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Old 10-28-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Cam vs friction sway control

What is the difference in performance between a friction sway control and the dual cam sway control?
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Old 10-28-2007, 01:12 PM   #2
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with a quick look...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...nce-34325.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...trol-9347.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...sway-4557.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ain-11746.html

Understanding trailer sway

there are others too...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
What is the difference in performance between a friction sway control and the dual cam sway control?
A "cam" type sway control, knows when your rig is in a straight line or not. If your rig is not in a straight line, then the torsion on the two bars "unequally" increases, therefore attempts to straighten the rig back to a straight line.

A "friction" type sway control, has no brain. It does not know if your rig is in a straight line, or not. It exerts as much friction no matter if your trying to turn or trying to get back to a straight line.

Also, the "cam" type sway control, is all weather. Rain or shine does not change it's performance abilities.

The friction type sway control adjustment, is supposed to be backed off when in wet weather, certainly decreasing it's usefulness.

I believe most owners want more sway control during wet weather, certainly not less.

But the human nature flag still flys high.

Spending $40,000.00 or more for a tow vehicle, is common.

Spending $30,000.00 to over $90,000.00 for an Airstream trailer is common.

But, spending a couple of hundred extra dollars for a "cam" type sway control instead of a "friction" type sway control, is where, unfortunately for all to many owners, is where they draw the line.

When it comes to "load equalizing" hitches, there is a world of difference between them.

That is "not" the place to save a few dollars.

Most dealers are to lazy to explain the difference between load equalizing brand hitches. Instead they all to often slap the cheapest, poorest performing load equalizing hitch on your tow vehicle and trailer, to save money, since most of the time, the buyer insists on "tossing the new hitch in the deal."

Installing a plain load equalizing hitch with a friction type sway control, is almost a no brainer.

On the other hand, how a load equalizing hitch is installed with a "cam" setup, takes some expertise.

The overall performance between the two, speaks for itself.

Unless someone has towed with a "cam" type sway control, they have no idea of how much better the rig is under control, than using a friction type sway control.

Some owners use a "cam" type sway control, AND" two friction type sway controls.

Why?????

They are the folks that use a 3/4 or 1 ton tow vehicle, with overload springs, and a 1200 pound rated hitch, or even a dually or 4 X 4.

Those type tow vehicles, along with the excessive rated hitch, will sway no matter what. The only answer for them is to add the two friction type sway controls.

It is not necessary to have an "over kill" tow vehicle to successfully tow any length Airstream. The overkill, will usually result in damage to the trailer because of the rigitity of the hookup. Airstream trailers love a soft ride, which includes a soft flexible load equalizing hitch setup.

For many many years, large cars did a heck of a job.

This subject has been covered many times before in previous posts.

Andy
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
A "cam" type sway control, knows when your rig is in a straight line or not. If your rig is not in a straight line, then the torsion on the two bars "unequally" increases, therefore attempts to straighten the rig back to a straight line.

A "friction" type sway control, has no brain. It does not know if your rig is in a straight line, or not. It exerts as much friction no matter if your trying to turn or trying to get back to a straight line.

Also, the "cam" type sway control, is all weather. Rain or shine does not change it's performance abilities.

The friction type sway control adjustment, is supposed to be backed off when in wet weather, certainly decreasing it's usefulness.

.......
Installing a plain load equalizing hitch with a friction type sway control, is almost a no brainer.

On the other hand, how a load equalizing hitch is installed with a "cam" setup, takes some expertise.
Andy

Thanks for the clear description. Its one that I have asked more than once, looks l will be talking to the hitch shop in the near future.
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
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Cam VS friction sway control

Rodney
Andy finally got the idea over to me.
Old cars with big engines did a good if not better job because of their lack of suspension.
Because of their lack of suspension and load carrying capacity at the rear bumper you had two choices, helper springs/airbags or a Weight Distribution (DW) hitch. The real reason the dual cam worked so very well on those old cars is because of the spring bar loading.
Open the trunk of your family sedan. Stand in the trunk. See how far the bumper drops. Now get two of your friends to stand in the trunk with you. See how much farther the rear bumper drops? The three of you represent the tongue weight of your trailer. Every bit of the tongue weight had to compensated for by the spring bars.
Hold that idea.
Now enter fuel crunches and the EPA.
We ended up with automobiles that would barely move with five passengers in them (oh I miss my old 71 Olds 98 with its 455 CI). So every one went to pick up trucks with beefier rear springs (suspensions) than the old cars had. These beefier suspensions required less "help" from the DW spring bars, unfortunately is also lessened the effectiveness of the dual cam types due to less loading on them forcing the notch in the spring bar onto the cam of the dual cam device (hense Andy's mantra of "remove all helper spring/air shocks because these springs and air shocks are counterproductive, and they are). The less load you have on the spring bars the less effective they are. Until the Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating came out, the 1/2 ton standard suspension pickup or Surburban with a huge engine (396 or 454 or 409) was as close as we could get to those old cars, but because of insurance and libility issues in the event of an accident (ah ha your 1/2 454 pickup was overloaded, according to the mfg, therefore the accident was your fault) we had to go to heavier rated vehicles to "legally" pull the gross weight.
Bottom line, MAKE THE DW DO THE MOST WORK POSSIBLE, THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE BEST RESULTS POSSIBLE. Remove your overload springs if you have to. Save your air chocks and air bag for hauling a bed full of sand or bricks.
Just my observation
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:07 PM   #6
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I own a Reese twin cam and a Equalizer hitch as well. I also have run a Reese with out the twin cam but have had the frictional dampener installed when I did that. I like the twin cam when I was towing the 31 footer with the 250 Ford window van. It gave good directional stability and some resistance to trucks passing at high differencial speeds. My wife found it a bit more difficult as the bow wave off some trucks did tend to push you off the road. If I used the Reese without the twin cam and just the frictional dampener it was worse. I have a set of 500 pound Reese weight distribution bars and the frictional control with the 26 footer and and it worked out with either the Dodge or Ford Vans. It was not as good with the 31 footer with the twin cam and I so went to the Twin cam and 1000 pound bars as the standard setup on the Ford van and the 31 footer. I switched to the crew cab long box Dually three years ago and used the twin cam with the 31 footer. The dually with the twin cam was much more stable than the the van and even my wife found it safe to drive in heavy truck traffic. I went to just using no weight sharing on the dually when I was only pulling the 26 and found it very stable. I picked up an Equalizer and the 1000 pound bars on it are much stiffer than the 1000 pound Reese bars. The sway control is similar to the Reese frictional dampener but the vertical stiffness between the TV and the trailer is much stiffer and I am worried the stiff suspension of the one ton TV will be reflected back into the trailer and when we go thru dips (like coming out of gas stations) will be more directly effect the fore and aft motion of the trailer. When it is going down a flat road and the bars are properly setup to transfer the same amount of weight I do not think there will be any difference but going over a larger bump or dip can be a different matter. Visa versa I do not feel it is safe to use the Reese 500 pound bars and bend them excessively to transfer the one half of the tongue weight to the front weights, if the tongue weight is over 1000 pounds, even though it will make for a softer ride for the Airstream.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
A "cam" type sway control, knows when your rig is in a straight line or not. If your rig is not in a straight line, then the torsion on the two bars "unequally" increases, therefore attempts to straighten the rig back to a straight line.

A "friction" type sway control, has no brain. It does not know if your rig is in a straight line, or not. It exerts as much friction no matter if your trying to turn or trying to get back to a straight line.
OK, so friction sway control is passive and is somewhat protective against sway, but not corrective in function. Cam sway is designed such that it will try and put your rig into a straight line configuration. Fair enough.

Now, suppose I am going down the road dumb, fat, and happy. A semi (or one of those box trucks which seem worse to me) comes up to pass on the left. I think what happens is the bow wave pushes the rear of my camper to the right (which I have never felt), followed by my entire rig pulling to the left (which I do get when I am in the left lateral portion of the lane) as the front of the semi reaches about my drivers door. Now with my current fiction sway bar, it is my perception that there isn't much sway in the sense that the truck and camper are moving independently.

So should I understand that with cam sway control, the self-righting effect will push the front of my truck more to the left, or will the rest of the rig force the rear back to the left against the force so that the rear movement is prevented? Or both? Will the cam sway control reduce the pull into the truck in the other lane? Or is the pull left a feature of physics that neither approach will defeat?
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dwightdi
I own a Reese twin cam and a Equalizer hitch as well. I also have run a Reese with out the twin cam but have had the frictional dampener installed when I did that. I like the twin cam when I was towing the 31 footer with the 250 Ford window van. It gave good directional stability and some resistance to trucks passing at high differencial speeds. My wife found it a bit more difficult as the bow wave off some trucks did tend to push you off the road. If I used the Reese without the twin cam and just the frictional dampener it was worse. I have a set of 500 pound Reese weight distribution bars and the frictional control with the 26 footer and and it worked out with either the Dodge or Ford Vans. It was not as good with the 31 footer with the twin cam and I so went to the Twin cam and 1000 pound bars as the standard setup on the Ford van and the 31 footer. I switched to the crew cab long box Dually three years ago and used the twin cam with the 31 footer. The dually with the twin cam was much more stable than the the van and even my wife found it safe to drive in heavy truck traffic. I went to just using no weight sharing on the dually when I was only pulling the 26 and found it very stable. I picked up an Equalizer and the 1000 pound bars on it are much stiffer than the 1000 pound Reese bars. The sway control is similar to the Reese frictional dampener but the vertical stiffness between the TV and the trailer is much stiffer and I am worried the stiff suspension of the one ton TV will be reflected back into the trailer and when we go thru dips (like coming out of gas stations) will be more directly effect the fore and aft motion of the trailer. When it is going down a flat road and the bars are properly setup to transfer the same amount of weight I do not think there will be any difference but going over a larger bump or dip can be a different matter. Visa versa I do not feel it is safe to use the Reese 500 pound bars and bend them excessively to transfer the one half of the tongue weight to the front weights, if the tongue weight is over 1000 pounds, even though it will make for a softer ride for the Airstream.
Very interesting Dwight...first time I have heard from someone that has used bot Reese DC and Eq.

Would be great to hear from someone that has used Reese and/or Eq and the HA...
Any takers?

Bill
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:39 PM   #9
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Very interesting Dwight...first time I have heard from someone that has used bot Reese DC and Eq.

Would be great to hear from someone that has used Reese and/or Eq and the HA...
Any takers?

Bill
Yes it would be but, please not in this thread, I am trying to understand something here. Fine topic for sure, but these threads get so diluted that they loose all contact with the original question.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
I picked up an Equalizer and the 1000 pound bars on it are much stiffer than the 1000 pound Reese bars. The sway control is similar to the Reese frictional dampener but the vertical stiffness between the TV and the trailer is much stiffer and I am worried the stiff suspension of the one ton TV will be reflected back into the trailer and when we go thru dips (like coming out of gas stations) will be more directly effect the fore and aft motion of the trailer. When it is going down a flat road and the bars are properly setup to transfer the same amount of weight I do not think there will be any difference but going over a larger bump or dip can be a different matter. Visa versa I do not feel it is safe to use the Reese 500 pound bars and bend them excessively to transfer the one half of the tongue weight to the front weights, if the tongue weight is over 1000 pounds, even though it will make for a softer ride for the Airstream.
Interesting comment. Andy Thomson (Can Am RV) doesn't recommend Equal-i-zer hitches because they indeed don't have as much "travel" through dips, etc., and transfer more stress to the receiver and the trailer.

I'm using Eaz-Lift 1000 lb bars with a 650 to 700 lb tongue weight, and there's plenty of tension on them.

An observation: if what Inland Andy is saying about stability problems with heavy pickups has merit (I really can't say because I don't have firsthand experience towing with them), it may be because those who tow with large pickups use WDH simply to lift the stiff rear springs of their trucks to an acceptable level, while those who tow with more softly suspended vehicles (most SUVs, minivans, cars) are actually effecting significant weight transfer to the front tires, and thereby achieving superior stability through balance. (In my mind, WDH creates stability by forcing the front tires to resist their share of trailer yaw forces.) Maybe that's why Expedition and Suburban owners often achieve good results even though their vehicles don't come close to meeting the "wheelbase rule". Maybe the "wheelbase rule" has relevance for pickups, but doesn't apply to other vehicles in the same way because of how WDHs are typically set up.

I'd suggest that the heavy duty rear suspensions of pickups are designed for heavy bed loads, including fifth wheel hitches, but are of little advantage for towing travel trailers. What's important here is total payload capacity of the vehicle (front and rear GAWRs) for carrying a tongue weight balanced by the WDH, plus passengers.

Now that I've thrown this comment out there, I fully expect that the owners of heavy pickups will come to their defense. I only ask for detailed comments regarding the setup and the driving experience, and that the discussion contribute to a better shared understanding of towing dynamics for everyone's benefit.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:50 PM   #11
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Yes it would be but, please not in this thread, I am trying to understand something here. Fine topic for sure, but these threads get so diluted that they loose all contact with the original question.

Hi GD, not trying to hj your post, but wouldn't that come under:"Cam vs friction sway control "?

In it's most basic components (4 bar linkage), the HA would be a friction type device...

You did not specify brand names in your post.

Bill
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gen Disarray

So should I understand that with cam sway control, the self-righting effect will push the front of my truck more to the left, or will the rest of the rig force the rear back to the left against the force so that the rear movement is prevented? Or both? Will the cam sway control reduce the pull into the truck in the other lane? Or is the pull left a feature of physics that neither approach will defeat?
Rodney, if the hitch is properly set up with the appropriate weight spring bars, you likely won't experience the bow-wave effect at all. The trailer tends not to move independently of the tow vehicle as a result of the cams holding it in place.

Roger
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:14 PM   #13
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Cam VS Sway Control

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If you have a camp ground close go cruse it and when you spot a trailer with a dual cam or a high performance dual cam start asking the owner how it works. One three D demonstration is worth a million posts
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:21 PM   #14
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I'm getting lost in the techno jargon above. All I know from experience is when I towed with a 1/2 ton Suburban it was all over the road with a Reese WD Hitch without a sway bar. I have also towed with a F350 and now a F250 Superduty. It did not feel like I even needed the WD or the sway but I use them anyway in case I get into a catastophic failure that would set up a fishtail situation I could not recover from.
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