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Old 12-13-2011, 05:03 PM   #1
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Travel trailer sway control

Just bought a 29' prowler and will pull it with a 2002 Ford 7.3 diesel. We need advice on weight distribution hitch and sway control. I've looked at various sites and am confused about the best way to keep the sway down or prevented. HELP!!
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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Reese Weight Distributing with Dual Cam Sway Control is what we had on our 24' Prowler and our 30' Gulfstream Conquest before we moved up to a 5er. Did a good job and we towed a lot of miles.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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First start with properly balancing the trailer. You need to have 10 to 15% of the trailer weight on the tongue when loaded. I like to hit around 12 to 13%. In THEORY, a properly balanced trailer SHOULD not sway.....BUT in the real world, you never know when you will get hit with a sudden wind blast and start the trailer to swaying.

Keep the trailer and truck tires aired up to reduce sidewall flexing.

Next you need to properly set up hitch. for the money you cannot beat the Reese Dual Cam Straight Line. It is a bit more trouble to install and set up, but once set, you are good to go. The BEST hitch on the market is the Hensley Arrow...$3000.00. A newer hitch on the market is the Pro-Pride which cost a little less than the Hensley.

Read the hitch manufacturers instructions and learn to set the hitch yourself once the trailer is loaded. Most dealers do not get then set properly.

Ken
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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The Hensley is now down to $1,700 or so I'm told. The Pro Pride is the re-designed Hensley and would be my choice, even at a slightly higher $2,300 as it has a wider range of WD adjustments, easier hitch-up, and no more flaky paint as with the H/A (which I own, but not for a lot longer). Used H/A hitches can be found for around $1,000, sometimes less.

There is a difference between a sway-resisting hitch and a sway-eliminating hitch well worth the extra dollars.

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Old 12-26-2011, 07:40 AM   #5
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I towed a 29 ft Rockwood 8,000 miles in one year with a Silverado 1500 4X4 using a Equalizer 10,000 hitch with sway control, never had a sway problem. Truck weighed 6100 lbs loaded and TT weighed 6,300 lbs loaded. As posted the Hansely prevents sway, the Reese and Equalizer resist sway. The Reese and Equalizer cost 1/3 of a Hensely. Do a search on this and other forums and you will find extensive postings.
Good Luck
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:20 AM   #6
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One doesn't need any sway control with a properly balanced trailer. An improperly balanced trailer will kill you regardless of how it is attached to the truck.

We tow a 13,000 pound trailer (Hitch weight 1800#) with a 2500 HD diesel. We have nearly no wind effect nor any sway problems. We use a Reese weight distributing hitch with 1500 pound control arms. We use no sway control. We have towed our rigs over 50000 miles in the last 6 years on gravel, snow, wet, and bad roads. We have had one blow out on the trailer and one on the truck. The only damage was a little cosmetic problem on the trailer wheel well cover but no control problems when making the emergency stops for these tire failures.

Remember one must disconnect the sway control when on icy or slick roads and when backing up.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaunclm View Post
One doesn't need any sway control with a properly balanced trailer. An improperly balanced trailer will kill you regardless of how it is attached to the truck.
Remember one must disconnect the sway control when on icy or slick roads and when backing up.
I do agree that sway control is not need on a properly balanced trailer in a perfect world. BUT, we do not live in a perfect world. All it takes is a side gust coming around a curve, a passing truck or going over a bridge and it will hit you out of the blue. You may or may not be able to control the sway.

So for the money, it is cheap insurance to go ahead and have a sway control system or sway control hitch installed.

You may have thousands of miles under you belt and SO FAR no problems, but your day will come when you will wish you had a sway control system and after the fact is not the time to install the sway control.

Trailers up to about 25' can get by with a friction sway control depending on the tow vehicel, but over that you need a better hitch system...like the Reese Dual Cam, Hensley Arrow or the ProPride.

On another note, I have never had to disconnect the sway control, even with a friction type control while backing up. The trick is to have it installed properly.

With a friction type control, it is good idea to loosen it a bit, but I would not remove it. If road conditions are that bad, you need to get off the road.

Happy trailering.

ken
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Old 12-26-2011, 09:23 AM   #8
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First of all, your truck has what is probably a Class 4 chassis mounted hitch from Ford and it will work very nicely. With that said and not knowing whether you have an F250 or 350, single rear wheels or dual, some of the above advice is probably overkill. Secondly, you DO NOT need a 2-3000 dollar hitch to pull a 29 foot TT, which probably is in actuality 26-27 feet. The truck chassis and suspension on either the 250 or 350 are quite capable of dampening most sway that might occur on a properly balanced TT. Those high dollar hitches are nice, but in over 30 years of RV'ing over a couple hundred thousand miles, have seen exactly two Reese cam action hitches and on well over 30 footers, never any of the other hitches mentioned. A good Reese/Draw Tite/Valley/B&W/etc with proper sized trunnion 'lift' bars and for potential peace of mind, maybe a single or dual friction sway control. If you were in the F150/C1500 range pick up, then you would want to consider a more involved 'sway control' hitch as those trucks are more the suburban cowboy, mom's grocery getter, soggy suspended vehicles (yes, I've had them all, and fairly recently, F150/250/350's)
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:07 AM   #9
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I will again note that as insurance, the sway control is in my opinion a necessity, even with the 3/4 or 1 ton truck. Yes, the larger truck will be better able to handle the sway from a trailer as described by the OP.

For the money, I'd much prefer the Reese Dual Cam Straight line hitch over a friction type.

Ken
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:01 PM   #10
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I've used an Equalizer hitch on my 27' 9000 # travel trailer over the past 3 years and probably 20-30K miles. Pay attention to setting it up correctly, then get the axles aligned. If the axles are out (due to pot holes, bad roads, etc.) no amount of sway reduction will help.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:03 PM   #11
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Another vote for the Equalizer hitch with sway control. Works great.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:51 PM   #12
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we tow a 29 foot travel trailer with a husky center line active sway control wd hitch it works great. when we got the trailer we made the dealer pay half for the hitch
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