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RV trailer sway is a scary but preventable part of pulling a camper behind your vehicle. Trailer sway can be dangerous because it affects handling. Installing an RV anti-sway bar system is the best way to control swaying or fishtailing from an RV trailer, but it's important to install the right system for your particular trailer.
Friction sway-control devices are made up of a bracket that attaches to the trailer frame, a friction assembly with an adjustable friction plate and a slide bar. When properly installed, the friction sway-control mechanism creates a triangle between the sway assembly, the hitch system and the trailer frame. The sway-control assembly works as a variable length side of the triangle. When turning, the assembly allows the side to extend, but when braking no movement is permitted. Two friction sway-control assemblies can be installed for increased stability, if necessary.
Friction sway-control systems place a lot of stress on an RV trailer's frame, however. They are not recommended for trailers with surge brakes or for trailers with A-frames with less than .08 inch wall thickness.
Reese Dual Cam Sway Control
Reese Dual Cam Sway Control systems have more parts than a friction sway-control system, but they are contained in a complete unit, which makes for easy installation. The unit comes with two separate units that mirror each other, one for each side of the trailer. One end of the unit attaches to the trailer with a U-bolt and the other end is attached to the hitch. This type of sway control system is recommended for large trailers or trailers with heavy hitch weights. RV trailers 28 feet in length or longer are suitable candidates for a Reese Dual Cam Sway Control system.
Long trailers tend to have sway issues due to their size and weight. A friction sway-control system can be installed in combination with a Reese Dual Cam Sway Control system for additional stability.
Trailer Hitches and Loading
The most common cause of trailer sway is improper hitch weight. When loading an RV trailer, 12 percent to 15 percent of the total weight -- trailer plus load weight -- should be on the hitch. Trailer sway increases when this percentage drops below 10 percent or exceeds 17 percent.
- "Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual"; 4th Edition; by Bob Livingston; 2002
Lynda Altman started writing professionally in 2001, specializing in genealogy, home-schooling, gardening, animals and crafts. Her work has appeared in "Family Chronicle Magazine" and "Chihuahua Magazine." Altman holds a B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts and a certificate in genealogy.