How to Install Travel Trailer Sway Bars (8 Adjustment Tips)

Traveling down the road come with its own dangers. Don’t add to them by practicing bad trailer towing habits. Make sure you and your vacation are protected by using the right anti-sway bars.

Installing the sway bar is simple to do, but it also depends on location. You can install the sway bar near the hitch ball but you want it to be 1 ½ forward and 5 ½ inches outward from the hitch ball. Keep the sway bar centered to the hitch ball.

That was just the first step in installing the sway bar. To find out the rest of the steps just continue to read our article. It lets you know how to install a sway bar and gives you some adjustment tips

Tip 1: One of the first things you need to do is get a set of sway bars that fit your trailer.Not all sway bars are made the same and some do not work with those trailers that have surge brakes. The sway bars work on specific hitches and weight limits only.

Tip 2: Do a fully loaded test drive at normal towing speeds. Monitor your trailer's actions and when you stop, you need to locate the tension screws. Once you have done that, you can turn the ¼ to increase or decrease the tension. Your test drive should tell you which way you need to turn that tension screw.

How to Install Travel Trailer Sway Bars

We have given you the first step already, but here is a reminder. Make surethe sway ball is centered on the hitch bar. Then attach the ball 1 ½ inches forward and 5 ½ inches outward from the hitch ball.

Step two is to attach the handle to the car or tow vehicle. Once thatis done use a rag and grease the threads of the handle, so it moves easily for you.

Step three, make sure the sway bar is parallel to the body of the car and about 4 ½ inches away from the car. Tighten the bolts and attach the bar coupler to the ball.

Step four, hold the bracket in place and drill holes through it and the frame. Then use a hammer to drive the rivets through those holes. After that, you should be good togo and ready for your road trip.

Tip 3: if the trailer still sways after making the ¼ turn, adjust the screw an extra ¼ turn on the side where the trailer is doing the most swaying. You do not have to do both sway bars every time you makean adjustment.

Travel Trailer Anti-Sway bar Installation Tips

Here are some steps to help you install your sway bar correctly and avoid road problems when you are away from home.

  • 1. Raise your vehicle-make sure to get it high enough off the ground to work safely on it.
  • 2. Now you remove the end links.
  • ​3. Next, you need to remove the 2 supporting bolts holding the muffler to your car. Slide the muffler out of your way.
  • ​4. Next, remove the bolts holding the sway bar bushing strap. There are two on each side butmake sure to remember their orientation. You need to recreate it later.
  • ​5. Maneuver the sway bar around the exhaust on the passenger side and add some grease to lubricate the bushings.
  • ​6. Now you have to remove the bolts from the subframe and slide the reinforcement in the middle of the subframe and chassis. Don’t forget to support the differential housing at the same time.
  • 7. Install the bracketat this time with the concave design pointing towards the rear. Then move the sway barbushing strap and align it with the holes. Torque should be 35 pounds on the smaller bolts and 100 on the larger.
  • 8. Put the end links back on and remove the subframe brace.
  • 9. Keeping the sway bar supported remove thebushing straps, attach the end links to the sway bar and install the sway bar making sure nothingis put in upside down.
  • 10. Attach the front end links and put the bushing brace back on. 40 and 55 pounds of torque, respectively.

Tip 4: when it is icy, snowing or you are in heavy rain, you need to remove the sway bar. Then when you go to reinstall the sway bars you have to go through the test drive andadjustment process again

How to Adjust Travel Trailer Sway Bars


This is not a hard action todo perform. The sway bars should come withadjustment screws that need a little turn, either way, to make sure you have the right tension on your trailer.

To make sure you know which way to turn those screws,you should do a test drive with your tow vehicle and your trailer filled with the same weight you will have on your trip. Travel at the same speeds you would normally travel at to make sure you get the best reading possible.

Once you have returned from your test drive, turn the screws about ¼ in the way you need to make the turn. This will increase or decrease the tension on your trailer and make it safer for the road.

Keep making test runs till you get the right amount of tension.

Tip 5:Make sure to follow all manufacturer’s recommendation when attaching the sway bar. Don’t assume you know how to do it becauseall sway bars are not made the same and there is no one size fits all device. Get the right sway bar for your trailer’s size and weight.

Travel Trailer Sway Baradjustment Tips


One of the first things you need to do is take your time. Be patient when making your adjustments. Nothingis gained by rushing through this procedure. Also, make sure you know which direction you need to turn to increase or decrease the tension.

A very important step is to double-check to make surethe sway bar was installed properly. A bad installation will hamper youradjustment process. It will also make your trailer unsafe and you will probably continue to have swaying issues affect your driving.

Do the test drive over and over till you get theadjustment where it should be.

Tip 6: depending on your sway bar design and model type, sometimes all you have to do is turn the handle to add or subtract friction. You turn the handle till you get the right balance of friction for both the tow vehicle and the trailer.

Travel Trailer Sway Bar Noise


This can be a difficult problem to solve because of some models of sway bars naturally make noise. It is just the nature of the beast. Some experienced RV owners get embarrassed by the noise one brand makes but there is nothing they can do about it.

Another cause could be it is just installed too tight. All you have to do in this situation is just loosen the sway bar a little bit and the noise should be reduced considerably. If the noise comes when you are backing up, you should take the tension off before you do that.

A homemade answer is to turn to a little petroleum jelly. This helps reduce the friction noise without interfering with the sway bar’s job.

Tip 7: it is best to know the function of your sway bars.Generally, their main purpose is to stop a vehicle’s lean. All the stiffness does is reduce the amount of the lean your vehicle experiences when it comes face to face with sway sources.

Travel Trailer Hitch and Sway Bars


You can get what is called a weight distribution sway bar. What this device does is help distribute the weight of your tow vehicle and trailer over all the axles and do it evenly. Once you attach the bar,your trailer should be stabilized a lot better and should be able to withstand those sway causing elements a lot easier.

One rule of thumb to help guide you would be that if your trailer GWR is 50% greater than your GVWR on your tow vehicle, then you would need to use a weight-distribution bar.

Thistype of sway bar comes with a spring system that helps stabilize the trailer and distribute the weight. Then those hitches that come with their own anti-sway barsare generally made for small tongue trailers

Tip 8: Oneof the adjustments you can make, and it will indirectly help the sway bar perform moreeffectively, is managing your tongue weight. Make sure your tongue weight remains between 12 and 15 percent and your sway bar should not have as much trouble.

Hooking up Travel Trailer With Sway Bars

Here is one way to hook up your travel trailer when it already has a sway bar attached and in position.

First, back your tow vehicle into position.

Second, lower the hitch tongue till it is almost at rest on the ball.

Third, insert weight distribution bars into the receivers on the hitch, pulling them tight on the trailer tongue. Once done, just lower the tongue until it rests on the ball.

Finally, just reconnect the sway bar and you should be ready for the road.

One word of caution here. If the dealer already attached the sway bar for you, ask them to give you a list of instructions to follow to attach your tow vehicle to the trailer. Or ask them to show you how it is done.

The reasoning behind this is thatit can be dangerous to attach your trailer to the hitch ball if you do not know what you are doing. If you make the wrong move, you could be seriously injured.

Also, each of the different brands of sway bars, especially the weight distribution models, all have their own way of hooking up.What was listed above only works for certain types and is not the procedure for themall.

So, make sure you get instructions and a demonstration to help you avoid an injury to yourself.

How to Unhitch a Travel Trailer With Sway Bars

Before we start here, we will reiterate the above and put a little more emphasis on key parts. Make sure you have the proper instructions for your model of sway bar. The instructions we put here is just for alimited number of models.

Then be careful when you do it, trailer tongues and other vehicle parts are heavy and can cause a lot of damage. Here are those instructions for you:

Step one, loosen the sway bar thenremove it.

Step two, unlock the ball latch and lower the tongue jack, getting it inposition to lift the tongue.

Step three, start using the tongue jack and when the tongue juststarts to lift stop and the truckstarts to move up from the lack of weight.

Step four, remove the distribution weight bars, then resume lifting the tongue until the tow vehicle canbe driven away safely.

One keynote to be wary of,make sure to check the trailer wheels first and keep the stabilizing bars retracted untilthe process is completed.

Some Final Words

Adjusting and installing your new sway baris not going to be that difficult. You just need to know what you are doing. If you don’t get qualified help or go to your dealer and let them install it for you.

Also, let them show you how to adjust theadjustment screws so you know which way to turn to increase or decrease the tension. Remember, each sway bar is different, and they do not work for every trailer.

Know the details of your tow vehicle and trailer and find the right sway bar for both. Also, be careful. These are some risks involved when attaching or unhooking your trailer with a sway bar attached.

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