Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-27-2014, 06:31 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 15
Am I just a naive semi-newbie, need elder advice.

I have a 2013 FC RB and have successfully pulled it about 4k miles these past 9 months with my F 150 with no problems I'm aware of. OK, but here's the issue - I don't have a sway bar. Do I need one and if so why?

cdfriend is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #2
moosetags's Avatar

2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,902
Images: 5
Greeting from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, we will need further information. What model Airstream are you towing? You left out the length. Do you have a weight distribution hitch?


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 06:40 PM   #3
Rivet Master
Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by cdfriend View Post
I have a 2013 FC RB and have successfully pulled it about 4k miles these past 9 months with my F 150 with no problems I'm aware of. OK, but here's the issue - I don't have a sway bar. Do I need one and if so why?
Hi, and welcome to the forums!

To answer your question, can we have a little more basic information, like,

Length, weight, and tongue weight of your trailer?

Towing ratings of your F-150?

What kind of hitch are you using now?

Nuvite-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 07:04 PM   #4
Rivet Master
dkottum's Avatar
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
Many modern weight distribution hitches have some sort of built-in sway control system. You may have that, but we need an exact description (make and model of hitch) or photo of your present hitch as well as the info asked above.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 07:26 PM   #5
Rivet Master
dbj216's Avatar

1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,715
Images: 1
Hello cdfriend. Nice to meet you. A new Flying Cloud! I bet it is a 25 footer. Tell me if I'm right or not.

I am certainly classified as an elder! Way elder than most! I have encountered sway conditions on long down hill stretches, and when semi trucks or big motor homes pass me on the interstates. The sway has been moderate, but concerning. The trailer is moving my vehicle! An Airstream is less prone to sway due to its shape, but it still can happen.

I have witnessed extreme sway experienced by an older single axle, maybe 18 foot box camper being pulled down hill at over 70 mph. Back and froth it started to go. The oscillations got worse and worse, to the point the trailer wheels were leaving the pavement, left side then right side! I thought sure it was going over. By the grace of God it settled back down as the driver slowed gradually and he regained control. Single axle trailers are a bit more prone to sway than double axle trailers.

Towing a conventional "bumper hitch" trailer can be sway prone. Fifth wheels don't sway because the hitch point is ahead of the drive axle. That is one reason fifth wheel rigs are so popular. Weight balance of a trailer is crucial to stable towing. Loading a trailer heavy in the rear will promote sway. Strong Load Range D tires on the tow vehicle helps reduce sway. And you don't want your trailer "nose up" when hitched. A level trailer and tow vehicle is best. Weight distribution hitches can achieve the desired level attitude of trailer and tow vehicle. And higher speeds lead to more sway potential. No one reports sway at 20 mph.

A modern hitch can reduce the chance sway, or even eliminate the chance altogether. An experienced trailer tow-er has more confidence in controlling sway. I'm less experienced and would rather mitigate the risk for comfortable traveling. Maybe you have towed your Airstream in gusty 50 mph cross winds? Avoid it if possible. I did it and I slowed to 40 mph to stay stable. And I ran over a "road gator" truck tire tread once. Quite a jolt, and my Airstream wiggled quite a bit. Unnerving.

A sway control hitch is not required, but recommended for safety.

dbj216 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2014, 08:03 PM   #6
Rivet Master
overlander63's Avatar

1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,096
Depending on the year of your F150, you may have an electronic sway control already in the truck.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2014, 10:42 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
Zigidachs's Avatar
2017 23' International
Ridgefield , Washington
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 297
Images: 1
Welcome to the forums. You will encounter a plethora opinions on this issue. No doubt!

In essence, the shorter the trailer, the more susceptible it is to the forces which produce sway, which could be catastrophic, as noted elsewhere in this forum.

We use a Pro Pride, which is a WD and anti-sway hitch. No doubt is has saved us many times, especially on the downhill runs--7 to 8% grades, etc--and on open high speed freeways where trucks try to race along in competition. We travel at 62 mph max...safer!

Having seen "box" trailers on their sides with the rear of the TV elevated and supported 5' in the air from the attached trailer tongue along the I-5 corridor in Calif, ...where there are gusty winds, and many, many trucks....I wouldn't tow without an anti-sway / WD way!

There was an article in AS Mag a few years ago addressing the physics of this issue...
Zigidachs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2014, 11:38 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
1971 31' Sovereign
pickering , Ontario
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 22
sway bars

Absolutely; for the price of one it saves you a lot of headaches when going down the 4 laners and being passed by transports;
paulwhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2014, 12:07 PM   #9
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,744
I used the Sway Bar once in 2006 as a Newbie. A friend with an Arctic Fox 25 foot+ trailer needed one and the Airstream Dealer sold me one as an add on.

Never used it again. Never needed it through the TRACK TEST of cross winds of Wyoming hitting me broadside. The Airstream rides low and the curved front reacts very well to head wind, tail wind and cross winds. This was 8 years towing the 23 foot Airstream and maybe 2500 miles on the new 25 foot.

I would be happy to sell this Sway Bar attachment and hardware for half the price the dealer pumped up the price of the "extras".

Think of it this way. If your Airstream needs a sway bar, you will know. If your Airstream does not, you will know. If you have an 80 mile an hour cross wind, you should not be towing anyways. Give me 40mph... in Wyoming... that is a gentle breeze along Interstate 80. A sure test to confirm... I do not need it.

The hitch I have now is suppose to be anti sway... well it handles no better nor worse than the hitch with the sway bar. My conclusion... if you are concerned... get a sway bar.

Concerning an 18 wheeler passing on I-80 with a cross wind. Yes... the vacuum will be felt with or without the sway bar. As the cab is approaching you will feel the pull towards the 18 wheeler, then it is calm and after the end of the trailer passes you will feel the vacuum release you and a light steering wheel adjustment takes care of it.

I would be more concerned with the 18 wheeler's trailer rear being pushed by a cross wind towards YOUR lane a foot or two... which WILL affect your avoiding this situation. Your sway bar would make no difference in how the truck's trailer is tracking in a cross wind.

Fully loaded with or without a full fresh water tank... you will notice minimal movement of the trailer. I am possibly in a minority, but I also ride a bicycle without a helmet.

Some people drive with their bright lights day and night... If you are driving a 12 foot high box trailer... sway bars are probably required. An Airstream... buy mine and you will figure it out in a short time.
Ray Eklund is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2014, 08:03 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
B00merang's Avatar
2010 20' Flying Cloud
Hailey , Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 414
If you have a sway bar or if having one will make you feel better/safer, use one. I had one until I forgot to disconnect it while backing up...and bent it. Never felt the need to get a new one since my little 20ft FC behaves incredibly well behind my Tahoe. I spend a lot of time on interstates and in the windy west, and am vigilant when I see semis coming up behind me at 75-80mph, or when they come at me...and am still amazed after 4 years how little if any my AS swerves on those occasions. I have learned to trust my will too. Stay safe. jon

B00merang is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Newbie just bought first Airstream! Need some advice! kelin Member Introductions 10 05-31-2019 05:07 PM
Numbers? I am so naive !!!! Alderman Airstream History 14 04-26-2011 04:51 AM
Dangerously Naive '78 Tradewind Owner hessehesse Member Introductions 6 07-19-2009 02:03 AM
Semi-Winterizing Question Hunter Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 15 12-02-2003 08:13 AM
Reese hitch on semi-steep slopes? 3Ms75Argosy Link Archive 1 09-15-2002 12:08 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.