Sway Bars - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2009, 04:49 PM   #1
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Hi everyone;

After a couple of "wiggle incidents" to and from Bandon, and seeing a number of sway bar systems in bandon, I am exploring my options. I have contacted two on-line hitch shops, and they both state that it is a bad idea to install sway control by itself. They inssit that it is only an add-on to a weight distributing hitch system.

Is this true? I though I saw a number of systems at Bandon that were sway bar only.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Vic
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:55 PM   #2
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for our 17' Casita we have sway only not sure where you can get one I think ours was welded on to a hitch.

Hope that helps

Alexandra
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:07 PM   #3
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What you are towing and what you are towing it with makes a difference.

WDH and sway control are sold seperately because it is not always necessary to use both.

I have driven coast to coast, up and down both coasts and into Canada using only a sway control.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:37 PM   #4
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I have both, the WDH because my Odyssey requires it, and the sway control because its a good idea. If your vehicle doesn't need a WDH, then just get the sway control.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:28 PM   #5
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What is trailer weight and tongue weight? How much sag in the rear of the TV?

You may just need to remove some weight from the rear or add some weight to the front.

I know a lot of people use the friction bar type of sway contorl. I opted for an all-in-one hitch by the name of Equal-I-zer.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:20 PM   #6
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I have both,[b] the WDH because my Odyssey requires it, and the sway control because its a good idea.
I have both for similar, but somewhat different reasons.
My Fiber Stream already had them both installed on it when I bought it. I only needed to buy a trunnion ball mount.
Honda requires that WDH be used when towing all but the lightest of trailers with the Odyssey; especially those over 2000 pounds, due to it being a Front-Wheel drive.

Please specify a 350 pound tongue limit when you order your WDH. I would worry about anything beefier with the Fiber Stream's wimpy frame.

I suspect your sway incidents were due to your very light tongue weight.
I have shifted weight forward in my trailer configuration.

I have found that the "Belt-And-Suspenders" support of the WDH multiple coupling tames the majority of sway problems for me.
I only engage the friction anti-sway bar if I expect to tow through high wind gust conditions.
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Old 08-02-2009, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
What is trailer weight and tongue weight? How much sag in the rear of the TV?

You may just need to remove some weight from the rear or add some weight to the front.

I know a lot of people use the friction bar type of sway contorl. I opted for an all-in-one hitch by the name of Equal-I-zer.
Curtis:
Total trailer weight 2960 lbs, of which 160 lbs is tongue weight.

Trailer(1982 Fiber Stream) and tow vehicle (1999 Toyota 4Runner) are essentially perfectly level. The wiggle incidents all had similar components:

1. downhill, just leaving or setting up for a turn
2. speed at or above 60 mph
3. decelerating

The solution in all cases was to accelerate, and then apply trailer brakes, and very slowly decelerate to 55 mph or lower. some of thw wiggles were pretty wicked.

Vic
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:30 PM   #8
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As I suspected. You are light on the tongue weight by 136 pounds at a minimum. Recommended tongue weight is suggested to be between 10 % to 15% of trailer weight. 12% tongue weight seems to be a sweet spot for many combinations. Another thing is that the wind hitting the trailer will also lift weight off the tongue. The faster you go the worse the imbalance gets. That's why you don't have a problem at slower speeds.

Been there, done that, don't want a replay. I used all three lanes and part of the safety lane before I got it under control. That's when I decided to get my WDH with integrated sway control.

No matter what else you do, you need to move about 150 pounds from behind the trailer axel to in front of the trailer axel. A WDH and sway control are not meant to resolve improperly loaded trailers.

Do you have anything hanging on the back of the trailer? Do you have a rear dinet/bed with a lot of stuff loaded back there?
One suggestion: Where is your fresh water tank and how big is it? If you are traveling with your water tank empty, adding 20 gallons of water in front of the axel will give you 160 pounds. If you move anything with significant weight into an open space you should consider some way to keep it from moving.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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No matter what else you do, you need to move about 150 pounds from behind the trailer axel to in front of the trailer axle. A WDH and sway control are not meant to resolve improperly loaded trailers.
Wish I could do what you suggest. There are two 20 lb propane tanks on the tongue along with the spare trailer tire. The battery has been moved forward of its original postion, to right at the front of the trailer on the passenger's side. The 16 gallon water tank is right at the front of the trailer on the driver's side. Next to it is the 6 gallon water heater. I've changed the table at the front to a solid wood version, at more than twice thw weight of the originla plywood one. The fridge and the cooktop/stove are right above the dual axles. There is literally nothing behind the rear axle except fiberglass! The only real option is to tow the Fiber Stream front down to generate more tongue weight.

Other Fiber Streams at Bandon were equipped with 350lb WDH and friction sway bars. I am tending in that direction.

Vic
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:09 PM   #10
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The 16 gallon water tank is right at the front of the trailer on the driver's side.

<strike>There is literally nothing behind the rear axle except fiberglass!</strike>
If you are not already doing so, (and I cannot remember our conversation at Bandon which may have covered this) you are a good candidate for towing with your FRESH water tank full most of the time.

[b]Both holding tanks (Black and Gray) are below the floor and behind the rear axle; I always completely empty them now before I travel, even if they aren't very full to begin with...

I always keep about 5 gallons in my fresh water tank.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:54 PM   #11
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If you are not already doing so, (and I cannot remember our conversation at Bandon which may have covered this) you are a good candidate for towing with your FRESH water tank full most of the time.

[b]Both holding tanks (Black and Gray) are below the floor and behind the rear axle; I always completely empty them now before I travel, even if they aren't very full to begin with...

I always keep about 5 gallons in my fresh water tank.
I agree Frederick. The Bandon weigh in was with a full fresh water tanks, and empty grey and black tanks. This is almost always the case when we travel. The only exception would be dry camp to a dump station.

Vic
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #12
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OK, now I have a better idea of the situation. It sounds like you have done just about everything possible.

As Fred indicated, empty waste tanks and full fresh water tanks will help and can make just enough of a difference.

The only option left that I can think of is to add dead weight on the front of the trailer. Sounds like the only place available to put some weight is under the tongue and between the frame rails. The dead weight could be almost anything that is dense and weighs a lot. Some heavy items to consider might be: an 80# bag of pre-mix concrete, one or more 50# or 100# bag of the sand used to add rear wheel traction, farm tractor wheel weight, or a thick metal bar on the inside of the front frame rails.

I realize some of those suggestions are expensive, or unusual. I try not to argue with the laws of physics, and the laws say you need weight added to the front to have a safe tow. Generally, the more expensive the WDH, the better it is at handling a out of balance trailer. Until the weight is properly balanced, the trailer is going to continually try to sway.

I hope you are safe with what ever you decide to do.

Towing with the front down on a dual axel trailer can overload the front axel.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:46 PM   #13
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OK. Thanks everyone for your help.

Based on a side discussion I've had with Brian B-P and Frederick, I am wondering about the set-up and condition of the axle springs. Please have a look at the attached photo. It is of the passenger-side of the trailer, and the angles are the same both sides. The trailer was level for the photo.

0. All springs are 4 leaf springs.
1. The front of the front spring and the rear of the rear spring are directly attached to welded brackets on the trailer frame.
2. Both the rear of the front spring and the front of the rear spring are attached to the equalizer link with shackles.
3. Both shackles for the front springs are 2.75 inches bolt center to bolt center.
4. Both shackles for the rear springs are 3 inches bolt center to bolt center.
5. Both the front and the rear springs angle upward back to front about 10.
6. The equlaizer link angles downward back to front about 20

My stickie of years past was also atwin axle, but everything road virtually perfectly level.

My questions:
- Fiber Stream owners - is this typical of your set-up (angles and shackles)?

- Other twin axles - what do your spring axles look like?

- Is the lead axle always the braking axle? I'm asking this because the rear axle is much more heavily loaded in my trailer.

- Anyone - can you see something that isn't right in this photo?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

vic
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:04 PM   #14
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5. Both the front and the rear springs angle upward back to front about 10.
6. The equlaizer link angles downward back to front about 20

My stickie of years past was also atwin axle, but everything road virtually perfectly level.

My questions:
- Fiber Stream owners - is this typical of your set-up (angles and shackles)?

- Other twin axles - what do your spring axles look like?

- Is the lead axle always the braking axle? I'm asking this because the rear axle is much more heavily loaded in my trailer.

- Anyone - can you see something that isn't right in this photo?
I am concerned about the angles I see. Your equilizer link is short and wide; mine is tall and narrow, and mine rides more level... (Not Perfectly Level, but no more than 5, not the 20 shown)

In Fiber Streams the lead axle is always the braking axle.
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