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Old 07-25-2016, 07:32 PM   #1
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Need for Weight Distribution, Sway Control?

Hi. I am towing a Viking 17FQ, dry weight about 2800 lbs., loaded 3400 lbs. My tow vehicle is a 2016 Toyota Highlander with tow package and a 5000 lb. towing capacity. This is my first travel trailer having previously towed an Aliner pop up. We have taken the camper from IL to FL and now plan a trip over the Rockies to Zion National Park.

So far the Highlander seems adequately powered to tow the camper, but I find myself being "sucked in" to semis as they pass. Granted I am relatively inexperienced towing a TT with much more wind resistance than my pop up.

When purchased the camper dealer said that I didn't need any load leveling or sway control. I am now considering adding those elements. What is your opinion and if I should what should I get? I haven't really felt much sway, but the "sucking in" make both me and my spouse nervous. All opinions will be appreciated.
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:57 PM   #2
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I highly recommend you add the WDH and sway bar. You don't have to use it for short trips if you're ok without it, but it would help relieve "some" of the sway "suck."
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:11 PM   #3
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We have a very similar setup; FJ Cruiser towing a Vibe 6501. The Vibe came with a Blue Ox WDH and it works well, however, the "suck in" you are experiencing is still present. The side blast off large vehicles first pushes the rear of the TT to the right (the wheels/axle is the pivot point) and then as they pass the blast pushes the front of the TT. It feels like the TV wants to veer right, then left into the semi. The faster the other vehicle is moving, the more severe the effect.
Even with the WDH, things feel a bit squirrelly over 65 mph. For us it can be a reason to avoid 70+ mph interstate highways.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:46 PM   #4
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In addition, I'd take anything else that dealer said with a grain of salt.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:55 PM   #5
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I would NEVER tow a full height TT, with a short wheelbase vehicle like the Highlander or FJ, without a good WDH with sway control.

Your dealer is an Idiot.
You're pulling a 8'x10' sail through the air.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:09 AM   #6
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A WDH will NOT eliminate the effects of winds, drafts and such, BUT it will greatly reduce effects you feel.
As pjnlorrie said, as the camper tries to swing on the hitch like a pendulum, the force transferred, pivoting on the TV rear axles, tries to push the front of the TV in the opposite direction.
Several factors can combine to make this worse...
1 A shorter wheel base or lighter TV is effected more
2 Lighter style suspension systems
3 Heavier trailer and or tongue weight will increase the effect
4 Your steering input reaction. (chasing the front end...Bad)
5 Braking during a sway event (major problems)

All 5 added together in a bad way and you may end up like my Grandparents .....hanging upside down along side the interstate. (funny now as no injury)
Adding a WDH (I highly recommend a dual cam set up) Will decrease the pendulum effect, and by transferring forces to front end off the rear axle, give a more controlled handling feeling
Number wise you don't look bad, but your close to 75% of your TV capacity without mention of what you have in the truck.

My personal opinion a dual cam WDH would be a very good investment for both comfort and safety.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:22 AM   #7
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If anyone ever told me I didn't need sway control, I'd look at them like they were nuts and buy it anyway. My uncle's family also ended up upside down in the side of an interstate in Florida after a semi passed them. No sway control, no injuries, TT totaled.

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Old 07-26-2016, 12:00 PM   #8
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like others have said, sway control and WDH might make for a more comfortable tow.

The other thing I have learned is to edge to the far side of my lane when a semi passes. (staying safe of course, especially if you are in a middle lane)
The more of a gap you can keep between you and the truck, the less the effect of the low pressure sucking you in.

Its also good to be prepared for it happening so you can slightly countersteer.
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:26 PM   #9
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Buy the WDH. If you have to question it then you most likely need it. You have a smaller TV but it is more than capable of handling this Trailer. You are well within your tow limits to. Yes it's extra money but think of it this way, if you have a accident or cause one how much would that cost? I know that a WDH will not prevent something from occurring but it can help reduce it. One less thing out of the mix is easier to work with and less stress. Keep in mind also most interstates and hwys are 65-75 and having a semi pass you at those speeds even without a trailer can make you realize how much wind and force semis have. Ok I rambled on enough sorry for that. Just do it and if you ever upgrade you will already have a possible set up.

Good luck
Tim
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yetavon View Post
A WDH will NOT eliminate the effects of winds, drafts and such, BUT it will greatly reduce effects you feel.
As pjnlorrie said, as the camper tries to swing on the hitch like a pendulum, the force transferred, pivoting on the TV rear axles, tries to push the front of the TV in the opposite direction.
Several factors can combine to make this worse...
1 A shorter wheel base or lighter TV is effected more
2 Lighter style suspension systems
3 Heavier trailer and or tongue weight will increase the effect
4 Your steering input reaction. (chasing the front end...Bad)
5 Braking during a sway event (major problems)

All 5 added together in a bad way and you may end up like my Grandparents .....hanging upside down along side the interstate. (funny now as no injury)
Adding a WDH (I highly recommend a dual cam set up) Will decrease the pendulum effect, and by transferring forces to front end off the rear axle, give a more controlled handling feeling
Number wise you don't look bad, but your close to 75% of your TV capacity without mention of what you have in the truck.

My personal opinion a dual cam WDH would be a very good investment for both comfort and safety.
I'll add #6 ~~~ tires. If running P rated tires eliminate them and go to an LT tire. If not running the tires at max rated air pressure that can also help. Your rig would not bother me to pull at all but I'd be sure to have LT tires and an Equalizer 4 point hitch with sway control.
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