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Old 05-16-2011, 02:10 PM   #1
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Question Did I experience sway?

As I was towing the Airstream this weekend I noticed that when a large vehicle (pickup with horse trailer, 5th wheel, motorhome) passed me that there was a "sucking" sensation. When the "sucking" sensation occured I had to correct for lane position slightly as they passed. Was this sway?

TV: 2011 F150 Lariat Supercrew 5.5' Box 145" Wheelbase
Hitch: Equal-i-zer 12K <-- Dealer Chose & Installed - I've verified many ways that the hitch is overkill and setup correctly doesn't pose an issue.

I have changed tow vehicles and re-setup the hitch myself follwing directions provided by Equal-i-zer. I still need to verify all of my weights and hope to this weekend.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #2
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RellikJM,

I have a 2008 Safari and my TV is a 2010 F150 Super 4x4. Afte3r much thought and reference from here, I went with the Eq 10K. I does well but I think I'm just right or slightly over with the 10K set-up.

The motion you are experiencing is buffeting from the air cushion pushed but the other vehicle. It would be the same as if you were not moving and the same passed you. your vehicle would "Rock" by the air cushion moving past you. So, it technically is not sway in the terms of trailer causing your TV to wag it's tail.

Of course, always be cautious of vehicles passing you as the air cushion can cause your TV and TT to laterally move for an instant.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Often something like that leads to sway. If you look in the rearview mirrors after a large vehicle passes and observe that the trailer moves side to side several times before settling down, that would be sway.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #4
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This is in that grey area of definitions; here I think your dealing with a pull or push from the air, where sway would be a back and forth motion often caused by excessive speed or not enough weight on the front of the trailer. However, if your are only marginally outside of the conditions that cause sway, this push or pull could induce sway.

We had the same thing with the trucks passing when we first bought our trailer. Two things minimized it. We called Andrew Thomson at Can Am Rv in Canada, an Airstream dealer and towing expert, and he recommended getting rid of the P rated tires on our Tundra pickup and replace them with a extra load tire. Our movement from the push and pull of trucks was mostly in the pickup tires. That was the most dramatic improvement. On his advice, we also adjusted the hitch head of our Equalizer slightly downward, so the bars would tighten when the trailer moved to the side. That helped as well, but especially with the Equalizer brand, their is a cautionary note because its stiff bars could possibly bend the trailer A-frame under certain conditions. The dealer also installed too big of an Equalizer on your trailer, even though they and Equalizer company will say its okay. The bars need to flex in order to maintain constant sway control while moving over uneven roadways.

Doug K

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Old 05-16-2011, 02:49 PM   #5
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I had a like issue and increased the pressure in my tv tires from 30 (as noted on the tv door post) to 35 psi. The buffeting is not totally gone but the increase in pressure greatly reduced the issue. I don't think you can totally eliminate the movement. Large trucks move a lot of air.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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Not to be a smart aleck - but I towed a 25FB Classic with a short wheelbase "Touareg TDI" and never experienced any sway, regardless of cross winds (had some big ones - especially when in Nebraska-Colorado for some reason), large rigs passing me, etc.
OK - I fibbed, during some 40+ mph gusts at 75mph I had a little sway, in this one instance I slowed down to 65mph and the sway went away - (yes, we can argue I should not have been towing at that speed but it will only fall upon deaf ears......)
I would have to say that my ProPride hitch worked it's crazy magic - projecting the hitch point forward and mitigating any sway occurrences (within reason of course).
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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Here in South Dakota we have so much side-wind (different than under table wind), that when a tall vehicle passes us we have side wind disruption syndrome. It's like we have a 45 mph side-wind, then no side-wind, then 45 mph side-wind again. I've followed semis fighting vacume and wind changes when they're passing. A double trailer rig can really do a dance.

I've towed for decades and have been buffeted but never busted. My neighbor lost a tandem enclosed trailer right over an overpass from cross winds. Took it right off the hitch and chains.

My trailer'd be like driving down the road with a 8' X 30' sail behind me. Here a calm day is a 30 mph wind.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:16 PM   #8
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Here in South Dakota we have so much side-wind (different than under table wind), that when a tall vehicle passes us we have side wind disruption syndrome. It's like we have a 45 mph side-wind, then no side-wind, then 45 mph side-wind again. I've followed semis fighting vacume and wind changes when they're passing. A double trailer rig can really do a dance.

I've towed for decades and have been buffeted but never busted. My neighbor lost a tandem enclosed trailer right over an overpass from cross winds. Took it right off the hitch and chains.

My trailer'd be like driving down the road with a 8' X 30' sail behind me. Here a calm day is a 30 mph wind.
Wow, that's something to keep in mind if we ever make that trip to Mt Rushmore! We certainly don't experience winds like that out here!

I've never felt sway, but we often feel 'pushed' by those big semi's blowing by. I feel the same 'push' even if it's the van without the trailer.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
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If you have ever stopped on the side of the road and had an 18 wheeler blow by, you can get a good idea of the forces being applied to the trailer.

It is amazing the amount of air being pushed by these rigs, It will make the trailer and the TV shake as they go by.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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I've never felt sway, but we often feel 'pushed' by those big semi's blowing by. I feel the same 'push' even if it's the van without the trailer.
Something that just came to mind: The 18-wheelers are using a new "skirt" on their trailers to decrease wind drag underneath and, of course, improve mileage. They are VERY dangerous to all of us; we got knocked around big time whenever one came by us. Keep an eye out for the white shrouds, and hold on with both hands!
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:01 PM   #11
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Wow, that's something to keep in mind if we ever make that trip to Mt Rushmore! We certainly don't experience winds like that out here!

I've never felt sway, but we often feel 'pushed' by those big semi's blowing by. I feel the same 'push' even if it's the van without the trailer.
The Black Hills don't get those high winds too often, but east of Rapid City hang on.

The motorcycles lean into the wind so far, so long, that they wear their tire tread off on one side only. The only way to get equal tire wear is to make a return trip going the opposite direction.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #12
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I have experienced this push -pull effect too. It's interesting that it is worse when a van or other larger truck passes you rather slowly going the same direction on the interstate. Trucks going the opposite direction on a 2 lane road seem to have no effect.

This reaction is minor, subtle, and not dangerous as far as my experience goes. But after a full day if driving I get tired of it. I mostly eliminated it by installing an old school friction antisway bar.

I like the suggestion of upgrading the TV tires from P-rated.

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Old 05-16-2011, 09:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Something that just came to mind: The 18-wheelers are using a new "skirt" on their trailers to decrease wind drag underneath and, of course, improve mileage. They are VERY dangerous to all of us; we got knocked around big time whenever one came by us. Keep an eye out for the white shrouds, and hold on with both hands!
Mike,

I have begun to see those everywhere. I will keep an eye out for them when towing.. usually they blow past me so I will just hang on!
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:38 PM   #14
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I think what you felt was exactly a mild "sway". The passing rig pushed a wall of air against the rear of your trailer. The the trailer moved away, the front of your truck moved left.

The felt effects are different it you have a Hensley or ProPride.

Pat
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