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Old 06-21-2022, 05:58 AM   #1
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preventing sway unpleasantness

Returning from a weekend in the White Mountains of NH, we encountered strong winds with gusts up to 20 mph. One of said gusts set the trailer, a Caravel 22FB, to begin swaying. I took my foot off the gas, stifled any impulse to correct, and kept the TW (a Jeep Gladiator with max tow package) going straight. It smoothed out, leaving nothing but a greatly increased heart rate. We kept the speed down to about 45 mph until we got to a place where the wind wasn't as bad.

We use a Fastway E2 hitch. It minimizes sway but I got to thinking we might could replace it with something that reduces or prevents sway. Which is what the Blue Ox system claims to do.

Anybody have any thoughts or experience with this system?
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:04 AM   #2
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Oh, boy, you've done it now.

First, have you verified that you have a properly balanced/loaded TV and trailer?
Have you verified by scale readings that you are applying an appropriate amount of WD? These are the basics, prior to opening the pandora's box of the "hitch wars" discussion.
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:15 AM   #3
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Weight distribution/sway control hitch selection is a bit like religion around here. There are strong supporters of every major brand. As you’d expect, there are pros and cons for every major brand. Whichever you choose, having it properly setup and having your rig properly loaded and balanced are critical to mitigate the risk of sway.

Personally, I use the Blue Ox Sway Pro. I find this system to be easy to use, including hitching and unhitching. It’s easy to adjust on the fly. I’ve driven in severely windy conditions on multiple occasions, and I’ve never experienced sway.

Good luck with your research, and I agree with your thoughts that you need a sway control hitch.
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:33 AM   #4
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I had pretty good luck with the Fastway E2 for years on a 16 and a 21 AS. Rock solid for me. I have since gone to a 25GT and a ProPride, but I have to wonder if you are sitting hard enough on your bars? The Fastway is pretty decent if kept in spec, but it loosens enough that a constant check is needed. Towards the end of my use of the 21 I was designing some milled runners for the tongue clamps that would keep them in position no matter what. Actually, other than the said clamps I thought it was a damn decent system.

For those that don't know, the Fastway is basically am Equalizer with round sway bars...
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Old 06-21-2022, 07:33 AM   #5
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Personally, I use the Blue Ox Sway Pro. I find this system to be easy to use, including hitching and unhitching. It’s easy to adjust on the fly. I’ve driven in severely windy conditions on multiple occasions, and I’ve never experienced sway.
I have used most brands including ProPride and like Dennis, the Blue Ox Sway Pro installed by the Airstream dealer does a great job on my 2022 25’ RBT.
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Old 06-21-2022, 07:47 AM   #6
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I have never used a Blue Ox, but people seem to be find it works very well when set up correctly.

Currently I use a Equalizer WD-Sway Hitch and Gen-Y BOSS Shank Torsion drop hitch. No way, no issues.

https://www.equalizerhitch.com/how-equalizer-works/

https://genyhitch.com/product-catego...-drop-hitches/
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Old 06-21-2022, 08:49 AM   #7
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First thing is to confirm that your existing hitch is set up correctly for your rig, by going to the scales as mentioned. Your tongue weight is very important, as well as your combined vehicle weight, and the loading in the box of the tow vehicle. The winds you mentioned should have virtually no impact on the sway you encountered, so I suspect that there are other factors involved.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:44 AM   #8
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First thing is to confirm that your existing hitch is set up correctly for your rig, by going to the scales as mentioned. Your tongue weight is very important, as well as your combined vehicle weight, and the loading in the box of the tow vehicle. The winds you mentioned should have virtually no impact on the sway you encountered, so I suspect that there are other factors involved.
What other factors do you think might have come into play? We were minimally loaded and pretty balanced. I was going between 55 and 60 mph. Gusts to 20 mph from the side. All that's left is an improperly set up WDH. But I don't suspect it is since it was done at a reputable Airstream dealer.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:59 AM   #9
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What other factors do you think might have come into play? We were minimally loaded and pretty balanced. I was going between 55 and 60 mph. Gusts to 20 mph from the side. All that's left is an improperly set up WDH. But I don't suspect it is since it was done at a reputable Airstream dealer.


First, don’t go buying anything new. Setup is the issue here.

Second, can you provide clear photos of the Jeep and trailer connected?

Third, the fact that a dealer set it up doesn’t mean much. Andy Thomson had said that 90% of weight distributing hitches are not set up optimally. You are better off gaining the understanding yourself.

Another thought. Is the Gladiator stock or have you made changes like bigger tires?
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetick View Post
Returning from a weekend in the White Mountains of NH, we encountered strong winds with gusts up to 20 mph. One of said gusts set the trailer, a Caravel 22FB, to begin swaying. I took my foot off the gas, stifled any impulse to correct, and kept the TW (a Jeep Gladiator with max tow package) going straight. It smoothed out, leaving nothing but a greatly increased heart rate. We kept the speed down to about 45 mph until we got to a place where the wind wasn't as bad.

We use a Fastway E2 hitch. It minimizes sway but I got to thinking we might could replace it with something that reduces or prevents sway. Which is what the Blue Ox system claims to do.

Anybody have any thoughts or experience with this system?

So many variables here.

I have an e2, 8K bars And pulled my camper in 40MPH crosswinds in the grassy plains of Wyoming. No problem. Could I feel it, yessir. There was no problem. ( F150, 19CB bambi ) doing it again in two months.

What spring bars do you have?


Your goal is impossible. Nothing will 'prevent' sway. It can reduce it, but trailers sway in any setup. It is usually because your going too fast, but configuration plays a big part. Likely when you slowed down, it was fine. I was going around 50-55 when we were in the high winds as well. 20mph winds are pretty mild and pretty common thing for us. It may be you were a bit more sensitive to it as you never pulled in crosswinds before, but it can be 'felt' depending on how your tow vehicle is configured.

Personally I don't think anything is wrong unless you are using 6K bars. If you are, get the 8K rated bars and it will work better. a 22 footer is not a small camper with a tow vehicle only rated at 7600. I tried the 6K bars with mine, and it didn't work. Went back to 8K.

show us a picture of your hitch setup.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:49 AM   #11
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Without weighs from a scale everything is just a "guess" as to the correct loading and hitch weight. I have had hitches "set up" by dealers staff, that a untrained monkey could have done better. I believe that you have a combination of things that are causing your problem. First thing is to get some weights to work with, and then the fine tuning can start. I have pulled my trailers in 50 MPH crosswinds and only had minimal sway. It might take 5 or 6 try's to get things right, but is well worth it.
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetick View Post
Returning from a weekend in the White Mountains of NH, we encountered strong winds with gusts up to 20 mph. One of said gusts set the trailer, a Caravel 22FB, to begin swaying. I took my foot off the gas, stifled any impulse to correct, and kept the TW (a Jeep Gladiator with max tow package) going straight. It smoothed out, leaving nothing but a greatly increased heart rate. We kept the speed down to about 45 mph until we got to a place where the wind wasn't as bad.

We use a Fastway E2 hitch. It minimizes sway but I got to thinking we might could replace it with something that reduces or prevents sway. Which is what the Blue Ox system claims to do.

Anybody have any thoughts or experience with this system?
The only thing I would have done differently is to apply the trailer brakes with the trailer break controller when slowing down. That helps straighten the trailer out quicker. If you are new to towing that is not your first impulse. But here is what the procedure is: Resist the temptation to hit the brakes; instead lift your foot from the accelerator and hold the wheel steady as the speed decreases. If the trailer is equipped with electric brakes activate the trailer brake controller by hand, according to the NHTSA. Avoid the tow vehicle brakes; it will make the sway worse.

My suggestion is that you kind of practice doing that so you get the feel of it when it occurs. That way it becomes a kind of reflex action.

Also my guess is you may have been a little tongue light. Friction control hitches require weight to prevent sway. If you don’t have enough weight on the tongue that won’t work as well. 10 to 15% of the trailer weight should be on the tongue. You are better off being a bit tongue heavy if you are going to error. By that I mean being closer to that 15% than the 10%. This would also give reason to go with the heavier bars as stated above.

When I towed with the blue ox, I wanted that tongue lower than the rear of the trailer.
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:47 PM   #13
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Food for thought: your Jeep is quite light, and has a short wheelbase. These make the set-up of your weight distributing hitch CRITICAL as others have pointed out. I have an Equalizer WDH and learning how to adjust and fine-tune it is easy and well worth the effort (regardless which hitch you have)
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:16 PM   #14
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Find an Experienced Trailer Owner....

A photograph of your Airstream and Tow Vehicle attached would help more than your experience. Hoppes-no9... Is a Human Bean genius among Airstream Owners. Direct, to the point and... correct.

As a new experience for you, towing a trailer... I have seen some rather wild setups and stay clear of them on the road... or if they get too close to me, just in a parking lot.

An experienced trailer owner may be found that would give you an opinion... standing next to you when trailer and tow vehicle are attached. Many may not want to tell you the... truth.

Hee Haw... is easier and avoid a longer discussion. They have been in this situation before and would rather let you feel good about your choices and depart...

If you do not believe one or two experienced trailer owners... then it is NOT the trailer. It is NOT the tow vehicle. It is YOUR idea that this combination is good.

We tow on the ball a 27 foot International and an Oliver Elite II without any issues. We tow with a F350 Diesel 4x4 Ford pickup with camper shell. A Monster pulling the Beasts... and no Sway in a Wyoming Crosswind, which is Climate Change to some. A 20 to 40mph cross wind in Wyoming is common... rain and snow are optional.

If I suspected any sway with current trailers... ON would go the Sway Bars, immediately. Most Neanderthals went extinct before proper tow vehicles were available to tow oversized barn sized house trialers.

I am a Neanderthal survivor by thinking... before repeating poor decision making... kind of animal.

I would say your Tow Vehicle is too light. I owned a 1962 Jeep, flathead four banger and canvas doors. I could not afford a trailer, but it did handle well a tent, two sleeping bags, propane camp stove and an ice cooler. It was already, over loaded..

Have a... friend?... offer to attach your hitch onto his pickup truck and take it out onto the highway.

Talk to your insurance agent... to cover all the lines in the policy. Of course. Tell the insurance agent your experience... and then go looking for another AGENT.

If it does fine... problem solved. Too much Airstream or Too little Beast towing.
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:28 PM   #15
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....I think the camper is too heavy for his vehicle, too, but I was curious about setup before I came to that conclusion, just yet.
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:40 PM   #16
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Hi

Jeeps are great for a lot of things. The Gladiator is an interesting "pickup truck" sort of addition to their lineup. That said, it's not really a full blown pickup truck. Jeeps are set up suspension wise to be great off road. That often involves compromises that make them less than ideal tow vehicles.

As others have suggested, I would focus more on tuning what you have than heading out on an expedition buying other friction based WD hitches. If you want to go to something very different, then Pro Pride and Hensley are the two options to consider. Both are pricey and both can be a challenge to hook up on uneven ground.

Just for reference: I run an Equalizer. Every time I run through the mountains in the wind, I wonder a bit about that choice. Once I'm out of the mountains, I stop wondering. Going down hill into curves with wind involved *is* sway inducing. Uphill, not so much. Slow down when going downhill .....

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Old 06-22-2022, 01:51 PM   #17
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I’ve had trailer sway with my cargo trailer (7x12) on my F150 that I tow my 28’ AS without any trailer sway (propride hitch).

The absolute most important factor is the hitch setup.

https://www.roamingtimes.com/2018/03...-sway-control/
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:01 PM   #18
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My view, FWIW.
All hitches that tow on a ball are subject to sway. Some hitches are designed to control that sway. Some use metal on metal friction. These tend to be the lowest cost hitches. Other hitches use what basically amounts to a spring (Blue Ox, etc.) They use the WD bars to absorb the sway energy and push the trailer back to being straight. I expect you need to apply some level of WD to obtain sufficient sway control. These are more expensive than the friction hitches. Finally there is the Propride and Hensley hitches which are based on a patented design by a guy named Hensley (not an owner of the Hensley Hitch company - they license a version of the patent). The design provides the most sway control available to a towable trailer. Personally, I think the Propride is the better version of this hitch. Propride and Hensley are the most expensive hitches available, by a significant margin. However, both can be purchased used. 99.9995 of these hitches sold used occur when the owner is either getting out of RVing completely or upgrading to a 5th wheel trailer or a class A/C rv, otherwise they get moved to the new trailer on an upgrade. Hensley sells V1 or the hitch design, Propride offers the V2 version that was developed several years after the original.

I find the following demo put out by Hensley Hitches informative. What the Hensley guy presents is valid for both the Propride and Hensley versions of the hitch.


Any level of sway control is better than none. After that, you have to decide what is the "best" solution for your circumstances.
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:07 PM   #19
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I don't think I've seen any mention of CAT scale weights yet...

My suggestion would be to weigh the rig three times:

1) Tow vehicle by itself as you usually travel,
2) Tow vehicle with trailer on the ball (no weight distribution hitch), and
3) Tow vehicle with trailer with weight distribution hitch setup as you normally travel.

This will tell you how much the steer axle is being affected by your setup, and if you are adjusting the WD hitch to keep it properly weighted by effectively moving some of the tongue weight to the steer axle. If your steer axle is not heavy enough it increases the likelihood of a severe (catastrophic) sway event.

You can accomplish this easily if you have the CAT Scale app (Weigh My Truck) and have it set up with a payment card on file. The first weigh will be full fee, the subsequent ones will be at a lower re-weigh fee.
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:24 PM   #20
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BTW, this post has a great video on how weight affects towing and sway.


https://www.airforums.com/forums/f23...ml#post2533153
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