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I would assume that you will be towing with an equalizer hitch of some type and those do provide at least some antisway, but I would still recommend use of more. I use the Curt friction sway control on our trailer. 

Welcome to the forums!

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!! There are a number of antisway devices on the market and all seem to have their devotees. With a 27' Travel Trailer, you will likely need a weight distribution hitch and sway control. Many sway control devices attempt to control sway by friction or other damping means. The Hensley Arrow, Propride Hitch and Pullrite Hitch actually change the leverage point of the trailer on the tow vehicle making it more difficult for sway to occur rather than trying to dampen the sway. They are more expensive than the other combination weight distribution and sway control hitches.

Again, welcome to the Escapees forum!!!

 

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A couple of mid-line priced WD hitches that are very popular are the Equalizer Hitch and the Blue OX hitch.  Both are in the $500 range.  A few nice ones available on craigslist at times for a good price.

The Equalizer is reported to be a little noisy but works very well on the road.

 The advantage to the Blue Ox seems to be the option to change the hitch bar stiffness based on your tongue weight should you change trailers down the road.  

I just went to the Blue Ox with the 1000lb bars for my 30' arctic fox, gross weight at 10,000 with hitch weight around 750-800.  

Both of these hitches allow you to back up without removing the anti-sway device on some other hitches.  You can do a google search on both hitches and their is a lot of info available.

Good luck with your decision.

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On 4/13/2017 at 6:22 PM, barlow46 said:

A couple of mid-line priced WD hitches that are very popular are the Equalizer Hitch and the Blue OX hitch.  Both are in the $500 range.  A few nice ones available on craigslist at times for a good price.

The Equalizer is reported to be a little noisy but works very well on the road.

 The advantage to the Blue Ox seems to be the option to change the hitch bar stiffness based on your tongue weight should you change trailers down the road.  

I just went to the Blue Ox with the 1000lb bars for my 30' arctic fox, gross weight at 10,000 with hitch weight around 750-800.  

Both of these hitches allow you to back up without removing the anti-sway device on some other hitches.  You can do a google search on both hitches and their is a lot of info available.

Good luck with your decision.

I'm curious how satisfied you are with your Blue Ox hitch.  It just isn't intuitively obvious to me how its design really does much in the way of sway control.  Do you have any evidence that it prevents sway as good or better than the Equal-i-zer?  Also, have you been able to transfer a large percentage of the hitch weight with their spring bars?

I've been towing with an Equalizer for over 10 years and I'm pretty satisfied with it.  Through quite a bit of experimentation I've been able to "dial-in" all the adjustments and get rid of all the irritating noises.  Also, I've found the company really stands behind their product.  They are very responsive  when I have questions and they've replaced several parts that have failed free of charge regardless of the age of the unit.

I do not have any problems with sway using this unit.

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I used the Equal-i-zer for years with previous trailers and was very happy with it. I would recommend it to anybody. However it got to where it was harder for me to deal with the heavy bars and started looking for an easier way when we got our current trailer and ended up going with the Andersen. It is a bit different but works amazing well and is very easy to hook and unhook: much easier than the traditional set-ups. The anti-sway part works flawlessly. At least check out their website and see what you think. http://www.andersenhitches.com/catalog/andersen-nosway-weight-distribution-hitch.aspx

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37 minutes ago, theeyres said:

I used the Equal-i-zer for years with previous trailers and was very happy with it. I would recommend it to anybody. However it got to where it was harder for me to deal with the heavy bars and started looking for an easier way when we got our current trailer and ended up going with the Andersen. It is a bit different but works amazing well and is very easy to hook and unhook: much easier than the traditional set-ups. The anti-sway part works flawlessly. At least check out their website and see what you think. http://www.andersenhitches.com/catalog/andersen-nosway-weight-distribution-hitch.aspx

I looked into the Anderson a year or two ago.  I can understand how it might be very effective controlling sway but the geometry of the chains in tension horizontally vs. having vertical tension as with most other weight distributing hitches convinced me that it would not be nearly as effective as the Equalizer for weight distribution.  Some internet research and conversations on other forums confirmed my suspicion.

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After looking at the various options, I elected to go with the Blue Ox (ours a 750#).  Bretz RV in Billings, MT is who we purchased the TT from and they sell lots of them.  Their sales and parts folks highly recommended the Blue Ox over the other two they carried; this based on customer feedback.  I would really need to drive this same TT with the other competing hitch systems to ever know what if any difference.  Blue Ox has a pretty good name in the TOAD haul systems, so I felt like this choice was a pretty safe one.

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Thanks for reporting back on your decision.  Please let us know later how you like it.

----ron

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Well, having just returned from our first long distance trip with the TT, here are my impressions about the Blue Ox Load Equalizer/Anti-sway system.  We traveled down I-15 from Dillon, MT to southern UT to see Zion and Bryce NP's.  Our fist leg was from home to Springville, UT.  The truck/TT handled very well and except for the semi-truck passing effect was a pleasant drive.  The winds were quite moderate (<10 mph) along that leg and most off our nose.

The second leg from Springville to Leeds, UT started out windy and grew worse along the way.  Heading into Beaver, local WX had steady wind off at about our 2 o'clock at 22 mph with gusts to 35 mph.  While controllable and no appearance that the TT was fish-tailing back and forth, it was not a fun drive and I felt like we were being pushed around a bit.  We stopped at Beaver for a break and lunch as WX forecast had winds diminishing later in the afternoon.  They did a little but not much making the rest of the drive stressful.

The Blue Ox system was installed by Bretz RV in Billings where we purchased the TT.  As hooked up, it rides almost level and appears to be arranged correctly - though some information I'm now reading makes me wonder if I do not have enough weight on the tongue.  They sold us the 750 lb. tongue weight tension/stabilizer bars which are within the 7500 GW of the TT with max cargo load (which I'm pretty sure we were not). 

In all fairness, I really need to get the packed TT axle and hitch weighed to see if I might be hitch light.  I plan to contact Blue Ox tomorrow and discuss my experience with them.  I will say that if this is the best the Blue Ox system affords, I'm not too impressed and the wind conditions noted above would be all I'd care to battle.

Now it could just be that this is beyond the capability of this or many other anti-sway systems?  Not having experience with other TT hitch systems, I simply don't know.  For instance, would the Hensley system (often touted as the best) or the Curt Friction system have made these driving conditions easy?

Would like to hear what kind of wind conditions your particular system can handle - or what you simply won't try to tow in regardless.

 

Edited by freestoneangler
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34 minutes ago, freestoneangler said:

... would the Hensley system (often touted as the best) or the Curt Friction system have made these driving conditions easy?

Would like to hear what kind of wind conditions your particular system can handle - or what you simply won't try to tow in regardless...

We have had a Hensley since 2007. First towing  a 27' box (30' overall) trailer GRWR 7500# and since 2013 a 29' box (32' overall) trailer GVWR 9880#. Passing trucks going in the opposite direction at 60-65 MPH has never been an issue. Depending on the width of the highway, I may experience a sideways push similar to when driving a van or box truck. Cross winds and quartering winds have never been a problem. About a month ago coming across central Kansas, we had a quartering wind (10-11 o'clock) that gusted up to 45 MPH according to the Weather Channel. No problem with sway or handling, but the gusts were strong enough that the slide topper unfurled several times making me think the spring had broken. I had to slow to 50-55 MPH because of the slide topper not any issue with the stability of the trailer. 

I will also note that until this September I was towing with a 2500HD crew cab long bed that has about as long a wheelbase as you can get in a pickup. I am now towing with a 3500HD Single Rear Wheel crew cab long bed with a similar wheelbase.

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6 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

We have had a Hensley since 2007. First towing  a 27' box (30' overall) trailer GRWR 7500# and since 2013 a 29' box (32' overall) trailer GVWR 9880#. Passing trucks going in the opposite direction at 60-65 MPH has never been an issue. Depending on the width of the highway, I may experience a sideways push similar to when driving a van or box truck. Cross winds and quartering winds have never been a problem. About a month ago coming across central Kansas, we had a quartering wind (10-11 o'clock) that gusted up to 45 MPH according to the Weather Channel. No problem with sway or handling, but the gusts were strong enough that the slide topper unfurled several times making me think the spring had broken. I had to slow to 50-55 MPH because of the slide topper not any issue with the stability of the trailer. 

I will also note that until this September I was towing with a 2500HD crew cab long bed that has about as long a wheelbase as you can get in a pickup. I am now towing with a 3500HD Single Rear Wheel crew cab long bed with a similar wheelbase.

Did you tow those same TT's with a different hitch system - or always had the Hensley?

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1 hour ago, freestoneangler said:

Did you tow those same TT's with a different hitch system - or always had the Hensley?

I bought the Hensley from the start. I invested a fair amount in the truck and trailer. Skimping on safety equipment was not in my plan. I also replaced the cheap OEM tires on both trailers (even though they were new) and installed a tire pressure monitoring system before heading out on cross country trips.

A couple of things I like about the Hensley not related to sway control are that the weight distribution is adjustable from zero to the maximum of the spring bars by simply screwing or unscrewing the tensioners which can be done with an electric drill. When unhooking, the spring bars and sway control stay on the trailer. No disassembly required. The draw bar does not even have to be removed from the truck although it does protrude from the hitch and is a shin cracker if you forget it is there. 

 

Edited by trailertraveler

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19 hours ago, freestoneangler said:

Well, having just returned from our first long distance trip with the TT, here are my impressions about the Blue Ox Load Equalizer/Anti-sway system.  ..........  They sold us the 750 lb. tongue weight tension/stabilizer bars which are within the 7500 GW of the TT with max cargo load (which I'm pretty sure we were not). 

.......Would like to hear what kind of wind conditions your particular system can handle - or what you simply won't try to tow in regardless.

Thanks for reporting back on your experience with the Blue Ox. As I said in a prior post on this thread I still can't see any design feature of that hitch that would work to mitigate sway.  I tried to find a technical explanation of how/why it "eliminates sway", as they tout in the marketing literature, but I fail to see any explanation.  I've been using the Equal-izer system for over 10 years and have never felt unsafe driving it in any wind conditions.  I don't have specifics on winds and direction but about the only time I recall pulling off the road because of wind was a couple occasions when I saw commercial semi trucks doing the same.  

Regarding the 750# rating of the hitch; that just barely allows you to have 10% of the gross trailer weight on the hitch.  If you intend to full-time with this trailer you might find yourself loading it to nearly its full capacity.  In my experience you'll get better/safer handling with 12% to 15% of the weight on the hitch.

I wouldn't doubt that the Hensley hitch is probably the best you can get but it is far more expensive than the Equal-izer and for the size/weight of our trailer I've never felt the need for anything better than the Equal-izer.

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I hate to be the lone person out here but we use the Andersen and have been if very windy conditions...think AZ winds with 40 mph gusts or more and absolutely no white nuckle experiences. I have yet to hear from anybody using the system that has complaints...only from people who read what others think that haven't actually used it. In fact we recently convoyed with a group and when we got to our destination several in MH's were complaining about getting blown all over the road and we didn't even notice the wind.

But don't trust the dealer to set up your system correctly, either. Read the manual and do your own adjusting. For one, when the dealer sets it up, the trailer is empty. Now it's loaded. Big difference.

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 3:38 PM, Ron said:

Thanks for reporting back on your experience with the Blue Ox. As I said in a prior post on this thread I still can't see any design feature of that hitch that would work to mitigate sway.  I tried to find a technical explanation of how/why it "eliminates sway", as they tout in the marketing literature, but I fail to see any explanation.  I've been using the Equal-izer system for over 10 years and have never felt unsafe driving it in any wind conditions.  I don't have specifics on winds and direction but about the only time I recall pulling off the road because of wind was a couple occasions when I saw commercial semi trucks doing the same.  

Regarding the 750# rating of the hitch; that just barely allows you to have 10% of the gross trailer weight on the hitch.  If you intend to full-time with this trailer you might find yourself loading it to nearly its full capacity.  In my experience you'll get better/safer handling with 12% to 15% of the weight on the hitch.

I wouldn't doubt that the Hensley hitch is probably the best you can get but it is far more expensive than the Equal-izer and for the size/weight of our trailer I've never felt the need for anything better than the Equal-izer.

Correction... we have the 1000# spring bars.  The TT's unloaded weight is 5520 with a dry hitch weight of 500.  That's only a 9% hitch weight and most information I read suggests 12-15%.  I did check the TT and TV hitch/ball heights and the TV's hitch sits 1 inch higher than the TT (Blue Ox recommends TV be 1-2 inches higher). 

We are towing with a 2006 Dodge 2500 CTD.  It has air bags which I installed when we had the truck camper.  Firestone recommends keeping a minimum of 5 psi in them and mine had about 10 psi at the time the hitch was installed and on this last trip.  Not certain what effect this may have on performance of the hitch but plan to ask Blue Ox when I call them tomorrow.  I will say that the hook-up/disconnect is easy-beeze and manufacturing quality very good.  If some readjusting and/or weight distribution will make the difference, I'd sure like to make it work. Also unclear is optimum position for the chain link/length.  I was told link #7 by the technician at Bretz RV in Billings,  That will be another question asked tomorrow.  I'll report back on what they say as it may help others using this product.

This video is the best one I've found that explains the design and theory behind both the weight distribution and anti-sway control. 

 

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"This video is the best one I've found that explains the design and theory behind both the weight distribution and anti-sway control. "

Thanks, that video does explain that the only sway control feature incorporated into the design is the tilt of the head which causes a differential tension in the two tension bars when the truck and trailer are not alligned.  Since this added tension would be nearly all in a vertical force vector I'm skeptical that it would really do much to correct the sway in a dynamic situation.  And, I'm not sure why they think this feature is unique since all the hitches I'm familiar with  have this tilted-head  feature.  

They also sort of claim that if sway does does occur the fact that there is no friction feature in the tension bars allows the trailer to move back into alignment with the TV.  Actually this happens with the friction-tension-bar systems also because the tilted head of , e.g., the Equal-i-zer and others, forces the bar on the "inside" of the "turn" to have much higher friction, and the bar on the "outside" of the "turn" to have much less tension, than when the system is in the normally aligned position.

Anyway, I hope this system works out well for you.

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On ‎10‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 5:08 PM, Ron said:

"This video is the best one I've found that explains the design and theory behind both the weight distribution and anti-sway control. "

Thanks, that video does explain that the only sway control feature incorporated into the design is the tilt of the head which causes a differential tension in the two tension bars when the truck and trailer are not alligned.  Since this added tension would be nearly all in a vertical force vector I'm skeptical that it would really do much to correct the sway in a dynamic situation.  And, I'm not sure why they think this feature is unique since all the hitches I'm familiar with  have this tilted-head  feature.  

They also sort of claim that if sway does does occur the fact that there is no friction feature in the tension bars allows the trailer to move back into alignment with the TV.  Actually this happens with the friction-tension-bar systems also because the tilted head of , e.g., the Equal-i-zer and others, forces the bar on the "inside" of the "turn" to have much higher friction, and the bar on the "outside" of the "turn" to have much less tension, than when the system is in the normally aligned position.

Anyway, I hope this system works out well for you.

Wouldn't it be great to see an independent lab or one of the manufacturers that is very confident in their product set up a test bed to evaluate performance of the various WD and anti sway products?  This demo in full scale using a common truck and TT configuration would be very telling.

I spoke with Blue Ox this morning and, based on the information I provided, they feel I am set-up correctly.  About the only change they suggested was to increase the bar tension (another chain link or two) and to verify trailer and tongue weight when loaded.  They asked if my truck had any anti sway feature (which it does not) as they recommend that be disengaged/off when using their hitch.  Also that they have revised the 1-2" height difference, between the TT and TV ball/receiver, to "no more than 1" .  He also asked how much camber/flex I see in the bars when loaded - I never measured them but know they are flexed.  Typical installations are around 2-3" as measured with a straightedge. 

When I see reviews by other Sway-Pro users saying they work good in wind conditions, it keeps my hopes up that some minor adjustment might make the difference :unsure:.

 

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I just made an on-line inquiry to Hensley Hitches last week and have been really impressed by the detailed response from the owner.  He is so confident in his product he'll offers a 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee.  Even more, when I said that I might not be using the TT until late next spring, he offers a delayed start time to the 60 day period.  This because they are currently offering a discount price and he wants folks to get the best of both offers.  They will simply annotate the "start date" on your invoice.  Don't see that much these days!

According to Terry, they have not had one reported mishap (sway roll-over) from thousands of owners using their products over millions of tow miles.  Still, the $2400 price tag is a big jump.  I'm on the fence.  Who has made the switch and what are your impressions with ease of install, hook-up/unhook, noise, and ability to back-up while attached?

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On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 1:02 PM, freestoneangler said:

... what are your impressions with ... hook-up/unhook, noise, and ability to back-up while attached?...

As I said in my previous post, I have had the Hensley from the start. That said, I have towed numerous other types of trailers and do not find aligning the square peg with the square hole that much different than trying to put the ball under the hitch. Most travel trailers are heavy enough that you probably won't be able to horse them around even if you put a wheel on the tongue jack. There is a learning curve. The most difficult situation is when the ground is not level and the truck angle in relation to the hitch changes. In this situation, the spring bars are used to adjust the angle of the hitches receiver box to prevent the drawbar (stinger) from jamming against the top or bottom of the hitch receiver box. When unhooking, the straighter the truck and trailer, the easier the drawbar will disengage from the hitch receiver box. The weight distribution is adjustable from zero to the maximum of the spring bars by simply screwing or unscrewing the tensioners which can be done with an electric drill. When unhooking, the spring bars and sway control stay on the trailer. No disassembly required. The draw bar does not even have to be removed from the truck although it does protrude from the hitch and is a shin cracker if you forget it is there.   The hitch does make some noise on tight turns and when backing. I never hear anything while going down the road. Nothing has to be disconnected or removed to backup. It will execute pretty close to a 90 degree angle when backing.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Found another interesting video of the Hensley - pretty compelling.  This approach is definitely a departure from competitors.  Funny that the handful of various RV dealers we spoke with when we were shopping for TT's never mentioned or offered the Hensley Hitch.  I'm guessing that its price point is simply outside of the markets bell curve? 

I've viewed several of the companies and owner videos showing hook and unhooking.  Definitely more to it than the BlueOx SwayPro.  Also, I should think based on my experience towing that a 45 degree max backing angle would be pretty limiting if not downright problematic (i.e. jammed up at a gas station, parking lot, etc.)?  From what I'm seeing, there is nothing more than the box shape connection bar from the tow truck hitch to the trailer hitch - no frame to mount under the tow truck like its biggest competitor - that's nice. 

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1 hour ago, freestoneangler said:

Also, I should think based on my experience towing that a 45 degree max backing angle would be pretty limiting if not downright problematic (i.e. jammed up at a gas station, parking lot, etc.)? 

My bad, I meant to say 90 degrees. I approach this (maybe even exceed it) every time I back into our home base or my nephew's driveway for the holidays. Because the hitch box extends from the ball and combined with the length of the drawbar, there is less chance of contacting the bumper of the tow vehicle.

They have always sold direct to the customers. In my experience as an owner for ten years now, very few RV technicians even know how to hookup to one and most have never seen one.  No need for hitch locks as I doubt any would be thieves carry a drawbar (stinger) with them.

When we purchased a new trailer a couple of years ago, I had to give the dealer's techs the installation manual so they could transfer the hitch from the old trailer. When I initially purchaser it, I was buying a trailer. I told the dealer that I would pay them Hensley's price plus the hourly rate for the installation (it took them about an hour and I was there). I told them if they could get a discount from Hensley, good for them. I do not have drills that can handle an RV frame which is why I opted to have the dealers install the hitch on both trailers.

Quote

...From what I'm seeing, there is nothing more than the box shape connection bar from the tow truck hitch to the trailer hitch - no frame to mount under the tow truck like its biggest competitor - that's nice... 

That is correct. No spring bars to remove and store. Not sure who Hensley's biggest competitor is? The Pro-pride is a very similar hitch and it is my understanding that it was designed by the same Engineer that designed the Hensley. Both require no attachments to the frame of the tow vehicle has the Pull-rite does.

Edited by trailertraveler

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On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 1:02 PM, freestoneangler said:

...I just made an on-line inquiry to Hensley Hitches last week and have been really impressed by the detailed response from the owner...I'm on the fence.  Who has made the switch and what are your impressions with ease of install, hook-up/unhook, noise, and ability to back-up while attached?...

There are relatively few travel trailer owners that participate in this forum and apparently even less that own or have owned a Hensley hitch or are willing to admit it and share their experiences. I did a search for "Hensley" on another popular RV forum and got 15 pages of hits. Perhaps you would get the information you are seeking by posting your questions on forums frequented by more travel trailer owners.

Edited by trailertraveler

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  •  
On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 1:02 PM, freestoneangler said:

...I just made an on-line inquiry to Hensley Hitches last week and have been really impressed by the detailed response from the owner...I'm on the fence.  Who has made the switch and what are your impressions with ease of install, hook-up/unhook, noise, and ability to back-up while attached?...

In other posts you have indicated that you have mounted a cargo deck to the A frame of your trailer. The Hensley has substantial attachments to the A frame that must be at specific locations based on the length of the spring bars. Have you investigated whether there is enough room on the A frame for both?

Edited by trailertraveler

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5 hours ago, trailertraveler said:
  •  

In other posts you have indicated that you have mounted a cargo deck to the A frame of your trailer. The Hensley has substantial attachments to the A frame that must be at specific locations based on the length of the spring bars. Have you investigated whether there is enough room on the A frame for both?

Good point.  I did notice the additional parts on the frame and that crossed my mind.  I'm going to stay with the Blue Ox for the immediate future and winter travels - simply not enough time to switch. Here is hoping I'm not one who wished I did.

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