Anti-Sway Bar - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-09-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Anti-Sway Bar

Anti-Sway Bar
Today we had a small event, the trailer hitch came off the ball in a small downhill corner. This happened even though we had the trailer hitch's lock down and an actual lock thru the locking lever.

I believe we managed to not have the ball set and it's collar locked, a real mistake.

The nose of the trailer hit the ground and began to drag. Since the anti-sway bar was on and tightened, the sway bar did not allow the trailer to separate from the tow vehicle and application of the tow vehicle's brakes and the trailer's brakes stopped the trailer and Honda. The trailer stopped in a straight line right beyond the Honda.

After blocking the trailer's wheels, we removed the anti sway bar and using the Honda's scissor jack lifted the trailer's nose until we could insert our bottle jack. Eventually we were able to lift the trailer's nose high enough to re-attach the tongue to the ball.

There appeared to be no damage other than a bent handle on the tongue's jack. Today I'll give it a closer inspection.

I think the anti-sway bar, though not designed for this function prevented the situation from being worse.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #2
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Glad to hear you are alright. Very scary indeed. Thanks for posting as it makes what we think of as a hypothetical, a reality. A lesson for all. Raz
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
I believe we managed to not have the ball set and it's collar locked...

... Since the anti-sway bar was on and tightened, the sway bar did not allow the trailer to separate from the tow vehicle ...

I think the anti-sway bar, though not designed for this function prevented the situation from being worse.
Sometimes it pays to have "extra" protection.

I generally think my rig handles well without it, but I like to use mine during high cross-wind conditions. I always "Install" my anti-sway bar, but I usually do not tighten it. That way when it gets windy I can stop the rig, hop out and tighten the bar, and continue driving. When It starts raining I can stop the rig, hop out and just loosen the bar so it slides easily.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:48 PM   #4
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Anti-sway bar and sway

We never had the Scamp or the Casita sway but I've the Scampcame with it so we use it. Very happy about using it today.

It's interesting that we both checked the ball to see if it was locked, but not well enough.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #5
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I am glad you had a happy ending. If I understand the problem the ball was not completely set in the coupler;is this correct? The worse scenario would likely be damage to you Honda if trailer would be attached by safety chains only.

George
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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Make sure the coupler is adjusted to fit tight on the ball... They tend to loosen up after a while. When I bought our Scamp, it needed a few turns to get it to fit properly. Wasn't loose enough to come off, but eventually it would have been.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
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Talking Glad it worked out OK for you

Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
It's interesting that we both checked the ball to see if it was locked, but not well enough.
I see from your pictures that you don't need to use a Weight Distributing Hitch.
My Fiber Stream came with one and the Honda Odyssey manual says to use one for trailers over 2000 pounds. I use the tongue jack to "unload" the spring arms during coupling and uncoupling the trailer. This procedure has popped the ball out of the socket a time or two when we "think" it's connected, and I appreciate it happening during that maneuver and not while underway.

I have pondered the concept of the Weight Distribution Hitch and the Anti-sway Bar being a more secure belt-and-suspenders addition to the coupler from time to time...
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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Be very careful when you tighten up the adjustment and then place it on the ball. At this time it is Very Easy to get a finger smashed when checking if the tong is all the way down on the ball.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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I'm glad everything turned out OK. I'm sure it was an eye opener to have that happen, and kudos for keeping it together while in an emergency. I never thought of the anti-sway bar working that way, but it does seem like it kept everything from separating.

When I first got our trailer it popped off the hitch twice before I realized the clamping mechanism was shot. I researched what to replace it with and ended up with a bull dog coupler. With this setup, I don't think that could ever happen, but I'm sure it's been done by someone.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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Norm, sounds like you had what is called a false hookup, I had one when I first got the trailer 7 years ago. it happens when you lower your trailer on the ball with your tow vehicle a bit too far back and the keeper that locks it into the ball gets stuck on top of the ball. if your not using a weight distribution hitch it happens from time to time. The way to prevent this is to back your tow vehicle up just short of the ball receiver being centered on the ball. When you lower the ball onto the trailer it should slide down over the front of the ball, this will prevent the keeper from getting caught on top of the ball. If your trailer hit the ground it sounds like you could shorten your safety chains a bit, this is done by just crossing the chain and twisting it till the length just barely hooks into the slot or hole on your hitch bar then untwist one turn and hook it. the chains need very little slack for turns etc. and if crossed it will hold your trailer from hitting the ground, hope this helps, Bill
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:39 PM   #11
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After I hookup, chains attached and padlock on the coupler, I use the tongue jack to jack up the trailer... doesn't take much, but if the rear of the tug starts to lift I know the trailer is hitched properly. Getting down on one knee and looking under the coupler helps sometimes too... unless the ground is wet!
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post
................... I use the tongue jack to "unload" the spring arms during coupling and uncoupling the trailer. This procedure has popped the ball out of the socket a time or two when we "think" it's connected, and I appreciate it happening during that maneuver and not while underway.

I have pondered the concept of the Weight Distribution Hitch and the Anti-sway Bar being a more secure belt-and-suspenders addition to the coupler from time to time...
I power lift attached trailer tongue as well to place weight distribution spring bars into friction saddles. Did not have a mishap yet but it is good test as other pointed out.
George.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
After I hookup, chains attached and padlock on the coupler, I use the tongue jack to jack up the trailer... doesn't take much, but if the rear of the tug starts to lift I know the trailer is hitched properly.
Great minds think alike! its a real simple check. By cranking it up once connected I have found on more than one occasion the coupler was not locked on as I thought it was.....
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
After I hookup, chains attached and padlock on the coupler, I use the tongue jack to jack up the trailer... doesn't take much, but if the rear of the tug starts to lift I know the trailer is hitched properly. Getting down on one knee and looking under the coupler helps sometimes too... unless the ground is wet!
We stopped at a truck stop in Mississippi a few years ago and discovered the tongue of the Aliner sitting on top of the ball instead of being locked down on it. Only the heavy tongue weight and smooth roads had kept it from coming apart.

The tip about raising the jack and seeing if it starts to lift the truck is one I will use every time from now on!

Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:37 PM   #15
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We have an old bicycle rear view mirror mounted on an angled piece of rod. It looks like an oversized dental mirror. Works well for checking the coupler clamp position on the ball. We've had a "false hookup" but caught it right away with the mirror before we moved the Casita.
Happy trails,
Bill
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:33 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bill&Connie View Post
We have an old bicycle rear view mirror mounted on an angled piece of rod. It looks like an oversized dental mirror. Works well for checking the coupler clamp position on the ball. We've had a "false hookup" but caught it right away with the mirror before we moved the Casita.
Happy trails,
Bill
Great tip!
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:12 AM   #17
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Norm,
I'm glad you had minimal damage but why didn't the crossed chains keep the frame off the ground? I thought that was the intent of crossing them?
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:54 AM   #18
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Chains

First, thanks for all the tips on how to check for an unseated and unlocked ball. Good suggestions and be sure we'll be using them.

Second, our chains stayed connected during the event yet the nose of the trailer hit the ground. I don't think our chains have too much slack, it seems that I can just about connect them (I do intend to check them.)

If the length of the chains is longer than the distance to the ground, the nose of the trailer will hit the ground. I will check this tomorrow after the rain passes.

I don't thing criss crossing makes a difference in my chain setup because the chains come from a single point on the nose of the trailer.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:46 AM   #19
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Smile

I installed the anti sway bar on my VT, just in case, they work vry nice and do their job
Glad everything is alright, a bit unnerving though.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #20
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You reminded me of a been-there-done-that moment. I had left the 2" ball for the boat trailer drawbar on the tow when we hooked up the Boler for a trip and it hadn't latched properly. Half way around the block it came off at a slight bump. At about 10 miles an hour there was no damage and the crossed chaing held the tongue off the ground. Luckily the Boler is light enough that I could lift it back on and return home to exchange drawbars for the 1 7/8" one.
Little things like that really brings one's ego quickly down to size. Doesn't it?
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