Trailer sway.
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Thread: Trailer sway.

  1. #1
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    Trailer sway.

    Ok so I just recently upgraded camper and truck. 02 Chevy 2500HD and an 04 Terry 32' travel trailer. We made some local trips to see how it would go. Had no problems. Replaced the tires on the truck and hooked up and drug it from Middletown PA to Cape May New Jersey. It felt like terrible sway. Only difference is tires and to be safe I put on the sway controller that came with the camper. I pull at 55 to 60 mph. Anyone ever install a sway controller and made it feel like sway. It didn't look like it was swaying in the side mirrors, but I definitely had a grip on the wheel.
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    Never used one. Only have the weight distribution arms from hitch to trailer frame for our horse trailer & small 23' camper. Never had issue with sway pulling with our '04 Durango or my son's '04 2500HD Chevy.

    I'm sure you did, but did you tighten up the controller once it was hooked up? Was the camper loaded evenly and not loaded to one side or too far in the back? That can cause sway also.
    Last edited by lt230s; 08-18-2017 at 01:58 PM.
    John J.

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    I think we might have a little more weight added to the back, so I'm gonna fill the water tank (center of camper between axle and hitch) to add tongue weight and remove the sway controller for the start of the trip to see how that goes.

    Yes, controller is tight. But upon some internet searching, I'm seeing now the down side to friction type sway controllers.
    Last edited by MiniHomesteader; 08-18-2017 at 02:13 PM.
    1966 60 (Soon to be 12 HP), 1985 111
    1967 112, 1966 110
    46 Mower Deck, Modified 31 Tiller, 36 Snowblower, 42 Blade
    21 Power Drive

    Custom Mini Wagon

    Brinly CC-500
    Hinson No 1977&1978 Weather Shield

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    Display Name: Chuck Van Dusen
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    Having the correct tongue weight is crucial to keeping sway at a minimum, so start there. The best way to ensure you have the correct weight on the hitch is to weigh the tongue with a gauge. These cost about $150 and are far cheaper than any accident repair...

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007REK28M?psc=1

    Another thing that adversely impacts sway is the sidewall stiffness of the towing vehicle tires -- especially the rears. Also check the air pressure to ensure it is at the rated amount for the load (including the hitch carry weight...)

    I have used the friction type sway controller on my travel trailer and not had any issues with it...but I always take it off when backing. I do not use a sway controller on my enclosed cargo trailer even though it is rated at 7000 lbs which is a bit more than the travel trailer. The cargo trailer has torsion suspension which acts like shock absorbers to some degree so that helps, and it is not as big a "sail" for cross winds.

    Chuck

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    Chuck nailed it.

    Tongue weight is probably the biggest factor.

    When having sway issues I found the need to accelerate if it starts swaying going down hill, then slow down as soon as there is an uphill. This won't work in all situations but some idea how to ride it out is better then being along for the ride. A friend tried to to slow a swaying trailer going downhill last year. The trailer passed the truck before they both went off the side of the road and rolled.

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    Tires are all at correct pressures. They are Yokohama Geolander AT-S. 8 ply.
    Yes, definitely know when it starts to get ugly, to apply trailer brakes(not locking them up) and if need be apply throttle.
    1966 60 (Soon to be 12 HP), 1985 111
    1967 112, 1966 110
    46 Mower Deck, Modified 31 Tiller, 36 Snowblower, 42 Blade
    21 Power Drive

    Custom Mini Wagon

    Brinly CC-500
    Hinson No 1977&1978 Weather Shield

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    I was with a friend towing a 16 foot tandem axle to Arkansas from Kansas City. The trailer develop the symptoms you described. We moved two bundles of shingles from the rear to the front. Had no issue after that. Too much weight on the rear of the trailer will cause sway.
    "Everybody is a genius.
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    Display Name: Bob Stillwagon

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    remove store name

    My brother had that happen with a new set of tires on his tow vehicle. He had no sway issues with old tires and the new tires were terrible. Fortunately he bought them at a large chain store. He was starting a long trip so went in a store several hundred miles from his home and explained the issue to them. They offered to change the tires to any others he wanted and he accepted the offer. No more swaying after the change. I don't know anything about the brands of tire involved. So if you didn't have an issue with old tire and same towing it could well be your new tires.
    Last edited by bobstillwagon; 08-18-2017 at 10:26 PM. Reason: delete store name

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    The tongue scale Chuck posted should be standard trailering equipment. If you don't measure, you don't know. If nothing else, shifting weight is cheaper than buying sway bars and weight distributing hitches, although at 32' you probably need a WDH anyway.

    I think this video has been posted on this site before:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWd8ml9mFMo

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    I've contemplated the tongue weight gauge, and I think if shifting weight forward makes a differance, I'll be purchasing one. With a dry weight of 7,200 lbs, I already have a WDH. It came with the camper.
    I did however replace the ball as it was only rated for 6,000 lb. Makes you wonder what some people are thinking when they purchase towing equipment.

    I personnaly prefer overkill. I bought the highest rated 2-5/16" ball I could find. Heck, my old K10 had a 6" lift and I needed to pull a little landscape trailer so I was looking for a 8" drop hitch. When I saw one rated for 15,000 lb, that was the one that came home. A bit much for a 2,000 pound load, but you never know what you might need it for down the road.
    1966 60 (Soon to be 12 HP), 1985 111
    1967 112, 1966 110
    46 Mower Deck, Modified 31 Tiller, 36 Snowblower, 42 Blade
    21 Power Drive

    Custom Mini Wagon

    Brinly CC-500
    Hinson No 1977&1978 Weather Shield

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