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Old 07-06-2011, 06:27 AM   #15
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I don;t know how the new hitches differ, but some hitches whether new or old can create the above mentioned conditions. jim
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:32 AM   #16
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Think of this, perhaps without any sway control the trailer may have slid to the side violently and an even worse accident would have occurred. Total loss of control. jim
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:55 AM   #17
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I hope its o.k. for me to ask, but how could one tell which system is on a given trailer? Sorry newbie question.
No problem. The only way to learn is to ask questions!

The trailer does not automatically have one. You have to add a friction type, or it might be integral to the design of the hitching system you select.

The friction type sway control is like a big clamp. It works similarly to the brakes on your vehicle, except you can only adjust it when the trailer is parked. It has a screw handle that you tighten up manually. It resists movement in any direction, so it dampens the affect of wind against the sides of the trailer and tow vehicle. Reese-Hitches.com is an example.

On the dual cam type, the cam sets in a saddle (bend) of the torsion arm of the hitch. When the vehicles are in a turn the tension on the cam and arm is increased when the cam slides slightly out of the saddle. This additional tension tends to force the cam back into the saddle, sending the trailer into a straight line behind the tow vehicle. This dampens the affect of a side-wind, but in a different way. See Reese-Hitches.com
There are other brands of hitches that use similar principles, but I happened to have selected the cam type.

In retrospect, I wish I had not mentioned that I had a wreck. It has skewed the direction of this thread into a critique of my experience. It was my intention to create a thread to discuss the merits of one type of sway control compared to another.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:28 AM   #18
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When I wrecked, I think the loss of traction (hydroplaning) allowed the tension of the sway control to overcome the traction of the trailer tires, forcing the truck / trailer into a straight line. In a straight line the front tires had even less traction than the 4 trailer tires. At that point I could not get the truck to turn into the skid. The trailer never came all way around. I was sliding down the center of the lane, the truck trailer were at a 40 to 50 degree angle to the lane. I stopped in that way.
My guess: The truck wasn't skidding at first, then it probably started sliding when you turned the wheel into the skid (water/diesel on the road, remember).

You may have also hit the brakes - a natural reaction; I did the same when I should've steered in my accident with our B190 last summer - which is just going to make matters worse in slick conditions. (Or dry conditions, in my case.) I know firsthand that's it's REALLY easy to sit here and talk about what we all should do; it's quite different when you have 0.5 seconds to react out on the road.

I don't think the sway control made the accident any worse or better. The sway is just provides a small damping effect for non-uniform side-to-side movement between the truck and trailer (I say small damping effect because it's right at the hitch, which is where a small force will have the most effect). Keep in mind the sway's resistance is easily overcome by even the slightest turn or lane change.

Also, I wouldn't beat myself up too much - it sounds to me like you were doing the right things, maybe a bit slower would've been better, but on the other hand, did you have any idea there was diesel all over the road? The primary accident was from the truck following you too closely/too fast, NOT from any mistake you made. He might've still hit you even if you kept it all in a perfect line.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:42 AM   #19
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I have driven on a road that had diesel fuel on it from a spill and it was worse than driving on ice, had no control at all.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:53 AM   #20
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I am back to using a friction device too, and I never had a problem since my first tow back in the 1970's, with a friction type sway control. I set mine up like you, just snug. And, if I hit slick road conditions I stop to remove all pressure.

Not intentionally, but I have been caught on ice and snow two times while towing, both with that Reece Dual Cam. Both times I got through without a problem. Sudden downpours with fuel spills are rare, and totally different. Not much time to react, much less think about it while it happens.

I do not intend to imply that the Dual Cam did not do it's job to control sway, it actually did a great job. Bow wave from trucks and cross wind were controlled. But, I am concerned that this hitch contributed to the loss of control in the particular situation I was in.

When I wrecked, I think the loss of traction (hydroplaning) allowed the tension of the sway control to overcome the traction of the trailer tires, forcing the truck / trailer into a straight line. In a straight line the front tires had even less traction than the 4 trailer tires. At that point I could not get the truck to turn into the skid. The trailer never came all way around. I was sliding down the center of the lane, the truck trailer were at a 40 to 50 degree angle to the lane. I stopped in that way.

I know all of the things said in all of the comments above about going slower, etc are true. I totally agree!

Any of you guys that sell and install these sway control devices, other that the old friction brake type, care to comment on the straight line effect? I would really be interested in your opinions.

good night all, I'll check tomorrow.
This is the type of rare situation where I could see the newer vehicles with the combination of ABS, Traction Control, AND the newest electronic ITBC with trailer sway control could help maintain control. Some folks think these systems are gadgets, but AW makes a GREAT comment in the 4th paragraph.

These systems, contrary to popular belief, help maintain and regain directional control in a skid....not stop you quicker and in a shorter distance.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:13 AM   #21
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Are you saying that you think the force of the sway control made the trailer loose traction? Or made the front wheels of the truck loose traction?
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:43 AM   #22
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Are you saying that you think the force of the sway control made the trailer loose traction? Or made the front wheels of the truck loose traction?
I am saying neither.
The vehicle lost traction in all wheels, trailer and truck, due to hydroplaning in water and diesel fuel. The hiitch was not the cause.

At this specific point of time during the accident I think, just my opinion, the tension force of the hitch was greater than the friction between tires and road. If this is true, did the tension of the torsion arms forced the trailer into a straight line behind the truck? Did this contribute to the fact that I could not regain control?
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:54 AM   #23
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Reading through your description of what happened, I'm not sure that the hitch contributed to the accident. It sounds like the problem was a lack of traction.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:00 AM   #24
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This is the type of rare situation where I could see the newer vehicles with the combination of ABS, Traction Control, AND the newest electronic ITBC with trailer sway control could help maintain control. Some folks think these systems are gadgets, but AW makes a GREAT comment in the 4th paragraph.

These systems, contrary to popular belief, help maintain and regain directional control in a skid....not stop you quicker and in a shorter distance.
I agree totally!
But, brakes did not play a part in my incident. They were not applied.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:34 AM   #25
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I think I mis-stated, so I'm re posting this portion

[QUOTE=A W Warn;1014043]The hitch was not the cause. QUOTE]

Corrected - The hitch was not the cause of the loss of traction, but may have contributed to me not being able to regain control.

Again, I think many of the comments are a critique of my experience, trying to say what I should'a or could'a done better. This is not where I was trying to go, but I do not mind the criticisms. I will try to learn from it!

For me the whole point of me sharing my experience with you is so that you (and I) may learn from what happened to me, so that someone else may be spared. This is the point of this forum too, I belive, to share and make us better at what we enjoy.

The essence of what I am trying to get at is:
Are the new sway controls that use tension to force the trailer into a straight line with the TV really any better than the friction controls that try to hold the trailer in it's fixed position.

If either device overcomes traction at any point, my opinion is one is not better than the other in this regard. What are your opinions on this specific issue?
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:41 AM   #26
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There are sway-resisting and sway-eliminating hitches. (and the "friction type" shouldn't be on anyone's list; they're nothing but doorstops).

The REESE Dual Cam is the best of the former type. PULRITE, PRO PRIDE and HENSLEY are the latter.

Of the latter, that trailer won't change direction until the drive axle (rear axle) of the tow vehicle changes direction (essentially no different than a fifth wheel setup).

Trailers are always trying to pass the TV. Take that for granted. (As I wrote in another post, I find it funny that people name their trailers . . on second thought at least they know whom to curse as that b#*%^ tries to come around).

Get the best hitch and set up the rigging according to scale readings. Tire pressure, axle alignment, wheel/tire balance, TV steering wander . . . make it all as good as can be. No stone unturned. And re-check regularly.

.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:43 AM   #27
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Interesting, AW, that you are getting all sorts of opinions but few of the responses address your actual issue. I'm hoping someone with some engineering background relevant to the issue will weigh in. You've raised an important question.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:36 PM   #28
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Interesting, AW, that you are getting all sorts of opinions but few of the responses address your actual issue. I'm hoping someone with some engineering background relevant to the issue will weigh in. You've raised an important question.
How can a loss of control [LOC] accident due to reduced traction be any more simply put than above? Had the trailer come around harder/faster then the rig would likely have jackknifed/rolled.

One need hardly be an engineer to understand that any mis-alignment between TV and TT once Steer Axle and Drive Axle traction was regained would have been a serious problem to overcome if not done just right.

The difference between TT and TV tire traction is the common cause of jackknife accidents. The hitch made a bad thing better.

A friction-type anti-sway must be disconnected in slippery conditions for if the trailer moves out/away from the direction of travel, as that type will "prevent" it from moving back quickly. This is what Inland Andy tries to communicate in speaking of "a brain": the point is to have the TT centered behind the TV for any condition encountered. The TT is not going to "save" the TV; just the opposite: the tail wags the dog.

The problem is vehicle mis-alignment from best to worst hitches as to lateral stability (and other considerations) for a given combination in the above.

It would be more to the point to produce the certified scale ticket for that rig from that day to determine "proper" Axle Loads in dissecting a LOC accident. Given a proven hitch then problems in hitch rigging is the place to start for an equipment discussion (past individual vehicle condition details. Tire type and condition for both vehicles would be the logical starting point for a traction problem). We're making static measurements to lessen/prevent dynamic problems.

In truth, LOC accidents are almost always written off to steering over-correction by the driver, and improper use of brakes. Time versus distance against inputs by the driver. Black box time. Give the driver the best tools (both vehicles, their components, and hitch + rigging) to cushion badly-done driver input. Once that TT moves away from the direction of travel of the TV all bets are off.

.
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