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Reese Friction Sway Control Kit Review

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Review of the Reese Friction Sway Control Kit


Hi there heavy haulers. Today we're going to be taking a look at Reese's Friction Sway Control. Reese's Friction Sway Control is going to mount between your trailer's frame and your ball mount. And is going to provide a dampening layer to help prevent sway. It does this using the friction material located inside.You have a bar that slides against the friction material on the inside. So as you turn, this extends and retracts, but it's got a constant pressure on it.

So what this does, is it in order for it to turn, force must be exerted here in order for this bar to extend.So, if you have any cross winds that's hitting your trailer that would normally cause it to sway, here that wind now not only uses the force it has to move the trailer, but it also has to use that force to extend this arm.And this is in here pretty stout. You'll notice when you tighten this thing down, if it wasn't on here, you wouldn't be able to pull this out by hand. You can't just separate these. So, it's quite a bit of friction method applies in there that keeps your trailer from moving back and forth and keeps it in the direction of travel that you're going.When I take my pop-up camper with me, I noticed what I'm going down the highway that I often feel like a looseness in the back end. And, I've done some research and looked into it.

And I had issues with sway on my trailer. Ways of correcting this are re-adjusting the weight on your trailer to put more of that weight on the tongue. And that did help it out some, but to fully eliminate it, I was able to use Reese's Friction Sway Control, and that puts additional friction on the trailer to prevent it from going back and forth.We're going to test drive a real quick now without it, and then we're going to hook it all up and then drive it again to see the differences. First, we'll take it over our uneven bumps. And here in the parking lot, it's a little hard to tell because the whole truck and everything is kind of going all over the place.So, speed bumps in this aren't the best real-world conditions.

It's more often when you're going on the road and you hit just a single pothole and that causes the sway to begin. And the problem with sway is that if you speed up, it just gets worse. So, you almost have to come to a stop just to calm it down. So this issue with it getting worse as you're driving, especially if you're going faster, it just starts to spiral out of control and it can eventually lead to difficulties, keeping control of the vehicle.So, for your safety, your best bet is to just slow down and stop, until you're able to correct the issue. Now, we're going to take it out on the highway, because this is going to be more of your real world conditions.

You're going to notice sway mostly at higher speeds.So, now I'm up about 40 miles an hour. And once I get up over the speed is when I start to notice it. Whenever I have a dip in the road, you can almost start to feel it in the back. Want to shift back and forth. And I have to up here in the front, control it. And it kind of makes you uneasy driving.I'm constantly checking my mirrors to make sure we're still on road. And that there's nobody around me because I get worried that the sway could potentially get out of hand, and you don't want these worries when you're driving down the road. You want to just get there and not feel stressed on the way. Now we've got our friction sway control installed. We're going to take it back out on the test scores and on the highway to see our differences.First in the test course here, we're back in the bumps. And really, I can't tell too much difference here at low speeds, you don't really get sway. So, it doesn't affect it too much. The faster you're going, the more sway starts to get out of hand.So, once we get on the highway, I'm sure that's where we're going to start noticing some big differences. Now, we're getting out on the highway. We're going to get up to speed. I normally notice it up over about 40 miles an hour is when it starts to occur. So let's get up there and see what we feel now.All right. And you hit 40 now and so far, no issues. The sway definitely seems to be eliminated, excited to hit the same bolt by then, before that kind of gave me a little bit of a scare there when we we're driving without it. But with it now, I can let go with the wheel. I don't have the fear that I did before. Then all of a sudden it's just going to start swaying and I'm going to have to start compensating for it.It's actually quite a load off. I feel a lot better. When I was driving it before I'm constantly looking around. Because I'm kind of worried that I might have to just take control and ensure nothing happens. It feels so much better now because I just don't have that reaction between the back and the front.It just feels like I'm hauling a trailer like any other trailer. So, I can definitely tell the next time I take this to the Lake for the weekend. I'm going to have more energy when I get there because I'm not going to be whitened up or looking around.I'm going to be able to just cruise on there, talking to my buddy as we go. That'll be better. Since once we get there, I'm not going to be as reluctant to set everything up, get the pop up open and all that. Normally you get there and you're so tired from driving there. You don't even want to do it. You have to do it, but now we'll be able to get there, do it and sit down and enjoy a little bit of time at the campfire. Because I'm not going to be exhausted and ready to go to bed.Sway can be caused by a lot of different things. One of the most common things that causes sway is an improperly loaded trailer. So, before you look at getting a sway control, I highly recommend that you check your tongue weight on your trailer, and then ensure that you're putting about 10 to 15% of whatever the total weight is of your trailer on the tongue.So for example, here, my trailer is just under 3000 pounds. So ideally I would have around 300 pounds of tongue weight up here. Because that puts me between 10 and 15%. If you need to take your tongue weight, we have plenty of scales available here @etrailer.com. I'd highly recommend our own brand of tongue weight scale. Personally tested it. And it's a very accurate scale. So you can verify your tongue weight first.Now, let's say you did verify your tongue weight and everything is good. You're within that 10 to 15%, but you're still experiencing sway. Some of the other things that can cause that are heavy cross winds, especially if you've got a taller trailer that collects more of that wind, or potholes. If you're on a road surface, it's got a lot of potholes that can cause the trailer to dip and it wants to move this way. And then all of a sudden it's swaying back and forth.And, one of the things you want to remember is that if you do start to experience sway, you don't want to speed up. You want to slow down. Speeding up, just going to make it worse.And the last thing that can cause sway is an unexpected evasive maneuver. You go one way, you come back the other way, and if you over correct any of your trailers within because of the momentum of the truck is going from left to right, once you get back straight again on the truck, the trailer may not want to go straight. It's going to continue to sway.Friction sway control is going to help minimize that. So that, when the trailer's not going to just get out of control. It's going to gradually bring itself back due to that friction that's being applied there, helping keep the trailer going in the same line as your vehicle.In your sway control kit. You're going to receive the sway control mechanism here. So, the arm and the sheets that's inside it. This all comes as an assembly. You'll receive the two clips that lock it in on the ball on your trailer side, as well as the ball and your vehicle side. You'll receive the mount bracket here with ball. That's pretty welded onto that bracket for your trailer. And you'll receive the ball for the ball mount end as well.Now, what you don't get in this kit is a way to mount the ball onto your ball mount. We have brackets available here @etrailer.com for either a 2" or a 1-1/4" hitch. I've got the 2" installed on mine right now. And this is the one that I personally use. There's also ball mounts available that have brackets pre-welded onto those.I personally prefer the bracket that you can install yourself on your ball mount, because that way you can choose whichever ball mount you need to specifically fit your application. Because for me, I needed a 4" drop to make my trailer and truck level when holding them together. So I was able to get the right ball mount, put the bracket on it that I need and get everything installed here.Really the only thing you need to get it installed is mounting of the bracket. The only important thing really when mounting this bracket is having the appropriate sized drill bits for the self-tapping screws and the distance in which it's installed.So, to get it installed, I'd recommend you hook your trailer up to your truck. You get them in a nice straight line and you measure 24" from the center of your ball here, down your frame on the passenger side. And you'll put the center of this ball at that 24" mark. You can clamp it on there, then you'll want to mark out your holes. It's easiest if you just do the outside four. Mark those, drill those.And when you drill those, if you have a frame that is 1/8" thick or greater, you will use an 11/30" bit. But if you have a thinner trailer frame, that's less than an 1/8" thick. You'll want to use a 9/32" bit. Drill all those four holes out and then insert the self tapping screws to get your bracket mounted up. Once you've got those in, you can use your bracket as a template to finish drilling out your last two holes.One thing to keep in mind, the bolts that come in your kit are going to be a brass color. I painted mine because I wanted mine to match my trailer.To get it installed. If you already have an existing ball mount, you'll need to remove your ball so we can get it in place. The plates designed to work with a ball that has a one inch shank in diameter. And you also need to keep in mind that the length of the shaft needs to be long enough to go all the way through the plate, your ball mount, and then have the nut fully tightened on with some threads sticking through on the bottom. So, you need to make sure you have a ball mount that has a long enough shank.I already tried doing this with a ball mount that had a 2.25" shank. And that wasn't long enough. I'd recommend something that has at least a 2.75" Or maybe even a 3" shank. The one we're using here is a 3.5". So, it's a little bit longer than we need. But we know that for sure it's going to give us plenty of threads to get it tightened down.You also want to keep in mind that the distance between the opening here is 2.5/8" so that way you can be sure that it fits over your ball mount. Because there are some ball mounts out there that are a little bit wider that this may not fit on.Now we've got all the measurements that we need and an idea of how long we need them. We'll set our plate on top of our ball, mount like that, lining up the holes and then we'll take our ball, and we're going to put it through those. Take the nut off then the washer, slide it down through on the bottom side. We'll place the lock washer and the nut. I'd Recommend you use a vice to finish getting it tightened down. Most of your balls feature flat spots on them to be clamped in device.You'll then want to torque your ball to its specifications. Usually, when you purchase a ball, there will be a tag on it with the specifications for it. The most common torque spec for a 1" diameter, shank is 250 fl.lb. But you always want to verify with the manufacturer's literature before torquing it.You'll notice that our bracket here has a small hole. This hole is where you would install the ball that comes included with your friction sway control kit. Now, for me, I'm installing this on my ball mount here, because I recently purchased a trailer that has a friction sway control on it, but I don't have the ball end for my ball mount to hook it up.So, I only needed to purchase a replacement ball, which we have available here @etrailer.com and the bracket to get everything up and running. We'll take our ball, slide it through the hole, place, the lock washer on it. And then the nut, we can then move our ball over to device Like this, to get us the most surface area, holding our ball. And then we're going to tighten the ball into the vice to keep it from spinningWe'll then torque the ball to the specifications found in your sway control instructions. If you no longer have the instructions for your sway control, because you just purchase a trailer, kind of like I did, you can find the instruction links on the sway control website for the manufacturer, as well as on the product pages here on our website.Once you've got your ball mount side piece together, you've now got everything you need to hook up your sway control. Now, I've got it tightened down right now and you'll see that you can't pull that out of there when it's tightened down. So, you're going to have to loosen it to get it installed.I think it's a little easier if you put this side on first. So, just slide that on, and then take your clip and slide it through, locking it in place. And I like to put this side on first, because you can kind of just push it down at the ground, and that way you've got an easy way to keep this still as you're loosening this handle up.Because if you've got to tighten down pretty tight, it can be a bit difficult to loosen it up. So, having it solid makes it easier. Now that I've got it loosened up though, I can pull the arm in and out so we can stretch it out and place it on our ball.Another small note here, you'll see that I've got some green on my ball. I put a little bit of marine grease on there, to help minimize the wear between these components because they are going to be pivoting. And so, that'll just help minimize that because you won't have metal to metal contact.We'll then put our clip in on this side. And all we have left to do now is just tightening down our sway control handle. You'll notice here there's a bolt down below that allows you to adjust the amount of friction for your sway control unit. And this is going to vary just depending on your trailer. The length, the weight, the amount of sway you have. All those are going to be factors into whether or not you need more or less sway.There's really no one-off formula. You just want to test it outside. So, I'll Start by just using the settings out of the box and then you can adjust it from there. So, we've already got ours adjusted. So, all I need to do is just tighten it down and you just want to tighten it basically until it stops. Probably get one more and go out of it.And you want your handle to be pointing towards the rear when you're done. At this point, you just want to make sure you've got the rest of your trailer hooked up, your safety chains, and your wiring. And you're ready to hit the road.A couple of other things to keep in mind with your friction sway control. When backing up it is possible to damage the friction sway control unit. So, if you are going to back up what's connected. I highly recommend you have a spotter back there, keeping an eye on it to tell you to stop. If it seems to be getting into a bind. Or the best thing really is to just disconnect your sway control before you back up to ensure you don't damage it.Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're in icy conditions, you may want to disconnect your sway control and not use it, or loosen up the friction. Because if the friction is too high, when we went to turn, instead of the trailer pivoting, the way it's supposed to, it could just slide on the ice and then we have even less control. So, in icy conditions, you, you do not want to have friction on here. And that completes our look at Reese's Friction Sway Control.


Steven S.

1/31/2020

Can you use these on a 28foot travel trailer bumper

Jason S.

2/3/2020

The Reese Friction Sway Control Kit # 83660 can be used on a 28 foot travel trailer and it is actually recommended to use two on trailers over 26 feet. To give you the option to use two friction sway bars, you can either use a weight distribution head like # PS58442 or you can weld a tab like # 3442 and use # RP26003 .

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