About to do a DIY Sway Control install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-04-2007, 06:35 PM   #1
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The instructions for install seem quite simple and clear to me. (I read 'em.. I am a girl) They are SO simple, as a matter of fact, I am wondering if I have missed anything.

Basically, locate the frame ball 24 inches back from the center of the coupler, and the little tiny hitch ball (For the sway bar) 5 inches out and 1 1/2 inches behind the drawbar ball.

This part is easy, as the WDH I have is already set up for this ball in the right spot.. all I have to do is tighten the ball on.

The welder actually told me I was talented enuff to do this myself, and locating it on the STREET side is not a problem. I can not put it on the curbside as the frame on that side at 24 inches has a raised and welded on plate that the jack is mounted to. Even with the jack off, the plate is in the way.

As much as I would like the plate welded onto the frame, there are no appointments available at my welders to do this before I leave for Oregon, so.. I will use the supplied monster bolts and get it welded when I get back.

Anyway, any pitfalls I should look for? Tips for adjustment?
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
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Skill, I may have..

Brawn.. I do not.

The monster bolts are actually 11/32 self tapping telephone poles. Try as I could, I don't have enuff brute force in me to get them to tap!

Guess I call the welder and beg tomorrow. I have one hole in my frame now, about 1/2 inch up.
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:28 AM   #3
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Skill, I may have..

Brawn.. I do not.
That's why the instructions are so simple. It takes a GUY to do this sort of grunt work.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:20 AM   #4
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It's about time you did something about the sway, Gina. Is there any way you can substitute grade 5 bolts and locknuts for the self-tapping kind? Might be easier for you to install.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:36 AM   #5
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Solution 1: Drill starter holes where the self-tapping bolts are going. Something about 1/2 the diameter of the bolt shouldn't take away anything that would be there in the end - yet will help the tapping part catch nicely.

Course - that assumes that starting the bolt is the problem. If it's catching fine and the problem is actually TURNING the bolt... Stick a pipe on the handle of your ratchet for more leverage.

Solution 2: Is it possible to switch it to something where you're using bolts/locknuts and a backing plate? Personally, the whole idea of drilling substantial holes through the toungue of the trailer gives me the willies anyway.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:35 AM   #6
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My approach: purchase a bracket that requires no drilling. So simple even I did it by myself. .
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:40 AM   #7
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I also decided to go with a mini-sway. They are good up to 3500 #s. The reason is that my spare tire rack was in the way of using the stardard one that requires the 24" spread and the mini only requires 18". I have used it for several years and it has severed me quite well.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:27 AM   #8
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Mike, solution 1 is not a solution.. there are starter holes @ 11/32 as instructed.

Solution 2 ...it's not the turn thats the issue, it's getting enuff ohmph to even get the first thread started.. downward force (Or sideways, in this case.) If the dang thing would cut for me, I could use a breaker bar.. no problem.

I like Suz's solution. I will see if I can get such an item from one of our fine and oh so fairly priced RV places here..

IF I can't talk the welder into squeezing me in. There is only one hole now.. and yes, it makes me nervous looking at it after I drilled it out.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:25 AM   #9
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HI Gina,
Do you have a friend that is as lazy as me and owns a tire impact tool. I used mine to install a sway control. It drove the self tapping bolts into the trailer frame very easily.
You could go to a tire shop and ask them to drive the bolts in for you. It would only take them a minute or 2.

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Old 07-05-2007, 11:51 AM   #10
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Self-tappers?

I'd just drill a through-hole and use a grade 8 bolt with a Nylock nut on the other side.

That is, inless this is a box-section frame and you'd have to go through both sides. The only way to corretly use a bolt through the tubing would be either to drill it out to clearance size on the back so you could get the nut on and only clamp on one side of the tubing, like the self-tapper would do, or to insert a bushing to prevent you from collapsing the tubing - which should really be welded in.

If it's a C-channel frome, though, I'd just do the through bolt and pitch the self-tappers.

Another idea would be to determine the diameter and pitch of the self-tapping screw and simply get a machine tap then tap the hole. Cutting threads with a tap doesn't require much oomph because you have actual machined cutting edges, not the sorry excuse for cutters a mass-produced, soft self-tapper would have.

When you say 11/32", do you mean the size of the wrench needed to drive the bolt? That's pretty close to a 3/4", which is a common head size for a 1/2" diameter bolt. It might be 1/2-13 (13 threads per inch) or 1/2-20 (20 threads per inch).

A 1/2" tap should only run you maybe $10? Get a bottle of tapping lubricant for a few bucks more and a coule of real bolts, and you could have this licked.
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Old 07-05-2007, 01:05 PM   #11
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When you say 11/32", do you mean the size of the wrench needed to drive the bolt?
Lee, no.. that is the hole size.

John, that thought actually DID cross my mind, but if I gotta hitch up and drag it somewhere, I might as well get it done with a weld.. 2 miles to the tire shop, 40 miles to the welder.. it's all the same.

The welder will squeeze me in next week. I begged real good!
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Old 07-05-2007, 01:18 PM   #12
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A 1/2" tap should only run you maybe $10? Get a bottle of tapping lubricant for a few bucks more and a coule of real bolts, and you could have this licked.
It'lll be closer to $30 because you'll want to buy a second tap for when you break the first one, plus a drift to get the broken bits of the first one out of the hole. Though I don't condone trying to cut threads into the 1/8" thick steel that is your trailer frame, and expect the bolts to have any holding strength.....

Definitely go with the welder...
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Old 07-05-2007, 01:34 PM   #13
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Contrary to above advice, I would NOT weld -- Welding can weaken the box more than relatively small holes drilled in one side. Just get someone stronger to turn the wrench (this is a case where I would use the appropriate socket on my drill to push and turn, with the drill handle giving me a nice lever for torque compared to a screwdriver).

Also, I would NOT thru bolt with Grade 5 bolts for two reasons; that would be eight holes in the box, not four, and I would rather have the self tapping screws fail before the friction bar or (heaven forbid) tearing Grade 5 bolts or nuts out of the frame itself, doing a LOT of damage to both sides (envision an accident where the tow vehicle and trailer are jacknifed on the control side, compressing it until something gives...

Fuse Theory again, with the screws being the fuse. Trust the manf and use the hardware supplied.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:26 PM   #14
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Contrary to above advice, I would NOT weld -- Welding can weaken the box more than relatively small holes drilled in one side. Just get someone stronger to turn the wrench (this is a case where I would use the appropriate socket on my drill to push and turn, with the drill handle giving me a nice lever for torque compared to a screwdriver).
Our trailer frames are made of mild steel... sheet metal if you will... They are not engineered and heat treated like modern truck frames, nor are they made of any sort of alloy... As such, the welding story is different on our trailers... I think you'd be hard pressed to authoritatively say that properly welding something on a trailer frame will make it weaker. Heck, if you were really worried, you could just fish-plate it but I would way sooner trust a proper weld over some cheap self-tapping screws that some manufacturer supplied; especiallly through 1/8" sheet metal.
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