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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I have started to tow a new 17' travel trailer, approximately 2500 lb (have not been able to actually weigh it yet) with a 250 lb tongue weight (I did weigh that).

There is some sway especially when approaching 60 mph. It only happens when I jerk the wheel a little, like to miss a pothole. Not severe, I can easily dampen it out but my wife may not control it so well.

The manual says to not use any sway control devices. However I see several threads on this forum where several folks have said they would or have installed sway control. Presumably there are no reports of problems using a sway control devices?

I have never used sway control, are there any types or brands that would be preferred?

Your experience and input is most appreciated.
 

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Might want to double check that I think manual might say no WD (weight distribution) but sway control is different…BUT you shouldn’t be jerking your wheel while towing…better to hit a pothole than loose control just be gentle with the steering and brakes and accelerator and no sudden changes. The best tow vehicle in the world will have sway (and even flip) if you jerk the wheel I saw this happen last year with a full size Chevy PU and a 32-34 foot TT luckily the couple walked away but their PU and TT were a total loss.

Another tip is never feel rushed and don’t let anyone rush you.

A stiffer suspension is needed from what I hear on the Atlas. Look into airbags.

Lastly, I don’t tow with our Atlas but have over a decade experience with other tow vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I appreciate your input. After half a century of driving and towing I understand about the need for smooth gentle driving.

Rough road surface can get this car/trailer combination swaying a bit. Not severe but more than I would prefer.

A check in the manual does confirm that only weight distribution hitches are prohibited.

There are several types of sway control devices. The friction type is the simplest and least expensive. Are they effective?

I saw a more complex one with cams so that when maneuvering tighter turns the force reduces. Is that feature helpful?

What types and brands do you folks recommend?

Would suspension air bags provide effective stiffening? Again, what features & brands would you folks recommend?
 

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Someone with an actual Atlas in towing configuration hopefully will come along-seems this forum has fewer active members than I would like. I try to help because it seems like no one else comes along-but I digress and hope some folks do for you.

Simple Reese friction is what I use (but on a WD hitch and different TV). Simple to set up and get right-It Might be effective because I don’t have any sway-just ALWAYS take it off before backing up or tight maneuvering. Have to have a habit here.

I found a really interesting video on YouTube you might watch (and anyone else because it is pretty informative). It would say I WAS WRONG on the airbag comment above in the sense this says it will ADD to REAR axle weigh and reduce front axle load (less stable). Might want to check it out I wouldn’t think this before I saw it. Obviously WD is the best (that is what I run) but my neighbor also runs airbags on his Ram and didn’t get the results he wanted so…check it out I learned something new today. Also if you just want the juicy bits fast forward to 11:00 mark. 😊

Airbags vs WD Video
 

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Owner here of a 2018 SEL-P towing a 4500 lb travel trailer with a 400 lb tongue weight.

The trailer came with a WDH which I have used to see what difference it provides over a standard hitch. In my limited experience (about 20 hours on the road), I have been very happy with the Atlas towing performance both with and without the WDH. This was all in the relative flat of southeast and mid Atlantic areas, so nothing too challenging.

I will discontinue use of the WDH because of the VW prohibition (although like everyone else I question this).

The friction type sway control bars seem to get good reviews and are very cheap. Harbor Freight actually has one for 30 bucks I think. I may try one.

I also was intrigued by the electronic systems that use the trailer's brakes to reduce sway. Those seem to get reviews also. But are more expensive at 400 to 500 bucks.

I bought the Firestone air bags in order to take out the slight rear end sag I have without the WDH. Haven't installed them yet.
 

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Recently I have started to tow a new 17' travel trailer, approximately 2500 lb (have not been able to actually weigh it yet) with a 250 lb tongue weight (I did weigh that).

There is some sway especially when approaching 60 mph. It only happens when I jerk the wheel a little, like to miss a pothole. Not severe, I can easily dampen it out but my wife may not control it so well.

The manual says to not use any sway control devices. However I see several threads on this forum where several folks have said they would or have installed sway control. Presumably there are no reports of problems using a sway control devices?

I have never used sway control, are there any types or brands that would be preferred?

Your experience and input is most appreciated.
I pull a Coleman Fleetwood with bump outs with mine 2018 Atlas V6 SE with no problems I do use a sway bar no problems just make sure the camper is level when you're pulling it you don't want it dipped too low in the front or too high I had to use a 4 inch drop hitch to get mine level.
 

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An electronic brake controller in the Atlas is a must for any trailer that has electric brakes. Not needed on a trailer with surge brakes. This controller puts the proper braking amount on the trailer so that your Atlas is not covering all of the braking It also does help correct sway if needed but this is not the main intent.A sway control is allowed with the Atlas but not a weight distribution hitch due to the unibody construction. With a hitch weight of under 300 you do not really need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We took a 400 mile round trip 2 weeks ago. As with the first trip the sway was there but manageable. On the return portion I began hearing a rattling as if something was loose. When I checked it out, kicking at the tongue and hitch, I found nothing loose. I figured it was looseness between the ball & socket.

When I unhitched at home I found the ball was loose on the draw bar. The tongue weight kept me from sensing any looseness. In all the years I have been towing I have never seen a ball nut loosen. Those lock washers are so aggressive they shave off steel when you loosen a nut. I was most fortunate the nut did not come off.

Anyway, I installed a friction damper. During the check ride I adjusted it tighter a few times. The sway definitely dampens more quickly now. We are going for a trip next week so will evaluate how it performs.

The suspension on the Atlas is soft, this is known. When towing it will rock forward and backward quite a bit. Like a rocking horse. Would adding air bags help stiffen this mode? Rear only? Front & rear? Something other than air bags?
 
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