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Old 03-05-2007, 11:04 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
Fact :::: Hensley hitches are expensive, very expensive when compared to other hitches
Fact :::: Hensley hitches perform as advertised
Fact :::: I would never tow with anything else

Ditto. After 30,000 miles.

It's even worth the $90 we just spent on the new Hensley vinyl hitch cover.

Tom, and Frank
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:05 AM   #30
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Some of the best discussion of the theory and practice of sway control and the operation of various methods can be found over on RV.NET - some threads have been made stickies. Ron is considered one of the experts as he has done a lot of work on the topic.

There are just two basic methods for handling sway, defined as a tow vehicle tail wagging by the trailer and not a jacknife situation. One is by damping through friction and the other is by moving the pivot point. Sway is a horizontal thing and should not be confused with load leveling which is vertical thing.

A key problem with sway is its perceived effect on steering. Where most people get into trouble is in over-reacting to the trailer wagging the tail of the tow vehicle.

The HA and Pullrite are the two most common pivot moving hitches. This means that sway inducing forces on the trailer don't wag the tail but rather push the tow vehicle sideways. This is usually much more comfortable for the driver and does reduce improper steering stimuli but does not remove the basic issue of dealing with sideways forces on the rig.

One story I've seen is about a group going home after a rally in Ohio with severe cross winds. The guy with the HA didn't report any problems but those watching him had a different story. The point of the tale is that you cannot eliminate environmental factors on the driving experience, you can only make them more comfortable to handle.

The DC 'self centering' thing is a bit of hype, too. That sway control mechanism works primarily due to the friction of the 'cam' parts as they slide over each other. To get into the reality of this you have to compare the 'self centering' force of the cam lifting to the friction forces of the parts moving past each other. Do the math, you'll see.

One way to think about sway control is to consider shock absorbers. These are also damping mechanisms. You can test your shocks by bouncing the bumper and seeing how fast the vehicle bounce damps out. Sway control does the same thing at the trailer ball for side to side pivoting. The HA and Pullrite are somewhat like using very very stiff springs so the whole car moves rather than just the wheels. (teaching license taken ...)

I know that these ideas are very very touchy for some. I don't know why there is such an emotional attachment but I do accept it does exist. That makes figuring out the fundamentals rather difficult for those trying to read through the threads. Perhaps a way to start is to do some private surveying - go through well populated campgrounds and inventory sway control mechanisms to see what works for the masses, consider the sales issues of dealers and what they install versus buyers bias and what you read in the discussions. Finally, pay attention to what your rig is telling you and make your own decisions. You may find that your preferences change over time or that one attemp just doesn't do it for you, so don't be afraid to try something if you can.

What works is going to depend upon you, your rig, how you have your rig set up, how you use your rig, and your personal preferences. Don't let others do it for you.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:05 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
I just did a blow up of one of your pics it shows the small plate that you set the angle it is at max tilt backwards, that may be all you need to try is to tilt it forward and get it to work as I said with 5 links.

The weight dist bars are 1,000lbs, do you know the real tongue weight of your trailer?

When you know that, you can call Reese and get their opinion on weather those bars are too stiff, IMO they are fine.
Here are the weights of the trailer, as of a couple of months ago.
http://www.airforums.com/forum...4-post863.html

I did quite a bit of experimenting with hitch bar angle on this setup, also with a different amount of chain links, but the hitch works more or less the same. The way it is now seems to be best.
I am not blaming the Resse hitch at all, I am merely looking for a reason for my problem. There's physics involved that I do not understand quite yet. Others have excellent results with their Dual Cam HP. That's why I bought it.
Maybe my tongue weight is too low, with only 520lbs being about 10% of the trailer's weight. The TradeWind I towed before was closer to 20%. It, too had some sway, but I towed it with a basic Eaz-Lift.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:19 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
What many drivers do when they feel the trailer starting to sway is try to steer against the sway rather than just hold steady and let the sway control system do it's job. In almost all casses this corrective steering INCREASES the sway.

If your trailer is forced into an oscillation you are better off to lightly accelerate while applying the trailer brakes using the manual switch on the brake controller. The application of these to counter acting forces will pull the rig straight.
I believe that you are correct, only that in my case, without driver correction, the sway would cause a collision with the rig in the progress of passing me. It is not a light wiggle, there's a definite change of direction going on. The light wiggle happens when I am being passed by a speeding SUV. I am talking about hearing the reflectors from the freeway lane on my tires if I don't correct.
On a long trip, the method you described would wear a driver out in less than one hour, with most interstates being inundaded with trucks and buses.
I would use this technique if a fishtail was about to start.

On the other hand, knowing that my combination will sway when being passed, I always know exactly what is going on around me, and who is about to pass me, and from where...not a bad thing either.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:44 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
I would ask you to check this out before you give up on your current hitch.
While on level ground with the trailer positioned over the ball just before hitching up measure the height of the front and rear fenders of your truck. Now hitch up with out moving the truck and again measure the fenders. If the hitch is set up right the fenders should drop in height in about a 60/40 ratio. That is the total drop in the fenders should have the front fender dropping about 40% of the total drop and the rean dropping about 60%. If you are not dropping the front fender the equalizing bars either are not pulled up enough or are too light for the job.

Another way to look at this is if the rear fender dropps 1/2 in. the front should drop about 3/8in. These measurments will very somewhat depending on the truck springs but the important point is you want to see weight transfered to the front axle. If the front axle is coming up you will have sway because of the reduced road friction on the front axle.

All too many trailers I see with weight distrubiting hitches are not set up to do the job because most people do not want to raise the trailer/truck combination high enough while hitching to allow the bars to be set right. If you can pull the bars up without lifting the rear of the truck yuo are stronger than the average.
I can agree with this. A friend of ours (SOB) uses a Reese, there is little/no load on his bars. I have offered "advice" and "help" each time we camp together. I have offered to go to his house, on level pavement, and help him determine proper hitch setup. He brushes off my comments. He is way over loaded for his 1/2 ton truck, front end up in the air...I am always sure to leave the campground long after he does. I don't need to be any where near him on the road! He is one of those that has the attitude "I've got away with it so far..."

Any way, we use an Equalizer, have with our last 2 campers. I have never had a problem with sway, find it very easy to set up and to use. I have never used an HA, but really can't imagine how another $2500 or so could benefit me.

If you had a marginal TV-you don't-then maybe there is some benefit. With a proper TV, and proper setup of an Eq or Reese, I would put the extra $ in you pocket and stay on vacation another couple of weeks this summer...

My .02-Bill
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:47 AM   #34
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Well I think at this point you need to call Reese.
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Old 03-05-2007, 12:38 PM   #35
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UWE

Another thing I should have mentioned that effect sway is tire pressure.
If I am right in assuming you are towing with a 2500 Sub I would ask if you have ever selected the right tire pressure for you load. The door sticker will say 80 lbs. which is the lawyers suggestiion and most likely 35 lbs over inflated.

Look you tires up on the manufactures inflation chart, do not ask the kid at the tire store, and set them for your load. My rig in total weights 16,540 lbs. The truck axle weights call for 45 lbs. in the fron and 55 lbs in the rear, not the 80 on the door post.

Over inflation is like riding on Ball Bearings and will increase sway.

I have towed for over 40 years and used a Reese weight dist. hitch on everything from a daul axle pop up camper, redesigned the trailer tounge to accept the hitch, an High rise SOB, and over 110,000 miles on my Airstream.

If Reese can control a 26 ft.high rise behind a Ford station wagon it will control your rig.

I would ask you to post you fender lowering meeasurements and tire pressure .

he number of chain links is not important only in that they determine clearance to the trailer and hitch parts while turning.
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Old 03-05-2007, 03:07 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
UWE

Another thing I should have mentioned that effect sway is tire pressure.
If I am right in assuming you are towing with a 2500 Sub I would ask if you have ever selected the right tire pressure for you load. The door sticker will say 80 lbs. which is the lawyers suggestiion and most likely 35 lbs over inflated.
I tow with a Suburban 1500. I am running Michelin LT series tires load range C. ( max I can find for 15" wheels) I inflate them to 50lbs rear, 45lbs front when towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
Look you tires up on the manufactures inflation chart, do not ask the kid at the tire store, and set them for your load. My rig in total weights 16,540 lbs. The truck axle weights call for 45 lbs. in the fron and 55 lbs in the rear, not the 80 on the door post.
I looked that up a while back, and came upo with the 50/45 number.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
Over inflation is like riding on Ball Bearings and will increase sway.

I have towed for over 40 years and used a Reese weight dist. hitch on everything from a daul axle pop up camper, redesigned the trailer tounge to accept the hitch, an High rise SOB, and over 110,000 miles on my Airstream.
I believe you, but the fact is that no matter what I do, there's a fair amount of sway when being passed by semis. I really want this to work, believe me.
My next step is complete disassembly, new adjust ments and measuring hopefully before the next trip to the desert. I also want to try closely matched spring bars, as per Reese's recommendation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
If Reese can control a 26 ft.high rise behind a Ford station wagon it will control your rig.

I would ask you to post you fender lowering meeasurements and tire pressure .

he number of chain links is not important only in that they determine clearance to the trailer and hitch parts while turning.
I can measure this next time I hitch up, when I change the WD bars to the lower weight bars.
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:05 PM   #37
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TT sway w/ Equal-I-Zer or Reese Dual Cam

Greetings Ewe!

I can offer no real explanation for this experience, but it was something that still seems somewhat implausible. When towing my Overlander with the '75 Cadillac, my dealer recommended 750 lb bars -- I didn't have any of this capacity so he sold me a set of the new bars that do not require the replaceable saddles for use with the Dual Cam -- I found on my 250 mile trip home that the combination tended to be far less stable than any other time I had towed the coach (every passing semi could be felt -- and a few fifth-wheel horse trailers were just as bad). After having the dealer check all adjustments, I asked to try an identically rated set of older style spring bars with the dual cam saddles -- unexplainably, the coach returned to its normal excellent towing manners. The one difference is that my coach has the older style clamp-on Dual Cam System rather than the new HP setup.

Good luck getting to the bottom of the stability issue!

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Old 03-05-2007, 11:32 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
Here some pictures. The last picture shows my trailer/suburban combination fully loaded for a 2 week trip, plus 800lbs of equipment in the back of the Suburban.
Still, even with this increased tongue weight, and the extra link in the chain that it took to level the combination, the Reese HP did not perform very well.
There was definite sway when being passed by trucks and buses.
I also notice a fair amount of wear on the cams. The area where the bars ride is worn beyond 1/8in already.

on edit: the first two pictures were taken while installing the cams, the adjusters are still loose.
Hi, this is just my opinion and I'm trying to help. In your picture, your trailer looks slightly high in front and your Suburban looks slightly low in the rear. I think you should try it without the 800#s of stuff in the back of the Suburban createing a false tongue weight load on your hitch. Add or increase rear spring rate in the back of your Suburban to hold it level with all that stuff or spread the weight out. Put some stuff in your trailer and some in the middle of your tow vehicle. After this, then of coarse, re-adjust your hitch again.
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:51 AM   #39
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I (unwittingly) have tested tire pressure vs sway with my 31 footer and a 3/4 ton van with Reese Twin Cams (old style). At 50 psi it was barely controllable. I noticed the low pressure at 1st gas stop. Put in the recommended 65 psi and problems completely disapeared. Side wall and lateral stiffness are dramatically effected by inflation pressure. UWE, I would suggest you up the tire pressure on your 1500 to 65 psi and give it a try. The 1500 suspension is not as laterally stiff as my van was before you consider the tire effects. Now I tow with a dually without any W/D hitch and with the 26 footer my wife can drive in truck traffic without a worry. That is the expensive way to solve the problem, but it works great.
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Old 03-06-2007, 07:04 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS
Hi, this is just my opinion and I'm trying to help. In your picture, your trailer looks slightly high in front and your Suburban looks slightly low in the rear. I think you should try it without the 800#s of stuff in the back of the Suburban createing a false tongue weight load on your hitch. Add or increase rear spring rate in the back of your Suburban to hold it level with all that stuff or spread the weight out. Put some stuff in your trailer and some in the middle of your tow vehicle. After this, then of coarse, re-adjust your hitch again.
Or just tighten up the spring bars...
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:47 AM   #41
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UWE

Now that I have your attention and you seam committed to investigating the problem let me say. It can take several hours to set up a Reese hitch correctly. I have spent as much as 6 hours on a friends hitch only to have him undo it because it scraped his driveway when he returned home. He prefers to tows at 40 mph on the turnpike because of sway and fear rather than drdesign his driveway.

For best results, am improvement over just height measurements, take the truck to a scale. Weight the front axle of the truck then both axles. Now you have a known starting point.

Take the trailer to as level a parking spot as you can find. Unhitch and measure the trucks fender heights. Hitch up and remeasure. Using the original heigh measurements as your referance make changes to the hitch head heigh and tilt until while hitched the truck fenders are lowered in about a 60/40 ratio. Once you have reached a good setting go back to the scale with the trailer and weigh the front axle. I add about 175 lbs. to the front axle when finished. This weight will vary with different truck and trailer conbinations but the important thing is you want additional weight on that front axle.

This seams like a lot of work but I do it ever spring to correct for wear and carry a pair of 1/2 in thick plates to put under the chain hangers, to increase bar tension, mid season if I notice sway coming from wear during the towing season.
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:47 PM   #42
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Thanks

Thanks for the helpful posts.

redeagle313
Your rig is similar to our new rig. Reassuring to hear you have no reason to doubt your choice of the Equal-I-Zer.

BillTex
Good to hear you have never had a problem with sway pulling a 25' TT with an Equal-I-Zer.

robertsunrus
I agree that peace of mind is important.

Leipper
Thanks for pointing me to Hensley discussion on RV.NET:
RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Hensley Arrow: How does it REALLY work?
I found Ron Gratz's posts especially informative.

Silverback
Thanks for sharing your first hand comparison between towing with a Reese and Hensley.

So this is what I have concluded after reading as many posts as I could:

I can find no hard data that convinces me that towing with a Hensley is any safer than towing with either the Reese or Equal-I-Zer. Therefore, the safety factor will not enter into my decision. After reading the many endorsements by Hensley users and studying how the hitch operates, I do believe the Hensley provides a superior, more enjoyable towing experience which becomes more pronounced as the TT becomes longer (or the TV wheelbase becomes shorter). This would be especially important to me on long trips. On the other hand, the Equal-I-Zer provides an acceptable towing experience, is easier to hitch and install, and is of course considerably less money.

I'm still weighing what makes sense for us at this time.
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