I left Carlsbad, New Mexico early and started across Texas, heading East. There was a storm that came from the California coast over night that was causing light, gusty winds.
The Wind is NOT my friend when towing a trailer. But I was prepared!
As part of the Load Leveling Tow Hitch I installed, I purchased the optional Trailer Anti-Sway Friction Control kit.
Trailer Sway is when the end of the trailer is moving back and forth, like a fish tail. This can be caused by another vehicle, like a Semi passing you or by gusty wind. Or both!
Since I installed the kit in Los Angeles, it has worked great at keeping the trailer steady.
Anyway, I spent all day tooling across West Texas and almost made Dallas in the afternoon. I stopped for gas and was pulling out onto the access road when I heard a “Boom” and felt the back of the truck rise up a bit.
Checking the hitch area I found one of the levelers had fallen off and was run over. The reason was the small tow-balls used to attach the Sway Bars were coming off!
Here is the hitch showing the main Tow-Ball and the two broken Sway-Balls.
It might be hard to tell, but the top hitch plate is 3/8″ thick steel. (Or, maybe pig-iron?)
So I pulled the other side off before it, too fell off. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Of course, it’s Friday evening by this time so I cannot call anyone at the manufacturer about this until Monday. >_<
Here is roughly what the whole setup should look like. (Stock picture, not my rig)
The long bars on the bottom with the chain are the Load Levelers and the thing in the middle with the blue label is the Sway Control.
Saturday morning I started heading East with no Sway bars. There was no wind that early, which made it nice. By the afternoon however, I had crossed into Louisiana and the wind was wicked; The flags at the gas station were flapping hard. Maybe 15mph with 20+mph gusts.
By now it’s white knuckle driving…every big rig that passes me sucks me into it’s lane and I’m constantly pulling everything back to the center of my lane. Slowing down to 55mph helps, but I only traveled 390 miles today and I’m already frazzled. I have another 700 miles to go to North Carolina and plan to be there Monday.
Hopefully I can make it out of the darned wind tomorrow…
4 thoughts on “RV Trailer Drama – Sway Control Fail”
The wind is only a fiend to a sailor.
I hope you make it safely to NC.
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Hi Michael. I have been following you from the beginning of your retirement voyage. Very exciting and it follows the course of a good scary non-fiction novel. You got to write a book about this and it will most likely receive the status that the book WILD has received. The movie would be hilarious and thrilling. I may sound like a Monday after quarterback, but you should have never left the PCT at Donner Pass. The Donner Party jinx seems to have followed you since then. You had a good thing going for your group and you would have finished all of CA and OR by the end September. The long term weather forecast was in you favor. The Washington track you could have made that up next year. Sorry to hear about your sway bar problems. That to me is very serious. I would not go any farther and stop at the next big town and get it replaced pronto. You must have a rather big trailer that your towing. Again, Monday quarterback. Your traveling by yourself I presume. Why not have a trailer that is low profile and is suitable in size for your needs. It makes life easy. Well have a good journey and I will pray to St. Chistopher to keep you safe.
In hindsight, there may well be a “Donner Party Jinx”. However, It seemed like a good idea at the time, and no one was eaten.
I’ve made NC and will spend the next few days rectifying the sway issue.
The trailer is 28′ and that’s about the smallest I could get with the features to live in it full time. Thanks for your kind words!
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
BTW, just sold a 27′ Catalina which had connections for shore power and water. Couldn’t imagine living full time on anything smaller than that.
Roll on safely.