WD Hitch for 16' Scamp with dual LP tanks - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-22-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
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Name: Chris
Trailer: Scamp 16
New Hampshire
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WD Hitch for 16' Scamp with dual LP tanks

After a longer trip towing the scamp, I think I'll feel a little safer on the road with a WD hitch that has sway control. I wouldn't say it is a must for the weight I'm towing but it would bring piece of mind and a little more control during emergency maneuvers.

Tongue weight is between 250-275 lbs. The loaded trailer is probably about 2,200-2,500lbs and I usually carry less than 100lbs in the bed of the truck. I'd like something simple that I don't have to fiddle with when reversing but I'm open to suggestions.

Something like the Reese 350 Mini-Lite would work except I think my LP tanks will get in the way. So what other options are there? Please provide some pros and cons with your suggestion and it would help to know whether you or someone you know has used your suggestion with this size trailer before.



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Old 07-22-2013, 03:38 PM   #2
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A new version BlueOx swaypro mounts the rotating brackets 29" back from the ball, so it looks like that would work. The hitch instructions say there must be a min of 200 pounds tongue weight, so that should work as well.
Sway control and weight distribution is built into the same device so you do not have to add extra sway control pieces.
It is not required to remove or change anything when reversing.

No affiliation, just a satisfied user of the older generation of this hitch.

Disadvantage ? Some people complain of the weight of the head when they have to pick it up from the ground to slide it into the hitch receiver box.

EDIT: I see on the new version, they have spring bars rated as low as 350 lbs up to 2000 lbs ( six different weight ratings ). I believe it is the same as the old one like I have, and that is, the only difference is the spring bars. So for instance if you went to a lighter or heavier trailer in the future, all you have to swap out is the spring bars.

http://www.blueox.com/Uploads/Docs/B...,1500,2000.pdf

SwayPro By Blue Ox
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:45 PM   #3
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Excellent illustration of the situation I wish everyone would think of showing the area of interest complete with a tape measure for scale!

My guess is that every spring-bar WD will need hardware mounted in the unavailable area of the frame; I would check the installation instructions, which are usually available online from the manufacturer, and often more conveniently from eTrailer.com . Perhaps some - most likely those of the style popularized by Equal-i-zer with bars sliding in brackets rather than pulling on vertical chains - have enough adjustment range.

A potential option is the only WD system to my knowledge which doesn't need a bracket at a specific distance from the ball to suit the fixed-length spring bars: Andersen's "No Sway". These are controversial and I would probably not use one, but instead of spring bars it has chains and plastic blocks, and the chain length might work out okay or might be changeable. Some members of this forum are using this product.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #4
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BlueOx also makes an optional style of latch that bolts on to the side of the a-frame rail, as compared to the standard saddle style. If you did have a interference issue with the saddle style, this could be a solution, but if I am reading your tape measure right, the saddle style bracket should be behind your propane tank.

Bolt-On Lift Brackets for Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distribution Systems Blue Ox Accessories and Parts BXW4009
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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Thanks George. At first glance the photo doesn't look like 29" but I'll read through the PDF more thoroughly later (I'm on my way out the door to a baseball game).

Brian, I saw the threads on the Anderson hitch and I looked at their website. I'm not sure I want to go that route. I'll have to do some more reading. It might be my only option though.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:14 PM   #6
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George got the Blue Ox information in after I started to reply. Blue Ox's "clamp-on rotating latches" also look like they might tuck under the curve of the propane tanks better than the typical snap-up bracket. Good find, George!

WD system heads are heavy, in part because they handle enormous forces, and in part because one head is usually used for a wide range of capacities and is thus far heavier than needed to transfer a relatively small amount of load.

A few cautions about this Blue Ox product:
  • There is no angle adjustment in the head, so it depends entirely on chain length adjustment.
  • The setup instructions are weak, explaining nothing about suitable load transfer to the front axle.
  • The manual claims built-in sway control but there is no explanation of how this design might provide any more damping or spring-loading to straight (the two methods used by hitch systems for sway control) than the most basic conventional two-bar WD.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Name: george
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuyler1 View Post
Thanks George. At first glance the photo doesn't look like 29" but I'll read through the PDF more thoroughly later (I'm on my way out the door to a baseball game).

Brian, I saw the threads on the Anderson hitch and I looked at their website. I'm not sure I want to go that route. I'll have to do some more reading. It might be my only option though.
Chris,

Looking at your pic here on my screen, it appears the first full inch marking to the right of the tank is 25". I just went out and looked at my brackets ( I have the over the top saddle style ) and they are 4.5" wide. So if the center of them is spec'd to be at 29", that places the front edge of them at 26 and 3/4".....which again, looking at your pic, looks like it should work, unless I'm not reading your tape right. It's not quite in perfect focus, but that seems like what I am seeing there.

And then again, there is always the bolt on style that I linked above, and they could fit under the propane tank tray, since they don't have to go over the top of the a-frame rail.

geo
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:49 PM   #8
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Name: george
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
George got the Blue Ox information in after I started to reply. Blue Ox's "clamp-on rotating latches" also look like they might tuck under the curve of the propane tanks better than the typical snap-up bracket. Good find, George!

WD system heads are heavy, in part because they handle enormous forces, and in part because one head is usually used for a wide range of capacities and is thus far heavier than needed to transfer a relatively small amount of load.

A few cautions about this Blue Ox product:
  • There is no angle adjustment in the head, so it depends entirely on chain length adjustment.
  • The setup instructions are weak, explaining nothing about suitable load transfer to the front axle.
  • The manual claims built-in sway control but there is no explanation of how this design might provide any more damping or spring-loading to straight (the two methods used by hitch systems for sway control) than the most basic conventional two-bar WD.
Brian,

Point one:

It's true the new style BlueOx does not have an adjustment to the head angle. I am not sure why they changed it ( mine is the old style, and it does have an angle adjustment, however, most folks that have discussed setting it up have said they pretty much tilted it all the way back anyway. I know I did on mine. I "think" this fixed head angle may be why they have gone to so many different choices in weight bars. There were fewer choices with the old one. Head tilt, as you know, is the first part of the adjustment we make to tune in FALR, then we fine tune by picking up or dropping back a link on the chain.

Point two:

Their set up instructions were weak on the old one too. I am forever disappointed in these hitch manufacturers when they only go so far as saying that going by measured heights is "good enough", and most of them only give passing reference to taking the darn rig to the scales ! If I were running the zoo, every dang tow vehicle/trailer combo on the road would have to go to the scales ! Maybe it's just me.......

Point three:

There has been some discussion over on the AirForum site as well as on the RVNet site about how exactly this design of BlueOx actually acheives sway control. The confusion certainly reached a new high when they did away the "adjustment" torque values as seen on the old one like mine. On mine, you can according to the instructions run those sway control bolts at a min of 30lb-ft up to a max of 80lb-ft of torque. We were advised to start at minimum, increase in 10 lb-ft increments of torque until we get the desired sway control. So I spent a fair bit of time one sunday morning in a quiet industrial park near home, trying the different settings. I couldn't tell any difference in any of the different settings. I'd make a change, go drive it again. whip the steering wheel back and forth. Stop, make a change, repeat....and about all I managed to do was re-arrange some things in the trailer, and open all the drawers with all the swerving. I could not get it to sway at any setting. So I set 'em at 80 lb-ft ( being a typical American....more is better, right ? ) and forgot about it. It works.
So....long winded way of saying that perhaps they ( the engineers at BlueOx ) have decided that "adjustable" sway control is not needed.

There has been some speculation among the punters that the actual mechanism of the sway control is the geometry of the bars/hitch, and the fact that the trunnions actually rotate from a position "in front of" ( towards the tow vehicle ) where the hitch rotates on the ball. The belief is that as the trailer tries to swing out of line ( first cycle of the sway event ) it causes a substantial increase in the bar tension on one side, which attempts to rotate the trailer and tow vehicle back in line. I can envision the "idea" in my head, but I certainly can't prove it with any drawings or real-deal math.
The fact that the rotating bracket also captures more of the tensioned links of the chain are supposed to have an effect also, compared to some designs where all the tensioned links hang free, and can therefore pivot side to side in a turning or sway event.

I will admit, much speculation here on my part ! For what it's worth, I'm generally hearing good reports from the folks that are using the new style.

geo
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Great insights, George.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
If I were running the zoo, every dang tow vehicle/trailer combo on the road would have to go to the scales ! Maybe it's just me.......
No, it's not just you!

Sway Control
After my previous post, I looked at some more Blue Ox material. Although the manual does not explain how the sway control might work - perhaps because they no longer call for adjustment - I did see a reference to those bolts in the product web page.

It looks like they are depending on frictional resistance to the spring bars swinging with the trailer. In any two-bar WD design trying to add this features, the choices of friction points are at the bar ends or in the head pivot sockets.

The Equal-i-zer and similar designs use a rigid bracket (instead of chain) to force the bars to slide though the brackets for friction - but Blue Ox doesn't do this. The two bar pivots in the head and the two frame brackets are the "four points of control" in Equal-i-zer promotional material; Blue Ox only has two friction locations, but uses the "four points of control" line in their FAQ anyway! The other feature of the Equal-i-zer frame brackets is that they rigidly force the bars to turn with the trailer, so that they will turn in the sockets; since they are using chains, Blue Ox uses brackets that trap the chain more closely than most. Earlier Blue Ox designs use loops of steel band, while the rotating latches are mounted lower than a snap-up bracket so again there is less room for movement, as George mentioned. Both bracket/latch types seem like really sloppy horizontal bar control to me, compared to something like Equal-i-zer brackets.

The "sway control bolts" appear to be some sort of set screws which control friction in the head. Since each bar inserts into a socket which rotates with the bar, and the bearing surface between the steel (or iron) socket and steel (or iron) head is lubricated by grease, it doesn't seem like there would ever be much useful friction there.

Tossing the rig around and not getting sway could prove that the sway control is effective, or it could prove that the trailer is stable and it doesn't matter (and you can't tell) if there is any sway control going on at all. The systematic testing is great, but if the behaviour doesn't change there isn't much that can be learned. I have never experienced sway with my trailer, which has no WD system or sway control device. I have made emergency swerves, dropped a wheel off a step in the surface and jerked it back, and made rapid lane changes at high speed to test out my new shocks, and it has never swayed. If I glued a magic crystal on the coupler, could I claim that the crystal prevented sway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
There has been some speculation among the punters that the actual mechanism of the sway control is the geometry of the bars/hitch, and the fact that the trunnions actually rotate from a position "in front of" ( towards the tow vehicle ) where the hitch rotates on the ball. The belief is that as the trailer tries to swing out of line ( first cycle of the sway event ) it causes a substantial increase in the bar tension on one side, which attempts to rotate the trailer and tow vehicle back in line.
Imagine the trailer swaying to the left, or the rig deliberately turning left (the WD system can't tell which is the case):
  • the left spring bar socket moves closer to the trailer
  • so the left spring bar moves back along the trailer tongue
  • so the left chain is now pulling down and back, instead of just down, and
  • the right spring bar socket moves further from the trailer
  • so the right spring bar moves forward along the trailer tongue
  • so the right chain is now pulling down and forward, instead of just down.
Both chains are pulling the trailer toward straight, and this happens whether the bar sockets are ahead of, in line with, or behind the ball. This at least increases the natural frequency of the sway, and the higher frequency will be better damped, so sway is decreased.

So, is the Blue Ox SwayPro WD system a good idea? I don't know, but it will likely reduce sway to some extent, and perhaps more so than a basic traditional two-bars-and-chains WD system.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:32 PM   #10
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I have an 07 Toyota Tacoma.
I installed Air Lift air bags on the rear and have had no problems.
I have never felt the need to use a sway bar.
Occasionally while towing the trailer I would haul my 670 pound ATV in the bed with no problem.
You don't need a WDH to install a sway bar.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry J View Post
I have an 07 Toyota Tacoma.
I installed Air Lift air bags on the rear and have had no problems.
I have never felt the need to use a sway bar.
Occasionally while towing the trailer I would haul my 670 pound ATV in the bed with no problem.
That makes sense, and I don't use sway control or WD with my airbag-equipped Sienna, either; however, the Mazda Rotary Pickup is quite a bit smaller than either a 2007 Tacoma or a 2004 Sienna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry J View Post
You don't need a WDH to install a sway bar.
I agree, but the original post was asking specifically about a WD system with sway control, not about a separate friction-type sway control device or "bar".

My comments titled "Sway Control" were about the sway control features of the Blue Ox SwayPro WD hitch system.
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
If I were running the zoo, every dang tow vehicle/trailer combo on the road would have to go to the scales ! Maybe it's just me.......


geo
I e pulled many trailers, never scaled one (except at the dump), never had a problem, never used a wd hitch or sway control. Each to their own.

I'll probably weigh the scamp one of these days, but it pulls like a dream at any speed.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:58 AM   #13
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As Chris most likely correctly pointed out in his original post a WD hitch would "bring a little more control during emergency maneuvers".
Therein lies a large part of the puzzle in my mind. Many if not most people know how their rig handles in normal driving. Few know it will handle in an emergency. A few know how a given truck and trailer combo tow without using WD and then again with WD and sway. I can tell you for sure that my camper/truck combo and one of the horse trailers same truck pull better, with safer handling, with WD and sway control than they do without. When I bought my camper I pulled it home from Cinc, OH to KC, MO ( 600 miles ) just on the ball, so I know how it pulls that way.
Too each his own, tow 'em how 'ya like 'em. I will wager that after Chris fits a WD hitch to his combo, he will report back that it rides better, stops straighter, handles and steers better.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:20 AM   #14
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The reason that people setting up WD hitches should use a scale is to determine what axle loadings they are producing as they shift load with the WD system. If you can't see the effect of what you're doing, how do you know how much of it to do?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared J View Post
I e pulled many trailers, never scaled one (except at the dump), never had a problem, never used a wd hitch...
Jared, although there are other reasons to put the rig on a scale, since you are not using WD this reason doesn't apply to you.
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