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Hello! I am new to owning a "camper". I have always tent camped. I bought a new 2021 Jayco travel trailer. Single axle. I've been given lots of advice of do this or that. I feel like it sways alot. An experienced large camper owner agrees. However, I've also been told that my frame should not be drilled to connect anything to and that I do not need any kind of stabilizer bars for such a small trailer. Any advice here? I'd like to decrease the bunny hopping and sway and not compromise the integrity of the frame. Thanks!

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

Proper tongue weight and level of the trailer can affect how much the trailer sways as can the relationship between the tow vehicle wheelbase and the trailer length. Here are some articles that may help. How to prevent trailer sway, trailer towing, trailer length. One thing that I did not see mentioned in these articles is using the brake controller to apply the trailer brakes without hitting the vehicle brakes. This will help straighten the track of the trailer and reduce the sway. This is the method used in some of the newer tow vehicles that have integrated trailer brake controllers incorporating anti-sway control. 

6 hours ago, BeckyG said:

I've also been told that my frame should not be drilled to connect anything to and that I do not need any kind of stabilizer bars for such a small trailer.

Who told you this? If it was not Jayco, I would contact Jayco and get their recommendations. 

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

Edited by trailertraveler

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There are  many factors that need to be  considered and all have an integral part in towing safety. 

Your tow vehicle. Is  it made  to tow or has it been converted? What  is it's tow capacity?

What is the tongue weight of your trailer and have you filled it with your stuff yet? 

What is the capacity of added weight? 

What is your total weight of the trailer? Is it full of water? Do you have your food and clothing inside? Are you ready for a week long stay or just a night out camping? 

Finally have you ever consistently pulled  something or is this your first experience in dragging something behind a powered vehicle. 

Experience is key, the more you do the more you find out, both good and bad. Keep off the freeways and major roads until you feel you can safely keep up with traffic. Avoid High Traffic times when ever possible and stay in the Right Lane unless you absolutely have  to make a left hand  turn. The better choice is to go past your desired location and make only right turns until you arrive back at the place you want to be. 

Welcome to the forum and enjoy your new camper. 

Rod

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

There is a lot of good information here so far, but to be really accurate about our advice, we really need to know more about your travel trailer and the vehicle that you tow it with. Before you start to make changes, be sure that you are aware of any limits imposed by the trailer. If yours is similar to my current trailer, there are things that could damage the trailer. My trailer is a single axle, ultralite travel trailer that has an aluminum frame and the frame is made of aluminum and the use of an equalizer type of hitch is a violation of all manufacturers warranty due to the stresses from those hitches. It is 19' inside length and about 23' from hitch to bumper with a GVWR of 3800#.

We began towing our trailer with an SUV that was rated to tow up to 5000# and while it did the job, it was also very affected by the trailer, especially in high wind conditions. We now tow the trailer with a Dodge 2500, 4-door  truck and the handling is much improved with no other changes. I do use an add on sway bar that was installed by the RV dealer. Installation of it did not require drilling or welding of the trailer frame and it is important as it greatly lessens the sway fo the trailer due to passing trucks and side winds 

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With this type of kit, all that you need is to bolt everything into place and then add the ball to your hitch for the other end of the friction stabilizer. 

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Tell us a bit more about your tow vehicle and travel trailer and we may be able to help. In my case moving from a tow vehicle that was much heavier than the RV and which has a much longer wheelbase made a tremendous difference in handling.

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9 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I do use an add on sway bar that was installed by the RV dealer. Installation of it did not require drilling or welding of the trailer frame

I'm confused. How and where does the plate with the small ball attach? Looking at an installation video, it appears to be attached to the trailer A-frame with the six lag type screws. Whether they self-drill or require predrilling, that would still result in six holes in the frame. Huskies website does have a model that appears to attach to the frame without drilling, but that looks like a combination sway and weight distribution hitch.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Thanks for all of this information. To answer a few questions.... the camper is "17 foot" but is longer when I manually measured from bumper to bumper. I pull with a 2017 Chev Silverado Z71 four door. The camper is just over 3400 pounds. I did not have water or supplies in it. It got cold and rainy before I had a chance to take it on its maiden camping voyage, so all I have done is pull it around town a bit, drove it home from the dealer on the interstate, and practiced backing and parking in a parking lot. So, yes, I am very green. I've never pulled anything, But that is also why I had my neighbor drive me down the interstate in it to see how it felt to him. He has alot of experience with larger campers. I just want to be safe. I didn't like how it felt when  a semi passed me or when the wind blew. 

Kirk, the pictures you posted.... you said nothing is bolted, but that has a plate with bolts?

Thanks everyone

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Welcome to a friendly and helpful group.

An empty trailer does not pull as well as one that has been packed for travel. Put some gear in it before you try again as that may be enough to decrease the sway.

Linda Sand

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13 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

How and where does the plate with the small ball attach? Looking at an installation video, it appears to be attached to the trailer A-frame with the six lag type screws.

You are correct, except that the plate on mine has only 4 self tapping bolts. I'll take the drilling out of my post.  🥵 At the time of purchase, I asked about the issue and they referred me to a service notice from the trailer manufacturer (KZ) that does allow for that type mounting to the A frame. The tech did say that most A frames are designed to allow for hitch related attachments. It also states that they use of an equalizer hitch is a violation of the frame warranty. 

9 hours ago, BeckyG said:

the pictures you posted.... you said nothing is bolted, but that has a plate with bolts?

I should have mentioned the connection is attached to the A frame. Such is allowed as the A frame area is designed for hitch related attachments on pretty much any travel trailer. Just to be sure, read through the warranty statement for your trailer. The key is that manufacturer's warranty as you don't want to violate it, but your RV dealer isn't likely to do that if you return to him. If you have any doubts, go in and talk to them.

Light weight trailers are more sensitive to wind effects and the same is true for single axle trailers as compared to tandem axle. With only 1 axle there is more front to back rocking motion than with a 2 axle model and that is one of the reasons that higher priced RVs nearly always have 2. In the ultra lite models the total weight being kept down is one of the driving forces and so most shorter ones have only 1 axle. Towing anything will change the handling of your truck, even with the most ideal equipment. Loading the trailer will probably help a little but with your light weight trailer you don't have enough cargo capacity to make a major change in it. You do not want to overload the trailer as exceeding it's design limits can create problems with it. Even the heaviest of trailers is affected by the passing of trucks because you have a big wall along it's length to catch any forces it creates. That will also be true if you tow on a windy day. The sway system in my post will improve that but it will not totally eliminate it as you can't defeat the basic laws of physics. Towing does change the feel and handling of any tow vehicle, even one like the diesel truck & small trailer combination that I now have. It just takes some practice so don't give up. 

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I have pulled the TT in my profile photo all across western US and in steep mountains with a Dodge ram 2500 V-10 engine at speeds up to 70mph without weight distribution hitch and never experienced any sway and felt only minor bunny hopping.  TT fully loaded well over 4000 lbs.

However I needed WDH hitch with bars pulling same trailer and load with my other truck a Dodge ram 1500 V-8 in central and east texas.   Type and weight of tow vehicle is a big big factor.  I now see many small cars pulling large U-Haul and travel trailers in steep mountains and a scary site to see for me.

 

Edited by NamMedevac 70

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BeckyG, To  counteract the bow wave of a passing semi hold your speed steady while gently applying the trailer brakes until the semi -tractor  is alongside you..  This action causes your trailer brakes to "pull" your trailer and truck in a straight line-so to speak. 

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A couple of other items that I have not seen mentioned yet. If the road lanes and shoulder are wide enough that you feel comfortable doing so, move right in the lane when large vehicles pass in either direction.  The increased distance between the vehicles will reduce the sideways push. On two lane roads, I also always take my foot off the gas when a truck pulls into the passing lane. This helps the truck get past and back in lane quicker and I think also helps reduce the side push.

Bunny hopping/porpoiseing can often be reduced by changing your speed. I have experienced some instances where increasing the speed helps some, but always try reducing my speed first.

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19 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

BeckyG, To  counteract the bow wave of a passing semi hold your speed steady while gently applying the trailer brakes until the semi -tractor  is alongside you..  This action causes your trailer brakes to "pull" your trailer and truck in a straight line-so to speak. 

In relation to "gently apply" the trailer brake.... Does the manual brake slide work like a brake pedal? You can "step" on the brake pedal a little for a slow stop or full force. I assumed that the manual brake slide was all or nothing. (and I have made alot of incorrect assumptions with this new venture). Thanks

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44 minutes ago, BeckyG said:

. Does the manual brake slide work like a brake pedal? You can "step" on the brake pedal a little for a slow stop or full force. I assumed that the manual brake slide was all or nothing.

A lot depends on the brake control that you have, but most of them have some sort of slide that applies the brake with an increasing current as you push it farther. Read the operating instructions for your brake controller. I have never seen one that works in an all or nothing manner.

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As Kirk said just move the manual slider enough to feel the trailer gently tug on your vehicle while maintaining your speed. For me this has always been effective at reducing sway caused by passing semi's or bus's/ MH's.

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If your Silverado has the integrated brake controller, it is likely similar to the ones in my 2007 and 2018 Silverado. The maximum braking is set with the + and - buttons. The trailer brakes are applied manually by squeezing the two levers together. The amount of breaking being applied displays as a green line in the digital dash display behind the steering wheel.

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