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Old 10-23-2003, 08:21 PM   #1
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Reese Friction Control or Dual Cam?

I'm in final negotiation for an '04 22' Safari. This forum has been a tremendous help with advice. Here's one more question: The dealer will install a Reese hitch, but he recommends a friction sway control rather than a dual cam setup "because of hitch weight considerations."

I'm not sure what that means. The discussions here and elsewhere suggest that the dual cam setup is very popular. On the other hand, I'm not interested in purchasing more hitch than I need.

Hitch weight for the unit w/o options is 480 lbs. GVWR is 5,600 lbs.. I'll tow it with a 2000 Tahoe with 5.3L engine, 3.73 rear end and towing package.

Any advice on the proper sway control will be appreciated.
Don
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Old 10-23-2003, 08:45 PM   #2
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sway control

I believe both units operate on the basis of friction. I have the dual cam. If you read the instructions and fine print on the Reese friction bar that mounts on just one side it recommends disconnecting the unit in slippery, icy etc conditions. To me this is where you may need it the most and to have to get out of the vehicle to disconnect in those conditions or predict that you'll encounter them and not use the system is a waste of $. Might as well take the $, pay the incremental and get a dual cam.
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:09 PM   #3
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Reese Friction Control or Dual Cam?

Greetings Don!

I have used the Reese setup with the Friction Sway Control, and switched to the Dual Cam for greater peace of mind as well as less aggravation.

When I purchased my first RV in 1980, I was advised that the Dual Cam System was over-priced for what it offered and believed my dealer (Brand X). It was a true nightmare towing with that friction sway control - - it was constant stopping to either increase or decrease the tension control - - if it started to rain - - decrease the tension - - if truck traffic increased or wind speed/direction changed - - increase tension; and finally, always get out and remove before backing up (managed to bend one nearly in two when backing into a tight camp site on two different trips when I forgot to remove the bar). I was determined to switch to the Dual Cam system after the first year, but a different dealer advised that it was not suitable for trailers under 4,000 pounds (my rig was just a little over 3,000 pounds).

There was no question in my mind when I purchased my '64 Overlander (26' and just under 6,000 pounds loaded with 750 pounds hitch weight) that it would have the Reese Dual Cam system. It has been a true pleasure to tow with any tow vehicle that I have owned - - once adjusted for the particular tow vehicle/trailer combination there is no more adjustment necessary unless there is a significant change in trailer loading or tow vehicle stance.

When I purchased my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre (20 feet and 3,100 pounds loaded with a hitch weight just a little more than 500 pounds), I was still under the impression that the Dual Cam System was not suitable for a trailer under 3,000 pounds so adopted the friction unit as an "adequate" substitute. After one trip, I was ready for the ease of the Dual Cam System so contacted Reese engineering directly and was advised that the Dual Cam System will work with lighter trailers so long as the trailer had at least 400 pounds of hitch weight. Since my Minuet typically has 500 pounds plus hitch weight, I switched to the Dual Cam System for the Minuet as well, and am totally satisfied with the performance.

The one thing that I have learned with this setup is that it is VERY sensitive to having weight distribution bars that are well matched to the hitch weight. For my Overlander, I utilize 800 pound bars; and for the Minuet, I utilize 500 pound bars when towing with the Suburban and 600 pound bars when towing with the Cadillac.

Since my tow vehicles have always been heavier vehicles with large block V8 engines, I have never had any misgivings about towing either of my trailers with this setup. I know that many prefer the newer technology; but I am totally satisfied with the Dual Cam setup for my tow vehicle/trailer combination.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:13 PM   #4
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OTOH

I just spent about 8000 miles towing in all kinds of weather with a Reese friction bar on a 22' International and never varied the adjustment. This included a storm with 75 mph gusts 90 degrees to the road. I think you will find that most folks set them and forget them and have absolutely no problems doing so.

I was going to use a dual cam on my new 25', but after towing it home in a stiff crosswind with the old hitch and no sway bar, I have decided to stick with the friction bar.
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:19 PM   #5
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Don,
I can't tell you much about the Dual Cam, because I've never used it. However, i do have a friction sway conrol, and whole heartedly agree with Kevin on the practicality issues with it.
I am still unsure if it works with me or against me. Sometimes there is no sway, other times it seems to not help at all to stop sway, once I forgot to tighten the lever on it, drove off, had no to very little sway. Then at the filling station, noticed the loose lever, tightened it and never noticed a difference towing on the same highway, same wind, same trucks etc....
I don't experience much rain, snow or ice around here, so I can't even relate to that. I'd say go for the dual cam, lots of owners swear by it. The friction bar is still a mystery to me.
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:39 PM   #6
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Reverse with friction control...

Howdy all,

I took delivery on my 2004 Safari 28 W last weekend and although I asked for Reese Dual Cam and a Prodigy controller (according to the forum gurus), I ended up getting a Reese Friction control and a Voyager (didn't realize it until the end of the walk-through; too much info all at once...).

Never having driven a RV (besides a pop-up) much less a 44 ft rig (Suburban 1/2 ton, 5.3L, 4.10) and a 28' A/S, one could say I was a little intimidated. And, BTW, I had to drive it from Denver to western Colorado over two 10,000 ft plus passes on I-70!

Surprisingly, it was pretty uneventful. Not having felt sway before, I don't think I felt any even when the occasional semi passed me. At times, I almost forgot the A/S was behind me. The Voyager brake controller did just fine down the 7% long grades.

From the sounds of the majority of the forum members, I feel that I might have picked up "second-class" equipment. But for a newbie, everything seems to be working just fine...for now.

What's the deal with friction control and going in reverse?! You mean, I have to remove the friction control bar? No one at the dealer told me that.

Thank
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
What's the deal with friction control and going in reverse?! You mean, I have to remove the friction control bar? No one at the dealer told me that.
If you're careful and don't jacknife the trailer, it works just the sme in reverse as it does going forward. I tension mine when I put the bar on and leave it that way, rain or shine. I have done the same for about 15 years now.

Sway is about 99% caused by inappropriate driver responses to normal movements of the trailer due to crosswinds, big trucks, etc.
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Old 10-24-2003, 06:13 AM   #8
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i'm with john on this one.

all i have ever used is friction control. just like the ronco infomercial, set it and forget it!

never bent it either, and i have to do some pretty tricky manuvering to get my trailer to it's parking spot in the back yard.

i wonder if those of you out there bending up sway controlers have the mounting points properly placed, there are very specific instructions in the reese paper work.

as john stated, i have had similar experiance in over ten years of use.

i've used it on a couple of other trailers, including a 31 foot airstream and a 30 foot wells cargo 10,000 lb car hauler. no sway on either of these.

i believe the key to success is in the initial setup.

john
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:24 AM   #9
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Anti-sway towing equipment is really a mixed bag. What works well for some doesn't work so well for others. A lot of it just depends on what type of tow vehicle you have. As far as the friction sway goes, I have used one on almost every trailer I have had over the last 15 years and never bent one by backing up with it in place. Currently I pull my Overlander with an E-350 regular length van with just the DualCam. Originally, I had the friction sway on as well at first but found that it prevented the proper operation of the DualCam, seemed like it didn't want to straighten out on the open road, I was constantly correcting the wheel so I assume it was the cams popping in and out in reaction to the binding caused by the friction sway. The jury is still out on this but I do know that once I loosened the friction sway completely the rig started behaving, any other thoughts??

Yes, maybe considering the amount of money some may have invested in their rigs they should at least get a DualCam, maybe even go as far as springing for a Hensley??
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:40 AM   #10
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figure that 80% of the rigs on the road with some form of sway control are using friction bars because that is usually the default at most dealerships.

This tells me that the friction bar works well enough to keep most folks happy.

The Dual Cam is intended to be an add-on to the most common load equalizing hitches and is reported to provide better handling than the friction bar.

What intrigues me is why I don't see the Equal-i-zer hitch mentioned on about the same frequency as the DC. Its handling is on a par and it is reasonably popular and in about the same price range.

Then there's the Blue Ox, Pullrite, and Hensley ...
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:36 AM   #11
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Chas,
When I towed with my Dodge B350, I had the same sensation you mentioned that the rig would not want to straighten out quite right. Constantly correcting via steering input. The Dodge was a wee bit tuchy on the adjustments of the hitch, perhaps due to the extreme overhang of the rear, as it was an extended van. It did, however, teach me a lot on hitch setup, it just seemed that every minor mistake was amplified due to this overhang scenario.
Now that I tow with the Suburban 1500, I find the action of my friction sway control somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes the tow is just peachy, other times it works better without the sway control.
I notice more difference if i change the angle of the ball mount, over having the friction sway control on there.
It's installed to spec, parallel to the tongue and has the proper distance between the two small ball mounts.
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:37 PM   #12
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Reese Friction Control or Dual Cam?

Greetings Chas!

My experience parallels uwe's. On each tow vehicle, the Reese friction sway control was installed as per manufacturer's instructions by qualified dealers (my latest one on the Minuet was installed by Ace Fogdall RV so am absolutely confident that it was done correctly), and on each tow vehicle I experienced the same uncomfortable necessity of having to make frequent stops to adjust the tension in order to keep the trailer properly controlled. Admittedly all of my experiences with the friction sway control device have been with either a 19 foot single axle box type travel trailer or my 6.0 Metre Minuet with a single axle. This has been true with each of the following tow vehicles:

1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible, 1975 Pontiac Grandeville Brougham Convertible, 1982 Pontiac Bonneville Model "G", 1983 GMC G2500 Conversion Van, 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (full-size prior to downsizing and unibody), 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 Club Cab Pickup, 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban, and 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. Each of the above vehicles had all of the available factory tow equipment installed at the time they were ordered.

The greatest difference in tracking was when switching from the box type trailer to the Minuet. The Minuet required fewer stops to adjust the tension on the friction bar, but far more than I was willing to tolerate if it wasn't necessary. The tow car did make some difference as the two that required the most frequent stops were the 1982 Pontiac Bonneville Model "G", and the 1983 GMC G2500 Conversion Van. The least frequent stops were with the 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban, and the 1975 Pontiac Grandville Brougham Convertible (only towed once with the Cadillac before switching the Minuet to the Dual Cam system).

So far as why there are seemingly more Reese systems in existence, I believe that it is related to two factors. Reese is among the oldest of the existing hitch manufacturers, and many, like myself, have used the equipment for many years. The second part of the reason is the selling dealer - - I generally like to stay with the normal product line of my dealer - - and thus far each of my dealers has stocked more Reese equipment than other brands. A third issue, at least for me, is that I am satisfied with what I have in the Reese Dual Cam setup (from the very first day that it was installed in 1995 on my '64 Overlander through the present on both the Overlander and Minuet) and am not inclined to change unless an issue develops to change my mind.

Kevin
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:56 PM   #13
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Well, I tow a 78 Tradewind with a 2001 Tahoe with the Reese Dual cam, and I'm screamin' happy with it.

What the dealer may be referring to is that the dual cam is recommended for some minimum tongue weight, and not below that... Look that weight up for yourself, probably, and consider the additional weight of batteries, propane, power jack, etc.

He may also referring to the fact that the friction bar is less expensive than the dual cam. If he's told you a fixed price already, consider that fact.

Everything else equal, the dual cam is a far superior product, in that it's actively self-centering,as opposed to the friction bar, which just impedes angular movement.
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Old 10-24-2003, 04:08 PM   #14
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The friction bar is much less than the dual cam. Reese has a good web site and you can download the installation instructions for all of their systems and also read the cautions on the standard (non dual cam) sway bar.
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