Sway Bar recommendations - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-02-2003, 05:33 PM   #1
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Sway Bar recommendations

Getting the Astro outfitted with hitch and brake controller next week in prep for our trip to MN to pick up the 96 Scamp 16' SD. Should I get a sway bar now (and have the ball welded on the hitch while in the shop) or wait until we've experienced pulling the trailer from MN to WA? Will I need one? Any brand recommendations, Please? Also wondering if I should get aftermarket tranny cooler installed. 1997 Astro is 4.3L w/3.73 axle, rear WD, automatic, gently used at 67K miles.

Jan - newbie RV/camper
1997 Astro, soon to hitch up w/96 Scamp 16' SD
got title transferred and WA license plate yesterday!
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Old 05-02-2003, 05:57 PM   #2
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Hi Jan
I would get Trany Cooler on a automatic.The Anti sway bar I would also put on now.I think its a good safety device .Have fun and enjoy.:wave
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Old 05-03-2003, 07:58 AM   #3
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Sway Bar

When we bought our 2000 Scamp16 (side dinette, front bath, roof a/c), I figured it did not need a sway bar. I was sort of right. The trailer tows fine at speeds up to about 60-65 mph. Above that, under certain hard to figure out conditions, the trailer will start to sway back and forth ever so gently. This is quite annoying and can be dangerous. After buying a sway bar the trailer has been rock-solid under all conditions. The sway control bar we bought is made by Reese, and cost about $100. The adaptor unit for the hitch cost about $30.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:03 AM   #4
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Sway bar

I tow a 17' Casita with a *very* heavy pickup. I use the sway bar. It pulls fine without it, and tracks very well, too. But the sway bar always keeps it dead-steady under any conditions of side wind, semis in cattle-chutes, etc. I guess I don't really need it, but I feel much better with it on. I'd say get it, especially with your tow rig.

Get the cooler. Don't leave home without it!-- like they say in the commercial. Cheap insurance.
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:45 AM   #5
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Hi Jan!

I'll bet you can't wait to get your new baby!

Sway bar -- in my opinion, a sway bar is cheap insurance. However, to install a sway bar (Reese makes one for about $100), you'll need to have a little sway bar platform and ball installed on your hitch ... but also have a little sway bar ball welded on the trailer.

It's best to have the sway bar and two balls measured, welded and installed at the same time.

As others have already pointed out ... sway really isn't a problem with most tiny molded fiberglass rv's ... so I think as long as you drive home slowly and carefully, you could have the whole set-up installed at the same time, after you bring home your new trailer.

Transmission cooler --- Your Astro van is a towing machine ... but like a sway bar, an aftermarket transmission cooler is cheap insurance against an overheated transmission. I'd get one installed ASAP ... but then again, it doesn't have to be on your first trip.
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:17 AM   #6
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Hi Jan:

We tow a Bigfoot 19' with a 97 Astro Van with the same specification as yours. We use a Reese adjustable hitch with #750 spring bars and a Reese straight line sway control. The trailer tows like dream.

We think our trailer ready to roll with all supplies turns the scale at about 4,500 lbs. The Chevrolet dealer assured us the Astro already has adequate transmission cooling and would not need an additional axillary cooler.

I was very dubious about this advice but we have been towing this trailer ever since we bought the Astro new without a add on transmission cooler and have never had a problem, despite lots of mountain and desert towing.

One other thing, The Astro owners manual said to tow in overdrive, which is something I have never done before, but it has worked out just fine. Perhaps G.M. knows best !!.

Colin
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Old 05-05-2003, 06:15 AM   #7
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Easy Sway control

This is the sway control I will go with. The whole thing can be attached with no welding. I have a class II hitch and reese offers this handy adaptor plate (held on by the ball) which will save a welding job. It is pictured below the sway control on the web site........ http://www.reese-hitches.com/sway_controls.htm

I really don't have much of a sway problem, unless I under or over estimate a curve on the intestate and steer too quickly. It always seems to happen when a semi is neck and neck with me. Better to be safe than eggless!

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb648536c83eweight2.jpg/>
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb6485e03cb5wd_sway_26005.jpg/>
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Old 05-05-2003, 06:07 PM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. I'm going w/the tranny cooler. Eastern WA has a 12 mile uphill from Columbia River to foothills we call the "Vantage Death Climb" which has eaten many a transmission. Decided I didn't want to be one of those. The hitch will wait - I really appreciate the pics and explanations. Will keep everyone posted - 7 weeks til we meet our new toy.

Jan
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Old 05-05-2003, 07:20 PM   #9
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Sounds like a plan, Jan!

Adrian ... even if you use the adapter plate on the draw bar for one of the sway balls, you will still have to weld the second ball and plate on the trailer (or drill 6 holes in the frame, which I wouldn't recommend).
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:26 PM   #10
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sway bar

:wave Folks, The welding of the sway bar bracket or bolting it on amounts to 6 of one or a half dozen of the other, the hole drilling will take some strength out of the frame, and the welding heat also does the same thing. (annealing the metal) If you bolt it on which is a diy job you may want to reinforce it with a 2nd plate the same size as the ball mount plate on the inside of the trailer frame. If you know somebody that can weld than that would be the way to go. Also it does not hurt your auto tranny to leave it in overdrive, thats what automatics do is know when to shift and when to hold. If it not capable of moving it in overdrive it just stays in a lower gear all by its own, good luck and don't sweat the small stuff.
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:50 PM   #11
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towing in overdrive

Bill:

So long as we can agree to disagree in a friendly manner: :)

Which transmission are you talking about that "it won't hurt to tow in overdrive"?

Cause it's not what a lot of us are using!

======

Sway bar brackets...weld em on!
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:32 PM   #12
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Love my stick

Do I need a transmission cooler on my standard transimission?

Kitty :wave
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Old 05-13-2003, 07:24 PM   #13
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standard tranny

Not likely Kitty, I have only seen two or three standard transmissions with coolers, and they were specialty jobs with a pump kit. FYI automatic transmissions need clean cool oil to function properly, as the tranny uses the fluid as a coupling to drive the output shafts(very simplifed), while a standard transmission relies on gears and a clutch disc. So it needs oil , but not in the same way as the oil is more for lubrication than direct operation
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Old 05-13-2003, 08:35 PM   #14
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Thanks, Joe!

Doug and I looked at each other and said, "Wot's a transmission cooler?" Glad we don't need one.

Kitty :wave
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