How Does A Blue Ox Sway Pro Work?
When I first started RVing, I didn’t understand exactly what a weight-distribution hitch was. Now that I have been RVing for a few years, I now have a much better understanding of weight distribution hitches and how they work.
How does a Blue Ox SwayPro weight-distribution hitch work?
Blue Ox weight distribution hitches work using spring bars to apply additional tension to the trailer, which continuously pushes the trailer back into alignment with the tow vehicle.
Additionally, weight distribution hitches help transfer weight off the tow vehicle’s rear axle to the front axle, improving stability and reducing sway.
People used to tell me that it was like a wheelbarrow, and I never exactly understood that. I couldn’t understand how the wheelbarrow description fit with the effect the hitch had on the trailer.
Then it hit me. The wheelbarrow effect was what the weight distribution hitch transfers weight in the truck. Imagine it lifting the back tires off the ground to put more weight on the front tires. Hence a wheelbarrow.
You can see my video explanation here:
Do You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?
Based on what you’re towing and your tow vehicle, you may not need a weight-distribution hitch, but using one is still a good idea.
If your tow vehicle is a big beefy F-350 and you’re towing an 18-foot ultra lite travel trailer, you’re probably okay. That isn’t the situation most of us are in.
If you have a half-ton truck (F-150, 1500, etc.) for towing your camper, you should have a weight-distribution hitch. This is a common rig setup. With this setup, you are more likely to have the trailer and tow vehicle closer to the same weight, which creates an uncontrolled sway opportunity.
Or the hitch weight of the trailer will push the limits of the tow vehicle’s cargo capacity. In this situation, the front tires can lift just the slightest, reducing stability and creating an opportunity for uncontrolled sway.
A high-quality weight distribution hitch, like the Blue Ox SwayPro, will provide added stability when faced with trailer sway.
What Is Trailer Sway?
Trailer sway goes by a few names. It can be referred to as yaw, fishtailing, or sway. It is a dangerous side to side movement that can result in out of control driving or even an accident. An uncontrolled trailer sway incident is terrifying.
There are a handful of primary causes of trailer sway.
- Improper Trailer Loading
- Poor Tire Inflation
- Towing Speed
- Improperly matched Tow Vehicle
Some of these causes are easily managed. You can reduce the risk of an uncontrolled sway situation by adequately maintained air pressure and keeping your speed within your tire’s limit.
Your best bet for maintaining proper tire pressure is a portable air compressor like this quality one from Amazon. This way, you won’t need to pull into a gas station to fill up your tires, and you’re more likely to drive with properly inflated tires.
Proper trailer loading is also easily controlled. Here is a great video model of the effects of trailer load on sway.
You can’t always plan for an unexpected crosswind or when a semitrailer passes you. A high-quality weight distribution hitch, or sway control hitch, like this one from Amazon, can help counteract these causes when the unexpected happens.
The Blue Ox SwayPro
The Blue Ox SwayPro is a little different than other weight-distribution hitches. The Blue Ox SwayPro hitch uses “spring bars” to apply tension to the trailer and push it back in line with your tow vehicle.
Other weight-distribution hitches use “friction bars” to slow and stop sway but don’t necessarily push the trailer back in alignment.
The Blue Ox SwayPro system also uses interchangeable spring bars. If you’re like me and want to upgrade your trailer to something bigger after a year, you can get new spring bars and not have to replace the whole system.
Blue Ox uses a dimple system to ensure you have the right size for your trailer.
Blue Ox SwayPro Spring Bar “Dimple System”
You generally want a spring bar that can handle at least 10%-15% of your trailer tow weight. My trailer is roughly 7000 lbs plus gear (which is light).
Throw some bikes in the back, and I can get very close, if not exceed my hitch weight. My tow capacity is over 12k lbs, so I’m not as worried about that. I use a three dimple spring bar currently.
- 350 to 550 lbs – none
- 550-750 lbs – one dimple
- 750 to 1,000 lbs – two dimples
- 1,000 to 1,500 lbs – three dimples
- 1,500 to 2,000 lbs – four dimples
How To Hook Up And Disconnect a Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distribution Hitch
One common question is how to safely connect and disconnect the Blue Ox SwayPro from your tow vehicle. I was fortunate enough to have a quality dealer to show us how to do it properly.
The key is using your trailer’s tongue jack to raise the tow vehicle high enough to attach or remove the spring bars easily. When you see it in the video, it looks crazy high, but it is the proper way.
How To Adjust Your Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distribution Hitch
Despite my best efforts, I still had a little trailer sway. Luckily, a YouTube channel viewer suggested I raise my hitch by a notch or two to improve sway. He had seen some improvements with that adjustment on his hitch.
Additionally, a different viewer suggested flipping my shank that is currently pointed down in the picture below. I have a separate article on the specifics of how I adjusted my Blue Ox SwayPro hitch. You can read that here.
I decided to take their advice and record the results. You can see the results in the YouTube video:
The Blue Ox SwayPro Saved Us
We currently have a Salem bunkhouse travel trailer (30kqbss) that is about 33 feet long. (Take a tour here if you’re interested). It weighs 6884 lbs and has a hitch weight of 899 lbs.
My tow vehicle is a 2019 F-150 with a max tow package. It has 20-inch wheels and a 3.55 gear ratio, as well as an Ecoboost engine. We travel relatively light and never with full tanks.
While I have more than enough towing capacity with that truck, I feel I’m coming close to hitch weight.
That is where the Blue Ox SwayPro hitch comes in. I reluctantly admit to having at least one issue after first purchasing this trailer.
It was dangerous and scary.
On our first trip, we had plans to camp near Indianapolis for a local event. Little did we expect a significant wind advisory. There were crosswinds up to 50 mph that day on the highway. I was not fully prepared for wind gust of that speed with a 33-foot trailer with my F-150.
My previous trailer (The “Winnie”) was only 18 feet and not very susceptible to a wind gust, so I hadn’t given it a second thought.
At one particularly windy overpass, the F-150’s computer kicked in the trailer breaks while I was going 60 mph because the trailer started to sway so badly due to crosswind. It stopped an out of control sway situation.
It was terrifying, and it was clear my family and I owe Blue Ox and Ford a thank you. The combo of those two kept the situation from being potentially deadly. We decided to pull over and return home via back roads because the wind storm wasn’t letting up for a few days.
As scary as it was, it was a great lesson learned. It taught me to check my speed and my route and ALWAYS understand how my weight is loaded.
We also now check the wind forecast before camping. We have not had any issues after that, other than the occasional semi that passes a little too quickly.
My dealer (who I am also not affiliated with) happened to sell this hitch when I purchased my first trailer, and I’ve used it from then on. It has been a great product.
If you don’t have a weight-distribution hitch, I recommend you get one. It doesn’t have to be a Blue Ox. There are some great hitches out there, but these hitches will help keep your family safer on the road.
Don’t forget to check out our Recommended RV Equipment list!