My buddy just today suggested that towing a travel trailer over the length of 18 to 20' is going to be a pain (he owns a fifth wheel). He feels like it is a handful on the road and can have lots of swaying, etc and basically thinks the ones I'm looking at in the 25'/5500 lb(dry) range are dangerous.
Nertz!? ?I have pulled a 23 footer with a Ford Bronco for the past 9 years.? ?No problemos.? ? The trick is to get the trailer properly set up.? Just like anything in the world, it helps to do it the right way.
I've been pulling a 31' boat at about 11,000 lbs with no difficulty what-so-ever, but I haven't never pulled a large travel trailer before.? Will the wind cause problems with its high profile and can I expect excessive sway, etc.? If so, will the aforementioned weight distribution hitch and anti-sway system reduce OR do away with these problems.
The short answer is, yes.
? I do understand the advantages of pulling a 5th wheel or goose neck trailer vs with a standard hitch, but just not sure I understand what to expect pulling the travel trailer.? As I mentioned above I have 3/4 ton diesel truck (with overload springs) and it is a pretty stout pulling vehicle so I guess I'm wondering if I'll even need the hitch additions?
You will need the "additions" kind of like you need good brakes.? ?
When you load a trailer on to the tail end of a truck, it pushes down on the trucks suspension aft of the rear axle.? ?That sets up leverage on the front axle of the truck about the a pivot on the rear axle.? ?Thus your front end floats relative to the rear.? ? This causes oversteer
which is not a really good thing in trucks.? (Think of the old Corvairs.)? ?A weight distributing hitch uses spring bar trunnions to force the front down, redistributing the trailer's tongue toward the front axle and restoring the normal weight distribution and attitude of the truck.? ?Much nicer and safer to drive.
Sway, or more accurately yaw, is somewhat reduced by the weight distribution system but you still need an anti-sway system to control the tendency to yaw when hit by a side force like the wind or a pothole.? ?The most common is a friction bar attached to the trailer's A frame and do a mini-ball on the side of the ball mount of the truck.? Friction is adjusted by means of a set screw.? ?It works but you need to keep after the adjustment of the set screw.? ?
I prefer the Dual Cam system used by Reese.? ?It uses a camming surface on the spring bars to engage a cam built into stirrups hanging from shackles on the trailer's A-frame.? ?A yawing force has to fight the resistance of the cams on both spring bars.? ?This eliminates uncontrollable yaw before it can start.? ?No adjustment issues, the thing is automatically correctly set when you properly tension the spring bars.
Hensley Arrow puts out an excellent system combining hitching, weight distribution and yaw control in a single package.? ?A good friend of mine regards it as the ultimate system.? Since Guy is a real rocket scientist, I could would not argue the point with him.? ;D? ?However, it does cost, something like $3K.
You can take comfort in the fact that a travel trailer does have some inherent advantages over a 5W.? ?It has a lower profile with respect to side winds and shock waves from trucks and buses.? ?It will accurately track your tow vehicle and is, therefore, somewhat easier to back up.? ?You are going to pay some money for a trailer hitching system, but then the last time I heard, they were not giving away 5W hitch systems either.?