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How To Stop Your Caravan Swaying - Must See Video

Article by Peter Smith - Caravans Plus

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
e) Suspension
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.

Friction Sway Control

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.

EAZ LIFT Sway Controls - RIGHT

EAZ LIFT Sway Controls - RIGHT

1 In Stock Now.
$99.95
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26660: HAYMAN REESE Sway Control-Standard Friction Kit

26660: HAYMAN REESE Sway Control-Standard Friction Kit

3 In Stock Now.
$292.00
$184.95
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Reese Dual Cam Sway Control

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.

Reese Dual Cam sway control

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.

26002: Sway Control Dual Cam - Suit Hayman Reese

26002: Sway Control Dual Cam - Suit Hayman Reese

2 In Stock Now.
$468.00
$339.95
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ALKO AKS system

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.

AKS sway control

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.

ALKO AKS3004 Stabiliser.  618304Clearance Item

ALKO AKS3004 Stabiliser. 618304

1 In Stock Now.
$1,007.66
$799.95
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4 Comments

  • comment-avatar

    Mick

    While I don't dispute any of the matters that you have written about in this article. I feel you may have missed a possible contributing factor to the zig zag loss of control depicted in the attached video. As a caravaner towing a 7.6 metre total length van on a I have noted with alarm the amount of "suck" that an overtaking semi, especially a B double, has on my towing set up during overtaking. Semis displace a huge volume of air in front of them and also beside and at the rear where it turns into slipstream. Sometimes as they go past I have a fight on my hands to stop being sucked into the side of them or pushed off the road by the bow wave of air at the front of them. In the video the overtaking car and van had no sway problem until the car reached the air bow wave and then he towed the van in as well...then all over Rover!

  • comment-avatar

    Rob

    Excellent studies by Collyn Rivers refute the wisdom of simplifying caravan loading to just towball weight. Heavy weight in the van should be concentrated around the axle. If towball weight is adjusted by adding weight front or rear, you establish a heavy double-pendulum. Once sideways sway starts, the heavy inertia of this front-rear weight rotating around the axles, effectively prevents recovery by the driver. Length of the van and road-speed increase the problem. Drive below 80, and keep weight around the axles. PS For a reference to that study, look up caravanandmotorhomebooks.com

  • comment-avatar

    Malcolm Jeffries

    I have had severe swaying twice before finding out the problem was caused by the suspension . The caravan is dual axle and fitted with load sharing leaf springs what was happening was sometimes when the wheel hit a bump or hole one of the spring links would lock up and suddenly you were only on three wheels . I fixed the problem by fitting rocker roller springs and shocks now no sway all all

  • comment-avatar

    Don

    I beleive that the caravan manufacturers are building 'off road' vans that are far too high above the road and thus raising the centre of gravity and subesquently causing sway. I have towed vans and driven semi's, and roadtrains for more that 55 years. I cannot see the sense in manufacturing 'vans that have double or more of ground clearance than the tow vehicle. I think that once the registration authorities work this out, then there will be a lot vans that will be considered to be unroadworthy. My advice: Buy vans only with a lower centre of gravity. You do not need that high clearance even in the most arduous off- road situations.

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