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Old 11-11-2011, 08:29 PM   #1
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2008 30' Classic
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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I wasn't blown away!

Ok, I'm a newbie. I had recently acquired my 30' Classic Limited. The more I had read on the Airforums the more concerned I had become about trailer sway. Actually I'd taken myself beyond concern and right into fear. So, I did the reaserch, creeped the blogs, poured over everything I could find. CONSLUSION. I needed to eliminate the threat.

Ordered the 3P, had it delivered to the nearest dealer (Foley in Gulfport, Mississippi) to have them install it correctly. Done.

On my second outing, sticking close to home, Mobile, Alabama, I was returning from Gulf State Park, approaching Mobile east to west through the tunnel under the Mobile River.

I'm clicking along conservatively at 60 MPH when suddenly the Mad Max 18 wheeler from hell appears in my side view mirror moving toward me as though I was at a stop light. At that moment I knew I'd loose the upcoming battle. With all of the wind he was pushing confined to the tunnel I knew I'd get slammed against the tunnel wall and punch a hole large enough for all of that water waiting to reclaims its space to drown us all! When I next opened my eyes he was was well ahead of me and my AS was steady behind me like a dog on a leash. None of the other cars had found it necessary to fall back to avoid the TT moving from wall to wall like a windshield wiper.

I was not blown away! Obviously I am a much better driver than I realized (with a little help from my 3P.)


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Old 11-11-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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Yes, you have learned what all the rest of the ProPride users have, it just works the way it's supposed to.

Welcome to the forums, Airstreaming, and towing without worry of a sway.

I would, however, caution you about the closed eyes thing....even a ProPride hitch equipped tow vehicle requires a driver with his eyes open. :-)


"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."-- Thomas Jefferson
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:28 PM   #3
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You'll find your confidence growing as you get more trips under your belt. I was also terrified when I started towing after reading all the stories on here! Congrats on planning ahead to make your rig as safe as possible. Always stay alert to the conditions around you, and I hope you have many happy and safe trips ahead of you!

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Old 11-12-2011, 05:38 AM   #4
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... so, just to understand, because I don't have a pro pride or any fancy equipment and often have to tow trailers long distances without any weight distribution or even brakes;
... you were able tow your trailer? I have passed or been passed thousands of times by tractor trailers. Many were doubles and even some triples. Confidence is 95% of the job, glad the hitch instilled it.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:05 AM   #5
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Roller Coaster

Originally Posted by pagill6447 View Post
Ok, ... When I next opened my eyes he was was well ahead of me and my AS was steady behind me like a dog on a leash. ...

I would also caution against the eye closing technique. I recommend the roller coaster approach (often employed when you reach the top of a hill on the roller coaster). In order to fully experience the thrill, keep your eyes wide open, but throw your hands in the air!

Glad it worked for you, we also love the secure feeling of our Airstream. Nice machine to pull!
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #6
one of those
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We towed our 27' from Houston to Dallas, using non-Interstates all the way. Used a rented F-350, with a straight out tow bar from the rental company. Got passed a lot, that very first trip in strange truck towing big shiny expensive trailer. I even braced a few times as I saw them overtaking me at 70 when I was doing 55. I guess I was probably a pain in the butt but it was four lane there on Hwy. 6. I can say maybe I felt a slight pressure, very briefly, and compensation with the wheel was just really to nudge more than anything. one little nudge. Nudgelett. a nanonudge.

Then, after reading how I barely escaped with my life here on the forum, I ordered the best thing Reese had, I think. The WDH dual cam sway control thing. And the fancy draw bar to go with it. We can probably afford the best most expensive hitch if we needed it. The thing is, I just hadn't seen any indications of what I was trying to improve. Maybe level the truck a little, but I wasn't seeing a sway problem that needed more money thrown at it.

Next trip,( last month) from Dallas to Taos to Ft. Collins with a rented F250 truck, and straight draw bar ( one with three balls from the rental company), and my new Reese hitch sitting in the rear floorboards of the truck all the way. The plans to install it at the beginning got shoved to the right, and I had the tools with me to pull over at the next good spot and drill two holes and bolt that sucker up. I'd been looking at all the parts, read the instructions about five times, til I understood the diff between C channel, and tubing, etc. Even bought a cordless drill and the right bits. Ready to rock. First sign of sway.

I just read elsewhere on this forum about that stretch of I-25 south of Denver. Well, we pulled that trailer across the windy desert from Texas up to Taos, through that La Veta Pass and over to that stretch of I-25. We got out, too, to take a look to figger out what that strange isolated rock was ( "The Orphan") and the wind blew half the trash out of the truck when we opened the door. Big trash. tools. loose clothing. soft drinks. Windy. It surprised me to experience it physically.

My confidence was way up by now, of course, and I pretty much towed at around 65 all the way. And we got passed a lot by 18 wheelers on a lot of highway, and I never once felt anything I could honestly call sway. It just didn't happen. I did feel the rig move when a couple of the trucks went by in NM. But paying careful attention, I think it was more the rocking of the F350 as the big blunt truck went by. I.e. i would have felt it without the trailer, too.

Is there perhaps a specific set of environmental conditions, or wind angles, or pavement that contributes to this? I've towed that trailer several thousand miles now, through some pretty open windy places and up some 9000 ft. pass, and back, using about $ 100 worth of hardware between the truck and the trailer.

I still plan to install the reese hitch, of course. It's with the trailer in storage. But I would like to understand this.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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This is a topic about which many people very strongly.... but, it's complicated. When I talk about sway here, it's actually trailer oscillations - not simple reaction to a gust or uneven road surface.

The following things can cause sway even if the trailer is hitched to a freight locomotive; the trailer will slew back and forth and can self-destruct:

1) towing with minimal tongue weight (should be approx 10% of trailer weight). The faster one trailers, the more tongue weight is required for stability.

2) towing at high speed with very high polar moment of inertia in trailer (e.g. weight concentrated at ends)....

In both situations, trailer can appear to start swaying due to wind gusts, etc, but the root cause is actually one of the two above.
Both mechanisms are exacerbated by speed and down grades.

Now, trailers react to tow vehicle motion (obviously, that's how they follow us around :-). I believe that many instances of "sway" are caused by the driver reacting to trailer motion, the trailer reacting to driver inputs, and so on - in other words, a positive feedback loop, with the driver's reactions and training an integral part of the dynamic system.
In this case, the trailer WILL NOT sway if the driver reacted differently.

I feel the principle value of the haha and propride hitches is that they simplify the dynamic behavior of the trailer in response to vehicle motion, making the driver's reactions more likely to be correct.
Note that neither of these hitches can prevent oscillations with
negative tongue weights, for example.

The study of humans as elements in control loops is an essential part of modern aircraft design, particularly military. What we really want is a trailer that pulls like a Cessna 150 flies - predictably. I was a teaching assistant for a vehicle stability class in graduate school - this can be a complex topic, and when we add people's concerns about safety, whether or not their sophisticated hitch was "needed", etc. it can get heated as well.

What I suggest is the following:

1) make sure trailer is loaded correctly
2) make sure trailer & TV ratings, tires, etc. are up to snuff.
3) tow at a reasonable speed

If your tow vehicle requires it, by all means use a weight distributing hitch.

If you're more comfortable with the trailer motion when using one of the more sophisticated hitchs, by all means do so. Remember, keeping the driver doing the right thing is paramount for safety.

I've towed various kinds and sizes of trailers w/ various vehicles for 35+ years. With the exception of the badly loaded test trailers we pulled behind the industrial tricycle in that course I TA'd, I've never had real trailer sway. I have driven rigs that would have gone out of control if the driver attempted to counter steer the apparent sway since that just amplified things.

- Bart
Bart Smaalders
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:26 PM   #8

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Said it once and I'll say it again.....

Those Airstreamer's who think they know everything about towing sure annoy those of us who do.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:40 PM   #9
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Well, thanks for that. THIS now makes sense to me. And confirms some of my own observations, indeed the ones that led me to buy at the lower end of the fancy hitch market based upon my own experiences.

the C-150 analogy hits home. I have a few hundred hours in those, and larger, and can see the weight and balance issues. There are reasons that airplanes and lawn darts are weighted in the front, with the drag at the rear.

So a properly loaded trailer isn't going to have sway issues at reasonable driving forces, and the momentary disruptions caused by wind gusts (regardless of the source) are easily compensated for by the totally instinctive steering nanonudge I mentioned earlier. thinking about that, it isn't so much as a 'steer' in that it doesn't change directions of the vehicle, like steering into a skid. The nudge I am talking about is really just the minimal pressure on the steering linkage it takes to keep the tv on a steady, unvaried course. Like preloading the slack in a mechanical system.
I guess the WDH is okay for levelling various loads, and it sounds like the anti-sway bars are largely superfluous. I might try just installing the hitch alone. I don't much believe in adding complexity without corresponding benefits. Simpler is goodest.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:37 PM   #10
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Good to hear of your success and increased confidence/comfort level Peter. While things can go wrong, you significantly increase your odds by researching the market, equipping yourself according to your needs, and towing within your comfort zone. Success comes with knowledge and experience.

I'm with Steve on the keeping your eyes open part though...


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 11-12-2011, 08:03 PM   #11
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Both the PP and HA are based on the same design concept. The arguments between weld and bolt attached still occur. Regardless, both are excellent hitches with smart design. Enjoy and travel with ease. Common sense still prevails.

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