Ok, I have read every post on here I can find about sway, and am still a bit confused.
I have a 1999 Dodge 1500 127" Wheel Base Conversion Van (yes, with a high top) with a 5.9L, and 3.52 rear-end. I am currently pulling a brand new Jayco 324G camper (32'), UVW is about 5500 pounds.
We took a trip to Disney last week (i.e. lots of pulling down I-95). Well, I had lots of sway, way more than I would like. I previously had a Terry 26H with a UVW of 5900lbs and didn't experience hardly any sway at all!
I realize my new Jayco is longer, but since it is lighter, I am confused as to why I am experiencing so much sway.
Oh, before you guys jump on me, I know I am pushing the weight limits on my van, I am working on that. But right now, I just watch my speed and keep my Reese anti-way bars nice and tight.
I am guessing that the combination of my pushing my pull vehicle's upper limits, and the extra length of the trailer, that is what is causing the extra sway, but was hoping some of you veterens would be able to offer some additional insight
It's more than likely a combination of trailer length to wheelbase on the truck. The gap from 26 to 32 feet means a lot in that respect Additionally combined with the fact that you may also be running P-rated tires versus a less flexible sidewall LT tire. Very common on conversions to get it a soft ride. The combination of forces will add up to considerable sway.
You have anti-sway on the rig, or just weight distribution bars? You're certainly a candidate for the Equalizer or Dual Cam sway control in a hurry..
In addition to Roger's suggestions....also be sure to run your tires at the max imprinted on the sidewalls. Be sure the WD/Sway system is accurately 'tuned' or adjusted. And, continue working on upgrading to a larger tow vehicle.
You likely have a combination of issues. First the length of the trailer will certainly increase sway tendencies. Second, the fact that you are very close (probably over) to your CGWR means that the truck doesn't have enough reserve power to straighten out the rig when it starts to sway.
Start with the basics; make sure the rig is level, both truck and trailer. Make sure you have 10-15% of the trailer weight on the tongue. Make sure you have all tires aired up to max PSI on the sidewall.
Having said that, I would encourage you to look for a Hensley or Pullrite hitch for that rig, these will provide you with the degree of sway control that you need.
I'll add a little input here. I hope I can offer you some good insight, I'll at least try.
For one thing, contrary to popular belief, a lighter trailer is MORE prone to sway than a heavier trailer of the same length. Why? There is less weight to push around, with the same cross section to 'catch the wind'. The trailer will be 'lighter on its feet' than your other, heavier one. One other huge offender is the tongue weight, or lack of. The tongue weight of your trailer should be a minimum of 10-15% of the trailers weight. If your trailer has a light hitch weight, that will be the first thing to correct. So there is problem number one.
Problem two: by the sound of it, you do not have sway bars, but are referring to the torsion, or 'spring' bars used to equalize the trailer/tow vehicle. Also referred to as weight distribution bars. A sway bar/sway control system is totally different from the bars you use to equalize the trailer and truck. You need to get at least a friction bar sway control, but I would highly recommend a dual cam system, which integrates with your weight distribution bars, thus when you connect the bars, the sway is automatically connected. Best system you can buy without going with a 'premium' towing system like the Pullrite or the Hensley Arrow. But you do need something. Without a sway control, it could be disasterous.
Problem three is the wheelbase. For that length trailer, you have come up way short of where you should be. With a 32' trailer, you should have about 165" wheelbase, but that is probably not even possible, as there aren't many trucks made that are that long. For this trailer, you should have a pickup, long bed with at least an extended cab, preferably a crew cab for the extra length, and at least a 3/4 ton as well, but a one ton would be best. That is a huge trailer! The reason one needs an adequate wheelbase is this: the trailer, 'pivoting' on its' axles when hit by wind or the vortex from a passing truck, will try to move the rear of your tow vehicle. With a short wheelbase, there is less stability to help control that. Think of it as leverage. The longer a bar is, the more leverage you can apply to it. The shorter the bar, the less leverage you can apply to it. With 'less leverage' on your vehicle, there will be less 'counter force' to offset the trailer sway. I hope that made sense, it was the best description I could muster up at the moment.
Problem four: the tires. Most likely you have 'P' rated tires, which stand for 'passenger' which are designed for a smoother ride and passenger comfort. The better tire would be one rated an 'LT', or 'light truck' tire, which may give a stiffer ride, but have much stiffer side walls and are much better at resisting side to side forces and bounce. A softer, 'spongier' tire, like the 'P' rated ones, will flex more side to side, thus making a bad problem even worse.
Well, having said all that, I would advise that you at least get a sway control, recommending the dual-cam system, and if you are keeping the van for a while longer (if you can't get another tow vehicle any time soon like you indicated you were looking into), get the better tires.
To summarize, check your tongue weight is at least 10% of trailer weight, get a sway control, and upgrade the tires unless you dump the van soon. And last but not least...dump the van soon .
Good luck, and happy trails!
2009 Silverado 2500HD 4X4 C/C/6.0/3.73/Pullrite Super 5th.
2004 Puma 249RBS fifth-wheel bunkhouse.USAF/GULF WAR VET.
6,000# plus trailer is way too much for a 1/2 ton van. With the 26' you were probably over loaded. You really need a larger truck and do the math for the weights before you buy it.
*This Message was edited on 13-Jun-02 01:57 PM by TXiceman*
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I look at it like this, longer trailer is just like a longer crowbar . The longer it it is , the more leverage it can exert. True tounge weight and the tires make a big difference but the difference between the old and the new is the 32 footer is just has more leverage to push the van around. And I drive a work van every day, the wind pushes it around without a trailer behind it. Its a high profile vehicle. I'd try one of the hitches that one of the earlier posters suggested.
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