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Recommended Weight Distribution/Sway Control System for 3500-lb Camper Trailer

Question:

I am looking for a device or hitch that will help with sway control. My camper is fairly small. Gross weight is 3500 pounds, hitch weight is close to 300 pounds. I dont feel like I need a weight distribution system with that light of a hitch weight, but sway becomes an issue on windy days or when getting passed by large vehicles. I saw some sway control devices on your website, but I really dont want to drill into by trailer tongue to mount the sway control attachment point. What would you recommend for my situation? My tow vehicle is a Dodge Durango.

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Helpful Expert Reply:

Apart from the white-knuckle sway effects from sudden wind gusts and air blasts from passing semi trucks, there are some other basic considerations to help you decide if and when you need a sway control system for your trailer set-up. The linked article on weight distribution/sway control (WD/SC) systems may help you on this point.

Although we do offer basic friction style sway control devices like # 83660 and # 17200 that can help counteract trailer sway these are not going to be able to prevent it as is the case with some integrated WD/SC systems. Friction bars do nothing until your trailer has already started to sway. Plus you cannot back up the trailer with one of these engaged.

In comparison the integrated system can actually prevent trailer sway in the first place and so these will not only level your tow vehicle to offset the trailer tongue weight (TW) but also keep the trailer in line behind the Durango. They cannot prevent all trailer sway under all conditions but they will do much more to reduce those brief moments of roadway terror than a simple friction bar. Also, you can reverse the trailer with these installed. Low tongue weight does not mean your trailer will fail to benefit from a correctly-tuned system.

The key is choosing the right system for your setup's actual TW. You can measure your fully-loaded trailer TW with a scale like # 5780 (highly recommended) but you also need to add in the weight of any cargo in the Durango that sits behind the rear axle since this too will act just like trailer TW. The weight of a loaded ice chest or generator sitting behind the rear axle must be added to the actual measured TW of the fully-loaded trailer to enable you to select a correctly-rated system, one that is stiff enough to shift TW forward to the vehicle's front axle but not so stiff that it causes weird handling from the trailer. Ideally your total TW will fall right in the middle of the system's operating range.

For an example, if your camper's dry hitch weight is 300-lbs then by the time you load it up we'll figure you're at more like 400-450-lbs total TW. For this TW you can use a system like the Equal-I-zer # EQ37060ET which works effectively over TW from 300- to 600-lbs. This system will be easier to install since the frame lift brackets are smaller than those on many competing systems. Please refer to the linked video for more.

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Adam R

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