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Old 06-27-2022, 07:39 AM   #1
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Trailer sway

So far with a 2012 F350 SRW diesel truck towing a 28ft International serenity, I see no need for a load leveler or sway control. After pulling for over 500 miles the truck pulls safely with no problem. I believe Ford's sway control would handle the trailer if there was a problem. Ford's built-in sway control applies braking power to the trailer in the event of noticeable sway. Trailer sway is a result of the trailer trying to go faster than the tow vehicle and applying braking power to the trailer is an appropriate method to control it while applying braking power to the tow vehicle would not be wise. Generally when sway becomes dangerous the time to react to the driver is not fast enough to control it and thus it can get out of control quickly. Therefore the built-in automatic control designed in the Ford brake control is more effective. I suspect with a lighter tow vehicle an add-on sway control may be appropriate.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:19 AM   #2
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And the point of this thread is....?
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Old 06-27-2022, 02:01 PM   #3
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And the point of this thread is....?
So far I don't see the need to spend a lot of money for load level/sway control for the truck and trailer combination I mentioned.
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Old 06-27-2022, 02:06 PM   #4
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Good luck.
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Old 06-27-2022, 02:07 PM   #5
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The “I can spend more than you can on my airstream crew” isn’t gonna like this….


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So far I don't see the need to spend a lot of money for load level/sway control for the truck and trailer combination I mentioned.
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Old 06-27-2022, 02:25 PM   #6
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I think it will pull even better with a good WD hitch. Even an expensive hitch is not a lot of money when compared to a truck or a trailer. I know my 2500 diesel drives a little better with some weight transfer back to the front wheels. Yes, their are loots of ways to do it 500 miles does not seem a sufficient test to me. I have never tried pulling without a wd hitch and see no reason for me to try that.
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Old 06-27-2022, 02:47 PM   #7
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We all have different risk assessments. Some tow in the snow, some tow only the ball, some park up and never use their trailer.

Safe travels and happy camping!
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Old 06-27-2022, 03:08 PM   #8
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I don't think the Ford sway control applies the trailer brakes, only the truck brakes and individually, it cuts out the throttle, and applies the engine brake. That's what it did to me when my stock trailer swayed on me one time. The only control you have is the steering wheel. It's one heck of an experience because the first time it happens, you don't have a clue as to what is going on.
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Old 06-27-2022, 03:33 PM   #9
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Sway control and WDH are two entirely different issues and pieces of equipment. Electronic sway control may not apply the trailer brakes; depends on the brake controller as most respond to deceleration to be activated and send a signal to the trailer. Maybe Ford is more intelligent if the brake controller is built in rather than after market (like my Subaru Ascent with Prodigy 2).

The thing about sway control bars that baffle me is that they are friction devices. In the extreme (which helps me think through problems like this), it will prevent any lateral movement at the hitch and make the TV-TT one long and rigid vehicle. So it the trailer swings in one direction, the TV will be forced in the opposite direction. Simple physics (for every force, there is an equal and opposite reaction). If the TT is much lighter than the TV, that may not be a problem (since force = mass x acceleration). But otherwise, the tail starts wagging the dog. If you do not agree, then why do all the anti-sway bars come with a warning to disengage them when the roads are slippery (and sway becomes much more dangerous)?
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Old 06-27-2022, 03:57 PM   #10
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The thing about sway control bars that baffle me is that they are friction devices. In the extreme (which helps me think through problems like this), it will prevent any lateral movement at the hitch and make the TV-TT one long and rigid vehicle. So it the trailer swings in one direction, the TV will be forced in the opposite direction. Simple physics (for every force, there is an equal and opposite reaction). If the TT is much lighter than the TV, that may not be a problem (since force = mass x acceleration). But otherwise, the tail starts wagging the dog. If you do not agree, then why do all the anti-sway bars come with a warning to disengage them when the roads are slippery (and sway becomes much more dangerous)?
Not all. Some like the Blue Ox Sway Pro, ProPride, Hensley, and I think some of the Equalizer-like ones can be used in rainy conditions. The ones that can't are often those that use a sleeve-like mechanism (one piece of metal going into another) or some other form of metal rubbing against metal to create the friction. Water getting in there can impact the lubrication between the joints, changing the character of the friction.

The BlueOx, however (that's what we use), uses the spring-i-ness of the bars to create the friction. Water has no affect on that. The Equalizer style uses a bracket around the WD bars, so that when there is sway, the bars push against those brackets, creating friction, again no sliding involved, so water won't prevent that sort of friction from working. And the Propride uses fancy mechanics to eliminate movement on the ball (essentially replacing it with a completely different joint mechanism).

That said, your point about if you eliminate sway, and the trailer is pushed, that has an impact on the tow vehicle is not wrong. Just as if someone hits the back of my car hard enough, my entire car is going to spin in circles. Or at least push me in some direction. ProPride has a video of an Airstream being hit with a ProPride on it. The key difference when that particular hitch is uses is that if the force happens on the trailer (even on the very rear of the TV), it won't cause the trailer to move on the "ball" or have that side to side sway, instead it will push the entire like as if it was a big long bus or RV. From what I understand, more similar to a 5th wheel. But as you said, if you are getting pushed, you are still getting pushed somewhere.
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Old 06-27-2022, 04:32 PM   #11
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Wow, a lot of opinions out there. My only intention was to point out my experience relying on my engineering/physics background.
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Old 06-27-2022, 04:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dave10a View Post
Wow, a lot of opinions out there. My only intention was to point out my experience relying on my engineering/physics background.
Judging by your post count, you're fairly new here...Guess you weren't expecting to jump into a hornets nest on this thread, but hitch setup is one of those really contentious issues which can elicit quite a few comments with strong opinions.

One thing that I'd be really curious to learn is what a trip across the scales shows you with your setup. Specifically, I'm wondering how towing on the ball like you're doing affects the weight on your steer axle.

Next time you're out with the trailer perhaps you can get weights with the truck alone and then again with the trailer hitched like you've described.

Your F350 is a pretty stout truck, but some trailers have a surprisingly high tongue weight and even a 1-ton truck can have the steer axle lightened by it. Not saying you have a problem or not, but a trip across the scale would confirm.
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Old 06-27-2022, 05:23 PM   #13
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I don't think the Ford sway control applies the trailer brakes, only the truck brakes and individually, it cuts out the throttle, and applies the engine brake. That's what it did to me when my stock trailer swayed on me one time. The only control you have is the steering wheel. It's one heck of an experience because the first time it happens, you don't have a clue as to what is going on.
Unfortunately, I checked Ford and the truck brake is applied on the opposite side from the trailer sway. I believe they should apply braking power to the trailer instead because as the trailer sways it is covering more distance than the truck and therefore is going faster. maybe Ford engineers assumed all trailers don't have brakes and therefore they are trying to use the truck for control. Also, my experience with trailers on snow, mud, and ice that get out of control is to use the trailer brake to correct the problem. Using the truck causes more loss of control. I learned that in the Army as a prime mover driver in an artillery outfit.
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Old 06-27-2022, 05:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dave10a View Post
Unfortunately, I checked Ford and the truck brake is applied on the opposite side from the trailer sway. I believe they should apply braking power to the trailer instead because as the trailer sways it is covering more distance than the truck and therefore is going faster. maybe Ford engineers assumed all trailers don't have brakes and therefore they are trying to use the truck for control. Also, my experience with trailers on snow, mud, and ice that get out of control is to use the trailer brake to correct the problem. Using the truck causes more loss of control. I learned that in the Army as a prime mover driver in an artillery outfit.

I absolutely do not have the background or experience of others in this forum, but my understanding of the Ford trailer sway control (which is similar to the sway control in other vehicles) is that is applies selective and gentle breaking to the tow vehicle in order to not further aggravate the sway. Not all tow vehicles come with a built in trailer brake controller, and some trailers have different kinds of brakes, and since users choose the gain on the controller, my guess is they assumed there are too many variables for them, at this time, to accurately apply trailer brakes automatically. Though I agree with you, it would be cool if they did.
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Old 06-27-2022, 05:35 PM   #15
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I am new to this forum and I guess I did step "into it" Sorry about that. I thought it appropriate to share an experience. I did not realize that opinions could be so strong on this matter. BTY weight distribution is very important for trailer towing and believe the Diesel engine put more weight on the front axle as well as massive pulling power as compared to gas engines. I do accept constructive facts over opinions.
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Old 06-27-2022, 06:11 PM   #16
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Really…and the trailer takes weight off the front axle and you are good with that?….I’m not an engineer but been towing an rv trailer since 1970 N big trucks for 52 years…,I use a Reese duel cam on our 17 ram 2500 4x4 with a 13 31’ classic
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Old 06-27-2022, 06:25 PM   #17
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Rather have it and not need it vs need it and not have it ..
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Old 06-27-2022, 07:38 PM   #18
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I concur that Ford's "anti-sway" only applies tow vehicle brakes and not trailer brakes. On the subject of a WD hitch, if you don't need one, you don't need one. On the (separate) subject of sway control, if the trailer is going to sway, it is going to sway. That is a rotational motion around the ball. Nothing on or in the truck, itself, will affect that. Other than sway control on the hitch, of course. My opinion is that any travel trailer NEEDS sway control. (I use the Reese Strait-Line WD hitch with built in sway control.)
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Old 06-27-2022, 07:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave10a View Post
Unfortunately, I checked Ford and the truck brake is applied on the opposite side from the trailer sway. I believe they should apply braking power to the trailer instead because as the trailer sways it is covering more distance than the truck and therefore is going faster. maybe Ford engineers assumed all trailers don't have brakes and therefore they are trying to use the truck for control. Also, my experience with trailers on snow, mud, and ice that get out of control is to use the trailer brake to correct the problem. Using the truck causes more loss of control. I learned that in the Army as a prime mover driver in an artillery outfit.
I tend to stay away from the towing and hitches threads because of what Richard said but I couldn't let you go on thinking that Ford has your back on trailer sway.
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Old 06-28-2022, 05:07 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by dave10a View Post
So far with a 2012 F350 SRW diesel truck towing a 28ft International serenity, I see no need for a load leveler or sway control. After pulling for over 500 miles the truck pulls safely with no problem. I believe Ford's sway control would handle the trailer if there was a problem. Ford's built-in sway control applies braking power to the trailer in the event of noticeable sway. Trailer sway is a result of the trailer trying to go faster than the tow vehicle and applying braking power to the trailer is an appropriate method to control it while applying braking power to the tow vehicle would not be wise. Generally when sway becomes dangerous the time to react to the driver is not fast enough to control it and thus it can get out of control quickly. Therefore the built-in automatic control designed in the Ford brake control is more effective. I suspect with a lighter tow vehicle an add-on sway control may be appropriate.

500 miles? I'm still hours and hours from the nearest state. Thats not far.

A 28 foot travel trailer can and will jerk your back wheels completely off the ground and put you in the ditch just like any other heavy load. 3500 frame or not. Keeping your combination vehicle in-line is important. While you may well not need any weight distribution, you still need a sway bar.

Don't become over confident with your 500 miles and good luck.
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