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Sway bar

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Sway bar

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:02 pm

Does anyone use a friction sway bar? Mine makes a loud humming noise when I am turning, is this normal? Does it need break-in time, it has been used only twice. Too loose, too tight?? I was driving in 60-70 mph winds in the desert this weekend and I had absolutely no swaying occur, but I was also probably getting a couple mpg's though. Anyone with experience? Thanks!
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:23 pm

I used a friction bar for over 40,000 miles of towing with my previous trailer. They do make a little noise until they get broken in then about the only time you'll hear it is when it's damp or wet. First time you pull out of a campground on a damp morning you'll think someone is shooting at you because they'll make a loud POP noise the first couple of turns. Most ALL friction based anti sway systems are a little noisy whether it's the friction bar or the Equal-i-zer system.

As for the tension they should ALWAYS be tightened completely, to the bottom of the threads, then if necessary back them off just to line up the handle with the bar so it doesn't catch on anything. The handle is NOT intended to be an adjustment for the bar, it is used only for activating and deactivating it. Unless it's tightened completely it will not provide the sway control it's designed to provide. In the RARE unstance that adjustment is required (I had to adjust mine a little bit after 30,000 miles or so) it is done using the small Stud with locking nut located BELOW the handle. If you DO adjust it make very small adjustments (like 1/4 turn at a time) because a little bit goes a long ways. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions about the friction sway bar.

There are lots of folks who say that the friction bar is worthless but MOST of them are trying to adjust them by loosening the handle or towing a trailer that is too big for the system to handle. They are very effective for trailers up to about 26 feet. Good luck / skip
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:27 pm

Very interesting, I had it too loose and the popping noise was a mystery also. I just thought it was normal hitch noise, Thanks much!!
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:39 pm

I read an article once on how much force different types of anti sway system exerted to stiffen the connection between travel trailer and tow vehicle. I don't remember the numbers exactly but from memory the friction bar when fully tightened exerted something like 400 lb. of force, the Equalizer was about 900 something, of force and the Duel Cam was 1200 lb.or there-abouts. The roll of ANY of them is to make the connection stiffer so they can't "drift" back and forth in a sway situation.

Did anyone instruct you about backing with the friction bar?
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:46 pm

skipnchar wrote:
Did anyone instruct you about backing with the friction bar?


I was told to remove it before backing up, So I did. I actually removed it and the WD bars right before I entered the CG. The dirt road was kinda rough. There is a sticker on my tongue that says remove them when off-roading, not sure how off-road I was but played it safe and took em all off.
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:49 pm

I had a friction based control on a trailer I owned long ago...and it was noisy as well.

With our current TT I don't use any sway control at all, or even WD bars for that matter - the truck is just a blatant overkill for the TT and the design of the TT itself makes it inherently stable to begin with, so I've found it to be rock solid in a variety of conditions we've towed it in so far.
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:05 pm

LA_Bolt_Fan wrote:
skipnchar wrote:
Did anyone instruct you about backing with the friction bar?


I was told to remove it before backing up, So I did. I actually removed it and the WD bars right before I entered the CG. The dirt road was kinda rough. There is a sticker on my tongue that says remove them when off-roading, not sure how off-road I was but played it safe and took em all off.

That is the SAFE way to do it. I never removed mine for backing but I did test for the need. If you leave the sway bar unattached and back your trailer into a sharp jackknife position then get out and try to install the friction bar in that position. If you CAN install it there would be no need to remove it when backing. Be sure to test in both direction though. The problem is that if you CAN turn sharp enough that the bar will not extend far enough you can damage your attachment ball. In the other direction if it won't compress far enough same thing can result.

As for off road situations, the most troublesome situation would be climbing a steep hill then leveling off quickly. It would need to be pretty severe to damage anything that way though. Some advise loosening the sway bar during a rain storm but again, I never found the need to do so. If it were icy, I'd loosen it though. The thing is that you'll NEVER experience any kind of instability at campground speeds or icy road speeds anyway so it's not needed then.

Good luck / Skip
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby Retired Phone Man on Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:00 am

Mine moans and groans whenever I make a turn. I usually take it off before I check in at the campground. A lot quieter and your not fighting the friction when trying to back in a site.
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby jp rver on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:33 pm

Yeah I have a single friction bar I use. It isn't too noisy, but I can hear it when damp from time to time. As skip already said, the handle should be tightened all the way, and then backed off just enough to get the handle in line with the bar. The adjustment is the other nut. I haven't had to adjust mine yet.

Friction bars aren't the best anti sway device out there, but when used properly they are far from "useless". Every time I read that on the "other" site I just :roll: .
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby Limey on Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:09 am

I use one on my boat trailer when towing it behind my fiver - really just to give me a good feeling, but it does keep the boat trailer nice and straight behind the 5er. Can't say I've ever heard any noise from it, but then it's pretty far back there! :)
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Re: Sway bar

Unread postby Carolina Cruiser on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:59 am

I use the equlizer and mine was awefully loud until I started using the lube in a tube from equalizer. It did not totally silence it but it did stop people from looking at me like something was bad wrong with my rig. I put just a little drop of lube on the L brackets and the hitch it's self where the bars turn and that's it. 80 t0 90% quieter.
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