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Old 02-13-2010, 08:24 PM   #57
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Thumbs down abjective denial

If I drove objectively without a Reese, with a Reese and then with a Hensley, would I be as objectional as.....
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:31 AM   #58
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The Nevada DOT publishes a crash book. In 2006, there were 2 TT crashes for 110,000 reported if I recall correctly. That is one reason why basic TT insurance is not expensive. (for the anti measure and anti objective types, that's 2 objective measures)

It should be noted how quickly measure was disputed and objectivity ridiculed when I suggested such attributes were worthwhile in my previous post. That implies that much of this argument is based on emotion and not fact and reason. IMHO, emotion is not a good basis for important decisions.

The towing myths article referred to is a simple report of a customer satisfaction survey. It does nothing but add fuel to the fire of misinformation and emotional distractions.

The Airstream Life article should be good. Thompson got yelled out of several discussions in these forums but he does actually test rigs on a track and writes a number articles for the Canadian RV magazine based on that experience. He is the one that rigs a lot of minivans for towing Airstreams and I think also the source of the VW TDI TV I mentioned earlier.

Again, take a critical look at what is being offered. I'd suggest blanket assertions, defensive replies, ridicule and dismissive comments about reason and fact and measure, lack of qualification and broad generalizations, and other such truck are not going to be useful if effective decision making is your goal.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:51 AM   #59
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Bryan,

Two TT crashes out of 110,000 is hardly statistically significant. But it is still two crashes. It would be interesting to learn what caused the crashes and if the tow vehcile and trailer were connected with a sway hitch. Or, if one or both crashed due to wind. Mark Twain wrote about the Washoe Zephyrs, those blow about five miles from my house in Washoe Valley. Often hurricane force. Many summer evenings a 50 mph wind is for those living here a gentle summer breeze. No hitch can tow safely when the wind is blowing 90+ miles per hour.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:52 AM   #60
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Bryan

I base my facts on MY experience only...you tell me how I should reasonably evaluate my rig any other way.

Your FACTS may just be opinions for others with different experiences.

If that's objectionable to you...sorry.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:10 AM   #61
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My first Airstream towing trip was with an improperly adjusted Reese Dual Cam resulted in a "significant emotional event" early in the trip. The base plate (pivot) for the cam on one side was too far forward and didn't allow the cam to drop into the recess in the torsion bar. As a result, as we got to a speed in the low 60 MPH, a sway event started small but escalated quickly to a severe level with the rear of the trailer swinging violently back and forth . I am still not sure why the rear end of the truck didn't lose traction with a spin/crash. I got off the throttle and grabbed the manual brake lever on the trailer brake controller and applied the trailer brakes. While it seemed like an eternity, in a couple of seconds it was over. I pulled off on the shoulder, looked over the rigging, made the adjustment on the base plate for the cam so that it locked into the torsion bar recess and ever since, safe and secure towing regardless of conditions. In the trailer, many of the drawers and cabinets were open and everything not bolted down was rearranged.

Life is full of factors that we can't control - including all of the other drivers around us as we travel. It just seems prudent to control what we can so we can reduce the risk of accident.

Best wishes to all for safe travels!

Steve, Rene' and Taffy the Wonder Dog
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:23 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by war eagle View Post
My first Airstream towing trip was with an improperly adjusted Reese Dual Cam resulted in a "significant emotional event" early in the trip. The base plate (pivot) for the cam on one side was too far forward and didn't allow the cam to drop into the recess in the torsion bar. As a result, as we got to a speed in the low 60 MPH, a sway event started small but escalated quickly to a severe level with the rear of the trailer swinging violently back and forth . I am still not sure why the rear end of the truck didn't lose traction with a spin/crash. I got off the throttle and grabbed the manual brake lever on the trailer brake controller and applied the trailer brakes. While it seemed like an eternity, in a couple of seconds it was over. I pulled off on the shoulder, looked over the rigging, made the adjustment on the base plate for the cam so that it locked into the torsion bar recess and ever since, safe and secure towing regardless of conditions. In the trailer, many of the drawers and cabinets were open and everything not bolted down was rearranged.

Life is full of factors that we can't control - including all of the other drivers around us as we travel. It just seems prudent to control what we can so we can reduce the risk of accident.

Best wishes to all for safe travels!

Steve, Rene' and Taffy the Wonder Dog
Dang!!! Glad you made it through unscathed, well minus some extra toilet paper .....Be safe.

Shane
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:56 PM   #63
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Thanks Shane - you're right on the extra toilet paper - at the time we were towing with a regular cab short bed 1/2 ton truck which made the situation worse. Even with the hitch set correctly,that combination always had the feeling of the "tail wagging the dog". Picked up a 3/4 ton diesel 3 years ago and changed to lighter torsion bars- much, much better towing experience.

Safe Travels!!!

Steve, Rene' and Taffy the Wonder Dog
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:00 AM   #64
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My problem with this discussion is when I state my opinions, and that is all they are ,my opinions. I am ridiculed and berated for being either ignorant or unsafe. But when I ask for data to back up others opinions I am being unreasonable. I have no problems with conflicting opinions,untill I am malinded for my opinions. I have given my reasons for my opinions,I am not claiming fact as some posters are. If you are claiming facts about sway control I would like more than the seat of your pants feeling. Adios, John
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:49 AM   #65
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John,

Unfortunately the best fact I can supply is of the seat of the pants variety

I have used several brands of hitches over the last 22yrs, and would never consider going back to any of them after using the Hensley Arrow.

It's just a safety/piece of mind thing for me.

The only way to appreciate the improvement that this style hitch has to offer is to actually use one, especially after using other brands for years.
Have never experienced any trailer sway, no matter the cause.

Sorry thats the best I can do...

Stream Safe

Bob
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:38 PM   #66
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I have no problem with anyone's opinion or personal experience. When they elevate that to fact and statistical inference, however, there is a problem. I think we need to be very careful and be aware of our personal bias in responding to questions that are seeking factual answers such as the OP in this thread.

There is a difference between one person's experience and circumstances and rig choices and another's. These differences are why one person's solution may not be appropriate or reasonable or even safe for another.

re "Two TT crashes out of 110,000 is hardly statistically significant. But it is still two crashes. It would be interesting to learn what caused the crashes and if the tow vehcile and trailer were connected with a sway hitch." - The lack of statistical significance is the entire point I was trying to make. If the scare stories here were really a safety issue, then, I'd think, you'd have a lot more crashes in the database by proportion.

One thing that does come through loud and clear in crash statistics is that it is driver lack of attention to the job at hand that is a primary causative factor in crashes.

As for the TT crash causes, you'd have to go look at the actual reports from the incidents because the online crash book only provides statistical summaries. I'd like to see an objective analysis of TT crash data that covers a broader range of time and geography for just the reasons cited. Until I find that sort of report, I have the scare stories such as described in this thread and others to examine, my own experience to consider, what I have been able to find out about theory and practice from discussions and from various published papers and theses, and other factors.

I know well about the Washoe Zephyrs as they influence my routing choices getting to Rallies and I drive past what gets left from such weather at times as well as see the expense the DOT has incurred in warning signs along the road, road cams, roadside weather stations, and PSA's. I note that some folks still think they know better.

There are some pertinent observations that, I think, are worthy of consideration:

For one, what do people do when they are bothered by vehicle instability? They slow down. That implies that slower speeds are a good sway control mechanism.

Some brake controllers had remote controls to make it easy to tap the trailer brakes to reduce instabilities and the idea is still a recommended practice -- Another good sway control mechanism.

What happens in loss of control crashes and what instigates them? One common scenario is the downslope swerve to avoid a road obstacle. Another is the over-correction to a wind gust or similar perturbation. Violent maneuvers are always to be avoided when driving heavy vehicles and avoiding over-correction is a driver training and experience issue. (think about basic driving training for the scenario when a tire goes off the edge of a road as an example).

What I see is that sway may be a contributing factor but not a causative factor in TT crashes. Deficiencies in vehicle handling cause a 'white knuckle' syndrome and that stimulates driver adjustments in either driving habits or equipment changes when needed. Otherwise, the 'sway incident' was a result of an evasive maneuver or extrinsic perturbation which was either handled by driver expertise or beyond any driver compensation.

I find the HAHA threads interesting in terms of driver behavior as well, especially those reports from other drivers observing the owner of such a hitch in gusty or other adverse conditions.

I also see very many sway control devices in hitches that are maladjusted, incorrectly installed, or just placebos. I think more attention needs to be paid to proper rigging and the overall setup. Trailer towing has many facets and no one of them is predominant.

I see confusion between sway as in trailer tail wagging and jack knifing as in towed vehicle folding. I see extrapolations from one to the other and from nominal driver corrections to extreme circumstances that have little to support them. These confusions and making a shoe fit do not lead to good practice, IMHO.

What sway control methods you use will depend upon you, your handling preferences, your rig, and your circumstances. I use a van with a long overhang for a tow vehicle. It needs hitch damping to keep me comfortable. My 'burb didn't, but it did need load leveling. The Gimmy with its short wheelbase was a close call. The pickup has a short overhang and heavy front end with a solid suspension so it is more comfortable (safer) without load leveling or sway control.

Good choices are safer choices and those choices balance many factors with solid knowledge, an understanding of the quality of the measures used, and an assessment of conditions and circumstances. Good choices also means understanding the options that are available and their relative merits. IMHO, we should be working on these concepts rather than trying to foist a 'my solution is your solution' on folks.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:31 PM   #67
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The Nevada DOT publishes a crash book. In 2006, there were 2 TT crashes for 110,000 reported if I recall correctly. That is one reason why basic TT insurance is not expensive. (for the anti measure and anti objective types, that's 2 objective measures)....................................

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Bryan,
In reading your posts it appears you put value in statistical accuracy. In my opinion this particular statistic does not say anything unless one knows how may total vehicle miles were driven and how many TT miles were traveled in that same period.

Ken
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:48 PM   #68
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Bryan,
In reading your posts it appears you put value in statistical accuracy. In my opinion this particular statistic does not say anything unless one knows how may total vehicle miles were driven and how many TT miles were traveled in that same period.

Ken
That would be a good number to know Ken. On the other hand, for the purposes of this conversation (at least as I understand it) it would be more illuminating to know what caused the two wrecks. After all, we are not trying to get at if it is safer to travel with a travel trailer or with another type vehicle. Rather, we wish to ascertain if sway control devices confer additional safety benefits when towing.

For arguments sake, suppose there will be an even 100 travel trailer wrecks nation wide in 2010. If five of them are sway related, then maybe the argument that sway control devices are superfluous would have merit. On the other hand, say 25 of the wrecks were, then it would be a more difficult position to maintain. Even better, would be to compare the rate of loss of control accidents between travel trailer units with properly adjusted sway control devices to those without.

I for one would be very interested to see such data. In particular, I would like to see the major causes of travel trailer accidents once you remove those caused by other drivers. That data would certainly allow all of us to take a more thoughtful look at our safety precautions. So far as I know, that data is not available though.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:34 AM   #69
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re "In reading your posts it appears you put value in statistical accuracy. In my opinion this particular statistic does not say anything unless one knows how may total vehicle miles were driven and how many TT miles were traveled in that same period."

I will take some measure over no measure any time.

I agree that any measure needs a proper interpretation and that the crash statistics do not have qualifiers that would help to better position their value.

What this points out is that one needs to interpret measures properly. Is the measure of better value than the alternatives available? Does it shed some light on what is being measured? What are the limits to its precision and accuracy? Are there other measures that qualify it (e.g. insurance rates).

The point I was trying to make was that crashes involving towing trailers are few and far between, that is all. The inference I made is that this, coupled with insurance rates, implies that towing a trailer is a low risk activity when it comes to traffic crashes. That is in contrast to the scare stories that crop up in topics like this. That contrast needs to be noted by anyone trying to understand the arguments being made as it tends to qualify the integrity of the arguments.

Quote:
I would like to see the major causes of travel trailer accidents once you remove those caused by other drivers. That data would certainly allow all of us to take a more thoughtful look at our safety precautions.
Ditto that. But, until we can actually get such information, I think it is up to all of us to avoid drawing conclusions that are not warranted or, worse yet, spreading snake oil and falsehoods as is so often done in threads on topics like this.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:33 AM   #70
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The point I was trying to make was that crashes involving towing trailers are few and far between, that is all. The inference I made is that this, coupled with insurance rates, implies that towing a trailer is a low risk activity when it comes to traffic crashes.
Ditto that. But, until we can actually get such information, I think it is up to all of us to avoid drawing conclusions that are not warranted or, worse yet, spreading snake oil and falsehoods as is so often done in threads on topics like this.
The point I am trying to make is that the point you are making is not valid. You cannot compare auto statistics with trailer statistics. Every time a trailer is being towed it is at the exact same risk of an accident as the vehicle towing it. Simply by taking up more space, not too mention the other factors, a vehicle is more likely to be involved in an accident when it is towing a trailer. It is my opinion that you are drawing conclusions that are unwarranted and not based on verifiable data. The reason trailer insurance rates are low is because they don't spend much time on the highway. When they are not on the road, they are often covered by other policies. In my case when my trailer is on my property, it is covered by my home owners policy.

When people ask questions about towing, weight distribution, sway control, vehicle and trailer loading it is because they are not experienced enough to know the answers. It is more irresponsible to tell the people that they don't need to use any of the safety equipment or follow the manufacturer's ratings, than it is to error on the other side and use falsehoods and snake oil as you you phrase it. It is especially irresponsible when one is basing the conclusion on invalid data. I see no difference in showing people new to towing pictures of trailer crashes than showing teen drivers pictures of accidents. I am guessing that you don't approve of that either. No one is saying that any of the towing tools is going to keep one from being in an accident, but it logically reduces the chances all else being equal. I seriously doubt there has ever been a case of properly adjusted sway control, weight distribution or proper loading, being the cause of an accident, so recommending that one use it is not going to decrease their safety. however recommending they not use these devices because in your opinion they don't need them is taking on a lot of responsibility for their safety. In my opinion when you are discrediting the people who are recommending them to use safety devices you are in effect telling them it is OK not to use them.

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Ken
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