Trailer sway. Load distribution? - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum  

Go Back   Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum > General Tech > Tow Rigs and Trailers
Notices

Reply
 
Share LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-08-2019, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Yota Up's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Member # 57128
Posts: 14,826
Trailer sway. Load distribution?

When it comes to controlling/eliminating sway, what are the most/least effective things?

Are the friction sway bars(little ball next to hitch) the least effective?
Are the weight distribution bars the best?

Can't have a gooseneck because it's a 4runner.


Right now, I'm using the friction sway bar. The trailer tongue sits lower when mounted compared to the rear of the trailer. I'm not assuming that means I'm getting enough weight on the tongue and maybe that's why I still get sway. Feels like the sway bar I got doesn't do much because even when I tighten it a lot I still get sway.

Before I spend an eternity learning about and checking into weight distribution kits I'm wondering if that is a sure fix or not. Thanks.
Yota Up is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 05:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
Registered User
 
TCdawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Member # 189061
Location: Woodstock, Ga
Posts: 141
Trailer sway. Load distribution?

Sounds like you donít have your load weight distributed properly on the trailer.
__________________
TC
Crawling for Reid https://bit.ly/2FYWYcb

Last edited by TCdawg; 08-10-2019 at 03:18 PM.
TCdawg is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Old 08-08-2019, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Member # 86724
Posts: 29,760
WD hitches use the ball as a fulcrum and transfer tongue weight to the front axle.

so if you think you've got too much tongue weight on a smaller/shorter tow rig they're pretty tits.

you need to weigh the tongue weight so you can shop for the appropriate bars. etrailer has a good page on getting your shit all setup right.

buy the wd setup, see how it tows, add sway later if you need it, but my experience with wd hitches says they fix all kinds of bad towing manners on tow rigs that are near the maximum capacity.
__________________
Electricity is really just organized lightning.
87manche is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2019, 05:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Member # 193950
Posts: 1,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCdawg View Post
Sounds like you donít your load weight distributed properly on the trailer.
Yep. Pictures of the load on the trailer?
How far does the tongue drop (in inches) when you put the load on the trailer?
A lack of sufficient tongue weight will negate any form of sway control.

Aaron Z
__________________
At some point you have to accept that lots of naturally-occurring substances can kill you-Solandri
aczlan is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 05:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Yota Up's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Member # 57128
Posts: 14,826
No, I don't think I have too much weight on the tongue.
The reason it dips is simply due to the height of the truck hitch compared to the trailer.

The angle is right about like this picture:


It's not too severe of an angle, and my next trip I'll add weight to the front storage on the trailer and see if that helps. I'm checking amazon and see some WD hitches for around $200.

Not sure how many inches it drops. I'll raise up the tongue until it's level and measure height and then drop it on the ball and measure again for the difference, I take it?
Yota Up is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 06:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
Window Licker
 
bgaidan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Member # 34948
Location: NC Triangle
Posts: 14,650
Blog Entries: 1
Get an Equal-i-zer and be done with it. You can usually find them on CL or FB for half the new price. I bought one way back when I got my first car hauler and never looked back.
__________________
Quote:
I love Dicks and will continue to shop there.
bgaidan is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 06:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Member # 75858
Location: Davisburg, MI
Posts: 541
Don't rush into a WD hitch just yet. I was convinced I needed one and it doesn't help, in fact I think it's worse.

Start by getting your trailer scaled or use the GVW rating.
Then balance your trailer front to back based on looking at the tandem axle equalizer, are the springs compressed evenly and does the trailer look level. This is hopefully how it will ride.

Then measure your tongue weight. I have one of these;
https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-2...SIN=B007REK28M

Put it on a floor jack and gently raise the trailer tongue as close to the ball as possible. Your tongue weight should be 10-15% of your total trailer weight.

Now assuming all of the above works out swell, this is your target tongue height off of the ground.

Next is your hitch ball the right height? Assuming your truck suspension is properly equipped for the load, you should be able to hitch your trailer to the ball and be at the same height as your unhitched height. If not, you should get a different hitch insert with the proper offset.

If you think everything is right, use your floor jack and tongue scale to take the weight off the ball. Is it the right weight? Is it the right height? If so, you do NOT need a WD hitch. I've never had trailer sway using the above process.

Why would you need a WD hitch? If you attach your trailer to the ball and your truck sinks and won't sit level or hold the proper height, a WD hitch will help........... A BUNCH.
__________________
LQ9, Atlas, tons, 8274 & the rest of the usual

Last edited by white-rhino; 08-08-2019 at 06:11 PM.
white-rhino is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 06:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Member # 86724
Posts: 29,760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yota Up View Post
No, I don't think I have too much weight on the tongue.
The reason it dips is simply due to the height of the truck hitch compared to the trailer.

The angle is right about like this picture:


It's not too severe of an angle, and my next trip I'll add weight to the front storage on the trailer and see if that helps. I'm checking amazon and see some WD hitches for around $200.

Not sure how many inches it drops. I'll raise up the tongue until it's level and measure height and then drop it on the ball and measure again for the difference, I take it?
so you need a different hitch insert at the right height then?

again, etrailer has all the instructions for using a bath scale to measure tongue weight.
that's where you should probably start.
__________________
Electricity is really just organized lightning.
87manche is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 07:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Member # 56430
Location: Kitsap County, Washington
Posts: 1,389
Trailer weight, hitch weight, and aerodynamic drag are the three biggest factors in my mind.

I've seen more swaying due to lack of tongue weight.
And second most is due to a small rig towing a giant parachute type trailer behind it. Typically a small SUV towing a Camper-style trailer. Worst, is the Camper-style trailer loaded with camping gear all piled into the back half of the trailer, thereby negating whatever tongue weight the manufacturer built into the trailer.
__________________
TTC 1994, TTCC 2012, Trail Tours '05-'10, '12-'13
Member Eldorado Dust Devils, a PNW4WDA member
Treeclimber is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 07:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Member # 161331
Location: Misery
Posts: 1,606
Put shocks on it. After you do that you will wonder why the fuck trailers don't come with them.
bdkw1 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 08:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Yota Up's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Member # 57128
Posts: 14,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkw1 View Post
Put shocks on it. After you do that you will wonder why the fuck trailers don't come with them.
No kidding. One little pebble in the road and it's bouncing like someone's humping on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
Don't rush into a WD hitch just yet. I was convinced I needed one and it doesn't help, in fact I think it's worse.

Start by getting your trailer scaled or use the GVW rating.
Then balance your trailer front to back based on looking at the tandem axle equalizer, are the springs compressed evenly and does the trailer look level. This is hopefully how it will ride.

Then measure your tongue weight. I have one of these;
https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-2...SIN=B007REK28M

Put it on a floor jack and gently raise the trailer tongue as close to the ball as possible. Your tongue weight should be 10-15% of your total trailer weight.

Now assuming all of the above works out swell, this is your target tongue height off of the ground.

Next is your hitch ball the right height? Assuming your truck suspension is properly equipped for the load, you should be able to hitch your trailer to the ball and be at the same height as your unhitched height. If not, you should get a different hitch insert with the proper offset.

If you think everything is right, use your floor jack and tongue scale to take the weight off the ball. Is it the right weight? Is it the right height? If so, you do NOT need a WD hitch. I've never had trailer sway using the above process.

Why would you need a WD hitch? If you attach your trailer to the ball and your truck sinks and won't sit level or hold the proper height, a WD hitch will help........... A BUNCH.
Well, looks like I certainly need a WD hitch.
Right now my tongue weight is only at 6-7%, and the height at the connection is about 2" lower than it should be.

Getting one of those will take care of both problems because they all come with adjustable hitch heights in addition to the WD bars.

Last question now as I'm looking around Amazon(can't find anything local on CL). Which is a good brand? There's EAZ LIFT, CURT, HUSKY. Also, since I'm only looking at 300-400 tongue weight, I take it I should get the lowest ones at 600 and not a 1000 pound one?

Thanks for all the help. I'm pretty sure this is going to solve all the problems here.

Last edited by Yota Up; 08-08-2019 at 08:58 PM.
Yota Up is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 09:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Member # 55560
Location: Central Valley, CA
Posts: 2,579
Andersen ultimate has a pretty unique WD hitch that I'm thinking about getting for my next toy hauler.
__________________
A bunch of old crap
Mattafact is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 10:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Yota Up's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Member # 57128
Posts: 14,826
https://www.amazon.com/Husky-31422-D...motive&sr=1-22

This is the cheapest one and looks good, but I wonder why they have a low number for the weight. Says "Tongue weight range is 501-800 pounds". So if my tongue weight is only 300-350 pounds, is that bad?

This one is more expensive for lower weight, coming in at "400-600 pounds".
https://www.amazon.com/Husky-31421-D...omotive&sr=1-8

Weird. Should I be spending extra money for a lower weight one or?
Yota Up is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2019, 10:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Yota Up's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Member # 57128
Posts: 14,826
On the other hand, if I just forget about the 2 inch height difference I could just get a dual hitch extension for $40 and plug the bike carrier into that. This would increase my tongue weight by 100 pounds since the bikes won't be adding weight to the back of the camper. I'd have the right load on the tongue but would just deal with the trailer not being perfectly level. Could a simple $20 high rise hitch ball be good enough to take care of that? If the sway is no longer a problem and the load is there on the tongue, then is there any reason to be concerned about the tongue height and angle from a WD viewpoint, or is that just for looks because trucks look nicer when level with the road from front to back?

Trailer would be level, and no more sway, but the truck would still be sagging in the rear. Would a WD hitch still offer anything? I really don't understand the weight distribution system enough to have an idea whether or not the other cheap options I mention above accomplish the same end result or not.

Last edited by Yota Up; 08-08-2019 at 11:47 PM.
Yota Up is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 12:58 AM   #15 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Member # 355210
Posts: 1,181
If in doubt, add a couple dumbbells to the front of the trailer. Or anything heavy. A WD hitch only works if you have enough tongue weight. It can't transfer what isn't there.
mwilliamshs is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 03:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Member # 193950
Posts: 1,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yota Up View Post
Well, looks like I certainly need a WD hitch.
Right now my tongue weight is only at 6-7%, and the height at the connection is about 2" lower than it should be.
Getting one of those will take care of both problems because they all come with adjustable hitch heights in addition to the WD bars.
Nope.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwilliamshs View Post
If in doubt, add a couple dumbbells to the front of the trailer. Or anything heavy. A WD hitch only works if you have enough tongue weight. It can't transfer what isn't there.
Exactly. Move weight to the front (you can use 5 gallon buckets full of water or solid cement blocks to test with) and use an insert that makes it sit level before you go out and buy a WD hitch. Otherwise you will just lift your tow vehicle's back tires off of the ground.

Aaron Z
__________________
At some point you have to accept that lots of naturally-occurring substances can kill you-Solandri
aczlan is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 03:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Member # 75858
Location: Davisburg, MI
Posts: 541
I agree with the others, you don't have enough weight, not too much.


For reference, since I am hauling a heavy trailer (26' with 2 jeeps = 14,000 lbs) I went with this. Seemed like the best built product but is probably overkill for you.

https://www.blueox.com/trailer-towing/swaypro/
__________________
LQ9, Atlas, tons, 8274 & the rest of the usual

Last edited by white-rhino; 08-09-2019 at 03:33 AM.
white-rhino is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 04:06 AM   #18 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Member # 203218
Location: Mt. Pleasant, Mi
Posts: 129
I have this one for my enclosed, the friction created from the bars handles the sway. So the more weight you put on them the more sway control you get. With the added bonus of being quiet, even while backing up. 100 times better than dealing with chains and additional sway-away.

I've been cost to coast on this hitch with a previous trailer and I loved it so much I bought another one for my new trailer.

Also they sell up to a 6.5" drop for them which is needed on newer suv's with hidden hitches.

https://www.amazon.com/Fastway-2-poi.../dp/B0071L48Z4
wadey is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 04:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Member # 82644
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 3,154
As others have said. Get trailer level first. Tow the trailer level. Then work on tongue weight and distribution.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
__________________
[QUOTE=xjdoug;9487015]this is like watching a kid stick his finger in a light socket.... sooner or later he's gonna figure out why the rest of us arent doin it...[/QUOTE]
hadfield4wd is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 05:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
Pirate4x4 Addict!
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Member # 9835
Location: Chicago
Posts: 7,102
OP you are lost. You need more tongue weight. Raising the ball will reduce your tongue weight but you should still do it. First of all get a lot more tongue weight. After you raise your ball and get more tongue weight re weigh it. Then get more tongue weight if needed. If I failed to mention it you need more tongue weight.
ChiScouter is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 06:22 AM   #21 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Member # 166653
Location: Greeneville, TN
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yota Up View Post
No kidding. One little pebble in the road and it's bouncing like someone's humping on it.



Well, looks like I certainly need a WD hitch.
Right now my tongue weight is only at 6-7%, and the height at the connection is about 2" lower than it should be.

Getting one of those will take care of both problems because they all come with adjustable hitch heights in addition to the WD bars.
You have several problems going on here that are causing problems.

First is YOU NEED MORE TONGUE WEIGHT! Yes I yelled. it is that important. This is the most important thing when using a bumper hitch trailer. The rule of thumb is 10-15% of your trailer weight should be on the hitch. So if you have a 5000 lbs trailer you need bare minimum 500 lbs of tongue weight. NEVER leave the yard with less than 10% tongue weight. More is better, but don't go over your truck or hitches maximum tongue weight rating. I find that even 15% is a low number as long as your hitch is up for more. You never mentioned what your trailer weighs or what you truck is rated for either so I will use my numbers for example. My truck and hitch can pull 10,000 lbs with 1500 lbs tongue. That means if my trailer is at max I can still put 15% on the tongue. At these maximum numbers I would benefit from a WD hitch. Now if I only have 5000 lbs on the trailer I still need 500 lbs on the tongue but it would not hurt to have 1000 lbs on the tongue even though that would be 20%. Yes I would be over that magic 15% but because my truck is rated for it, the trailer will actually be more stable. However if I hooked this same 5000 lbs trailer to my lighter duty truck that is only rated for 5000/500 I could only run 10% tongue weight. If I put 1000 lbs on the hitch the lighter truck would lose too much weight on the front tires and cause the truck (not the trailer) to sway. So final word on tongue weight, more is better, as long as you don't exceed your hitch and truck limits.

Second, reread the first point. Tongue weight is that important. It could even be the top ten most important things.

Third, is the trailer hitch lower than level before you hook it up, or does the truck sink that much when you hook it up? If the truck is sagging that much you need to readjust your headlights when towing. You may also need some helper springs in the rear. If it is just that you ball rests too low, you need a hitch with less drop or possibly flip your hitch to turn the drop into a rise.

Forth, go back to the first point. More tongue weight is better.

Fifth, wheelbase matters. A short narrow truck with a long tall trailer is easy to back, but unstable on the interstate. Small bumps, and side wind on the trailer amplify up the tongue and have a much more dramatic effect in a short light wheelbase vehicle. Sway control devices help with these effects simular to shocks smoothing out bumps. Shocks on the trailer definitely help also. But the things you feel in a small SUV wouldn't be noticed in a crew cab dually. I am not saying you have to go buy an $80k truck to tow your camper occasionally, but if it is more than an occasional trip, you might want to consider a bigger truck.
4seasons is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 06:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Member # 75858
Location: Davisburg, MI
Posts: 541
sway from too little tongue weight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Dgxe584Ss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mW_gzdh6to

Raising the ball will gain you more tongue weight ~ HOWEVER ~ it will now put too much weight on your rear axle and your trailer will not be level. You need to redistribute the weight of your trailer ~ OR ~ add more weight up front.
__________________
LQ9, Atlas, tons, 8274 & the rest of the usual

Last edited by white-rhino; 08-09-2019 at 06:35 AM.
white-rhino is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 06:49 AM   #23 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Member # 193950
Posts: 1,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
Raising the ball will gain you more tongue weight
False, raising the tongue will reduce tongue weight (think of a box over the axle, as you raise the tongue more of the box is behind the axle and that weight is removed from the tongue weight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
~ HOWEVER ~ it will now put too much weight on your rear axle
It COULD put too much tongue weight. From what I read, the OP has no idea how much tongue weight they have but they think that the need more and they don't know if they are over their vehicle or hitch rating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
and your trailer will not be level.
Its already not level, the tongue is lower than the tail currently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
You need to redistribute the weight of your trailer ~ OR ~ add more weight up front.
Or both.

Aaron Z
__________________
At some point you have to accept that lots of naturally-occurring substances can kill you-Solandri
aczlan is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 07:02 AM   #24 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Member # 75858
Location: Davisburg, MI
Posts: 541
Quote:
Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
False, raising the tongue will reduce tongue weight (think of a box over the axle, as you raise the tongue more of the box is behind the axle and that weight is removed from the tongue weight.
Raising the ball adds tongue weight. You are NOT redistributing the weight from the front to rear as in the videos. Try lifting the front of the trailer. The higher you raise it, the heavier it gets. Did you see my post above showing the scale I use? I can guarantee you that using the scale, while lifting it higher with a floor jack increases tongue weight. Been there, done that.

It COULD put too much tongue weight. From what I read, the OP has no idea how much tongue weight they have but they think that the need more and they don't know if they are over their vehicle or hitch rating.


Its already not level, the tongue is lower than the tail currently. If the tongue is lower than the tail, raising it up will both level it out properly AND increase tongue weight.


Or both.

Aaron Z
One thing that has not been clarified (or I missed it) is are we talking about a single or dual axle trailer?
__________________
LQ9, Atlas, tons, 8274 & the rest of the usual
white-rhino is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2019, 07:20 AM   #25 (permalink)
Zeus of the Sluice
 
arse_sidewards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Member # 256962
Location: People's Republic of Taxachusetts
Posts: 3,522
Quote:
Originally Posted by white-rhino View Post
Raising the ball adds tongue weight. You are NOT redistributing the weight from the front to rear as in the videos. Try lifting the front of the trailer. The higher you raise it, the heavier it gets. Did you see my post above showing the scale I use? I can guarantee you that using the scale, while lifting it higher with a floor jack increases tongue weight. Been there, done that.
Have you never tipped a boat trailer to help the bilge drain?

In a dual axle trailer with rusted to fuck equalizers that don't equalize sure it will increase tongue weight since you're lifting some of the weight the front axle was holding but that's about it.
arse_sidewards is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

** A VERIFICATION EMAIL IS SENT TO THIS ADDRESS TO COMPLETE REGISTRATION!! **

Email Address:
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.