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Old 12-14-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by crabbey1 View Post
I read somewhere that the Sway Control Bar doesn't stop sway but it lessens the effects of the sway once it happens. Is there a product that actually can prevent sway?
I wouldn't phrase it that way. Sway is an oscillation that builds like this:
s s s s. I think the best way to think of add-on friction sway devices is that they prevent, or help prevent, the vehicle from experiencing too much sway build up. In my example, they would hold it to the first or second "s" and prevent the third and fourth.

The device to prevent sway is the basic claim of the 3P hitches like Hensley and ProPride, and perhaps a couple others. It's a very different kind of hitch principle. Check it out.

Some rigs seem to be more susceptible to sway than others because there are quite a few factors that contribute to it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:45 PM   #16
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Glad to see you have the front door model.

The sway control does reduce the ability of the trailer to sway. Your combination should be stable without one but on the otherhand they are really cheap insurance. The picture of your set up is a little fuzzy but it is possible to see that you have most of it right. If you rebolt your ball mount you should notice a substantial improvement.

You need to lower it 2 hole positions on the shank and tip the ball back away from the tow vehicle 10-15 degrees.

Then you need to ajust the torsion bars properly so that the jeep is pushed straight down. If you like send me an email and I can send you the file that explains the proceedure in detail. andy@canamrv.ca

What size tires are on your Jeep?

Andrew T
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
I wouldn't phrase it that way. Sway is an oscillation that builds like this:
s s s s.
I have to disagree with this. I believe sway is when the entire trailer moves to the side or the trailer rotates compared to the axle(s) independent of the tow vehicle.

With this definition of sway, sway is rarely dangerous on dry roads unless it starts to oscillate. The main purpose of sway control is to prevent sway from starting to oscillate.

Friction sway control and conventional WD hitches with sway control reduce sway and try to prevent oscillation similarly to the way shock absorbers keep a vehicle from continuously bouncing from the time you hit a bump.

The pivot point projection hitches (ProPride and Hensley) claim to eliminate sway entirely.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:13 PM   #18
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If it were me, I would get the sway control rather than the springs. You most likely can find something similar to the product in your original post for lest cost if you shop locally. Here is one. Search results for: 'sway control' I have one of these the that I use on my 25', and have two DrawTite friction bars that I use on the 34'. I can not tell the difference.

If it were me, I would spend some of that $150 on weighing the rig at the CAT Scales when you start out on your trip. Try to have the tongue weight at least 10%, or more. The chances of sway increase as tongue weight decreases. Though, to much tongue weight might overload the tow vehicle. I like 11-12% of the gross weight of the trailer for tongue weight when I am towing.

Hope you have safe travels!
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:34 PM   #19
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How does the scale process work? I rolled into one on out first trip because I thought we had to but they said we could scoot on through...

I saw a few sway arms at different price points. It's one better than another or are they the same? I chose this one because it is the same brand as my WD hitch.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:02 PM   #20
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How does the scale process work? I rolled into one on out first trip because I thought we had to but they said we could scoot on through...

I saw a few sway arms at different price points. It's one better than another or are they the same? I chose this one because it is the same brand as my WD hitch.
This tells you how to use the scales How To Weigh | CAT Scale This is a privately owned scale at a truck stop, not the DMV scale you see along the highway.

This is what I do:
Go inside and tell the scale master I want to weigh at least three times. Where I live, it's $10 for the first, then $2 for each time you weigh again within 24 hours.
1. Weigh #1 - pull onto the scale both tow vehicle and trailer, with weight distribution tensioned.
2. Weigh #2 - stay on the scale if they let you or drive around if they insist. loosen the weight distribution.

  • The differences in these two weights will tell you how much weight you are transferring from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle and to the trailer axles.

3. Weigh #3 - drop the trailer in the parking lot and weigh the tow vehicle.

Using all of these you can:
  • calculate if you have exceeded tongue load limit of your hitch
  • calculate if you have exceeded the gross load limit of your hitch
  • calculate if your tow vehicle axles are overloaded.
  • calculate if your trailer axles are overloaded.
  • calculate if your tires on either vehicle are overloaded
  • calculate if you have exceed the tow vehicle GVRW
  • calculate if you have exceeded the trailer GVRW
  • calculate if you have exceeded the tow vehicle payload capacity
  • calculate if you have exceeded the trailer payload capacity
  • calculate if you have exceeded the tow vehicle GCRW
If something needs to be adjusted, you may want to shift some weight around, then weigh a 4th time.

Unless you weigh each wheel/tire individually, the tire load and axle load calculation is still an approximation. This cannot be done at the CAT Scale. That is why most people allow a safety factor. I use 10% to 15% for tires and axles.
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:35 PM   #21
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Thanks for the detail. That helps tremendously. I will definitely do this.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:25 AM   #22
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I have been using the friction sway devices for some 30 years now, and they are not outdated. They are the classic way to stop trailer sway and have been on the market for many decades for a very good reason: They do stop the trailer from swaying. I would recommend them.

Relative to the question of quality, I use the ones that cost about $50. They get the job done and seem to last forever. But you do need to buy the related stuff as well, ie the little balls it fits on and the mounting clips.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:27 AM   #23
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I read somewhere that the Sway Control Bar doesn't stop sway but it lessens the effects of the sway once it happens. Is there a product that actually can prevent sway?
The Sway Control Bar works by trying to prevent the TT from swinging relative to the TV. It does this by using the friction force generated by the bar multiplied by the offset distance between the big ball and the little ball to produce a yaw-axis torque between TV and TT.

The magnitude of available swing-preventing torque is limited by the magnitude of friction force which can be generated by the sway control bar. If the lateral forces on the TT generate a torque which exceeds the available sway control torque, the TT will swing relative to the TV. But, the sway control still is producing its swing-resisting torque which will cause the amplitude of the sway oscillations to be reduced.

So, in short, a sway control bar prevents "sway" -- up to a point. Beyond that point, the bar works to reduce the amplitude of the "sway".

Ron
P.S. I loved "mstephens" s s s s depiction of increasing amplitude of sway oscillation.
In the UK, "sway" is referred to as "snaking".
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #24
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Crabbey1,
Another thing no one has mentioned here; if you do add the friction bar sway control, you should release the tension on it if you encounter ice or snow while towing. The sway bar's friction can overcome the tire's traction in these conditions causing loss of control.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:31 PM   #25
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Well dang. That is a lot of great info. Thanks guys.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:38 PM   #26
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Those who've never experienced the thrill of oscillation aka, fishtailing don't ever want to have this delightful moment in time! It only happened to me once. It was my maiden cruise with my '92 Limited triple axle, and largely caused because I didn't have my tensioner bars correctly set on my new (to me) TV. Also related – I had failed to insert the keeper keys that secured my friction sway control and it had dropped off on the first turn out of my block After 250 miles of unpleasantness we arrived at our destination.
Before starting back home I took time to read some hitch set-up instructions and performed the suggested ritual. Trip home was pretty different even without the sway control. (Aside – upon returning to our block four days later my wife strolled down to the corner and found the sway control so I didn't have to buy a new one).
I used my sway control religiously. However, with or without a sway control, the most important advice I can give is, keep a continuous lookout for what's overtaking you from behind. My thrill happened when I was driving in the center lane and was overtaken by semis on either side of my rig. It set up the event that I never ever wanted to repeat. When you are aware of what is overtaking you can compensate quite easily. Meeting a truck was never a problem, it was always the overtaking of one that was tricky.
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