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Old 06-17-2006, 04:57 PM   #1
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Swaying

Is swaying a fact of life, while towing travel trailers, which must be accepted or is it something that can be eliminated through corrective measures? If it can be reduced or eliminated, what needs to be done and approximately what is the cost?

I am looking for a on or two axle Airstream Trailer, 19' to 25', is one more or less prone to sway than the other?

My friend was towing with a big new Toyota Pick up with a passenger cab and bed in the back. I would guess that his trailer was at least 25' or more and not an Airstream. The Trailer was probably new. He has all of the good gadgets and probably purchased whetever was recommended.

He said his trailer started to sway at about 55 mph. He also said that sway, especially that caused by tractor trailer rigs passing by, was the number one reason that he got rid of his travel trailer. It really got him anxious!
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:20 PM   #2
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With the proper hitch (properly adjusted as well, because a good hitch that is not set up right will not do it's job) you should be able to tow without feeling any, or very little sway. We have been using our trailer for 4 years, and have not had a single problem. Having the right tow vehicle is important as well, because the wheelbase, or distance between the axels, will dictate how much the trailer will be able to exert force over the tow vehicle. But if you set it up right, you will have no problem.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:38 PM   #3
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Start by establishing how you intend to use the trailer and how many people you have with you that may get stuck in the trailer on a couple of rainy days. That will dictate how be a unit you will want. Then decide if you are really going to travel with it and that will determine if you want to spend the extra money for an Airstream. If it is just going to sit around a campground, a SOB will be alot cheaper. Once you decide on the model then you will know the weight and that will determine the size of tow vehicle you will need. They you have to decide if an SUV pickup or van is what you want. They you need to determine whether highway speed is critical. A fancy hitch may cost you $2000 more but be able to tow 10 mph faster without sway.

This whole thing gets to be a bit complicated and expensive, but will be more expensive, if you do not do your homework first.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:01 PM   #4
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Hi Geneflopida,
We have an AS 28 so. I use a Reese Dual Cam hitch. I have no sway or very little. I drive 60PH. I had the Friction Sway control,and a van could send me into a bad sway. I drive an F250 7.3 PS,SC.
Eric 28
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:09 PM   #5
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Sway? What sway? We've put about 1,200 miles on our Airstream/SUV combo and have yet to detect any sway whatsoever. Trucks or buses passing in either direction have zero affect. Our configuration is in the signature block. BTW, you'll see lots of opinions about wheelbase. Ours has to be one of the shortest around, which is one reason we bought the Durago so that it could be used as our primary car. I haven't tried a longer wheelbase, but again our little SUV's wheelbase has no adverse affect upon sway. There just isn't any. Also, we seldom go over 55 mph.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:15 PM   #6
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I tow a 28 Classic with a Silverado diesel and a Reese HD Dual-Cam hitch. I have absolutely no sway under any condition. My previous 25 Classic was also even more sway free if that is possible. I normally tow at 62-63 mph. When a semi passes me at high speed, I do have a slight pull of the entire truck/trailer toward him which I correct with a small steering correction. By the way, strong crosswinds are the normal situation in Texas and give me no trouble.

One key is having sufficient weight on the hitch. I'm careful to avoid weight in the storage at the rear of the trailer for this reason.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
When a semi passes me at high speed, I do have a slight pull of the entire truck/trailer toward him which I correct with a small steering correction.
The small amount of sway we were seeing (as described by Pahaska) with the Reese Dual Cam is reduced even more with the Hensley. This will cost you that $2K dwightdi mentioned but if you are freaked out by sway it is worth it. Having said that I'm not completely in love with the Hensley yet. It is a paradigm shift and requires patient adjustment to get the most out of it.
-KL
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:47 PM   #8
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I would argue that what I experience is not sway. Sway is an independent motion of the trailer in respect to the tow vehicle. In my case, the entire rig moves as a unit which is the natural result of lowered air pressure between the two vehicles. My Dual-Cam stays locked and there is absolutely none of what I define as sway.

Mt truck, with trailer is actually less wind sensitive than the truck alone.

I once experienced real sway when the mid-gate in my stock trailer came open and a ton of Hereford bull decided to explore the rear of the trailer. I was driving a Blazer and used all of two lanes and two wide shoulders. I could look over my shoulder and see the trailer trying to pass me.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:12 PM   #9
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I agree with Pahaska, sway is a rocking or swinging motion. That is not the same as the push you get from a passing semi. If you have ever stopped on the side of an interstate and gone inside the trailer you will feel that push as the semi's go by. The correct setup will prevent that push from turning into a sway condition.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
When a semi passes me at high speed, I do have a slight pull of the entire truck/trailer toward him which I correct with a small steering correction.
Absolutely, same here ... certainly not swaying ... more like sucking.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:45 PM   #11
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No Sway; No Way

With the right tow vehicle, and the right hitch, you should experience no sway. But let's start by clarifying what we mean by sway. I agree with Pahaska, who defines sway as, "an independent motion of the trailer in respect to the tow vehicle." I would add that that "catastophic sway" involves multiple uncontrollable repetitions of increasing severitywith each oscillation until the tail finally wags the dog, and the tow vehicle is flipped or rolled.

I have towed a 23' Safari with a 1500 Suburban with Reese weight distribution hitch and experienced no sway. With my 27' Safari, I added dual cam sway control to the Reese hitch and experienced no sway. Now, with the 31' Sovereign behind a Chevy 2500 HD, I experience no sway.

In the last 30 years, I've crossed the U.S eight times and criss-crossed the southwest U.S. repeatedly in all weather and wind conditions, and sway has never been an issue, but that's why most of us choose Airstreams. The torsion axles make them less prone to sway that the white box trailers on leaf spring suspensions.

As far as your friend's experience, I believe a long wheel base on the tow vehicle is essential. I know this will start a fire storm, but there is no such thing as a "big Toyota pickup" when it comes to towing anything over 22 feet.
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:14 PM   #12
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Sway-No way!

We have never had a sway problem with our Reese Straight Line setup. Winds of 40+mph are not an issue. We used to get a slight push when being passed by crazy semis---that was when we were towing with a standard wheelbase Yukon. Since we've upgraded to our Sierra Denali 6.0 AWD/Qudrasteer, even those speed driven semis are a non-issue. In fact, as was mentioned before, the truck/trailer combo is more stable together than the truck by itself. I think that a lot of these sway/instability issues are a result of people trying to handle too much trailer with too little truck. Good luck! Juergen
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Old 06-17-2006, 11:50 PM   #13
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Cool Fire Storm (not)

Quote:
Originally Posted by klevan
As far as your friend's experience, I believe a long wheel base on the tow vehicle is essential. I know this will start a fire storm, but there is no such thing as a "big Toyota pickup" when it comes to towing anything over 22 feet.
I quess it depends how you define "big". I tow my 75 Trade Wind with my 03 Tundra. The wheelbase is 128.3 inches which is 1.7 inches shorter then the 1500 blurb that you towed with. It has it's limits, but I think 22' is not the max size for a Tundra. BTW the 07 Tundra will have a 145.7 inch wheelbase.
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
I quess it depends how you define "big". I tow my 75 Trade Wind with my 03 Tundra. The wheelbase is 128.3 inches which is 1.7 inches shorter then the 1500 blurb that you towed with. It has it's limits, but I think 22' is not the max size for a Tundra. BTW the 07 Tundra will have a 145.7 inch wheelbase.
AZ,
Yes, you're right. I retract my statement. I really like your set-up. That picture of your Airstream behind the Toyota in front of Shiprock should be evidence enough to convince anyone. Will the '07 Tundra be offered with something bigger than the 4.7L V-8?
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