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Old 05-06-2016, 10:40 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
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Planning not to use WDH, bad idea?

Recently acquired 26 Argosy, came with a Reese WD hitch (1000lbs bars). I was not planning to use it or any other WD/sway control. But reading the most of the posts it may be a requirement even for long wheel base trucks.

I have experience towing boats, utility trailers, construction equipment since the early 90's. I have even experienced violent sway and hit a K-rail due to a shifted load to the rear. I was much younger then. I check and recheck tie downs from that experience.

I understand the concept of safety vs. cost. But what is it that makes the Airstream different from my friends toy hauler? The shape? Axle placement? Or is it when the front fresh water tank is empty and the rears are full (tongue weight)?

My TV is a crew cab dually. It should be enough truck but reading it's not safe to tow without has me concerned.

Is sway control without weight distribution available or even an option?

Sorry, if its a beat to death topic
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:57 PM   #2
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2004 28' Safari S/O
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My 2 cents....

Quick answer is no you don't need it. Load the tongue right and use the break controller to control sway etc.

Long answer...

Use them both! I have towed a lot of stuff with small cars to 1 ton dually trucks. The weight distro and sway really work and come into play for that emergency stop or swerve. Or maybe just that uneven highway dip that takes down force off of front wheels at highway speed.

Its interesting to see my dually squat without the weight distro but I doubt I would feel sway without the sway control. But I would not want to tow without either.

Airstreams tend to have a lower CG and the profile catches air different than other brands and I think they tow better because of it. Google search and you may find sway control only or load only.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:21 PM   #3
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Both of my 31 foot Airstreams want to sway above 60 MPH.

I tried all kind of "tricks" to eliminate the sway by moving weight here and there.

Some success was found by removing weight from from the very back of the trailer, but I eliminated it with a Hensley.

My guess is that these trailers want to sway because there is so much trailer behind the wheels, kind of a pendulum effect.

My trailers towed solidly without any WD or sway control below about 62 mph, but could become a handful over 62 particularly over rutted roads, when large vehicles passed, and in down hill grades.


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Old 05-07-2016, 12:19 AM   #4
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My 2 cents.

Whether or not you need WD depends on 2 things:
1. If the downward load on your hitch and/or payload in the bed that behind the rear axle reduces the load on the front axle to a point it affects steering, then you need weight distribution to shift load onto the front axle. Consider these loads when you hit a bump and everything is bouncing downward in the rear.
2. If the downward load on your hitch and payload in the truck is to the point of overloading the rear axle, you would need weight distribution to transfer load off of the rear axle onto the front axle and trailer axles.

I'll bet your tow vehicle's owners manual will give you a pretty good idea at what hitch weight that WD will be needed for your specific vehicle.

Friction bar sway control can be used with or without WD. Maybe not the best method, but it has served for a long time. Those HaHa and PP hitches are definitely better if you are willing to spend the $.

If you have some type of WD and sway control, why not use it? It would only take a few minutes each time you hook up. It would never be less safe if you use it, probably it is safer. It might save your life in that one time you need it. Then again, it could be a waste of time. It's your choice, your life.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
... It might save your life in that one time you need it. Then again, it could be a waste of time. It's your choice, your life.
But if you wreck and the trailer hits a mom van in the opposite lane and kills a two year old... it's not just your life.

My grandparents drove for decades with no idea of what seatbelts were. Never needed them. Most of us will never NEED seatbelts or weight distribution. But ONCE in a lifetime IS enough.

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Old 05-07-2016, 02:32 AM   #6
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But if you wreck and the trailer hits a mom van in the opposite lane and kills a two year old... it's not just your life.

My grandparents drove for decades with no idea of what seatbelts were. Never needed them. Most of us will never NEED seatbelts or weight distribution. But ONCE in a lifetime IS enough.

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And if North Korea drops a nuclear missile on us you've wasted your money entirely.

With your tow vehicle sized properly and your trailer loaded properly you may not need a WDH. Test drive it and see.
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:11 AM   #7
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And if North Korea drops a nuclear missile on us you've wasted your money entirely.


The difference is - you have no control over North Korea. You can exercise much more control over your rig, no?

To the OP: much much better to have and not need than the other way around. You won't need it until you do. #NikeSlogan 😀
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 909kenu View Post
. . .
My TV is a crew cab dually. It should be enough truck but reading it's not safe to tow without has me concerned.
. . .
Welcome to the forum!

"Does your truck have OEM built-in sway control?" would be my first question.

Second, what kinds of roads are you planning on driving on?

Third, how willing are you to accept the risks associated with not using your Reese WD hitch (and there are some IMO), compared to the minimal effort needed to hook it up?

I had a 25' AS years ago with the same Reese set-up. I hardly ever towed without the Reese engaged. As a novice, I was told to use it by the prior owner, a squared-away Marine general. "Yes sir!" was my response.

We now have a Reese hitch [w/o sway control because the van has OEM SC] with 800# bars for the new FC20. I have not tried towing without the Reese, although the dealer said it would be fine. So I can't report on this aspect . . .

The main reason I like using a WD hitch is to control hobby-horsing of the rig on rural roads which have lots of ups and downs -- which sets up a bad resonance of the tow vehicle and trailer bouncing up and down separately. The Reese dampens the oscillations and allows the two vehicles to bounce around more like one less-loosey-goosey articulated single vehicle IMO.

At least this is what happened with my old trailer, and I have read that it is common because the trailer has a lot of weight well behind the axles, for instance the fresh water tank in many models. Not sure where yours is.

Anyway, as you suggest, lots of opinions and options. The carpenter in me says: "why not grab the sharpest tool in the bag when you need it?" It only takes a little extra time.

The other thought is that I don't want to end up in an out-of-control rig, thinking: "why was I too lazy to hook up the dang WD, as it might have saved my life right now . . . "

Overly dramatic? Maybe, but only maybe IMO.

Good luck!

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Old 05-07-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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To me it's like wearing a helmet when you ride motorcycles. Can you ride this way? Sure. Should you ride this way? Matter of opinion. One other consideration is this : what does your insurance company think? If you have an accident without WDH will it be covered? I don't know the answer to this, but you might want to check.


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Old 05-07-2016, 07:06 AM   #10
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I'm pretty sure if you read the owner's manual, it will distinctly tell you whether you should use WD and sway control.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:56 AM   #11
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You don't need 1000lb bars for that trailer. I am using 750lb bars with my 31 foot trailer and it is plenty. The newer trailers have much higher hitch weight so you need larger bars for for those. I would definitely use some sort of sway control. Another issue is the stiff suspension beating your trailer to death. I pull with an Excursion that has the heavy running gear but relatively soft springs. You may not need weight distribution but you do want some bounce between the trailer and the truck. The trailer structure would probably be happier without the bars.

Perry
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:58 AM   #12
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Question WD & SWAY control...

......."My TV is a crew cab dually."

Your plans for sway are?

Your trailer will sway, with the dueler you may not feel it 'til the point of no return.

I believe that configuring both to your rig would be advisable.
600-800lb bars with dual friction sway...easy way out.

Bob
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
I'm pretty sure if you read the owner's manual, it will distinctly tell you whether you should use WD and sway control.
I have been trying to read that manual and figure it out. I copied this from RAM website.

Towing
The Ram 3500 dominates with a Best-in-Class towing capacity of up to 31,210 lb (14,157 kg)3. A Class V receiver hitch with 18,000 lb (8,164 kg) capacity, 4- and 7-pin trailer tow wiring connectors, and Electronic Stability Control 16 with Trailer Sway Control come standard.

Payload
Hauling loads is just as important to heavy duty owners so get the best. The Ram 3500 also dominates with
Best-in-Class payload of up to 7,390 lb (3,352 kg)3.

I did not know TSC was standard. Is it good enough? Will the old Reese with the 1000 lbs bars help? Or buy new WD and/or sway control? Or PP or HaHa?
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:43 AM   #14
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1976 Argosy 26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
You don't need 1000lb bars for that trailer. I am using 750lb bars with my 31 foot trailer and it is plenty. The newer trailers have much higher hitch weight so you need larger bars for for those. I would definitely use some sort of sway control. Another issue is the stiff suspension beating your trailer to death. I pull with an Excursion that has the heavy running gear but relatively soft springs. You may not need weight distribution but you do want some bounce between the trailer and the truck. The trailer structure would probably be happier without the bars.

Perry
This is infact the roughest riding truck I have owned. Rides best loaded. Through my reading the posts, I wondered about the trailer structure, and I think I would agree....no WD. Some sort of sway control? Would the trucks sway control be enough?
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