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Author Topic: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?  (Read 4620 times)

bobkaron

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Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« on: May 28, 2005, 07:10:32 AM »
Just purchased a Cherokee Lite 28A+ (5750lbs dry)
Then I purchased an '04 Ford Expedition 5.4 V8 with 3.73 real axle ratio and Heavy Duty tow package.
Then I found out it did Not have the HD tow package. Sad
The dealer had the wrong information, after i called ford and ran the VIN and went to the dealer, i had to convince them by making them find a new vehicle that the papers said it had the HD package and have them see the difference under the hood.
So they upgraded my vehicle by installing the HD trans cooler and the radiators on the 04 and newer seem to all be HD.
So i thought i was done and just had to have the 7pin connector and braking computer installed for about $300.
Now my RV dealer's service guy tells me i also need a "tow package" which i think means the weight distribution package and a sway bar. Those items with the braking computer are $895.  Some people are telling me this is very necessary others say its optional.
I was hoping to get some more feedback on it.
Thanks.
Oh, the expedition has a 8250 tow limit and the TT is about 31" long.
   

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2005, 07:37:24 AM »
You can calculate whether a weight distributing hitch is required, based on the hitch (tongue) weight of the trailer and your Expedition's hitch and rear axle weight limits. However, I strongly recommend the weight distributing hitch anyway - your rig will tow more safely (especially if you ever have to swerve) and handle better in all conditions.  Some hitches have built-in anti-sway, e.g. the Reese Dual Cam hitch. Others will use a separate anti-sway device.

Don't skimp on the hitch - it is literally the critical link in your towing system.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Carl L

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 04:51:03 PM »
Quote
Now my RV dealer's service guy tells me i also need a "tow package" which i think means the weight distribution package and a sway bar. Those items with the braking computer are $895.  Some people are telling me this is very necessary others say its optional.

Optional like brakes are optional. 

If the tongue weight of the trailer is not transferred from the rear axle of the tow vehicle proportionality to the front axle, you set up an oversteer condition in the tow vehicle.  In a tight situation, oversteer is not our friend.    And trailer tongue weight has to be high, at least 11-12% of the trailer weight for the trailer itself to be stable.   

I like a system that does not depend on an adjustable friction bar to control sway.   I prefer something that controls by geometery, like the Reese Dual Cam system, the Hensley Arrow system, or the Equal-i-zer system.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

bobkaron

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2005, 05:42:44 PM »
Thanks for the info, I am going to check what the TT dealer is installing first. I did not even concider asking about brands of the equiptment they are putting in for this.

John From Detroit

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2005, 06:28:29 AM »
I will say this... I've pulled smaller trailers both with and w/o a sway bar...... The sway bar made it so muce easier to tow

With that railer you very clearly need a heavy duty hitch, these are not normall factory installed
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

bobkaron

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2005, 07:05:49 AM »
What exactly do you mean when you say "hitch", because never towing anything before, i always think of the 2" connection point on the back of the SUV. or by hitch do you mean the whole setup (sway bar, weight distribution and the 2" connection point).
The factory installed bumper connection says it handles 8100 lbs. Ford says the Heavy duty tow package means it has the heavy duty cooler and trans radiator, which i had installed. Now i am going to get the sway bar and weight distribution part put in.


Bob

Carl L

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2005, 02:17:01 PM »
Quote
What exactly do you mean when you say "hitch", because never towing anything before, i always think of the 2" connection point on the back of the SUV. or by hitch do you mean the whole setup (sway bar, weight distribution and the 2" connection point).

The hitch is the connection between the trailer and the tow vehicle.  From front to back, its components are:

1. Receiver.   This is a square cross section tube bolted or welded to the frame of the tow vehicle and projecting out behind the rear bumper.  It receives the ...

2. Ball mount.   This can vary from a simple tube and bent steel with tapped hole for the ball (Class I and II) to a heavy chunk of steel with trunnion mounts for spring bars to distribute weight. (Class III, IV, and V).   Next comes the ....

3. Ball.   A simple ball of steel with a threaded stem mounted on the ball mount.  It is designed to fit into the coupler on the trailer  Balls and couplers increase in diameter with increasing trailer weight from 1-7/8" to 2-5/16".   The ball acts as a big ball bearing  to permit the trailer to pivot.  Below the ball are the....

4. Spring bars.   These are heavy steel bars with trunnions or pintles at one end that fit into the trunnion mounts (aka gudgeons) in the ball mount.  As they deflect under load, they transmit a twisting force thru the ball mount to the frame of the tow vehicle shifting some of the trailer tongue weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle.  They are attached to the frame by the ....

5. Frame brackets.   These brackets are bolted to the A-frame of the trailer and attached to the spring bars by chains or brackets.   When the trailer hitch jack is fully raised, the chains/brackets tension the spring bars causing the forward rotation of the trunnions.

6.  In addition to all of the above is the anti-sway system which is designed to resist a sudden lateral movement of the trailer -- sway or more properly, yaw.   The typical anti-sway system is one or two sliding friction bars bolted to the trailer frame and attached to a small ball on top of the ball mount.  Reese has a system that uses cams on the spring bars that mate to a stirrup suspended from the frame brackets. 

Other hitch schemes include the Hensley Arrow a system all its own thing but with a good reputation.

Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

bobkaron

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Re: Weight Distribution and Sway Bar? Needed?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2005, 08:06:29 PM »
Carl, thanks for the great breakdown. So it sounds like when they are talking about a weight distribution system they mean the Spring Bars and Sway bars are the anti-sway system. From everything i have read it seems like all this is very necessary for safety and better control of the tow vehicle in an emergency.
I hope $900 for the braking computer, sway system and spring bars with installation is a good deal. I have just felt from this dealer like they have not been honest with me from the beginning. Sales people leaving things out just to close the sale.  But they are the only ones we found anywhere around who had the model we wanted at the price we wanted.
Again..thanks for all the info.

Bob

 

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