Anti Sway Bars

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:21
ThreadID: 84209 Views:2527 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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I have a 15ft poptop caravan that has an extremely short drawbar and am wondering if it would be feasible, let alone advisable to install anti sway bars.Last trip away we could barely get above 85km/hr with out getting a bit of swing up. I have initially put this down to being too light on front wheels(too much load on the towball) so today had heavy duty springs fitted to our VS Commodore wagon.

..............any ideas?
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:35

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:35
That wont fix it

Either adjust the load in the van or buy a Hayman Reece Weight Distribution Hitch or preferably both

Sway is usually caused by a van being loaded "off" that is tail heavy.

So you firstly need to get the ballweight correct and fit a WDH

An HR fitter will advise you the correct weight bars to fit but a 550lb setup would probably be good.

Off to a weighbridge with it loaded as if going on holiday and see what you get.
Ball weight should be more than 10% of van weight.

Eg mine is 300kg and van weighs 2850kg.

AnswerID: 444662

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:18

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:18
Gday Graham,

What speed do you travel at on the open road and what sort of average fuel consumption do you get in calm conditions with the van in tow??

Regards Michael

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FollowupID: 716824

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:42

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:42
Rarely more than 90kph and about 17.5 L per 100km

its not how fast you can go Its how fast you can stop the thing.

FollowupID: 716827

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:36

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:36
Hi Kevmac,
In my experience any towed vehicle which weighs over 750 KG will definitely benefit from a WDH.

My personal opinion is that I will never tow any load over 750 KG with out a set.

I use the old shepherds crook type which I have had for nearly 40 years and they work just fine once they have been adjusted properly. They are also the cheapest available I think. Hayman Reece are the best but are around $700 or more I think. Second hand units go on Ebay for around $400.

When you think of the potential outcome if the van gets out of control it is not hard to see that they are good value at any price.
Cheers, Bruce.
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AnswerID: 444663

Reply By: Travelinglew - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:44

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:44
Gday kevmac,

Heavy duty springs will not fix the problem. Yes it will raise the back end of your tug but it will not transfer weight back onto the front wheels. The only solution is to make sure your van is loaded correctly with a ball weight of about 10% of the total wight of your van. Slightly more is better than less. You then need to fit a weight distribution system (Haymen Reece) and ensure that the are fitted and adjusted correctly.

The length of the draw bar is in itself not going to be the issue but rather the distance from the tow ball to the axle.

As stated previously, no trailer over 150kg should be towed without WDH fitted.

Hope this is of some help

AnswerID: 444666

Reply By: Rockape - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:50

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 17:50

have a look .HERE this will probably help you out, as for the short drawbar you may not be able to fit a WDH, don't sweat it as many small vans have been successfully towed around this country for years with no problems at all.

Try to reduce the weight in your boot also.HERE
AnswerID: 444669

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:03

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:03
Forgot to add when you go to the link look up the safe towing guide on the left column.

Have a safe one.
FollowupID: 716822

Reply By: kevmac....(WA) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:53

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 18:53
Thank you for all your suggestions.......will go think it out and maybe take van out for "quiet run" and see.

Funny thing is I am a weighbridge operator for local city council, so will maybe have to take van out to work one day and check all weights
AnswerID: 444680

Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 21:42

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 21:42
Hey there "KevMac" ...... how is cold, wet, windy Albany .....
I would also look at getting the drawbar extended, short drawbars are awful to tow, impossible to back and well just a pain the tow ....... it would not be expensive at all and would make it heaps better to tow and reverse .....
Even as little as 300mm can make a massive differance to it .
AnswerID: 444701

Follow Up By: kevmac....(WA) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:51

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:51
well joe and mel

is wet & windy but also slightly tropical & if ur old cyclone system keeps moving the leftovers of that should reach us soon , hahaha.
..But i digress..........

I actually find easy to tow and reverse(being only a short van anyway)... as to the drawbar yes I know doesnt cost much as on our old popup camper we had to replace half the drawbar(rust) and that was about $300(using the old hitch).

We have decided to head off to Cosy Corner 35kms west of Albany for 3 days this weekend, so that will at least be a test to see if the new springs help any & will use that trip to make our decision. We use trips out there to continue sorting things out with the van and to just plain chill out !

Will let all know how the weekend goes. Will start a blog when get back, If i can get a handle on it all.
FollowupID: 716858

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:43

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:43
Interesting thread. I have no idea of the maths and formulae for calculating all this, but having towed many rigs of different weights and lenghts, with and without weight distribution bars, I have certainly found that trailers with long draw bars are more stable than those with shorter bars. I note the comment that the critical factor is not the length of the draw bar but the distance from the tow ball to the axle. Sounds plausible but I'm not entirel convinced. I've been trying to compare diagrams of long trailers with short draw bars with rigs of the same length but with longer draw bar and shorter body (giving the same ball to axle distance. I can't figure out whether or not they would behave in the same way. Anyone want to comment?
I have often felt that the draw bars on many trailers and vans is much too short
AnswerID: 444721

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 23:16

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 23:16
Have found that the drawbars are much shorter here than what we build in NZ Was amazed when I came over and bought a trailer.

A trailer that has a longer distance from the back axle of the caror towball to the trailer axle is much easier to reverse as a short one can turn inside the cars turning radius and therefore its impossible to turn inside it and straighten it up.

A large van is much easier to reverse as its longer and you can turn the car inside its turning circle and so maneuver it easily.

Thats my take on it anyway.

AnswerID: 444727

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 23:45

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 23:45
Hi kevmac,
I tow a 16ft poptop weighs in at 1380kg fully loaded. I have taken it to a weighbridge and set it up with 130kg on the ball. Due to a tool box etc on the draw bar I can't fit WDH. When seaking advice from Camec I was told that it would not be needed due to size of van. I tow with a 2003 hilux with a load limit of 1800kg for the trailer. I have towed it from Perth to Augusta and up to Ledge and in between. Never had any issue with handeling including driving through the high winds the other week. As sugested in the above I would get your weight right and give it a go.

Cheers Craig
AnswerID: 444729

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