Casita swaying - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2018, 01:21 PM   #21
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Name: Alex
Trailer: 1999 Casita 16' "Snufkin"
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Thanks for all advice

Hello everyone,

I appreciate everyone's responses. To summarize, it seems that I need to properly adjust weight when loading trailer and then add the anti-sway bar as a precaution. I understand that everyone who did NOT recommend anti-sway as a 1st step did so to encourage me to properly load the trailer as a requirement for safe towing and I intend to follow this advice, and add the anti-sway bar as an extra precaution, not a solution, for irresponsible loading. Frankly, I had no idea that extra 150 lb or so of beach gear, bedding, etc, could cause sway issues. Just to set record straight, I did not fill any water in water tank, so it was just regular Casita equipment plus "stuff" in the trailer.

I got 2 Yamaha 2000 generators and I plan to add a shelf above propane tanks as an additional tongue weight generating measure. I am also having my RV mechanic come and check out if trailer is leveled correctly. Currently, I believe I have a 4" "up" adjustment on my tow hitch, as installed by U-Haul professional. My mechanic thinks I may need to go down 2", but it already looks fairly low to the ground and Sienna is not even all that loaded. If there is anyone out there who tows with Sienna, what kind of adjustment , if any, do you have on yours?

Thanks everyone for their opinions, once again.

Alex
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Alex in LA View Post
If there is anyone out there who tows with Sienna, what kind of adjustment , if any, do you have on yours?
don't own or tow with a sienna, although we did test drive a new 1st gen one 20 years ago (but ended up with a Ford E150 Traveller full sized passenger van instead), so I can't directly answer your question..

but, do note, there's like 3 generations of Siennas that no answer is likely to cover all of them. Gen 2 were several inches longer wheelbase and taller than gen 1. each gen had a mid generation 'bump' in overall length and such if I go by the specs on wikipedia.

your hitch ball rise or drop should be dependent on the hitch height when the van is loaded AND the trailer is hitched so that the end result rides reasonably level. its generally OK if the front of the trailer is slightly /down/ but not so OK if its 'up'.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:51 PM   #23
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What Jon Said...

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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
The most likely cause of sway is improper weight distribution, particularly being too light at the front of the trailer. Sway can be very serious, so it's something you should address before your next trip.

When loaded for travel the tongue weight (or hitch weight) on the ball should be 10-15% of the total trailer weight with around 12% considered a good target. For example, if the total loaded weight of your trailer is 3000 pounds, the weight on the ball should be at least at least 300 pounds and around 350-375 pounds ideal.

That means you need to load up your trailer as normal and take it to a public scale. Truck stops, sand & gravel yards, feed & grain lots are possible places. Google "certified auto/truck scale." There may be a small charge for the weighing.

If you have a bathroom scale with a capacity of at least 400 pounds, you can estimate the tongue weight at home. Use a piece of plywood to protect the scale and drop the tongue jack onto the scale. Move the car out of the way and lower the tongue to the same height as when hitched and read the weight. Note that your true tongue weight (at the ball) will be a little less than the weight measured at the tongue jack because it is farther from the axle.

Once you get the weight distribution correct, you should find that sway under normal driving conditions goes away. Then you can add an anti-sway bar for an extra measure of safety when that pulling it with my sudden wind blast comes.

I owned a Casita 17 for nine years and never had a sway issue - even without using a WDH or anti-sway bar. I attribute that experience to paying attention to proper balance. That said I never traveled over 60mph when pulling it with my Toyota Tundra PU. (My self-imposed speed limit was mostly to increase mileage and make traveling less stressful.)

As Jon says, balancing your trailer is key. As an addendum I would add (as Thrifty Bill accurately points out), once balanced, getting the tongue weight correct is the rest of the story in pulling with optimum safety.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:43 PM   #24
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As has been mentioned many times already: TONGUE WEIGHT.

There are some great youtube videos out there on what happens with too little tongue weight. There are expensive scales that can measure it for you. My last trip to Canada, I picked up the cheap version sold by Princess Auto.

As far as dropping the hitch lower, I tow where the trailer is level, front to back, or close to it. Most recommend it.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Alex in LA View Post
... If there is anyone out there who tows with Sienna, what kind of adjustment , if any, do you have on yours?
I tow a Scamp 16 #4 with a 2015 Sienna, same generation Sienna as yours.

This generation has a beefed up suspension which helps. Owners of the previous gen have been know to use air bags in the rear springs. But with the Scamp I find that it works quite well without anything to beef up the rear end.

The Scamp is about 270 lbs tongue weight (as I load it). I would guess that your tongue weight is in the same ballpark. I do see a little rear-end squatting I am guessing that even though the van is rated for 350 lbs tongue weight, I would feel better keeping it under 300 to keep the front steering wheels sufficiently loaded. A WDH is another option but one I prefer to avoid if its safe to do so.

If I don't have a passenger then I try to load something in the front passenger area, such as a full five gallon water container and / or the trailer's spare tire. I also try not to load too much in the back of the van, but the problem is that anything loaded in the passenger area can become a projectile in a crash, so the safe distribution of non-passenger weight in the van is a challenge.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:38 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
As has been mentioned many times already: TONGUE WEIGHT.

... There are expensive scales that can measure it for you. My last trip to Canada, I picked up the cheap version sold by Princess Auto.
...
The bathroom scale I bought for $5 at the thrift store works fine for light trailer tongue weight measuring (~200-300 lbs).
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:24 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex in LA View Post
Hello everyone,

I appreciate everyone's responses. To summarize, it seems that I need to properly adjust weight when loading trailer and then add the anti-sway bar as a precaution. I understand that everyone who did NOT recommend anti-sway as a 1st step did so to encourage me to properly load the trailer as a requirement for safe towing and I intend to follow this advice, and add the anti-sway bar as an extra precaution, not a solution, for irresponsible loading. Frankly, I had no idea that extra 150 lb or so of beach gear, bedding, etc, could cause sway issues. Alex
Glad to hear that Alex, proper loading, TT level or a tad tongue down and you should be good to go. BTW, the 150#s you mention....some folks have caused their trailers to sway by just hanging a bike or two on the rear of their rigs .
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:03 PM   #28
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If you search youtube for trailer sway, you will see a variety of sway accidents, some including empty flat bed trailers that ended up rolling over beefy tow vehicles. Big vehicle, small vehicle, big trailer, small trailer, sway can be deadly.
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:28 PM   #29
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Talking Sway?

WE tow our 2018 Casita Indy 17' with a 2wd V6 Frontier double cab, long bed truck w a optional sway bar..installed at the Casita factory. No problems in over 6000 miles since we picked her up in April

We DO disconnect the bar b4 backing into campsites, as rec by Casita.
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:29 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
An anti-sway bar is very last thing you should consider. Make the trailer and towing safe without it.
Yes, it should be the last thing considered. But it should definitely be used because an anti-sway bar is the only thing that adds the extra margin of protection for extreme circumstances which can happen at any time. Think of it like a spare tire: not needed for normal operations, but essential if an unexpected puncture occurs.
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:50 AM   #31
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In addition to proper weight distribution and a simple friction anti-sway bar, you might consider upgrading the tires on your tow vehicle. It's unlikely that this has much if any effect on actual trailer sway but IME it makes a noticeable improvement in the towing experience. When I replaced the OEM P rated tires on my F150 with LT tires, the improvement was immediately apparent. There had been "squirm" that I didn't recognize until it was gone. I adjust the tire pressure to the load per the Michelin chart, so the truck still rides well when unloaded.
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:53 PM   #32
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
Colorado
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Trailer Sway

Had a sway problem with my 17ft Casita. It started to sway at 58 mph.

Long story short, 12% of the trailer weight must be on the tongue. The trailer must be level or a little below level at the tongue when loaded and ready for camping. By below level I mean an inch or a little more.

Load the trailer with the heavier stuff towards the front. Hold the steering wheel steady and no quick changes.
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:48 PM   #33
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Smile learned the hard way

[QUOTE=Alex in LA;716804]Hello everyone,

FINALLY we made it out on our first camping trip! It was awesome, kids loved it, BUT I am a bit concerned at periodic SWAYING of our lovely 16' Casita.
We tow with a 2017 Toyota Sienna and we have a no bathroom, 2 bunk beds Casita model, which should be pretty light. We do have functional electric brakes and they were checked and bearings repacked by professional RV mechanic before our trip. I do not believe we overloaded the trailer at all (maybe 150 lb of extra stuff), however, at speeds over 55 mph, several times, it did exhibit more sway than I expected or was comfortable with (not that I have much experience towing). I must say we probably went over 65 mph a few times, but I believe swaying occurred at as low as 50-55, so I don't think high speed is to blame, although I would be happy to know if most of you don't tow above 55? 60? 65?
We have an anti-sway bar by Reese that was included by the seller, but reading up BEFORE our trip I got a sense that most people here don't see a compelling reason to install one. However, now I am strongly considering it.

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions will be much appreciated.
***********
We bought a 13' Scamp and drove home from Minnesota. It was the white knuckle ride of hell and stress for days. In theory, many trailer drivers say it's too light to need sway control. I call B.S. Esp. when a semi-truck went by, ours would fish-tail and not feel safe at all (if that happens, lift foot off gas pedal do NOT hit the brakes). As soon as we got home, we bought sway control bars (from Fastway, but many companies sell them) - and now we are solid as a rock, and it drives SO much easier, no matter what. If I could advise new trailer pulling folks to do ONE thing, that would be it. Yes, good weight distribution is important too - with water and gear, etc..... but - skip the scary stuff on the road and get the correct Sway Control Trunnion/weight control equipment.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:46 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan in Calif View Post
We bought a 13' Scamp and drove home from Minnesota. It was the white knuckle ride of hell and stress for days. In theory, many trailer drivers say it's too light to need sway control. I call B.S. Esp. when a semi-truck went by, ours would fish-tail and not feel safe at all (if that happens, lift foot off gas pedal do NOT hit the brakes). As soon as we got home, we bought sway control bars (from Fastway, but many companies sell them) - and now we are solid as a rock, and it drives SO much easier, no matter what. If I could advise new trailer pulling folks to do ONE thing, that would be it. Yes, good weight distribution is important too - with water and gear, etc..... but - skip the scary stuff on the road and get the correct Sway Control Trunnion/weight control equipment.
You haven't been reading this thread?

The FIRST thing you do is get your weight distribution correct. You did NOT do that! You merely masked the problem with sway control bars! Any trailer here should NOT have to be FORCED to pull straight by sway control bars. You have a problem that needs to be fixed FIRST.

Once you get the camper to pull where it is not "white knuckle" then you add sway control for that occasional sway that will rarely happen once you have proper weight distribution.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:50 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_Albers View Post
Yes, it should be the last thing considered. But it should definitely be used because an anti-sway bar is the only thing that adds the extra margin of protection for extreme circumstances which can happen at any time. Think of it like a spare tire: not needed for normal operations, but essential if an unexpected puncture occurs.



Here's one reason why I don't like anti-sway bars. Everytime you go camping the weight distribution changes a bit. Over time it can change quite a bit. An anti-sway bar will mask the problem created until sway happens and everything breaks loose. You'll be lucky if you live through it.
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Old 09-26-2018, 04:49 PM   #36
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Here's one reason why I don't like anti-sway bars. Everytime you go camping the weight distribution changes a bit. Over time it can change quite a bit. An anti-sway bar will mask the problem created until sway happens and everything breaks loose. You'll be lucky if you live through it.
The logic here escapes me. I would not assume that everybody's weight distribution changes to where it will cause swaying. In other words, loading the rear of the trailer heavier and heavier until it gets unstable, as some sort of likely consequence of going camping. Second, if that point is reached for some reason, the sway bar might prevent an uncontrolled sway. But it can't do that if it was never installed. Why is it bad to prevent sway instead of not preventing it? Belt and suspenders. Keep the load forward and install a sway bar.

A lot of sway never reaches the point that it gets out of control and causes a crash, it's instead just a nervous movement that is unnecessary and bothersome, but not caused by unsafe weight distribution. The sway bar will tame that.

I suppose one could argue that a vaccination is just a mask too. Instead, it would be better to avoid getting the disease in the first place, rather than fighting it off after you get it. So, just don't pick up the polio virus and there is no need for the vaccine. But how do you know when you are exposed? How do you know when the trailer is too heavy aft, or if someone made a mistake when loading it? Nobody is going to go to the scales every time they go camping to check on weight distribution. Better to vaccinate the trailer in advance, in addition to loading carefully, than finding out the hard way by avoiding a piece of safety gear.

Why is it a problem to prevent a crash in some way, just because you should have prevented it in some other way?

And sway bars do more than prevent crashes.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:11 PM   #37
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...
We bought a 13' Scamp and drove home from Minnesota. It was the white knuckle ride of hell and stress for days. ...


Did you by any chance have water in the fresh water tank?
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:53 PM   #38
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I wonder why 18 wheeler tractor trailer rigs with 48 to 53 ft trailers don't sway? Weight carried front, middle or rear, No equalizer hitch, no sway bars, nothing but a greased king pin.
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Old 09-26-2018, 08:02 PM   #39
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A greased king pin and a table.

I think they are stable because they have 5th wheel hitches. The first trailer is riding on the tractor with it's weight bearing directly over the drive axle. The front of the next trailer is actually riding on another small trailer with the load directly over it's axle on another fifth wheel setup. The rear of the box trailer or flatbed has the rear axle right at the back, so there is almost no overhang to allow a pendulum motion. Long wheelbase trailers are inherently more stable. Springs are also very stiff which prevents the box from leaning back and forth very much.

The whole dynamic is different than lightly sprung travel trailers, with very short wheelbases and a large rear overhang.

I'll bet no one ever has any sway problems with an Escape 5.0 TA, 5th wheel trailer.
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Old 09-26-2018, 08:04 PM   #40
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yeah, 5th wheel is inherently much more stable as there's on the order of 50% hitch weight, directly over the drive axles.
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