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-   -   New rig question, sway control friction vs. something else? (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238/new-rig-question-sway-control-friction-vs-something-else-187210.html)

kittmaster 09-18-2018 07:33 AM

New rig question, sway control friction vs. something else?
 
Hello,

Working with my service manager at TASCA in Woonsocket, we are getting ready to order a Serenity 23FB in February. Our tow vehicle is a 2016 Yukon XL set up for towing with OEM brake controller, rear end etc.

I was told a simple ball can be used to pull it, it was recommended to get a sway control "friction" bar for it. Is there another type that I could/should be aware of?

This is our first and hopefully last trailer for us as we hang onto things forever, so we want to be sure we have it A) set up correctly B) ensure as much safety factor as possible C) easy to connect disconnect as I'm the one who will have to manage it.

Can someone make recommendation of what I should be looking at?

Does a sway system also mean weight distribution as well or can they be mutually exclusive?

Any help would be great and thanks for your time.

Chris

:hammer:

Mollysdad 09-18-2018 09:34 AM

IMO, a 23' is on the big side of ball only.
I'd look into the Equalizer brand hitch. It will keep the tow vehicle level and provide sway friction all in one package.
Airstream claims the hitch weight is 465# for the 23FB. Figure 500-600 loaded.
You might also look into the Equalizer's little brother, the Fastway E-2.
All the design of the Equalizer, with tapered bars.

Belegedhel 09-18-2018 10:16 AM

A friction sway bar dampens sway or "fishtailing" side-to side. It does little to dampen the up-and-down "dolphining" you sometimes encounter.

A weight distribution hitch's primary function is to use spring-bars to essentially level out the tow vehicle and "move" some of the weight in the rear of the vehicle to the front axle.

Some weight distribution systems use the friction of the spring bars against some rigid connection (instead of hanging from chains) to provide friction that can resist both side-to-side sway as well as dolphining. The Equalizer hitch described above has this function.

I towed my very light 21' Globetrotter a few thousand miles on the ball only without any sway bar. Seemed to be fine. Later, I added a friction sway bar, which was better, but there were still times that I was manually pumping the trailer brakes to straighten out and kill some unexpected sway.

Recently, I installed an Equalizer hitch. This is noticeably better still. Drove 4500 miles and never touched the manual trailer brake controls. Experienced very little sway from passing trucks, and noted the dampened dolphining.

The other benefit you get from a weight distributing hitch is that the spring force of the bars lock the coupler onto the ball, and "firm up" the interface between the hitch and the receiver. What you get out of this is a little more security (ie., the couple isn't going to "bounce" off the ball, even if the lock comes loose or fails for some reason), and you don't hear the "hitch rattle" that you may be used to hearing whenever you speed up, slow down, turn, etc..

Good luck!

So, despite my trailer being very light, with an extremely light tongue weight (due to the trailer being an aluminum tent at the moment), I do find a noticeable improvement in handling using the weight distributing + sway resisting setup of the Equalizer.

Lumatic 09-18-2018 10:23 AM

I use a friction bar with a WD hitch.

A big factor if you can use a simple receiver bar with a friction sway control is your tow vehicle. A bigger tow vehicle with more load capacity will take more tongue weight without "squatting" the rear of the tow vehicle.

A sway bar is something you don't need until you need it Fishtailing can turn into a death wobble due to road conditions, speed, and mechanical problems like a blow out. I would not tow without some kind of sway control although some do.

There are some higher end hitch systems which take care of sway. I have not used them:
Reese dual cam
Pro pride
Hensley Arrow

AirMiles 09-18-2018 10:57 AM

In the past I towed all my trailers, including heavy equipment trailers, tens of thousands of miles on the ball. I had some harrowing experiences with many of the heavier trailers. When I got my 25' Airstream, I purchased a Blue-Ox Swaypro weight distribution hitch. I now have over 50,000 miles of towing experience using the Blue-Ox Swaypro on my Airstream and my son-in-law's 15,000# enclosed utility trailer. We've never experienced any sway since installing the Blue-Ox. We will never again tow a heavy trailer without a weight distribution hitch with sway control.

Now a 23' Airstream is on the lighter end of tongue weights. I'd be comfortable towing it "on the ball" with a big vehicle. But, I'd be more comfortable towing it with a weight distribution hitch with sway control. There are many fine hitches including my Blue-Ox and the others mentioned in previous comments. If it were my 23' Airstream, I'd install a Blue-Ox Swaypro with 750# bars.

kittmaster 09-18-2018 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2157752)
If it were my 23' Airstream, I'd install a Blue-Ox Swaypro with 750# bars.

The Yukon Owner's manual says up to 600# just a ball and up to 1000 with a weight distribution hitch, would that change your opinion of a 750 to the 1000 version they have on their website???

AirMiles 09-18-2018 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittmaster (Post 2157791)
The Yukon Owner's manual says up to 600# just a ball and up to 1000 with a weight distribution hitch, would that change your opinion of a 750 to the 1000 version they have on their website???

I have the 1000# bars on my 25'. They are "just" enough bar for it. There are 1500# bars on the box trailer. I tried the 1500# bars with the Airstream and they were too much. I think the 1000# bars would be too much for a 23'. All Blue-Ox bars are interchangeable. You can just buy the bar weight that matches your trailer while using the same head.

Blue-Ox hitches use tapered bars that need to be flexed to provide the sway control. If you get too much bar, you don't get enough flex and lose some sway control. You want the bar weight to be close to, but higher than, the loaded tongue weight on the trailer. I think there are 550# bars also available, but these may be too light for a 23' when loaded.

kittmaster 09-18-2018 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2157800)
I have the 1000# bars on my 25'. They are "just" enough bar for it. There are 1500# bars on the box trailer. I tried the 1500# bars with the Airstream and they were too much. I think the 1000# bars would be too much for a 23'. All Blue-Ox bars are interchangeable. You can just buy the bar weight that matches your trailer while using the same head.

Blue-Ox hitches use tapered bars that need to be flexed to provide the sway control. If you get too much bar, you don't get enough flex and lose some sway control. You want the bar weight to be close to the loaded tongue weight on the trailer, or slightly over. I think there are 550# bars also available, but these may be too light for a 23' when loaded.

Ah ok, that is the ticket I didn't understand >> sway value close to tongue weight or over.....I watched their video, makes more sense now and most certainly worth the $750 they are asking for. There is only two of us so I don't expect to hit the GTWR, but very good to know what the differences are and when to select a different value.

Thank you this has been very enlightening.....by you and the others as well....thanks all for helping out a sway control noob!

:cool:

blkmagikca 09-18-2018 12:47 PM

Many Airstreamers towing with SUV's or 1/2-ton pickups use the Hensley Arrow. It is expensive, but you won't be white-knuckled towing. My own setup is different - since I tow with a 3/4-ton diesel, I use the Reese Straight-Line dual cam system. Both the Hensley Arrow and the Reese Dual Cam provide active sway control - i.e., they tend to re-center the motion - as opposed to the passive sway control of having just friction to stop the motion without bringing the entire rig into a straight line.

rmkrum 09-18-2018 02:07 PM

ProPride system is also a Hensley design similar to the Arrow, but a lot more heavy-duty.

https://www.propridehitch.com/

No white knuckles here since I installed it...

kittmaster 09-18-2018 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmkrum (Post 2157857)
ProPride system is also a Hensley design similar to the Arrow, but a lot more heavy-duty.

https://www.propridehitch.com/

No white knuckles here since I installed it...

This:

https://www.propridehitch.com/propri...control-hitch/

or

https://www.propridehitch.com/reese-...-sway-control/

Which one are you referring to?..TY.

uraljohn 09-18-2018 03:24 PM

Towing on the ball
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kittmaster (Post 2157659)
Hello,

Working with my service manager at TASCA in Woonsocket, we are getting ready to order a Serenity 23FB in February. Our tow vehicle is a 2016 Yukon XL set up for towing with OEM brake controller, rear end etc.

I was told a simple ball can be used to pull it, it was recommended to get a sway control "friction" bar for it. Is there another type that I could/should be aware of?

This is our first and hopefully last trailer for us as we hang onto things forever, so we want to be sure we have it A) set up correctly B) ensure as much safety factor as possible C) easy to connect disconnect as I'm the one who will have to manage it.

Can someone make recommendation of what I should be looking at?

Does a sway system also mean weight distribution as well or can they be mutually exclusive?

Any help would be great and thanks for your time.

Chris

:hammer:

Your going to have around 600 LBS of tongue weight dropped onto the back of a not real long wheelbase vehicle. You will be loading the rear axle plenty and taking a bunch of weight off of the front axle. NOT GOOD. You need a decent Weight Distributing Hitch and sway control. I tow a 2017 23D (this model Airstream has a higher tongue weight than a 23FB, about 800 LBS) with a 2013 Ford E150 XLT van with factory tow package. I would not even consider towing without a WD hitch and I have way more tow vehicle than your Yukon. I use a Equalizer (just my choice, there are many fine WD hitches to choose from) and it does a great job transferring weight back onto front axle for safe handling. You may want to check the door jamb sticker for the cargo capacity and axle ratings on your Yukon. Once you are all hooked up and fully loaded for travel, go to the closest Cat Scale and properly weigh rig. My guess is that your going to be real close to max on the back axle. My van has a 8600 GVW rating with 3700LB front axle, 5120LB rear axle rating. Cargo capacity is 2530 LBS. It tows the 23D very easily because of all the extra capacity.

rmkrum 09-18-2018 03:33 PM

The ProPride P3 one is what I have. Flat will NOT tow a trailer without one. Had a different setup that came with the Airstream. Trailer kept trying to come around me on downgrades, gave that hitch away, and went to a ProPride P3. No more issues since.

https://www.propridehitch.com/propri...control-hitch/

I'm using 1,000 pound bars with my 2007 22" International CCD. Tows like it is on rails under all conditions. It does require careful installation (just follow the instructions) and the WD adjustments need to be right to keep my somewhat too light Tacoma front end properly 'planted' for stability.

If it's not set right, the 'porpoising' on the front end makes DW seasick...and is an indication I need to tighten the WD bars a bit based on the load in the trailer and truck bed. When it's set right, rig is solid, tracks well up to 80+ MPH. (No, that speed was a momentary, accidental short run in west Texas caused by me not paying attention to speed...rig runs very smooth at reasonable speeds)

What I like best about it is the lack of sway events caused by passing big rigs. I get a 'push', but the whole rig feels it--no sudden 'tail wagging the dog' sway stuff at all.

Some complain about the difficulty of hitching up, but I've always done it by myself, just adjust alignment of the head to the stinger with the jacks, then back in at the right angle. Head does not have to be straight, either. I've easily done it at 45+ degrees to the trailer center line many times.

The only problem I've had lately is bright California sun washing out the Tacoma's built-in rear-view camera because the hitch was in a deep shadow behind the truck. So I got out and looked a few times...no big deal. I need to put some white paint in strategic areas, like the top of the 'stinger' and around the opening in the head so I can see them better. Black on black metal in a deep black shadow is flat not doing it for these old eyes.

Customer support is outstanding as well. Sean Woodruff (owner) will answer your calls personally, and I had tons of technical questions that he answered before I bought one...very patient and nice guy. He sells the Reese--that's something new lately--as an alternative.

kittmaster 09-18-2018 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uraljohn (Post 2157887)
My guess is that your going to be real close to max on the back axle. My van has a 8600 GVW rating with 3700LB front axle, 5120LB rear axle rating. Cargo capacity is 2530 LBS. It tows the 23D very easily because of all the extra capacity.

Here is the info from the door sticker.....

http://www.kittmaster.com/imagedump/...200032003.jpeg

Also note that it has the auto leveling feature which will pick the rear up under load.

My friend at the dealership says that my XL is considered a long base not short base vehicle and that the front up in the air won't happen with this model.

Does any of this provide a different opinion?

Thanks for your input, I want to be sure I don't leave anything to chance and everyone's experience is greatly appreciated!

Thank you.

CBWELL 09-18-2018 09:20 PM

I use the Husky Centreline which also has built in sway control. Have pulled for over 20,000 km with it and have had no problems. I use the 800 lb. weight bars to give the trailer a smoother ride. Worth looking into, as it is an easy way to stop sway with the built in piston type centering. Only down side is the fact that you have to be almost straight to hook up, but is easy to work around by checking the site before parking.

kittmaster 09-20-2018 11:58 AM

Just checking in to see if there are any further thoughts on the weight sticker I posted and the axle weight concerns?

TY.

Chris

AirMiles 09-20-2018 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittmaster (Post 2158775)
Just checking in to see if there are any further thoughts on the weight sticker I posted and the axle weight concerns?

TY.

Chris

Its hard to comment on the suitability of your vehicle for towing with only this sticker without knowing more weights. Is there a sticker that says "payload should never exceed 1,xxx lbs"? That would be very helpful, but then we still need to estimate the weight you will add to the tow vehicle with passengers and cargo to comment.

Let me use the first time I weighed my truck and Airstream as an example: Look at the yellow weight scale tickets at this link http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1950252

The GVWR sticker on my truck states 8950#, yours is 7500# and my axle ratings are 4900# each versus yours at 3600# and 4400#. Don't worry yet, my diesel truck is much heavier than your Yukon so I think you'll be ok . . .

My truck weighs 8040# when loaded for camping including driver, passenger, full fuel and gear. Therefore, I have 910# available for the tongue weight of an Airstream. (see first yellow weight ticket on link). What does your tow vehicle weight with passengers, full fuel, and cargo when ready to camp? The difference between this fully loaded weight and your GVWR is how much tongue weight your vehicle can handle. Again, don't worry if you are a little short because the weight distribution hitch (WDH) can do a little "magic" if needed.

When I hook the trailer up to the truck, without the WDH connected, the truck weighs 8790#. (See third yellow weight ticket on link.) Therefore, my Airstream tongue weight is 750#. ( 8790-8040=750)

Based on these two weight tickets we know my truck is below its 8950# GVWR and below its 4900# front and rear axle ratings. Now we know a WDH is not "needed". But, now look at the front axle weights on the above two yellow tickets. My truck's front axle weighs 4600# without the Airstream connected and 4380# with the Airstream. Therefore, the steering "feel" while driving with the Airstream connected is 220# light. I don't enjoy driving my rig with this light steering. When vehicles pass me with this lighter steering axle weight, my Airstream's tail pushes towards the ditch as they begin passing me and then it snaps back toward the yellow line as they are alongside me. These snaps are very uncomfortable and you need to hang on to it when being passed. So even though I don't "need" a WDH, I "want" a WDH to correct this snap.

So I use the WDH to restore the front axle weight when connected to the Airstream. (See the middle yellow ticket). Notice that when I connected the WDH with "nine links" of tension, my steering axle weight is 4580#. With this steering axle weight restored by the WDH, the rig does not snap either way while being passed. With the WDH connected, driving is very relaxed without the white knuckles that are caused by the light front axle and the passing vehicle snap.

So a WDH is used to "tune" the handling of your tow vehicle and Airstream. This tuning is more of an "art" than a science. Some vehicles like all the steering axle weight restored, some half the weight, and some don't care and don't need a WDH. The only way to know what your tow vehicle likes is to try different amounts of tension on the WDH to see how handling feels. When you find a feel you like, you can stop adjusting.

Sorry for the long and technical post.

overlander64 09-20-2018 02:17 PM

Towing with Yukon XL with Level Ride
 
Greetings Chris!

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittmaster (Post 2158004)
Here is the info from the door sticker.....

http://www.kittmaster.com/imagedump/...200032003.jpeg

Also note that it has the auto leveling feature which will pick the rear up under load.

My friend at the dealership says that my XL is considered a long base not short base vehicle and that the front up in the air won't happen with this model.

Does any of this provide a different opinion?

Thanks for your input, I want to be sure I don't leave anything to chance and everyone's experience is greatly appreciated!

Thank you.


I have towed my Airstream and Argosy many miles with a 1999 GMC Suburban K2500 and wouldn't consider towing even the light weight Minuet without weight distribution and sway control. I utilize the Reese "Classic" Dual Cam Sway Control straight-line hitch (this is an earlier design with brackets that attach to the trailer's A-Frame with clamps rather than bolts). I don't know how much things have changed at Airstream, but with my Vintage rigs, the advertised hitch weights on both of my coaches have proven to be rather fanciful. The Minuet (19'8") has an advertised hitch weight of 350 pounds, but when loaded for a trip with a full fresh water tank (immediately under front window) its loaded hitch weight is between 525 and 550 pounds. The Overlander (26' 6") has an advertised hitch weight of 550 pounds, but its actual ready to travel weight is between 700 and 725 pounds.


A knowledgeable Airstream technician set up my hitch for the Suburban, and I utilize 600 pound bars with the Minuet and 800 pound bars with the Overlander -- ideally both should be slightly lighter to enable better functionality of the old-style dual cam, but the 600 pound bars are the lightest that were then available. With this setup, I have towed through all contiguous states West of the Mississippi with no problems and full confidence in my rig.


One thing that I might suggest is that you pay particular attention when hitching up you Suburban as there are certain very specific rules for connecting weight distribution hitches on GM vehicles with level ride. Typical, the vehicle must not be running when the trailer is connected so that the vehicle won't try to self-level -- you don't want the self-leveling to take place until the weight distribution is fully connected and ready to roll. The vehicle's level ride will likely make little or no change in the vehicle level. I gained lots of practice with this when towing with a Cadillac as well as an Oldsmobile so equipped.


Kevin


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