Anti-Sway Bar - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-23-2016, 09:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpfick View Post
Depending on the OEM of the bar, the included documentation may indeed state that the bar should be removed before backup.

It seems they don't even qualify it, just say, remove.

But I suspect it is a CYA kind of thing because yes, cramping the device during a severe angle backing up can indeed trash them. Deciding where that point is where backing up with little angle is OK and where operators find themselves needing to make severe angled reverse movements is more than the manufacturer wishes to discuss or decide where that "point" is between "slight" angles and "severe", so I suspect, but would absolutely no way of knowing if this is the OEM's thinking on the issue.
Fact is, the anti-sway bar does reduce the responsiveness of the trailer, especially in reverse. That's really what it is supposed to do!
When backing up you need to remove it or loosen it only when you have some complex maneuvering to do. Otherwise it may actually help by keeping the trailer from overreacting.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:04 PM   #16
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We use a friction sway control on our 16ft scamp, I got mine at Harbor Freight, looks to be identical to the curt system. Trailer Sway Control Kit They only run $32 currently, you can also usually find a 20% off coupon. It is nice if you have a harbor freight close by.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:52 PM   #17
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I installed a Curt sway bar on our Scamp 16 before a 6 week cross country jaunt. No prior issues prompted the purchase. I guess it was just part of the "just in case" planning. (I'd read about the sudden big winds in the vast open areas mid-west and beyond.) Well we finally did hit those winds. On one of our longest days of driving we hit a seemingly never ending open section where the wind was relentless. The trailer tracked perfectly the entire time. When we finally arrived at our campsite, I hopped out to take the sway bar off. (I always pop it off before backing in. Once I forgot in a tight spot and slightly bent the welded mount for the small ball. Luckily, it still works fine.) The sway bar was gone! In the early hours I had forgotten to put it on and missed the oversight on all the quick checks throughout the day! Like the above said, balance your gear in the trailer and you'll be fine but for me, I like the affordable piece of mind.
That said, while driving through Washington after exiting the West entrance of Glacier National, headed toward Crater Lake we hit a monster deer. (Apparently this was increasingly common at the time as the deer were fleeing the forest fires.) When I slammed on my brakes the trailer swayed like a drunken sailor. Scary stuff. I'm convinced the sway bar (I didn't forget this time) saved our trailer, our trip, and possibly much worse!
Unless I'm taking it to be inspected locally, I don't hitch up without it.


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Old 03-24-2016, 08:33 AM   #18
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Interesting thread - typical of why this forum is so beneficial.

I have only about 5k miles experience (ie, still low on the learning curve) towing a 13' and have had no problems with sway so assumed I need not consider sway control. I haven't however yet experienced serious mountain driving or windy plains or panic stops. This thread is causing me to rethink the sway bar question - it appears that many of you experienced with towing believe they offer a definite margin of safety. Any advice on brand? My on-line investigations have me leaning to the Curt. Curt and Camco are priced about the same - below $50. Reese is more than double and I can't find evidence of substantially better quality or function to justify the price differential. Any experience with the Curt sway tab ball mount? It will probably cost me as much to have a welder weld a tab on my current mount (stinger?).
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:57 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
...Any experience with the Curt sway tab ball mount? It will probably cost me as much to have a welder weld a tab on my current mount (stinger?).
The $40 I paid was to have the tab for the first small ball welded on the hitch ball mount AND the second ball plate welded on the trailer's frame. The latter was welded instead of bolted on because the frame member is the same width as the mounting plate and therefore the screws / bolts would have cut into the edges of the frame tubing and probably weakened it. Welding it on prevents any weakening of the frame but does make it about impossible to replace the ball if needed.

I will admit it took me a while to find a welder. I eventual found two, but one had his equipment in for service. And I do not live in the boondocks.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:01 AM   #20
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Good point Gordon. I haven't measured but suspect I'll have the same dimensional problem with the trailer tongue and in any event welding will avoid the potential of weakening the tongue (I think the illustration shows eight bolt holes required). Once I do that, I'd just as well have both plates welded and skip the cost of the pre-welded ball mount.

When I grew up it seemed there was a welding shop, or two, in every small town. As you note, they are hard to find these days.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:05 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Fact is, the anti-sway bar does reduce the responsiveness of the trailer, especially in reverse. That's really what it is supposed to do!
When backing up you need to remove it or loosen it only when you have some complex maneuvering to do. Otherwise it may actually help by keeping the trailer from overreacting.
Not disagreeing at all. Just saying that much of the enclosed OEM printed material for the owners make no distinction. To further complicate matters perhaps, installers, such as RV dealerships, also routinely inform folks, "take it off to back up". When you chat with folks at camp grounds, person after person tell me, "My salesman said never back up" or "Got to take it off to backup". No conditions, no additional guidance. Shrug.

So, what else is new. I don't often find myself wanting to engage such conversations with people as once their installer or salesman has told them something, that's that. Life's too short and I only care so much.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:18 AM   #22
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While any household MIG will weld the plate to the tongue securely, this plate adapter is attractive and works well and is available for those who don't have access to a stick welder to attach the sway ball to the drawbar...



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Old 03-24-2016, 10:21 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
... (I think the illustration shows eight bolt holes required).

When I grew up it seemed there was a welding shop, or two, in every small town. As you note, they are hard to find these days.
Four holes for the mounting plate and eight for the spacer that optionally goes between it and the trailer frame. There is much confusion about the use of the larger plate, and even etrailer gives different explanations.

However it seems that this is the correct purpose of the spacer plate and that it is not needed if you weld the ball plate on or if trailer frame tubing is of sufficient size to allow the self-taping screws to be used. I did not use the spacer plate, the ball plate is welded right onto the frame tube.

(And you can bet your bibby that the propane tank and battery were removed prior to the welding!)

And yes, it seems that welding is becoming a lost art.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:26 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
While any household MIG will weld the plate to the tongue securely, this plate adapter is attractive and works well and is available for those who don't have access to a stick welder to attach the sway ball to the drawbar...
Once again Floyd brings up a good point, and one that perhaps could use a further comment.

This was the solution I planned at first but researching before purchase I found that the shank on my ball was not long enough so I would have had to buy both the adapter plate AND a new ball. Plus, it raises the tongue just a little (etrailer has the spec somewhere).

PS, is every household supposed to have a MIG welder? I think not... but I do like the idea! I so wish I could do some simple welding.

So for me, even though getting the weld done was a bit of a chore, it came out to be cheaper and maybe even stronger.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:32 AM   #25
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Norm, Floyd

Again, not to beat a dead horse, as I cannot get inside the heads of the OEMs who say in their printed material to remove the bar before backing up, but I don't believe it is simply a matter of not having the friction set too high. Not sure that's their only particular concern.

Rather the potential damage they warn against is turning the TV so sharply as to push the friction bar all the way in and then damage it by jamming up the whole thing. At least this is the thinking of many RV dealers/salesman/installers that I have spoken to about these devices. So, I don't mind too awfully horribly their advice to folks to just avoid harm's way and remove it. As Gordon2 says, if it's off, it cannot be damaged.

Understand your thoughts though Floyd about the friction actually assisting with the backing, as long as the jacknife isn't severe enough to jam the whole mess up.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:50 AM   #26
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My sway bar had the instructions which were posted. You only need to remove it when backing if, at jacknife, it contracts "completely", or contacts the bumper of the tow vehicle. If it doesn't do these things, you can back with it. This will I guess depend on how you installed it, and the particular trailer and vehicle.

I bought the adapter that floyd posted. Works fine for me so far. It's less than 1/2" thick so won't change the ball height much. I didn't do any welding. I may have a guy weld the plate to the trailer tongue, but I already bolted it on so I probably won't.

One point that the guy who offered to weld it for me made: welding also weakens metal. It makes it more brittle and less pliable. So it's a compromise. If you think you'd be drilling the edges of your frame tube to bolt the plate on, then probably carefully welding is a better idea. If your frame is wide enough that you'd be drilling inside the edges, then it's kind of a toss up.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
...

One point that the guy who offered to weld it for me made: welding also weakens metal. It makes it more brittle and less pliable. So it's a compromise. If you think you'd be drilling the edges of your frame tube to bolt the plate on, then probably carefully welding is a better idea. If your frame is wide enough that you'd be drilling inside the edges, then it's kind of a toss up.



While we are on the subject, if its not too far off topic...

I admit this is the first time I have used a friction sway bar. The groaning noise on turns is very pronounced and it resonates throughout the tug (driving my dog nuts). I heard that this is normal during break-in period but should lessen.

I have 270 miles on this new sway bar and a trip of 1200 miles coming up very soon. Anything to worry about here? Might it be too tight?
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:00 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
One point that the guy who offered to weld it for me made: welding also weakens metal. It makes it more brittle and less pliable. So it's a compromise. If you think you'd be drilling the edges of your frame tube to bolt the plate on, then probably carefully welding is a better idea. If your frame is wide enough that you'd be drilling inside the edges, then it's kind of a toss up.
I just measured my frame and it appears that like yours it is a bit too small for the hole spacing on the mounting plate (video on E-Trailer indicates holes on 2 5/16 centers). Wonder if there is any problem just re-drilling two of the holes in the plate to fit the frame (it doesn't appear that I should need the spacer plate).
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