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Old 05-03-2006, 09:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I've had the dual cam HP now for a few seasons, with several non straight hookups when boondocking in some remote areas that required creative parking. I've never run into any of the issues as described, even with the TV uneven and at an angle. As a matter of fact, I've often thought how easy they are to connect and disconnect, even in the roughest situation I've thrown at them....and to me, they've been as easy as connecting a friction sway control unit, if not easier.
Same here. I had a friction type sway control before, and would never again go back to it. This, at least for me, would rule out the Equal-i-zer if it's anti-sway properties indeed are based on friction alone.
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I've had the dual cam HP now for a few seasons, with several non straight hookups when boondocking in some remote areas that required creative parking. I've never run into any of the issues as described, even with the TV uneven and at an angle. As a matter of fact, I've often thought how easy they are to connect and disconnect, even in the roughest situation I've thrown at them....and to me, they've been as easy as connecting a friction sway control unit, if not easier.
That has been my experience with the Reese Twin Cam also, they do look complex but are easy to use and they
handle superb on the highway IMHO
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:20 AM   #17
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I'm no engineer, just an architect and what little I've studied the two it seems the dual cam would make more sense. The cams and the stirrups would be self straightening where as the friction bars would have the tendency to keep the trailer out of line when it would go out as much as it would keep in line before the sway. If that makes sense. Of course I haven't bought a trailer just yet, but we are getting close so it hasn't been too much of a study issue in the past. Now it is getting to be more of an important subject.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:24 AM   #18
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You're right...

Minnie's Mate, you are not an engineer. I've reread your explanation several times and it doesn't make any sense. Perhaps you could draw a picture to make your ideas more clear.
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:00 AM   #19
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I too have an engineering background, but I wouldn't worry about the friction aspect of the Equal-I-Zer. The Equal-I-Zer "friction" feature is nothing like the add-on friction sway control systems people use with other hitches. It is merely the by-product of the weight distribution arms sliding through their mounting brackets as the the trailer swings to one side or the other behind the tow vehicle. You never have to adjust the friction in any way. In fact, I always put a little grease on the mounting brackets, just to cut down the creaking sounds you get sometimes when making very sharp turns at low speeds.

In about 10,000 miles of towing our 28' CCD (which is right at the top of its allowable weight limit) with an Equal-I-Zer hitch, I have never experienced any hint of sway, even in panic stops or while dealing with brutal Wyoming crosswinds. Something else might provide better sway control, but I can't imagine needing any, at least so far.

Other than cleaning the old grease off, and re-applying new grease from time to time, the hitch has been entirely maintenance and adjustment free. I love being able to hitch at any weird angle between the trailer and the truck, including differing ground slopes. And you don't need to drill any holes in your trailer frame to install one.

Please understand I am in no way denigrating Hensleys or Dual Cams. Just trying to add my experiences with the hitch I've got. So far, I haven't found any downsides to it, but if and when I do, I'll be sure to post them here.
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:22 AM   #20
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I have absolutely no experience with the Equalizer. I have about twenty years of Dual Cam, Reese standard equalizer, and bare-ball towing experiences. FWIW, the Dual Cam's sway control is also friction-based; but in a much different way than a ball-mount friction bar.

I will probably always use a Dual Cam just because I'm used to the setup, and I know how to fine-tune one easily just because I've used them so long and on so many trailers. The one feature I think that makes the Reese Dual Cam superior is that not only does it resist sway, but it is self-centering and causes the trailer to return to a straight position because of the cam saddles.

I have never had any difficulty hitching up the Reese, even under bad angle conditions. The key is having the tongue raised high enough not to have stress on the bars when they're installed, and they'll go on without effort pretty much regardless of hitch angle.

Minnie's Mate; regarding hitch type and heavier trailers... I think that the weight of the trailer itself isn't as important in hitch selection as the trailer weight to tow vehicle weight ratio and (yes, myoung) the tow vehicle's wheelbase. When bad things happen when you're towing, they happen fast. They happen faster and in a less controllable fashion the lighter the tow vehicle and the shorter it's wheelbase in relation to the towed load. So, the larger the towed load in relation to the tow vehicle, the more important it is to have control at the hitch.

In much the same vein as motorcyclists who claim that there are two kinds of riders: those who have crashed, and those who haven't crashed yet, there are similar groups in trailer towing. There are those who have had sway episodes and those who haven't... yet. And there are a few of us who have had more than one severe sway episode over the years from various causes with various towing setups. For folks looking to set their rigs up for optimum control, it's always wise to listen to folks who have had problems and how they fixed them. Folks who haven't yet experienced a severe sway episode are fortunate... but not immune.

Good hitches can mask the true causes of sway until those causes overcome the hitch dynamics and folks find themselves in real trouble. Factors that are equally important and seldom discussed in hitch, brake, and/or sway discussions are tire ratings, and proper pressures, and proper trailer loading all of which are as important if not more important to stable trailer towing than your hitch setup. You always want to make sure all of the factors that contribute to sway are dealt with before you hitch up.

If your trailer is loaded properly, you have an adequately sized tow vehicle, you have the proper rated tires for your load, all of the tires are properly aired up for the load, and if the tow vehicle and trailer are properly engineered and aligned, you more than likely would never need sway control. Altering any one of these is where sway control really helps. Altering two or more of these factors, and it becomes a necessity. Unfortunately few of us have scales at home to weigh for proper balance, and tires can go flat quickly while driving, so sway control is always necessary.

Roger
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:32 AM   #21
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Thanks Roger

Very well said! You get the 'Wordsmith Award' for the day!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:10 AM   #22
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well, maybe you guys have a different dual-cam than I do. seriously...mine is old. how old? I don't know, but perhaps they've improved them since this one was made. It seems to me that all that would have to be done to solve my problem is to make the stirrup an inch or so taller. thats all. and maybe they have, by now.

But take my word for it, when MY rig is cocked much more than 10 degrees, the inner springbar ain't coming out, and it "matters not" how high or low the jack is set. In such a configuration, when the inside bar slides up off the cam, and moves back toward the trailer several inches, the stirrup is simply not tall enough to fold over the end of the spring bar.

as for "just pull forward a few feet"....I don't *have* a few feet. hence my beef.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:35 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmotini
We use the Equal-I-Zer with our 28' CCD.

Jcanavera tows a 30' Classic with slide out with an Equal-I-Zer.
I may be one of the few on the forum who have actually towed with both hitches each with an Airstream. So far I have been very impressed with the Equal-i-zer. When I bought the slide out I felt that it was time to replace the dual cam. Some of its components were over 20 years old so it was time. My dealer gave me a choice of either hitch, and quite honestly his recommendation of the Equal-i-zer was part of the decision process. He noted that many of his Reese customers had noted that they felt that the Equal-i-zer did a superior job in controlling sway.

Unfortunately I have not towed the same Airstream trailer with both hitches so I can't definitively answer the question as to which is better, but so far the Equal-i-zer's performance on the Interstate with trucks and heavy cross winds has been quite outstanding.

Things I like about the Equal-i-zer over the Reese. In odd angle situations (where the tow vehicle and trailer find themselves at extreme angles as noted by Chuck above), I can not get the bar on the inside angle off. With the Reese, if the bar it too far back in the hooped assembly (on the inside of the angle), it's near impossible to remove the bar, which means more back and forth with the trailer and tow vehicle to eliminate the angle.

Secondly I don't like having to deal with the chains. Third, the new dual cam installation was going to require two holes be drilled in the A frame. The old style dual cam many times required modification of the gas bottle tray. The Equal-i-zer required no modifications or drilling.

Things I like about the Reese. The chains give you a lot of fine control regarding the amount of force necessary to raise the trailer to level. The paint finish on the components is superior. Unlike the Equalizer, once the Reese is installed, no further follow up is necessary other than checking the tightness of the snap up saddle (I had one bend once because it wasn't tight). The Equalizer requires an occasional torquing of two nuts to 45 ft lbs which are critical to the friction process. (No adjustment is necessary though due to weather conditions or backing, which is necessary for ball mount type friction controls.)

So really either hitch will give you great sway control and good service. Each manufacturer has their own marketing pitch and their own engineering justification. As I see it at this point and with my experience with both, I'd give a slight edge to the Equal-i-zer, but that edge is on small issues, not the major components of weight distribution and sway control.

Jack
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:40 AM   #24
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This is a dangerous topic. Sway alone calls out the flames and this has the added bait of product comparisons.

From what I can tell, both the DC and the EQ are a step up from the usual friction bar so a performance comparison is close enough to a wash between them to serve only as a point for debate around the campfire. The DC does seem to be a lot more popular in the Airstream community but I think that is because Reese type hitches are such a major player in the basic load leveling hitch market.

For an existing installation with an EAZ lift or other Reese similar hitch, the DC can make an inexpensive add-on. Otherwise, the EQ is about the same overall cost, is simpler to install, and is a simpler mechanism that does not depend upon the tension in the spring bars for its damping.

Both improve handling by means of damping. In this regard they serve a similar function as shock absorbers. (and yes, I think there is a shock absorber type sway control out there)

Those who go for the 'return to center' idea of a DC also seem to go for the idea that sway is an oscillation. These two ideas have a fundamental contradiction that anyone with basic physics understanding should see (what creates an oscillation, Socrates?)

If you are really really worried about sway control, don't see money as worth a worry, and think you can buy your way to safety, then a Pullrite or Hensley is probably the way to go. Otherwise, people like Roger have advise more in line with reality. It always starts and ends with the nut behind the wheel.
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:34 AM   #25
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You know, I should probably add that my current Reese hitch ball mount is the Hi-performance cast head without the little levers, and I use the cast draw bar as well. The load bar ends engage the ball mount differently than the standard ball mount. That may account for the difference in experience with odd-angle hitching as reported by Chuck and Jack. Even at odd angles, if I can get the tongue high enough, I can drop the cam saddle loop and the the load bar will rotate out without problems. I can't ever recall an episode where I couldn't disengage the levelling bar with this current setup.

Roger
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:58 AM   #26
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Sway vs. Oscillation?

Bryan, please elaborate on the differences between sway and oscillation.

If sway is not an oscillation, then what is it? An oscillation is when an external force strikes something and starts it vibrating. One example I did was in college with a rotor blade off a Huey, and if you hit it in the right place with the right force, you can set up a harmonic and the thing will keep on shaking for a long time.

I would envision the truck and trailer setup as a flexible coupling, just like the rotor blade off the Huey. When a Kenworth goes by at 100 you have a force striking the middle of this flexible coupling which would induce oscillations in a side to side manner, which people commonly call sway. At least, that is what I thought sway was in this sense.

Am I incorrect here

Is sway, as discussed in trailer towing terms, more to do with tires flexing and changing their steering slip angles such that, say, the top of the trailer leans right after a force strikes it so that flexes the tires and makes the unit want to steer left independantly of the tow vehicle, and it does to a degree but then the tow vehicle resists it, and now the top of the trailer then swings left over center due to inertia, now flexing the tires the other way, causing it to steer right, and the cycle repeats. Is that what you guys are talking about as sway?

I would see the first description as definitley an oscillation, the second is not. I am not sure what is going on here. I think maybe a combination of the two?

I have a dual cam on my Airstream. I've also pulled it with just the ball. It pulled fine both ways. But I've done a lot of looking at many of them. I think Hensley has it fundamentally right by design and are superior to all others. Will I pay $3K for one? Probably not. But their basic design is head and shoulders better than all others. Their angles project the steering center forward just like the A-arm angles on a car project the roll center below ground level. So when you project the steering center to somewhere around or ahead of the differential, you've just used physics to beat the problem hands down and it pulls like a fifth wheel. It is an excellent concept. They just need to sell for 1/3 the price.

All that being said, like others have echoed above, the best sway control is between the driver's ears.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:40 PM   #27
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Jim,

You are correct that oscillation is caused by tire slip angles. Without a slip angle, the mathematics of oscillation are not solvable.

Generally, if a trailer/tow vehicle combination will correct (damp) the oscillation within two cycles, it is considered to exhibit satisfactory recovery charactertics*.

All the methods discussed here and previously are ways to increase the damping rate. Those methods are:

1. center of gravity forward of axle (proper hitch weight)
2. forward hitch location (minimize rear overhang)
3. hitch towing angle constraint spring (DC or EQ)
4. equalizing hitch, in so far as it allows the CG to be further forward
5. tires with high cornering stiffness

*W. Korn, "Travel Trailer Design and Construction - How It Relates to Towability." SAE SP-259, January 1965
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:32 PM   #28
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Wow

Hey,

You guys just sent me back a few decades and put me right in the middle of physics class at engineering school. I'm always amazed at the quality and caliber of the discussions on this forum!!
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