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Old 01-23-2011, 05:35 AM   #1
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1967 17' Caravel
2007 27' Safari FB SE
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67 Caravel Help: to sway or not to sway

Hi everyone. I'm getting ready for my shake down cruise with my Caravel and a family member who has experience with single axle trailers highly recommended something for sway control. I am pulling the Caravel with a 99 F150 4x4 and I have a couple of questions.

1. Do I need a load leveling hitch or will the sway bar attachment be enough?

2. Are the sway bars that I see from Reese and others that fit on the side of the trailer and attach to the hitch via another small ball sufficient for my setup?

Do you have experience with this size of trailer? If so, I'd appreciate your help.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:04 AM   #2
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1968 17' Caravel
Canon City , Colorado
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Sway

I have the 68 Caravele 17' and have towed it several thousand miles with a Dodge Dakota 4X4 without any type of sway or load leveler. You just want to be sure that it and the truck are level. You will have to check the height or the hitch and trailer and have them the same
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #3
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonzellen View Post
1. Do I need a load leveling hitch or will the sway bar attachment be enough?

2. Are the sway bars that I see from Reese and others that fit on the side of the trailer and attach to the hitch via another small ball sufficient for my setup?

Do you have experience with this size of trailer? If so, I'd appreciate your help.
With that setup, you don't have to have WD, though many recommend it. If you do get it, get the lightest rated one you can, it'll be more than enough.
The anti-sway bars from Reese are the dual cam and strait-line, and include both WD and anti sway. Again, get the lightest ones you can (800#).
You really should have some kind of sway control, even if it's the old-school single friction bar. They are much less than $100 for most of them, and are cheap insurance. You probably will never need it, but there's always that "one in a thousand" chance... If it does by some chance start to sway while you're going down the road, you can't hit a "pause game" button, and put one on.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:58 AM   #4
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I use a single bar WD hitch with a 17' Casita that I also have, it works well, totally adequate for the weight you are talking about, and it's inexpensive: Single Bar Weight Distribution Kit for A-Frame Draw-Tite Weight Distribution 3205

Along with the WD hitch, I use a friction sway bar: Reese Friction Sway Control for Weight Distribution Systems Reese Weight Distribution RP26660

You can probably beat that price on the sway bar on EBAY.

I use this setup towing my 17 footer with a 3/4 ton truck, because it's better, and safer.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:15 AM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
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I use a single bar WD hitch with a 17' Casita that I also have, it works well, totally adequate for the weight you are talking about, and it's inexpensive: Single Bar Weight Distribution Kit for A-Frame Draw-Tite Weight Distribution 3205

Along with the WD hitch, I use a friction sway bar: Reese Friction Sway Control for Weight Distribution Systems Reese Weight Distribution RP26660

You can probably beat that price on the sway bar on EBAY.
That setup should be more than adequate for the Caravel. Here's a link to the friction anti-sway bar I was referring to, it's pretty much a knock-off of the Reese:Husky Sway Control Bars on Sale
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:31 AM   #6
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Thousand Oaks , California
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Look at the Eaz-Lift hitch!

I have a 1968 Globetrotter and the Eaz-Lift hitch was a great choice for me. I only know that out here in California we deal with alot of wind gusts. Changing lanes with a sway bar attachment makes driving alot safer under these conditions. Take a look at the site, has a good video. Hope it helps you. Enjoy!Trailer hitch - EAZ-LIFT Weight Distribution Hitches on Sale
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
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I found mine ran better with a WD and friction sway bar. Tried all the combinations. If you are going to run I80 and play with the trucks I'ld put the sway on. Takes the bumps better with the WD. Like on rails....
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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1968 17' Caravel
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We tow our Caravel with our 95 E150 Van with no WD and a friction sway control. We have an EZ-Lift type setup, but I think our bars are too heavy and gave the trailer a stiff ride, we were losing rivets out of the front panel above the tongue. Because the tongue weight is so light, the van doesn't need the WD, but I still use the friction sway control, although I have never felt any need for it. The trailer has never done anything to make me think it is getting out of control. Early on we forgot the sway control and drove on a very windy highway with many semis passing us and the trailer towed perfectly. I still use it just for peace of mind.

However, this is my personal experience with a big, long wheelbase tow vehicle. If I switched to another tow vehicle, I would have to start all over again to figure out what works.

Regarding things like the reese dual-cam hitch, I am not convinced that the tongue weight on the Caravel is great enough to actually activate the sway control features of the hitch, because they are made for much heavier tongue weights (the smallest dual-cam hitch is 600lb bars) and the tongue weight on the Caravel is under 300 lbs.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonzellen View Post
Hi everyone. I'm getting ready for my shake down cruise with my Caravel and a family member who has experience with single axle trailers highly recommended something for sway control. I am pulling the Caravel with a 99 F150 4x4 and I have a couple of questions.

1. Do I need a load leveling hitch or will the sway bar attachment be enough?

2. Are the sway bars that I see from Reese and others that fit on the side of the trailer and attach to the hitch via another small ball sufficient for my setup?

Do you have experience with this size of trailer? If so, I'd appreciate your help.
It all depends on the risks you want to take when towing.

No equalizer hitch is a negative.

No sway control is a negative.

The lack of both of them, is a risk your family might not want to take.

A proper load equalizing hitch, properly installed with a sway control, offers the maximum in towing security.

You must decide how much of that additional security you wish to kick to the curb.

Yes, I know, some people drive on snow with bald tires, BUT....................

Andy
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonzellen View Post
Hi everyone. I'm getting ready for my shake down cruise with my Caravel and a family member who has experience with single axle trailers highly recommended something for sway control. I am pulling the Caravel with a 99 F150 4x4 and I have a couple of questions.

1. Do I need a load leveling hitch or will the sway bar attachment be enough?

2. Are the sway bars that I see from Reese and others that fit on the side of the trailer and attach to the hitch via another small ball sufficient for my setup?

Do you have experience with this size of trailer? If so, I'd appreciate your help.
I personally would run WD and a sway bar in your situation although I know some people would say it isn't necessary. I have my 30' trailer and have other smaller, utility type trailers, that I also tow.

If you have a longer wheelbase truck it probably doesn't matter as much. You don't say whether you have a short or long bed, standard or crew cab.

The hitches from Reese and others that you describe, have one or two weight distribution bars, and a friction sway control that attaches to a small ball on the side, would be ideal for a smaller trailer like yours.

The extra stability becomes important when conditions are unexpectedly poor due to wind, rain, ice, construction, etc.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:42 PM   #11
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1967 17' Caravel
1967 22' Safari
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I have the same exact trailer and tow with an F-150. In six years I have never had it sway once! I don't have a load level hitch or anti-sway.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:51 PM   #12
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One other thing I forgot to mention about our E150 is that it has air bags in the back. Apparently the original owners used it as a shop truck for their parts business, and needed to carry heavy stuff in the back. So it has a very stiff rear suspension. Makes it a pain to ride in (as anyone unfortunate enough to have ridden in the back will confirm) but when I drop the tongue on the ball the back end barely drops at all.

There are so many differences between tow vehicles, trailers, how the trailer is loaded (I was told to always tow with a full fresh water tank to put a little more weight on the tongue) that I think you really just need to try it out. But I would certainly start out with something like sway control and see how it handles. I would rather take off stuff I don't need than wish I had it.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:57 PM   #13
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I have the same exact trailer and tow with an F-150. In six years I have never had it sway once! I don't have a load level hitch or anti-sway.
Try riding in the very back of the Airstream, at 60 MPH, for just one minute.

Most people say "WOW". I would never have thought..............

Andy
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #14
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I've never had a problem... yet. It's the yet part that really messes up your holiday (or your life). I choose to run with both weight distribution & sway control because it's cheap to do so and nobody has been able to convince me that I am just as safe without it. With a light trailer like your Caravel I might just go with the sway control if the weight isn't an issue.

This person probably believes in sway control now too:

YouTube - RV Camper Crash on I-40 turned over on it's side - Wreck Poor Guy!

Happy & safe travels regardless of the choice you make.

Kevin
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