This article is the second in a series, if you have not read the "Not Everyone needs a Weight Distribution Hitch" read it first, as it will solve many sway problems. If you are already using a suitable rated WDH and your Caravan is correctly loaded and it still sways, read on.
See the spectacular video of poor weight distribution when towing a caravan...and what you can do to stop it.
1. What Causes Sway?
Sway can be caused by one or more of the following:
a) Poor weight distribution
b) Incorrect or uneven tyre pressure
c) Towing speed
d) Driving down a hill too fast
f) Side Wind
g) Slip streams from large vehicles
There are ways to stop sway once it has started, but these will not always work if road conditions and surroundings are working against the driver.
a) If you are going down a hill, manually apply the electric trailer brakes, this will cause the caravan/trailer to slow the towing vehicle down and almost instantly reduce the sway.
b) If you are going up a hill, you can accelerate slightly until the sway stops, then slow down and drive at a lower speed.
c) If you are driving on flat roads slow down gradually, without applying the tow vehicle brakes.
If your caravan or trailer is susceptible to swaying, it is very dangerous and must be corrected. There are specific solutions offered by the same companies that make hitches.
Friction Sway Control
These are available from both Reese and EAZ Lift but because of different mounting, you are advised to match the brand of hitch you have.
These attach to your existing hitch and join to the side of your A-Frame on your caravan/trailer. They cannot be used with mechanical override brakes because they dampen the movement between the tow hitch and the caravan/trailer and would greatly reduce override brakes effectiveness.
These have a flat steel bar that slides between friction pads, similar to brake pads. These pads can be tightened to provide more or less friction. As they are attached at the side of the A-Frame, as the caravan sways it needs to slide the steel bar between these friction pads. The friction slows this down and stops a sway from developing. Without these attached, a sway may continue from left to right, it may get worse if no corrective action is taken by the driver.
The Dual Cam sway control will only work with the current Reese hitches that include the ripple at the end of the spring bars. These operate by always wanting the cam to centre itself in the ripple of the spring bars. They are called Dual Cam because there is one on each side of the A-Frame.
Once installed there is no extra adjustment required each time you hook up. These are ideal for heavier ball weights and are acknowledged as the best sway control on the market at this stage because they always try to keep the Caravan/Trailer directly behind the tow vehicle.
This is not an add-on, it is a feature of the coupling. Let me explain. Most couplings are designed to provide an unhindered rotation around the tow ball or hitch pin. However these couplings actually clamp over the special tow ball with such pressure that they reduce the ease of rotation.
This would normally mean that as you turn a corner, the coupling would hold tight to the tow ball and undo the nut off the thread of the tow ball. To prevent this, the tow ball fits into a retention plate that prevents it from turning, and thus prevents it from becoming loose.
These are only suitable for caravans weighing up to 2500kg. The coupling can replace most common couplings that are fitted to Australia Caravans, using the same mounting holes.