What is Trailer Sway and Why Is it Important?
Trailer sway is the side-to-side movement of a trailer that occurs when the physical forces from the side are more substantial than the force pulling the trailer. If the trailer sways uncontrollably, it can cause the tow vehicle and trailer to jack-knife or flip over. Even worse, the trailer can become disconnected from the tow vehicle and become a multithousand-pound battering ram.
There are a couple of reasons why a trailer might encounter trailer sway.
Many unseen forces are acting on the trailer, wanting to pull or push it in different directions. The forward movement is caused by the towing vehicle and a drag force resisting that pulls (due to the trailer’s weight and wind resistance). Wind forces also push against the sides of the trailer. Because the side's surface area is larger than the front, this force can be intense.
Even a tiny gust of wind can push against the side of your camper or boat and cause it to move sideways. If you look in your tow mirror and discover the trailer moving out of line with your truck (encroaching or crossing the center line), you’ve got trailer sway.
The wind is one of many things affecting the tow of a trailer. If a load is not secured or is improperly positioned, then the load can shift during transit and have a negative impact. Most accidents happen because the trailer's weight is not distributed evenly over the axles, which means that the heavy weight acts like a ball being pulled by a chain.
The general rule of thumb is to have a 60/40 split when loading a trailer (60% of the weight should be in front or above the axle, with the remaining 40% behind it).
Believe it or not, most highways have cracks, potholes, and uneven surfaces, and these imperfections can create huge issues for trailers. When a trailer’s tires go over a large bump, they lose contact with the road surface, and the moment a trailer gets airborne, it becomes susceptible to a sideways push.
While you might be the world’s best driver, many people aren’t. Let’s assume that an emergency is needed, and a trailer driver jerks the wheel. That quick side force ripples through the vehicle, acting on the trailer. Unfortunately, the trailer may not follow the truck.
The speed of the towing vehicle can play a significant part in contributing to trailer sway. Should the driver accelerate or push the truck over the speed limit, the greater the force unleashed on the trailer's sides. This makes the trailer sway much more likely.
Today, many trucks are equipped with trailer sway control, which helps the driver to maintain steering control while towing. The trailer sway control constantly monitors the trailer and the tow vehicle. As it detects trailer sway, it slows the towing vehicle until the trailer comes back in line and stops moving side to side.
What Does the Equal-i-zer Hitch Do About Trailer Sway?
To control the impact of trailer sway, Equal-i-zer seeks to do a couple of things. Attacks the Weight Distribution
The hitch is designed to spread the weight of the tongue over the front axles of the tow vehicle and trailer, which means that the weight of the load is more centered. This helps smooth out the ride and makes it harder for outside forces to exert their will on your trailer.
Think of it this way. If an object’s weight is spread out over a greater area, there is less ability of an outside force like the wind to affect it. If an object is top-heavy, then it becomes easy to push around.
The trunnion (also known as spring bars) on the Equal-i-zer hitch is a counter to the trailer weight, which creates better trailer equilibrium. The effect lets the trailer stay level and in line with the tow vehicle. Like most weight distribution hitches, the trunnion bars are spring-loaded, making them easy to install onto the trailer mount hitch.
4-point Anti-Sway System
Four friction points on the Equal-i-zer are crucial to resisting trailer sway. The trunnion bars connect to the hitch's ball mount just below the tow ball. The weight of the tongue exerts a downward force, but the spring in the two connections counters it by spreading the weight over both axles.
Two other contact points are located at the other end of the trunnion bar, where the bar is connected to the back part of the tongue through brackets. These brackets will anchor the hitch to the trailer tongue with more rigidity. This configuration provides a smoother and safer ride (it has the effect of towing with a double tongue or adding on a sway bar). It provides increased steering and braking control.
The four-point system is considered the safest hitch to prevent trailer sway or haul heavy loads. Many reviews indicate the impressive amount of steering control and how the weight distribution made for a smooth ride.
What are the Ratings for the Equal-i-zer?
The Equal-i-zer is made from 100% American steel and is manufactured in Utah. The construction of the components is tight. The hitch offers a lifetime warranty.
The hitch consistently makes best hitch lists, including bestproductsreview.com, Forbes, and campaddict.com, among others. The Equal-i-zer hitches have won the Reader’s Choice golden award from Trailer Life for ten years.
The company was founded as Mobile Manufacturing in 1945, with its first weight distribution trailer hitch patent occurring a few years later. Currently, they produce an entry-level hitch named Fastway and the Equal-i-zer. Both hitches are identical in construction. The Fastway is used for lighter loads.
For more information concerning Fastway hitches, see the manufacturer’s website.
It is one of the older manufactured weight distribution hitches on the market. While other companies also manufacture hitches, the fact that this company has been producing hitches for over 70 years makes them a hitch to consider.
The company continues to thrive, offering all kinds of bolts, nuts, brackets, and towing hitch accessories. The website is easy to navigate, and I found the ability to pick and choose options on my hitch refreshing. An owner’s guide contains tons of helpful information on the installation and maintenance of the Equal-i-zer.
What are the Pros and Cons of Equal-i-zer 4-point Hitch?
There are a variety of reasons to like the Equalizer hitch.
- Excellent reputation in weight distribution hitches
- Made in the US
- Lifetime warranty
- Great customer service
- There are cheaper brackets on the market if you are budget minded
- For more information concerning Equal-i-zer, please see the manufacturer’s website.
- For pricing information or to check TODAY’S PRICE, see Amazon.
How Do I Know What Size of Hitch to Use?
The tongue weight of a trailer should never be over 15% of the total weight of a fully loaded trailer. The website has a sizing guide that can assist owners in finding which Equal-i-zer is best.
If the tongue weight is too great, try shifting some of the weight to the rear of the trailer. Be careful not to move more than 60% of the load’s weight away from the front.
Can I Stall the Equal-i-zer Myself?
If your truck already has a receiver hitch, installing the Equal-i-zer hitch is very easy.
- Simply insert the hitch into the receiver, and lock it in place.
- Add the trunnion bars and lock them securely to the tow hitch.
- Connect your trailer, link the L brackets to the tongue of the trailer and lock the pins in place
- Make sure your trailer and truck are level. Make any adjustments needed.
- Connect safety chains and any electrical wires
- Perform a safety inspection to ensure that everything is secure.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane