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Discussion Starter #81 (Edited)
Adding the weight of a WDH to your already tongue heavy setup is only going to put more weight on the rear axle and lift your front axle even more, it would be dangerous. Using a WDH should solve sway(Ascent systems excluded) but exacerbates too much weight on the rear axles. That's without even getting into frame stress issues.

It is a very cool trailer, but designed in an era when a truck would be towing it. There is no magic bullet that will make it safe to tow with the Ascent.
Q-Man and AnacortesArmyGuy and many on this thread, thank you. I've really valued your input and it has factored into my decision on how to proceed with my family's trip to the east coast. Sincerely. I am grateful for that input as I believe it's helped me to figure out how travel with my family as safely as possible.

I know my last post may have sounded like sour grapes as I've been caught with a trailer that doesn't work very well with the Ascent. I have a hard decision to make but my previous point isn't really about my situation. It's more about a pervasive sense in the responses to this thread that WDHs are unnecessary to pull a trailer safely. From the research I've done and the consistent testimonials I've read from users of WDHs with incorporated sway control there is a real value from their use and I think it's misguided to suggest that they are unnecessary because Subaru guides against their use. Again, I'm not talking about my specific situation. I'm talking about the many, many user testimonials I've read. I have yet to read a testimonial that says, "Hey I tried a WDH and it was a waste of money. Pulling a trailer without one is just as easy as with one." I haven't read anything like that. Instead what you hear is that WDHs with sway control make towing easier, reduce driver stress and create a more confident towing experience. So just because Subaru recommends against their use on the Ascent doesn't mean they shouldn't be seriously considered if you choose to tow a trailer.

Please consider that the tenor of this conversation is a lot like confirmation bias: If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
 

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What I'm hearing in many of these posts is a lot of people minimizing the challenges of trailer sway and saying that all you need is an Ascent, an OEM hitch and a properly balanced trailer. Then all of a sudden you won't ever have to deal with trailer sway. - Poof! Problem solved.
Nobody who has actually towed would claim that there will never be trailer sway. Built in systems like the Ascent has as well as any sway benefits from hardware like a WDH help to reduce the effects of trailer sway, but they do not eliminate it.
 
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@pro10is stated it much better than I did. There's one thing though... can we have a pic of that backhoe being towed? That sounds awesome!
I never thought to take a photo of it. Next time I hook it up to the Ascent I will, but here's what it looks like.

4378


We use it to dig trenches for fiber optic cable for a fiber-based ISP that I co-own. Works great. I have a smaller bucket for trenching.
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Nobody who has actually towed would claim that there will never be trailer sway. Built in systems like the Ascent has as well as any sway benefits from hardware like a WDH help to reduce the effects of trailer sway, but they do not eliminate it.
You should check out Hensley and Pro-Pride. According to their claims they eliminate sway completely. Hensley's motto is, "Trailer Sway Eliminated...Guaranteed." According to their claims it's physically impossible for the trailer to sway due to side pressure on the trailer.

Here's is a demo of how it works. Interesting part starts at 1:50.


Kind of cool tech.
 

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From the research I've been doing WDHs do have a purpose beyond compensating for incorrectly balanced trailers. From what I understand they reduce or eliminate (when talking about the Hensley Arrow) trailer sway. What I'm reading is that trailer sway is also created by emergency maneuvers, cross winds and bow waves from passing semis. None of these inputs have anything to do with trailer balance (but they would be acerbated by an improperly balanced trailer). The mere fact that the Ascent has a Trailer Sway Assist system seems to recognize that trailer sway is a problem when towing.

What I'm hearing in many of these posts is a lot of people minimizing the challenges of trailer sway and saying that all you need is an Ascent, an OEM hitch and a properly balanced trailer. Then all of a sudden you won't ever have to deal with trailer sway. - Poof! Problem solved.

What is being implied is that the only people that use WDHs are idiots that don't know how to balance their trailers. That really isn't jiving with everything I've been reading.

Of course, I'm very new to this.
Q-Man and AnacortesArmyGuy and many on this thread, thank you. I've really valued your input and it has factored into my decision on how to proceed with my family's trip to the east coast. Sincerely. I am grateful for that input as I believe it's helped me to figure out how travel with my family as safely as possible.

I know my last post may have sounded like sour grapes as I've been caught with a trailer that doesn't work very well with the Ascent. I have a hard decision to make but my previous point isn't really about my situation. It's more about a pervasive sense in the responses to this thread that WDHs are unnecessary to pull a trailer safely. From the research I've done and the consistent testimonials I've read from users of WDHs with incorporated sway control there is a real value from their use and I think it's misguided to suggest that they are unnecessary because Subaru guides against their use. Again, I'm not talking about my specific situation. I'm talking about the many, many user testimonials I've read. I have yet to read a testimonial that says, "Hey I tried a WDH and it was a waste of money. Pulling a trailer without one is just as easy as with one." I haven't read anything like that. Instead what you hear is that WDHs with sway control make towing easier, reduce driver stress and create a more confident towing experience. So just because Subaru recommends against their use on the Ascent doesn't mean they shouldn't be seriously considered if you choose to tow a trailer.

Please consider that the tenor of this conversation is a lot like confirmation bias: If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
It's not fair to label people's opinions here as nothing more than confirmation bias just because we're not telling you what you want to hear. We've provided you with all kinds of valid reasoning and proof to back up what we say. Don't kill the messenger just because he brings news you don't like. You specifically asked for our opinions, yet you don't seem to want to accept them. There's not much we can do about that, but you have been well informed here. What you do with that information is now entirely up to you.

And no one here is minimizing the challenges of trailer sway, but Ascent owners are not reporting any significant issues with sway when towing travel trailers, so it doesn't appear to be a problem. Subaru's electronic anti-sway system may be just as effective as an aftermarket WDH and/or anti-sway device or, more likely, even better. We all know that it's nothing short of amazing how automotive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems have vastly improved vehicle control and safety, so much so that they've become ubiquitous and compulsory because they work so well. So how hard is it to believe that these well-proven, superb, high-tech systems can also effectively reduce trailer sway as well as or better than a "dumb" mechanical device of limited effectiveness. An electronic trailer anti-sway system can use the existing ESC system's yaw sensor, wheel speed sensors, and steering angle sensor along with individual ABS brake actuators and throttle control to make dynamic adjustments far faster and more effective than any simple mechanical device or human could. Subaru has been a leader in developing and deploying superb new electronic safety systems such as EyeSight. Few tow vehicles have electronic trailer anti-sway systems yet, but the Ascent does, so this further reduces the need for a WDH with the Ascent. Personally, I greatly prefer a vehicle-integrated, high-tech, dynamic, electronically controlled anti-sway system with far more capability to control trailer sway than a highly limited "dumb" third-party add-on mechanical crutch of limited effectiveness.

WDH's are not necessary provided you have a well-matched trailer and load it properly. That is indeed the pervasive message here. In this case, they make no sense and should not be used. If you're beyond the safe towing parameters of the Ascent, then unlike other vehicles, a WDH is a crutch you cannot use to fix a situation where a vehicle cannot inherently safely tow a specific trailer. My opinion is that no one, whether they own an Ascent or not, should ever choose a trailer that requires a WDH because if you're truly concerned about safety, you should never put yourself in a situation where a third-party mechanical device of dubious quality is required to safely tow a trailer. Just because thousands of people do, does not make it wise. There are hundreds of trailers to choose from, why select one that requires an aftermarket crutch to use? Why not stay within the tow vehicle's inherent safety parameters?

I fully understand and sympathize with your desire for a WDH if the trailer you're towing is not within the Ascent's safe towing parameters, but unfortunately in the majority opinion here, and as stated by Subaru, in the case of the Ascent, a WDH is simply not a viable option no matter how you spin it or what others may tell you. You specifically asked for our advice, well this is the prevailing opinion.

Of course, the choice is yours and you can choose to believe those who say a WDH can be used with the Ascent, but you'll be risking potential damage to your frame if they're wrong. That's a risk few would take. Again, I'm sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but you should know the facts as they apparently stand whether you like them or not. This is something we all must deal with, not just you, and we're all responsible for whatever tow vehicle and trailer we choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
WDH's are not necessary provided you have a well-matched trailer and load it properly. That is indeed the pervasive message here.
My only point is that this statement is open to debate from the research I've done.

What I really want to emphasize is that I sincerely value the advice that I've received on this forum. Just because I bring up one issue in ALL the points that have been made here please don't conclude that I have chosen to dismiss everything that is said.

For what it's worth, because of the advice I've received from this forum, I am not going to pull this trailer with the Ascent. I am actively looking for a Lexus GX for my wife which I feel would be a better fit to pull the Airflyte. That decision was made because of all of this forum's feedback and I am truly grateful for it.
 

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According to their claims they eliminate sway completely. Hensley's motto is, "Trailer Sway Eliminated...Guaranteed." According to their claims it's physically impossible for the trailer to sway due to side pressure on the trailer.
I honestly don't believe this can even be an absolute. Maybe they have figured out a way to make it better, but to totally eliminate something that can have so many different causes? That would be a miracle.
 
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Absolutely no such work legally accounts for the tongue weight without government recertification.

The statement about unibody being stiffer and more suited to a WDH over body on frame is absurd.

And, to date, NO ONE has come up with a body reinforcement plan for the Ascent to allow a WDH. I can show you the stress points that are designed for downward weight across the sub frames, which is drastically different that pulling the subframe away from the car as a WDH does. And seriously, that would add a considerable amount of weight and eat into ground clearance.

Nothing against Can Am, but the guy needs to be retrained. He's flat out wrong.
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I took a look at the Hensley website and videos and think that it is an ingenious piece of hardware. If I were using a full frame vehicle that needed a WDH, I'd consider it. However, since any of the full frame vehicles that I'd consider owning are all pickup trucks, I'd be more inclined to go 5th wheel anyway.

Just to play devil's advocate/lawyer, they mention side forces and road surfaces as possible initiators of sway. I didn't do an exhaustive review of the site and wonder about other sway initiators such as a blowout in the trailer, or blowout on the tow vehicle.

Based on the concept of locking the hitch against lateral forces coming from behind the tow vehicle's rear axle, they are essentially converting your 3 axle vehicle+trailer system into a 2 axle system. Do their operating instructions advise to turn off vehicle stability control? They say that they transfer the lateral forces from the trailer to the tow vehicle's front axle. Will vehicle stability control system respond correctly to an unexpected force?

It doesn't appear that Hensley makes a version that isn't WDH
 

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Another issue with WDH's that no one has yet mentioned is that in the event of a trailer rollover, a WDH is much more likely to also cause the towing vehicle to roll over with it as well. Something to consider. It's bad enough to have a trailer roll over, but it's much worse if the towing vehicle also goes with it.
 

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I took a look at the Hensley website and videos and think that it is an ingenious piece of hardware. If I were using a full frame vehicle that needed a WDH, I'd consider it. However, since any of the full frame vehicles that I'd consider owning are all pickup trucks, I'd be more inclined to go 5th wheel anyway.

Just to play devil's advocate/lawyer, they mention side forces and road surfaces as possible initiators of sway. I didn't do an exhaustive review of the site and wonder about other sway initiators such as a blowout in the trailer, or blowout on the tow vehicle.

Based on the concept of locking the hitch against lateral forces coming from behind the tow vehicle's rear axle, they are essentially converting your 3 axle vehicle+trailer system into a 2 axle system. Do their operating instructions advise to turn off vehicle stability control? They say that they transfer the lateral forces from the trailer to the tow vehicle's front axle. Will vehicle stability control system respond correctly to an unexpected force?

It doesn't appear that Hensley makes a version that isn't WDH
The Hensley can be used without weight distributing bars. And if there is no sway the systems would never be activated by the TV so no need to turn them off. What the Hensley and Propride systems do is move the turning point the rear axle of the TV while the Tv and trailer are straight, when turning the dual cam system turns like a normal hitch would.
 
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