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Old 10-28-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
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Sufficient Sway Bar Tension?

Do I have the correct amount of tension on the sway bars? I've seen in other's photos where their tension bar appears to bend upward when hitched up. I have 3 links open in this photo. I can make it tighter but it sure does make a lot of creaking and grinding sounds when I do so.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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You really can't tell much from a picture. The bars are for weight distribution not for sway. The number of links will vary depending on the angle of the ball and how much weight is being transferred from the rear of the TV to the front. Looking at the TV and seeing if it is level is a good indication, but a trip to the scales will give you the details.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:38 PM   #3
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Do I have the correct amount of tension on the sway bars? I've seen in other's photos where their tension bar appears to bend upward when hitched up. I have 3 links open in this photo. I can make it tighter but it sure does make a lot of creaking and grinding sounds when I do so.
You do not have sway bars, but you do have torsion bars.

It appears there is no bend in your bars, which strongly suggests that the bars are rated at over kill, which in time, will cause trailer damages.

Torsion bars, when correct for any given situation, should have at least a one inch bend. That will transfer weight as well as offering a soft ride.

Andy.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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The TV should squat approximately the same amount front and rear if the bars are tensioned properly. The best place to measure is at the highest arc of the wheel wells. Measure with the tongue jack supporting the tongue weight and again with the jack retracted.

You will only get a visible curve in the bars if the bars are lightly rated compared to the tongue weight. I have never had a visible curve to the bars.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:42 PM   #5
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Picture 1 looks more proper but as others have said the tow vehicle needs to ride level as well as the trailer. Tilting the ball mount towards the trailer about 5 degrees allows more tension with fewer links keeping the bars roughly parallel with the A frame and the ground.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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Weight distribution bars should be rated at about 3/4 of the tongue weight of the trailer. You can figure out the tongue weight from the Airstream specs plus what you carry as load up front of the axles. Set the ball height according to the Airstream specs. Set the tilt back on the ball to allow you to easily assemble the bars into the trunions. Use enough links to pull up the bars bring the Airstream back to level and the truck squat equally front and back. Go for a ride and see how it feels. If you have a scale close by pay a little to check the weights on you axles and compare to the allowable specs.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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Using a certified drive-on weight scale is the only way to get it dead right. All is else is gradations of guessing. From there one can make decisions about "proper" bar ratings.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:37 AM   #8
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. Set the ball height according to the Airstream specs.
The ball height should never be set to Airstream specs, but it can be used as a starting point.

Torsion axles are weight sensitive.

They also, in time, because of the aging rubber rods, lower the trailer.

The only "for sure" way to have a correct ball height measurement, is to measure it.

It will be different for each trailer as well as for the owner, due to the aging rubber rods in the axle/axles and pay loading.

Add about 1/4 inch to the ball height setting to the measurement.

Andy
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