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Old 01-17-2022, 06:26 AM   #1
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WD/Anti Sway hitches: Who needs 'em?

I did a thread a week or so ago about towing a new trailer home with no WD or Propride hitch. My plan is to install my current ProPride when I get it home. But driving around got me thinking. My truck has a max tongue weight of 2000 pounds. My current GT and even the new 30' GT I have on order should be around half of that. So why use any hitch at all? I just got back from driving on the highway and there are people hauling work trailers left and right with nothing more than a ball. What makes travel trailers so special? Because we get scared by stories of droop and sway? Assuming your trailer is properly weighted in the front, you should really have no issues unless of course you're in high wind situations, correct?

I'd not advocating people getting rid of their hitch set ups. I'm sure I'll keep mine since I already have it. I'm just wondering if we're making more out of this than it needs to be. Especially for people who are close to the edge of their payload/tongue weight limits and dump an extra 100 pounds of hitch in the mix trying to fix it.
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Old 01-17-2022, 06:31 AM   #2
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Seems the big variable would be the tow vehicle.

I can't imagine, for example, and F450 dually having much need for WDH.

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Old 01-17-2022, 06:51 AM   #3
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Explain the advantage of not using a WD hitch? Whether one needs it or not. And your ProPride does a lot more than WD.
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Old 01-17-2022, 07:19 AM   #4
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I'm in the "better to have it and not need it, than need it, and not have it" camp.

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Old 01-17-2022, 07:23 AM   #5
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I'll let you know once I drive without it. I was noting that commercial drivers never use them. I have a RAM 2500 Diesel. We'll see how much sag I get when hooked up.

The advantage of not having a WD hitch of course is wrangling the hitch and spring bars. Plus the extra weight. I like the ProPride because it hooks up without dealing with the bars. The stinger is a bit on the heavy side to move around. It's easy to disconnect and hook up, except when it isn't, like when you are on uneven ground or an incline.
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Old 01-17-2022, 07:49 AM   #6
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I agree that IF you have enough tow vehicle, you don't need a WD hitch. However, sway control is always a good idea. The problem on this forum is that so many people want to tow with a woefully inadequate tow vehicle.

I just read a post in another thread from a user with a Tundra with a 1550# payload rating. He has a topper and carries a heavy generator, so 300# of that is used up. His Airstream tongue weight is above 1100#, so if he carries nothing else, just sitting in his truck, he is over payload. He is happy.

You say you are going to see how much sag your rig has. Just as important, see how much your front fender rises. If the front fender rise is small, you should be good to go. The old rule of thumb is the front fender should rise no more than about 1/2 inch.
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Old 01-17-2022, 07:55 AM   #7
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My thought is that the WDH serves two functions: weight distribution and sway control. If you have a heavy duty tow vehicle with a stiff suspension, then weight distribution may not be a big deal for you. You may not have a need for weight distribution. However, the potential for sway is there regardless of your tow vehicle. Travel trailers have high sides, and they are impacted by wind more easily than something like a flatbed trailer. This makes them more susceptible to sway events than some other trailers. I believe that this is especially true at highway speeds.

Personally, I’d rather not experiment with my rig to see how I do without my WDH. It’s a bit like seatbelts in your car. You don’t really need them and they serve no purpose, until you crash.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:12 AM   #8
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Who needs one?
Who needs a WDH?
Evidently only RV's.
Drive the highway and glance at other trailers. Flat beds, cargo, horse, boat, motorcycle, bulldozers, car haulers....none have a WD hitch.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:13 AM   #9
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I'm sure you know not all WD hitches have sway control. That aside, many commercial trailers are big box trailers or have large loads with considerable area to be hit by the wind.

Like I said, this isn't really some sort of decision I'm going to make at this point. I already have the ProPride and intend to continue using it. I just think we RV'rs are sometimes overly cautious.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
My thought is that the WDH serves two functions: weight distribution and sway control. If you have a heavy duty tow vehicle with a stiff suspension, then weight distribution may not be a big deal for you. You may not have a need for weight distribution. However, the potential for sway is there regardless of your tow vehicle. Travel trailers have high sides, and they are impacted by wind more easily than something like a flatbed trailer. This makes them more susceptible to sway events than some other trailers. I believe that this is especially true at highway speeds.

Personally, Iíd rather not experiment with my rig to see how I do without my WDH. Itís a bit like seatbelts in your car. You donít really need them and they serve no purpose, until you crash.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew55 View Post
I'll let you know once I drive without it. I was noting that commercial drivers never use them. I have a RAM 2500 Diesel. We'll see how much sag I get when hooked up.

The advantage of not having a WD hitch of course is wrangling the hitch and spring bars. Plus the extra weight. I like the ProPride because it hooks up without dealing with the bars. The stinger is a bit on the heavy side to move around. It's easy to disconnect and hook up, except when it isn't, like when you are on uneven ground or an incline.

Jon,
Commercial operators, meaning someone who does it for a living (100,000+ miles per year), when asked ďshould I use a WD with my 2500 on the next Airstream vacation?", I'm only guessing here, would advise you to follow all recommended safety protocols provided to weekend warriors by the RV industry.

Commercial operators typically have the experience, use regularly maintained equipment which is appropriately sized for the task, and can therefor assume any added risk and responsibility of Balls Only operation. As most things in life, if you must ask, "should I use it?" then you probably should.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew55 View Post
I'm sure you know not all WD hitches have sway control. That aside, many commercial trailers are big box trailers or have large loads with considerable area to be hit by the wind.

Like I said, this isn't really some sort of decision I'm going to make at this point. I already have the ProPride and intend to continue using it. I just think we RV'rs are sometimes overly cautious.
Yes, Iím aware of that. Most of the commonly discussed options on the forums do offer both, if Iím not mistaken.

I think itís tough to compare travel trailers to commercial box trailers for a few reasons. The biggest reason is the experience level of the driver. Many travel trailer owners have limited experience and they only tow a few times each year. Commercial trailers are more likely towed by drivers with much more experience. Additionally, many travel trailers arenít properly loaded or they are overloaded. We see the debates here regularly in the towing forums as people try to justify pulling a large trailer with an inadequate tow vehicle.

I see your point and I definitely agree that on these forums we tend to lean towards the over cautious position, but I donít think thatís a bad thing.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
Who needs one?
Who needs a WDH?
Evidently only RV's.
Drive the highway and glance at other trailers. Flat beds, cargo, horse, boat, motorcycle, bulldozers, car haulers....none have a WD hitch.
None?
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
...
Personally, Iíd rather not experiment with my rig to see how I do without my WDH. Itís a bit like seatbelts in your car. You donít really need them and they serve no purpose, until you crash.

This is my position but my situation is much different than yours. I am a Tundra driver and I really need the WD part. I am no expert but I am thinking that your heavy duty truck might indeed not need a weight distributing hitch. Don't confuse this with the need for sway control, a different concept all together. It never hurts to have some sway control even though we see many trailers without. If you are willing to take a chance, go ahead.
My suggestion would be to ditch the PP since you don't need WD. Pick up an easy option for sway control. I am thinking something lighter and easier to connect regardless of incline or uneven parking spots. There are many out there.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:40 AM   #14
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Nothing wrong with "freeballing" as long as you are within the limits of your tow rig.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
Who needs one?
Who needs a WDH?
Evidently only RV's.
Drive the highway and glance at other trailers. Flat beds, cargo, horse, boat, motorcycle, bulldozers, car haulers....none have a WD hitch.
But in all those other cases, you're not carrying along your home. If something happens, you can leave a cargo trailer or a boat sitting somewhere.

If you're towing your home (thinking full-timers here), and something happens, you don't have a place to spend the night then. Thus, it may warrant another level of caution on their part.

(And yes, safety in towing all those other things is also a concern too... but if I ended up w/ a totaled cargo trailer, I'm not suddenly homeless.)

(Not that I'm a full-timer either, just thinking of that situation.)
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:03 AM   #16
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The best way I’ve seen WD hitches described is like wheel barrel handles. They pull the rear end of your truck up and push some of the tongue weight onto your front wheels. Having the weight distributed helps with tractions and braking, where having your rear end down and front end up mean’s you are practically popping a wheelie. Add rain, snow, or gravel and a panic stop, you might reconsider ditching the WD hitch.

An old guy told me once, you can tow anything this anything (like the airstream photo with a guy on a bicycle towing an airstream), and you might survive, but he wouldn’t tow without a camper trailer without a proper vehicle and towing hitch. Unlike cats, we only have 1 life.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:13 AM   #17
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I tow my 27 FB mostly with a 3500 SWD GMC. Based on the TW, I certainly do not need a WD hitch, but sway control is another matter.

I use a Reese Straight line hitch with dual cam sway control. However, when I last had to take the trailer to the dealer for service work I decided to forego hooking up the WD bars as it was a short 35 miles away.

Well, the conditions must have been just right. I was passed by a tour bus and seconds after the sway began. Instinctively I tapped the brakes to release the cruise control and started to apply some trailer braking. The sway was significant enough that the trailer was taking up two lanes and keeping the truck in my own lane was not easy.

The trailer began to settle down after what seemed like an eternity, (probably only a few seconds) and I was able to slow and pull over to the shoulder.

At the time, my cruise control was set for 105 KPH (65 MPH). I am convinced that had I been going any faster I would not have recovered.

It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my 40 years of towing trailers. I will never tow again without WD and Sway control, NEVER.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
This is my position but my situation is much different than yours. I am a Tundra driver and I really need the WD part. I am no expert but I am thinking that your heavy duty truck might indeed not need a weight distributing hitch. Don't confuse this with the need for sway control, a different concept all together. It never hurts to have some sway control even though we see many trailers without. If you are willing to take a chance, go ahead.
My suggestion would be to ditch the PP since you don't need WD. Pick up an easy option for sway control. I am thinking something lighter and easier to connect regardless of incline or uneven parking spots. There are many out there.


Iím not aware of any other than Hensley or ProPride that offer sway control that is not dependent on weight distribution being used in concert with sway. What equipment are you referring to?
Thanks!
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:23 AM   #19
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None?
None that I've seen. Have you?
As far as professional operators, no one cares more for their precious cargo than horse fanciers.
Those trailers are heavy. WD hitch? Nope.

I'm only the messenger. I'm not advocating towing on the ball. But, for some reason, we RV's seem to be caught up in numbers more than others.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:24 AM   #20
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Hi

First off WD and AS are two very different things. You can get away without WD.

AS is not just related to tongue weight. Indeed that's only a very small part of the picture. What does matter is the distribution of weight throughout the entire trailer. Weight high matters and it matters a lot. That A/C up on the roof? yikes ... As you put stuff in your trailer do you put it in those upper bins? yup ... that's weight high. Do you balance the load left to right? again ... that's an issue.

Sway most definitely *does* happen with AS trailers. I can put mine on the ball on the F350 and demonstrate that pretty easily. You could claim that an F350 is to small a truck and I need one that weighs 30,000 pounds empty. Good luck finding that truck. One also could ask: Is that Freightliner going to cost less than an AS hitch? .... likely not.

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