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Old 08-03-2013, 07:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
I think what twisty is saying is that it is an improperly loaded camper that sways- nothing to do with the WDH.

I, too, have had the same wonderings. If a camper wants to sway, it's going to push on the hitch and try to sway. If the Hensley/Pro-pride stop it form swaying, is the camper still *trying* to sway and putting undue force on the hitch?

Would it be better to eliminate sway first at the camper level and then have a better towing experience with the Hensley/Pro-pride?

(Obviously, I have no dog in this fight as a fifth wheel owner. Just curious.)
I live in an area where trailers are on the highway coming into Ontario and have seen lots of new trailers swaying and they are empty. Here is one of the best explanations you will find

Trailer Sway Causes

Now that we have some of the common terminology out of the way let's talk about the typical causes of trailer sway. Keep in mind that trailer sway is a multivariate condition. Any one of these causes may not cause a trailer to sway. However, when more than one of these causes is present, a trailer is sure to begin to sway unless acted upon by an opposing force.

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 allow 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.

Bad Roads - With any type of travel across this great country you'll realize there are quite a few roads that need work. These uneven, poor roads can make a trailer become unbalanced and cause it to pivot on the hitch ball creating a tow angle.

Downhill Travel - Towing downhill can allow your trailer to roll faster than the tow vehicle. The tow vehicle is geared to slow down when you let your foot off the accelerator. However, trailers are not equipped with this feature. When the trailer is traveling at a higher rate of speed than the tow vehicle it can begin to yaw.

Poor Trailer Design - The fact is that some trailers are designed better for towing than others. Trailer design includes a lot of different variables that need to be addressed to properly balance the trailer for towing. Even with a good trailer design the designer can have a hard time determining what the optimal layout of the trailer should be because of the added dimension of the trailer being used by so many different customers.

Improper Loading - Trailers are very sensitive to where you place your load your cargo. Your black and gray water tanks, your supplies, your clothing and anything else you carry with you will change the weight of the trailer and how that weight is distributed throughout your towed combination.

Poor Weight Distribution Hitch Adjustment - When a weight distribution hitch is not adjusted properly it can cause your trailer to have either too much tongue weight or not enough tongue weight to avoid inducing sway.

Borrowed from a popular site to help people increase their knowledge and make sensible decisions.

[Moderator Note: The original article can be found here at]

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Old 08-03-2013, 07:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Twisty View Post
"You can set up WD hitches correctly and still experience sway."
That is true if the weight distribution of the trailer is so poor that sway still happens.

"Would it be better to eliminate sway first at the camper level and then have a better towing experience with the Hensley/Pro-pride?"
Precisely. There can be no intelligent argument against having the trailer set up properly to eliminate unwanted handling characteristics.

I'm done and I am out.
No need to shout it is only a discussion!

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Old 08-03-2013, 07:21 AM   #13
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this threads was more to identify the negative energy that gets transferred to the TV without dissipation. Meaning with a standard hitch, the sway may save the components of the TV and possible the TT as well over time. If you have a force that is exerted on an object at the same point over and over, over time there will be something that gives or "breaks".

I understand the fundamentals of the hitch and how it works...just wondering if there any negative consequences..

I.E. brake issues, transmission problems, Etc.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:43 AM   #14
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I've had the Equal-i-zer and the Hensley on the same camper/truck combo. I know with the 4 point, there was still some element of sway, but it was quickly controlled by the hitch. I still had a real firm sense the trailer was back there and kept an eye on it at all times in the mirrors.

Now, with the Hensley, I get a more "relaxed" driving experience. More of, one hand on the steering wheel like a "normal" drive. I still keep an eye on the mirrors every now and then, but don't feel the trailer as much.

Yes, you still feel the semis, just a bit, and one drive through Kansas was still very concerning (20-40mph crosswinds, with gusts). Awning were being ripped off campers on the road that day. We stopped at JJJ campgrounds and a Class-A, and a Class-C there both had the smaller slide awnings ripped off/ broken from the side winds.

As far as the engineering of the control of forces, there is only one point of contact on your vehicle, the hitch receiver. All forces have to go through that point. I installed a rear view camera to keep an eye on the Hensley the first trip out, and you do see the hitch head move around a bit, but that is not felt in the truck. With the equalizer, when it moved, you immediately felt it, hence the hands at 10/2 all the time. The orange head floats on a set of trapezoid pivots above the black part that goes into the vehicle. The two parts virtually project the pivot point and forces forward in regards to the campers perspective. Same real point of contact on the truck.

This is only my perspective of what I've seen with actually using both types of hitches, and I'm just a country boy living in the city now.

I've read a bunch of these types of threads, and most take the same direction this one has. There will be strong opinions put forward, but I've yet to see a posting on a thread of someone who has used both say they prefer the conventional type over the Hensley/3P type.

I found one 3P user had experienced hitch head failure due to poor welds on the stinger. Poor, non penetrating welds would have probably failed on any hitch head. Hensley won't make an adjustable hitch head for their brand, but thousands of 3P users, with the one exception I found, are safely using them every time they tow. And FYI, shortly after getting my first camper, I found one thread on an equalizer that failed at the bracket/sway control points as well. I actually carried an extra bracket with me after I found that.

Honestly, I think we all reach a point where we are comfortable with our vehicle/hitch/camper setup. I don't think, my opinion only from what I've read/researched, the Hensley/3P will damage our vehicle any more than a conventional hitch. Yeah, I could use a Freightliner to tow a popup, but I got's what I got's and am good with it, myself.

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Old 08-03-2013, 08:50 AM   #15
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Interesting that the article quoted above specifically calls out WDH hitches when campers can sway without them (in cases where they're not needed). For instance, on my Coleman pop-up a WDH wasn't an option. I did have a friction sway bar on it that helped.

But the poor trailer design is an interesting point- I was guilty of never actually weighing the camper, but it didn't matter how we loaded it, it swayed unless the friction bar was tightened down quite a bit.

But, DDC- what I'm gathering from the quoted article is that sway is a multitude of factors and trailer loading is just one of many. I can see the argument being that sway can't be eliminated by loading and tongue weight alone. And thus, the sway control or elimination has to be implemented via mechanical means (ie, Hensley/Pro-pride).

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Old 08-03-2013, 07:46 PM   #16
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I have enjoyed reading the post. In my case my Jeep was the week point all the way around. But we use it as a every day driver didn't want to upgrade to safely tow the trailer. I tried with the help of this forum to redo the setup. With a lot a help it was better. But with high wind and speed over 60 miles per hour and passing big trucks. When all three factors at the same time it pushed my driving skills to the max.
The hitch made all three factor go away at the same time. I do say wind over 30 miles per hour we slow down just for safety not because of sway. One more thing the tires seemed to make a big change also. The tires that are installed from the factory will help make some sway

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