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Old 07-28-2009, 09:28 PM   #15
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I'm glad my original post did't bring too many arguments. If I ever were to be involved in an accident I'm sure i would have a whole lot of " ifs" to ponder. I have been towing as long as I have been driving. Not as much as some but more than others. We lost our 23' Thor Lite when Katrina came through. It was about the same weight as our 23' Safari with dual axles as well. Towing the Thor with out anti sway was out of the question. I actually bent the rod trying to get as much out of it as
i could and was thinking of getting another anti sway to alleviate the swaying problems. Now my AS on the other hand did not sway once. Not even a little bit.
I'm not defending my set up, I just feel that I am well within my towing limitations with my GMC half ton that the anti sway isn't really benefitting me.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:44 PM   #16
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Reasonableness test

This is another clear example of we can do versus what we should do. It isn't very complicated in this instance. We can tow without wd bars and without sway control. For that matter you hardly can tell, from how it tows, whether the safety chains and breakaway cable are attached. Like Bryan says, in the absence of evidence, why make arguments one way or the other?

Why not test for propane leaks with a match, like many before us have successfully done? Why not tow with over-loaded axles like many before us (and many among us, apparently) have done? Why not drive as fast as all the other Interstate Highway traffic, although oem trailer tires are only rated to max of 65 mph? A far better question is, what risks are reasonable compared to the consequences, regardless of how low you might estimate the probability of occurrence.

The reason to make the argument for wd and sway control is because you increase your chances of avoiding an unnecessary failure. However low the probability of a loss of control of your rig, the wd bars increase steering control for the tow rig and sway control reduces the severity of trailer sway.

You sure can tow without these. You can tow without mirrors too. And you will be fine until stuff happens. Then you can explain to the opposition as well as to your own counsel why you thought this was reasonable. And you will not have a defensible position. And no, I cannot provide evidence this is what will happen to you. It is clearly in my best interests to mitigate my risks, within reason.

One small caveat -- having dual-cam wd/sway control doesn't mean you have an acceptable towing set-up. I towed a 2005 31 Classic behind a Super-Duty 250 for 2,500 miles last year. It was the scariest setup I've towed -- realized later the owner had moved all his gear into the trailer's rear bedroom before I picked the trailer up.

The Airstream was apparently tongue-light. Every time I crested a hill the trailer would start dancing back and forth behind me. I was then reaching for the brake controller and pushing a little on the gas pedal. And puckering big-time. The Airstreamer behind me asked me what the h I was doing up there. I mentioned it to him and he has since made adjustments to his "storage" and improved his trailer's stability.

We each need to know the right selection and application of safety gear for our rigs. It won't be the same for everyone: our rigs, weights, tires, hitches all vary. Make the best selections you can, and use them in the most reasonable way you can. But should you? All the safety gear in the world is worthless unless applied and used the right way.

Sure, you can go light on this stuff, just as you can tow far faster than the speed rating on ST tires. In fact, I just remembered a relevant story -- as police raided a ninth floor dorm room at a college campus the student backed up quickly and fell or jumped through the window. And he survived the landing. He probably isn't the only person to have survived such a fall, either.

Some would argue we could base tow gear decisions upon the successes mentioned in some of the above posts (about successfully towing without customary safety gear). Then couldn't we as reasonably argue it is probably safe and survivable to jump out of a ninth floor window? Doesn't sound reasonable to me, thanks anyway. I'm consistently using the weight distributing and sway control equipment for my rig (and the safety chains and breakaway switch too, btw).
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by aaumpine View Post
Hello all,
My first trip in our 1973 23' Safari was a 1000 mile round trip. I was amazed at how well it towed. I have new axles and tires which were all used for the first time. The Safari tracked perfectly. I had 750 lb weight distribution bars that I really thought I could do with out. The anti sway bar was loose on my way to Arkansas. On the way home I did not use it at all. I felt no difference.
How many Streamers out there are using anti sway bars and distribution hitches if they are not needed?
Oh, I tow with a 2000 GMC Ext.cab.
Aaron
No W/D or antisway, not a recomendation for or against.I just don't feel the need. Nor do I feel I am endangering innocent women and children.Adios, John
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:18 AM   #18
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Sure you can drive without anti-sway. And sure you can drive just as well withiout wearing a seat belt.

It's when bad things happen that you need those things, whether you feel the difference or not. I rather spend a little and stay away from badness, although I do agree that a little common sense and how you drive is probably more important, but a little help doesn't hurt.
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:53 AM   #19
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My theory is: if there's no major evidence for or against, and the item in question (WD bars, anti-sway, seat belts) isn't an unreasonable additional cost, then why not? Why skip on something for a few hundred dollars that was designed to protect your vehicle and trailer, which cost tens of thousands of dollars?

It seems silly (and arguably negligent) to skip that last bit of extra insurance that could avoid an accident.
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Old 08-01-2009, 03:25 AM   #20
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What I have noticed;

Sway control on those windy days does make a difference or when a tractor trailer passes you at 75 mph and you are only doing 60.

Normal driving you really don't notice the anti sway since it isn't doing anything.

For weight distribution I set it up so there is no TV rear end drop and some weight is transfered to front end. If your rig sits level you may not need it!

Garry
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:36 AM   #21
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False sence of security

Quote:
I just feel that I am well within my towing limitations with my GMC half ton that the anti sway isn't really benefitting me.

No W/D or antisway, not a recomendation for or against.I just don't feel the need. Nor do I feel I am endangering innocent women and children.
WDH/anti sway device: Without a doubt it will add a huge safety margin to your rig. For the price it is a bargain.
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:06 AM   #22
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I just purchased a 2009 Honda Ridgeline, which will be used to tow a 2008 AS 16' International. The owner's manual does not recommend the use of a weight distribution hitch because "an improperly adjusted weight distribution hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."

Now I'm REALLY confused!
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:37 AM   #23
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I just purchased a 2009 Honda Ridgeline, which will be used to tow a 2008 AS 16' International. The owner's manual does not recommend the use of a weight distribution hitch because "an improperly adjusted weight distribution hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."

Now I'm REALLY confused!
It is just a disclaimer. Install and adjust it properly and you are good to safely go.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:10 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by aaumpine View Post
Hello all,
My first trip in our 1973 23' Safari was a 1000 mile round trip. I was amazed at how well it towed. I have new axles and tires which were all used for the first time. The Safari tracked perfectly. I had 750 lb weight distribution bars that I really thought I could do with out. The anti sway bar was loose on my way to Arkansas. On the way home I did not use it at all. I felt no difference.
How many Streamers out there are using anti sway bars and distribution hitches if they are not needed?
Oh, I tow with a 2000 GMC Ext.cab.
Aaron
Define "needed". I think you're on very thin ice here. First, your hitch receiver is likely a class III that is only rated for 500 lbs dead weight; 1,000 lbs WITH weight distribution. Second, sway control is only necessary when the trailer initiates a sway episode. There are two kinds of folks who tow trailers. Those who have never had a sway episode, and those who have and swear it will never happen to them again. Ignorance is bliss. And third and last, weight distribution and sway control are required equipment by law in many states. If you choose to be cavalier about the equipment with which you tow, I suggest you check each state you'll be travelling through. Here is Iowa's law:

Quote:
321.430 Brake, hitch and control requirements.

3. Every trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer of a gross weight of three thousand pounds or more shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle when operated on the highways of this state. Every trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer with a gross weight of three thousand pounds or more shall be equipped with a separate, auxiliary means of applying the brakes on the trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer from the cab of the towing vehicle, or with self-actuating brakes, and shall also be equipped with a weight equalizing hitch with a sway control. (emphasis added)
Note that it says "Every trailer" and there is no reciprocity for vehicles from jurisdictions where this equipment may not be required.

I believe that your weight distribution and sway control equipment is "needed".

Roger
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:31 AM   #25
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How does the weight-equalizing hitch with sway control work on an 18 wheeler?
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:29 PM   #26
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I know this is subjective, but when we picked up the trailer with the Equalizer WD hitch installed by the dealer, to me the trailer towed fine, never swayed. The front end of the truck seemed a little high. After about a year, the front end of the trailer was down a little.

This year I went through the agony of figuring out how the hitch worked and how it should be adjusted. Seems the dealer had done an awful job of adjusting the hitch and there was little or no WD. So, after several hours of tinkering, I did get it right. Now it tows better because it feels better. My wife has driven it too and agrees it feels better. Before it felt fine, now it feels better. Until you've done it both ways, you won't know how it feels with an improvement.

So, maybe we feel better because we want to believe my adjustments were correct. It isn't subjective that the truck is much more level than before and so is the trailer.

Now the rear axles of the truck aren't overloaded, the front end of the truck has a little better steering control and braking, the front axle of the trailer isn't taking more weight than the rear one—so WD is, to me, important. I've never noticed any sway. I don't know if there would be sway without the anti-sway function of the hitch. With a heavy cross wind I can feel the truck being buffeted and have to turn the steering wheel slightly to compensate, but the trailer appears to track perfectly. Seems to me it's a good idea to dampen any sway should it become a problem. It also gives me confidence which is good, but also nonquantifiable.

When we see a trailer swaying down the road we always look to see if they have WD hitch. They never do.

Gene
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:45 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Airstreamer67 View Post
How does the weight-equalizing hitch with sway control work on an 18 wheeler?
This is the subsection that deals with weight distribution and trailer brakes... weight distribution and sway control are not necessary on a tractor-trailer combination in Iowa, and that's dealt with specifically in an earlier subsection.

The Code of Iowa isn't always the best written document in the world, but it works... the bottom line is that travel trailers operated on the highways of Iowa with a GVWR of over 3,000 lbs are required to have brakes, a separate brake controller, a weight distribution hitch and sway control.

Other states are undoubtedly similar.

Roger
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:27 PM   #28
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This year I went through the agony of figuring out how the hitch worked and how it should be adjusted. Seems the dealer had done an awful job of adjusting the hitch and there was little or no WD. So, after several hours of tinkering, I did get it right. Now it tows better because it feels better. My wife has driven it too and agrees it feels better. Before it felt fine, now it feels better. Until you've done it both ways, you won't know how it feels with an improvement.

Gene
Thnxs Gene for this key statement. How many other combinations are there out there that are in need of fine tuning. I would bet many.
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