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Old 11-25-2014, 06:30 PM   #1
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Vehicles with electronic trailer sway control

Several modern vehicles - including the Ford Explorer and Toyota Tacoma - are now claiming to be equipped with an electronic sway control system. Does anybody have experience with the effectiveness of these? Do they substitute for other sway control devices. We were led to believe that you absolutely had to have weight distribution hitches and/or mechanical sway control devices, but have these electronic systems rendered these unnecessary? Does anyone know for sure whether the Audi Q5 TDI has the electronic system? (We have been unable to ascertain this from Audi dealers.)
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
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I tow with a Ford F150 (2009) it has the electronic sway control and is no substitute for weight distribution (that is totally different from sway), nor does it replace a good anti-sway or sway elimination system such as a ProPride hitch. If anything I find it annoying at times when towing and going through a tight corner. The factory system will sense a push on the rear of the vehicle and initiate the electronic anti-sway when I least want it.

The times when the electronic system is good to have are on slippery (ice covered) roads with out the trailer behind me.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:04 PM   #3
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The electronic sway control is in all regards just electronic stability control with new marketing and some new programing. Very similar in regards to what it's doing/how it's doing it to the same system found in other vehicles that feature ESC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...bility_control
http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/p...r_sway_gm.html

It is in no way shape or form a replacement for an anti-sway or sway elimination system such as a ProPride hitch.

If one thing learned from a high performance sports sedan taught me, is that when the ESC was on, under most conditions it worked, but there where times, such as in the rain, where the system could not regain control. I suspect the same to be true with the new Anti-Sway systems.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:15 PM   #4
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The way I understand the "sway control" is that it is a "feature" made possible by the "anti-lock" braking system since each wheel braking is independently controlled. Of course I am probably totally wrong about that.

Rather than regain control of the "trailer"/towed item, how about not letting it "sway" from the start? This is the place for Hensley or ProPride hotch system, sway PREVENTION and WD (weight distribution).

I usually leave the "sway recovery" enabled on my TV. Doesn't seem to affect handling for our rig. Of course it is quite stable with 3 axles aligned and fixed to the AS chassis.

Of course standard exclusions are invoked... yMMv, proper vehicle loading, proper rigging of hitch, WD, brakes, etc.

You definitely do NOT WANT TO TRUST that technology as a "fail safe".. It is another tool to HELP, especially if new to trailer towing...

If you disable the "feature" and have an accident, I am pretty sure the tattletale in your car will inform the authorities of your poor behavior.
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Old 11-26-2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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We pull our Eddie Bauer 25 with a Toyota Tundra. Late model Tundras with the 5.7L engine come with the tow package (including trailer sway control). Not only is it not a substitute for a sway control and WD hitch, the Tundra owners manual states that a WD hitch is required for trailer loads above 5,000 lbs and a sway control device for loads above 2,000 lbs. In other words, towing an AS without a proper WD hitch and sway control device (in our case, the Equal-i-zer plays both roles) can both void the warranty for damage done by towing and leave me with more liability for any loss of control accident if I was not following their stated requirement.

I'm not sure if the current Tacomas have a similar stipulation but a quick google search will probably tell you what Toyota's answer to your question is.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:07 AM   #6
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Your response was really helpful. But it leaves us with even more questions! We are considering the Audi Q5 TDI for our 16' Sport - we presently have a small 4-cylinder Tacoma truck and while it isn't powerful enough to pull the Sport we really don't need a bigger pick up and it seems that the Audi could definitely do the job while giving us a wonderful car when we aren't pulling. However - while everything we read in the Airstream Forums seem to say you should definitely use a weight distribution hitch, (and our AS came with the Equaliser) the Audi people positively say you should not use one. What should we do? Ignore the Audi Prohibition? Ignore AS common wisdom vis a vis WDHs? Assume that we should forget Audi as a towing vehicle? Do you have any thoughts or advice? We'd love your opinion.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandjg View Post
Your response was really helpful. But it leaves us with even more questions! We are considering the Audi Q5 TDI for our 16' Sport - we presently have a small 4-cylinder Tacoma truck and while it isn't powerful enough to pull the Sport we really don't need a bigger pick up and it seems that the Audi could definitely do the job while giving us a wonderful car when we aren't pulling. However - while everything we read in the Airstream Forums seem to say you should definitely use a weight distribution hitch, (and our AS came with the Equaliser) the Audi people positively say you should not use one. What should we do? Ignore the Audi Prohibition? Ignore AS common wisdom vis a vis WDHs? Assume that we should forget Audi as a towing vehicle? Do you have any thoughts or advice? We'd love your opinion.
I would not trust an Audi dealer to opine on trailer towing. It not his fault, but I would venture to guess that less than 1/10 of 1% of his customers use their Audis for towing anything so how could he be expected to be an expert? I would not tow any Airstream without a proper WD/AS (anti-sway) hitch. You can use the Q5 to tow your AS with a proper WS/AS hitch although the factory hitch may need to be reinforced. A lot of hitches on lightweight vehicles (i.e., cars, smaller SUV's and especially a lot of European vehicles) are not very well attached to the frame of the vehicle. I would contact Andy Thompson at CanAm RV in London Ontario (519-652-3284.) He is an expert in towing Airtreams with light weight vehicles. I'm sure he can give you a lot of good advice over the phone, and his shop is not really that far from Pennsylvania so I'd encourage you to make a trip up there for a complete evaluation and setup assistance.
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