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Larryzv7

Fairfield, CA

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Posted: 09/10/18 07:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is your opinion on having two friction sway bars, one on each side of your weight distribution hitch? I talked to a Camping World repair person who had never heard of two friction sway bars on a trailer while towing. But when I chat with someone from etrailer they advised that any trailer over 25 ft. might need two sway bars. I already use a weight distribution hitch and one friction sway bar but I still have a little bit of sway when towing my 2018 32-ft. Heartland.

I traded in my fifth wheel, which was very easy on towing and did not need a sway bar or a weight distribution hitch. But I’m thinking I want to put a second sway bar on my travel trailer. I understand that a number of factors can create sway, how your trailer is loaded, whether the distribution hitch is functioning properly, etc. I guess what I am asking is do any of you use two friction sway bars, and if so, does it work better than just having one?

An additional question is how much do you tighten your friction sway bar? Camping World told me to tighten it as tight as possible while online instructions say leave some play in the friction plate. I know I have to disconnect the sway bar when backing up but I’m not sure how tight I should make it.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.


2012 Ford F-150 3.5L w/Ecoboost
2012 Heartland Prowler 5th Wheel



downtheroad

Pacific Northwest

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Posted: 09/10/18 08:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My advice is to talk to someone else at Camping World....because the guy you already talked to is mis-informing you.

etrailer is a very good source for correct product info...

You also might want to give up the friction sway bars. There are a number of much better hitches out there now.


"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane."

Arctic Fox 25Y
GMC Duramax
Blue Ox SwayPro


old guy

Oregon (pronounced Or e gun)

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Posted: 09/10/18 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 35 ft trailer and I use an equalizer 4 point hitch with it and have no sway problem at all. have towed all over the place in all kinds of weather too. I had the sway bar type but the 4 point is far Superior

ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 09/10/18 08:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with DTR, there are better systems out there. I have a Reese Dual Cam and it works great but there are even newer designs that are very interesting and that don't use friction bars.

marcsbigfoot20b27

Phx

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Posted: 09/11/18 12:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sway depends on what you are towing, what you are towing it with, how the hitch is set up, how much tongue weight there is, etc. It’s different for everyone, but can be managed with proper setup if the physical numbers are good.

Larryzv7

Fairfield, CA

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Posted: 09/11/18 12:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old Guy, I did some online browsing and the equalizer 4 point sway hitch looks great. I like that it wraps around the A-frame and you do not have to drill any holes, etc. Amazon seems to have them for about $500 and from watching YouTube they seem easy enough to install. Guess I'll be selling my current weight distribution hitch and sway bar to offset buying an equalizer 4 point sway hitch. From one old guy to another, thanks for the advice.

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 09/11/18 01:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

marcsbigfoot20b27 wrote:

Sway depends on what you are towing, what you are towing it with, how the hitch is set up, how much tongue weight there is, etc. It’s different for everyone, but can be managed with proper setup if the physical numbers are good.


You're only stating the obvious as the OP has already acknowledged he's aware of the various factors influencing sway. While systems with integrated sway control like the Equal-i-zer or Blue Ox Sway Pro can be quite effective when properly set up they only do what most other systems do - control sway, not prevent it from occurring in the first place. With such a long trailer the OP would be wise to consider a system that does prevent sway from occurring in the first place - either the Hensley Arrow or ProPride 3P.

LarryJM

NoVa

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Joined: 11/09/2007

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Posted: 09/11/18 07:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Larryzv7 wrote:

What is your opinion on having two friction sway bars, one on each side of your weight distribution hitch? I talked to a Camping World repair person who had never heard of two friction sway bars on a trailer while towing. But when I chat with someone from etrailer they advised that any trailer over 25 ft. might need two sway bars. I already use a weight distribution hitch and one friction sway bar but I still have a little bit of sway when towing my 2018 32-ft. Heartland.

I traded in my fifth wheel, which was very easy on towing and did not need a sway bar or a weight distribution hitch. But I’m thinking I want to put a second sway bar on my travel trailer. I understand that a number of factors can create sway, how your trailer is loaded, whether the distribution hitch is functioning properly, etc. I guess what I am asking is do any of you use two friction sway bars, and if so, does it work better than just having one?

An additional question is how much do you tighten your friction sway bar? Camping World told me to tighten it as tight as possible while online instructions say leave some play in the friction plate. I know I have to disconnect the sway bar when backing up but I’m not sure how tight I should make it.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.


I used a single friction sway bar for 25 years on my last trailer that was 26' and weighed 6K and was towed with an E-250 Ford Van weighing around 7500lbs normally. I even wore out one after about 20 years and around 100K miles towing. With that said all the rest of this post is both a mixture of what others recommend and my experiences and opinions so take it in that vein.

1. Not sure about when two friction sway bars would be needed, but for my setup I felt one did the job just barely, but had to be set ultra tight.

2. As far as I know the only way to tell if a friction sway system is adjusted correctly is to "TEST IT ON THE ROAD". One has to remember that all a friction sway system is is basically an over tightened drum type brake that is continually dragging. The "adjustment screw" sets the force that the two brake pads "squeeze" the bar when the lever is fully tightened. This "stiffens" up and dampens the rotation of the trailer tongue on the ball of the hitch. In my experience you need to "test" it's effectiveness just about every time you get out on the road for the day since over time the "applied dampening force" is continuously being lessened from the pad wear due to the both the natural movements of the trailer and those induced from outside forces like TV maneuvering, passing semis, wind, and road surface irregularities. Now on to the "TESTING" and "ADJUSTMENT".
`
I have never seen nor will I think you find any definitive procedure for adjusting and testing a friction sway system since I think no manufacturer or entity will put it in writing because of libelity concerns since it requires doing things that can be inherently "UNSAFE" if not done very carefully. This testing and adjusting is all done basically "BY FEEL" and is totally dependent on the specific TT and TV combo and purely a judgement type assessment. First one needs a decent "baseline" w/o any "anti friction" system installed. I did this by taking the combo out on the road on a section of deserted divided highway and once at a steady speed of around 40mph did a series of "snake type" maneuvers where I got the trailer moving off axis from the general direction of travel and then stopped the off axis travel and watched the "tail of the trailer" in my rear view mirrors. What one is looking for what speed and amplitude of the "snake" will cause the tail of the trailer to swing back and overshoot the centerline a little and then quickly "die out" and again fall directly behind the TV in the direction of travel. I wanted a fairly large "single overshoot" of the trailer tail. Here one has to be careful and if you see the tail of the trailer overshooting the baseline multiple times or easily something else is wrong and needs to be fixed since the natural tendency should be for the "tail swinging" to die down fairly quickly, with almost no multiple "overshoots" from a single maneuver. This entire scenario if repeated with the sway system installed and tightened down, but not all the way. Here what one is doing is getting a feel for how the friction system will effect the trailer tail movements and overshoot. It is now repeated for a third time with the system "fully set" (i.e. the lever fully tightened) IMO what one is looking for is for the sway system to dampen the swing of the tail of the trailer to the point where finally at normal towing speeds (for me around 60mph) and with a decent single swing of the TV from one lane to say just over the centerline and immediately resume the normal direction of travel that the trailer would "swing back" in a single movement with "NO" or almost impreceptible "OVERSHOOT". I was also looking for this swing to do so firmly and fairly smoothly. This is where the "adjustment screw/bolt" comes in and I found it needed a slight (generally less than 1/2 turn) adjustment about every couple of thousand towing miles depending.

I think I covered most of everything and in closing let me stress that I'm not recommending anything said above, but only passing on what I found to work and would caution anyone to be "EXTREMELY CAREFUL" when doing any abnormal trailer maneuvers especaily at speed.

Hope this helps and I'll be glad to elaborate if needed.

Larry

* This post was edited 09/11/18 07:47am by LarryJM *


2001 standard box 7.3L E-350 PSD Van with 4.10 rear and 2007 Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite 8306S Been RV'ing since 1974.
RAINKAP INSTALL////ETERNABOND INSTALL


Me Again

Sunbird(Wa)/snowbird(Az)

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Joined: 09/26/2012

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Posted: 09/12/18 09:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

LarryJM wrote:



I used a single friction sway bar for 25 years on my last trailer that was 26' and weighed 6K and was towed with an E-250 Ford Van weighing around 7500lbs normally.

I even wore out one after about 20 years and around 100K miles towing. With that said all the rest of this post is both a mixture of what others recommend and my experiences and opinions so take it in that vein.

1. Not sure about when two friction sway bars would be needed, but for my setup I felt one did the job just barely, but had to be set ultra tight.

2. As far as I know the only way to tell if a friction sway system is adjusted correctly is to "TEST IT ON THE ROAD". One has to remember that all a friction sway system is is basically an over tightened drum type brake that is continually dragging.

The "adjustment screw" sets the force that the two brake pads "squeeze" the bar when the lever is fully tightened. This "stiffens" up and dampens the rotation of the trailer tongue on the ball of the hitch.

In my experience you need to "test" it's effectiveness just about every time you get out on the road for the day since over time the "applied dampening force" is continuously being lessened from the pad wear due to the both the natural movements of the trailer and those induced from outside forces like TV maneuvering, passing semis, wind, and road surface irregularities.

Now on to the "TESTING" and "ADJUSTMENT".
`
I have never seen nor will I think you find any definitive procedure for adjusting and testing a friction sway system since I think no manufacturer or entity will put it in writing because of libelity concerns since it requires doing things that can be inherently "UNSAFE" if not done very carefully.

This testing and adjusting is all done basically "BY FEEL" and is totally dependent on the specific TT and TV combo and purely a judgement type assessment.

First one needs a decent "baseline" w/o any "anti friction" system installed.

I did this by taking the combo out on the road on a section of deserted divided highway and once at a steady speed of around 40mph did a series of "snake type" maneuvers where I got the trailer moving off axis from the general direction of travel and then stopped the off axis travel and watched the "tail of the trailer" in my rear view mirrors.

What one is looking for what speed and amplitude of the "snake" will cause the tail of the trailer to swing back and overshoot the centerline a little and then quickly "die out" and again fall directly behind the TV in the direction of travel.

I wanted a fairly large "single overshoot" of the trailer tail. Here one has to be careful and if you see the tail of the trailer overshooting the baseline multiple times or easily something else is wrong and needs to be fixed since the natural tendency should be for the "tail swinging" to die down fairly quickly, with almost no multiple "overshoots" from a single maneuver.

This entire scenario if repeated with the sway system installed and tightened down, but not all the way. Here what one is doing is getting a feel for how the friction system will effect the trailer tail movements and overshoot.

It is now repeated for a third time with the system "fully set" (i.e. the lever fully tightened).

IMO what one is looking for is for the sway system to dampen the swing of the tail of the trailer to the point where finally at normal towing speeds (for me around 60mph) and with a decent single swing of the TV from one lane to say just over the centerline and immediately resume the normal direction of travel that the trailer would "swing back" in a single movement with "NO" or almost impreceptible "OVERSHOOT".

I was also looking for this swing to do so firmly and fairly smoothly. This is where the "adjustment screw/bolt" comes in and I found it needed a slight (generally less than 1/2 turn) adjustment about every couple of thousand towing miles depending.

I think I covered most of everything and in closing let me stress that I'm not recommending anything said above, but only passing on what I found to work and would caution anyone to be "EXTREMELY CAREFUL" when doing any abnormal trailer maneuvers especaily at speed.

Hope this helps and I'll be glad to elaborate if needed.

Larry


A little easier to read! Chris


2021 F150 2.7 Ecoboost - Summer Home 2017 Bighorn 3575el. Can Am Spyder RT-L Chrome, Kawasaki KRX1000. Retired and enjoying it!


LVJJJ

NW WASHINGTON

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Posted: 09/12/18 03:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

waaayy back in the '80's when we towed with our 1965 Chevy Van, I used two anti-sway bars, but after almost losing it when two semi's blew by me on each side on a three lane freeway, going downhill, I bought an Equal-I-zer hitch and have been sway free since then.
Those so-called anti-sway bars are stupidly ineffective, they don't start working until AFTER the sway has started so its hit and miss if they will keep you from crashing. While I recommend an Equal-i-zer there are several other hitches out there these days (however, many of those are Equal-i-zer knock offs so get the real thing) that don't need sway bars. Protect your family and get something that works.


1994 GMC Suburban K1500
2005 Trail Cruiser TC26QBC
1965 CHEVY VAN, 292 "Big Block 6" (will still tow)
2008 HHR
L(Larry)V(Vicki)J(Jennifer)J(Jesse)J(Jason)

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