5th Wheel Sway

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nhshep

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Posts
6
My concern is Sway only.
I towed 28 foot travel trailer for 10 years. I used Hensley Hitch. In 30 mph winds and semi trucks passing never once did I have a problem with sway.

I just purchased a 33 foot Prime Time Crusader 5th wheel. I plan to buy a Dodge 2500HD short bed. My only concern for a hitch is Sway. I have no problem having a heavy hitch in my short bed I don't plan removing it. In reading many forums & topics I narrowed my list to three hitches. I am not keen on a manual slide it needs to be automatic which narrows my field of choice.

The Demco Automatic Slider.  Have to grease the thing.
The Pullrite 4100 Auto Superslide.  Just spay WD40 on the bars.
The Andersen Ultimate 2.      No grease, no spray.

With a hitch like the Pullrite 4100 will my 5th wheel sway when semi's pass me ?

Funny thing is when I had my travel trailer everyone who towed a 5th wheel said sway was not an issue. Now I read 5th wheel forums I hear them talk about sway.

Appreciate your feedback.
 
If you're buying another truck anyway why not consider a 3500HD. Especially for a fifth wheel. Just saying.....
 
I want SRW. 2500 or 3500 My question would be the same what about the type of hitch. Do people who tow 5th wheel RV's encounter sway with their type of hitch. or is that rare I assume hitch plays a role.
 
In my setup I have never experienced any sway at all, and that is pulling a 42' fifth wheel. But I am using the B&W Companion fifth wheel hitch that fits the "puck" setup on my bed. Of course that is in a 3500hd dually.
 
I don't think the type or brand of hitch matters. As long as the hitch is properly installed with the kingpin just forward of the rear axle and you have enough pin weight (most 5th wheels are pin heavy at 20%+ so that is not a problem) then you should not experience any sway. That's not to say that a semi won't push the rear of the 5th wheel a bit sideways as it approaches but it should pretty easily come back to straight as the semi passes.


FWIW I never experienced sway with my two prior TT's, either - had an Equal-i-zer WD hitch and loaded them properly to keep enough tongue weight.
 
nhshep said:
I want SRW. 2500 or 3500 My question would be the same what about the type of hitch. Do people who tow 5th wheel RV's encounter sway with their type of hitch. or is that rare I assume hitch plays a role.

Near as I can make out, the hitch you use has nothing to do with sway. The hitch is fixed to the tow vehicle frame for the most part, no matter which one you purchase. It just has to be rated for the weight of the trailer. The sway comes in with the suspension of the truck and tires. Any hitch will work the same. The only difference would be on what you'd want for weight for removal.  If you're looking for something light, look at the Anderson hitch or the Super Light Hitch by Pullrite. 
 
Thank you for the info. Although I like the Pullrite 4100. I am leaning towards the Andersen. My only concern with Andersen. A few people said raising the front legs the ball did not release smooth actually bound and raised the rear truck up. Out of all the Andersen hitches in use I put that situation down to rare and probably poor set up or not following unhitch procedures. I also read Andersen users had less bucking on stop/start and motion.

Towing fifth wheel will be  my first. When I got the Hensley for the travel trailer I wanted the ride to be as pleasant as the destination. I did not want to have stress on the travel day because of wind or semi's.

Cheers
 
I've been using the Andersen since May 2016 and have not experienced any bucking/chucking that is often associated with 5th wheel towing. The ride is very smooth. I have never used a "traditional" 5th wheel hitch, though, so I cannot make a direct comparison. I also have never experienced any ball-release issues but there is one post on this forum about an owner experiencing it. We mostly camp in "RV parks" though (KOA, other privately owned, and NY State parks) so the sites are usually pretty level. Perhaps this is more of an issue when the truck and trailer are very off-level?
 
When looking at short bed (now often called standard), observe the distance from rear axel to cab rear. It seems not all are the same.

From what I have read here and other forums, many late model 5th wheels do not need sliders.

Oh, and WD40 is not really a lubricant.

Some auto-sliders I have seen, seem to be a little more work to hitch/unhitch than a non-slider.

Just some things to consider.
 
A fifth wheel hitch is located directly over the truck's rear axle, not several feet behind it like a bumper pull trailer.  The latter's distance creates a lever arm from the hitch to the truck's rear axle so side forces on the trailer can affect the direction of the tow vehicle.

If you push the rear bumper of a car to the right, the front end will pull left as it rotates around the rear axle.  You then have to countersteer to the right until the correct path is restored.

With a fifth wheel hitch directly over, or slightly forward of the truck's axle, the trailer can't affect the truck's direction of travel nearly as much because the side forces lack the leverage between the hitch and the rear axle.  They just push sideways on the truck's rear tires and the deflection is limited to the minor amount of the tire's sidewall flex. 

Also no to using WD40 as a lubricant.  Teflon or graphite spray is much more effective.
 
Lou Schneider said:
A fifth wheel hitch is located directly over the truck's rear axle, not several feet behind it like a bumper pull trailer.  The latter's distance creates a lever arm from the hitch to the truck's rear axle so side forces on the trailer can affect the direction of the tow vehicle.

If you push the rear bumper of a car to the right, the front end will pull left as it rotates around the rear axle.  You then have to countersteer to the right until the correct path is restored.

With a fifth wheel hitch directly over, or slightly forward of the truck's axle, the trailer can't affect the truck's direction of travel nearly as much because the side forces lack the leverage between the hitch and the rear axle.  They just push sideways on the truck's rear tires and the deflection is limited to the minor amount of the tire's sidewall fkex. 

Also no to using WD40 as a lubricant.  Teflon or graphite spray is much more effective.

Thanks Lou.....I always wondered why I never heard much about sway on fiver's....
On a TT does the WD hitch have the same effect by shifting the weight toward the front of the TV?
 
Not really, an equalizing hitch doesn't directly affect the sway leverage, it just pulls the hitch upwards to transfer weight forward to the steer axle as the front springs compress.

If you look closely at the equalizing arms during a turn, there is a slight amount of self-centering action as the chains between the arms and the trailer tongue pull in opposite directions.  But this is only significant at wide angles, not the narrow excursions of most sway.

Some hitches like the Reese Dual Cam make the equalizing arms ride upwards on a bump, or cam,  when the hitch moves off-center, using the hitch weight to create a stronger self-centering force at small angles  Or the hitch may have an external sway bar,  an offset sliding extension arm with a brake pad in the middle to oppose changes in it's length as the trailer turns

Either of these will stiffen the hitch's rotation and in that sense they'll resist the side forces.  But they don't change the basic geometry that causes sway.
 
:))

Think I got it....I don't see a fiver in my future...But I enjoy learning. THANKS
 
Lou saved me lots of typing  ;D  Sway is almost completely a non issue with a FW because of the geometry of how i attaches - on top of the rear axle.

I strongly suggest a 3500 SRW for pulling a FW.  A 33 ft FW will likely overload most 2500 pickups.  With a GVWR of just 12,000#, you will have a pin wt of 2400#, plus a 40# (Andersen) hitch, plus 2 passengers and a bit of cargo (400#) for a total of 2840#.  Check the truck yellow Payload placard.  Expect numbers between 2200# and 2800# for a 2500.

A 3500 SRW will cost about $1,000 more than a similarly equipped 2500 when new.  The difference quickly disappears on the used market.  You will get about 1200# more payload with the 3500.

3500 SRW pickups are available from all of the Big 3 manufacturers.
 
My prime time crusader lite has following
WeightDry Weight 8,163 lbs.Payload Capacity 1,874 lbs.GVWR 10,037 lbs.Hitch Weight 1,237 lbs.
I will be sure to weigh it to keep within the limit.

I am looking at the Dodge 3500 for reasons you mention plus I like the truck.  The WD40 idea came from the Pullrite Superglide instruction manual was not my idea but understand your point.> Pullrite Owners PDF:

Plastic Wear Plates (December 2009 - Current)
The Plastic Wear Plates of the SuperGlide?s Turntable Cam Arm Assembly were designed to glide along the surfaces
without the need for heavy lubrication. To protect against rust and to enhance the ease of turning on the Way Tubes,
a light oil (WD-40 or a 3-in-1 oil) should be applied to the Way Tubes? top and inward facing sides and between the
front and rear openings in the Plastic Wear Plates positioned around the Turntable/Cam Arm Shaft.
A light lubricant that is applied more frequently (each day of use) is preferred over the use of heavier lubricants.
Heavy grease will be ?wiped? off just as fast as light lubricant pushing the heavy grease to areas that will not benefit
the wear surfaces - only making it appear that the hitch is still well lubricated.
You will find with use, that the Plastic Wear Plate will wear the shiny zinc coating off the Way Tubes in areas, creating
?bare? areas of the metal, as well as light scoring marks in areas of repeated use. This is normal, but will be protected
as you apply WD-40 to the Way Tubes with each day?s use.
If your hitch is unused for more than a day or it is in storage, rust can form quickly in these areas. If rust does form,
simply use steel wool or lightly sand those areas. Never let your tubes become pitted with rust, as it may cause the
plastic to tear or catch on rough areas. The Plastic Wear Plate has a long life expectancy, but depending on how
often, and what terrains you are traveling, the plastic will eventually, wear down with time. If the 1/4? plastic plate
wears down to 3/16?, it should be replaced.
WARNING: Do not use any lubrication other than a light oil on the Way Tubes of your SuperGlide hitch
 
Thanks for the numbers!  That published pin wt is only 15% of dry wt.  Pin weight of the loaded camper MUST be higher to maintain that 15% minimum!  When you are ready to go camping, the pin wt will be 1500# (15%) or 2000# (20%).  Just FYI.  The 3500 makes this difference a non issue.
 
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