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Old 02-04-2015, 01:13 PM   #1
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WDH: Round bar/Friction sway control

My first rig (small SUV+ 20' hybrid trailer) had no WDH. I am still shocked to this day the dealer let me drive off the lot. (I have seen many of you comment on that phenomena) The front wheels were so unloaded and the sway was so bad I NEVER let my family ride with me while towing. Every time a semi passed I was white knuckled. I was so exhausted by the time I arrived it really stunk. Inexperience.

The next rig (Ram 3500 DRW/35' 10k GVWR TT) had a Husky Round bar WDH and friction sway control. The rig is so stable we can load the truck to the max, drive 10 hours and not be any worse for the wear. We do this frequently. It is so easy for my wife, she asks if she can drive just to get the experience.

I can tell you we drag our 10k lb trailer all over the US and haven't had any difficulty at any speed or with any wind, passing vehicles etc. My experience indicates this setup works perfectly so what am I missing?

I can see for some borderline cases where the TV & TT aren't optimally aligned on weight that a $500+ hitch may provide more safety/comfort margin. My question to you guys who constantly downplay this product--why do you give the $345 WDH/sway control (w/ball delivered) such a bad rap?
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Old 02-04-2015, 07:21 PM   #2
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Your hitch is what I have been using for the last 12 years on 2 different trucks and 2 different TT's with no issues. If I thought there was reason to get a better or different hitch, I would have done it by now. Once in a while I get an itch to try the Blue Ox setup but the $600 with no real gain keeps stopping me.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:13 AM   #3
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I've been using a simple WDH with or without a single friction anti-sway bar for years. Never any problems, but that may be because both my trailers have had greater than 15% tongue weight because their axles are set pretty far back from the hitch.

Higher TW really helps reduce the chance of sway. IMHO, folks with TWs down to 10% will quickly find out they have a problem. If my trailer's TW was that low, I'd be spending thousands of $$ on a Propride or Hensley.

Even with my higher TW, I like to have sway control especially in the case of emergencies. Once had a car cut me off and had to swerve hard to the right, and then back. The trailer wobbled back and forth a couple of times but recovered fine. The friction sway control helped speed that recovery and damped the oscillations.

Just recently changed to a Equal-I-Zer WDH with builtin sway control, but that was only because I needed a heavier WDH and decided the convenience of the "builtin" friction sway control was worth the higher price over a separate sway bar. We'll see, haven't really used it yet.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:34 AM   #4
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What are you missing? If the round bar is rated for the tongue load (or the amount you have sprung when hooked) then nothing. Your 3500 DRW is more than adequate for the trailer you have. 10k GVWR trailer probably doesn't weight that unless you have it fully loaded with water tanks full while traveling. Have you weighed it? The truck probably weighs as much as the trailer and is capable of handling more, so it should feel stable. Too many people try to tow a trailer that far exceeds the tow vehicles weight and capabilities, and that leads to the tail wagging the dog.
You have it right. Happy Camping!
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjlakatos View Post
My first rig (small SUV+ 20' hybrid trailer) had no WDH. I am still shocked to this day the dealer let me drive off the lot. (I have seen many of you comment on that phenomena) The front wheels were so unloaded and the sway was so bad I NEVER let my family ride with me while towing. Every time a semi passed I was white knuckled. I was so exhausted by the time I arrived it really stunk. Inexperience.

The next rig (Ram 3500 DRW/35' 10k GVWR TT) had a Husky Round bar WDH and friction sway control. The rig is so stable we can load the truck to the max, drive 10 hours and not be any worse for the wear. We do this frequently. It is so easy for my wife, she asks if she can drive just to get the experience.

I can tell you we drag our 10k lb trailer all over the US and haven't had any difficulty at any speed or with any wind, passing vehicles etc. My experience indicates this setup works perfectly so what am I missing?

I can see for some borderline cases where the TV & TT aren't optimally aligned on weight that a $500+ hitch may provide more safety/comfort margin. My question to you guys who constantly downplay this product--why do you give the $345 WDH/sway control (w/ball delivered) such a bad rap?
Like previously mentioned, your hitch is fine for such a beefy tow vehicle. If you had a RAM 2500 SRW Diesel like I do, you might not be quite as enthused with your setup then. I towed a 24' 10K box trailer with a Reese Strait-line Dual Cam WD hitch and was very pleased with the results. It does offer more stability than your setup. For reference, when I tow a 7500lb GVW open car trailer I need nothing and it goes straight down the road, because then the truck is more than enough to control the trailer. It all comes down to how much truck vs how much trailer. You obviously have the right combination, and once you are at that point, more doesn't make it any better.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:30 AM   #6
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My question to you guys who constantly downplay this product--why do you give the $345 WDH/sway control (w/ball delivered) such a bad rap?
Two reasons. Weight distribution is not one of those reasons. Your hitch will distribute the tongue weight as good as the more expensive hitches.

The design of the round-bar hitch reduces the ground clearance under the hitch. The result is frequent dragging the bottom of the round bars on the pavement when crossing dips and ditches. The trunnion bar design sends the spring bars directly back to the trailer tongue without reducing ground clearance.

But the big difference is sway control. The friction-based sway bars work fine under most conditions - probably 95% of the time. But they won't do the job under severe conditions of high-speed cross winds combined with rough, curvy roads. That's when the modern design of the dual-cam sway control system shines.

But even the Strait-Line hitch with dual-cam sway control is not 100% perfect. For that other tiny percent of conditions, Jim Hensley designed the Hensley Arrow and then improved it with the ProPride hitch. A different design of premium-priced hitch is the PullRite TT hitch. Very few people will spend the big bucks for a ProPride, but lots of folks want the increased sway control of the $600 (internet price, $1,000 retail) hitches such as the Reese Strait-Line Trunnion Bar hitch with dual cam sway control.

If you have never experienced uncontrollable trailer sway, then none of this will be impressive. But if you have, then you'll pay a lot to be sure it never happens again. I have a ProPride for my TT and a Strait-Line for my cargo trailer. I will not tow with a hitch that has less-effective sway control than my Strait-Line.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:01 AM   #7
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If you have never experienced uncontrollable trailer sway, then none of this will be impressive. But if you have, then you'll pay a lot to be sure it never happens again. I have a ProPride for my TT and a Strait-Line for my cargo trailer. I will not tow with a hitch that has less-effective sway control than my Strait-Line.
Funny that you mention this. Was just camping and got to talk to a more senior gentleman who had a Hensley hitch on his small trailer, being towed by a new Yukon. He told me of his jack-knife 10 years ago when he first got the trailer and basically echoed your sentiments. He went out to buy the BEST hitch that he could get after that experience.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:34 PM   #8
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I pull my trailer with a simple EAZ Lift round bar set up. It works fine and I have no plans to replace it unless I can find a hitch that will take 1500lbs of dead tongue weight. I would like to loosen up the chains on my w/d bars to let more weight rest on the dually.

My hitch head is only rated for 600lbs weight carrying but up to 1400lbs weight distributing. How do they know you have the chains tight enough to reduce the TW to 600lbs? I would like to just snug them and let er' roll.

Does anybody know?
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:12 PM   #9
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EDIT: OOOPs, mis read your post. I talk below about the hitch receiver not hitch head. Sorry.

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...
My hitch head is only rated for 600lbs weight carrying but up to 1400lbs weight distributing. How do they know you have the chains tight enough to reduce the TW to 600lbs? I would like to just snug them and let er' roll.
...
Good question. That's why I've always thought that Ford and others put those numbers on their OEM hitches more for the Truck's driveability than anything else. Anything over 500-600# they figure you're taking too much weight off the front axle and putting too much on the rear axle without a WDH. So use a WDH and rig it like they tell you to.

IOW those numbers on the hitch may not have anything to do with what hitch receiver can handle all by itself. There are some after-market hitch receivers available for the 3/4 ton trucks that have very high weight carrying capacity. Sometimes as high as the weight distributing capacity. Like this Curt for the F250 with 2550# weight carrying and weight distributing : Trailer Hitch for 2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty - Curt C15410
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:25 PM   #10
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EDIT: OOOPs, mis read your post. I talk below about the hitch receiver not hitch head. Sorry.



Good question. That's why I've always thought that Ford and others put those numbers on their OEM hitches more for the Truck's driveability than anything else. Anything over 500-600# they figure you're taking too much weight off the front axle and putting too much on the rear axle without a WDH. So use a WDH and rig it like they tell you to.

IOW those numbers on the hitch may not have anything to do with what hitch receiver can handle all by itself. There are some after-market hitch receivers available for the 3/4 ton trucks that have very high weight carrying capacity. Sometimes as high as the weight distributing capacity. Like this Curt for the F250 with 2550# weight carrying and weight distributing : Trailer Hitch for 2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty - Curt C15410
Yup I'm going to be replacing my receiver in the next few weeks, that just leaves the hitch head for the weakest link.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:48 PM   #11
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Yup I'm going to be replacing my receiver in the next few weeks, that just leaves the hitch head for the weakest link.
My old RVPro 1000# round bar WDH has a similar limitation: 500# weight carrying. Makes little sense to me.

But my new 1400# Equal-I-Zer doesn't mention weight carrying limits anywhere I can find. Maybe they just figure anybody who buys one will certainly be using it as a WDH. And even at a very low WD setting it sure looks like it can handle 1400#.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:50 AM   #12
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What are you missing? If the round bar is rated for the tongue load (or the amount you have sprung when hooked) then nothing. Your 3500 DRW is more than adequate for the trailer you have. 10k GVWR trailer probably doesn't weight that unless you have it fully loaded with water tanks full while traveling. Have you weighed it? The truck probably weighs as much as the trailer and is capable of handling more, so it should feel stable. Too many people try to tow a trailer that far exceeds the tow vehicles weight and capabilities, and that leads to the tail wagging the dog.
You have it right. Happy Camping!
Good point, I did weigh the rig-- Truck 7900#, Trailer 9400#, TW 1100#
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:57 AM   #13
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The design of the round-bar hitch reduces the ground clearance under the hitch. The result is frequent dragging the bottom of the round bars on the pavement when crossing dips and ditches. The trunnion bar design sends the spring bars directly back to the trailer tongue without reducing ground clearance.
I had forgotten about the ground clearance. The round bar WDH design requires more vertical height and should not be used on some trailers with low coupler heights.

I believe you helped me figure this out on a one rig (Keystone Hideout) about a year ago. By the design--the TT coupler was 17" off the ground when the TT was level. When I tried to hook the TT to my truck, the shank had to be so low to make the trailer level the round bars were just but a few inches off the ground. Definitely a recipe for scraping the pavement.

Rule of thumb--if your trailer has skid bars in the rear (indicator of low coupler height), you should stay away from the round bar hitch!
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:05 AM   #14
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Good point, I did weigh the rig-- Truck 7900#, Trailer 9400#, TW 1100#
Numbers are very close to mine, but I have the 2500 SRW QC. But I have a topper and tool box with tools and recovery chains. My trailer is a toy hauler and loaded is also 9400# but only 27'.

Knowing your numbers and that they are within manufacturers specs improves that already comfortable feeling of having enough truck for the job of getting you and your family there safely.
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