Thinking of a sway bar this year - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2005, 08:42 AM   #1
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Wife saw a sway bar on a 16' Scamp once and ours does move around a little now and then when towing on highway so she says we should get one. I tow with a Tahoe so I do get fairly descent wind break from tow going onto Scamp and I don't know if I need one. I probably have about 1500 miles since getting Scamp this year. Does it do much for you?
Also, I've seen the statement that you need to disconnect before backing up. Why is that? Is it only because the sway bar only allows so much of an angle between the tow and trailer? If I back up relatively straight (like out of a restaurant parking or such - If I get pinned in) would I need to disconnect? Are they easy to disconnect?
I envision them working like a shock to slow the side to side motion. Essentially right? Any brand recommendations that don't cost too much? Santa left me a little shy
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:50 AM   #2
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Chris Z
There has been many descussions about using or not-using
sway-bars. You said you have pulled your trailer over 1500 miles ask your self does the trailer sway when passing a semi-trailer truck or when one is passing you to the point of causing you to become a white knuckled driver? or is it ever so slight?
does the trailer sway back and forth when no other cars, trucks are near?
yes it is because the turn radis is changed when the sway-bar is hooked up.
a small amount of turn is ok. they are friction devices that can be adjusted from low control to high control.
Hope this helps
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:35 AM   #3
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I tow a 16 foot scamp with a full size Dodge van. I wouldn't tow without a sway bar even tho I never really had a sway problem before I put it on. There is a completely different "solid" feel which I can't really explain, but it's good. If I forget to tighten the tension lever when I hook up the trailer, I know it within a mile of being on the road. I've towed the scamp and a 26 foot trailer probably 30,000 miles over the years, all with sway bar, and I've NEVER unhooked anything to back up. I've had 2 tire failures with the scamp, and there wasn't even the tiniest bit of sway when they happened, without thebar, I don't know. Ed
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
1) Also, I've seen the statement that you need to disconnect before backing up. Why is that?If I back up relatively straight (like out of a restaurant parking or such - If I get pinned in) would I need to disconnect?
2) Are they easy to disconnect?
3) I envision them working like a shock to slow the side to side motion. Essentially right?
1) I have read that if you back into too tight a turn, a 90 degree turn into a campsite for example; that people have bent the bar. I have backed straight without removing my friction anti-sway bar, but I always remove it before backing into a campsite.

2) 1) release tension. 2) pull 2 pins. 3) remove bar.

3) Essentially right.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:25 PM   #5
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Chris,

Sway is induced in a trailer from a variety of causes, some of which have nothing to do with the trailer itself. The same trailer can have severe sway problems behind one tow vehicle and have absolutely no problems behind another.

I have an '02 Scamp 16 side bath also that I tow with a Tundra, and it hasn't given me any indication of being a problem at all.

Sometimes the cause is in the tow vehicle's inability to keep the trailer tongue and hitch centered over the rear axle (known as rear axle steering). This can be countered with radius rods and body sway bar installation.

Tire pressure is also a significant contributor. Soft sidewalls, while making for a soft ride, also allow for lateral movement of the wheels over the tread. Make sure that your trailer tires are aired up to max or near max. Make sure also that your rear tires on your tow vehicle are at or near max pressure for the estimated load. The most likely single contributor to sway tendency is a light tongue weight; that is a tongue weight less than 10%-15% of the total trailer weight. Make sure also that your load is distributed evenly side-to-side in the trailer.

Once you've got each of those factors down, see if your trailer is still affected by external factors such as passing semis or going under overpasses on a really windy day. If, after all that you still experience a sway tendency, then sway control is probably in order.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:36 PM   #6
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Seems to me I spent about $60 for the anti-sway device for my Scamp

Whatever, it was relatively cheap and seems like an inexpensive solution to a POSSIBLE problem.

And yeah, the instructions said to remove it before backing at ANY angle.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:36 PM   #7
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Thought a picture would help.

As stated before you want to remove the sway bar before backing up, takes about 30 seconds.

Another safety precaution is you want to loosen the sway bar when traveling in rain or on slick roads. If the trailer tires cannot get enough friction to overcome the pressure on the sway bar the trailer can slide instead of turn as it is suppose too.

As far as needing a sway bar, let's say you had to hit your brakes hard because of (fill in blank). Would you want your response to be:

A. I wish I had gotten that sway bar!

B. I'm glad I purchased that sway bar!

Not to say a sway bar will save you in every situation but I think it is worth the extra cost. To many people base their decision on everything being perfect and they are a good driver so I don't need to spend that $100.00. It's other people that you have no control over that can get you in trouble.
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:17 AM   #8
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from Kent:
Another safety precaution is you want to loosen the sway bar when traveling in rain or on slick roads. If the trailer tires cannot get enough friction to overcome the pressure on the sway bar the trailer can slide instead of turn as it is suppose too.
So , if it looks like rain when you're traveling, you stop and loosen it?? Sounds like something I might forget. Could this happen on an expressway ramp? Sounds scarier than the sway?
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:35 AM   #9
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Yep Chris, you hit it squarely on the head. Any time there are reduced traction road condtions, you should loosen the bar (according to the instructions that come with them) for the very reason Kent stated. And that's also exactly why it's so important to ensure that you have made provision for correcting the causes of sway before using sway control. Sway control is a good thing, and should be used but used as an added margin of safety, not to try to overcome an inherently unstable towing situation.

Roger
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Old 12-30-2005, 09:39 AM   #10
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You asked for "your thoughts" . . .

My thought (opinion) is that sway is a symptom of a serious problem and the use of a sway bar to correct the problem is not a solution at all, only a cover-up of the sympton.

Now, I completely respect your opinions, and I agree that using a sway bar could add a margin of safety. But I would first be sure that the unit tows well and stable, then add the sway bar for the added safety margin.

Case 1 -- As has been stated, in slippery conditions it is advised to remove the sway bar. If the vehicle is unstable in good conditions and a sway bar is used to correct the instability, I certainly wouldn't feel secure operating is a less than stable mode in slippery conditions.

Case 2 -- I had a trailer (a cargo trailer) that began to exhibit a tendency to sway at times, where it didn't before. The problem turned out to be the hitch on the towing vehicle had a broken weld. Suppose a sway bar had masked the developing problem. I would rather know about it. I'm very glad it began to sway.

Having had my "rant" I hope we are all on the same page, i.e. discussing frictional anti-sway bars rather than load-leveling weight-distribution bars.
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Old 12-30-2005, 04:35 PM   #11
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ChrisL: I suspect your interest in a sway bar may be a symptom of newbyitis - the irresistible desire of new FGRV owners to bedeck their egg with every imaginable accessory. As you can see from the above posts, sway bars entail a certain amount of fussing around - hooking, adjusting, unhooking - and some definite disadvantages under certain conditions. I suggest you be absolutely certain you have a sway problem before going to an expensive and possibly unnecessary solution. Otherwise - buy in haste, repent at leisure.
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Old 12-30-2005, 06:43 PM   #12
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we are on our second sway bar. i brutalized it. don't disconnect it when i should, etc. back it in all directions without disconnecting. totally ruined the first one. doing the same with the second one. this time am leaving it a little loose.
am also on our second weight distribution hitch. the first one had a manufactures problem.
this one looks good.
like the sway bar, just don't follow directions so good. and can't be bothered with disconnecting it.
the wdh is very good, in my opinion, because it takes out a lot of up and down movement when going over a rough spot.
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