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Old 01-14-2010, 02:42 PM   #43
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I have been driving vehicles for over 50 years and riding in them longer. I have never been in an accident. So why do I wear a seat belt? I wear a seat belt, because I think, up to this point, I have been extremely lucky. Before seat belts were mandatory in cars, I installed them and used them anyway. Would I recommend someone else not wear a seat belt or state that they didn't need one, because I have never had a need for one? I absolutely would not.
I feel the same way about this subject. It is good and probably attests to good driving skills and practices, that one can tow many times and never have or feel a need for sway control. However, it is my opinion that to extrapolate that to the point of advising another that he doesn't need sway control, because one has not themselves had a problem without it is not a very good idea. There are too many variables involved, including good fortune.
I would certainly feel very bad if I swayed (not a pun) someone away from using one of the available safety tools and later found out they had a problem because of it.

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Ken
Air bags save lives, would you then advise any one that asks, against using or riding in a auto that does not have them?
I am not against using seat belts or sway control devices. But to often the term sway control is thrown around like some kind of magic potion. Lots of people use seat belts and are killed in accidents every year. This does not mean seat belts do not work but it illistrates the fact that there mere use does not ensure survival.
Adios, John
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:17 PM   #44
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Air bags save lives, would you then advise any one that asks, against using or riding in a auto that does not have them?
I am not against using seat belts or sway control devices. But to often the term sway control is thrown around like some kind of magic potion. Lots of people use seat belts and are killed in accidents every year. This does not mean seat belts do not work but it illistrates the fact that there mere use does not ensure survival.
Adios, John
I tow with sway control and use my seatbelt for exactly the same reason: when the time comes that I NEED it, I want every chance at survival. Neither of these are magic devices. Probably many thousands of miles are put on trailers without sway control every year, and the people who tow that way without problems are FORTUNATE. The relatively small number of people who have lost control due to not having sway control are the ones I will listen to for my advice, because:
"I would rather be smart than lucky, anyday".

So, in response to the OP, PLEASE use sway control. If not for yourself, then for those who ride with you and drive around you.

See you at the Burn Bart,
Rich the Viking/ Lost boy/ Safety Clown
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:09 PM   #45
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Towing

It's interesting to read, the various ideas and opinions about sway controls.

I always suggest "safety", to everyone. Safety sometimes, is under sold, but it's never something to kick to the curb. Although a select few choose to hoorah safety, only because they have got away with ignoring it for years, is not something I would ever suggest to anyone.

Only one person has said they thought that hooking up a sway control, made their towing more difficult. There could be many reasons for that.

So then we can say, as others have posted, that "using a sway control" can eliminate a problem, but cannot ever cause a problem.

That being the case, why would someone say "NO" to sway control???

I doubt that those that say "NO" to sway controls, have "EVER" ridden in the very rear of their Airstream at 60 mph. I have observed a few owners that did take me up on that challenge.

The results were always humorous.

As they exited their Airstream, they all wanted some kind of booze, but were not sure they could hold the glass, "with their white knuckles".

If a person ever gets into a uncontrolled sway, without harming anything, except maybe their pride, they become, in their mind, "fortunate". The next thing they do, is to make sure, that they have done everything they can with and for their rig, to maximize safety.

A person never really knows what it feels like, to drop a bowling ball on their toes, until it happens. Same with a sway.

Most Americans have never felt or experienced an earthquake. Once they do, they will never forget that feeling, and become very respective of what can happen. Same with sway.

Today, we can look back at out Haitian neighbors, to learn "what can happen". An earthquake is like a sway. You will never know when or where it will happen, or to what degree it may happen.

Fortunately, technology allows us the address the issues of sway. But, it still is up to an individuals choice, as to what to do about it. Most owners do everything possible, some do some of the things, and a few, do nothing.

We should be so lucky, about earthquakes, to be able to sit back, and make a choice.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families that have lost loved ones, and their personal treasures.

Andy
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:18 PM   #46
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Love the Forums because you get different sides of an issue and if you read and understand enough you generally can come to the right conclusion for your purposes. There is a lot of experience out there and I can agree with the sides of this issue. I have towed trailers and driven trucks of just about every description for 100's of thousands of miles. Right now I tow a 31' A/S that weighs under 7,000 lbs loaded. It's overkill perhaps but I tow it with a F350 and an "equalized" hitch with "sway" control. That is two different things by the way which are easily confused. "Equalized and "Sway". I also own and tow an enclosed dual wheel utility trailer that is 16' X 8' that has a GVW that is about the same as the A/S. The utility trailer has no equalized hitch or sway control and because of its construction it cannot even be retrofitted. Both tow like a dream when properly loaded. I don't like to tow the A/S with out the equalized hitch and sway control because in side winds the trailer will move in relation to the truck, not a loss of control issue mind you, just a little "tail wagging the dog" thing. I think it is because of the length of the A/S acting like a sail or windvane. The utility trailer does not do it. So where does this all lead. A properly set up trailer that is within the tow vehicle manufacturers hitch weight and GVWR limits should be able to be towed safely without equalization and sway control under most conditions. If you want to be safer in a severe situation or you do not like the feeling when a semi or motorhome passes you, put a hitch on that will control weight transfer and side sway. Accidents happen, they are not expected, thats why they are "accidents". I like to at least try to anticipate the unexpected so I don't have an "accidental experience".
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #47
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I tow with a typical 3/4 ton truck.
On the other hand there might not be enough safety devices for the guy with the 34 footer and the Ford windstar van. But he does seem to get to Florida every year.
Closed track testing can reveal surprising results. Even with the help of a high end sway control hitch the big HD pickup could not, (by a long shot), keep up with a Windstar/Freestar in an aggressive lane change or emergence avoidance maneuver.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:23 PM   #48
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Closed track testing can reveal surprising results. Even with the help of a high end sway control hitch the big HD pickup could not, (by a long shot), keep up with a Windstar/Freestar in an aggressive lane change or emergence avoidance maneuver.
I may have mistated the model. possibly Aerostar? anyway reference was to the Ford Mini van
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:32 PM   #49
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Great discussions!

Belt and suspenders for me - the stakes are just too high to do otherwise - also there are too many travel factors that I cannot control.

I tow with a Reese dual cam with 800 lb bars (Andy is right!) and a friction sway control.

Steve

TV: 2003 Ford F250 Super Cab 7.3
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:54 PM   #50
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Get a drop attachment for the coupler (they're cheap) and use the Reese anti sway. One day it may come in handy on a light rainey day when some fool cuts in front of you, you swerve left stab the brakes and try to straighten out and the trailer like a skater on a long line of people whips the other way. You'll say cowabunga and need a new seat cover as the rig swaps ends, but at that point you can wave to the moran who cut you off easier, you'll be side by side driver door to driver door. And they'll look at you like you are the fool who can't drive.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:03 PM   #51
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Closed track testing can reveal surprising results. Even with the help of a high end sway control hitch the big HD pickup could not, (by a long shot), keep up with a Windstar/Freestar in an aggressive lane change or emergence avoidance maneuver.
Why the %&^ should I worry about "keeping up", the fact that any vehicle can beat me thru a slalom course is of no concern to me.

If you don't know how your rig will react at 65mph...don't drive at 65.

Analogous to driving in the snow up here, most accidents are caused by drivers who have no idea how their vehicle is going to react when they slam on the brakes in slippery conditions.

Un-common sense counts for a lot, stay within your comfort zone..... and stay out of mine.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:50 PM   #52
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Closed track testing can reveal surprising results. Even with the help of a high end sway control hitch the big HD pickup could not, (by a long shot), keep up with a Windstar/Freestar in an aggressive lane change or emergence avoidance maneuver.
I'm sure the same is true as well when both vehicles are not pulling a trailer !

My experience pulling trailers for the last 35 years (from our 19' steam launch to 8000+ lbs equipment trailers) is that, properly loaded, lack of separate sway control devices has not been an issue.

To me there seem to be three principle causes of trailering
problems:

1) Over loaded tow vehicles... we've all seen these. Weight distributing hitches help here, since they help move weight from the rear axle of of the TV to the front, but the overall weights still need to be reasonable.

2) Improperly loaded trailers - not enough tongue weight, or possibly too much weight at the fore and aft of the trailer, which raises the polar moment of inertia and contributes to sway amplitudes.

3) Excessive speed, esp. downhill; this can be exacerbated by hard braking in the TV due to improperly adjusted trailer brakes.

These factors reinforce each other in a non-linear fashion as well.

I find that my 20' 4x4 doesn't lend itself to quick lane changes, pulling a trailer or not. As a result, I find the best accident avoidance strategy is pretty simple - slow down, and leave plenty of distance between me and the vehicle in front. Yes, that's tricky in traffic, since people cut in a lot, but that's ok; I'd rather leave the room so I can stop my rig if I need to...

While a sway control system may help mask either improper loading or excessive speed, it seems better to prevent the cause of the problem than attempt to hide it.

- Bart
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:42 PM   #53
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I'm sure the same is true as well when both vehicles are not pulling a trailer !

My experience pulling trailers for the last 35 years (from our 19' steam launch to 8000+ lbs equipment trailers) is that, properly loaded, lack of separate sway control devices has not been an issue.

To me there seem to be three principle causes of trailering
problems:

1) Over loaded tow vehicles... we've all seen these. Weight distributing hitches help here, since they help move weight from the rear axle of of the TV to the front, but the overall weights still need to be reasonable.

2) Improperly loaded trailers - not enough tongue weight, or possibly too much weight at the fore and aft of the trailer, which raises the polar moment of inertia and contributes to sway amplitudes.

3) Excessive speed, esp. downhill; this can be exacerbated by hard braking in the TV due to improperly adjusted trailer brakes.

These factors reinforce each other in a non-linear fashion as well.

I find that my 20' 4x4 doesn't lend itself to quick lane changes, pulling a trailer or not. As a result, I find the best accident avoidance strategy is pretty simple - slow down, and leave plenty of distance between me and the vehicle in front. Yes, that's tricky in traffic, since people cut in a lot, but that's ok; I'd rather leave the room so I can stop my rig if I need to...

While a sway control system may help mask either improper loading or excessive speed, it seems better to prevent the cause of the problem than attempt to hide it.

- Bart
Sway can and does happen to properly loaded tow vehicles, when towing a travel trailer.

Sway can and does happen to a properly loaded travel trailer.

Sway can and does happen at speeds as low as 30 mph.

A sway control is not designed to mask or hide anything.

A sway control is designed to save someones life, but not if that person won't listen to reason.

Andy
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:50 AM   #54
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Sway can and does happen to properly loaded tow vehicles, when towing a travel trailer.

Sway can and does happen to a properly loaded travel trailer.

Sway can and does happen at speeds as low as 30 mph.

A sway control is not designed to mask or hide anything.

A sway control is designed to save someones life, but not if that person won't listen to reason.

Andy
That's total BS. Sway "control" masks an underlying problem. If you've got a sway problem at 30 mph you've got one seriously screwed up towing rig! Sway "control" is designed to dampen an oscillating effect. Yes, road conditions can be the reason this starts to exhibit but make no mistake, if it does you are either (or both) driving too fast for conditions or have a set-up that is a disaster waiting to happen. In the common vernacular, the bars on a weight distribution hitch have become known as "sway bars". Of course that was really meant to express the idea they were "anti" sway bars. In a very real sense they are a sway "control" device because by properly redistributing the load on the TV suspension they "prevent" the oscillation condition called sway from occurring. If you "need" a dampening device at the hitch coupling then you are skating on thin ice. Fix the underlying problem instead of sticking your head in the sand.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:18 AM   #55
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That's total BS.
Tow your 24 foot trailer with just a ball, and with a car and watch waht happens, as you get to 30 mph!!!!!!

My answer was not intended to be for a specific person or rig, but it was intended to let others know what can, "AND DOES" happen.

If in your case, your rig handles different, hooray for you. But how your rig handles, has nothing to do with others, especially since many owners tow trailers much longer than yours, and therefore can experience problems, that quite well, you never have.

That then, removes my comment from the BS status, that you assigned to it, to the status of sharing information that "DOES INDEED" apply to some.

I see people with all types of travel trailers, tow vehicles and rigging, very often. I do not intend to always be specific to Airstreams.

Andy
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:13 AM   #56
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That's total BS. Sway "control" masks an underlying problem. If you've got a sway problem at 30 mph you've got one seriously screwed up towing rig! Sway "control" is designed to dampen an oscillating effect. In the common vernacular, the bars on a weight distribution hitch have become known as "sway bars". Of course that was really meant to express the idea they were "anti" sway bars. In a very real sense they are a sway "control" device because by properly redistributing the load on the TV suspension they "prevent" the oscillation condition called sway from occurring.
Actually, the "bars" of which you speak are only for weight distribution on most hitches, and have little to do with sway control, with the possible exception of the Reese Dual Cam system and the Equalizer hitches, which use friction at the ends of the bars, and in the case of the Reese, increased lift. But my point is, the bars in and of themselfs, are not used for sway control, but for weight distribution.

Best case, all of these devises are only sway dampeners. If you want true SWAY CONTROL, look to the ProPride hitch, or the Hensley hitch, each a design that truly CONTROLS and eliminates sway.
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