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-   -   Sway Question (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238/sway-question-108726.html)

time2play 08-21-2013 04:30 PM

Sway Question
 
Coming home driving south on I-405 in Washington, our trailer suddenly swayed. Our truck (Ford F150) briefly displayed a message about "trailer sway", which the Ford F150 displays when the trailer sway control has detected trailer sway.

The sway stopped almost immediately, and didn't happen again.

It was hot in Seattle area yesterday, barely any wind, we were driving about 60mph. My husband and I both freaked out, and he swore he was never going over 55mph again.

But still....what might have caused the sway?

Thanks for your help.

reddogfox 08-21-2013 05:25 PM

What brand and model weight distribution hitch do you use? What is weighting rating of the bars?

ROBERT CROSS 08-21-2013 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reddogfox (Post 1343876)
What brand and model weight distribution hitch do you use? What is weighting rating of the bars?

^
X2?

Have you been to the CAT scales? The Classics are the heavyweights of the AS line. You'll need the weights to properly set up the rig.
A quality WD hitch with integral sway control is a MUST with your 30'r.
What is the load rating of your tires? C,D,E.
LT (light truck), or P (passenger).

The Ford "sway control" does nothing to prevent sway, it only activates after sway is detected. Much better to prevent it.

Bob
:blink:

putback 08-21-2013 06:13 PM

Our '10 F150 has the tow package w/ the sway control option. With our single axle safari have had this happen a couple times caused by the "bow wave" from a bus passing us on interstate highways. According Ford its normal. The anti sway system on the truck applies brake to individual wheels on the truck to self correct and flashes the message on the dash. If the is no obvious reason for the message you may want to stop by a dealership and ask them to check the computer log on the truck for a malfunction. They also told me and while an underinflated tire will show the icon an overinflated will not, and just one overinflated can cause the sway message.

time2play 08-21-2013 08:57 PM

Thanks all for your replies.

We originally purchased a 2013 28' Flying Cloud with an Equal-i-zer sway control hitch. Four months later, we traded up to a 2013 30' Classic. The hitch was transferred from our Flying Cloud to the Classic, as per the dealer's recommendation.

I have the Equal-i-zer manual, but we're not sure of the specific model. Tomorrow, we're going to check out the hitch and make sure we know the exact model so we can answer your questions. And lesson learned for us, this is something we should already have answers.

Bob, not sure about the tires. Are you asking about the truck tires?

Anyway, the trailer did sway. Not much, but it was noticeable. And the sway ended almost immediately. I "felt" the brakes - but my husband didn't apply the brakes. So the truck must done it's job and corrected the sway. But that's speculation on my part

Is there anything else we should do or know?

Thank you all again.

overlander63 08-21-2013 09:48 PM

If the truck detects sway, it will apply the trailer brakes to stop the sway, and the "sway" message will be displayed.

ROBERT CROSS 08-21-2013 10:00 PM

It's a truck but may not have truck tires.:huh:
Look at the sidewall for the size and load rating. P for passenger, LT for light truck.

You will still need to get the WD set-up and sway control adjusted properly. A trip to the scales will help a great deal. Your trailer could very well approach 9klbs loaded for camping. Overloading the tires, tongue weight, payload and or axle rating is a possibility.
It's harder to control sway when not properly set-up, made more difficult without the numbers. Load 'er up for camping and hit the scales.

Bob
:flowers:

Wazbro 08-21-2013 10:24 PM

I normally increase my TV tire pressure by about 20% over what is recommended (as the minimum pressure) on the door for towing, without exceeding the sidewall max pressure.

Higher tire pressure helps reduce sway.

willyjay 08-22-2013 12:48 AM

Sway Question
 
I suspect that the sway was likely caused by a rut in the pavement. I 405 is not in the best shape and the pavement is often broken and uneven

dkottum 08-22-2013 06:41 AM

Whatever the cause, it is impressive to see the truck's electronic anti-sway system respond to it, and immediately correct it before a sway oscillation occurred. That's what the manufacturers have been telling us.

doug

RickDavis 08-22-2013 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by willyjay (Post 1344059)
I suspect that the sway was likely caused by a rut in the pavement. I 405 is not in the best shape and the pavement is often broken and uneven

This is likely the reason. limited sway will often be felt on roads where heavy truck traffic has worn the road, even though you often can't see the grooves.

If this remains a brief one time event I would not be too concerned.

ROBERT CROSS 08-22-2013 07:18 AM

Doug,

I thought the system activated after the sway occurred.

"Our trailer sway control feature works with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ (RSC®), using the sensor that measures yaw motion to determine if the trailer is swaying. If necessary, trailer sway control applies precise asymmetric braking or adjusted engine torque to help bring both vehicle and trailer under control.*"

Bob
:flowers:

Captain Hank 08-22-2013 08:07 AM

Check the tow capacity of your truck. You are towing a 9000# trailer with an F-150?

Wazbro 08-22-2013 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkottum (Post 1344093)
Whatever the cause, it is impressive to see the truck's electronic anti-sway system respond to it, and immediately correct it before a sway oscillation occurred. That's what the manufacturers have been telling us.

doug

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1344102)
Doug,

I thought the system activated after the sway occurred.

"Our trailer sway control feature works with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ (RSC®), using the sensor that measures yaw motion to determine if the trailer is swaying. If necessary, trailer sway control applies precise asymmetric braking or adjusted engine torque to help bring both vehicle and trailer under control.*"

Bob
:flowers:

Yes, that is after sway that it kicks in, but also before oscillation.

The first movement from sway isn't normally dangerous, when sway causes oscillation (sometimes referred to as the "hospital wobble" or "death wobble" because of what often happens next) that it gets dangerous.

ROBERT CROSS 08-22-2013 01:25 PM

Oh I see...sway isn't oscillation. Then it stands to reason that oscillation isn't sway.:huh:

I see no mention of oscillation in Fords statement. TV yaw=trailer sway.
Maybe they need to check this thread and be educated....like me.:flowers:

If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance then baffle 'em with.....:censored:

Bob
:blink:

time2play 08-22-2013 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reddogfox (Post 1343876)
What brand and model weight distribution hitch do you use? What is weighting rating of the bars?

I finally have some answers! We have an Equal-i-zer 90-00-1000 (1000 lg max loaded tongue / 10,000 lb max loaded trailer weight.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain Hank (Post 1344126)
Check the tow capacity of your truck. You are towing a 9000# trailer with an F-150?

Our Ford F150 is an EcoBoost with a towing capactity of 11,200 lbs.

We're planning on weighing our trailer tomorrow, or definitely before we take it out again.

Where is the best place to take it to be weighed? What about those weigh stations we see alongside the freeway?

Thanks again everyone for your input. I do believe it was a slight sway caused by a rut in the freeway. I-405 is in bad shape, we'll have to keep that in mind.

Thank you!!

SteveSueMac 08-22-2013 03:29 PM

Time2play - google "cat scales" and anything you see not related to kittens should've if some help :-)

Those weigh stations you see on the highway aren't always open and when they are, troopers are usually using them to spot check commercial truckers. Many truck stops have cat scales and you can weigh your trailer there. There are several threads in the forums in this topic (I think Bob provided one direct link). I love weighing the trailer (I know - geeky) but it helps me understand how subtle changes over time can make a big difference.

Bob and Doug - re: sway/oscillation - I understood Doug to be saying that the truck detected a "sway" motion and put the electronics in to gear so that initial sway wouldn't "echo" left and right multiple times (I.e., oscillate).

Do I understand that right and if so, it seems Bob is reacting to the words, not the concept - what are the correct terms (I should have searched this first - I can feel it coming...). :-)

srpuywa 08-22-2013 03:36 PM

there is a scale in Lakewood on South Tacoma Way south of 512 close to the old Costco

featherbedder 08-22-2013 05:53 PM

I do know that in sway situation applying tv brakes instead of trailer brakes will cause more sway then danger, apply power to tv while manually applying brakes on trailer, do not panic it has happened to me more than once as I pull many kinds of trailers not always set up properly but not by me but it was mandatory to move. One accident in over 40 yrs. towing, when hitch broke because of improper design, and hitch manf. absorbed all costs, and redesigned the part that broke. Bill

handn 08-22-2013 06:10 PM

I get a tiny bit of sway with my Equalizer hitch, 25 foot Safari and diesel Excursion when an 18 wheeler or Greyhound passes me at 75 mph when there is a stiff cross wind. I have a small trailer and a big truck.
The Equalizer is o.k. for normal towing but if I were to upgrade to a big trailer at or near my vehicles towing capacity, I would upgrade to a premium hitch such as a Hensley or ProPride. Any sway is too much. I would want my hitch to suppress the sway and not let it get bad enough so the vehicle corrects it. I don't want to drive at 55 mph because I am nervous about sway.

featherbedder 08-22-2013 06:27 PM

Sway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handn (Post 1344396)
I get a tiny bit of sway with my Equalizer hitch, 25 foot Safari and diesel Excursion when an 18 wheeler or Greyhound passes me at 75 mph when there is a stiff cross wind. I have a small trailer and a big truck.
The Equalizer is o.k. for normal towing but if I were to upgrade to a big trailer at or near my vehicles towing capacity, I would upgrade to a premium hitch such as a Hensley or ProPride. Any sway is too much. I would want my hitch to suppress the sway and not let it get bad enough so the vehicle corrects it. I don't want to drive at 55 mph because I am nervous about sway.

I use early model of Reese dual cam not the new one, I have 31ft A.S. pull with 2500 [3/4] chev. pickup I do not get sway plus I do not go 55mph more like 70 unless conditions will not allow, also I find that at 55mph A.S. does not handle properly to suit me. Bill

Wazbro 08-22-2013 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveSueMac (Post 1344320)
Bob and Doug - re: sway/oscillation - I understood Doug to be saying that the truck detected a "sway" motion and put the electronics in to gear so that initial sway wouldn't "echo" left and right multiple times (I.e., oscillate).

Do I understand that right and if so, it seems Bob is reacting to the words, not the concept - what are the correct terms (I should have searched this first - I can feel it coming...). :-)

That's right. Though it is sway whether the trailer just goes to the side once then straightens out or keeps swaying or oscillating.

You could think of sway control compared to shocks on a car. With a car if you bounce it and it stops bouncing almost immediately the shocks are fine and safe, if you took the shocks off and bounced the car it would keep bouncing for a while and be dangerous to drive.

tailpipe 08-22-2013 10:30 PM

There are so many variables when you feel instability........tire pressure...correct tires...correct tow vehicle......wheelbase...hitch, transfer bars and correct towing height....condition of road and what is passing you . I start with the simple things and progressively move up the line...tires tire pressures hitch correct height correct transfer bars and sway control system tow vehicle. I pulled for years with a DRW 3500 series truck, rock solid under all conditions. I just sold this and purchased a SWR 2500 truck very solid but not rock solid. When you are traveling say 60 mph and a big truck passes you doing 75 the trailer and tow vehicle are put through first a push then when the truck goes by you the whole unit seems to be sucked in behind the truck, now when you are on grooved pavement and not correctly hitched or you tires are a little soft or your tow vehicle is marginal with the GVWR rating, well you get the picture. The same happens towing on a road with tire ruts. Start simple and move up the line systematically. A trailer generally follows in a little different track than a truck, a trailer could be running in a rut and the truck not in a rut so the trailer is trying to pull the truck laterally. Find the best speed between 55 and 62 and don't get in a hurry....enjoy

time2play 08-23-2013 01:09 PM

Thanks everyone again for all your help. My husband and I are seriously thinking of buying a Hensley Arrow hitch. From what I understand, we have to buy directly from the Hensley company and they cost about $3,000. Wow! But our top priority is safety, and sometimes you have to pay extra for peace of mind.

I'm curious...how difficult is it to install the hitch? Or should I have our local Airstream dealer install the hitch?

dkottum 08-23-2013 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by time2play (Post 1344700)
Thanks everyone again for all your help. My husband and I are seriously thinking of buying a Hensley Arrow hitch. From what I understand, we have to buy directly from the Hensley company and they cost about $3,000. Wow! But our top priority is safety, and sometimes you have to pay extra for peace of mind.

I'm curious...how difficult is it to install the hitch? Or should I have our local Airstream dealer install the hitch?

You can buy a ProPride for about $500 less, and it's an easy bolt-on installation. It's an updated, improved version of the Hensley, redesigned by Hensley himself.

Best upgrade you will ever do for your Airstream.

doug

time2play 08-23-2013 02:03 PM

Thanks Doug, you're right. We're considering the ProPride too. I like the idea that it's easier to install.

pmclemore 08-26-2013 10:23 AM

I bought a factory-refurbished Hensley for a pretty good discount and have been satisfied. I installed it myself and recommend that you try to do so too. It teaches you a lot about how it works and how to maintain it.

Get a handy friend and follow the directions. It will involve drilling into the a-frame, so gather your courage, measure twice and drill once.

Pat

rmkrum 08-26-2013 12:51 PM

Drilling holes into the A-frame is the main reason I decided to get a ProPride.

I don't like the idea of drilling holes of any sort into a very critical part of the tow system...YMMV

Garfield 08-26-2013 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmkrum (Post 1345951)
Drilling holes into the A-frame is the main reason I decided to get a ProPride.

I don't like the idea of drilling holes of any sort into a very critical part of the tow system...YMMV

Drilling a ~1/4" hole into one side of an A-frame isn't going to compromise structure. Of course every hitch has it's pros and cons. There are some things I don't like about my Hensley. One thing I don't like about the PP is the adjustable "stinger"; convenient to be sure, but it's not the most robust design IMO. From a design perspective and robustness, I prefer the Hensley. Not perfect by any means, but it's pretty darned good.

Dealers choice.

time2play 08-27-2013 01:49 AM

And this is why we're getting the ProPride hitch!!

This is scary:

Overturned trailer snags traffic on I-10

URL: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/up...-i-10-1.192862


Yolanda

Skater 08-27-2013 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by overlander63 (Post 1344009)
If the truck detects sway, it will apply the trailer brakes to stop the sway, and the "sway" message will be displayed.

Okay, that's really cool. How does it detect that the trailer is swaying?

ROBERT CROSS 08-27-2013 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skater (Post 1346246)
Okay, that's really cool. How does it detect that the trailer is swaying?

"Our trailer sway control feature works with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ (RSC®), using the sensor that measures yaw motion to determine if the trailer is swaying. If necessary, trailer sway control applies precise asymmetric braking or adjusted engine torque to help bring both vehicle and trailer under control.*"

IMHO....

It would be best to do everything you can to minimize sway from the start.
ie. Proper weight distribution/loading, WD hitch with sway control, tire pressures etc.

Depending only on the "auto" system for sway, constantly applying TV brakes doesn't seem like a prudent course of action. Your trailer could be moving around quite a bit and you may be completly unaware.
With a proper set-up it would only be activated under extrodinary situations.
Just my 2cents.

Bob
:blink:

Hoonanea 08-27-2013 07:04 AM

My TV is a Ford Expedition with the same built in anti-sway control. It was a white knuckle experience the first time I towed the trailer home. I then contacted the very experienced dealer that did the set-up of the anti sway hitch, brake controller, and calibration. They looked into a few things then called back advising me to turn OFF the Ford anti sway feature. They said it was not designed to work with anti sway/WD hitches like my Blue Ox system. The two systems fight each other. The friction system of the hitch says "go this way" and the Ford system detects that friction as sway and says "no, go that way".

It's as if the two together create sway. I turn mine off (before reaching highway speed or you have to slow down to disengage it) and it's been as smooth as can be since then. Has anyone else experienced this with Ford's anti sway?

The RV dealer said Ford's system was designed for towing boats or utility trailers where a WD/anti sway hitch would not be involved.

ROBERT CROSS 08-27-2013 07:09 AM

^
X2

Now that makes sense....:wally:

Bob
:blink:

Pileus 08-27-2013 07:18 AM

Dump the Pirelli, problem solved.

ROBERT CROSS 08-27-2013 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pileus (Post 1346262)
Dump the Pirelli, problem solved.


??????

Were they the OEM P's on your KR?

Bob
:blink:

dkottum 08-27-2013 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoonanea (Post 1346259)
My TV is a Ford Expedition with the same built in anti-sway control. It was a white knuckle experience the first time I towed the trailer home. I then contacted the very experienced dealer that did the set-up of the anti sway hitch, brake controller, and calibration. They looked into a few things then called back advising me to turn OFF the Ford anti sway feature. They said it was not designed to work with anti sway/WD hitches like my Blue Ox system. The two systems fight each other. The friction system of the hitch says "go this way" and the Ford system detects that friction as sway and says "no, go that way".

It's as if the two together create sway. I turn mine off (before reaching highway speed or you have to slow down to disengage it) and it's been as smooth as can be since then. Has anyone else experienced this with Ford's anti sway?

The RV dealer said Ford's system was designed for towing boats or utility trailers where a WD/anti sway hitch would not be involved.

There may be some new info here but I don't understand it. Your friction sway control simply adds "drag" to sideways movement, it doesn't initiate any movement. How might they work against each other, if the hitch is not working but just resisting movement?

We have a 2012 Ram electronic sway control, there is no switch to turn it off. Never detected such a problem with three different hitches.

Is it possible the dealer was referring to shutting off the auto leveling system, if you have one? The auto leveling and w.d. system do fight each other when trying to set it up.

doug

boilermaker 08-27-2013 04:34 PM

I have a '75 Sovereign 31 with parts of the old style Reese sway control. Old Style Reese Sway Control OK?
Can I purchase new Reese trunnion bars, head and shank that will be compatible with the old sway control, or would it be better to invest in a new, complete system? How do I determine which parts, if any, will work?

Ken

Hoonanea 08-27-2013 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkottum (Post 1346328)

There may be some new info here but I don't understand it. Your friction sway control simply adds "drag" to sideways movement, it doesn't initiate any movement. How might they work against each other, if the hitch is not working but just resisting movement?

We have a 2012 Ram electronic sway control, there is no switch to turn it off. Never detected such a problem with three different hitches.

Is it possible the dealer was referring to shutting off the auto leveling system, if you have one? The auto leveling and w.d. system do fight each other when trying to set it up.

doug

No, they weren't referring to auto leveling. My Expy doesn't have that.

When you say "drag" I'm thinking "resistance" and that resistance has to have a base point to be applied against. That point is the hitch or stinger and that's where Ford's system seems to detect it as the beginning stages of sway that it feels it needs to correct when actually it's the anti sway hitch doing its job. For patent reasons I would imagine Dodge's system has to work a little bit differently. Bottom line I guess is that we can both feel comfortable that the systems are doing what they are designed to do and that's a good thing.

Pileus 08-28-2013 05:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1346270)
??????

Were they the OEM P's on your KR?

Bob
:blink:


Yes. My sway problems went away when I dumped the stock Scorpions on the KR and went to a better tire.

ROBERT CROSS 08-28-2013 06:00 AM

There is definately a cause/effect with tires and unstable towing, not to be overlooked.

You would think that Ford would consider the KR a "truck", but most mfgr scimp the same way.:sad:

Bob
:blink:

dkottum 08-28-2013 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoonanea (Post 1346259)
My TV is a Ford Expedition with the same built in anti-sway control. It was a white knuckle experience the first time I towed the trailer home. I then contacted the very experienced dealer that did the set-up of the anti sway hitch, brake controller, and calibration. They looked into a few things then called back advising me to turn OFF the Ford anti sway feature. They said it was not designed to work with anti sway/WD hitches like my Blue Ox system. The two systems fight each other. The friction system of the hitch says "go this way" and the Ford system detects that friction as sway and says "no, go that way".

It's as if the two together create sway. I turn mine off (before reaching highway speed or you have to slow down to disengage it) and it's been as smooth as can be since then. Has anyone else experienced this with Ford's anti sway?

The RV dealer said Ford's system was designed for towing boats or utility trailers where a WD/anti sway hitch would not be involved.

The Ford website uses an Airstream trailer for their sway control demonstration video:

2013 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck | More Powerful, Capable & Advanced. | Ford.com

I wonder if this RV dealer is passing out bad information, maybe just passing the buck?

Almost all people pulling an Airstream with a late model Ford are using the tow vehicle's electronic sway control together with a sway control hitch. If what the RV dealer says is true, it should be a universal problem. Is it?

doug

ROBERT CROSS 08-28-2013 09:20 AM

I saw that video and wondered the same thing...I couldn't tell if they were using any hitch sway control on the AS though.
On the some of the other work truck vid's it was pretty clear they were not.

It is very effective once engaged.

Bob
:blink:

dznf0g 08-28-2013 09:24 AM

I would be very surprised if the AS dealer's statement is correct. I can't fathom why Ford's system would behave any differently than the rest.

ROBERT CROSS 08-28-2013 10:02 AM

After reading more about the system on the Ford sites, my takeaway is....get your hitch, sway control and WD set-up properly and you may never see the sway DIC light come on.

I believe one statement is correct...it is primarily intended for commercial/work users who are not usually inclined to pay much attention to sway and how their hitched.:blink:

Bob
;)


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