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  1. #21
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    The way I look at it, having a stabiliser is the same as having seatbelts in the car. It is a proven safety feature, so why on earth would you chose not to use it.
    Yes, they cost extra, but lets be realistic here. We are talking about very pricey offroad vehicles, and caravans/trailers here, so the 1-2k you will spend on a stabiliser should be seen as relative.
    And it's not about you having never experienced a sway before, it's about doing your best to ensure you never have one at all!

    However, the best stabiliser in the world will not stop a badly packed trailer from swaying. I always put the very heaviest items in the tow vehicle, and the other weight in the caravan over the axle.
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  2. #22
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    My uncle trusted me at twenty years to tow his big boat back from the Vaal on my own with his new V8 Rover which was very powerful

    Coming down a very step road going a bit to fast the boat started to fish tial.

    It's a terrifying experience. This is what I think

    I saved my life and the boat and the car by remaining calm. Expecting it take a few seconds to clam this wild horse, I gently applied brakes. Waited till the heaving mass stabilized -I got to the bottom of the road and gently accelerated up ,, but now well with in a respectable speed.

    My advice - use light weight braked trailers. Light weight = key word hear. The chaps towing these mega tons trailers and vans are not in the pound seat when the s..t hits the fan. The heavy weight makes it a danger and hassle to tow.

    I really can tell you that on a down hill DO NOT ACCELERATE !!! Do not do this you will crash and die. Basic physics will explains this error.

    On a level road, I am not sure but I be rather scared to accelerate unless my trailer weight is 300 kg and I got a V6....( then it not be fish tailing ) So be real know what car you drive.

    But please on down hill (down hill) and something is fish tailing -I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT ((((NOT))) ACCELERATE.

    Drive safe and remember it's not going to be you , but rather the drunk moron or unroadworthy taxi, stray cow or pot hole that will be a issue. It's these variables in Africa that one has to watch out for.

    Safe driving and towing.

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  4. #23
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    Growing up we had a homemade trailer that was very sensitive to swaying.
    I learnt very early in life that any trailer will sway if it is packed back heavy.

    This has served me very well through a number of ski boats, caravans and trailers.
    As this is not the only cause of swaying, a stabiliser is always a great safety measure.
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  5. #24
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    What would the recommendation be on stabilizers when towing smaller trailers (bushlapas, XT 120/140, bush trotters etc.) which when fully pack does not come close to bigger vans.

    i have never had the fish tailing experience and trying my very best not to get it. that being said, i very seldom exceed the 120 (car speedo) when towing. i am in no rush when the towing and get the best consumption there...after all...you are on your way to go and relax, so why not start in while driving.

    really taking all the suggestions and making a mental note for the next trip.

    some nice tips and inputs here.

    ...prevention is better than cure...

  6. #25
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    Default Get a stabiliser

    Hi all,

    After reading the debate I decided it was worth the money to test a Trapezium stabiliser. I added one on this Friday just before my trip to Tzaneen. I added the unit to a Pajero, towing a Venter Bush Baby. I purchased the Standard Trapezium tow bar with the anti-sway control bar. I believe there is a unit called the 'Trapezium Off Roader' but I could not find stock at short notice, my own fault.

    The trailer has stopped it's sway and there is no doubt in my mind that these units add huge value in safety and peace of mind when towing. I was no longer checking every few minutes to see how my trailer was behaving.

    If you are in any doubt or your trailer is a little fussy, do yourself a favourand buy a second hand unit for about R1000. Loftus will fit it for you for about R400. The hardest part of the fitment is drilling in a bolt to the A-Frame, but you need to get the distance between towbar and trailer correct and from the instructions I had, I wanted to be sure someone in the know did it for me.

    My Venter Bush Baby trailer would be a little fussy and sway side to side at between 110kmh and 120kmh, especially on a downhill with bumps in the road. Towing should be kept to around 100kmh, but there are the occasions you need to over take. There is no more sway now. I tested the same part of road I know to be a problem and the trailer sat like never before. I am a huge fan. I'll also be happier with it attached if my wife is towing. I did notice that overtaking busses and trucks seemed to 'pull' the car and trailer more but I think that is because we experienced very heavy winds all weekend and I'm not sure that was Trapezium related, if it was, then I think it was probably felt because the Trapezium was keeping the trailer in line with the tow car.

    I do wish Trapezium would pay someone to create meaningful installation instructions with some pictures. For both the install and the recommended use of the product. A website would be a great start.

    Does anyone know if I can 4x4 with a Venter Bush Baby on the back using the 'lock pin' on the Trapezium? The 'lock pin' seems very light duty for the forces I can imagine are exerted on the tow bar. Again, no mention of recommendations inthe instructions I saw. I'm going through Baviaans in December and I don't have time to do 4x4 tests with it. Any advice please?

    I took off the anti-sway bar this weekend on the dirt roads, locked the tow bar with the pin, and towed the trailer no more than 10km return on acceptable dirt roads. Should I be leaving the anti-sway bar on? I'm worried I bend it on an incline or something. December I have over 600km of dirt planned so I need tobe sure.

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stef72 View Post
    What would the recommendation be on stabilizers when towing smaller trailers (bushlapas, XT 120/140, bush trotters etc.) which when fully pack does not come close to bigger vans.
    I see this old 2012 thread was revived . I cannot comment on the others on your list but I have yet to see anyone use a stabilizer on a Bush Lapa. I recall Jaco Kruger giving a very fitting comment regarding this on the Bush Lapa Miskruier review thread .
    Michael (Kooskop) My naam is NIE Koos nie..
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  8. #27
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jannie Kubu4x4 View Post
    Tando Off-Roader. I see Campworld are selling them now for R2350
    Jannie
    A bit of an old thread, but is the Tando still your weapon of choice? What is your opinion about the Of Roader Mk3 from Trapezium Dev?
    Jacques

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  9. #28
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    I have a once used Trapezium Off-roader that I am looking to sell at a deep discount if anyone is interested.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Bunch of Evel Kneivels on this thread. Towing at 120km/h is reckless. If something goes wrong the person you hit when you loose control does not stand a chance.

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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    Bunch of Evel Kneivels on this thread. Towing at 120km/h is reckless. If something goes wrong the person you hit when you loose control does not stand a chance.
    And he will, if you were travelling at 100?
    Or if you were not towing and doing 120?

    What does the law say? Is it not 100km/h max when towing over a certain weight?

    Although, I have encountered Interlink towing trucks doing 130... Now there, you will not stand a chance
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2020/10/23 at 09:52 AM.
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  12. #31
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    Bunch of Evel Kneivels on this thread. Towing at 120km/h is reckless. If something goes wrong the person you hit when you loose control does not stand a chance.
    That goes for any speed you drive at whether or not you are towing, you Evel Knievel doing 60 in town...what's wrong with you?
    Bruce Hunter. 2020 FJ Cruiser, 2020 Audi Q5S Tdi, 2019 VW Tiguan 4motion 2.0tsi(work vehicle), 2019 FJ Cruiser, Bush Lapa Kewer 2202, Fusion 17 boat-Yamaha FT100hp 4st.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    I have towed road caravan, luggage trailers, XT120 and Xplorer. All are different. Car has also impact. For the road van I had stabilizers on 3 vehicles and not on one. Old spring loaded type. Stabilizer definitely helped. Some other notes:
    - My hook load on van and off road trailers will be 100 kg (or more as it is impossible to balance Xplorer). I once set on road van at about 70 kg and I had to stop on highway after about 500 m and change the loading

    - XT120 was exceptionally stable. It is nose heavy and short

    - Xplorer becomes somewhat unstable 110 km/h. I try to tow 90 to 100 range

    - Xplorer is sensitive to wind. Overtake a truck and you can feel it. Go to 110 during overtake and there is a risk. Heavy coastal winds = 80 to 90 km/h

    Car has an impact so what you mate is doing may not be good for you. Learn how your rig behaves. Before hooking test the hook load by hand lifting. It is easy to learn what is 50 kg, 100 kg ...
    Jouko
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  14. #33
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    I've towed a fair amount of various trailers and this is one subject that's had me thinking a lot, and I think I've worked this out.

    Firstly, the trailer and car are a single entity and in relationship to each other, nothing changes in terms of towball weight, trailer weight, vehicle, etc.., so what is it about speed that brings on this instability?

    It is the additional drag over the top of the trailer or caravan that lightens the load on the tow hitch.

    What starts the trailer swaying? A bump in the road or a swerve causes the leafspring spring to compress. As the spring compresses, the axle steers to the outside of the of the depressed wheel, or in the direction of the swerve. It starts very marginally and with each swing gains momentum.

    Where does it get this extra energy to start swinging the trailer right to left? It gets this energy from the car. For the trailer to come back in line with the car, it needs to pick up speed and travel faster. For those that can concentrate on what's happening when you are in such a situation, you will feel the rear of the car being pulled side to side (and backwards), much like pulling a slalom skier that digs in and picks up speed. The weight behind the axle stores this kenetic energy and whips the trailer past the center line. It is now travelling faster than the car and overshoots. If you are finding it difficult to imagine this, just draw a straight line down the centre of the page. Now make a S squiggle left and right of this line, following the path of the trailer. If you had to straighten this line, you'll see it is much longer. So the trailer has to travel faster than the car to keep up. But it doesn't keep a constant speed. It slows as it reaches the outer edges, even screeching the tryes (absorbing energy from the trailer). It then has to pick up speed super quick to travel the extra distance to get back in line. As soon as it passes the centre line, that speed continues and and the more weight you have further out behind the trailer's wheels pushes it incrementally further outwards.

    The softer your springs, the more weight you have behind the axles, the higher this weight is, the softer the tow vehicle's suspension, the longer the tow vehicle's towbar, the shorter the trailer's towbar, the more the headwind, all add to this instability.

    One point I would like to add to is the comment not to speed downhill. (You shouldn't speed anyway) but the trailer becomes unstable easier downhill because there is less slowing of the trailer as it passes the centre line of the tow direction and can overshoot more easily. It's the same when you are on a straight road and you've accelerated, as soon as you take the foot off the pedal, the rig becomes unstable at this time, not while you were pulling *. (How often has a car/truck dashcam caught an overtaking rig pass them, only to start swaying 50 to 100 meters ahead (because they took their foot off the gas and there was less drag holding the rig in line). When I tow a new trailer/heavy load for the first time (that I am concerned about), I accelerate and slack off at 10 km increments in speed, giving the trailer a small wiggle to see where it will start misbehaving. (I ensure I don't have cars around me and have enough road width to catch this in two or three swings.)

    *(It can become unstable while you are pulling but only a way after the unstable speed. So let's say the unstable speed is 100km - if you took your foot off the pedal at 105km, the rig starts swinging, but you'd probably be able to pull up to about 130km before it becomes unstable while pulling, and when you tap off at this point, you're in deep trouble. The same goes for speed uphill can be higher than the speed downhill as noted by a member.)

    Lowering the tow angle to be more nose down only shifts weight to the front (maybe it changes the aerodynamics a bit and forces more air on the front as well). But the trailer cannot "see" how level it is. It's rotating around one fulcrum point. You could just as well shift the weight internally.

    Weight is of less consequence than distribution of weight it. I once had three scaffold planks sticking out the rear of my empty trailer, and I got into a sway at around 80km/h!

    While I never enjoy the feeling, I've worked out that you can arrest the sway with short braking timed as the trailer comes back in on you WITH A BRAKED TRAILER ONLY, but you better be off the brake when it passes the centre line or the trailer will be travelling that much faster than you again.

    With each swing, the entire rig loses energy and you regain control. If your speed is too high and you have too many swing passes to go through before you reach the stable speed, you're not likely to save the situation. Speed is your enemy.
    Last edited by Heinz Modricky; 2020/10/26 at 09:31 AM. Reason: typos

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  16. #34
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Great advice on this old topic that one can read again.

  17. #35
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    @Heinz Modricky, thank you for that very clear explanation. It confirms mine, and I'm sure others anecdotal evidence.

    Slightly OT, but may save someone some drama... there is no way of using a stabilizer attachment with a hired trailer.

    For anyone hiring trailers to move goods, a once off furniture move or goods for work, here is something I picked up along the way.

    Trailers are hired out by length, the longer, the more they cost.

    I used to hire the shortest trailer my goods would fit on, packing it up to the top of the rails, to save a few bob, and also it is easier to maneuver the shorter trailer.

    After a few wobblies at the rear end I figured the longer trailers are more stable and safe.

    I also figured packing as much as I can over the axle is better, not always possible, but also goes against my natural urge to pack everything nice and flat.

    Just an FYI.
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcR View Post
    @Heinz Modricky, thank you for that very clear explanation. It confirms mine, and I'm sure others anecdotal evidence.

    Slightly OT, but may save someone some drama... there is no way of using a stabilizer attachment with a hired trailer.

    For anyone hiring trailers to move goods, a once off furniture move or goods for work, here is something I picked up along the way.

    Trailers are hired out by length, the longer, the more they cost.

    I used to hire the shortest trailer my goods would fit on, packing it up to the top of the rails, to save a few bob, and also it is easier to maneuver the shorter trailer.

    After a few wobblies at the rear end I figured the longer trailers are more stable and safe.

    I also figured packing as much as I can over the axle is better, not always possible, but also goes against my natural urge to pack everything nice and flat.

    Just an FYI.

    Spot on.

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  20. #37
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Heinz Modricky View Post
    I've towed a fair amount of various trailers and this is one subject that's had me thinking a lot, and I think I've worked this out.

    Firstly, the trailer and car are a single entity and in relationship to each other, nothing changes in terms of towball weight, trailer weight, vehicle, etc.., so what is it about speed that brings on this instability?

    It is the additional drag over the top of the trailer or caravan that lightens the load on the tow hitch.

    What starts the trailer swaying? A bump in the road or a swerve causes the leafspring spring to compress. As the spring compresses, the axle steers to the outside of the of the depressed wheel, or in the direction of the swerve. It starts very marginally and with each swing gains momentum.

    Where does it get this extra energy to start swinging the trailer right to left? It gets this energy from the car. For the trailer to come back in line with the car, it needs to pick up speed and travel faster. For those that can concentrate on what's happening when you are in such a situation, you will feel the rear of the car being pulled side to side (and backwards), much like pulling a slalom skier that digs in and picks up speed. The weight behind the axle stores this kenetic energy and whips the trailer past the center line. It is now travelling faster than the car and overshoots. If you are finding it difficult to imagine this, just draw a straight line down the centre of the page. Now make a S squiggle left and right of this line, following the path of the trailer. If you had to straighten this line, you'll see it is much longer. So the trailer has to travel faster than the car to keep up. But it doesn't keep a constant speed. It slows as it reaches the outer edges, even screeching the tryes (absorbing energy from the trailer). It then has to pick up speed super quick to travel the extra distance to get back in line. As soon as it passes the centre line, that speed continues and and the more weight you have further out behind the trailer's wheels pushes it incrementally further outwards.

    The softer your springs, the more weight you have behind the axles, the higher this weight is, the softer the tow vehicle's suspension, the longer the tow vehicle's towbar, the shorter the trailer's towbar, the more the headwind, all add to this instability.

    One point I would like to add to is the comment not to speed downhill. (You shouldn't speed anyway) but the trailer becomes unstable easier downhill because there is less slowing of the trailer as it passes the centre line of the tow direction and can overshoot more easily. It's the same when you are on a straight road and you've accelerated, as soon as you take the foot off the pedal, the rig becomes unstable at this time, not while you were pulling *. (How often has a car/truck dashcam caught an overtaking rig pass them, only to start swaying 50 to 100 meters ahead (because they took their foot off the gas and there was less drag holding the rig in line). When I tow a new trailer/heavy load for the first time (that I am concerned about), I accelerate and slack off at 10 km increments in speed, giving the trailer a small wiggle to see where it will start misbehaving. (I ensure I don't have cars around me and have enough road width to catch this in two or three swings.)

    *(It can become unstable while you are pulling but only a way after the unstable speed. So let's say the unstable speed is 100km - if you took your foot off the pedal at 105km, the rig starts swinging, but you'd probably be able to pull up to about 130km before it becomes unstable while pulling, and when you tap off at this point, you're in deep trouble. The same goes for speed uphill can be higher than the speed downhill as noted by a member.)

    Lowering the tow angle to be more nose down only shifts weight to the front (maybe it changes the aerodynamics a bit and forces more air on the front as well). But the trailer cannot "see" how level it is. It's rotating around one fulcrum point. You could just as well shift the weight internally.

    Weight is of less consequence than distribution of weight it. I once had three scaffold planks sticking out the rear of my empty trailer, and I got into a sway at around 80km/h!

    While I never enjoy the feeling, I've worked out that you can arrest the sway with short braking timed as the trailer comes back in on you WITH A BRAKED TRAILER ONLY, but you better be off the brake when it passes the centre line or the trailer will be travelling that much faster than you again.

    With each swing, the entire rig loses energy and you regain control. If your speed is too high and you have too many swing passes to go through before you reach the stable speed, you're not likely to save the situation. Speed is your enemy.
    Heinz, thank you for the explanation of the mechanics behind trailer sway.
    As someone who has had this experience with a loaded car trailer, I can vouch for the fear it can induce, VERY QUICKLY.
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    I haven't read through all of this, but this is my take.


    1. Measurements of the trailer. The old golden triangle is of utmost importance. The wheels need to face 100% forward and the towball must be dead center. When you do these measurements, forget about the vehicle(trailer) measurements. The wheels and the coupler are the focus.
    2. Weight on the towball is a huge factor. There is a percentage in the theory somewhere, but I am not sure what that is. I just make sure that the weight on the towball is substantial.
    3. The load must be stable. Totally stable. When you have things in the caravan or trailer, they must not move. So either secure with a net, or just tie them down. On corrugations the load tends to "walk". Or when you get into that sway, the load will add to the sway.
    4. When you do pick up a sway, calm down and think. Watch the trailer. There are plenty warnings on the trailer that starts to sway. So don't try and fight that sway. Anticipate and then respond. You could watch the load and when you see the load line up, jump on the brakes. The idea is to get the trailer brakes to engage and pull straight. You can also accelerate to pull the load straight. NEVER fight that sway.
    5. When you tow, you never steer of drive the car. You guide it. Be gentle. Don't force anything. I will, every time I load a weight, test the response of the trailer. Try and induce the trailer into a sway and the adjust the load as needs be.
    6. Tire pressures are important. So run as hard as you are permitted by circumstances. When I have loaded a rigged car, I run at about 3.5bar. Keeps the load stable and the tyres cool. When I am empty, on tar I run at about 2.5-3 bar. Gravel I will go down to about 2bat empty and about 3 bar loaded.
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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jouko View Post
    I have towed road caravan, luggage trailers, XT120 and Xplorer. All are different. Car has also impact. For the road van I had stabilizers on 3 vehicles and not on one. Old spring loaded type. Stabilizer definitely helped. Some other notes:
    - My hook load on van and off road trailers will be 100 kg (or more as it is impossible to balance Xplorer). I once set on road van at about 70 kg and I had to stop on highway after about 500 m and change the loading

    - XT120 was exceptionally stable. It is nose heavy and short

    - Xplorer becomes somewhat unstable 110 km/h. I try to tow 90 to 100 range

    - Xplorer is sensitive to wind. Overtake a truck and you can feel it. Go to 110 during overtake and there is a risk. Heavy coastal winds = 80 to 90 km/h

    Car has an impact so what you mate is doing may not be good for you. Learn how your rig behaves. Before hooking test the hook load by hand lifting. It is easy to learn what is 50 kg, 100 kg ...
    Jouko
    I have an xplorer fitted with a oldish Trapezium . My caravan show no sway when passing a truck. Also tows excellent at 110 +. Also towed gravel (C28) and the trapezium performed good.But for gravel etc the nylon or whatever material bushes wont last long. There are 4 of them on the trapezium. The locking pin mentioned is only for reversing. Without it it is mission as the sway arm will bend and the movement of the Trap. requires more steering movement.

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    Default Re: Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    Last edited by Stranger; 2020/10/27 at 10:02 AM.
    Stranger

    Lusted for a Landy but the Pajero was sexier and bigger in the right departments, just like my Missus.

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