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Old 01-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2009
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831BHSS Sway - Looking for advice

I am a proud owner of a 2008 831BHSS Flagstaff. It is so enjoyed with family and freinds. I am not new to towing, but realitivily new to such a large trailer. I use a Equal-izer sway and LD system, but I struggle with its performance.

I tow usually at speeds no more than 65, and even at lower speeds I experience a lot of sway (aghhh - white knuckle driving). The dealer set up the system on my 2008 Expedition, so I assume it was done correctly (this may be my first mistake) - any advice on how to stabilize it better or reduce the sway. I was thinking of a add on friction system. Any suggestions or advice.

I recently tried towing without my automatic load leveler system and seemed to help but did not stop the sway. I have read many forums and hundreds of people use the EQ and are very satisfied, I am not so much.

Any thoughs, suggestions, advice would be helpful.

Happy Camping

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Old 01-11-2009, 03:50 PM   #2
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What do you have for weight dist and sway?

DW, 2 Teen's, 2 Dogs
2006 Chevy Suburban
3.42 Gears
Prodigy Brake Control
Reese 800lb Weight Dist Bars
Dual Cam Sway Control
2008 Rockwood 2701ss
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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Friction sway control would not work well with your size of trailer. Much better off with dual cam Reese or equalizer brand sway control. If you do not have tension set properly on your equalizer bars you will have no sway control.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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I concur with Dezolen, you need either the Equal-i-zer brand with 4-way sway control and weight distribution (if that's not what you have) or the Reese Dual Cam sway control and weight distribution. Don't assume the dealer set your hitch up correctly. Lots of dealers don't know how to set up WD hitches correctly nor do they want to spend the time to do it correctly.

One thing you need to be aware of is that you should have your auto load leveler turned off when the hitch is being set up.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:49 PM   #5
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I have a Rockwood 2701ss which is 32.5 feet. According to the Flagstaff site yours comes in at 33.5 feet. I started towing my trailer with an expedition woth the Reese Dual Cam Sway control, then moved to an F-150 with the same hitch setup. The jump in wheelbase alone (119" vs 138") was huge in helping to control sway.

Now I have moved to an F-250 with the 156" wheelbase and I could not be happier with the setup.

I realize that upgrading the tow vehicle is probably not an option so I would suggest what all others have as far as making sure the hitch is setup correctly. Other than that, take it slow.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:55 AM   #6
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Well first thing is first, :to FRF. I am not familiar with your hitch system but as you can see you already have suggestion and good advise. I experience sway problems with my set up, Reese Weight Distribution and Sway Control. It is one of the best out there, but what I found was that it was installed wrong. The main problem is that the camper was hitched too low from it's level point which effected the spring bars for sway control. Once it was corrected I have not had any more problems with sway.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:22 AM   #7
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I have the 8318 and tow with a 2006 Expedition, close to what you have but I don't have the load leveler package with the Expy. I use the Reese setup and have a friend that is towing using the Equilizer. As others have said, you have to make sure you have lots of friction for that to work. What this means is that you really have to load the bars up. It took several trips to finally get my friends to the point that he felt comfortable.

Make sure you are not loading all your "toys" in the rear of the trailer, you want to keep the tongue weight heavy so that when you load the weight distribution bars (and therefore your friction) you get the maximum benefit.

An additionaly change he made was to get some Load Range E tires. He would inflate them to max when towing then reduce it when not. This helped to soften the ride around town when not towing but help with the sway when towing.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:33 AM   #8
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I also changed the tires on my camper as well from ST205/75R15 load range"C" to ST235/75R15 load range"D" and it makes a difference in control and ride, much better.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:02 AM   #9
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831BHSS Sway - Looking for advice

Thanks to all that responded - with some very helpful information. Here are my set-up Dynamics

-2008 Exp 4x4 Limited 119"WB with auto load leveler
-Hitch and Sway = Equal-I-zer 4way sway and load
-33.5' over all trailer lenght
-Dealer set-up the hitch

It sounds like you obviously cannot rely on the dealer. I have been to the Equal-izer site and pulled the set-up mechanics last year at the end of the season and planned on defering till spring to do it myself.

I generally load the tounge with 4 bikes and 2-30lb propane tanks - I never load the rear end.

In summary - please correct me if I misinterpreted all the great posts:

#1 Set the load and sway system myself - heck with the dealer
#2 Set the load and sway with the EXP levelers off
#3 Defelct the load bars as much as possible -(should I do this to the manuf specifications or does exp tell you to deflect a bit more to increase friction)
#4 Wheelbase width is king. Actaully this is an option next fall.
#5 Load the tounge as much as much as possible.

Couple of other questions?
- Do you recommend pulling with or without the load levelers on?
- Do I bump up the load bars and slightly rise the center more than level?

Again - thanks for the great info!

Happy 2009 Camping
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:32 AM   #10
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How many washers is under the tilt bolt on your hitch? I run a similar setup with my Expedition but the trailer weighs 8400lbs. I would start with 6 washers and add more if needed. You should also be in the 5th hole in the L brackets keeping your bars parallel to the tongue of your trailer. I would also leave the auto load leveling off while doing your initial setup and back on when towing. If the setup is correct you can measure the gap btween you fender well and tires before and after you put the trailer on and they should drop the same front to back. You may also experience alot of popping comeing for the bars and brackets during turns but this is normal and adding a little LITTLE grease will help.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:08 PM   #11
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831BHSS Sway - Looking for advice

Ahhh yes the infamous - whale sounds - yes I get that and I do lube it. Drives my wife crazy and makes the kids laugh.

If I am not mistaken - there are 5 washers. My trailer ULVW is about 7900 and generally run about 8200-8400 - with everything else.

I will give it a shot in the spring. Thanks for the tips.

Any issues with sway, using the Equal-i-zer?
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:38 AM   #12
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You might what to take a look at this," www.The hitch"....look to the far left then go to "towing Info" down near the bottom and check out all three listing, alot of good stuff about towing..
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:01 AM   #13
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Location: West Virginia
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If you want to eliminate sway look into a Hensley Arrow antisway hitch. I towed a 33 ft V-lite with an 06 Expedition using a garden variety load leveling hitch and found the trailer was very hard to control. To make a long story short I am now using the Hensley Arrow and it does as advertised - It eliminates ALL sway. it is pricey but worth it. I would not tow another camper without it.

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