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Old 03-06-2017, 08:48 AM   #1
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
Colorado
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Sway control only

I am trying to learn about the sway control devices and the first one that I came across is this one:
Trailer Sway Control Kit
anybody here with experience with it? Your input is highly appreciated.

Note: This is not for me, the Scamp 5th does not need any of those things, of course. It is for my son who recently bought an iCamp (Chinese made light weight trailer, 2008 vintage, fiberglass, cute as a button, but not molded). Its weight is in the low 2000 lbs range, the tongue weight is quite low (I estimate somewhere over 100 lbs, I could easily handle it in the driveway). He may need to increase that by properly loading it for travel, but he does not need a WDH that came with it, his Toyota Tundra has plenty of tongue weight capability, I am sure.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:40 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
I am trying to learn about the sway control devices and the first one that I came across is this one:
Trailer Sway Control Kit
anybody here with experience with it? Your input is highly appreciated.

..
Of course many people use this sway control, or one of the many almost identical ones sold under different brand names (including myself).

This has been discussed so much in this forum, and others, that I don't think we need to go over what has already been said in detail - a good Google search will serve that purpose.

Outside of the almost religious beliefs about sway control devices (which I suspect you will soon see again here), I found that my van with Scamp 16 and 10-12% trailer weight on the tongue and no sway bar, has been quite stable up to something a little over 65 MPH (and before I get bashed again, yes - I know that 65 MPH is top speed for the tires I use). So, I can get by without the sway bar and I suspect your son could also as long as the trailer was loaded appropriately.

But in addition to the likely added margin of safety, the manufacturer of my van says that I have to use sway control for my rig. So, for insurance reasons at least, I have it.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:00 AM   #3
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Outside the almost irrational fear of friction sway devices which some may exhibit, it is a practical and pleasant addition to any properly balanced small RV trailer.
Of course it is not absolutely required , especially if all you desire is to "get by".
BTW, my new Carlisle trailer tires are rated to 81MPH, this doesn't imply that the Trailer/TV combo is therefore safe at that speed.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:57 AM   #4
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
I am trying to learn about the sway control devices and the first one that I came across is this one:
Trailer Sway Control Kit
anybody here with experience with it? Your input is highly appreciated.

Note: This is not for me, the Scamp 5th does not need any of those things, of course. It is for my son who recently bought an iCamp (Chinese made light weight trailer, 2008 vintage, fiberglass, cute as a button, but not molded). Its weight is in the low 2000 lbs range, the tongue weight is quite low (I estimate somewhere over 100 lbs, I could easily handle it in the driveway). He may need to increase that by properly loading it for travel, but he does not need a WDH that came with it, his Toyota Tundra has plenty of tongue weight capability, I am sure.

Thanks in advance.
The sway control bars are great. If you get hit with a wind gust, hit a low spot in the road that throws you sideways, are on wet roads, etc it just helps with the handling of the trailer. I've always towed with the sway bar on our 17' Casita and wouldn't be without it. We've been to many rallies and it is the consensus to always use one even on the small trailers. I've towed my trailer around the area without the bar to see how it feels and I don't like the feel of it. Some people don't use them but if you roll your trailer you'll wish you'd used it. I believe in most states if you have a wreck without one you'll be ticketed as it is the law to have them.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Of course many people use this sway control, or one of the many almost identical ones sold under different brand names (including myself).

This has been discussed so much in this forum, and others, that I don't think we need to go over what has already been said in detail - a good Google search will serve that purpose.

Outside of the almost religious beliefs about sway control devices (which I suspect you will soon see again here), I found that my van with Scamp 16 and 10-12% trailer weight on the tongue and no sway bar, has been quite stable up to something a little over 65 MPH (and before I get bashed again, yes - I know that 65 MPH is top speed for the tires I use). So, I can get by without the sway bar and I suspect your son could also as long as the trailer was loaded appropriately.

But in addition to the likely added margin of safety, the manufacturer of my van says that I have to use sway control for my rig. So, for insurance reasons at least, I have it.
I hope you are using the sway bar and not just having it around. You are an accident waiting to happen driving faster than you should and not using the bar. The bar is for control of the trailer no matter what you are towing with.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
I hope you are using the sway bar and not just having it around. You are an accident waiting to happen driving faster than you should and not using the bar. The bar is for control of the trailer no matter what you are towing with.
You mean I can drive faster than I should as long as I have a swaybar??
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:41 PM   #7
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I have a weight distribution hitch without a sway bar. I have had to change lanes aggressively twice at speed and have not experienced sway. Crosswinds and semi trailers have no effect on my trailer.
I use a Sherline scale to ensure I have appropriate tongue weight.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:04 PM   #8
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Name: Tom
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Slight divergence here, but my question may still be interesting to anyone towing. When flat-towing a vehicle (toad, dingy, jeep, etc), is sway ever a concern? In other words, can a towed vehicle with a relatively short tow bar with four tires firmly planted on the ground ever really sway? What say you - has anyone ever experienced or heard of sway while flat-towing?
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
Slight divergence here, but my question may still be interesting to anyone towing. When flat-towing a vehicle (toad, dingy, jeep, etc), is sway ever a concern? In other words, can a towed vehicle with a relatively short tow bar with four tires firmly planted on the ground ever really sway? What say you - has anyone ever experienced or heard of sway while flat-towing?
Towing a flat towable vehicle is usually pretty stable for sway. Tracking can be a more common problem though, and when it is a problem, it can often be corrected by adding an extra 1/8th inch or so of tow-in. (all caveats and cautions apply of course).
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:37 PM   #10
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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To Sway - or Not to Sway? that is the question. My suggestion is to try it without first. If the "tail starts wagging to dog" you may add one.
There are number of factors the will aggravate the tendency to sway.
Wheel base, Weight distribution, Tire air pressure, Looseness at the hitch, Driver jerks the steering wheel, Washboard roads, driving too fast.
Any kind of add on equipment adds dead weight to the rig, more weight, less fuel economy.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:50 PM   #11
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Name: Michael
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Adequate hitch weight is important for sway prevention. A friction sway bar will provide some protection in case of unusual conditions or circumstances. The HF unit certainly is priced right. A couple of things to know, though. First, if the bar gets wet (rainy weather) the friction is reduced, and the friction should be tightened. Second, these bars sometimes can get bent up if they aren't loosened before backing up sharply.

If actual tongue weight (loaded for camping) exceeds 10% of the trailer weight, personally I would feel completely safe without such a device.

I am not aware of any state laws requiring friction devices be used when towing, and I would welcome the opportunity to read those laws if someone cared to cite the specific statutes by their location in the law books.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:53 PM   #12
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To Sway - or Not to Sway? that is the question. My suggestion is to try it without first. If the "tail starts wagging to dog" you may add one.
NO!

If the tails starts wagging the dog - fix THAT first.
Then add a sway bar.
Don't try to just mask it.

Jim
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
I hope you are using the sway bar and not just having it around. You are an accident waiting to happen driving faster than you should and not using the bar. The bar is for control of the trailer no matter what you are towing with.
Thanks for the advice but I don't drive at unsafe speeds. I do, however know when my rig is stable and when it is not, and when a sway bar is called for, so I think that makes me a safer driver than many. You assume incorrectly.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:13 AM   #14
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Sway control only - Thanks!

Thank you all for your entertaining as well as profound comments and advice. I'll recommend that my boy load the trailer properly, weigh the tongue and install and use the friction damper.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:32 AM   #15
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Name: RogerDat
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If there is a gravel pit, feed store, grain silo, scrap yard, or truck stop with drive on scale in the area it is worthwhile to get a weight on the trailer as loaded for travel. Then calculate the appropriate 10% tongue weight from that actual weight.

Fridge full, water in the tanks, screen canopies, chairs, coolers, TV's and all the other stuff we haul can really add a lot of weight to the camper and where we stow it can have a big impact on tongue weight. Adjust based on real world conditions.

Level tongue or slightly tongue down can help reduce your chances of getting the wiggles. I once towed with a bigger vehicle and the hitch was a little bit high, couldn't go over 50 mph without sway. Short trip but miserable driving.

I have to agree with the suggestion of get everything "right" then add anti-sway to enhance safety in extreme conditions. That and make sure if you have trailer brakes you provide a controller so you can use them and check out the manual control. Application of just trailer brakes with manual control can help damp out and take control of sway if it does take place.
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