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Old 10-13-2011, 09:18 PM   #225
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Yeah, you are supposed to loosen them in the rain. If they lost their friction, you wouldn't be advised to loosen them. They allegedly stick and cause the trailer tires to lose traction in turns and come around. I have problems with that claim too. I drove 10s of thousands of miles with one pulling a pop up and, later, a 5500# SOB. They popped and creaked when wet...but never a handling issue. I think many folks have them cranked down way too tight.

I always only tightened just enough to stop semi "push", which isn't really very tight. Rain was OK with this setup.

BUT, it really is a Mickey Mouse setup. Don't go there except with very light trailers, like pop ups. IMEO
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:19 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Granted the pickup may not do that well in the slalom but it is the combination that counts. 4x4 trucks have a higher than necessary COG and that hurts them. A truck also has mass and that is going to control the trailer better when it starts to wag. A truck is great at holding a straight line and that is what we want. I don't have a 4X4 because the one time in two years you really need it you have to put up with all the down sides the rest of the time.

Panic braking is responsible for a lot of accidents trailer or not. If you are not moving in a straight line when you lock up the brakes or even hard braking you are in for trouble. I know not to push my pickup hard in the rain because it has no traction and it will break loose in a heart beat.

Perry
You make my argument for me, from the other side of the mirror.

As to stability: Once one is past 4,000-lbs and 120" wheelbase the "advantage" of the size/mass curve flattens out. No appreciable return for increasing it. It only adds -- as above -- a brief extension of time in sway resistance. Not enough to bolster the argument significantly when other changes (suspension type and COG location) add more (and do so with less weight). The time advantage is not to the truck when there is a more elegant solution that undercuts it.

Panic braking? Which will stop faster? The sedan with 4 big discs, or a current Chevrolet truck with disc/drum?

It is the combination that counts. Size/mass can make a situation worse is what ought to be considered.

A truck is a good TV for some fulltimers, and for those who need it otherwise (business-deductible expense being the difference between "need" and "want"). That does not make it the ideal TV otherwise.

Same for WDH with anti-sway. Some hitch rigging set-ups are far better than others. Anything that has to loosened for slick road surfaces is no better than a doorstop. A second-tier, sway-resisting Dual Cam or the lesser Equal-I-Zer are, IMO, the least one should consider. A sway-eliminating hitch (for practical purposes of speaking) such as a ProPride takes the it to state-of-the-art.

.
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:33 AM   #227
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Swayed violently out of control.

Hi, this is the same old debate, and you will never get everyone to agree with anyone. My trailer is seven years old and has been towed in rain, wind, and snow. And on concrete, asphalt, dirt, ice, snow, and gravel. In 100 + temps and in zero temps. My trailer has been towed for many thousands of miles through all of the Western States, several times, and recently though Canada and Alaska. It has also been from Sea level to over 10,000 feet elevation. I can honestly say that "My trailer only swayed, violently out of control, once, and that was when it was parked in my driveway during a 5.0 Earthquake." Buy whatever makes you feel good/safe and don't criticize other peoples choices.

If you want to see and read where we have been, read our thread. "Bob and Lee's random trip."
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:58 AM   #228
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Sway isn't the only consideration. Never has been.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:56 AM   #229
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I expect you are going to see the most benefit with the small vehicles and big trailers.

Let's try another way of looking at it:

Which can get through the slalom faster: a pickup truck or a sedan?

If the trailer is an A/S it'll be faster behind the sedan.

If weight and size were the determinant we'd pull 40' park trailers, wouldn't we? But they've poor performance, to say the least. High COG, non-existent aero, etc, etc. However, it's weight makes it resistant to problems . . and then it isn't.

So why should the TV be any different?

Most folks tend to think the trailer is the weak link . . but reality is that a high COG, crudely-suspended TV is or can be more of a problem.

Greater TV weight only delays problem onset for a moment longer. A lower COG TV with better suspension doesn't run into the same problems . . and if it does, is better able to move on down the road without incident. Incidents -- tripping hazards especially -- that will upset the larger TV.

Folks also tend to believe that a 5'er is more stable. The high COG and huge sail area are not overcome as a huge disadvantage. A TT with a VPP hitch replicates the 5'er hitch advantage, and an A/S is far better able to negotiate problems a 5'er never could. Run rings around it, in fact.

Any TV performs better with a VPP. But it will be the (worst case) 4WD pickup that benefits the most.

A/S? Travel at high speed!
Pickup? Travel at slow speed!

The potential performance margin is reduced by the choice of an inferior performing TV (for our actual travel speed matters little given reasonable prudence).

The safest trailer for the worst performing vehicle -- a pickup -- is an Airstream. Be a good idea to have the best hitch while one is about it.

.

I would like to see any data that a one ton 4x4 dually crewcab long bed pickup is not as safe as a tow vehicle as a burb excrsion or anythng else. Most delivery guys that take the new trailers from the factory to the dealers use pickups and I would suspect would use another tow vehicle if it worked better.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:16 AM   #230
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I know how wet brakes work, and the friction anti sway bar does not work like that. If it did, it wouldn't matter if you used it in the rain.

The thing sticks when it's wet. Brakes loose their effectiveness when they get wet. If you had actual experience with one of these sway control systems, you would know that.
Your personal experience may not be the same as what someone else experienced, and especially on a brand "X" friction sway control, that is no longer on the market.

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Old 10-14-2011, 10:01 AM   #231
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Well Sean you could start by testing your hitch compared to on the ball towing and that might get the ball rolling. If you have data to support your claims about added stability then maybe you can shame the others into doing the same or at least take their customers.

You could do slalom tests with and without your hitch. You could also do wet braking tests and intentional skid tests. You could start with a used SOB trailer and get some test parameters down and then use other trailers like Airstreams. I would also have a small tow vehicle and large one. I expect you are going to see the most benefit with the small vehicles and big trailers. What happens when you start a skid? Does the hitch help or hurt. Does it prevent the onset of skid or oscillation?

Perry


Would you, or a majority of people, believe ME if I published that data?

What do you think a company the size of Reese would do if that data took hold in the market? Do you think they would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise how it isn't necessary and BRAND that information in thousands of dealer minds? Oh, wait, they already do...

What if Reese, at one point in time, licensed the patents for a pivot point projection hitch and decided it cost too much for them to manufacture and sell through their network of dealers all while admitting how well it actually worked?

Tow vehicle size has nothing to do with measuring the trailer swaying. The trailer will sway with a large tow vehicle or small tow vehicle with equal inputs into the trailer. The difference is the counteracting forces to control the sway. Larger tow vehicles produce more force (i.e.- suspension, wheel base, etc.) to counteract trailer sway. Of course, the problem with that is that by the time the larger tow vehicle driver feels the sway the forces may be too great to control.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:15 AM   #232
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Listen to Andy from Inland RV. He's given me superb advice, and much appreciated.

As to your question "Do I need sway control?"

Answer: Does the Pope need to be Catholic?
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:38 AM   #233
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Discussions on sway, sway control, hitching, towing capacities, and what tow vehicle/trailer combinations elicit strong opinions anywhere, and there's a lot of misinformation coming from all sides. Another forum I frequent has an admin who's been in a bad crash who dispenses unrealistically conservative towing advice, RV dealers dispense unrealistically liberal towing advice to make a sale, and so on.

While I don't claim to have all the answers, I have a background in physics and engineering and have towed various trailers for many years. I would like to address a few mistaken notions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
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.
I don't think that's true for the combinations we typically discuss. With sufficiently adverse initial conditions, even a small trailer behind a 3/4 ton truck can result in out-of-control sway. Susceptibility to sway is not a yes or no question. Sure, some rigs are inherently more stable than others, but it's a relative thing, not an absolute one.

Quote:
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.
While you obviously can and will make your own choices I think this is bad advice for others to follow. Your "stable combination" may present some surprises if you're going down a steep grade in a crosswind. All the more if you speed up without realizing it, overtake or are overtaken by a large vehicle, or have to make an emergency braking or steering maneuver. Any of these would be exacerbated by a partial or complete trailer brake failure, or an inexperienced operator. (Many sway accidents occur when circumstances require a brother, sister, girlfriend, etc to drive because the usual driver can't for one reason or another)

Quote:
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.
Friction sway systems are better than nothing. If it is badly rusted and tends to bind, replace the friction bar. They cost less than a tank of gas.

Quote:
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.
Friction sway systems, even if badly adjusted or misapplied, do not make sway worse. A binding or overtightened friction sway system will cause excessive tire wear and erratic steering but will not cause sway.


Quote:
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.
To begin with, your basic physics will tell you that a simple driven oscillator, if overdamped, is stable, insofar as the oscillation amplitude will not increase substantially beyond that of an ideally damped system.

But the grand fallacy here is that basic physics doesn't apply because the trailer/tow vehicle system does not behave like a simple driven oscillator. It's a complex system of coupled oscillators with diverse driving forces. While there are many ways to consider sway, a swaying combination is best understood as the instability that results from the rear wheels of the tow vehicle being pushed out of the direction of travel by the lateral force of the trailer tongue when the angle at the ball is other than 180 degrees.

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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
While it is true that Airstreams are more stable, there are two other fallacies at work here. Most SOBs combinations with proper hitch rigging are more stable than most Airstream combinations without weight distribution or sway control.

The other fallacy is that the lesser stability of SOBs has little to do with the height of the center of mass (i.e. that they are top heavy). The reduced stability is because of the higher wind load in a crosswind due to their height and shape, and to a lesser extent because they generally lack shock absorbers which, if present, provide at least a little control of lateral roll.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:04 PM   #234
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Dunno, would RVIA be interested in that? NHTSA perhaps? IIHS maybe? Somebody will have to probably force the issue for all to participate.
The politics of trailer safety on the highways are complex:

1) Statistically the major trailer safety problem from a standpoint of fatalities and serious injuries is separation of the trailer from the tow vehicle. These far outnumber sway accidents because they can occur with the many trailers that have a small enough wind area that sway isn't a major problem, such as boat trailers, flatbeds, small utility trailers, and the like, and because they can easily lead to fatalities even at low speeds. The NHTSA and state regulators have been focusing their trailer safety initiatives in this area by making V-5 standards mandatory and broadening the scope of laws mandating breakaway brakes.

2) The broader RV industry now sees bumper-pull travel trailers as an economy product for highly cost sensitive buyers. Airstream is the only manufacturer producing a travel trailer that is not low end. SOBs see 5th wheel hitches as the solution to trailer sway and have no interest in doing something that will push up the cost of their low end products and price some of their buyers out of the market.

3) No RV manufacturer makes or distributes hitches or sway control products. This is an effective legal strategy to avoid product liability for the combination of the hitch and trailer, and they are unlikely to abandon it.

4) The percentage of the automotive fleet that could conceivably pull a travel trailer is declining with renewed focus on fuel economy. The CAFE standards will accelerate this trend. I think this will accelerate the trend towards 5ers with dedicated tow vehicles large enough to be exempt from CAFE as well as the trend towards inexpensive class Cs.

5) Again looking at buyer demographics most TTs are sold to buyers who do not travel long distances with them limiting the statistical exposure to sway hazards.

My two cents
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:22 PM   #235
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Not going to get caught in this debate (I have long ago solidified my opinion).

But I read where gun owners do hard time because they did not exercise what society thinks are safe and acceptable means to secure their weapon(s), and as a result some child found the firearm and killed someone.

So, if a person fails to take every reasonable precaution to tow safely, as determined by the courts, and they cause a fatality, are they liable for manslaughter (especially if it can be proven they have read the arguments contained in this thread)? I could see a good lawyer finding this thread…

I mean - really, for a person to die because of bad judgment on their part its one thing, but to take the life of someone else is another…

Regardless of what I think, a question each of us might want to think about is: how would the courts in your state, or the state(s) in which you tow, rule in this situation (where someone was killed because someone else’s RV swayed out of control having no standard sway control device in use)?
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:45 PM   #236
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Regardless of what I think, a question each of us might want to think about is: how would the courts in your state, or the state(s) in which you tow, rule in this situation (where someone was killed because someone else’s RV swayed out of control having no standard sway control device in use)?
Liability, years ago, was just another one of "those" words in a dictionary.

Today, liability is almost on the front of daily newspapers.

All to many attorney's today, grasp at the smallest of straws and make mountains out of them.

And it seems, that todays courts, for the most part, will go along with those attorney's.

Courts today, have little tolerance for "I dodn't know or I didn't think so" answers.

In spite of what a given person may think or believe, we are all responsible for our actions, or lack of them as the case may be.

If indeed, a person took all the necessary steps according to industry standards, and hurt someone else because of a loss of control accident while towing a trailer, they would at least have a bonafide realistic defendable position.

Accidents do happen when no one is really at fault.

But, when one is at fault, look out.

All RV'ers don't practice safety, but should.

Someday, just maybe..................

Andy
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:18 AM   #237
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Has anyone checked into accidents involving travel trailers to see how many had equalizer and or sway control verses those that had one or the other or none at all?
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #238
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Personally, I don't use either a sway control system or a weight distributing hitch; neither feels necessary with our F250 4x4 crewcab and 1971 Tradewind. We do a few thousand miles a year with our Airstream, and towing is simple and quiet. I did add Ride Rite air springs to the back of the truck; this has allowed to me to both keep the truck level and greatly reduced pitching on hobby-horse roads.

When I replaced the axles (thanks Andy) I fitted the Kodiak disc brakes; these work very well as the truck and trailer stop at least as well as the truck by itself; the fade resistance is very nice on those long 10% downgrades when second gear won't hold 'er back.

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