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Old 08-24-2005, 01:43 AM   #1
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even bambi needs sway control

hi all

while traveling these last 2 weeks i visited a dealer with this on the lot. was purchased from the insurance company and is headed to the factory of moderate repairs........next buyer already waiting for the 05 bambi to be reborn.

story is the unfortunate owner of this bambi was on the maiden trip, heading home from the dealer or was just beginning to use this new trailer. standard ball hitch, towed with 3/4 ton suburban, so big heavy truck and small light trailer.

driver claims road side tire blew but not holes were found in the tire. investigator suspects driver fell asleep and wandered off the shoulder on the inside left lane. awoke and reacted. first trailer swung lide left and hit left rear of subie, then swung wide right and hit right rear of subie, then back to the left when left tire deflated after tire became unseated from rim. then left rear bumber dug into the ground and everything came to a stop.

only injuries were to trailer and suburban.

first pic includes a normal trailer for reference.

it's hard to convey in the photos just how deep the front corners are pushed in. whole interior is a shambles, rear window popped, after left front broke. left side has a wrinkel where the front cap attaches and a small one in the 2/3rd rib. frame looks bent upward in the front only damage to the rear is dragging behind axle and bumper issues.

while a suburban is much bigger that a bambi.....sway control may still be a good idea.

i feel sorry for this airstreamer.

on a related note while at the factory a fellow towing a 16 with a porsche suv was having the disc brake upgrade....his trailer had gotten squirelly during a panic stop.....my feeling was he may have needed a hensley.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:00 AM   #2
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ok here are the photos

had to resize multiple times and by then the edit had expired.....
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:00 AM   #3
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Ouch!

IMHO, the smaller, single-axle trailers need sway control of some description more than the big ones. Probably the only thing that kept a really bad day from being even worse, was the choice of a Suburban as a tow vehicle. If the weights had been more equal, the Bambi would almost certainly have dragged the tow vehicle into a ditch... or oncoming traffic.
You didn't say in your post, but do you know if the former new owner of that coach has another one? And do they now have sway control?
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:24 AM   #4
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I agree. Sway is a must. In addition, though we all know the 3/4 Suburban or any 3/4 truck for that matter can easily handle the hitch weight of a Bambi, I see no weight bars on the A frame of the Bambi in question.

The bars, though not needed for hitch weight, they do add additional rigidity to the connection. I'm not sure a Hensley would have saved this person, but clearly having a Hensley or even a good set of weight bars might have lessened the damage. Though if falling asleep at the wheel was the real cause, then even having the best possible gear, all bets are off.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:24 PM   #5
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I have those large bars that extend from below either side of the hitch ball, and then a taught chain attaches them to the A-frame on the trailer. Remind me, is that sway control or just weight distribution?

I can't recall - and if it's not sway control, I'm not sure how that would be added!
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo
I have those large bars that extend from below either side of the hitch ball, and then a taught chain attaches them to the A-frame on the trailer. Remind me, is that sway control or just weight distribution?

I can't recall - and if it's not sway control, I'm not sure how that would be added!
What you are descrining is weight distribution, although the friction of the bars do offer some minor sway resistance.

Any trailer, at a minimum, should have at least friction sway bars. Better yet, the Reese Dual Cam sway system.

IMHO, a very large proportion of trailer owners do not need to invest in something more such as a a Hensley or Pull-Rite.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:33 PM   #7
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Those bars are....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo
I have those large bars that extend from below either side of the hitch ball, and then a taught chain attaches them to the A-frame on the trailer. Remind me, is that sway control or just weight distribution?
for weight distribution. Weight distribution bars and one or two friction sway bars probably would have prevented this, though I prefer something better like the Equal-i-zer.
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:27 PM   #8
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When I dragged my Excella home I had nothing but a 2 5/16 hitch ball. The trip was 350 km mostly at elevated speeds on large highways (401, 400, 11 ). I even went right into TO on the 401 to get on the 400, with no weight distribution, no brake control, no anti-sway control, not even proper trailer mirrors! The trailer towed surprisingly well, but when transport trucks would blow past me, the truck/trailer would definitely sway. Nothing violent, but certainly unsettling and I could see how it could easily set you up for much bigger problems. Were it not for this forum, I would probably still be rolling the dice and towing my Airstream unequipped like the many SOB's I've seen rollling down the highway this summer. Such as it is I now have a Reese Dual-cam, an electric brake control and slip-on trailering mirrors. The difference with the Reese set-up is astounding. No more white knuckles when getting passed by transports. Worth every cent. P.
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi all



(driver claims)
(investigator suspects driver fell asleep and)
sway control may still be a good idea.

2air'
I suspect there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.
Somehow I really doubt that in this case that sway bars would have made any difference.
The Drivers story was not be supported by the facts.
Investigator suspects something else.

That the Driver lost control on left side of hiway begs many questions,
What was he doing over there. Speeding?? Asleep?? Talking on phone?
Watching TV?

I like many others are sorry for his loss, but This looks to me like (with the limited info available), this is a case of driver error.

Bottom line, keep equipment in top shape, learn how to use it, and slow down!
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:51 PM   #10
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I have towed a 1963 Bambi with a 1977 Plymouth Volare' wagon. I added an extra leaf to the rear springs of the Volare' AND I used a weight-distributing hitch with an Anti-Sway bar. That set-up towed wonderfully.
I will NEVER EVER tow without a W-D hitch AND an Anti-Sway bar.
I tow a 1977 20 foot Minuet now. I use a 2000 GMC Safari AWD. I will not tow without my W-D hitch. The W-D hitch adds an extra measure of rigidity to the whole hitching system.
You have to remember that when you use JUST the ball mount, you have created a towing system that has NOTHING but a 2 5/16" pivot point.
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:23 PM   #11
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hi twink, lou and others


you are correct there was no sway or wd mounted to the a frame. i took close up pics of this area too but didn't want to waste server space. i also looked closely at the tire/wheel and there wasn't any blowout, but the alloy rim was rashed from rolling on the ground.

this poor fellow did what lots of folks do or think they'll do just to get home.

and i've seen alot of posts recently asking the question "can i tow with my......(insert something light, with a short wheel base, or with poor brakes or a unibody) really the engine size is not the main issue with safe towing.

my goal with this post was to remind folks that even getting home from the dealer or taking the first trip can be risky and it is well worth the time, cost and inconvience to properly and fully install a hitch system. wd and sway control are the way to go for all lengths and if the dealer can't provide this find another dealer or have the dealer utilize a local hitch shop.

it one thing to leave a light on or forget stow everything on the maiden voyage....it's another thing entirely to travel with just a ball hitch.

many experience drivers think these gadget are for everyone else. and i agree completely. they are to protect everyone else that in out on the roadways.

sorry for the soapbox.....i'll step down now.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-26-2005, 03:17 AM   #12
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All right, I'm just contemplating my first trip towing the '62 Bambi with the Chevy S-10. Does the fact that I have a brake controller installed on the truck & working brakes on the trailer help me out at all?
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Old 08-26-2005, 05:27 AM   #13
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All right, I'm just contemplating my first trip towing the '62 Bambi with the Chevy S-10. Does the fact that I have a brake controller installed on the truck & working brakes on the trailer help me out at all?
Yes. But the voice of experience here (towing a Argosy 20 with a Ranger) says to make sure you have WD AND sway control. The brake controller can help you if the trailer starts to sway, by applying the trailer brakes manually.
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Old 08-26-2005, 09:10 AM   #14
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hitch

Yes the brake is a must if you value your Bambi. If you are not familar with WD hitches go the yellow pages and find a dealer before you tow you Bambi. Make sure you get some type of sway control. You might be lucky and not have an incident but if you do you want to have everything in your favor.Like being in control instead of being along for the ride. Camping World sells a Reese system for under $300.00.
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