Sway control without weight distribution - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 79 Old 02-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Sway control without weight distribution

As we all know it is not recommended to use a substantial weight distribution system with the Touareg. Similarly to the Honda Ridgeline the Touareg’s hitch bolts directly onto the rear of the vehicle rather than various points along the frame. The force of the weight distribution system pries against the downward force of the trailer tongue to level out the rear of the vehicle and the trailer. This lever force could rip the hitch off the back of the Touareg. In fact in talking with hitch specialists they had just seen a RAV4 with a grossly over matched weight distribution system that ripped the entire hitch assemble from the RAV4. They mentioned over leverage (that is a weight distribution system rated for more tongue or hitch weight), in very rare cases, have even been known to bend the frame of the tow vehicle. The same hitch shop also mentioned they had matched several weight distribution systems to both the Touareg and the Ridgeline without issue. However, they had never seen a Touareg with 4 corner AS.

A Touareg with air suspension really has no need for weight distribution. As for most, safety while travelling is paramount and although (knock on wood) I’ve never experienced trailer sway, those that have experienced it will tell you it is not something they’d never like to experience again. For me, the travel part of our adventures has been the least enjoyable and that’s one of the reasons I bought the beast. Now that I have an über capable TV, I want to ensure the trailer sway is at bay. With being said, I have searched high and low on the internets seeking some kind of sway control without weight distribution. From what I have gathered, you can easily find weight distribution with or without sway control but it is difficult to find sway control without weight distribution. Further, there appears to be two kinds of sway control, passive and active. Passive serves only to prevent sway control where active not only attempts to prevent sway control as well as attempts to correct sway in the event it occurs.

Possible solutions:
The most readily available sway control without weight distribution is the friction sway control bar which is available from almost every manufacturer. Generally, these are attached to one side of the tongue and control sway by friction on a brake bar. I currently have one of these and the downfalls are:
1. They are a passive sway controller (they do not help to correct sway control as they only attempt to stop it by locking your trailer in line behind your vehicle
2. They are very noisy as it is the binding/friction force holding the trailer in place. In order to turn, the friction has to be overcome and that makes noise
3. It was recently recommended to me that having only one of these units on one side of the frame can be very hard on the frame and in some circumstances has shifted the frame out of alignment. Therefore it was recommended to have two friction sway control bars – a LH and a RH.

Other weight distribution systems rely on the weight distribution to create the force that serves as sway control. For instance with the Equal-i-zer, it is the downward force of the trunnion bars in the bracket that create a friction brake to control sway. As good as this particular system is, I cannot detune the weight distribution and still have significant sway control. In addition, it is also passive sway control.

Blue Ox and Henlsey may have solutions but the cost of these hitch systems is cost prohibitive. Further Blue Ox made a shock system that they have discontinued that may have worked.

So, what did I discover? I found the Husky Centerline system. It appears to be very new to the market which means there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about it on the internets. What I have learned is that it is an active sway control unit that can be detuned for weight distribution such that the weight distribution works to keep the system quiet (that is, keep the trunnion bars from rattling) rather than creating significant counter tongue weight force. It is more expensive than the friction sway bar setup but nowhere near as expensive as Blue Ox or Hensley.

Although I plan on buying one of these, does anyone have any experience with one and a Touareg?
Does anyone have any opinions or research they would care to share?

If/when I (guinea pig) purchase the Centerline, I plan on installing and setting it up myself. Further, I will report on its capabilities, operation, and handling such that other owners of Touaregs might have an über towing option/solution.

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post #2 of 79 Old 02-01-2010
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Don't use any sort of WD with an air suspended touareg. the air suspension is already doing the job of weight distribution...if you use WD you fool the suspension into thinking the weight up front is heavier than it really is, and the weight out back lighter than it really is...the suspension adjusts height and damping to compensate, and you're left with a handling mess.

A basic friction system is fine...the Touareg already has stability control built into it via ESP.

I towed my Jayco 25 over many many miles with 1 side friction anti sway and never got into anything near a sway condition. Unless you're towing something bigger than that TT (which you shouldn't) then you'll be fine.

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Agreed!

Always appreciate it Nick!

As far as the weight distribution on the Husky Centerline, the trunnion bars can litterally be set to zero (loose) leaving them acting only as sway control. When I said to put some pressure on the trunnion bars it was meant to keep them only from making noise not to create any substancial weight distribution. However, this is an relatively expensive fix to a problem that I might not have.

But perhaps I should try towing our trailer (Star Stream SS19RB) with using our current setup and the Treg before going way overboard. I take it using two friction brake control bars is also overkill?

I was trying to be mr. safety/mr. prepared for trailer season.

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post #4 of 79 Old 02-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuttinButTDi View Post
Agreed!

<<snip>>

However, this is an relatively expensive fix to a problem that I might not have.

But perhaps I should try towing our trailer (Star Stream SS19RB) with using our current setup and the Treg before going way overboard. I take it using two friction brake control bars is also overkill?

I was trying to be mr. safety/mr. prepared for trailer season.
An expensive fix to a problem you don't have is right.... Honestly you won't feel the SS19, I had a starcraft 21CK which I towed with my 3.2 V6 and a couple of times with the V8..I didn't have air suspension on either and honestly I didn't use anything (just hooked up to the hitch and that's it)...it felt like a utility trailer back there.

1 friction unit should be fine (worked well on my Jayco, 28ish feet long, >6000lbs loaded up) should work fine on your starcraft which is approx 10' shorter and significantly lighter.

Don't let the fear mongers convince you of the need for overkill on everything...these are the same people towing tent trailers with F350 dually diesels.

In your touareg you have better brakes, better suspension, MUCH better stability control and electronics, as much weight as, and a better transmission than most pickup trucks out there...you wouldn't hesitate to tow the starstream with a pickup, so don't hesitate to haul it around with the Treg.

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post #5 of 79 Old 02-01-2010
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As a follow up I tow my latest camper (a Cougar 304 BHS...>33', >10,000lbs) with an F250 diesel. No WD (doesn't need it as the F250 doesn't compress at all under this load) and 1 friction unit.

To be honest with you I'm still unconvinced of the effectiveness of any anti-sway system, do you really think a couple of little bars will stop >10K lbs from swaying?

I think its all in proper setup (make sure your hitch height is correct for your ball height, that you distribute weight properly, that you have >15% of total weight as tongue weight) etc..

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post #6 of 79 Old 02-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Agreed and gratefully noted.

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post #7 of 79 Old 02-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickm View Post
As a follow up I tow my latest camper (a Cougar 304 BHS...>33', >10,000lbs) with an F250 diesel. No WD (doesn't need it as the F250 doesn't compress at all under this load) and 1 friction unit.

To be honest with you I'm still unconvinced of the effectiveness of any anti-sway system, do you really think a couple of little bars will stop >10K lbs from swaying?

I think its all in proper setup (make sure your hitch height is correct for your ball height, that you distribute weight properly, that you have >15% of total weight as tongue weight) etc..

Having been in the "sway control" business for the last 13+ years I can tell you you're right on about friction sway controls. Enough friction cannot be applied to overcome the sway forces once the trailer starts.

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post #8 of 79 Old 02-02-2010 Thread Starter
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I'm really glad you chimed in Sean.

To me, this is a topic many Touareg owners have faced. Some are more comfortable towing trailers than others (i'd put myself in a little more nervous) but I believe most just want to ensure safety. Where the issue becomes sticky is despite the Touareg having stability control it does have a shorted wheel base. Further and another plus, compared to many SUVs, its tow hitch is relatively close to the rear tires (or pivot point). For me, its more about peace of mind (ensurance and perhaps insurance) that while towing in varying conditions I know I am properly setup.

I agree with Nick that my original idea/solution may have been overkill, but I have never been a fan of the brake bar in function or form (noise).

Is there a better solution for sway control for vehicles that do need or should not have weight distribution but are interested in some form of active sway control?

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post #9 of 79 Old 02-02-2010
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Sean, very glad to see you here from AirForums. I'd be curious to see if you have experience with your ProPride hitch (or an older Hensley) and the Touareg both with and without air suspension. I have run the Equilizer hitch in the past on the Touareg (and currently on my Dodge RAM) but I find it crude, noisy and heavy.

On the general topic of weight distribution, I think it is in correct to say that air suspension eliminates the need for weight distribution. Yes, it does level out the load and ride height when hitched, but the full weight of the trailer tongue is still primarily on the rear axle which can leave the steering a little light, especially when you are bumping down the road. A weight distribution system projects the tongue weight and distributes them between the front and rear axles.


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post #10 of 79 Old 02-02-2010
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The rear hitch close to the axle is an ADvanatage not a DISadvantage...the whole point of 5th wheels is to get the load directly over the axle (its impossible for a 5th wheel to sway). Some designs work exactly on this principle -moving the pivot point as close as possible to the rear axle. Of course commercial trucks use a 5th wheel, placed directly over the rear axle(s)

Wheelbase is 110", which according to Ford white papers, makes you good to tow up to 25' in length.

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