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Old 12-31-2008, 09:26 PM   #1
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Sway control for ice?

Looking for advice from anyone with experience using sway control in winter conditions. I'm leaving next week to pick up a 26' Overlander and there is currently at least 500 miles of snow packed and icy interstate between here and there. Tow vehicle is a 4wd Tundra double cab (wheelbase 145.7).

I've pulled a 18' Caravel in all kinds of conditions with an old Chevy Blazer and never had sway control. Never had a problem. However, I don't know where the line is with respect to wheelbase and trailer length and the need for sway control. It seems like the sway control might be a real help on icy roads-but I don't know for sure.

My hitch is a Curt with 600lb round bars and is drilled for a friction sway control. Should I take a sway control with me and install it before returning?

Any comments apppreciated.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by seeleylaker View Post
Looking for advice from anyone with experience using sway control in winter conditions. I'm leaving next week to pick up a 26' Overlander and there is currently at least 500 miles of snow packed and icy interstate between here and there. Tow vehicle is a 4wd Tundra double cab (wheelbase 145.7).

I've pulled a 18' Caravel in all kinds of conditions with an old Chevy Blazer and never had sway control. Never had a problem. However, I don't know where the line is with respect to wheelbase and trailer length and the need for sway control. It seems like the sway control might be a real help on icy roads-but I don't know for sure.

My hitch is a Curt with 600lb round bars and is drilled for a friction sway control. Should I take a sway control with me and install it before returning?

Any comments apppreciated.
Years ago, all the manufacturers of friction type sway controls, stated in VERY SMALL print, to disconnect the friction sway control, when towing, during bad weather conditions.

They have all removed that statement from their instructions.

Bad weather has not changed.

Physics has not changed.

Not being totally honest, sometimes, with consumers, is now to many, very acceptable.

A friction type sway control, WILL cause a loss of control accident, during bad weather conditions, when towing.

WHY????

That devise has no idea if your in a straight line, or not.

For your sake and your families sake, leave the friction sway control, inside the trailer, during those bad weather towing times.

Andy
They don't
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:01 PM   #3
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Sway control on ice

I towed a 25' Trade Wind from New Hampshire to Ohio down 95, 87, 81, across 70 and 68 in February 08'. Those interstates have some terrible winter conditions. Did not use sway control and would not recommend in the slippery road conditions that I saw and in the conditions you are about to go through. Having a good brake control and sensible driving is most important. I had a Tundra then, I have since moved to more truck for power/cargo/tow capacity reasons. Good luck. Drink lots of coffee and stay wide-awake.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:28 PM   #4
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Size of your tow vehicle will make no difference.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...one-27195.html

We all have some experience of decent stretches in the winter more or less. I'd only feel secure towing in real good periods of winter weather. And with nothing less than a Hensley.

Towing in weather is the same as flying a private plane -- we all want to say we'll only do it when it is safe, but when you are pressed by schedule or days off one might proceed in spite of the best advice. I always say fly a U.S. flag carrier when you want no chances taken. Ask Roberto Clemente; ask Ricky Nelson; ask Lynyrd Skynrd. Exaggeration? Maybe a bit. Want us to be liable for any advice given? Might as well get rules to live by from pulp fiction or soap operas.

Be careful out there. Set reasonable distances to travel under very specific conditions. You may have to settle for taking days off or speeds that could significantly increase your travel time. So be it.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
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As Andy says, a friction sway control doesn't know whether it's resisting the trailer moving out of the line or trying to move back into line. If it's out, it'll keep it there just as well as it tries to keep it behind your truck. Don't use one in slippery conditions.

Roger
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:38 PM   #6
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One word. SPEED! Keep it down.

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:58 PM   #7
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CHAINS

Do get a set of chains for one axle of the trailer and use them if there are any traction device controls mandated for the road. Do make sure the trailer brakes work properly.

Be prepared with an appropriate emergency kit - water, blankets, snacks, somebody knowing your schedule and location, etc.

The take it slow and easy and take care.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
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Hi, I wouldn't purposely plan a trip in snow and ice, but I did get caught in the middle of a snow storm earlier this month. I drove very slow and causiously through mountain roads. [narrow winding, up and down roads] I have an Equal-i-zer brand hitch and made no changes to it during this situation. If I took my bars off, then my front end would become lighter and not safe at all. To me, [my opinion] the two vehicles tied together as one larger unit was probably better than just my tow vehicle alone. [more weight and eight brakes] I do think I would like to have, had tire chains for the rear of my tow vehicle and tire cables for the front wheels on my trailer, but I didn't. Number one most important thing is driver ability. This was my one and only experience on snow [while towing] and without insidents.

Note: This is not a recommendation for anyone else, just my personal experience.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I wouldn't purposely plan a trip in snow and ice, but I did get caught in the middle of a snow storm earlier this month. I drove very slow and causiously through mountain roads. [narrow winding, up and down roads] I have an Equal-i-zer brand hitch and made no changes to it during this situation. If I took my bars off, then my front end would become lighter and not safe at all. To me, [my opinion] the two vehicles tied together as one larger unit was probably better than just my tow vehicle alone. [more weight and eight brakes] I do think I would like to have, had tire chains for the rear of my tow vehicle and tire cables for the front wheels on my trailer, but I didn't. Number one most important thing is driver ability. This was my one and only experience on snow [while towing] and without insidents.

Note: This is not a recommendation for anyone else, just my personal experience.
Keeping the torsion bars on, is still a "must do."

Removing a friction type sway control, when on ice or snow, and for that matter even on wet pavements, is an absolute "MUST."

A Reese dual cam sway control works properly in any type of weather or road conditions.

Andy
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:45 AM   #10
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I have asked a similar question asking about suggestions for towing in snow. The answers were characterized by complete disagreement about what is best except for one thing—drive very slowly. That left me confused. We have escaped snow so far and in the shoulder seasons there are usually more clear days and roads between the snowy ones around here.

What Bob says—I have an Equalizer too—makes sense, and so does what Andy says. They are is disagreement. I'm still confused. It seems to me without the Equalizer, the trailer would be less stable and more likely to do something unplanned.

And then there's the question about how to use the brake controller—change the settings or not? I got completely different answers to that question too. Still confused.

Gene
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:10 AM   #11
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I have asked a similar question asking about suggestions for towing in snow. The answers were characterized by complete disagreement about what is best except for one thing—drive very slowly. That left me confused. We have escaped snow so far and in the shoulder seasons there are usually more clear days and roads between the snowy ones around here.

What Bob says—I have an Equalizer too—makes sense, and so does what Andy says. They are is disagreement. I'm still confused. It seems to me without the Equalizer, the trailer would be less stable and more likely to do something unplanned.

And then there's the question about how to use the brake controller—change the settings or not? I got completely different answers to that question too. Still confused.

Gene
My information is based on accident reports and investigations.

The only thing you will hear that is consistant about Airstreams, is that the shell is made using Aluminum, at least most of the time.

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Old 01-01-2009, 11:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeleylaker View Post
Looking for advice from anyone with experience using sway control in winter conditions. I'm leaving next week to pick up a 26' Overlander and there is currently at least 500 miles of snow packed and icy interstate between here and there. Tow vehicle is a 4wd Tundra double cab (wheelbase 145.7).

I've pulled a 18' Caravel in all kinds of conditions with an old Chevy Blazer and never had sway control. Never had a problem. However, I don't know where the line is with respect to wheelbase and trailer length and the need for sway control. It seems like the sway control might be a real help on icy roads-but I don't know for sure.

My hitch is a Curt with 600lb round bars and is drilled for a friction sway control. Should I take a sway control with me and install it before returning?

Any comments apppreciated.
Hey Seeley laker,
I am "just down the road" in Missoula.
Having towed in a significant amount of the time in the winter and having one black ice accident (see my website). I can only say the only effective way to travel icy roads is don't. Snow packed are passable if you can get traction. I am less worried about going up hill rather than down. I hate to have my trailer pass me. It has happened before still attached to my F-250. I have a Reese Dual Cam.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:05 PM   #13
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Thank You Andy. I have the Reese Dual Cam,F-250 4x4,7.3 diesel. We are leaving this coming week heading South. Knowing we will most likely hit snow some where along the way. Very happy to know to let the Dual Cam set just the way I do in good weather.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:26 PM   #14
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Brake controller

I've avoided towing in snow or ice - of course living in coastal Virginia helps with that, but I have had a tow vehicle roadside tire blow out... and I've always kept my brake controller on the "grabby" side - so that I feel the trailer brakes pull a bit on my vehicle a half second before the truck brakes do. From pure common sense - my incident with the tire blowing out is that A) it happened on an uphill grade and B) the presence of the Airstream kept my Suburban from rolling. Had it been downhill, I would have had to rely on manually locking up the airstream brakes and using the Airstream acting as an anchor - to hold the tow vehicle in a straight line. Would that strategy worked on Ice? Well I would choose NOT to bet my life on it.

Towing on snow - possible. Tow slowly, tow only in full daylight, stick to main roads that get plowed frequently.

On ice? Park it! Pay to leave it in a STORAGE yard until the weather improves if you have to. There is NOTHING urgent enough to take that kind of risk. I'd rather be late than dead, I'd rather be fired from my job than dead. I don't even want to be the proud new owner of a rolled Airstream.

Take care out there. We all want to see more people enjoying their coaches.... safely.

Paula
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