A swaying rig is one of the most serious problems you can face while caravanning – not only is it a major cause of anxiety, but it is also capable of causing major accidents. There are many things which will cause a rig to sway, the most likely are,
- Level rides not being adequate enough to stabalise the rig and not being able to keep the van under control
- Poor loading of the caravan or poor caravan design. If the towball weight of the van is too low (below about 10% of the overall weight of the van) then a likely overloading of weight will occur behind the axle and can cause a pendulum-like rocking which in turn leads to rig sway. Things like bike racks affixed to the rear of the van are a common cause of such instability.
- Being as heavy as, or in some cases, heavier than the tow vehicle, the caravan can often exert a form of “dominance” over the tow vehicle and begin to dictate the handling of the rig.
- Encountering turbulence, for example when a truck or road train passes at high speeds, the rig will begin to pitch and yaw towards the passing vehicle based on this sudden area of low pressure created in its wake.
If you have encountered any of these things, it’s likely that a sway control system could be a major benefit to you. Aside from increasing the overall “feel” of the rig, it will also improve the safety of the rig, reduce fatigue on you as a driver, and, as a result, mean your caravanning experiences are much more enjoyable. Any rig over 15′ in length will notice a vast improvement once a sway control system has been fitted.
Essentially, sway control works by a relatively simple process. Essentially, a sway control system acts as a kind of dampener which makes it difficult for the caravan to move out of line with the tow vehicle. This means that unless the tow vehicle initiates the turn (ie. going around a corner for example), the caravan will stay tightly in line with the tow vehicle at all times.
To fit, an adaptor lug is fitted to a heavy duty level ride ballmount, and a bracket to the A-frame component of the caravan’s linkage. The sway control system attaches quickly between the two and is physically held in place by “R” clips whilst in use. Generally installation will take around 1 to 2 hours.