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Old 11-26-2020, 07:26 AM   #1
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2021 23' Flying Cloud
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10% TW and Hensley/ProPride

I have been researching a hitch for my soon to be delivered Flying Cloud 23FB. Hensley and ProPride style hitches are certainly popular choices. The selling point is that they ‘eliminate’ sway - vs the others that ‘control’ sway.

I understand that a major (if not the primary) contributor to sway is the loading of the vehicle. And when loading/distributing the weight, you don’t exceed GVWR and ensure that you have 10-15% tongue weight.

So, my question is - with the Hensley or the ProPride can you have <10% TW and have no sway? Does the Hensley/ProPride eliminate all sway regardless of TW? Or does it only do so with a properly (10-15% TW) loaded vehicle? Thoughts?

(Note that I have seen a video on YouTube using models with a Hensley/ProPride style hitch with a very poorly loaded model trailer - and there was no sway. How accurate is that model to real world application - I have no idea, but it is what got me thinking about this.)
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Old 11-26-2020, 09:11 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums, Bob.

I don't think you have to worry about having less than 10% on your tongue unless you drastically overload the rear of your trailer. Are you doing anything that will do that?

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Old 11-26-2020, 09:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob J View Post
I have been researching a hitch for my soon to be delivered Flying Cloud 23FB. Hensley and ProPride style hitches are certainly popular choices. The selling point is that they ‘eliminate’ sway - vs the others that ‘control’ sway.



I understand that a major (if not the primary) contributor to sway is the loading of the vehicle. And when loading/distributing the weight, you don’t exceed GVWR and ensure that you have 10-15% tongue weight.



So, my question is - with the Hensley or the ProPride can you have <10% TW and have no sway? Does the Hensley/ProPride eliminate all sway regardless of TW? Or does it only do so with a properly (10-15% TW) loaded vehicle? Thoughts?



(Note that I have seen a video on YouTube using models with a Hensley/ProPride style hitch with a very poorly loaded model trailer - and there was no sway. How accurate is that model to real world application - I have no idea, but it is what got me thinking about this.)


I have a propride. I’d prefer not tho rest the theory.

If you have loaded the trailer so significantly towards the rear that you are <10% on the tongue you are going to have other problems.... the AS frame was not designed to have a ton of weight behind the rear axles. Front-end separation comes to mind.
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Old 11-26-2020, 09:42 AM   #4
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The marketing description is that it completely eliminates sway, but the devil is in the detail.

The hitch uses a 4-bar geometry where the trailer and vehicle are connected to rigid T's with the trailer T being slightly larger. The two T's are connected with equal sized bars and allowed to articulate. Thus, the vehicle is able to rotate the system because the connecting bar that must collapse is at an inside angle and they are oriented so they can do so. The trailer cannot induce articulation because with the wider T, the bars are oriented outward so the trailer would have to initially slip the tires in the opposite direction of the lateral force before the bars are properly aligned. Thus, when the combination is in track, sway cannot initiate without severe tire slip or traction loss. However if the combination is turning more than 2 to 2 1/2 degrees, the trailer can and will induce sway if conditions are right.

So The Hensley and Propride hitches can sway in flooding rain, on ice or snow and on sharper corners or during lane changes and it would be a very poor idea to load the trailer so that the tongue is less than 10% as the trailer will be inherently unstable at 45-55 mph which is plenty slow enough to initiate a corner grater than 2 1/2 degrees.

Note also that even after the bars are aligned in a way the trailer can induce sway and oversteer, the effective pivot point is still well in front of the bumper so the system remains more stable than it otherwise would be though that stability diminishes as the turn angle increases to the point it is gone by the time you are cornering a 35-40 mph turn, however most people will be following the cornering speed guidance so they will be going slowly enough that the combination is inherently stable.

Happy to discuss this further.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:32 AM   #5
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If you have negative tong weight it is going to sway. I have a 23fb and have towed it with no sway control, Anderson and a curt true track and have never had any sway with the rig. Buy one of the high end hitches you mentioned seams
Like a lot of money to fix a problem I don’t have.
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Larry1492 View Post
If you have negative tong weight it is going to sway. I have a 23fb and have towed it with no sway control, Anderson and a curt true track and have never had any sway with the rig. Buy one of the high end hitches you mentioned seams
Like a lot of money to fix a problem I don’t have.
I agree this is a lot of hitch and $$ for this length of trailer. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan, but sway on a properly loaded, 23' trailer is very, very, unlikely.
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:41 PM   #7
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I have a ProPride hitch. And on one instance it seemed like the trailer wasn’t handling as well as it should. I wasn’t experiencing sway, but it wasn’t tracking as well. So I took some tension off the weight distribution bars (the nice thing is you can do this on the fly). Lowered the bars about 1/2 inch to start. This put more weight on the tongue, and it seemed to handle better. You may not have to be quite as particular with the ProPride or Hensley But if the tongue is too light you will notice a handling difference. I did. That is why with the towers on the ProPride it is easy to dial in the weight distribution bars. And you can do it as you travel without unhooking everything. It’s a nice feature.

As to whether you need it for your 23’ I can’t answer that. All I know is that for the 28’ AS the ProPride Hitch made a huge difference in handling. It totally eliminated the bow affect from passing trucks. And I’ve driven in heavy winds and it tracked very well. I know it is a hard decision because of the money. For me it was worth it. I decided that if I can’t tow with comfort, what is the point of towing. Now I tow the Airstream and I’m completely relaxed. Completely worth it for the 28’.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by thewarden View Post
I agree this is a lot of hitch and $$ for this length of trailer. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan, but sway on a properly loaded, 23' trailer is very, very, unlikely.
We have had a Hensley hitch for our 19' since 2002. Is it overkill? Perhaps, but we have enjoyed stress-free towing for 18 years under many different conditions. The investment has been worth it for us.

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Old 11-26-2020, 10:52 PM   #9
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You do not need sway elimination until you need it. Yes, it's overkill like insurance. But, when you need it is there if you have it. Your PP or Hensley will sway your rig some if the bars are not tensioned enough because the front wheels are not loaded enough. I suppose on a shorter trailer the opposite would be true. I have towed with a Hensley for 16 years including a trip to AK and back.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob J View Post
I have been researching a hitch for my soon to be delivered Flying Cloud 23FB. Hensley and ProPride style hitches are certainly popular choices. The selling point is that they ‘eliminate’ sway - vs the others that ‘control’ sway.

I understand that a major (if not the primary) contributor to sway is the loading of the vehicle. And when loading/distributing the weight, you don’t exceed GVWR and ensure that you have 10-15% tongue weight.

So, my question is - with the Hensley or the ProPride can you have <10% TW and have no sway? Does the Hensley/ProPride eliminate all sway regardless of TW? Or does it only do so with a properly (10-15% TW) loaded vehicle? Thoughts?

(Note that I have seen a video on YouTube using models with a Hensley/ProPride style hitch with a very poorly loaded model trailer - and there was no sway. How accurate is that model to real world application - I have no idea, but it is what got me thinking about this.)
Yes the H/PP design will raise the sway critical speed to a high mph value even at 10% TW. It is in fact the ideal scenario when using the H/PP hitch since it adds an additional 80-100lbs far behind the rear axle of the TV. As long as you don’t incorrectly load the trailer you could go even lower and still be stable at a high travel speed. 5 - 10% is very realistic
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:54 AM   #11
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Welcome Aboard 👍

My obtuse dumb question.
Why are you aiming for a 10% or 'less' TW?🤔
Is it a tow vehicle limitation?

Bob
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
My obtuse dumb question.
Why are you aiming for a 10% or 'less' TW?🤔
Is it a tow vehicle limitation?

Bob
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Bob - Yes, I am looking at TW as a concern, which I feel I can address (will probably end at about 12%).

It was more of a thought exercise. As I noted if sway is primarily due to poor loading (and wind, etc.) and the Hensley/ProPride ‘eliminate’ sway - does this ‘elimination’ lead to the conclusion that the TW is not a concern with the hitch?

But, there have been some good posts above about the other stresses a trailer would see if <10%. So, not something I am overly concerned about, but thought is was a question I would throw out to this community.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:41 PM   #13
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Thanks for the welcome. I am not looking at dramatically loading the rear of the trailer, but was wondering about the dynamics of the hitch and a lower TW.
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:10 PM   #14
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Yeah so with a propride, shooting for 12% is not a bad plan. Especially If the rear axle limit is the issue with the tow vehicle you're trying to resolve. If the tow vehicle issue is oversteer stability while towing, reducing tongue weight will help some but not as much as you might hope since it has more to do with trailer inertia moment than simply tongue weight.

Although the PPP hitches will prevent sway amplification in most cases (see previous comments for exceptions), if you drop the tongue weight below 10% you will be in a situation where the trailer's natural state is unstable while towing at typical highway speeds so it won't make for a comfortable ride to always have the trailer frequently nudging the combination side to side.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob J View Post
Thanks for the welcome. I am not looking at dramatically loading the rear of the trailer, but was wondering about the dynamics of the hitch and a lower TW.
OK...Brian is the engineer, I'm a Graduate of MacGyver U.

But think of the Airstream as an arrow, it won't 'fly' very well with the heavy arrow head at the rear and the feathers at the front.
FWIW I would shoot for at least a 10%+ TW using a PPP hitch.

Disclaimer....a 15yr Hensley Arrow user.👍



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Old 11-30-2020, 05:13 PM   #16
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No doubt the Hensley Arrow and ProPride 3p-xxx hitches are the most expensive available, but for good reason. I struggled with the added cost briefly, until I realized how much we had tied up in a late model pickup truck and a new AS trailer. In that context, the added cost of a ProPride hitch did not seem all that much.
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:18 PM   #17
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No doubt the Hensley Arrow and ProPride 3p-xxx hitches are the most expensive available, but for good reason. I struggled with the added cost briefly, until I realized how much we had tied up in a late model pickup truck and a new AS trailer. In that context, the added cost of a ProPride hitch did not seem all that much.
Amen to that. If I'm spending 150,000 on a truck and trailer and have a crappy hitch set up that makes towing less comfortable it doesn't make logical sense. I can say that the 3,000 on the PP has made my $150,000 rig a much more enjoyable $150,000!!
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