Sway Bars and Electric brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-16-2018, 11:41 AM   #1
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Name: Dustin
Trailer: 2008 Egg Camper
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Sway Bars and Electric brakes

I did a quick search and found a few answers but I thought I would ask here.

If one were to get a camper say and Egg Camper, 17ft and 2,000 pounds,
is there a need for electric brakes?
Is there a need for a sway bar?

Forgive my ignorance....I have only trailered pop ups and cargos with less weight.

We dont own a trailer currently but are hot on the heals of an egg.

Towing with a Toyota Highlander with tow package.

Thanks!

Dusty
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Old 08-16-2018, 11:49 AM   #2
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Electric Brakes... YES
Anti Sway friction bars NO
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:11 PM   #3
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Electric brakes are never a bad idea. Who does not want to be able to stop quicker?

Also in terms of sway. The best way to correct sway is to apply only the trailer brakes. You will of course need a brake controller as well. Get a proportional controller. These have a two major controls. The proportional adjustment, which is the amount of braking voltage sent to the trailer as a proportion of the braking that the tow vehicle is doing. Typically this is measured with acceleration, (deceleration?). The other control is the the manual brake leaver. This is what allows you to apply only the trailer brakes. Get familiar with it's operation. When the trailer starts to sway, you want to be able to activate the trailer brakes almost instinctively.

The best way to stop trailer sway altogether is to pack your trailer correctly. At least 10% of the load should be on the tongue. Also, don't pack heavy items rear of the axle.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:31 PM   #4
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The state of Oregon puts out a nice little pamphlet on towing a travel trailer. Even though it's titled "towing a trailer in Oregon" most applies through out North American.

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Safety/D...ngATrailer.pdf
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:32 PM   #5
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Absolutely get brakes on the trailer. Of course. The only reason this might be debatable is because of the cost, but the cost means nothing in an emergency.

If you begin to have an uncontrolled sway problem, you can fix it immediately with trailer brakes. Imagine yourself on a blind curve in the rain and suddenly there is stopped traffic ahead. Without trailer brakes this will very likely lead to a jackknife crash that even anti-lock brakes cannot prevent. If you have to make an emergency stop, even in a straight line in dry weather, you'll be able to stop safer and quicker with trailer brakes. Now imagine a long downgrade on the highway. Often TV brakes fade under these conditions and especially with the added load of the trailer pushing you. Then you have no brakes at all.

A small additional advantage is less wear on the TV brakes, but that is only a minor argument in favor of trailer brakes.

Going without trailer brakes is just gambling. And it's gambling with not only your safety and equipment, but other's as well.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:42 PM   #6
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I use a weight distribution hitch with my RAV4 and Escape 17B.
I do not have sway bars and don't need them because the WDH makes for a secure and comfortable ride. I've had occasion to make a radical lane change and emergency braking. The WDH makes the combo of trailer and tow feel like a single unit.

Have brakes, of course.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:43 PM   #7
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I prefer using a friction anti sway bar. AFAIK there is no downside, given proper use. There are well known considerations when backing up and on slippery roads but they cost less than $100 and add maybe 5 minutes to the hitch/ unhitch. Obviously it shouldn't be used to mask a poor set up. I consider it insurance in case of an unplanned event. As far as brakes on the trailer, I can't think of a reason to not have them.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShelbyM View Post
I prefer using a friction anti sway bar. AFAIK there is no downside, given proper use. There are well known considerations when backing up and on slippery roads but they cost less than $100 and add maybe 5 minutes to the hitch/ unhitch. Obviously it shouldn't be used to mask a poor set up. I consider it insurance in case of an unplanned event. As far as brakes on the trailer, I can't think of a reason to not have them.
This^^^^ I love my brakes AND friction sway controller and would not be without either.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShelbyM View Post
I prefer using a friction anti sway bar. AFAIK there is no downside, given proper use. There are well known considerations when backing up and on slippery roads but they cost less than $100 and add maybe 5 minutes to the hitch/ unhitch. Obviously it shouldn't be used to mask a poor set up. I consider it insurance in case of an unplanned event. As far as brakes on the trailer, I can't think of a reason to not have them.



There's always a down side. First anti-sway bar masks real problems and can create a much worse situation.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:57 PM   #10
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True, Byron, but that's easily dealt with. One, you can weigh your trailer and tongue to verify correct balance. Two, you can do a test-tow with the sway bar disconnected to check dynamic stability. Both are good practices regardless of whether you choose to use a sway bar or not.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Electric Brakes... YES
Anti Sway friction bars NO
LOL someone should tell Toyota that...

My van's manual makes it clear that the van needs to be equipped with a anti-sway device when towing trailers over a certain weight (the number escapes me at the moment). So if one did not have a sway control device and ended up in a sway situation and accident that resulted in injury or property damage to someone else, one could be held civilly liable.

Now maybe I don't need a sway control device based on the laws of physics. After all, trailer weight in only one of many factors that affect a trailers propensity to sway so it is rather silly to make a blanket requirement based on that alone.

I only suggest you review your owner's manual and either equip your tug as it says, or accept the potential liability.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
There's always a down side. First anti-sway bar masks real problems and can create a much worse situation.
I hope people don't install sway bars simply to "mask" a real problem. Not sure what the "much worse" problem is that they can cause. But I will admit that I add air to my tires to mask a flat tire and that air can cause a much worse situation if I add too much.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
LOL someone should tell Toyota that...

My van's manual makes it clear that the van needs to be equipped with a anti-sway device when towing trailers over a certain weight (the number escapes me at the moment). So if one did not have a sway control device and ended up in a sway situation and accident that resulted in injury or property damage to someone else, one could be held civilly liable.

Now maybe I don't need a sway control device based on the laws of physics. After all, trailer weight in only one of many factors that affect a trailers propensity to sway so it is rather silly to make a blanket requirement based on that alone.

I only suggest you review your owner's manual and either equip your tug as it says, or accept the potential liability.



You win the lottery for the first one that wants to argue with me.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
You win the lottery for the first one that wants to argue with me.
Yea I'm fast...

But its no argument...In fact I even said that I might not need one based on the laws of physics, which is basically agreeing with you.

So not arguing.. just providing some some facts. If you doubt the facts I can scan and post the pertinent pages my the owner's manual.

Next question... do I need a driver's license? I know how to drive and and will no safer on the road if I don't have one. But legally.. thats another mater. I am illegal if I drive without a driver's license (on public roads). I could be civilly liable without a sway control device. Thats just a few facts of life.
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