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Old 10-12-2011, 08:27 AM   #197
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How much did your TV cost, how much did your AS cost, what value do you assign to your family and fellow travelers and how much does a well designed working hitch system add to the total investment?

It's a no brainer.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:35 AM   #198
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This whole sway thing seems like there is a one size fits all mentality. There are some Tow Vehicle / Trailer Combinations that are unstable in sway and some that are not. Does it make sense to add sway control when you already have a stable combination? In my opinion NO. If you don't have a tendency to fish tail when a truck passes or when braking hard I don't see a need for it. I have a Load Distributing Hitch but it is the old kind with the friction sway system which I think can do more harm than good, especially if it is old and rusty and may tend to bind. I am sure there are sway control systems that may actually help than hurt but my rig seems to be stable and adding something just as a knee jerk reaction does not make sense to me. Adding friction can cause more problems than it is worth because it can work for you or against you. As said above it has no brain. So what sway control system is worth investing in and can I add it to the hitch I have or do I have to start all over again?

Basic physics tells me that you can have an unstable underdamped system (not enough sway control) or you can have a properly damped system and no sway control. You can also have an overdamped situation that is not stable either.

Airstreams are among the most stable trailers out there. Truth of the matter is that an Airstream sitting on the ball with no load distrubution is more stable than an SOB top heavy trailer with all the stability control.

Perry
Perry.

The question of "safety" should never be compromised.

Ride in the back end of your trailer at 60 mph, and then you will see that your trailer "is not" as stable as you may think.

As and example, if you had to change lanes very quickly, you will find that the load equalizing hitch "AND" sway control, will most likely save you from a loss of control issue.

Caravanner Insurance proved that many times over in 1970. Physics are still the same, and do not offer any form of additional security, just because you use a truck.

But, as always, you can accept experience and/or facts, or kick it to the curb. It's always your choice.

Andy
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:40 AM   #199
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Well I plan on doing more research. I have found that if you just throw money at something without any thought behind it that you are usually just wasting money and not solving the problem. I am not going to just drop $700 on the latest sway gadget without the knowledge to make it work properly. I have done some basic stability tests with the setup I have and I have not seen anything that concerns me. I did some panic stops and curvy roads and I see no inherent stability problems. That does not mean there is no room for improvement. You are never going to be able to eliminate all risk even with the best high dollar hitch setup you can find. There are situations where you can roll or jackknife a trailer. Swerving and hitting the brakes at the same time is going to get you in trouble trailer or no trailer. Paying attention and keeping a safe following distance is going to save more lives than anything. It is when we are surprised by something like a car stopped in front of us or something in the road. There is no way you are going to idiot proof a trailer or any motorvehicle.

I think what would sell more of these sway control hitches is to see test with and without the hitch. I want to see if it really makes a difference. Where is the data not some slick add that promises you the world because you bought a new toy. Where is the evidence that these things actually do anything. Are they just snake oil or do they really help. I suspect it is somewhere in between. With no data you have no way of telling. Without data it is just BS. Show me data.

I am a test engineer I have to have more than BS to buy something.

Perry
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:49 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
This whole sway thing seems like there is a one size fits all mentality.

Basic physics tells me that you can have an unstable underdamped system (not enough sway control) or you can have a properly damped system and no sway control. You can also have an overdamped situation that is not stable either.

Airstreams are among the most stable trailers out there. Truth of the matter is that an Airstream sitting on the ball with no load distrubution is more stable than an SOB top heavy trailer with all the stability control.

Perry
Perry.

The very best sway control, is not friction, but torsion.

I don't wish to change your mind, but an Airstream, is a "very unstable" trailer to tow.

Why??

SOB's typically have a flat front. That creates tons of wind resistance, which also acts, to some degree, like a sway control.

Airstream, on the other hand, is very aerodynamically clean, which offers very little wind resistance. Therefore one must use better equipment to tow an Airstream than an SOB.

Try pulling a flat fronted trailer at high speed, like 90 to 100 mph. It won't happen.

But with an Airstream, even a loaded 31 footer, you can easily tow over 100 mph with a car.

Years ago, as a test, an empty 5 X 8 boxed U-haul was towed with a 1973 Buick at a maxed out speed of 85 mph.

Additional testing, with the same tow vehicle, towed a loaded 31 foot Airstream at 115 mph.

That answers which design was cleaner, and which design required top notch load equalizing hitches with sway control.

But again, to each his own choices.

Andy
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:55 AM   #201
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"I am a test engineer I have to have more than BS to buy something."

Perry,

Please keep us posted on where your BS/data thesis takes you.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:08 AM   #202
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Andy do you have some links so I can read up on the torsion type sway control hitches? What brands use this technology?

I think the main stability issues with the SOB trailers is they are top heavy which makes them unstable in roll. They are also more suspectable to cross winds because of the higher drag.

My mind is not made up Andy but I would rather fill it with facts and not the smelly stuff.

Perry

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Perry.

The very best sway control, is not friction, but torsion.

I don't wish to change your mind, but an Airstream, is a "very unstable" trailer to tow.

Why??

SOB's typically have a flat front. That creates tons of wind resistance, which also acts, to some degree, like a sway control.

Airstream, on the other hand, is very aerodynamically clean, which offers very little wind resistance. Therefore one must use better equipment to tow an Airstream than an SOB.

Try pulling a flat fronted trailer at high speed, like 90 to 100 mph. It won't happen.

But with an Airstream, even a loaded 31 footer, you can easily tow over 100 mph with a car.

Years ago, as a test, an empty 5 X 8 boxed U-haul was towed with a 1973 Buick at a maxed out speed of 85 mph.

Additional testing, with the same tow vehicle, towed a loaded 31 foot Airstream at 115 mph.

That answers which design was cleaner, and which design required top notch load equalizing hitches with sway control.

But again, to each his own choices.

Andy
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:21 AM   #203
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I am afraid Im with Andy. His ideas may be stuck in the 70's according to some people but the physic's never change. I use an old REESE Dual cam/Straightline. I have purposely dropped the right side wheels off the pavement and back on,just to see the reaction(profession drivers only)and I get no sway at all. Dont try this without sway control of some kind.
I gave about $150 bucks for my setup USED on Craigslist. Trust me they are out there and ya dont have to spend a GAZILLION BUCKS on a hitch.Mine came with 550 lb bars and that with the 1 ton gives us a smooth ocean wave ride. We leave things on the galley counter and the tv on the credensa without a problem. WE do have new axles under the 77 so that helps too.
Our F350 weighs in at just over 8000 lbs full of fuel and ready to rock and roll. To answer the question directly. YES I believe you NEED SWAY CONTROL and WD. ITS a small investment in your safety and the safety of the other motoring public.
BETTER TO HAVE IT and NOT NEED IT than TO NEED IT AND NOT HAVE IT.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:44 AM   #204
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Well I can probably sell my other two hitches and probably about break even with a new hitch.

Perry
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #205
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Andy do you have some links so I can read up on the torsion type sway control hitches? What brands use this technology?

I think the main stability issues with the SOB trailers is they are top heavy which makes them unstable in roll. They are also more suspectable to cross winds because of the higher drag.

My mind is not made up Andy but I would rather fill it with facts and not the smelly stuff.

Perry
Perry.

Caravanner Insurane, the old insurance division of Airstream was closed down about 30 years ago.

Data such as you want, has been destroyed when Caravanner Insurance closed down.

But, for that matter, NO hitch manufaturer has EVER done any testing.

I personally settled and examined over 1000 "loss of control" accidents, specifically towing an Airstream.

That, certainly is a huge experience factor, that resulted in the ability to predict when someone is more than likely to have a loss of control accident, and someone who won't.

But again, non believers can go their way, as always.

This subject, from time to time, comes up again.

I do not wish to argue with anyone, regarding these issues, as I have stated before.

But, I do invited those doubters to establish their own tests, and spend their time and money, if they wish to challenge the facts. Hitch manufacturers, INCLUDED.

Andy
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:33 PM   #206
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Well I can probably sell my other two hitches and probably about break even with a new hitch.

Perry
Hi Perry,

I'm an engineer as well. In the absence of test data, and with an inability to conduct representative testing what are we left with? Use your engineering judgement and intuition. I know the WD function of the Reese Strait- line works because I've been through the scales. As for the sway control, examine the design. Set up properly it has to offer a restorative moment to the pivot point. I don't know how much, but obviously more than without it.

I watched several set up video's on etrailer.com and read all the manufacturers documentation I could find. I also took Andy's advice and changed my 1200# torsion bars to 800# to more closely match the 700# tongue weight of my Intnl. Cost me $200 but I felt it was worth it. (hitch was AS dealer installed - surprised at how little information they gave me on the hitch, given how vital it is).

Don
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:16 PM   #207
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I feel the need for equalizer and sway control would be determined by the combination of the TV and Trailer. If you have what is considered a light weight TV where the steering axle is affected by the tongue weight of the trailer then some sort of equalizer would seem practical.
But if you have a 3/4 ton or larger ( long wheel based) TV and you are towing a trailer with a tongue weigh significantly lower than the cargo carrying capacity of the TV. I believe it may be detrimental to the trailer and result in a harder ride, thus popping rivets etc. Sway control is another issue and may be required.
The idea of preventing the two units from flexing vertically is not logical in my mind. It would be akin to bolting the two units together in the middle. Causing frame stress, especially on the trailer.
Along with consideration of weight distribution and sway control. A larger concern would be how the two units (TV and Trailer) match up.
One of the infamous ads for AS shows a bicycle towing a trailer. What the ad fails to show is, how the bicycle handles the trailer on a sharp curve or in a quick stop situation. Obviously the bike may handle the situation more positively if it weighed in at 6000#.
In my situation the TV out weighs the trailer when both are loaded, they are very close to the same length. I travel mainly on 2 lane roads at speeds not exceeding 60mph. I don't have an equalizer hitch or sway control. Have never had a problem with big trucks or cross winds bucking the trailer. Have made numerous emergency stop and maneuvers with out problems.
Proper tire pressure on both vehicles and brake setup are one of my top priorities when it comes to towing.
That's my 2 cents worth.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:19 PM   #208
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Perry,

I understand your question. Based on several previous years use of a Reese WD hitch with a tension sway control bar as compared to the present Reese Dual Cam Strait-line WD/sway control combination.

Without having personally having experienced use of both Reese products, I possibly would have had some doubt myself; however, my personal opinion is - there is a great difference between the two.

Previous experience with the Reese WD and sway bar, I would definitely feel the side movement most times I met or passed a tractor trailer - the tendency was there to have a little unusual motion (possibly uncomfortable at times).

My experience with the Reese Dual Cam Strait-line WD/sway control was totally different. On a recent trip from south of Chicago to home base (approximately 750 miles), I might have felt a very slight movement a couple of times, however, my overall experience with the Reese Dual Cam has been 98-99% better than with the Reese WD/tension sway bar combo.

Best of luck to you in your decision.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:51 PM   #209
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A WDH is set up using a static measure that is representative of a dynamic, so to speak. A small percentage thereof. The forces exerted by a trailer that is "upset" (how, is irrelevant) can be many thousands of pounds over that static value. TV payload capacity, or TV weight, don't mean much overall when things get hinky. The tail wags the dog, and trailers far smaller/lower/lighter than the A/S above can upset even a bigger TV with unfortunate results. I've seen it, more than once.

One might better ask why it is so important to avoid spending pennies (relative to other costs). What is at stake over losing an afternoon of setting up the proper hitch the proper way? As there are more than a dozen threads on this forum answering this very same question one has to wonder at [feigned?] recalcitrance to the question posed.

And any of us can follow you with a video camera and show you that the TT doesn't track the TV nearly as well as you think. Plus, pickups are notorious for having poor steering feedback. False confidence breeds contempt.

Both first and second tier anti-sway hitches are cheap enough.

Do some more reading via searches.

.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:17 AM   #210
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We are getting to the point where computer simulations are pretty darn good if some of these companies that make hitches or DOT for that matter would do simulations of the hitch designs that could be evaluated for how well they control stability. I am sure the lighter the tow vehicle the more the tail wags the dog. I have a heavy tow vehicle (Ford Excursion) and that is in my favor. I have two load distributing hitches both with the friction sway control. I did change out my load bars to the 750lb ones. The ones that came with the hitch that came with the trailer were much heavier. I would say at least 1000lbs. The friction sway control does not provide the restorative moment. Does the restorative moment help or hurt when you are sideways or does it just help to keep you from getting sideways? They say not to use the friction sway system in the rain. I wonder why?

Perry


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Hi Perry,

I'm an engineer as well. In the absence of test data, and with an inability to conduct representative testing what are we left with? Use your engineering judgement and intuition. I know the WD function of the Reese Strait- line works because I've been through the scales. As for the sway control, examine the design. Set up properly it has to offer a restorative moment to the pivot point. I don't know how much, but obviously more than without it.

I watched several set up video's on etrailer.com and read all the manufacturers documentation I could find. I also took Andy's advice and changed my 1200# torsion bars to 800# to more closely match the 700# tongue weight of my Intnl. Cost me $200 but I felt it was worth it. (hitch was AS dealer installed - surprised at how little information they gave me on the hitch, given how vital it is).

Don
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