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Old 03-23-2019, 02:34 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I always thought some modern trucks/autos have built in anti-sway which activate individual brakes on the tow vehicle if sway is detected. Would this perhaps counter any evasive measures taken for the trailer?
I think it's certainly possible that the Hayes device could fight with the tow vehicle towing stability software. If that were the case though, then presumably the same could happen simply when the driver uses the manual brake control.

Here's a video where an independent electronic sway controller is installed on a trailer loaded to induce sway. The truck has built-in sway control software. The control is more sophisticated than the Hayes unit in the link above since it actuates the left and right side brakes independently. (And is consequently more difficult to install.)

https://tusonrvbrakes.com/products/t...ntrol-tsc-1000

In the video, the control appears to do a great job controlling the sway and is much better than the result with only the truck's sway control. The performance looks good enough that I'd be a bit concerned about poor trailer loading going undetected and the controller prematurely wearing out the trailer brakes.

The actual testing starts about 7 minutes into the video...

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Old 03-23-2019, 04:59 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Micheal K View Post
This device may be of interest to some people reading this thread.

Sway Master | Trailer Sway Control Hitch | Hayes Towing Electronics

It has a GPS to measure speed and sensors to detect sway. It applies the trailer brakes when sway is detected and the speed travelled is > 45mph. Basically does what the driver should do with their brake controller if the trailer is swaying.
There are several products like this. Some brake the left and right sides separately for maximum effectiveness, while others just apply all trailer brakes together (avoiding the few minutes it would take to change the wires on the trailer). There's even a version for Euro-style mechanical surge brakes.

Here's one of the previous discussions of this topic, with product links:
Trailer Sway Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I always thought some modern trucks/autos have built in anti-sway which activate individual brakes on the tow vehicle if sway is detected. Would this perhaps counter any evasive measures taken for the trailer?
All current vehicles have stability control (it's required by law in North America), and some have a programming feature of that system which recognizes that there is a trailer attached. It helps, but is very limited compared to controlling the trailer more directly.
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Old 03-23-2019, 08:08 PM   #63
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In my very similar accident, the trailer ended up on its side still attached to the Jeep. The Jeep remained upright, although according to my husband, who was following me, it bounced up in the air and slammed down repeatedly.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:40 AM   #64
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Just want to add my thanks for posting your experience and relief that you are ok. This entire thread has been very informative and a great safety reminder. By posting your experience, you may have prevented other similar accidents. So thank you for that!!
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:59 AM   #65
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Great video!
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:00 PM   #66
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We have had a 16" Scamp for many years. Our rule of thumb (as suggested by Scamp) has been never to drive over 50 - 55 mph. Occasionally, I did go over that limit for short bursts but generally that's the way we proceeded. We have had incidents where the trailer wavered and we have had to slow down but it never got out of control. We recently sold the Scamp and have purchased a 19 foot Escape which we are to pick up in a few weeks. Does Escape also suggest a limit on driving speed? I know it takes quite a bit longer to go at the safer speed but hopefully it prevents serious accidents. Also, in the state of California, the law is that trailers cannot go over 55 mph.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:10 PM   #67
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I NEVER go over 60mph when towing. California has the most sensible laws on this. Trucks and all vehicles when towing the max speed is 55mph. I am sorry you had the accident but I think speed played an important factor in your accident.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:12 PM   #68
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WOW! we have a WDH on our 19 and have put over 50K on her without a sway action ever. we keep her under 65 too.


Glad you're OK and hope you get her fixed OK!


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Old 03-27-2019, 12:32 PM   #69
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Thought-provoking discussion.

Has anyone towing a 17 footer experienced sway like that described here?
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:39 PM   #70
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Thank you for posting this. Happy to hear that you are both OK!
It sounds like you ran into a cocktail of sway inducing items from this list that I copied from a webpage.
We try to keep an eye on flagpoles on the sides of the highways to sense what the wind is doing. Easier done in Texas, since it seems everyone down there flies a Texas flag. :-)
Another thing we try to do when either passing a semi or being passed by a semi is move as far left or right as we can to create extra lateral distance, since that seems to lessen the effect of the bow wave. We don't usually pass semis though since we try to keep our speed down to 60-62 (I read once that sway probability increased dramatically above 62 MPH, don't know if that is a magic number but so far it has worked for us.)
Hope you get up and running soon and we meet at a rally or campsite someday!

Towing Speed - Typical highway speeds have become much greater over the last 50 years. The speed at which you decide to tow your trailer may be the single greatest factor in controlling trailer sway. Unfortunately, tests show that any speeds greater than 45mph tend to cause almost any trailer to begin to sway. With traffic traveling at much greater speeds it isn't practical, and most of the time illegal, to travel at a speed that will control trailer sway.

High Winds - Winds blowing perpendicular against the side of a towed trailer push the trailer and pivot it on the hitch ball creating a tow angle. The greater the surface area of the side of the trailer, the greater the force will be at any given wind velocity. Towing in high winds is never a good idea and should be done cautiously if necessary.

Gusting Winds - Winds can gust and increase in velocity due to weather. Winds can also be described as gusting when a high wind is blocked by a tree line or a bridge overpass and you clear this blockage while towing. Your trailer goes from a relative low side force to much higher side force that pivots the trailer on the hitch ball and creates a tow angle.

Bow Wave - A bow wave is a wind produced by a large semi-truck, box truck or van pushing its way through the air on the highway. This wind travels around the truck and down the sides creating a wind disturbance in the adjacent lanes. This wind disturbance creates a sudden high to low pressure in the air traveling down the side of your trailer. The bow wave, as with the other wind disturbances, creates a tow angle by pushing the trailer and pivoting it on the hitch ball. The bow wave produces a "sucking" feeling in some combinations that feels like the entire tow combination is being pulled into the other lane.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:44 PM   #71
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Speed Kills

The general rule of thumb is maximum speed of 55 to 60mph when towing. While traveling on I-10 in Texas where the speed limit is 80 (scary) I keep track of trucks coming up behind me and put on my hazard signals to let them know I'm traveling at a slower speed so they can safely pass. I have an E17 now but have had a larger trailer and this seems to work.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:47 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoastdancers View Post
Thought-provoking discussion.

Has anyone towing a 17 footer experienced sway like that described here?

Not I. I've had two occasions in ten years to abruptly change lanes. Both times I felt the trailer sway left and then right and then settle down immediately. I don't know that one could call it sway since it was the trailer reacting to the rapid lane change.
I do have a Pro Series weight distribution hitch, without the optional sway bars.
I try to travel at 90 KPH ( 56 MPH ) to save fuel. I have towed at 120 KPH ( 75 MPH ) for short distances when it was safer to keep up with the traffic flow.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:57 PM   #73
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Not to be too much of a contrarian but if I had to restrict my towing speed to 55 mph I wouldn't have a trailer, I'd have a van.

I tow as fast as I can in CA. I hate the 55 mph restriction and because I drive the full length of I-5 I find it an extra nuisance. I drive as fast as I dare knowing that I'm a sitting duck for an out of state ticket.

After 40 odd years of towing I feel comfortable with traveling at higher speeds and I've never had an incident that caused any problem. The only time that I've ever had a terror inducing moment was many years ago when I stupidly loaded a VW on a car trailer with the car facing forward and the engine at the rear. Guess I wasn't as familiar then about the importance of tongue weight.

I feel that it's much safer to be at least travelling at the same speed as the trucks rather than having hundreds of trucks steadily passing.

But I guess the bottom line is you do what you feel comfortable with.

Ron
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:20 PM   #74
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This might seem harsh (16 years+ Law Enforcement) but it's to the point and to help remind us of our responsibilities.
You were very lucky, those around you were very lucky:
1st: Anybody who are on these forums much learn that a WDH with anti sway is a must. Small lightweight trailers need them just as much if not more than larger heavier trailers.
2nd: You were travelling too fast (as you found out) unless you had on Goodyear Endurance tires you were probably over the speed rating of your tires. What would have been the possible outcome if this happened passing a mini van loaded with a Mom and little kids.
3rd: passing or being passed by a Semi will cause trailer sway......something that can be anticipated and expected.
4th: Applying trailer brakes will help straighten trailers out as long as T.V. speed is maintained or increased.
5th: You're lucky that the Semi Driver was on the ball and prevented a tragedy.
6th: Having anything to do with C.W. is a mistake. Hopefully the trailer will be totaled and you can start out with a new one, properly equipped from a trusted dealer.
We're responsible to tow as safely as possible. That includes proper safety,maintenance and ability. With the huge influx of new RV'rs there are some who don't have the ability or the ambition to learn how to tow safely.
The God's honest truth is if you can't do it safely with the right equipment........don't do it. I've worked too many fatal accidents including with children. We're not the only ones out there.......we owe it to others to do it right.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:54 PM   #75
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Loss Control

There's an article on the web (found it and read it years ago and have lost my copy since) written by a claims investigator for an insurance company. He'd investigated many trailering accident over the years and noticed strong patterns.


The accidents often involved towing with no sway control or friction sway control. He'd consequently become a proponent of cam-action sway control, such as seen on the Reece Strait-Line hitches.



Giving it some thought, this makes sense: the cams on the Reece start out with a load that is adjustable with the trunnion bars and this trailer-centering load *increases* as sway starts. As the trailer gets out of line, it feels a force pushing it back into line straight behind the tow vehicle. With the typical friction sway reducers, as the trailer starts to sway the friction reducing the tendency of the trailer to move off center markedly *decreases*. (Think back to high school physics and wooden blocks sliding down ramps - the coefficient of sliding friction is lower than the coefficient of static friction.) And nothing in the friction systems can exert a force to put the trailer back where it belongs.


The second point he made was that air suspensions were often a contributing factor.


My own (much less valuable) observation is that many folks get hit, and get hard, by wind. Here in Colorado, there's a turn at the bottom of the Kenosha pass (going west) where you'll often get hit by a blast of wind blowing 30~50 MPH. I used to live in the mountains and drove this pass frequently. Having been hit myself, I got in the habit of leaving a big gap between me and the car ahead (it's two lanes - nobody beside you unless an idiot tries to pass across the solid line) and "enjoying the show" as they blew across the road (westbound) or onto the shoulder (eastbound).


25 years ago, on a business trip, I got up in Pueblo Colorado to drive to the old Denver airport to make a 9 o'clock flight. The weather was good in Pueblo when I left before 6am. Not far north of Pueblo, the wind came up and the snow started. A half an hour later, the west wind was moving the snow sideways across I-25. I started counting vehicles off the road to the east... not vehicles stopped on the shoulder, but vehicles way off the road, plainly blown there. I counted 21, mostly (60%?) tractor-trailers. This was before I got to Colorado Springs and the weather *really* got bad and I quit counting.


Another curious thing about Colorado - we often do not have guard rails. Makes snow plowing difficult. In good weather, this helps with the scenery viewing. In bad weather, it really frays your nerves - unless you slow down, of course.
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:36 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ret.LEO View Post
1st: Anybody who are on these forums much learn that a WDH with anti sway is a must. Small lightweight trailers need them just as much if not more than larger heavier trailers.
No... just wrong. Many loss-of-control collisions occur with WDH and sway control devices; they are useful for specific purposes, but are not magic fixes nor required for all rigs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ret.LEO View Post
2nd: You were travelling too fast (as you found out) unless you had on Goodyear Endurance tires you were probably over the speed rating of your tires.
Do you sell Goodyear tires? The Endurance is not the only (or the first) trailer-rated tire with a speed rating higher than 65 mph which is the default for the ST standards. Also, unless a tire failed, tire speed rating was not the cause of the lack of control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ret.LEO View Post
3rd: passing or being passed by a Semi will cause trailer sway......something that can be anticipated and expected.
It will cause a disruption; that will only become sway (inadequately damped oscillation) if the tug and trailer rig is unstable under the current conditions.
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:41 PM   #77
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... The second point he made was that air suspensions were often a contributing factor.
I think that's just nonsense. The vast majority of heavy trucks (tractor-trailer rigs) have air suspension. This may have been based on some sort of reasonable logic, but without context (no original article source) there's no way to know what led to this odd conclusion.
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Old 03-27-2019, 06:18 PM   #78
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I towed a 17B with a fairly light vehicle (a 2010 RAV 4 Sport (V6 & tow package) for 85,000 miles without sway. Trailer weight was kept at 3010 lbs, tongue weight at 345 lbs. Towing speed was typically 57MPH.

When I switched to a Tacoma, I let the trailer weight go up to 3100 lbs, & the tongue weight to 360 lbs, and I upped the towing speed on interstates to 63MPH. Added another 15,000 miles without sway.

With both tow vehicles, when passed by a truck, bus or class A RV, I would notice a small "wiggle" that did not require any steering correction. I even notice the same thing (maybe a little less) towing the 21 with an F 150. Again, this is not sway, just the effect of the air column pushed by the other vehicle.
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Old 03-27-2019, 06:18 PM   #79
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Not I. I've had two occasions in ten years to abruptly change lanes. Both times I felt the trailer sway left and then right and then settle down immediately. I don't know that one could call it sway since it was the trailer reacting to the rapid lane change.
I do have a Pro Series weight distribution hitch, without the optional sway bars.
I try to travel at 90 KPH ( 56 MPH ) to save fuel. I have towed at 120 KPH ( 75 MPH ) for short distances when it was safer to keep up with the traffic flow.
Thanks for your info and help.

I checked the GCVR for my vehicle (2012 RAM 1500 Big Horn) and it is 15,500 lbs. The max. trailer tow weight is 9,900 lbs. So I am well below that with the 17B (4000 lbs GVWR). Dodge recommends a weight distributing system for trailers over 5,000 pounds, so I am below that too. Still, it pays to drive cautious.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:48 PM   #80
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Here is a conundrum to me: Many/most/all European/German vehicles do not allow weight distribution hitches yet many have 5,000, 7,000 lb or more tow rating and 500 to 700 lb or greater tongue weight rating.



What is different there than in North America? More towing accidents in Europe? Lower speed limit when towing? Cars built differently or with systems that handle towing without weight distribution. They don't tow travel trailers or if they do the trailers are very small, way less than 7,000 pounds.



Maybe the European transportation industry, car manufacturers and regulators just haven't figured out that weight distribution hitches reduce accidents? I guess this could be but I think their regulators are as safety minded as anyone.



I suppose there is a regulation somewhere in North America that requires weight distribution hitches since they are so much safer. Yes?


I really wish I knew the answer. I have to assume their cars have independent braking to each wheel and have figured it out but I don't know. I know their headlight adjust when the vehicle is not level whether due to cargo or trailer hitch loading.
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