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Old 08-18-2014, 10:19 PM   #57
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In my view, if the trailer brakes work as they should.... At best the acceleration might just be a distraction.

Just my opinion though.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:27 PM   #58
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Gentlemen (and Ladies):

All of this is food for thought. Nowhere else could we begin to gather the musings and reflections of so many intelligent minds on this subject, no matter the differences of opinion. Nothing but good can come of this thread!
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:35 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Poppy.

The insurance division of Airstream, Caravanner Insurance Company, had me do many research tests in the early 70's. Airstream originally said that finding the cause of a loss of control accident was impossible.

After a very few short months, they were presented with some data, that indeed proved the cause of many loss of control accidents.

The cause of loss of control accidents was deemed impossible.

Yet, we proved over 85 percent of them.

That allowed us (Caravanner Insurance) to predict when someone was a statistic, waiting to happen.

After about 6 months of that research, we prepared a series of 12 questions that was sent to the owner that lost control.

We then would review the data that they sent back to us, and WOW, only 85 percent repeated time and time again.

I have many times tried to help owners with that information, and interesting enough, all too may people would say "that's old information that today is useless".

Very interesting that those owners willingly kicked PHYSICS TO THE CURB and want to argue.

I have invited others to do the research, including hitch manufacturers, and they all say the same thing, "LET SOMONE ELSE DO IT".

I have personally investigated over 1000 loss of control accidents involving Airstream trailers.

Since I do not travel anymore, I wonder why so many loss of control accidents occur, and people still say, "YOU CANNOT PROVE IT", or send then copies of the research data.

I do not have that data as it belonged to Caravanner, but I still have that knowledge in my brain.

If someone wants to listen, fine, but arguing is not my cup of tea.

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All those engineer kids that want to argue or poke holes in the "old data" need to learn to not let their education get in the way of their education. Learn to listen to the experience and maybe in a few years you can add to it, or even maybe you just might help save from an accident.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:27 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
I have a bit of experience with sway, I would rather take my foot off the gas and apply the trailer brakes as gently as circumstances allow.

I know opinions differ, but the first thing I want to do when I encounter sway is to slow down, the last thing I want to do is speed up.

What you have to think of though is that accelerating while using the trailer brakes puts pulling action on the trailer and the tow vehicle at the hitch at the same time. Consider a swinging piece of string that you are holding at each end using each hand. If the left hand is the tow vehicle and the right hand is the trailer, moving the left hand towards the trailer (which approximates slowing the tow vehicle down) doesn't do as much to pull the string tight (even though the right hand is pulling). When the string is pulled by both hands, it goes taut. Much as how accelerating and using the trailer brakes at the same time pulls the trailer out of the yaw.

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Old 08-19-2014, 08:31 AM   #61
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Just my thinking,,, but Newton tells me that the trailer brakes alone will tend to straighten the unit from the trailer tires forward.

Plus, in a sway event it is my desire to slow down as quickly as safely possible till the swaying abates.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:58 AM   #62
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Just my thinking,,, but Newton tells me that the trailer brakes alone will tend to straighten the unit from the trailer tires forward.
It just depends on how much deceleration the trailer brakes apply. If the deceleration of the tow vehicle exceeds or is equal to the deceleration of the trailer, the yaw can take longer to correct, or will continue, or get worse.

Most tow vehicles have the ability to decelerate faster than a trailer. The reason being that most of our trailers do not have self adjusting brakes. Over time the amount of friction between the trailer brake shoe and the drum is less as the shoe wears. Unless the driver is attentive to that wear and adjusts the gain control on their trailer brake controller to compensate for the shoe wear (or they keep those trailer brakes in good adjustment), it's inevitable that trailer brake performance is on a downward slope over the course of time.

Quite honestly in a panic situation your instincts take over. When I had my swerve sway incident it was over quickly. My mind was focused on avoiding the tire carcasses that were flinging from the truck and the Hi-Lo swaying behind me was secondary. Thankfully I had one complete yaw (or one pendulum swing) and the trailer came right back behind me. I never had a chance to reach the brake control. While I didn't step on the brake, I did take my foot off the gas. I was doing 55 and in the brief moment of the event, I don't think I lost more than 5 mph.

In considering my solution of accelerating and trailer brakes is ideal when you realize the trailer is in a sway and you don't have other factors taking your attention. When the brain gets overloaded with multiple situations going on, something is going to suffer. Much why airline pilots spend so much time in simulations. A lot of their actions require attention to multiple events and a lot of this has to be done by almost reflex rather than the brain thinking through the process.

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Old 08-19-2014, 09:02 AM   #63
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I understand the logic of the application of trailer brakes ahead of TV brakes in the case of a sway condition. BUT. And it's a big BUT. Let me provide an example to bring this practice into question. Older tractor trailer units had a switch on the dash for wet/dry conditions. Placing this switch to wet would allow the trailer brakes to be applied a moment sooner than the tractor brake. This for the purpose of counteracting the tendency for the truck to go into a skid and forcing it into a jackknife. Now comes the BUT. They don't do this any longer and have not equipped trucks with this for many years. Did it not work as thought ???? Did they come up with a better, non driver interaction, to accomplish this function ???? I don't know the answer only that trucks no longer have this as a driver applied function. I've towed small trailers for some time and drove heavy trucks part time for many years and full time for some. I tow an Airstream now and manage between 10-15k miles / year. With my truck/trailer combination I have encountered sway only one time and it was of my own making. I was playing around with trailer tire pressure and had lowered the pressure to see if I really could get a softer ride. It didn't work and I believe it induced a sway condition. I'm back to max tire pressure and no sway. I drive to the conditions and am able to manage speed limits. Mostly. I draw the line when I see limit signs at 80 MPH. ( 65-70 no problem under dry & clear conditions. No question in my mind that SPEED is our worst enemy and a major factor in most accidents. ( I will not count backing, clearance and such type collisions).

This is my opinion and they are worth exactly the amount you paid for them. I'm glad to see open and friendly discussion on this and other subjects. It keeps our minds open and working. Keep it up. I also think that Andy's observations, even though made a few years ago, are still pertinent to towing today. We have better equipment and I hope the stats would show fewer accidents with injuries.

See ya'll on the road sometime.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:15 AM   #64
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IOlder tractor trailer units had a switch on the dash for wet/dry conditions. They don't do this any longer and have not equipped trucks with this for many years. Did it not work as thought ???? Did they come up with a better, non driver interaction, to accomplish this function ????
It's called ECBS, Electronically Controlled Braking System. A computer chip makes the decision instead of the driver. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) teamed with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to test a number of these systems in the 2004-2005 timeframe, using Freightliner trucks hauling for Walmart as the testbeds.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:20 AM   #65
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Edit: Read Pro's post after posting mine. ECBS is what I foresee for the RV industry in the not too distant future.

It strikes me that TV/trailer rigs are in a sense jury rigged. There is no true integration between the two when it comes to braking for example. Modern cars with their computer based management systems provide handling far superior to what a human being can do. Modern Porsches have such sophisticated systems that they're no fun to drive.

However, trailer brakes are primitive and there is no integration with the TV's brakes. I imagine in just a few years there will be integrated packages available with sway sensors and computer controls that correct things so quickly that the driver never even knew there was an issue. We'll be saying "Remember when we used to manually apply the trailer brakes for sways?".

For now my plan is to train myself to keep my foot on the accelerator and manually brake the trailer. I'm going to practice until it's second nature. I'm very thankful that I haven't had a sway incident before my training.

Poppy
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:56 AM   #66
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For now my plan is to train myself to keep my foot on the accelerator and manually brake the trailer. I'm going to practice until it's second nature.
That may not be the best course of action. Apply the trailer brake, certainly, but ease off the accelerator so you're not straining your hitch or overloading your trailer brakes. As long as the trailer is decelerating more quickly than your tow vehicle, the trailer will still dampen your sway. You don't need for the trailer brakes to fight the tow vehicle's engine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:23 AM   #67
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It might be helpful to consider the descriptive text I found for 2014 my Ram 1500's Trailer Sway Control "TCS" system, and in my owner's manual. This feature is of course also on many other TV's today. Based on this info, for my TV and TT a swaying incident will initially be met with removing the foot from the accelerator, holding the steering wheel steady, and gently applying the trailer brakes. That way we'll minimize the chances that we'll screw up the built-in systems designed to save us from ourselves.

Citations follow:

Marketing fluff about TSC:

"Trailer Sway Control+ (TSC) recognizes a swaying trailer and automatically applies individual wheel brakes and/or reduces engine power to help eliminate any trailer sway."

Here's that web page: http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/ram_1500/capability/

2014 RAM Truck owner's manual for the TSC:

"TrailerSwayControl(TSC) — If Equipped: The TSC system uses sensors in the vehicle to recognize an excessively swaying trailer and will take the appropriate actions to attempt to stop the sway. The system may reduce engine power and apply the brake of the appropriate wheel(s) to counteract the sway of the trailer.

TSC will become active automatically once an excessively swaying trailer is recognized. No driver action is required to activate. Note that TSC cannot stop all trailers from swaying. Always use caution when towing a trailer and follow the trailer tongue weight recommendations.

Refer to “Trailer Towing” in “Starting and Operating” for further information. When TSC is functioning, the “ESC (Electronic Stability Control) Activation/Malfunction Indicator Light” will flash,the engine power may be reduced and you may feel the brakes being applied to individual wheels to attempt to stop the trailer from swaying. TSC (Trailer Sway Control) is disabled when the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system is in the “Partial Off” or “Full Off” modes. TSC is only active in the default “ESC On” mode. TSC can be disabled by pressing the “ESC Off” switch and entering “ESC Partial Off” mode. It is not active in the “ESC Partial Off” or “ESC Off” modes. Refer to the ESC portion of this section for an explanation of the different ESC operating modes.

WARNING! If TSC activates while driving, slow the vehicle down, stop at the nearest safe location, and adjust the trailer load to eliminate trailer sway."

Here's the link to the owner manual. The above text comes from page 538: http://www.ramtrucks.com/download/pd...oad-button.y=2

Have fun, stay safe.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:27 AM   #68
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Ironically, before antilock brakes, most electric brake controllers were activated by hydraulic pressure from the TV master cylinder via a tap installed in the TV braking circuit.

These controllers were tied into the TV braking circuit and were pretty good at providing proportional activation of electric brakes.

Antilock brake systems made such a tap in the brake line a no-no. As a result we have inertia based controllers and the truly sucky time based controllers.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:34 AM   #69
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Polaryse's mention of the wet/dry switch in big trucks had its roots in the late 60s and early 70s predating the Wal-Mart experiment by a long time.

Big trailers have anti-lock brakes by federal mandate, to my knowledge run of the mill big truck tractors still do not.

There was a time around 1976 that anti- lock brakes on big trucks was mandated by the government, but they didn't work well and the mandate was lifted.

The brakes on big trucks are very very good, the government would do well to leave them alone.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:54 AM   #70
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The post about the Ram anti-sway device brings up a great point.

When encountering trailer sway it is very important to hold the wheel as perfectly straight as possible.

The trailer sway will induce TV oscillations that will make holding the wheel perfectly straight difficult or impossible unless the driver braces himself to not be so subject to inertia that is transferred unintentionally to the wheel.

Bracing on the drivers arm rest works well.

IMO, holding the wheel PERFECTLY straight is perhaps the most important thing a driver can do to get sway under control....

Above all,,,, the driver must remain cool and focused.
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