When pulling a tag-along trailer, be it a car trailer or a camper, it’s not a matter of if you will experience trailer sway, it’s a matter of when and how often. Many weight distribution hitches on the market rely on a tension-adjustable friction bar to help combat sway, but that design has its limitations.
While looking at various hitch designs, I came across something I had never seen before, the ProPride 3P hitch. To say I was intrigued by this very different design would be an understatement. I read everything I could find about the hitch, and they claim to not just prevent sway, but to eliminate it altogether. Since my toy hauler is 40 feet long with a GVWR of 11,500 pounds, My interest was definitely piqued.
In fact, I spoke to Brent McDowell, ProPride’s director of sales and customer service about how the ProPride differs from traditional load leveling hitches and why they feel it is better.
“We don’t try to band-aide sway after it starts. The ProPride 3P stops the sway before it has a chance to start. It does this by using Pivot Point Projection. The 3P hitch design does not allow the trailer to pivot on the ball. We lock out the ball and take the forces normally applied to the ball and project those forces to the rear axle, which removes leverage from the tow vehicle, rather than moving it. This is the pivot point projection at work.”
Brent continues, “A travel trailer uses the rear bumper of a tow vehicle as its pivot point. We take that pivot point and project forward, closer to the tow vehicle’s rear wheels. This results in more stability while sway is eliminated, much like when towing a fifth wheel setup.”
The design of the ProPride 3P is definitely different than a friction-based hitch. According to ProPride, other hitches try to stop the trailer sway after it starts by applying friction to the hitch ball area to limit movement. The problem is, with an 8,000-plus pound trailer, you will never be able to apply enough friction, so it still moves the tow vehicle. As you try to counter the forces with driving behavior, it starts the back-and-forth correcting issues.
While a larger tow vehicle is great for delivering a better towing experience by allowing the driver to not feel the sway happening at the trailer, it is still occurring. When the sway becomes so violent that the driver does feel it, it can often be too late, and the sway overcomes the tow vehicle.
“We do not try and control trailer sway, we eliminate it by not allowing the trailer to become a lever on the back of the truck,” Brent states. Instead, we lock out the trailer on the ball of the 3P and create a new virtual pivot point approximately 52 inches forward, toward the tow vehicle’s rear axle, with the two steering links of the system. This enables the tow vehicle and trailer to move as one unit when a force is presented, allowing the driver to recover as one unit.”
But what about weight distribution? With a traditional hitch design, the spring bars are connected to the trailer via chains. Does the ProPride 3P have weight distribution capability?
“The ProPride 3P uses dual-weight distribution jacks that mount to the tongue of the trailer,” Brent states. “These jacks attach to the spring bars with linkage on each side that allows smooth transition, no matter what the height. To raise and lower, you simply turn the 3/4-inch nut at the top of each assembly to increase or decrease tension for more or less weight distribution. The spring bars used for weight distribution never need to be taken off, only lowered for hitching and unhitching. Most systems require you to remove tension bars when backing or not in use. Also, The ProPride 3P has a tongue-weight capacity of around 1,800 pounds.”
If you watched the video above and you’re like me, and the first thing that comes to mind is a concern about backing up and the pivot point being moveable. I asked Brent about this and he says. “When backing up, the pivot will go to one side or the other and remain there while you back up. The hitch will not move from side to side while you are in reverse. Also, with the ProPride 3P, there is nothing to disconnect when you back up. With traditional bolt-on friction controls, you need to release the pressure on the friction bar or even remove it to prevent damage when backing up.”
Finally. the ProPride 3P is designed to be left on your trailer and the hitch receiver disconnects from the hitch. This does mean that it is not easily removed from one trailer and used on another trailer. If you have multiple trailers, you will need multiple 3P hitches. But, the ProPride 3P definitely makes a strong case for eliminating sway. If you spend any time pulling a tag-along trailer of any size, maybe it’s time you checked out the ProPride 3P. In fact, maybe we need to put one to the test…