Trailer brake and sway bar - is this a must pulling a 400 with an F150?

I am curious if a trailer brake connection and a sway bar is a recommendation, a must, or not necessary in the towing equation?  I am about to purchase a 2020 T@b 400 and the dealer says its a must and has added it to my quote/deal.    My tow vehicle is a newer F150 with an eco boost engine.   rated towing is 8000 lbs.   Its an extra $400 to add the electric brake to my truck and the sway bar.   Just curious on others opinions on this matter?  Thanks
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Comments

  • ZeckmmZeckmm Member Posts: 10
    We have a 2020 tab 400 and our tow vehicle is a 1500 Dodge Ram. We had electric brakes put on our truck which I believe is a must. We do not have a sway bar. Our dealer said every vehicle is different and try it out first without a sway bar. We have over 2000 miles on our 400, including a trip out west, and see no need for a sway bar with our truck.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 9,426
    All states have brake requirements based on trailer weight - the 400 exceeds the maximum weight and requires brakes.  In an emergency situation, you will be glad you have them.  In general, sway bars are tow vehicle dependent.  If you have an appropriate TV, you should not experience sway - unless you are driving like a maniac in high wind - but that’s a different story.  

    Many dealers try to sell weight distribution and sway bars.  Just say no.  Although, you do need a 7 pin cable with a charge wire.  Ask for a 10 gauge brake and charge wire if possible.  
    Sharon / 2017 T@B CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • HalooHaloo Member Posts: 137
    We have somewhere between 15k and 20k miles on our TAB400 and F150 combination in lots of mountainous areas.  The electric brake controller is a very good idea.  You will like it on long steep downhills.  We don’t have a sway bar.  I have never felt one is necessary.  
    T@B 400 | F150 | Washington State
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 5,414
    edited February 2020
    The electric brake controller is a legal requirement in most states on a trailer the size of the TaB400, get caught towing  without brake control and you can get a ticket, the trailer impounded, and if it is damaged in an accident, your insurance may use this to not pay out on the claim.  Get the brake controller sorted.  I use the Kurt p,up in Bluetooth controller, which works well, the RF type that attach to the trailer also work well, if you do not want to opt for an under the dash hard wired controller.  But a brake controller you must get.  ;)
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom Boondock,  Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • VernaVerna Member Posts: 6,878
    As @Sharon_is_SAM said, brakes are required. A search of brake controllers will give you lots of reading material on this forum. 

    I have 7,000+ miles on my F-150 + T@B 400 and it’s a wonderful combination. I see absolutely no need for a sway bar as the F150 has plenty of power to pull the 400 wherever I want it to go.


    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 T@B 320S  Boondock “The T@B”
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost “The Truck”
  • Redfish24Redfish24 Member Posts: 25
    Thank you all for the feedback.  Electric brake controller I will get, sway bar will wait. 
  • falcon1970falcon1970 Member Posts: 754
    Before you spend money at the RV dealer, check to see if your F150 already has a brake controller factory installed.  If you have a 7-pin connector somewhere near the hitch you probably do.  The display on the dash also has some info about towing and a way to set the brake sensitivity.
  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 132
    Trailer brakes are a must and I feel a sway control bar is too.  The sides of the Tab400 are so large and flat that it will definitely induce sway in a heavy cross wind or when a semi meets or passes you. We picked up our tab in west Texas and towed it back to the DFW area and with a big cross wind the whole way.  It was a whit knuckle experience.  Since installing the sway control it has been great towing.
  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 132
    We tow with a 2019 Ford Ranger.  Tow capacity is 7500 so it has plenty of ability.  Tow capacity has nothing to do with sway since it is caused by external forces more than capable of moving the trailer to the side and causing a hinge effect which in turn requires immediate correction by the driver.  This is true especially when being passed by a large truck in a high cross wind event.  The sway will cause your TV to steer into the passing truck.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 9,426
    @JCALD, how fast are you towing?
    Sharon / 2017 T@B CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 132
    On our way home from Lubbock we were doing 60 most of the time.  Had a 25-30 mph head/cross wind.  In better conditions we stay with traffic on interstates and do 70-72 otherwise after installing the sway control.
  • GatorEggGatorEgg Member Posts: 448
    edited February 2020
    Yes, trailer brakes( brake controller) are required in North America depending on weight, see below.  As far as sway a others have said it is more to do with other factors, loading, winds, etc.  I have a Tacoma and a 320.  Tows fine with no sway at all speeds.  One day, bored I started reading my Tacoma owners manual.  They're a wealth of information.  In towing section it stated a sway control device is required for trailers over 2000 lbs.  Humm..... If something happened and I didn't have it would the insurance company have a fit?  So for $35, I installed one.
    Check your owners manual!


    US Canada Tow Laws Map


    2022 TAB 400 Boondock, 2019 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4x4
    2018 TAB 320 Boondock (previous)
    Odessa, Fl.  

  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 132
    Yea, the sway control kits are really reasonably priced so I see no reason not to have one.
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 467
    Many things contribute to sway, but the ratio of the distance from the rear axle of your TV to your tow ball to the wheelbase of your TV is a critical one.  The smaller this ratio, the less your rig will be prone to sway.  5th wheelers, where this ratio is zero, do not suffer from sway at all.  So the first step in controlling sway is to snug your tow ball up to the back of your TV to reduce the distance between it and the rear axle, like this:
    Next step is to increase your wheelbase, which is a little trickier.
    We've towed our 400 in high crosswinds and on narrow roads with huge trucks creating all sorts of turbulence, and never, ever have had to correct for sway.  The aforementioned ratio for our rig is 0.33, which is really close to the F150. @JCALD, I estimate the best you can do with a Ford ranger is about 0.38, and if you have a long hitch it could be worse.  Maybe this is your underlying issue.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 T@B400 Boondock (Cryst@bel) | 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 - P400 | San Juan Island, WA
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 3,158
    That's interesting! So my extra long wheelbase (extended cab) is good for something!
    We've never had any sway problem (well, except when my DW first got behind the wheel and got going 75 or so...)
    rh5555 said:
    Many things contribute to sway, but the ratio of the distance from the rear axle of your TV to your tow ball to the wheelbase of your TV is a critical one.  The smaller this ratio, the less your rig will be prone to sway.  5th wheelers, where this ratio is zero, do not suffer from sway at all.  So the first step in controlling sway is to snug your tow ball up to the back of your TV to reduce the distance between it and the rear axle, like this:
    Next step is to increase your wheelbase, which is a little trickier.
    We've towed our 400 in high crosswinds and on narrow roads with huge trucks creating all sorts of turbulence, and never, ever have had to correct for sway.  The aforementioned ratio for our rig is 0.33, which is really close to the F150. @JCALD, I estimate the best you can do with a Ford ranger is about 0.38, and if you have a long hitch it could be worse.  Maybe this is your underlying issue.

    Chan  -  near Buffalo NY
    2014 S Maxx
    2011 Tacoma 4cyl ... edit: 2022 Tacoma 6cyl - oh yeah! 

     A_Little_T@b'll_Do_Ya
  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 132
    rh5555 said:
    Many things contribute to sway, but the ratio of the distance from the rear axle of your TV to your tow ball to the wheelbase of your TV is a critical one.  The smaller this ratio, the less your rig will be prone to sway.  5th wheelers, where this ratio is zero, do not suffer from sway at all.  So the first step in controlling sway is to snug your tow ball up to the back of your TV to reduce the distance between it and the rear axle, like this:
    Next step is to increase your wheelbase, which is a little trickier.
    We've towed our 400 in high crosswinds and on narrow roads with huge trucks creating all sorts of turbulence, and never, ever have had to correct for sway.  The aforementioned ratio for our rig is 0.33, which is really close to the F150. @JCALD, I estimate the best you can do with a Ford ranger is about 0.38, and if you have a long hitch it could be worse.  Maybe this is your underlying issue.
    I have a short hitch similar to yours, but a 4” drop to get the trailer level.  I have no complaints since installing the sway control.
  • BeenieBeenie Member Posts: 21
    I have a 2021 T&B 400 and tow it with a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee that can tow 6,00 pounds. Will a single sway bar and electric breaks work? I currently have a double sway bar and it's not easy at all for a 66 year old female to connect it.

    Beenie
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 467
    Beenie said:
    I have a 2021 T&B 400 and tow it with a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee that can tow 6,00 pounds. Will a single sway bar and electric breaks work? I currently have a double sway bar and it's not easy at all for a 66 year old female to connect it.
    We towed our T@B400 with the regular Jeep Cherokee for may years and although it was somewhat under-powered for the job, we never had any problems with sway and we used no sway control devices at all.  To my mind, having as short a hitch as you can manage is the key.  I doubt you need a sway bar at all, but the electric brakes (and a suitable controller in your Jeep) are essential.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 T@B400 Boondock (Cryst@bel) | 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 - P400 | San Juan Island, WA
  • AndreOAndreO Member Posts: 66
    I tow my 2018 400 with a 2018 2.7ltr F150 Lariat . It's my understanding that the weight of the trailer requires a breaks by law in some if not most States and Canada. 
    As for sway control most likley not required. I do have an Anderson load balancer on mine (which also provides sway control) mainly because the 2018 has a heavier tongue weight than the newer models.  However suprisingly the load on an F150 is not as high as one might think. Depending on truck any and all features and add-ons like the extra load package or a cap. 

    If you put alot into the front storage boxes of the trailer or bike racks you may still want to look into load a balancer.  I should have paid the extra $400.00 for the extra 460lbs load capacity.

    The main point here is you have to do the math for your truck/trailer configuration. Load not towing capacity being the key for your F150. Don't forget you have to add the weight of any  truck cargo and yes even the weight of people in the cab.

    By the way they don't mention it (because they don't want to take the time to do the extra work) but dealers have access to an entire web tool for determining exactly what configuration you will need on your truck given the specs you provide.
     
    AndreO
    Ontario, Canada
    2018 Tab 400
    Ford F150 2.7 Lariat
  • JamesCJamesC Member Posts: 62
    Just just to add my two cents worth, pay previous TV was a Tacoma and the electric brakes and sway bar made a hue difference in the towing experience, especially on the freeway. I live in Washington state so steep hills are common and were much easier to manage with that setup. I now have an F150 with the factory electric brakes, a great feature, and I’m still using my sway bar even though sway seems to be less with the bigger truck. To me the extra bit of safety far outweighs any cost savings. It’s like driving without your lights on to prevent the bulbs from burning out!
    2018 T@B 400, 2015 F150 tow vehicle. 
  • HoriganHorigan Member Posts: 600
    Some vehicle manuals require sway control above a certain trailer weight, like my Highlander for towing loads over 2000 lbs.  
    Rich
    2019 T@b 400
    2013 Toyota Highlander 3.5L V6
    Bellingham WA
  • BinghiBinghi Member Posts: 255
    A sticker on the hitch of my 2023 Ford F150 says to use a weight distribution hitch if your trailer weighs more than 5000 pounds.
    2021 400 BD / 2016 VW Touareg / Austin, TX
  • RemoLynRemoLyn Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone here have experience to share regarding using an Anderson Weight Distribution Hitch with friction sway control?  We have a 2022 Tab400 Boondock that we just got.  We'll be towing it w/our 2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL (5000lb tow limit / 10,050lb GCWR limit. Thanks
  • RTWCTSRTWCTS Member Posts: 97
    RemoLyn said:
    Does anyone here have experience to share regarding using an Anderson Weight Distribution Hitch with friction sway control?  We have a 2022 Tab400 Boondock that we just got.  We'll be towing it w/our 2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL (5000lb tow limit / 10,050lb GCWR limit. Thanks
    We use the Andersen WDH with our Chevy Colorado/T@B 400 combo and feel there is a marked anti sway improvement when dealing with wind and the pressure waves from semi-trucks passing us on the interstate. 
    2023 TAB 400 Boondock
    2018 T@B 320 Sold
    Racing the Wind and Chasing the Sun
  • RemoLynRemoLyn Member Posts: 2
    We have limited previous towing experience outside of a Tab400 we rented two years ago towing it with our 2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL .  I towed about 500 miles through New England without a WDH and had no problems at all on the Interstate or on winding country roads.   However, the weather was beautiful and we had no winds whatsoever ever.  Trailers whizzing by us also posed no problem.  Now I'll be testing the Andersen WDH that came with our purchase of our 2022 Tab400 Boondock.  We're planing on driving across the Plains [with constant winds and into Colorado and through the West.
    Hence I'm thinking the Anderson WDH w/Anti-sway cone can be an asset.   However, I have a secondary question/concern regarding any brand of WDH.   It's regarding tow vehicles equipped with electronic stability control [our Ridgeline has VSA [Vehicle Stability Control]; some people say the electronic stability control and the WDH can counter each other in a negative way and create control problems.   There are others who claim that the two together are not a problem at all.  Does anyone out there have any experiences that could confirm either claim?
  • tphaggertytphaggerty Member Posts: 47
    RemoLyn said:
    We have limited previous towing experience outside of a Tab400 we rented two years ago towing it with our 2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL .  I towed about 500 miles through New England without a WDH and had no problems at all on the Interstate or on winding country roads.   However, the weather was beautiful and we had no winds whatsoever ever.  Trailers whizzing by us also posed no problem.  Now I'll be testing the Andersen WDH that came with our purchase of our 2022 Tab400 Boondock.  We're planing on driving across the Plains [with constant winds and into Colorado and through the West.
    Hence I'm thinking the Anderson WDH w/Anti-sway cone can be an asset.   However, I have a secondary question/concern regarding any brand of WDH.   It's regarding tow vehicles equipped with electronic stability control [our Ridgeline has VSA [Vehicle Stability Control]; some people say the electronic stability control and the WDH can counter each other in a negative way and create control problems.   There are others who claim that the two together are not a problem at all.  Does anyone out there have any experiences that could confirm either claim?
    Have a 2019 Ridgeline w/Tab400 and e2 WDH. Been across the country 3 times and tons of trips here in the Northeast (probably 30k or more towing miles). Works great, no issues with the VSC fighting the WDH that we have felt. 

    Bigger issue with Ridgeline is questionable tranny, we have overheated once in LA and constantly run pretty high tranny temps. At least on gen2 RL, advice is to tow in L4 (basically locked up, switch on gear selector) and no faster than 62 and change all fluids often (buried in the user manual are severe usage maintenance intervals, use those!!). But, we have crossed the Rockies at least 4 times with no issues!!
    2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL TV
    2018 T@B 400, 300Ah Renogy LiFePo batteries, 350W Renogy rooftop solar
    Poughquag, NY
  • ChrisFixChrisFix Member Posts: 717
    edited February 12
    I'm towing a 2021 T@B 400 with a 2023 Honda Ridgeline (previous tow vehicle was a 2020 Ridgeline) and have towed over 50K miles without any sway bars or weight distribution hitch, and it has been flawless. And I drive the speed limit, up to 70MPH.
    I'd highly recommend try towing with out sway bars and decide for yourself if they are needed. The 2021 400 is very stable when towed, but I can't speak to different years with different tongue weights. 
    @tphaggerty - If you ever get the chance to try it out, the 2020+ Ridgeline has the German built ZF 9 speed transmission with paddle shifters, which has proven to be a nice setup for towing the T@B.
    After two years of looking and considering...finally the proud owner of a 2021 T@B 400 Boondock!
    2023 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E with Redarc Trailer Brake Controller
  • tphaggertytphaggerty Member Posts: 47
    ChrisFix said:

    @tphaggerty - If you ever get the chance to try it out, the 2020+ Ridgeline has the German built ZF 9 speed transmission with paddle shifters, which has proven to be a nice setup for towing the T@B.
    I thought about it! But I recently retired, and we are on a relatively fixed income. The 2019 Ridgeline was supposed to be our forever tow vehicle and it’s just about paid off finally!. As I said, it has worked out well, but we really watch how fast we drive, and I work hard to keep up with all the fluids. 

    One of the things I was surprised about in the severe usage schedule is that they recommend changing the timing belt at 60,000 miles. That isn’t gonna happen! It’s extremely expensive on the Honda. 
    2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL TV
    2018 T@B 400, 300Ah Renogy LiFePo batteries, 350W Renogy rooftop solar
    Poughquag, NY
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 5,414
    Replacing the timing belt before is breaks costs a lot less than after it brakes and causes additional engine damage.   B)
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom Boondock,  Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • jsj618jsj618 Member Posts: 1
    We just picked up a new 400 in TX. We have a 150 with the tow package (incl elect brakes). We were all over the hill country. No mountains but plenty of elevation variation. No sway bars and no problem at all. We used to have a 30' Airstream. That was a very different story.
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