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Old 02-18-2009, 11:42 AM   #1
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HOW TO HANDLE TRAILER SWAY

First, STAY OFF THE BRAKES! Stomping on the tow vehicle brakes when the trailer is swaying will only make matters worse. Don't try to steer out of the situation; the trailer is going to be swaying unpredictably and you can't react fast enough and may make matters worse.

You need to try and keep the tow vehicle and the trailer going in a straight line. Keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and steer straight. Slowing down the trailer, and not your tow vehicle, is the ideal solution.

Gently engage the trailer brakes using the manual lever on your brake controller. Don't jam the lever all the way over and lock the trailer wheels, just use light pressure on the lever for a second or two to try and pull the trailer back in line.

This is a procedure you need to practice so you can quickly find the manual lever.

If your trailer doesn't have brakes, then your alternative is to slightly speed up the tow vehicle to try to get the trailer to start behaving. Be careful when doing this and it may not be the best idea if you are already going faster than you should. If the cause of the sway was your speed, this might just make matters worse.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:20 PM   #2
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Great subject. I've never had a sway episode, but this is how I've been preparing myself to react as well. Though after such an event I would emphasize the need to figure out the cause of the swaying, such as weight distribution, suspension, etc. and tend to stay away from anti-sway devices that hide such problems.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:52 PM   #3
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HOW TO HANDLE TRAILER SWAY
[b]If your trailer doesn't have brakes, then your alternative is to slightly speed up the tow vehicle to try to get the trailer to start behaving. Be careful when doing this and it may not be the best idea if you are already going faster than you should. If the cause of the sway was your speed, this might just make matters worse.
If oscillating yaw occurs (what most people call sway) you can speed up only when the yaw is centered (read has just passed center). If you speed up while the yaw is at apogee (the farthest point from center) then it will accelerate the yaw.
Braking works just the opposite. If you brake while the yaw is at perigee (lined up straight) then yaw will be accelerated as it moves outward. Brake when yaw is at apogee.

I realize this is hard to understand and that almost no one will apply it in an emergency so I'm with Daniel... prevent sway and you'll never have to worry about it.

Ron
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:22 PM   #4
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If oscillating yaw occurs (what most people call sway) you can speed up only when the yaw is centered (read has just passed center). If you speed up while the yaw is at apogee (the farthest point from center) then it will accelerate the yaw.
Braking works just the opposite. If you brake while the yaw is at perigee (lined up straight) then yaw will be accelerated as it moves outward. [b]Brake when yaw is at apogee.

I realize this is hard to understand and that almost no one will apply it in an emergency so I'm with Daniel... prevent sway and you'll never have to worry about it.

Ron
If you brake any time after the trailer starts moving back to center, and stop at, or before it comes to, center it will have a calming effect on the sway. If you brake right at or after it centers and is swinging out, it will have a negative effect. Depending upon how quickly the trailer is swaying back and forth, timing this braking can be tough. A constant acceleration would be somewhat better then none at all, if you have no trailer brakes. This definitely should be a last resort.

If for no other reason then helping control trailer sway, trailer brakes with a controller is a good thing to have.

Either that, or one could have a huge parachute deploy from the back of the trailer, that should work too.
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:04 PM   #5
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Another alternative solution is to win the lottery and get yourself a Volkswagen Touareg tow vehicle (or its sister Porsche Cayenne, I think). They have extended the car's electronic stability control to include towing and it will selectively apply individual tow car brakes to cancel out any sway.

Very clever - though those that can afford these tow vehicles are very unlikely to actually use them for serious towing, at least in my country. However it's an idea that may well 'trickle down' to lesser vehicles.

Andrew
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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If you brake any time after the trailer starts moving back to center [b](apogee), and stop at, or before it comes to, center [b](perigee) it will have a calming effect on the sway. If you brake right at or after it centers and is swinging out, it will have a negative effect. Depending upon how quickly the trailer is swaying back and forth, timing this braking can be tough. A constant acceleration would be somewhat better then none at all, if you have no trailer brakes. This definitely should be a last resort.

If for no other reason then helping control trailer sway, trailer brakes with a controller is a good thing to have.

Either that, or one could have a huge parachute deploy from the back of the trailer, that should work too.
this company has a computer that works like anti-lock brakes. If it senses oscillating yaw it applies brakes to the trailer.
http://www.al-ko.co.uk/alko-Trailer.htm
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:07 PM   #7
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I actually went and looked at the Cayenne out of interest. It had some nice features, but not a lot of space inside for it's size. Still, a Porsche SUV, there is just something wrong with that.
I never realized they had that kinda trailer braking technology though.

That AL-KO system looks very interesting.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:10 PM   #8
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The Al-Ko device looks pretty nifty -- I expect we will see similar devices here in the US/CA shortly -- I wonder how much it costs.
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:31 AM   #9
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HOW TO HANDLE TRAILER SWAY

[b]First, STAY OFF THE BRAKES!
[b]If your trailer doesn't have brakes, then your alternative is to slightly speed up the tow vehicle
In Europe most people know eventually never to speed up in case of sway.
Slowing down is the only way to straighten the rig, if still possible.
But maybe NA-rigs behave in different way then? / as? EU-rigs.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:45 AM   #10
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In Europe most people know eventually never to speed up in case of sway.
Slowing down is the only way to straighten the rig, if still possible.
But maybe NA-rigs behave in different way then? / as? EU-rigs.


That reminds me of a conversation I had with someone (I forgot who) about trailering (caravaning) in Great Britain. We talked about numerous things but one part was about antisway bars. We agreed in the end that since no one uses an anti sway bar in his caravaning club that physics was different here than there since it was almost impossible to find anyone towing in the USA without one. I assign this all to some kind of cultural science aberration since we *do* grow apples here but Newton was English so...

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:56 AM   #11
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In Europe most people know eventually never to speed up in case of sway.
Slowing down is the only way to straighten the rig, if still possible.
But maybe NA-rigs behave in different way then? / as? EU-rigs.
Which way does the water spin in your toilets? Therein may lie the answer.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:59 PM   #12
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RonSmith -

what ** I ** was wondering to account for the difference... could it be the axle placement? I am ABSOLUTELY no expert, but I seem to recall from some pix that have been here and on other forums that tue Euro manufacturers tend to put the axel a bit further back. might it be a "center of gravity" thing?

dunno, keemosabe.




Quote:


That reminds me of a conversation I had with someone (I forgot who) about trailering (caravaning) in Great Britain. We talked about numerous things but one part was about antisway bars. We agreed in the end that since no one uses an anti sway bar in his caravaning club that physics was different here than there since it was almost impossible to find anyone towing in the USA without one. I assign this all to some kind of cultural science aberration since we *do* grow apples here but Newton was English so...

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Old 02-19-2009, 01:01 PM   #13
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Which way does the water spin in your toilets? Therein may lie the answer.
Ok, I was tracking until the toilet thing....

Do all toilets water spin the same way? Residential, RV, Porta-Potti.
If my trailer sways I have to start thinking about toilet water spinning?
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:06 PM   #14
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He's just yanking your chain... every one KNOWS that the real factor it the airspeed of an unladen european swallow

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Ok, I was tracking until the toilet thing....

Do all toilets water spin the same way? Residential, RV, Porta-Potti.
If my trailer sways I have to start thinking about toilet water spinning?
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:21 PM   #15
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He's just yanking your chain... every one KNOWS that the real factor it the airspeed of an unladen european swallow
An African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow. The African Swallow can bear more weight in coconuts.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:27 PM   #16
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By GEORGE! You are RIGHT. I mean, just THINK MAN! The SHAPE of the coconut is a close approximation for the shape of the eggs. Ye GODS!! I bow to the master... you have well and truly solved the sway problem.


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An African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow. The African Swallow can bear more weight in coconuts.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:37 PM   #17
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By GEORGE! You are RIGHT. I mean, just THINK MAN! The SHAPE of the coconut is a close approximation for the shape of the eggs. Ye GODS!! I bow to the master... you have well and truly solved the sway problem.
WOW, I did it without even realizing the correlation between the shape of a coconut and that of an egg. But to be fair, it was your initial line of thinking that brought me to this conclusion.

I sure hope there are other Monty Python fans out there who understand, or they might think of banning us to the loony bin.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:58 PM   #18
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The toilet thing had lost me, but this I understand.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:58 PM   #19
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***The toilet thing had lost me***

Ahhhh..... that's just 'cause you guys don't have any water down there in #48


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The toilet thing had lost me, but this I understand.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:24 PM   #20
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Talking

Hmmm. I wonder if a partially filled water tank would add to the problem because of the weight of the water sloshing about.

Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yer?

See the løveli lakes

The wonderful telephøne system

And mani interesting furry animals

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