We just purchased a 25' Coachman travel trailer and took our first trip this weekend. The towing weight was around 5000 lbs on it. When driving down the interstate at around 60 to 65 MPH the camper would just start to weave from side to side. I expected this to happen when trucks pass but it would do it for no reason. Although 18 wheelers made it worse. I was pulling it with a 1998 Chevy Cheyenne 4x4 with a 350 engine with an automatic. I don't have any fancy towing packages or anything on my truck. We do have a hog head hitch and had them wire up the brake box and everything. We do not have a stabilizer bar. My question is would a stabilizer bar stop it from weaving from side to side? Do you have any suggestions for me? Any help is greatly appreciated I am about to be discouraged and can't afford to not use the camper but can't pull it like this either. P.S. the gas mileage was terrible. Around 8 mpg.
*This Message was edited on 06-Aug-02 12:09 PM by Donny Nelms*
Yes, you need weight distribution bars and a sway control system, I would recommend the dual-cam system, which will run you about $160 on top of the w/d system.
Sway is caused by two main factors:
1. Passing trucks, and
2. Light tongue weight (hitch weight).
Your trailers hitch weight should be at least 12-15% of total trailer weight. So, if your trailer weighs 5,000#, you should have a tongue weight of at least 500# or more. If not, add, or re-distribute some weight to the front of the trailer to achieve this. Now, this helps greatly, but is no substitute for a sway control, nor is a sway control a substitute for adequate tongue weight. You need them both to make sure you stay safe, and ON the road rather than in the ditch, or worse.
Even on straight roads, with no winds or passing trucks, you could be prone to sway. You got lucky in that you noticed you need a sway control before an accident. Many people are not that lucky. Many dealers, and even people in this forum, will tell you to try towing without a sway control and see how it goes. For many people, the realization comes too late, and they don't get a second chance like you did.
2009 Silverado 2500HD 4X4 C/C/6.0/3.73/Pullrite Super 5th.
2004 Puma 249RBS fifth-wheel bunkhouse.USAF/GULF WAR VET.
Yes. You need a Weight Distribution hitch at the minimum. This is where you have those bars with the chains hooked up to the trailer and the hitch. This transfers the tongue weight to the trucks front wheels and also provides a little added friction to also help with the sway.
8mpg from a 4x4 350 auto is about right too.
*Anything I post is for entertainment purposes only and what usually works for me.. Your Mileage May Vary..
If you have an exsisting weight distributing hitch, then look into the Reese Dual-Cam Anti Sway system (It should work with what you already have). Otherwise the Equal-i-zer or the Reese system will work and both are about the same in cost.
2001 Ford Excursion V10
Equal-i-zer, Voyager Brake Control
2 Artic Cat 500 4x4 ATVs
27' 1978 Del Rey TT
Somethings out of balance for it to just start swaying on it's own if you are already using a WD setup. While not the same trailer as you have, I've got a 22', #4500 Prowler and all I'm using is an EZ-Lift WD setup. No additional sway control at all. The thing is steady as can be down the road. Semis don't even bother me.
With that being said, how far back are the axles on the trailer. Ideally, they should be 2/3 of the way back with the other 1/3 being the rear overhang. Is the fresh water tank in the rear of the trailer? Mine is over the axles, which are at the 2/3 distance.
You could try to load more of your stuff towards the front of the trailer. The fancy hitch setups and sway contols are all fine and good, but they are usually used for tow vehicles that have a shorter wheelbase then is ideal for the length of trailer they are towing. I'd say that a 25' TT being pulled by a fullsize PU is within it's capabilities.
What in the world is a hog head hitch? And, what do you mean by a stabilizer bar?
Some folks use the term sway bar to mean two completely different things. It can be the spring-steel bar under your truck's front or rear axle that minimizes body roll (anti-sway bar, sway bar, stabilizer bar). The term is also used when referring to a friction sway damper on your trailer hitch to try to limit trailer sway. Completely differernt gizmos for different usages.
Now, about sway damping devices. Yes, you need a weight distributing hitch, which some folks call an equalizing hitch (but different from the "Equal-i-zer" brand hitch). You also need some sort of sway damping. The friction sway damping bar is not very effective. The Reese/Draw-Tite dual-cam setup is more effective, as is the "Equal-i-zer" hitch. Reese/DrawTite sells a kit to convert most w/d hitches to dual-cam.