This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday 31 December 2016

Hayes Sway Master

Opening the box and unpacking the contents made me realize that this installation will be a disappointment for my tool collection. I had really hoped to have an excuse to get into the truck and run down to Harbor Freight or the Northern Tool store in pursuit of buying some more tools for a difficult and time-consuming installation of the Sway Master, but after reading the supplied installation and operation manual the shock set in. I discovered that this installation is an easy and simple undertaking, which as well, could be done by my lovely wife, Marlene. All that is involved after I determined the proper location for the Sway Master is to drill four holes. Yes, gentlemen, only 4 lousy holes. A girl can do this, right? No hard wiring, filing or painting, just 4 holes. This is a plug and play situation. Your existing trailer cord with female connector plugs into the Sway Master and the new, already attached 5-foot pigtail cord from the Sway Master plugs into the truck. By adding a small amount of dielectric silicon grease to the female connectors you prevent corrosion and it guarantees a good electrical connection. Of course with some plastic cable ties you could beautify the cable run for a neat look, but you could wrap the cable around something else, too. The nice thing about this unit is you could unplug the trailer’s original cord from the Sway Master and plug it directly into the truck to bypass the unit in case you feel the need to do this.
The installation is a breeze. After you position the Sway Master and mark the 4 holes with a sharp pointed tool or marker, you use a center punch to give the 7/32 or 5.5mm drill a starting point and then drill the holes. Once the holes are drilled, use a skinny 3/8-socket driver and drive the provided self-tapping screws in with the power drill on low speed. Reverse the power drill and remove the screws, add a little synthetic grease onto the screw threads and mount the Sway Master with a not a too high torque setting of your power drill’s clutch. Hayes even supplies a bracket for an out of the way storage of the pigtails female trailer cord connector. This bracket can be mounted at a convenient position of the tongue with 2 supplied self-tapping screws after you drilled two 9/64 holes.

Contents of the package

Tools needed: 3/8 socket driver, drill, center punch, self-tapping screws

A bird already marked the location :))

4 drilled and tapped holes

Mounted Hayes Sway Master

Side view
Bracket for the trailer plug to keep it off the ground

How did I come to the decision to purchase this electronic sway controller?  At the time we purchased our new 2016 White Hawk 24 RKS, Jayco offered a factory installed sway controller as an option, but they took it off the market in July of 2016. There were some problems with certain towing vehicle’s own brake controllers, which lead to troubles.
While towing our previous Jayco Swift 19RB, we managed okay and Marlene and I alternated driving duty on long runs. My honey is a good driver, even on our boat when not on autopilot she could hold course a lot better than I ever could. She has a very relaxed driving style. Yes, strong crosswinds or some large and fast driving 18-wheelers would shake the 19ft Jayco Swift but it was manageable.
While picking up the new 24ft Jayco White Hawk in the spring, I did notice a different trailer movement during the tow. The White Hawk is a lite weight trailer and it has a lot more sidewall surface. The crosswinds and fast moving, big trucks that passed us were playing a different game with the movement.
I was thinking we could manage it, but reality taught me a lesson when that 70+ mph driving 18 wheeler flatbed nailed passed us on our way down from Canada to Florida a couple of weeks ago between Detroit and Toledo during blowing and blinding snow on the I-75 south.
Snow had started to pack on the Interstate with ice patches in some areas. That fast driving 18-wheeler displaced a lot of air and created a vacuum that sucked our 24ft White Hawk into fishtailing. I was doing about 48 mph and lots of folks had their flashers going. Instinctively I throttled up a little which straightened out our rig. I have to admit, at this moment when the trailer started to fishtail, it scared the “dickens” out of me. I normally don’t get into panic at all, but this was a close call. A driver could have hit the brakes in panic and that is the wrong approach in that moment and would end in a disaster.
I investigated three of the electronic sway controllers that are on the market: The Hayes Sway Master, the Dexter Sway Control and the Lippert Sway Command, which Jayco discontinued. The Sway Command and the Dexter Sway Control both needed hard wiring into the trailer’s brake wiring, which I object to. I opted for the Hayes Sway Master.
An electronic sway controller with built-in Gyro and GPS like the Sway Master from Hayes would have taken the beating out of our fishtailing ordeal and straightened the rig a lot faster. The “Hayes Sway Master” was $224.99 and shipped free from Amazon. I think for the safety sake this is not too expensive. A smashed up truck and trailer can be replaced, but not our lives.

There is an installation video on the Hayes website, just click this link below:

Wishing all our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Friday 30 December 2016

Secluded Woods

Sitting in an RV Park that is located at a corner of a busy highway intersection, you wouldn’t know that adjacent, on the other side of the park, there are secluded woodlands.  If it wasn’t for our dogs, I might have never known it existed.  Right after the entrance to our park, at the property border and amidst thick brushwood and subtropical scrubs begin a trail into the forest.  Intrigued, holding both dogs on a short leash, I hiked into another world.  The canopy of the mature trees overhead let only filtered sunshine down onto the wilted leaves strewn path.  Both dogs were excitedly sniffing and their noses never left the ground.  The trail was strewn with sticks and branches and part wise there seemed to be no trail at all and then there were several paths splitting in different directions.  We must have been stumbling along for about 20 minutes when I thought it to be wise to turn around before I would get lost.  Upon our return to the travel trailer and my account of the newfound trail, Benno thought it would not be a good idea for me to go back there alone, even with two dogs.  Next morning Benno agreed to come with me for a walk into the forest.  As it turned out, it became quite the hike. 
Way beyond the point where I thought I had turned around the other day the terrain became challenging.  There were steep bluffs and a limestone gorge in which we ascended down, large boulders to climb over next to a sandy wash ending in a valley with white sand. The dogs had an easier time to do it with their four legs, but Benno and me had only two legs each and we’re not getting any younger. I am sure we could have found easier footpaths around these obstacles but the dogs had so much fun running ahead that we had no choice but to follow.  I was wearing clogs and the temperature had already come to 84F/28C so the leisure walk in the park had become somewhat of a workout.  I’m glad we went and we’ll go again when the temps are a bit cooler and I’ll be wearing proper shoes to see the rest of the area.

 Never encountered another soul

Seems like ATVs have used this trail

Benno isn't wearing the right shoes either

Very slippery in clogs

Someone has been here before but not for hiking

Some paths were delightful

Upon returning to the trailer we found a package on the steps. Benno had ordered a Hayes Sway Master and he was happy to see it had already arrived and even happier looking forward to installing it. So for you techies, look forward to the next update covering the installation of the Hayes Sway Master in a couple of day’s.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Wishing our family, friends and all our faithful readers a Merry Christmas and happiness throughout this holiday. Several of the RVs in the Wandering Oaks RV Resort & Campground here in Ocala, Fl. have put up festive decorations all lit up at night. It looks very Christmassy and joyful. We feel blessed to be spending this Christmas in a warm climate (84F/28C), which is very much to our liking.  Today we sat outside most of the day sipping a vintage white wine, reading our Kindle Fire and iPad and relaxing. Even the dogs were mellow lying by our feet watching the squirrels and birds. What a life.

Just a couple of days ago I had commented on a blog that I wished our travel trailer came equipped with a convection oven as most of the larger RVs have a combination microwave/convection oven over their stoves.  At home my large stove has convection and in addition I use a large digital convection/toaster oven that I would not want to ever miss as it makes my life so much easier. Our travel trailer has only a microwave over the propane stove/oven, but not a convection oven.  I had been thinking that our countertop would not be large enough to add another appliance and still have room to prepare meals in comfort. That is until yesterday. 
Of all places, we found a stainless steel by Oster made toaster/convection oven at Walmart that fits the bill. Literally speaking.
This toaster/convection oven is small enough to sit on the countertop and big enough to bake a 9” cake/pizza or anything else for the two of us.  But it is the convection, which we really enjoy especially at breakfast time when we bake up fresh Chicago rolls, bagels or croissants in no time at all.   
The price: I’m almost ashamed to say it was only $39.95. What a bargain.  I guess this is my Christmas present!

Wishing you all the very best this Christmas from Marlene, Benno and the two doxies.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Varoom outside our window

Todays post is for all the motorcycle enthusiasts among our blog readers.  Personally, I do not know much about them, but occasionally some gleaming or unique machines catch my eye.  This afternoon the sound of a deep pulsating motorcycle engine pulling in-between our trailer and the next rig made us instantly get up from our reading to look out of our windows to find out what created that sound.  A one-off looking motorcycle with a truck bed permanently mounted behind parked a few feet away. 

Curiosity overcame my shyness and I followed Benno out to have a look at this novelty of a motorcycle and to talk to the guy riding it.  I introduced myself and he said his name is “Snake” from North Carolina, but he is living now nearby. He came to visit his long-time friend who is also a motorcycle owner and occupies the trailer next to us but I think he came to show off his brand new and expensive looking leather jacket from Harley Davidson. 

Right away I was invited to try out the motorcycle seat, which came from an old harvesting tractor.  The handlebars were way too far forward for me to even think I could steer such a thing. Snake explained that this motorcycle had a 350 Hp V8 Chevy engine and that the rear axle came from a Chevy Camaro.   The tilting truck bed was from a 1946 Dodge pick-up truck and had been mounted to this custom welded frame. Would you call it a pick-up bike?

There were many unique details on this bike. Because the fuel tank held only a capacity for about 90 miles, he carried a jerry can (the red canister with the mouse on top) so he would not be stuck for the third time! (He did run out of fuel twice) Benno pointed to a metallic gadget mounted on the left side.  It turned out to be a complete tattoo-machine, he had all the needed paraphernalia to do tattoos in the box on the truck bed. Snake asked if I wanted a tattoo around my nipples, he would do it for free! I declined with a smile!!! He used to have a tattoo parlor in North Carolina.

That was a nice distraction from an otherwise none exciting day other than our run into town to get some groceries and propane for our barbecue.  Lets see what tomorrow brings.