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Old 05-31-2006, 08:42 AM   #1
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Anti sway on a 16' Bambi

We have a 16' Bambi CCD pulled by an RX 400 Lexus h (the hybrid.)
Without any sway control the thing tracks beautifully. We went through some wind, semi's passed us and I don't see any problem. Am I living in a dream world? Does it have to have some kind of sway control?

Gnostic
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:45 AM   #2
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Seems to me the proof is in the "tasting".....

Sounds like you have a fine combination
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:15 AM   #3
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Sway control ought to be used as an added safety factor, not to mask problems that should otherwise be fixed first. Sway is caused by a variety of factors including suspension design, tire inflation on both trailer and tow vehicle, tire sidewall stiffness (again on both), and trailer loading. It sounds like you've got them covered with your rig.

I have towed a number of small (15-17') fiberglass campers and have variously used or not used sway control, depending on what I was towing it with. As a rule of thumb, the heavier the trailer is in relation to the tow vehicle, the more important sway control is.

I now have a 17.5 foot Bigfoot that I tow with my Tundra, and I installed a sway control 'just because' it weighs close to 4,000 lbs, and my Tundra is only 5,000 lbs itself. I use a Reese Dual Cam with the 34' Airstream and my Excursion. I'll probably use sway control with the Excursion and the Bigfoot as well, just because it's already installed.

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Old 05-31-2006, 09:37 AM   #4
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I mirror Roger's comments. For about $80 to $100, a friction sway would be a good investment. I don't think you need to get a $3000 Hensley or even a $175 dual cam system.

I am however a bit concerned that you chose to tow a 3500lb RV (not including fuel, passengers and cargo) with a Hybrid RX. It is rated at 3500lbs max (with the tow package hopefully) which I am going to bet you have exceeded once you deduct the weight of passengers in the RX, fuel and cargo from that 3500 max rating. My feeling is that these types of vehicles are really suited to tow jet skis, very small boats, pop-ups or full size RVs that weight about 2500lbs or less. If this is your first RV, you'll soon see what the concern is about when you get some exp towing in less than ideal circumstances.

To be honest, I'm less concerned with the sway control than what you have chosen to tow with. Though I applaud the move for environmental and cost savings reasons, you could find yourself in a pickle in a situation that had hills, mountains or an emergancy situation. Here is the blurb directly off the Lexus site on the tow rating:

[4]
Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up properly and you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any weight ratings and follow all instructions and cautions from your trailer-hitch manufacturer and vehicle Owner's Manual. The maximum amount you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment.
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:07 AM   #5
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You will know when you need sway control the first time it happens...
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
Without any sway control the thing tracks beautifully. We went through some wind, semi's passed us and I don't see any problem. Am I living in a dream world? Does it have to have some kind of sway control?Gnostic

http://www.airforums.com/forum...i+sway+control

a collection of wisdom on this issue.....

cheers
2air'
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:43 PM   #7
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I agree with one common theme in that thread; single axle trailers are more squirrely than dual axle...that has been my experience!
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
I use a Reese Dual Cam with the 34' Airstream and my Excursion. I'll probably use sway control with the Excursion and the Bigfoot as well, just because it's already installed.

Roger
I have a similar setup - 32', Excursion, Reese DC w/ 1000# WD bars. I was wondering what size bars you had and offer any experience/opinion. I think I am overhitched and need lighter bars such as 500 or 750# bars. My bars barely flex now when hitched up, and I think the towing experience could be better in terms of sway and stability.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:35 PM   #9
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When I was towing the Bambi with the sedan, I used 1200lb bars and they worked well with the soft suspension of the sedan. Same when I towed with the 25' Safari.

When I got the 3/4 Burb and towed the 25' Safari, the 1200lb bars had no flex at all. I barely needed the bar to pull them on or off and the dual cam didn't seem to work all that well. Then I read about being overhitched here on the forum. So I went down to the 800lb bars and it was a clear improvement over the 1200lb bars, but I still noticed a bit of 18 wheeler blow by when being passed, so I again went on eBay and found a set of 600lb bars. I've towed the Safari with the Burb and the 600lb bars for maybe 30 miles and it seems to handle great, but the real test will be when we go to the midwest rally in a few weeks and get some highway time with the new setup.

I bought a tongue scale and found that my hitch weight wet (and fully loaded with propane) was 650, not the 750 it had on the spec sheet. I don't think it's gonna be too much of a problem with the 600lb bars. Although unlike the other 2 sets of bars I've used, I'm currently at the 5th chain link and both truck and Safari are level.

Depending on your hitch weight, I wouldn't go too far south from the actual weight. But if you want to trial and error it, I got my bars, both sets off eBay for about $60 shipped (per set), which was far less than the online retailers wanted, or the local shops.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:37 PM   #10
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Hi Peegreen! My trailer has a 900 lb tongue weight, and I use 1000 lb bars and they flex appropriately. If your 32' has a significantly lower tongue weight, then perhaps 750s would be more appropriate.

The Excursion has some design flaws that contribute to that vague feeling I'm sure you're having. I switched to "E" range tires (my Ex came with "D"s that got recalled) and I replaced the junk stock shocks with some really good Edelbrock gas shocks. The rear axle four leaf spring stack is only half that of the Superduty trucks, and the four spring stack isn't sufficient to keep the axle centered under the Excursion causing rear-axle steering. THAT is a real problem without towing; it's a disaster with a trailer attached. That requires Land Yot radius rods and a Helwig 36mm sway bar to overcome the shortcomings of the design. My Ex now tows the 34' like it's on rails. It used to be white knuckles all the way.

Good luck with yours!

Roger
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:45 PM   #11
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A word for weight distribution

Most all add-ons for anti-sway begin with a mechanism for weight distribution (WD). WD gear prevents all the hitch weight from being borne by the back axle of your tow vehicle (TV). Look for your rear axle rating and at least do some quick guesstimating.

Through its action on the hitch, WD gear torques the frame of the TV so that the front wheels bear some of the hitch weight. This can be vital -- and so necessary when that 'other driver' does something absolutely stupid. Nobody wants to get in this situation but balancing the load like this can help you maintain control further into any incident (disclaimers galore, blah-blah...).
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:25 PM   #12
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Need a class 8 rig...

Just kidding of course! I'm thinking that your brakes are you're limiting factor... I think your four way disk brakes are probably better than the big brakes on the 1/2 ton p/u's around.... Chevy's are notoriously bad (speaking of first hand experience here). I think the hybrid has a heat / energy recovery system on each wheel - I think you have plenty of reserve. Does Toyota sell a tranny cooler?

Have fun with your rig! I'd also slap on some sway control as a belts and suspenders safety setup - it would be $100 well spent.

What kind of mileage are you getting towing? Is the electic motor being used all the time on the freeway, or do you find that it's only needed from start and up hills?
Welcome!
Any pics?
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Hi Peegreen! My trailer has a 900 lb tongue weight, and I use 1000 lb bars and they flex appropriately. If your 32' has a significantly lower tongue weight, then perhaps 750s would be more appropriate.

The Excursion has some design flaws that contribute to that vague feeling I'm sure you're having. I switched to "E" range tires (my Ex came with "D"s that got recalled) and I replaced the junk stock shocks with some really good Edelbrock gas shocks. The rear axle four leaf spring stack is only half that of the Superduty trucks, and the four spring stack isn't sufficient to keep the axle centered under the Excursion causing rear-axle steering. THAT is a real problem without towing; it's a disaster with a trailer attached. That requires Land Yot radius rods and a Helwig 36mm sway bar to overcome the shortcomings of the design. My Ex now tows the 34' like it's on rails. It used to be white knuckles all the way.

Good luck with yours!

Roger
Thanks for the info. Vague is the exact description. I also swapped out to load range E. I'm not sure what Land Yot radius bars are and I'm assuming you only replaced the rear sway bar? I've been looking at aftermarket sway bars thinking that might be the best improvement - is that a DIY?
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
Thanks for the info. Vague is the exact description. I also swapped out to load range E. I'm not sure what Land Yot radius bars are and I'm assuming you only replaced the rear sway bar? I've been looking at aftermarket sway bars thinking that might be the best improvement - is that a DIY?
My Ex didn't have a rear sway bar at all! So, I installed the beefy Hellwig. Radius rods are a pivoting fixed link that runs from the frame to the axle, and only allows the axle to move in the arc it is supposed to. Between the sway bar and radius rods, it tames the rear axle wander that Excursions are prone to and that Ford absolutely denies happens. You will lose a little of the cushy ride tho... I'm sure if you've got a decent shop and 1" drive sockets you can probably DIY on the body sway bar, but I have an excellent mechanic who does my work, and does it inexpensively enough that it doesn't pay for me to crawl under the truck any more.

Here's a couple of links to discussions of Land Yot's radius rods you'll find interesting...

http://www.supermotors.org/clubs/for...&page=1&rpp=10

http://www.supermotors.org/clubs/for...ll_2/index.php

http://www.supermotors.org/clubs/for...id=31007#31007

I can tell you that all of the claims Land Yot customers make about his radius rods are absolutely genuine. What they do for the handling of an Excursion is amazing.

Roger
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