Do you use a sway bar/wt. distribution hitch? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2016, 04:06 PM   #1
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Name: Karen
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Do you use a sway bar/wt. distribution hitch?

We are so excited to have a new to us 16' Scamp. It came with a massive eaz lift elite round bar distribution system that feels like it weighs more than the camper! This thing states it is for weight distribution of 14,000lbs MGTWR and weight carrying of MGTWR 6,000lbs. It is so heavy that it was a struggle for me to move just the 2 bars that came with the thing. I feel sure this is way overkill and would like to sell it and get something light weight. Currently, we tow with a Hyundia Sante-Fe 6cyc. Please give me you recommendations. Thanks so much for your patience with this newbie.
Karen
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:26 PM   #2
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DO NOT USE the one you have been given!!!

If you need a WDH it should be rated for a trailer of under 3000lbs and with a tongue weight of less than 300lbs.

The one you have been given is way over the top for the trailer you have which when fully loaded is only going to weigh in at between 2500 and 3000lbs. Tongue weight in the area of 10% of that.

Use a WDH that is over rated for your trailer can damage it - for a fibreglass trailer that would probable result in popped rivets and possible cracks in the fibreglass. Who knows might even result in a bent/cracked frame.

Most folks pulling a 16' fibreglass trailer do not require a WDH of any kind. If your tow vehicle drops down in rear resulting in the head lights of the vehicle pointing up then a WDH is one option for correcting that (there are others - such as adding air bags to the rear of the tug) but it needs to be a MUCH lighter weight one than what you have been given.

On the other hand an anti sway bar on its own is never a bad thing.
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:35 PM   #3
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I donno.
My Pro Series WDH that I bought and had installed at Escape Trailers has been in use for eight years. No sway control. It has high max ratings, but works well. Weights a bunch though.
I got my WDH because the RAV4 ( and probably Santa Fe ) runs mostly in front wheel drive and drives the rear wheels when needed. I didn't get it to level the vehicle, but to transfer weight to the front drive wheels and the trailer wheels.
That's why I reject air bags as a solution. They may get your headlights pointed correctly, but all they do is stiffen the rear suspension. They don't transfer weight.
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:37 PM   #4
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Name: Jack L
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To repeat what Carol said Do not use the one you got with the trailer. It could easily do major damage to the trailer and the SanteFe. You probably do not even need a WDH. Try it without a WDH and see.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:21 PM   #5
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Name: Steven
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I have a WDH with sway control . I may not absolutely need it but I like the way it tows with it . The weight rating of the trunnion bars need to be matched to your trailer . My WDH will accommodate 600 , 800 , 1000 or 1200 lb trunnion bars. I have the 600 lb trunnion bars. .Going larger accomplishes nothing and could cause damage
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I donno.
My Pro Series WDH that I bought and had installed at Escape Trailers has been in use for eight years. No sway control. It has high max ratings, but works well. Weights a bunch though.
I got my WDH because the RAV4 ( and probably Santa Fe ) runs mostly in front wheel drive and drives the rear wheels when needed. I didn't get it to level the vehicle, but to transfer weight to the front drive wheels and the trailer wheels.
That's why I reject air bags as a solution. They may get your headlights pointed correctly, but all they do is stiffen the rear suspension. They don't transfer weight.
The bars will usually have something stamped on them stating what tongue weight they are designed to carry. It looks like your WDH hitch is rated for 600lbs tongue weight which may be the lightest they make in the Pro series. The ones that are rated to carry the heavier tongue weights listed get stiffer as the numbers go up.

Your Escape may be fine with having a 600lb bar on it even though your tongue weight is probable far less than than that but if I am not mistaken the frame on the Escape is a bit larger/stronger than the one found on Scamps? Is it not? Not to mention the tongue weight is going to be a bit higher on your Escape than the OP's 16' Scamp which is mostly likely around 250lbs.

My understanding has always been to use a WDH that is designed to carry as close to the actual tongue weight of the trailer. When I picked up my current trailer it also came with a nice Easy lift WDH with bars rated at 1000lbs and the loaded tongue weight of the trailer is 650lbs loaded. One would think thats ok ... but when I asked the party I purchased the trailer from about it he indicated he had actually only used the WDH once before purchasing a new vehicle & decided he did not need the WDH, so he was not able to tell me much about how well it worked prior to helping me install and hook it up. But he did tell me that he had learned that the 1000lb bars were probable a bit to much for the trailer which was one of the reasons he decided not to use it.

Because I was not sure I had actually set the WDH up correctly before I pulled the trailer 1500 miles home I decide to have the hitch set up checked out at the local dealer. They told be that I should consider a lighter bar on the WDH and indicated that one that is to stiff/heavy can result in a stiff ride and over time damage the trailer - rivets popping and possible cracking of the frame. Said it would be fine to tow home but they recommended it be changed to lighter bars sooner rather than later.

Once home I then consulted with a rather well known hitch expert in Eastern Canada to get his recommendations as to what WDH I should use with my Combo and he told me to get rid of the 1000lb bars & recommended a 700lbs bar in my trailers case. I ended up forking out $1400 for a new WDH as I was unable to purchase just new bars for my old system. The good news is that I have no problem lifting the bars on the new system.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:24 PM   #7
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Name: Russ
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Those are interesting devices, and when perfectly matched and adjusted can achieve solid handling. Ideally you would want the bars lighter than the lightest ones sold for use on a 16' Scamp, as the tongue weight is around 275-300 pounds. Front wheel drive is not ideal for towing, but many people choose these vehicles to pull our light trailers with great results. Traction can be an issue in snow, ice, sand, steep uphill, etc. The WDH basically applies force bending the trailer ball upward, and forcing the trailer axle and tow vehicle front axle downward. The WDH assumes that your trailer tongue and frame, your vehicle hitch, frame, is rigid enough that the forces applied reach the tires and pavement. This assembly has the potential to harm your equipment if not used properly, and could accelerate fatigue on the structures even if adjusted optimally. The beauty of our trailers is they are designed light to be towed by light vehicles. Only the larger 2 axle ones really get into the weight class where the WDH makes sense in most cases.
If I had a FWD small SUV to tow a 16' Scamp I would try it without the WDH first. Hook it up and watch how much the rear settles with the trailer weight. If it drops so much you need to re-aim the head lights, you probably need some air bags. That taken care of, make sure the trailer sits parallel with the road. Adjust that by changing the draw bar to one with the needed drop or rise. Now you are ready for some traction tests. Find some loose gravelly up hill or wet pavement and see how she works. You may be fine without the WDH. When you apply 300 pounds to your hitch ball, you only un-weight your front tires a few pounds, so traction is minimally affected.
A simple friction type sway device can help with minor wagging if you can feel that happening. Some Rav4 owners report wagging in windy areas. These friction devices are light weight, simple and easy to live with.
Enjoy the new Scamp!
Russ
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:01 AM   #8
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Name: Grant
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Weight Distribution hitch

I use a reese WDH that is rated for 3500 ibs. I really dislike them altogether a said I would not buy another one but my Escape 17 came with one. It is light weight and very easy to use. Very glad I have it now, in fact this one is so easy to use I can do it with one hand.
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:04 AM   #9
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NO NO and NO. WDH are good for heavy trailers with large tongue weights. Anti-sway bars are great for masking problem that could cause sway.
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
... Anti-sway bars are great for masking problem that could cause sway.
I certainly do not argue with that statement but you can also look at it a little differently.

Say you have a perfectly balanced rig that tows fine with no sway control when the water tanks are empty... then one day you run down your propane tank (~10 lbs off the tongue weight), and end up with a full gray water tank (~200 lbs behind the axle) with no place to dump it. A sway bar can help you get to your destination safely or until you can restore the weight balance.

I added a sway bar largely because my tug's owner manual said I had to use one. But that was based on trailer weight alone. I use it on when traveling interstates but I also do fine without it. When I am on slower secondary highways, or anytime I am going under 60-65 and not so much in a straight line, I often don't bother putting it on.

I do like to know that I have the sway bar if conditions and trailer weight temporarily change.
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:54 AM   #11
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The sway bars Escape fitted to my 2016 17B didn't fit well so we tried it without. My 2016 long wheel base Santa Fe rated to tow 5000 lb, squatted about a 3/4". 15,000 km.s later I have had no problems with handling, traction, braking, swaying etc. I have yet to tow with two bikes on the rear trailer bumper. Will give that a test in a week or 2.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Backwater Bill View Post
The sway bars Escape fitted to my 2016 17B didn't fit well so we tried it without. My 2016 long wheel base Santa Fe rated to tow 5000 lb, squatted about a 3/4". 15,000 km.s later I have had no problems with handling, traction, braking, swaying etc. I have yet to tow with two bikes on the rear trailer bumper. Will give that a test in a week or 2.
Need some answers. What is the hitch you are using? Mine is Pro Series ( provided by Escape ) and I don't have sway bars. How do you mean your "sway bars" didn't fit well?
What is your tongue weight? It will be reduced when you add bikes to the rear and you could induce sway. Your tongue weight should be about 320 lbs. A Sherline tongue scale will give you the information you need.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I certainly do not argue with that statement but you can also look at it a little differently.

Say you have a perfectly balanced rig that tows fine with no sway control when the water tanks are empty... then one day you run down your propane tank (~10 lbs off the tongue weight), and end up with a full gray water tank (~200 lbs behind the axle) with no place to dump it. A sway bar can help you get to your destination safely or until you can restore the weight balance.

I added a sway bar largely because my tug's owner manual said I had to use one. But that was based on trailer weight alone. I use it on when traveling interstates but I also do fine without it. When I am on slower secondary highways, or anytime I am going under 60-65 and not so much in a straight line, I often don't bother putting it on.

I do like to know that I have the sway bar if conditions and trailer weight temporarily change.

At least for me and my trailer there's a couple things wrong with you first statement concerning propane weight. I have a single 20 lb tank. When I bought propane by weight it was 18 lbs of propane. That's a bit worse on tongue weight loss than you indicated.
I have never filled the gray water tank. We use very little water. Washing dishes, mostly a single pot and a cooking utensil or two. Amount of water use that goes into the gray water tank less than a cup. That could happens twice a day, so 2 cups of dish water into the tank daily. Lot of days to fill the tank.
Another thing people can do is to set your trailer when loaded for camping is to set the tongue weight by moving stuff inside around to 12% to 13% of total weight. Now you some wiggle room.
The last time I weighted my trailer when leaving on a trip the trailer weighed 1700 on the axle and about 185 on tongue.
Tongue weights vs axle weights is approximate and not a hard fast scientific rule. Close will work, unless you won't slow down to 55mph - 60mph.
These are just my thoughts and have worked well for me over the past 10.5 years and about 50,000 miles of towing. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
At least for me and my trailer there's a couple things wrong with you first statement concerning propane weight. I have a single 20 lb tank. When I bought propane by weight it was 18 lbs of propane. That's a bit worse on tongue weight loss than you indicated...
Well, the reduction in tongue weight will be less than the reduction in the weight of the tank because the tank's weight does not sit on ball but instead is a foot or so toward the axle. So even if you use 18 lbs of propane, the change in tongue weight has to be less than 18 lbs. Similarly, if you go from a 100 pound battery to a 110 pound one, the added tongue weight will be less than the 10 pound increase in the battery's weight.

Ten was a guess and approximation based on the above physics and assuming that is it unlikely that someone would both start with a full tank, and use it all up. I did use a tilde "~" to indicate it was an approximation.

But of course this is pretty trivial. The significant weight change in my scenario would come from the gray water.
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