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Old 01-18-2006, 11:55 PM   #1
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I am getting ready to pick up my 13' Scamp this weekend and I'm anxious. I am having a class II hitch put on my '01 Nissan Quest minivan and am also getting a transmission cooler installed. As you probably know the Scamp is about 1,000 lbs. It doesn't have brakes or a sway bar. I know I should get brakes but is a sway bar a necessity. The mechanic told me to drive it and see and the previous owner told me he didn't need one. What are your thoughts? I have really learned a lot so far on the trailer towing learning curve. Thanks.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:03 AM   #2
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Donna, we have a Links section on MFROG, but sometimes there is info out there that can't be linked (specifically, the file, writeups and tutorials that are in places like Yahoo Scampers where one must be a member to view. In this case, there are several YS files on AntiSway. Can we make a Files Section on this group so the stuf is available to all?

Here's an example:

Here are one person's thoughts on sway control, based on personal
experience and the experiences of others -- YMMV!

Below is a copy of the notes from a Reese friction sway control's
installation PDF

Please read note No. 4 of the PDF -- How many folks actually stop
and pull over to the side of the road to disable their friction sway
control when driving in the rain or on gravel roads, etc., esp when
the rain first hits and the oils are starting to float on the road?
In fact, how many folks have even read Reese's note?

There are basically three kinds of sway that we encounter when towing:

A. That caused by a big truck's passing on a highway -- This, I believe,
is what most folks think about when sway is mentioned.

B. The reaction that the trailer has against the tow vehicle (TV)
when a change in direction happens, including a return from a change
in direction -- About the very worst is a turn while descending a
hill because the trailer is putting more weight on the TV rear and
lifting the TV front end while pushing to the side.

C. The reaction that the trailer has on the whole rig when its "speed
of instability" is reached and it starts to bounce and lurch from
side to side in ever-increasing distance.

The last two are the most dangerous, but sometimes vehicles are on
the very edge of the last one when a big truck goes by -- The
resulting mess is blamed on the big truck, but that's really not
the base cause.

If the rig isn't balanced right (see Note No. 2 below about
first-line defense), then all the sway control does for you is
extend your "speed of instability" by a small margin and promote
a false sense of confidence, esp after a couple of big trucks
have passed by without incident.

If a friction sway control is set properly, at first it will resist
the trailer's tendency to sway and push the TV's rear to one side,
esp the momentary sway caused by encountering big trucks -- This
is why most folks have a sway control.

However, if the force is sufficient, as in a curve, the friction
sway control will slide to its new position -- It will now tend
to resist coming out of the turn with as much force as it used
going in -- If the road surface is slippery enuf, then either
going into the turn, or coming out, the sway control will not
allow the trailer to track properly and it will try to go into
a skid, yanking on the TV rear and possibly causing loss of control
-- Hence, the manufacturer's instructions to disconnect it in
slippery conditions.

In the case of major uncontrollable sway, as in C. above, the
friction control is tending to fight every steering correction
you try to make...

BTW, the Dual Cam and Equal-i-zer sway controls appear to be far
superior in this regard because they always try to straighten the
trailer behind the TV -- Unfortunately, they are only available with
weight distributing hitches (WDH).



2.Trailer loading: Proper trailer loading is your first-line
defense against dangerous instability and sway. Heavy items
should be placed on the floor in front of the axle. The load
should be balanced side-to-side and secured to prevent shifting.
Tongue weight should be about 10-15 percent of gross trailer
weight for most trailers. Too low a percentage of tongue weight
can cause sway. Load the trailer heavier in front.

3. The handle (5) is an on/off device. The bolt (7) below is
for adjustment only.

4. When towing during slippery conditions such as wet, icy, or
snow-covered roads or on loose gravel, turn on/off handle (5)
counterclockwise until all tension is removed from unit. Failure
to do so could prevent tow vehicle and trailer from turning

5. Do not speed up if sway occurs. Sway increases with speed.
Do not continue to operate a swaying vehicle. Check trailer
loading, sway control adjustment, and all other equipment,
until the cause of sway has been determined and corrected.

6. Never paint or lubricate slide bar (6).

Regarding front wheel drive (FWD), it's not sway controls that
are the question, it's a WDH to get the front wheels back down
on the ground properly to retain steering and control (and traction)
against the forces of sway -- This has to be offset, however,
by a serious look at the trailer frame because WDH takes the
weight off the rear of the TV and puts it on the front AND on
the trailer axle (and puts bending stresses on the frame in
the process).

However, if one had too light a front on FWD, one could
temporarily hide that condition from oneself by installing a
friction sway control >>> But only until the new limit of control
was reached...which will likely be at a higher speed with greater

The bottom line on sway is to get your balances right, and stow
your heavy stuf as low and close to the axle as possible -- If
possible, do what you can to change your tow geometry -- Once
you have done all that, then add the anti-sway control for a
little insurance if you want.

On my Dodge D150 pickup, after towing for many tens of thousands
of miles, I had a near-miss on a descending curve on a wet gravel
road at slow speed -- My 1,700 91S13 slung my 4,500 lb truck like
I wouldn't have believed had I not experienced it -- Following that,
I rebalanced the load in truck itself to get more weight off the
rear and onto the front, modified the receiver hitch to move the
ball forward 2" and modified the ball mount to move it forward
another 2" -- Those things made a surprising improvement in

For those who don't already know this, here're some tow geometry

Long TV wheelbase is good
Short TV overhang (rear axle to ball) is good
Long trailer tongue (ball to trailer axle) is good
Short trailer overhang (trailer axle to bumper) is good

The worst possible things you can do are to have your tongue
weight too light and to put a lot of weight out on the trailer
bumper -- Installing a longer ball mount (aka stinger) is NOT
a good thing.

Pete D.

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Old 01-19-2006, 07:33 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1988 16 ft Scamp Deluxe
Posts: 25,584
Donna, we have a Links section on MFROG, but sometimes there is info out there that can't be linked (specifically, the file, writeups and tutorials that are in places like Yahoo Scampers where one must be a member to view. In this case, there are several YS files on AntiSway. Can we make a Files Section on this group so the stuf is available to all?

Pete D.

Pete I'll send you a PM...let's discuss this off forum
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1986 U-Haul CT13 ft
Posts: 494
Quote: a sway bar a necessity. The mechanic told me to drive it and see and the previous owner told me he didn't need one. What are your thoughts?
The mechanic is right - drive it and see. I think most of us here have no problems towing without sway bars. There is a tendency among new egg owners to buy any and every accessory imaginable; we've all gone through that, with more than a few regrets. Best get some towing experience under your belt before shelling out a lot of bucks and loading up your egg with unnecessary stuff.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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Name: Mary
Trailer: 2015 Escape 21; formerly Casita 1999 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
Posts: 10,868
Quint, take a look at some older discussions ("legacy posts")

Sway Bar and
Sway Bars-continued.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:22 PM   #6
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Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 2003 16 ft
Posts: 1,899
.... As you probably know the Scamp is about 1,000 lbs. ...
Good heavens! Where did you find this ultralight 13 footer?

There were a couple of Scamp 13's plus a U-Haul and Gina's Burro 13.
Without adult supervision...
Quando omni flunkus, moritati.
I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:45 PM   #7
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Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 7,056
When I took my 2006 with package across the scales it weighed 1350. It was still connected to the tug. So that was axel weight, not total weight.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 01-19-2006, 04:32 PM   #8
Trailer: 1981 13 ft Scamp
Posts: 64
I never felt the need for an anti-sway bay with my 13 footer.
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