Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations





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  1. #1
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    Default Trailer & Caravan Sway - Tips, Tricks, Reasons & Recommendations

    On a recent Moz trip with my Conqueror Companion I experienced first hand the effect of trailer sway, those who have had this experience know the unpleasant feeling that sway produces. Since this trip however I have never had a sway experience and I have been putting mental notes together as to what possibly caused this in the first place and what I was doing different then and now.

    Firstly I notice that this sway effect only happened to me when exceeding 100Kms p/h keeping speeds under the 100km averted this phenomena.

    The second observation I have that produces this effect is the type of roads you are riding. Stretches of tar which are uneven (bumps or uneven to left and right) seem to start up this pendulum effect which causes sway. I believe that no matter what you have done regarding weight distribution etc this effect will occur and the only way out is to reduce speed.

    The third observation is definitely around the way you pack your trailer, I tend to pack more to the front than the back. The other factor that I need to consider is when doing "Out of Africa' trips I,m also carrying water which adds another 160kg of weight and of course another 40Kg of weight in the form of fuel at the back of the trailer, this could also effect stability.

    Anyway besides the one experience I have never again experienced this phenomena and comfortably tow my trailer 120-130km with out issues. I would be interested in other perspectives on this.

    Regards

    Sean
    Sean


    Toyota Prado 4.0 VX (BRUCE)
    Conqueror Companion (Bush Bebbie)
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  2. #2
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    Hi Sean, I have experienced the same with my Conquest. Purchased an Offroad stabilizer which removed the swaying almost completely.

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  3. #3
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    Sean, we have different tow vehicles, so the result may well be different from the onset. That said, I think your third observation, may well be your most important one. That coupled with correct towball weight and height, not packing to high up inside the Companion, keeping the majority of the weight of the packing on the axle, condition of shocks on tow vehicle and van, and if traveling with full tanks, ensuring that they are in fact full to capacity, and not half full with airlock or whatever else prevents the tanks being filled to full capacity. Tyre pressures also play a role. I'd make certain those are correct and well tested before spending money on a trapezium or some other stabilizer system, that might actually only help cure your symptom, but not your cause of such instability. I've had my companion a year and a half now, and have covered perhaps about 10,000kms. I have never experienced the slightest hint of trailer sway and I've traveled the EC roads for quite a few of those km's.
    2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 Overlander
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  4. #4
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    Sway.. do you mean fish tailing ? or side to side rocking ?

    We've just completed a 10,000km trek here in Australia with our Fully loaded Conqueror Commander, and dont run any stabilizer bars on it.. fishtailing Ive never ever experienced, however side to side rocking was a new phenomenon that occurred very early on..

    What I'd done though was I'd replaced the two Gabriel Shock Absorbers (as one was leaking badly) with some foam cell ones, which 'according' to the experts i spoke to were perfect for our application.. problem was the van would compress on one side, then compress on the other etc causing that side to side rocking motion which on some occassions would be quite extreme..

    To counter the problem i firstly lowered my tow hitch which put more weight on the towball and allowed us to continue, then once i got to a major town i purchased two new heavy duty shock absorbers for the front of a Toyota 40 series (which fit perfectly) and that solved the problem entirely.. i raised the tow hitch again and everything was fine..

    Steve
    2006 Toyota Hilux TD3.0 SR5
    2008 Conqueror Commander


  5. #5
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    I bought my Companion in May and the first outing was fine (including gravel), although it "duck walked" once after hitting a pothole at about 110Km/h going downhill.

    I had a scary moment on my way to the Berg the other day, passing a truck, at night, in the rain on a rutted road. We were fortunately travelling at night so I did not see how bad it was till after the fact.

    What stabiliser options are there?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your input guys, my final prognosis is I had water in the tanks and it was about 1/2 full combined with very uneven roads which caused the trailer to move left to right. (Also possible incorrect packing, to much load at the back) As mentioned I have never had this phenomena again and pulling this trailer is quite the breeze.

    I have also been contemplating a "ShocK" upgrade but quite honestly there is nothing wrong with the Prado shocks, so I will wait as to when I need to replace shocks.

    The stabilizer bar is still a option but with hindsight now any instability of the trailer is something that I can avert with good packing practices.
    Sean


    Toyota Prado 4.0 VX (BRUCE)
    Conqueror Companion (Bush Bebbie)
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  7. #7
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    Sean, are there any disadvantages of using a stabiliser?

    Should it not been seen as an additional safety net.

  8. #8
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    I have asked the same set of Qs a while ago. The only downside I can see is price.
    I guess if the paw-paw hits the fan a stabilizer while help a lot. It was about a 50-50 split to use a stabilizer or not. The other side was to rather solve the inherent problem rather than treating symptoms.

    To date I have not added a stabilizer....
    Jacques

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  9. #9
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    Only time I experienced swaying with my Commander was when I had wood on the back rack and only 1 filled jerry can. Removed that and since then never had any issue on any road surface. Easy towing around 120 km/hr.
    2010 Prado 4.0 VX
    1984 Suzuki SJ410
    Conqueror Commander

  10. #10
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    Slightly OT but what do you get with the 4L Prado's towing at +/- 110? I have a 4L Hilux (used elsewhere) and was surprised to get 7.7 - 8 Km/l on the open road @ 130 plus. It all depends on how you accelerate. Is it the same case with the Prado?

    I tow my QC with a 4.5 GX 100 series Cruiser and it seems to be very happy at 90 - 100 (true speed) doing somewhere around 5 km/l, it can of course go much faster but then you have to make that six whine and the fuel can drop to 4.3 and below.

    I need a six seater and am seriously considering a Prado.

  11. #11
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    In my 1st year of owning my Commander, I had a very nasty experience that almost ended in disaster. I was doing 110 on the N2 and crossed a small bridge. The van had done some funny things before but the bump going onto the bridge started what is best described earlier as "duck walk" that eventually picked up momentum. I avoided the brakes and managed to ride it out. Nasty stuff...... I fitted a trapezium off-roader and there was a huge improvement. I was however never really at ease after that. I sort of forgot about all that until reading this thread. No matter how you abuse it, I have yet to experience any form of sway on the BL.
    Michael (Kooskop) My naam is NIE Koos nie..
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  12. #12
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    There are a few things to consider, a trailer or caravan must always when standing on level ground travel slightly nose down on the tow ball. it is better to have more weight at the front than towards the rear, try to balance left and right out. A stabilizer is actually a must the better ones are made by trapezium, they have different models for different applications, and this is purely because of safety reasons, they are pricey, but what is the price of a new trailer or motor vehicle, or the families safety.

  13. #13
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    Just to add to my earlier post and what Sean mentioned earlier, have a careful look at your trailer's setup. On the Conquest you have in the rear a fridge, two gasbottles and a spare wheel. That's a lot of weight behind the axle. Then you also have a Trailer tent weighing in excess of 60kg riding on the roof of the trailer raising the centre of gravity. I believe it is this setup which is the rootcause of the swaying in the Conquest. In the front you have two jerry cans and then 150 lt of watertank in the belly. Now most of the time jerries and watertanks are empty except when you're doing an overlanding trip. Filling these will add weight to the front and lower the centre of gravity. However on a camping weekend these tanks ride empty or becomes half empty due to usage on the trip. I've found that the filling all jerries and watertanks improves the stability of my Conquest drastically. As a general rule I fill the jerries just to add a bit of stabilizing weight in the front even on a normal weekend trip.

    I don't know how the Companion's weight is distributed exactly but the same scenario exists where jerries and sparewheel rides high up in the rear.

    For me the Stabilizer is an added safety which I firmly believe in.

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  14. #14
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    Jannie, which stabiliser would you recommend for the Companion?

    Thanks

    Martin

  15. #15
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    Tando Off-Roader. I see Campworld are selling them now for R2350

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  16. #16
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    I believe that the way a trailer is loaded will make the difference, provided the design of the trailer is good.

    > Load the heavy stuff over the axle.
    > Load the lighter stuff at the back.
    > The other stuff goes to the front.

    Now, if you can just about lift the trailer, with some effort, at the tow hitch, you should be fine - tow hitch weight of about 80 kg.
    Johan Mitchell, .... r.i.v. Swambo Marthie

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  17. #17
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    I want to see the guy that can lift a Conqueror Companion!

    I follow the theory but those things are damn heavy.

    What is the maximum that the tow hitch can take before you risk the thing shearing off?

  18. #18
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    .. not the whole trailer, just the trailer at the disselboom

    Most suggestions for tow hitch weight seem to vary between 75 and 100 kg.
    Johan Mitchell, .... r.i.v. Swambo Marthie

    My beste kennis is diť oor my eie onkunde

    '96 Colt DC V8 ... Safari Camper ... '88 Fleetline L
    '88 Ballade 150 ... sold
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  19. #19
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    Ha Ha, i just tried and it does not move an inch (OK, not even a mm).

    It was one of the reservations I had of buying an off-road trailer/caravan in the first instance. If you cannot lift it on the shop floor I wonder how you are supposed to move it around in the bush

  20. #20
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    I get about 5.5 with the Prado @ 110 - 125. When you go to 130 then it drops to around 4.5 to 4.7. Consumption pretty stable.

    On topic again, I use a yellow blade stabilizer lately. Feels very much the same as without it, but it is probably "insurance" in case of a cross-wind or sudden move.
    2010 Prado 4.0 VX
    1984 Suzuki SJ410
    Conqueror Commander

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