What is sway? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2007, 09:39 PM   #29
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It is still possible for a 2000 lb trailer to severely mess up the control of a one-ton pickup truck under the right conditions (bad trailer balance, light rear end on truck, slippery road conditions), esp if the owner had decided he didn't need trailer brakes on such a 'light' trailer.

I would be unlikely to use WDH w/dualcam control on a rig like that, but it wouldn't be totally wasted money if one did. All that truck has going for it in a sway incident is weight and perhaps wheelbase if it's not a shortbed standard cab -- The power and the gearing that makes a 1/2 ton into a one-ton are relatively useless when it comes to control like steering and stopping.

Anyway, the salesperson that guy was writing about is only slightly rarer than a unicorn...
I am thinking about the motorcycle Helmet law that they passed in California a decade or so ago. The talk shows were full of screamers shouting down the state’s right to issue laws to protect them from themselves. The dissenters had valid arguments in my opinion. Let us take care of ourselves. We don’t need no stinking help. Nevertheless our government is on highway safety like bees on honey. Think about that next time you get in your car. There are all kinds of things mandated by the government to keep you safe and your passengers safe and the other-guy safe. But how do they know they are safe? How does government know you should have turn signals and headlights and airbags and seatbelts? Perhaps research results? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a branch of the Department of Transportation have engineers and scientist that investigate accidents, run the statistics, and perform the tests and if they say a seat belt will keep you safer then most reasonable people would not argue that point. We trust these guys to keep us safe. At least I do… as far as trusting the fed govt goes.

States also help protect us trailer pullers with speed limits, electric brake laws, tail light and signal light laws, riders disallowed in the towed RV in some states and tons of other things to make all of us safer. Would it be safe to say (pardon the pun) that if there was a significant risk in trailering that they would pass a law? I think so. Here is a link that signifies how states treat trailers and what laws apply to them.

http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

Did you notice anything in the lists? Did they list the need for an anti sway bar or a weight distribution hitch? Or did they list top speed and electric brakes and such? To me it is self evident that if our overly protective government doesn’t require these safety add-ons and since U-haul and other trailer rentals don’t require these (in the most litigious nation in the universe) then the purported “safety” they provide is either lost on the experts in DC or a figment of some kind.
All that being said I have a 4500 lb Ford ranger pulling a 2800 lb Casita and I use a friction anti-sway bar. Why? I don’t know. The ratio seems a bit unsafe to me so I put it on. But I will never in any way broadcast anecdotal evidence as scientific fact. The *fact* is [b]nobody [b]anywhere has ever concluded with proper engineering discipline that lack of any of these do-dads makes you less safe. Most of it is over-sell, hyperbole, and vested interest. Just go to the other forum and find out for yourself.

What does make you less safe is speed and fixing that doesn’t require any hardware or money.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:50 PM   #30
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Quote:
http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

Did you notice anything in the lists? Did they list the need for an anti sway bar or a weight distribution hitch? Or did they list top speed and electric brakes and such? To me it is self evident that if our overly protective government doesn’t require these safety add-ons and since U-haul and other trailer rentals don’t require these (in the most litigious nation in the universe) then the purported “safety” they provide is either lost on the experts in DC or a figment of some kind.
All the being said I have a 4500 lb Ford ranger pulling a 2800 lb Casita and I use a friction anti-sway bar. Why? I don’t know. The ratio seems a bit unsafe to me so I put it on. But I will never in any way broadcast anecdotal evidence as scientific fact. The fact is *nobody* anywhere has ever concluded with proper engineering discipline that lack of any of these do-dads make you less safe. Most of it is over-sell, hyperbole, and vested interest. Just go to the other forum and find out for yourself.

What does make you less safe is speed and fixing that doesn’t require any hardware or money.
Actually they do make laws restricting trailer towing speeds (I think Alaska is 45mph and many states are 55mph) and brakes (range from needed at 1Klbs in NY to 10K in MA) and overloading tow vehicles.

I suspect we'd see more laws on towing safety if more people were dying (hence helmet and headlight laws on motorcycles), but most trailer accidents that I read about on the various forums result in tow vehicle and trailer damage, usually in the ditch, with no serious injuries or fatalities (unless fire is involved).

As I have written many times, don't throw money at gadgets to magically reduce sway without doing the basic weights and balances stuf first on scales, or the gadgets may mask the problem until one finds oneself in the ditch wondering what went wrong.

Speed definitely increases sway.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:14 AM   #31
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I think Ron's point was that some factors are legislated (including brakes and speeds), but WD systems and sway control devices are not - there has not been a recognized reason to legislate those things.

I agree with Pete's point - legislation is driven by visible and dramatic problems. If trailers were routinely swaying all over the road causing fatal accidents, there would probably be some legislation. Of course, it would require whatever measure was of greatest interest to the special interest groups lobbying the governments, and have little to do with good sense...
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:42 AM   #32
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You guys need to do better research. Summary tables don't always tell you everything you need to know.

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[b]Code of Iowa, Section 321.430 Brake, hitch and control requirements.
1. Every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, or motorized bicycle, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle, including two separate means of applying the brakes, each of which means shall be effective to apply the brakes to at least two wheels. If these two separate means of applying the brakes are connected in any way, they shall be so constructed that failure of any one part of the operating mechanism shall not leave the motor vehicle without brakes on at least two wheels.
2. Every motorcycle and motorized bicycle, when operated upon a highway, shall be equipped with at least one brake, which may be operated by hand or foot.
3. Every trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer of a gross weight of three thousand pounds or more shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle when operated on the highways of this state. Every trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer with a gross weight of three thousand pounds or more shall be equipped with a separate, auxiliary means of applying the brakes on the trailer, semitrailer, or travel trailer from the cab of the towing vehicle, or with self-actuating brakes, and [b]shall also be equipped with a weight equalizing hitch with a sway control. Trailers or semitrailers with a truck or truck tractor need only comply with the brake requirements.
In Iowa, if a trailer is heavy enough to require trailer brakes, a brake controller, weight distribution hitch, and sway control are also required.

Roger
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:57 PM   #33
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You guys need to do better research. Summary tables don't always tell you everything you need to know.
In Iowa, if a trailer is heavy enough to require trailer brakes, a brake controller, weight distribution hitch, and sway control are also required.

Roger
finally a first! I have been asking and looking for state laws that cover anti sway bars and weight distribution hitches but this the first! Maybe we can find more. Do you have a link to that Iowa one?

Also, isn't that written as if you have 3000+pounds *and* only have self actuating brakes (surge brakes) *then* you are required to have the anti sway bar and weight distribution hitch?

what do you think?

Ron
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Old 07-08-2007, 03:54 PM   #34
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Roger:
Does Iowa honor reciprocity between states or is that an absolute requirement? We're planning a New England Trip in a couple of years, so that may mean going through North Dakota or something similar in order to avoid this problem with WDH and sway mitigators. Or is this an issue only you are aware of and ready to enforce? If so, what's the name of your town and jurisdiction so that I can circle it to be out of danger? I'd like to see your Bigfoot, but not with fines, impoundment, and confiscation being a possibility.
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Old 07-08-2007, 04:01 PM   #35
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Ron,

It is curiously written. It is interpreted to mean that all trailers over 3,000 lbs are required to have brakes of some variety and both sway control and weight distribution. It's a case of legislators obviously not understanding that neither sway control nor weight distribution can be used with surge brakes. I guess that, theoretically, if you have surge brakes, and your trailer weighs 3,000 GVWR or more you're in violation if you don't have weight distribution and sway control.

Here's the link to the Iowa Code advanced search page. Type in 321.430 in the "Section" box to read the entire section.

Roger
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Old 07-08-2007, 04:05 PM   #36
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Roger:
Does Iowa honor reciprocity between states or is that an absolute requirement? We're planning a New England Trip in a couple of years, so that may mean going through North Dakota or something similar in order to avoid this problem with WDH and sway mitigators. Or is this an issue only you are aware of and ready to enforce? If so, what's the name of your town and jurisdiction so that I can circle it to be out of danger? I'd like to see your Bigfoot, but not with fines, impoundment, and confiscation being a possibility.
Per, I believe that in most instances reciprocity would apply. Of course, I'd hunt you down and force you to state your case to the judge... and he's only in on Thursdays, which means a four day wait in jail if I cite you on Monday... Oh, no... wait... that was in Mayberry...

I suspect that no one would even notice, and fewer would even know about 321.340 unless you were involved in some kind of accident and a DOT or ISP officer investigated it. Just don't crash in MY town.

Roger
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:20 PM   #37
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Ron,

It is curiously written. It is interpreted to mean that all trailers over 3,000 lbs are required to have brakes of some variety and both sway control and weight distribution. It's a case of legislators obviously not understanding that neither sway control nor weight distribution can be used with surge brakes. I guess that, theoretically, if you have surge brakes, and your trailer weighs 3,000 GVWR or more you're in violation if you don't have weight distribution and sway control.

Here's the link to the Iowa Code advanced search page. Type in 321.430 in the "Section" box to read the entire section.

Roger
Wow! great stuff here. Are you a cop? How can I find like laws in other states. I am keenly interested in this subject.

Ron
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:03 PM   #38
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Umm, looks to me like a law that a brand new public defender who was last in his class at Podunk Law School, had to take the bar exam four or five times and was working his first time in court could chew to pieces.

Where does the weight distribution and sway hardware connect on a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer? Or does the 'truck' part mean that ANY truck is exempt, but SUVs and automobiles need WDH?
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:01 PM   #39
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Umm, looks to me like a law that a brand new public defender who was last in his class at Podunk Law School, had to take the bar exam four or five times and was working his first time in court could chew to pieces.

Where does the weight distribution and sway hardware connect on a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer? Or does the 'truck' part mean that ANY truck is exempt, but SUVs and automobiles need WDH?
I think since Iowa is one of a very few states that allows passengers to ride in the towed trailer that they probably did a bit of overkill just to make nice. But I could be wrong and that is the point!!! I would really like to see scientific data that supports or rejects any of this stuff. I am a mechanical engineer so I am not afraid of it. I just want to *see* it if it exists.

Anyway, this subject is crazy with anecdote and homily...nuff said.

I think I'll buy a boat too now

Ron
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:03 PM   #40
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I think since Iowa is one of a very few states that allows passengers to ride in the towed trailer...

Ron
Huh? I don't THINK so!

Roger
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:26 PM   #41
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As Pete has suggested, that bit of legislation is a piece of absolute garbage.
  • the correct term is weight-distributing; there is no hitch magic which can equally distribute load
  • obviously every fifth wheel would be non-compliant, unless another section overrides that, or they are officially "semitrailers" (even when they're not)
  • it completely ignores the tow vehicle
  • there is no requirement for the hardware to be used correctly - does it count if I just carry it in the trunk?
I wonder which towing equipment dealer or manufacturer paid for that one?

Quote:
Trailers or semitrailers with a truck or truck tractor need only comply with the brake requirements.
Huh? So all trailers towed by trucks are exempt? I suppose there's a "truck" definition somewhere, but does it mean old Ford/Mazda Courier or Chevy LUV can tow over the limit with no such equipment, while a Suburban can't? What's a truck?

But good find, Roger! Legislative stupidity truly knows no bounds. I would read it more closely, but the link currently returns "service unavailable"; maybe it's the Sunday night maintenance outage.
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:36 PM   #42
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It's a case of legislators obviously not understanding that neither sway control nor weight distribution can be used with surge brakes.
Progress Mfg. Inc. disagrees. Their Equal-i-zer design puts the friction primarily at the spring bar pivots in the head, rather than at the bar-to-trailer brackets, so they say it does not interfere with proper surge brake control action. The most common design of WD systems connects the spring bars to the trailer with chains, which pull back and forward on the trailer (depending on pitch and yaw angle), so they are not for use with surge brakes, but the Equal-I-Zer's sliding mount which does not have this issue.

Quote:
Originally posted by Equal-i-zer installation instructions
[b]SURGE BRAKES: Equal-i-zer allows the forward and back movement required by most surge brake mechanisms. In applications with heavy tongue weights, lubricating the L-Brackets where the spring arm slides will allow less restricted forward and back movement.
You could also use a Euro-style sway control device, which uses friction at the ball and is normally used with surge brakes (known there as an overrun braking system), but the WD function would still be an issue.
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