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Old 03-04-2007, 12:57 PM   #1
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TT sway w/ Equal-I-Zer or Reese Dual Cam

We just traded our 19'Bambi CCD for a 25' FB International. We have been very happy towing the Bambi with an Equal-I-Zer hitch, but made the mistake of buying the 90-00-0600 model (600# tongue wgt and 6000# TT wgt) instead of the 1000#/10000#, and now must upgrade.

I was all set to buy another Equal-I-Zer until I ran across the following article written in 2004: Trailer Sway: A Hidden Danger and A Reliable Fix / Products Liability Update / Resources / ProductsLiability.net - ProductsLiability.net . The dreaded controversy "should I or should I not buy a Hensley" resurfaced for me. Yes, I know the article was written by a not exactly disinterested product liability lawyer, but still the statement:

"to date there has never been a single trailer sway accident when a trailer was equipped with a Hensley Arrow"

is hard to dismiss.

I believe the Hensley provides a theoretical advantage for sway control. What is less clear is whether this theoretical advantage matters when towing a 25' Airstream with a 3/4 ton pickup. I know this question has been extensively debated by knowledgeable people on both sides of the issue so I am reluctant to start yet another thread. Still, I'd like to make my decision with as much data as possible. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone about your personal experience with: (a) specific instances of trailer sway and the circumstances under which it happened, (b) specific instances of no trailer sway when towing in adverse conditions w/ either a Reese dual cam or Equal-I-Zer.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:03 PM   #2
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I think your truck is big enough that you would not really need to spend the extra money for a Hensley. I tow a 26 foot Overlander without anything but a friction bar on a Reese using a 3/4 ton Ford van without a problem. When I towed my 31 footer I used a Reese with the dual cam system. I drove it alright for 50,000 miles but my wife did not like it on Interstates with lots of trucks passing or going down hill through the mountains. If you have the extended cab or crew cab it will be even better with the longer wheelbase.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker
(b) specific instances of no trailer sway when towing in adverse conditions w/ either a Reese dual cam or Equal-I-Zer.
Downhill on an Interstate in a light rain with an 18 wheeler zooming by - Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 16' Bambi, Equal-i-zer - no sway problem.

That said...you now have a large Airstream (smallest of the large ones...but a widebody nonetheless) and you have a 3/4 ton truck. If I had your equipment, I'd go with the Hensley.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:15 PM   #4
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I opted for the Equal-i-zer system when we bought our 28' International, due to the many endorsements of it on this forum and the Open Roads forum. I also tow with a 2500HD Duramaz powered pickup and I have never had reason to doubt our choice. I considered the Hensley briefly, but ruled it out as the cost did not seem to offer our TT-TV package any great advantage over the Equal-i-zer. If I was going to tow a 34 footer with a 3/4 ton Suburban, then I might consider it. But for a 25 foot Airstream behind a 2500HD, I would not go the Hensley way.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
"to date there has never been a single trailer sway accident when a trailer was equipped with a Hensley Arrow"

is hard to dismiss.
But it should be because it is false. The Hensley Hype (tm) should create a great deal of skepticism in anyone looking at hitches.

Both the Dual Cam and Equal-i-zer are about equivalent in performance and one level up fromt the most common braking bar. The Dual Cam is usually the route if you have a Reese or EZ Lift type load leveling hitch already and want an add on. The Eq is probably the best bet if starting from scratch as it is a simpler design with fewer parts. Blue Ox sells a sway inhibiting hitch very similar in method to the Eq but a bit more expensive.

If considering the Hensley, also take a look at the Pull Rite. Both are very good at improving handling. They are often used to cover over or compensate for other flaws in towing rigging.

As for the quote - take a look at insurance rates. When Hensley can get insurance companies to provide a discout for using their hitch then you will know that there is something significant to consider. Meanwhile, watch out for all the other people trying to spend your money - especially in the name of safety.

It never hurts (except in the pocketbook) to add special shocks, springs, tires, wheels, and other things to improve handling. Sometimes it makes a noticable difference, sometimes not. Sway control fits into this regime. It will not prevent an accident if you don't drive your rig properly or make a bad decision or have an equipment failure.
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:04 PM   #6
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It is not all hype

We had a Reese on our 25' and now have a Hensley. When properly (emphasis mine) setup the Hensley eliminates sway. I'll be the last person to shill for Hensley as the hitch can be an expensive pain in the ass (many recent posts can be found on the subject), but it does eliminate sway. I would say it performs better then the Reese in towing related activity. But hitching up requires at least a 6 month learning curve. Our insurance agent has asked us if we use a Hensley either.
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback
We had a Reese on our 25' and now have a Hensley. When properly (emphasis mine) setup the Hensley eliminates sway. I'll be the last person to shill for Hensley as the hitch can be an expensive pain in the ass (many recent posts can be found on the subject), but it does eliminate sway. I would say it performs better then the Reese in towing related activity. But hitching up requires at least a 6 month learning curve. Our insurance agent has asked us if we use a Hensley either.
-KL
Silverback,

Did the Reese have dual-cam or friction for sway control?
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:59 PM   #8
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The RV Net forum has had discussions about a "Hensley bump" sometimes reported by Hensley owners. It seems that under certain conditions, the same principles that make the Hensley effective as a sway-prevention device can actually cause stability problems, including reported loss-of-control accidents. No device is prefect under all circumstances.
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Old 03-04-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 03-04-2007, 05:40 PM   #10
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hiker,
Our Reese was a dual cam model. It worked great on two Airstreams for us but you felt the "push" from the big rigs going by. That is what is gone with the Hensley. I have never heard of (or experienced) the Hensley bump. I'll have to read up on that.
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Old 03-04-2007, 05:48 PM   #11
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Reese dual cam... loved it so much we are getting another for our present Argosy... sold the hitch with the last Argosy... won't make that mistake again..
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Old 03-04-2007, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstreamer67
The RV Net forum has had discussions about a "Hensley bump" sometimes reported by Hensley owners. It seems that under certain conditions, the same principles that make the Hensley effective as a sway-prevention device can actually cause stability problems, including reported loss-of-control accidents. No device is prefect under all circumstances.
The "Hensley bump" occurs when the brake controller in improperly adjusted. By increasing the initial braking voltage to the TT brakes via the controller, the "bump" disappears. I believe this issue is addressed in the manual for the hitch.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:02 PM   #13
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BeBop,
I know exactly what you mean now. We did feel it on the first test drive. I adjusted the Prodigy at the dealers when we set it up. You have to bump up the multiplier.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:17 PM   #14
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New from Reese

Reese has a new equalizing hitch and it is based on the friction dampening effects similar to the Equal-I-Zer brand name. Reese's name for this hitch is the Pro-Series. It is available in 750, 1100 and 1400 pound tongue weight capacities. The cost is reasonable as well. I plan to get one soon.
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