How you load your caravan is crucial to its towing stability. We should all be aware of how to correctly load our vans, but no matter how well we load up, there are other factors in play that will have a bearing on the stability of a tow vehicle and caravan combination.
The weight imposed by the caravan’s coupling onto the towbar, as you know, will cause the rear of the vehicle to sag, see-sawing weight off the vehicle’s front-end. A reduction in handling and braking performance will ensue.
That’s where weight distribution hitches (WDH) come in. Designed to transfer a portion of that weight on the towbar back to the front-end and, to some extent, the caravan itself, they have long been an important tool for levelling the towing combination. But what if I told you there was a device on the market that could level your ride while simultaneously providing permanent sway control?
The Fastway e2 has been available in Australia for about five years. It is imported from the US, where it is said to be the most popular WDH on the market, by Titan RV.
How does it work? The e2’s weight distribution function works much the same as the other WDHs on the market. There is a drop hitch for the towbar’s hitch receiver, steel brackets to attach to the caravan’s A-frame, and heavy-duty torsion bars for levering weight to the vehicle’s front-end and back to the caravan’s tyres, levelling the ride in the process.
However, there is one crucial difference: rather than being held in position by steel chains, the e2’s torsion bars sit on special L-shaped brackets, the height of which can be adjusted according to your setup’s needs. Each bar needs to be levered up with the aid of a bar provided, as with other WDHs.
These bars are ‘free’ to slide backwards and forwards; however, the steel-on-steel friction creates natural anti-sway characteristics. This friction is constantly working against caravan sway, whether it is caused by cross-winds or the passing of a truck, or something else.
To test the e2 Fastway, I hitched a Supreme Classic Tourer weighing over 2300kg Tare, with an unladen ball weight of 175kg, to my MU-X. The e2 was fitted for me by a representative of Supreme Caravans; however, it didn’t appear any more difficult that fitting any other WDH.
Without the hitch fitted, the Supreme’s ball weight made the vehicle droop about 40mm in the rear. After some fettling, we recovered 35mm and, in truth, we could’ve adjusted it more to make the rig perfectly level.
As I towed the caravan along the Hume Highway, with the van being buffeted by cross-winds, I was impressed by how ‘tight’ the combination felt. I’m very familiar with how a caravan ‘feels’ when towed without a WDH or sway control, and the difference here was night and day.
Obviously, I did not attempt to induce a sway event in order to test the anti-sway properties of the e2 Fastway; however, I can say that when trucks passed, and when the wind picked up, I did not feel the caravan twitch at all. It truly felt rock-solid back there.
The e2 Fastway did not hamper my reversing manoeuvres, either. I was able to ‘jack-knife’ the van as tightly as I needed to (without the vehicle’s tailgate binding on the drawbar).
SILENT e2 FASTWAY
The Fastway e2 is available in a ‘round bar’ style (the type we tested) that is suitable for vans that have their coupling on top of the A-frame, and a ‘trunnion’ style that suits vans with underslung couplings.
It costs roughly the same as a regular WDH; however, because it also comes with the anti-sway function built in to its design, it represents very good value – there’s no need to purchase additional anti-sway bars, etc.
Rather than being rated for suitability according to a towball weight range, as with some other WDHs, there is one e2 that is suitable for towing capacities up to 3500kg, so if you upgrade or downsize your rig in the future, there won’t be any need to purchase another WDH. There is an e2 available for heavier rigs, too.
The Fastway e2 performed exceptionally well during our test. Combining weight-distribution and anti-sway in one device makes it particularly beneficial. And a final observation: the Fastway e2 was silent! Unlike other WDHs I have used, it didn’t moan, groan or creak! Based on my experience, I highly recommend it.
Price: From $739