Blue Ox Sway Pro Hitch

Following are some of my personal insights and experiences with the SwayPro hitch:  As a motor home RVer for 10 years, I came to appreciate Blue Ox tow bars for towing cars behind the motor home.  I had 10 years of solid use and great support with the Aladdin tow bar.  When I needed a hitch for my Grand Design 297RSTS travel trailer, Blue Ox SwayPro was one of the first I looked at.  In reading the reviews, the hitch seemed to be a solid solution, especially in regards to sway control.  

I discovered two situations after I purchased the hitch and set it up. 

(1) The trailer manufactures seem to significantly under-estimate the unloaded and hitch weight of their trailers, and make no mention of what to expect for a loaded hitch weight.

(2) Blue Ox seems to over estimate the real-world capacity of the SwayPro weight distribution bars. 

Feeling that I had selected "more than enough hitch", I purchased the 15,000/5,000 lb. SwayPro hitch and set it up per the instructions.  While there was not really anything wrong with the setup, I felt that I was not getting sufficient weight distribution to the front axle of the truck as measured at the CAT scale and from real world towing experience.  The front end of the truck seemed to float a bit more than I liked with the setup.  

I ended up upgrading both the shank and WD bars out-of-pocket to get the 20,000/2,000 lb setup and upgraded the hitch installation accordingly.  I believe that the upgrade made a positive change in the towing experience, all-be-it at some expense to me.  One advantage of the 20,000 lb. shank (other than it's massive capacity) is that it fits a 2-1/2" Class V receiver without the use of an adapter.  This is one very solid piece of material. 

For the record, my final real-world weights resulted in a trailer GVW of 9,660 lbs (GVWR is 9,995) and a hitch weight of 1,380 lbs (14.3%).

In the process of setting up the hitch, I learned some side-effects of setup choices:

(1) When you are leveling the trailer with the hitch shank offset options, you may find that a given height choice (based on the location of the mounting holes in the shank) is between  too high or too low by a bit, since the height options are in increments of 1-1/4".  I found that raising the front of the trailer above level to the next hole had the side-effect of transferring more of the trailer weight from the hitch to the trailer axles.  In my case, this was beneficial because my hitch weight was already pushing 15% of the trailer total loaded weight. 

(2) Blue Ox instructions suggest attaching the WD chain links up or down to level the tow vehicle.  After several tows with the links set at 8, 9, or 10 links, I found that sometimes the chains were quite hard to break loose when disconnecting.  It turns out that the chain clearance inside the bracket is very tight, and setting the chain length to an even numbered link put a 90° twist in the chain.  Give how short the chain length is when hitched, I believe the twist contributed to additional binding, making it harder to unlatch the chains.  I ended up using the 9th link, which is working well for me.

(3) When hooking up the chains, it can be confusing to count the number of links, and I often had to recount to be sure I was getting it right.  What I found out is that if you start with the 1st link, and then count only the odd links, it is much quicker and less prone to error to get the right link.  When I am all hooked up, I then compare the number of exposed links on each side of the hitch to make sure they match and are not twisted. 

(4) Throw away the Blue Ox Latch Wrench.  It's an accident waiting to happen.  Make a trip to Sears or your favorite hardware store and buy a 1/2" drive breaker-bar and a 1/2" drive 1" socket.   One very nice option is something like the Gorilla Automotive 1721 Telescoping Power Wrench shown in the photo gallery above (linked to Amazon). There are many others on the market that are similar.  The angled bar helps keep your hands away from the mechanism and it is sufficiently strong for the task.  Keep it with your hitch at all times.  Be safe.

In conclusion, now that my installation is complete, and I have towed over 1,500 miles, I believe that the Blue Ox SwayPro hitch is one of the best on the market (from my very limited experience), especially for the reasonable investment.  The only other hitches I would consider are the Hensley Arrow, or the newer design ProPride Sway Control Hitch.  These both have very good reviews and loyal owners, but (IMHO) they are heavy, complicated, harder to hitch up, and expensive.  I'm sure they are fine products and I have no desire to find fault with them.

I also feel that I can highly recommend the team at eTrailer.com for their professional and very knowledgeable support. Their prices are very competitive, offer free shipping, and accept returns (with the proper conditions).