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Old 10-16-2014, 02:19 PM   #1
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Sway control or no sway control?

I have seen the question ask on here several times. My canned reply is its cheap insurance. I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Kind of like a fire extinguisher.
I have also seen replies stating that if the tow vehicle is large enough and the camper is small enough that no sway is needed. I thought about this yesterday as I got behind a newer full size F150 pulling a pop-up. I could not believe how this pop-up was swaying! The rear end of it was fish-tailing every which way.
Of course I dont think the driver was helping matters. We were on a 55 mph road, double lanes in each direction. We had just transitioned from 1 lane to 2 lanes and were bottled up because of a slow moving truck. When we hit the dual lanes this guy took off and I noticed his pup swaying. I got up to about 63-64 just being nosey to see what type of truck he had. He was this close to the rear bumper of the car in front of him. When that car got over in the right lane, the truck accelerated even more. I would see him tap his brakes every so often as he eventually got out of sight. Not sure if he was doing that to try reduce the sway or what. I would think that slowing down and doing the speed limit would have helped him. Obviously I am unsure what was contributing to his sway, but made me glad I decided to go with it on my set up even after several years of no problems without it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:31 PM   #2
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Sounds like a possible future candidate for a Darwin Award...
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:33 PM   #3
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Yea, it's one of those things that you don't need until you need it. I had an incident some years back towing in the rain. I was only doing about 45, visibility was horrible. Then my rear tires on my TV hit a slick spot and went sideways. The trailer went bananas, I thought I was going to lose it. I always wondered what could have happened without the sway control. $100 may have saved my trailer.

I see more small trailers with sway issues than large trailers. I saw a guy flip a small utility trailer once because the sway was so bad.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that there wasn't much in the trailer but some boxes.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #4
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I think that sway is going to happen regardless of the size of the TT and the TV. Sure, with a small TT and large TV the TV may not notice or really feel the sway but that doesn't mean it isn't happening behind you. I suppose it won't throw the TV in that instance but the TT is probably taking a beating with components being worn or damaged prematurely.

I'd rather eliminate the sway as much as possible and the sway control / bars can only help with accomplishing that goal.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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i 100% agree that i would rather have sway control and not need it than need it and not have it; however, for argument's sake... can't sway generally be eliminated by proper loading of the trailer (mostly sufficient tongue weight)? If that's the case, I'd imagine there are many people who have sway control being used more like a band aid or even camouflaging the actual problem.

I guess that's not really an argument against having sway control.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzikaduzi View Post
i 100% agree that i would rather have sway control and not need it than need it and not have it; however, for argument's sake... can't sway generally be eliminated by proper loading of the trailer (mostly sufficient tongue weight)? If that's the case, I'd imagine there are many people who have sway control being used more like a band aid or even camouflaging the actual problem.

I guess that's not really an argument against having sway control.
I never had any on my pup. loaded to camp was maybe 2200lbs. Lots of TW...I work out quite a bit and I can't lift it.

The trailer never swayed at all behind my Rav. It was at one with the TV....thousands and thousands of miles
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:13 PM   #7
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Sure. With precise loading, tweaking of the hitch angle, tire air pressure, and perhaps other factors it is no doubt possible to eliminate sway without a sway controller. But, I would think the sway controller just makes it even easier to accomplish. Also, when conditions deteriorate (i.e.: high winds for example) the sway controller should help to minimize sway that might otherwise begin to occur.

I look at it the same as thinking that bald tires don't necessary slip and slide when the pavement is dry. But, when the conditions are less than good, they are more likely to have a problem than ones with good tread. Nothing is 100% but why not have the sway control if you can?
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:18 PM   #8
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I never had sway issues with my old PUP either. It was 2500# towed behind several different vehicles over a 10 year period. Come to think of it, the only PUPs I've ever seen sway are ones that were nose high on a hitch with no drop. Still, for the cost of a friction sway control bar, it certainly can't hurt to have one.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:29 PM   #9
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I never used sway control on popups
or small 12-16 ft hard sides. But once I went above that I found it necessary.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:04 AM   #10
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It really depends on the camper, and how its loaded IMO. We had a 24' I pulled with my Tahoe and the sway control was necessary. With out it, that camper was all over the place. With our 31', I can't tell the differance. In fact, on our last trip (about 100 miles from home), I towed it there with out sway control on. It was calm weather and the camper didn't move a bit. The way home, it was a windy day (west to N-W winds, and I was traveling primaraly N-S freeway), so I thought it would be best to have it on, but it didn't make much differance. I was still all over the road.
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