participants often use it after a trip to the salt flats. I just can't remember its name right now.
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Old 10-25-2003, 03:06 PM   #13
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I don't wanna get into a pissin' contest over the Hensley, but that or the Pullrite are the ONLY sway control option you have on slick pavement.
The question is why take a fanatical and absolute position if you want to avoid a pissing contest? Especially one that over simplifies a situation and can be easily misinterpreted and improperly (IMHO) dismisses appropriate options?

Let's see if we can find some things to agree upon.

1) both the trailer and the truck are going to want to keep going the way they are going.

2) the trailer and truck are coupled in the middle so they can push each other back and forth and side to side (and up and down).

3) The pivot point anti-rotation forces supplied by hitch sway control mechanisms are fairly small, expecially when compared to the interia of the trailers and tow vehicles.

4) a pivot point behind the rear axle will create yaw forces and this appears as understeer which means there is a tendency to over-react to steering needs

What you have is the inertia and steering forces in a coupled heavy vehicle situation versus the traction supplied by the tires on a slippery surface.

If the tires are going to slip enough to be overwhelmed by a rotation inhibiting hitch, they will also be overwhelmed by the same source forces applied in a different way.

My take is that if the roads are so slippery as to make an anti-rotation hitch a problem, that is a minor problem compared to what the inertia of the trailer is goind to do in shoving the entire tow vehicle around no matter the hitch. That is, in the conditions the Equal-i-zer is as bad as you say it is, a Hensley will only cause the trailer to push the truck sideways (because the pivot point is forward the rear axle) creating a potential jacknife situation as the driver attempts to correct much easier than would occur with the Equal-i-zer.

What matters in any situation like this more than any other factor is the driver response. If the roads are slicker than snot the driver has to really be asking himself what he or she is doing on the road with an articulated rig and no chains or similar traction devices handy. And this is true no matter what kind of rig or hitch you have.
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Old 10-25-2003, 06:03 PM   #14
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Bryan, I understand that you consider Hensley or Pullrite proponents fanatical, but you're the only one I've ever debated the merits with, and that includes a lot of engineers, who has ever asserted the Hensley is more dangerous. They'll agree it works as advertised, but debate whether it's needed and whether it's worth it.

The difference between us is that I can put these things in terms most people can understand. Those who wanna believe your final position may hang onto it, even though they don't understand most of what you said.

A friction or dual-cam sway control resists the tow vehicle putting an angle in the rig as much as it resists the trailer putting an angle in the rig. However small this force is, it combines with the forward inertia of the tow vehicle and trailer to FIGHT the tow vehicle's front tires' attempt at turning (yawing) the tow vehicle. THIS is what causes understeer. These are facts and there's nothing to debate about them. A Hensley or Pullrite hitch doesn't resist the tow vehicle putting an angle in the rig at all.

That same friction or dual-cam sway control that tries to keep the rig in a straight line, tries to keep it in a straight line whether the trailer is following behind the vehicle straight down the road, or whether the trailer tires break loose and the trailer tries to get sideways. Keeping the vehicles in a straight line causes the tow vehicle to get sideways with the trailer if there is insufficient traction for the tires. Again, it doesn't take a scientist and fancy technical talk to explain or see this. A Hensley or Pullrite doesn't provide ANY resistance to the tow vehicle steering into this skid to prevent it from getting turned sideways.

Any credible hitch manufacturer will tell you to loosen a conventional sway control under slippery conditions. Equal-I-Zer owners would much better serve themselves by listening to Reese, Draw-Tite, and other credible manufacturers, with a long history in the business, rather than you.

You are at least correct that the Equal-I-Zer (or other tightened friction sway control or dual-cam) is less likely to jacknife. That's because the trailer moving sideways is going to take the tow vehicle sideways with it with both in or near a straight line, and there will be little resistance to the whole rig, tow vehicle and all, rolling as it approaches perpendicular to the original line of travel. Anyone can picture this without techno-speak.

While the trailer may be coming around the side of a Hensley or Pullrite or fifth-wheel equipped tow vehicle, OR a semi-tractor, in a jacknife, these tow vehicles are NOT turned sideways, since there is no resistance at the point of pivot. They remain moving in their original direction, where if the road ahead is clear, they can accelerate ahead of the trailer and pull it back behind in behind them.

If the road is NOT clear and acceleration not possible, at least the tow vehicle remaining straight ahead will form an L with the sideways trailer, fighting its tendency to roll. Certainly if forward speed and trailer mass were high, the trailer could roll and take the tow vehicle end over end with it. But speeds under these conditions SHOULD be much lower.

Anyone with the most basic mechanical comprehension, who's followed all this, can understand it.

It's clear you don't understand the Hensley. By the time the angle between tow vehicle and trailer is 15 degrees, which would be very early in a jacknife, the pivot is back behind the rear bumper, not, as you state, in front of the rear axle, where it is only when the rig is in a straight line. Don't knock what you don't understand, and what you have no experience with.
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