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Old 07-15-2015, 03:07 PM   #1
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What Caused My Trailer Swerve?

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Zion National Park and I would like to ask the forum for their opinion about an incident that occurred once on the way up and once again during our return trip. To make a long story short, we’re cruising along the open desert highway about 60 mph when suddenly, my truck and my trailer both begin to swerve from side to side like they’re fish-tailing. In both instances, I was able to react quickly and regain control of both vehicles, but not without feeling like we narrowly escaped catastrophe. Can anyone tell me what happened? Has anyone else experienced this with a pull-behind trailer? Was I simply hit by a rogue side-wind or maybe a whirlwind that I didn’t see coming? Of greater concern to me though; is there something wrong with my set up that’s putting my family at risk? I have a 4500lb Shadow Cruiser and pull it with a 2015 Toyota Tacoma. The truck came with the standard factory towing package and the two are connected with a class-three Eaz-Lift hitch and a sway control bar. I would appreciate some expert advice since this is my first trailer and I haven’t gone very far with it. Thanks in advance to everyone who chimes in.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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If you are traveling with no sway for miles and miles at 60mph then all of the sudden you experience bad sway the 1st thing I would say it was a gust of wind.

It will take awhile to regain control.

That is if you were not passed by a semi-tractor trailer.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:36 PM   #3
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Sounds like you don't have enough sway control.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:39 PM   #4
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Sway can be caused by not having enough tongue weight, and certainly abrupt winds can affect handling.

I'm not familiar with your hitch, I use a Blue Ox Sway Pro.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:47 PM   #5
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Coincidentally, I was also thinking maybe I had the Eaz-Lift adjusted too high, thus reducing the tongue weight on the truck a little too much. During my upcoming trip in August, I'm going to lower the trailer tongue by one link on those chains and see if that helps. I believe I can go one link down without resulting in too much weight on the hitch. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:52 PM   #6
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Question - what is the fastest speed that you can tow? I had a small truck that towed great up to 55mph then would sway at 60ish mph.

A too small truck that can not control the trailer that weighs more than the truck can be an issue at higher speeds as the aerodynamics change.
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:01 PM   #7
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4500 lbs is a lot for a Tacoma, I'm sure they advertise it will tow the Queen Mary but I think the Tacoma weighs around 4,000-4,200, Try a full size Truck. (Flaming to follow)
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:03 PM   #8
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Yeah, if I had to do it all over again, I would have either bought a heavier truck or a lighter trailer. The fastest I can tow right now, without any trouble at all, is 50-60 mph. Any faster than that and it gets a little shakey. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:05 PM   #9
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That is scary stuff.

15% of the trailer weight needs to be on the hitch. Get a scale, with the unit loaded and check. Twice I have seen this result in a total loss in front of me. When it occurs, get on your trailer brakes immediatly. Note, trailer brakes, not the tow vehicle. The brakes will force the trailer to straight, and pull the tow vehicle back in line.

A properly setup trailer, don't need sway control. (not saying its not a good idea) You are correct, having the hitch too high can make this worse, but it would seem you are already near the edge of the limits?

Check how you are loading, heavy stuff amid-ship or in front.

Depending on the weight of your trailer,,,, you can use a bathroom scale. A few blocks of wood same width as scale, a board across between the blocks and the scale, and set the trailer jack in the middle of the board. Your hitch weight will be double the scale reading.

Don't mess with this, it is a serious problem.

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Old 07-15-2015, 04:06 PM   #10
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No, I won't flame you, but I'm sure it's about to heat up in here... lol
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:17 PM   #11
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No one has ever explained to me that the break controller will slow the trailer in that situation and straighten the truck. I understand the physics there and I'll remember to do that.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:06 PM   #12
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From the responses I've received thus far, and every one of them being useful, I'm pretty convinced that my set up, though not dangerous, is probably not far from pushing the limits of what my truck can safely tow. My first course of action will certainly be to thank God nothing has happened already and to let my truck and the terrain decide how quickly I arrive at my destination from now on, and not argue with either one. Thanks to all for your insightful help.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #13
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I can tell you prom personal experience it's a very scary feeling when a truck and TT start to sway!

I can also tell you need MORE truck then you think to safely tow a TT in ALL conditions.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cummins12V98 View Post
I can tell you prom personal experience it's a very scary feeling when a truck and TT start to sway!

I can also tell you need MORE truck then you think to safely tow a TT in ALL conditions.
I agree. My wife and I both love our new trailer and our new truck, but we both agree that our next upgrade won't be a smaller trailer, because we're spoiled now, but a bigger truck
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