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Old 04-20-2010, 09:10 PM
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Default Sway bars, are they really necessary?

I am looking to purchase a 26' camper to tow with my Yukon XL Denali AWD. I have towed a few different boats with this truck including my 30' Scarab Sport and I had no tow bars. In fact, I have never used tow bars with any of my boats and I have never had a problem towing them at any speed.

The current owner of the camper said that there is no question I will need to invest in tow bars. Can someone tell me why? I have never owned or towed a camper but I can't believe it would be much different than pulling my boat except maybe if it was very windy out.

He is keeping his set of tow bars, do I really need to invest in a set if I purchase this camper?

Russ
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:28 AM
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Pull it and find out. With a camper you have more issues with cross winds than a boat.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:56 AM
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Buy it and try it with no spring bars and no sway controll. My two cents worth is that you will drive about five miles at highway speed and be back at the dealer for a proper sway controlled, equalizing hitch.
Reasons, higher tongue weight with the travel trailer and more surface area for cross winds and buffeting by big trucks.
Tongue weight of your 26 travel trailer will be over 500 pounds overloading your hitch without spring bars.
You didn't say if your Denali was 3/4 ton so I assume it is a half ton. Without spring bars, your rear end will go way down when you hook up. Without spring bars, my Airstream pushes the rear end of my 3/4 ton diesel Excursion down so much I wouldn't drive it on the road.
What hitch? I have an Equalizer for my 25 Airstream and it works O.K. I have seen people using Reeses and they seem to be better made.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:16 AM
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There are sway bars that have a tensioner on them and then there are load leveling bars. I had a small 25' light weight camper that needed the sway bar. It is all about the weight distribution over the axles. On a camper that cannot be adjusted like on a boat trailer. You might be ok without the bars, but they are cheap. I used only one on my camper and that was enough. The camper weighed only 3,000 lbs. What is the weight on yours?
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:28 PM
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I installed a weight distributing, duel cam anti sway hitch on a 3/4 truck to tow a 24' 7000 GW snowmobile trailer.

The result was a night and day difference for the better in how it pulled at any speed. The bad part was the rear end of the truck would break free if pulling on a snow covered road or busting thru a snow drift while in 2 wheel drive. To overcome this I would drop the chains a link or two and place more weight on the rear end of the truck.
It also allowed me to adjust the trailer so that the leading edge was an inch or two higher that resulted in just over an increase of 1MPG in fuel usage.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:26 PM
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Put a rear sway bar in my F350 (did not have one stock, but the aftermarket one is much thicker than stock) for carrying my truck camper (4k lbs)..... and not only would I not haul the truck camper without it. I may also swap out the front with a huge aftermarket one as well - it drives much much better (getting groceries or hauling the boat or camper).

If the camper does not come with a weight distribution setup, then by all means get one. They also make a tremendous difference for towing comfort.

The person may have been referring to the WD setup as 'tow bars' and not sway bars.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:45 PM
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My Denali is 1/2 ton. It has a self leveling system with a built in air compressor to raise the rear end. When I put my boat on the truck it will lower the rear end by about 5" until the air compressor kicks on and raises the rear end.

I think I will try to pull the camper first and see what happens. I am getting the camper really cheap and I had no intention of spending another $500 on sway bars, weight distributing hitch, etc. Since I was able to pull my boat(s) with no problems I was hoping I would be able to pull the camper with no problems.

Thanks for the info every one.

Russ
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-rocks View Post
The person may have been referring to the WD setup as 'tow bars' and not sway bars.
Yeah, a lot of confusion here. Are we talking about a weight distributing hitch (two torsion bars running from the hitch aft to chains a foot or two behind the coupler), an anti-sway bar (a single shock absorber like widget attached between the hitch and the trailer tongue) or stuff bolted onto the truck's suspension?

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Old 04-21-2010, 07:34 PM
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Russ, I would not rely on self adjusting airbags towing that kind of load , if the compressor fails or the bags blow you will be on a Death ride .
That set up you have is probably for when a Fat Guy like me gets in the back seat not for towing 5k to 10k down the road with a loaded truck.

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Old 04-21-2010, 08:04 PM
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I don't need a weight distributing hitch, the current camper owner said he uses sway bars to tow the camper with his short bed 1/2 ton pick up. I am not going to tow the camper that often, I am looking to put it on a semi permanent campsite for the summer.

Welder- I hear ya but like I said I am not going to be towing the camper very often. The self leveling system on the truck really works great and if it did fail I can't imagine anything horrible would happen. The trailer I am looking at is a 24' camper so it's not that big or heavy.

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Old 04-22-2010, 05:11 AM
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The purpose of the dual cam set up allows you to back up any time you want WITHOUT removing the anti sway bar from the hitch. When I was buying those where my two choices. I was warned about the issue from a friend who was pulling a travel trailer.
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