To let you all know, I did try some word searches on this topic, but I didn't really come up with anything that directly answered this question, but I did learn a lot! There are some very well-versed answer-people on this board!
I am towing a 3400 lb. Jeep on an 18 ft. long, 1960LB. US cargo trailer with a 2002 Dodge Durango.... I position the load perfectly on the trailer, for the correct tounge weight, and this combonation tows BEAUTIFULLY!!! i have had ZERO problems, even towing for five hours straight in driving rain, with a 30 MPH crosswind, and BIG semis passing......
so anyway, a friend of mine noticed this set-up, and i am NOT using any kind of sway control, or any other form of accessory other than the factory installed hitch. Most jeepers i know don't use anything extra on thier tow rigs either, but my friend is suggesting that i look into a form of WD or sway accessory. I will be driving out to utah in the fall, and will see a ton of mountain trailering. i want to do the smart thing, and be well-preparred.
the thing that I do not understand about products like the reese/drawtite dual cam set-up, if if it is also a spring-type WD device???
what is more important? sway control, or WD??? are there products that combine both? Would the addition of the reese/drawtite dual offer an improvement in safety and pc. of mind on this et-up?
any suggestions are appreciated. sorry for being long-winded and posting yet another "sway" topic!
The Reese Dual Cam Sway Control device requires a trunion bar weight distribution system. If you purchase the whole package from Reese (WD & Dual-Cam), the WD bars are specially shaped for the Dual-Cam. If you have another brand of WD, you can get the Dual-Cam seperately and bolt on an attachment to some other mfg's trunion bars.
If I were to prioritize by order of importance, I would put the weight distribution system first. However, now that I have the Dual-Cam, I don't think I want to tow without some type of sway control.
Lynn G, the Ukrainian and Sasha the wonder dog as "the Beaver"
2002 Silverado Crewcab 2500HD Duramax + Sportsman 2604P
Wieght Distribution is the primary concern for me, and it should be for you. I'm very happy that you've had good luck so far, but I fear your luck will run out someday without adding some equipment to your rig. A good WD seup will do more to stabilize your rig than any sway control.
Here's the dilema. You have a grand total of around #5300 of trailer behind you. This is a good amount of weight to pull with your Dodge, and at least as heavy as the typical travel trailer. If you take 12% of #5360 as an ideal tongue weight, you've got about #650 of tongue weight. Again, this is well within the range of a travel trailer. The reason I point out the travel trailer comparisons is because you won't likely find any experienced RVer towing #5500 of travel trailer and #650 of tongue weight without WD and sway control.
Here's something to think about. If you hang #650 of hitch on the back of your Dodge, then you've just taken approximately #200 off your front axle. Your front axle is you primary steering/braking axle, and taking weight off it will cause sluggish steering response and dangerous braking conditions. You may not have noticed a steering issue unless you tried an emergency swerve.
The WD hitch will take that #650 and split it roughly evenly between both truck axles. This will make your truck sit level, and retain all steering/braking/suspension geometry as intended by Dodge. Your ride will be much better, and safety goes way up.
As for sway control, most people use it the wrong way. They try to install sway control to stop dangerous sway. Again, most experienced RVers will setup their rig to be stable without sway control, then add it as insurance after the fact. You don't want to use a sway bar to steady an unstable rig, rather you want to have it on a stable rig for additional stability in a panic manuvuer.
So to answer both your questions, yes you should have both. I know many people tow car trailers, utility trailers, horse trailers...etc. without either. Much of this way of thinking comes from the minset that "this is the way it's been done for years, why should I change?" Just because others do it doesn't make it right. I feel people should always continue looking for the safest way of doing any task, and continue that frame of mind until accidents cease to happen entirely.
On a side note: I sure hope that trailer has brakes, preferably electric on both axles, at that weight. If you are towing that kind of weight without brakes you are in for serious trouble in the hills, and someday your luck will run out. I can't believe how many car trailer I've seen without brakes. Surge brakes will work, but are not as good as electric. Surge brakes will only work if the tow vehicle is stopping. In slippery conditions, or any other condition where the tow vehicle can't stop, the surge brakes will do nothing. In these circumstances electric brakes could save your life. Also, in the mountains it's common for people to burn our surge brakes on the down slope of the hill. This is due to the trailer pushing on the hitch, falsly activating the brakes and riding them all the way down the hill. Again, electric brakes are safer.
I hope this information has helped you.
'11 Ford Expedition XL 5.4L (Primary tow vehicle)
'04 Mercury Grand Marquis 4.6L (Backup tow vehicle
'04 Ford Freestar SES 3.9L (another Backup tow vehicle)
'97 Lincoln Mark VIII 32v 4.6L (another Backup tow vehicle)
thanks so much for taking the time to write as much as you did. I appreciate it!
You don't have to convince me, no sir! I'm not the kind of person that likes to 'get by' and I sure as hell don't like depending on luck. I'm glad too that I don't have any problems, but when i'm talking to my buddy about this stuff, and look at a few set-ups people have on the road, and seeing what's available on the net, I realize there's a REASON and figured I'd look into it, and the two responces I got here were most helpful. I have already placed an order for a Reese WD hitch AND dual cam sway control, and am looking foreward to installing it and using it. The guy on the phone who took the order told me that once i had it installed, I would wonder how I trailered comfortably without one, says it'll be close to night/day.
yes, the trailer absolutly has brakes! electric, BOTH axles, with a very nice digital controller. No, I would never skimp when it comes to brakes! I have a friend who's been trailering a big Jeep like mine WITHOUT brakes for years. he FINALLY installed brakes on one axle after a friend of ours gave him testimony on how he'd "never do that again" ya know, one of those "near miss" flat-towing stories....the story scared him into doing it i suppose, ACTUALLY, I didn't know he wasn't running brakes until he told me he had just installed them....then i was thinking back to all the times he'd been behind me on our convoys......yikes!
Yeah, I see a lot of car and boat trailer that either have no brakes or had brakes and somebody disconnected them. Can't figure that out myself, unless there's just a lot of people out there that would rather tempt fate than adjust brakes?