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Old 05-04-2006, 01:07 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
I dont' think they suggest that at all. and if they did, they'd be wrong. I've seen them in action, just last weekend. when the rigs turned, they pivoted right there at the point at which the 2 vehicles attach, just like any other tow vehicle/trailer rig.
I'm not saying that the "ha ha" ain't the bees' knees and all that...the best available, or that we shouldn't alll run out and buy one right now, and the world wouldn't be a better place if we did.
I'm merely being a stickler for language, here, and the use of "absolutes". like the word "impossible". its not impossible. its just highly unlikely. I guarantee you that I could take RKM's rig out there on the highway and roll that sucker in 2 seconds. It would be very unlikely for that to happen unintentionally in real world conditions...but not impossible.


that can be arranged. quite easily, under some road conditions.
The pivot is at the ball when initiated by the TV. It's in the wierd linkage system and explained on their website. It's looks like the whole trailer moves sideways and back without any rotation instead of swaying.
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:19 PM   #44
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Over59 beat me to it - but here is the link to Hensley http://www.hensleymfg.com/arrowdetails.htm

where they make the following statement:

"The bottom line - a trailer absolutely cannot sway whether or not the load is balanced, a tire falls off, an axle breaks or a semi passes as the trailer drops off the shoulder of the road."
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Old 05-04-2006, 02:06 PM   #45
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But I still don't think we're talking about trailer sway in this case. It sounds to me like what happened happened because of the pushing and sucking together of the vehicles because of the airflow. There wasn't any sway necessarily involved.
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Old 05-04-2006, 02:17 PM   #46
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I understand how it works. its a fabulous invention.

It isn't, however, going to protect you from all evils, as some of these accolades seem to imply. Even if the bold statement on their website is true (which I doubt, and I bet if we pressed them, we'd find that it is yet another example of the all-too-common overuse of superlatives), they're only talking about "sway". that may not have even been a factor in the accident described at the top of this thread. the implication is that you can't get into trouble if you buy one of these hitches, and I'm saying, "that ain't so". Even if the statements are absolutely correct, and "sway" is truly impossible, if you take a +15,000lb object, hurl it down the road at 70mph, and then try and alter its course too suddenly...bad things will happen. and it will bend. it might not "sway", but so what?
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Old 05-04-2006, 05:01 PM   #47
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ok, if nobody was going to step up and start a potential flame war by answering "what's the best question" I decided to do a little research by going to the Hensley website. I nearly fell out of my chair---$3k!!! Are they serious. Are they really "that' much better, when as others have pointed out, nothing guarantees you safety in all circumstances.

Certainly it's safety first. But when you're first starting out on this journey, some guidance about reasonable "bests" would be apprciated. And, if the Hensley is the "best" maybe I need to know what's second.
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Old 05-04-2006, 05:26 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
ok, if nobody was going to step up and start a potential flame war by answering "what's the best question" ...
tough question. its like asking "whats the best car".

the answer is: it depends

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that "the best" for you would be a Reese Dual-Cam, or perhaps an Equal-I-Zer...both are probably perfectly adequate for your situation. unless you're going to try to tow that 23 footer with a yugo or something.

I think it becomes more important when you've got a trailer that is bigger/heavier than your tow vehicle, or if you're approaching (or exceeding..yikes!) your tow vehicle's capabilities...anything that would make even a little sway turn into a dangerous situation. But if you put a hensley on a 62 bambi II that is being towed by a 1-ton super-crew-turbo-deisel-long-bed....I think you've wasted your money. OTOH... if you've got lots of it....who cares?

and...a more "reasonable" example: if you've got one of those nice, new $70,000 trailers, being towed by a $50,000 tow rig...what's another 3 grand? "cheap insurance".
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:16 PM   #49
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Thanks Chuck, that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for, put in exactly the economic terms I wanted. I knew it was, as you described, a "best car" kind of question but I got very confused by some of the other threads on this forum that discussed equilizer/sway control. Since this thread is in the context of safety I figured it might be the best place to pose that tricky "best car" question. Other threads also discussed the ease of use etc. and it sounds--from my newbie perspective--that the Equil-i-zer is the easiest to hook up. That is an important consideration too for me.
So, thanks very much!
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Old 05-07-2006, 06:52 PM   #50
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Low Speed on a Wide Open Road

The driver involved in a recent accident gave me permission to post the details of the demise of a well maintained mid-nineties 28' Airstream.

The reason I am posting, and the reason the driver gave me permission to post, is so that we all can "hindsight" a wreck which totaled a perfectly good relatively recent Airstream. This is a good example of "It" happens.

The driver, experienced and extremely careful, had left the AS on the side of the road to return home to retreive a forgotten item.

After rehitching, he proceeded to cross four lanes of traffic and was accelerating normally in his intended direction of travel. (just saying this to indicate there WAS a full turn prior to the accident). Note - no other traffic, trucks, bad roadway, or inclement weather could be considered contributing causes to the accident.

Less than a mile down the road (speed about 40 MPH) he noticed a fishtail of about 3 oscillations. He accelerated in order to resolve the fishtail, which flattened out, and, as many times before, he manually applied power to the trailer brakes to slow everything down (sorry, did not get the brand of the controller). As soon as he energized the trailer brakes the trailer went into a SEVER fishtail, and after two or three oscillations the trailer went over on its side, nearly pushing the Tow Vehicle (a 1/2 ton 2003 Suburban) into a ditch. During the rapid deceleration the Suburban had its rear wheels lifted into the air for much of the ride. No damage to the occupants or the Suburban, but the trailer was totaled. Brand new Marathons (30 miles new) on the trailer - all tires still intact after the accident. The hitch (an EAZ-Lift) was found to be broken after the accident. The body of the hitch separated just to the drivers side of the hitch bar. The curb side weight bar was still intact, and the drivers side weight bar (and the drivers side of the hitch assembly) was dangling by the chain and stirrup. The driver stated that he believes that the hitch separated (broke) during the rollover, and did not contribute to the accident but was rather broken during the rollover. Safety chains were still attached after the accident.

The Highway Patrolman investigating wrote on his report that probable cause was "inadequate braking", a cause which the driver vigorously denies - no skid marks on the road and no indication of flat spots on either the Tow Vehicle or the Airstream tires. Remember, the trailer brakes were operational just seconds prior to the accident when the driver activated them to flatten out the original fishtail.

The driver of the Suburban can think of no direct or contributory cause for the accident, the entire scenario started with a minor fishtail which most of us have encountered at one time or another (and handled with no detrimental effects) and ended with Airstream on its side in the middle of the road.

During the debriefing the driver stated that the most important safety item he had (in his opinion) was a Tow Vehicle the size of the Suburban. He was confident that anything smaller (or lighter) would have been flipped, pushed into the ditch, and subsequently totaled along with the trailer.

I need to reiterate, the reason for posting this accident synopsis is only to point out that "IT" CAN happen(s), that we all need to be prepared for "it" to happen - even when no other contributory causes are present, and, when it comes to Tow Vehicles, bigger really is better.

Unfortunately, at this point, the real cause of the accident will probably never be known for sure. It could have been a trailer brake malfunction, the hitch may have failed prior to, and subsequently caused, the accident, or the plys inside one or more of the Marathon tires might have separated (personally been in a 3/4 ton PU when THAT happened - what a ride!).

I hope everyone reading this post takes it for what it is meant to be - a heads up warning that "IT" can happen to any one at any time.

Be ready for "IT".
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Old 05-10-2006, 06:51 PM   #51
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house cleaning in this thread

hi folks

thanks 87mh for posting info on another accident.....i agree these reports can help us and at the very least, remind us to tow and travel more carefully....

back in post 35 i wrote.....

"chuck the engineers suggest that the haha pretty much eliminates the traditional pivot at the ball"

to which chuck replied....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
I dont' think they suggest that at all. and if they did, they'd be wrong. I've seen them in action, just last weekend. when the rigs turned, they pivoted right there at the point at which the 2 vehicles attach, just like any other tow vehicle/trailer rig.

I'm merely being a stickler for language, here.
well chuck, i've been meaning to get back to this issue....

below are 3 pix of my tv/haha/airstream

-first is straightly positioned as if going down the road...
i've noted the strut bars, ball, and green/white spots that show the allignment of the haha.

-second pix is with the tv sharply turned relative to the trailer...the main body of the haha can be noted to be in exactly the same orientation to the trailer as in pix 1.....there is no movement at the 'traditional pivot/at the ball" note the yellow line that shows the hitch position relative to the a-frame.

i've overlaid some black lines and red dots to show the haha trapizoidal links and the 4 pivots that do move and replace the ball movement. in this sharp turn the trapizoid really collapses inward to provide turning movement....

third pix just shows the same turn a little further along...and more angulated...

so being a "stickler for language", like you chuck.....

i stand by my written notation.

yes the tv/trailer does bend, but no they do not rotate or move at the ball...the movement is in the 4 bar/trapizioidal mechanism.

perhaps chuck, you saw motion/movement of turning from a distance....but did not observe what was actually pivoting during turns...because....

the haha strut bars, when properly adjusted make it impossible for movement at the ball. the strut bars fix the orange upper hitch box into position on the trailer a frame....so virtually no movement occurs at the tradition ball pivot.

one can observe in the photos the ball/cup and the 2 'baby moons' on either side....these 3 items never change position or orientation...

this is how movement is described in the haha documentation, and how it is demonstrated in the photos....

anyone who receives the haha video/dvd will find a short motion picture include of where/how movement happens and how the traditional ball does not pivot...at all.

most importantly this 4 bar linkage is arranged such that movement/bending can only be initiated from the front (tv) and never from the rear (trailer) a key feature for how the haha operates.

cheers
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:24 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
yes the tv/trailer does bend,
that's all I'm sayin. it bends. if it didn't, you'd need to have a guy sitting up on the back of the roof of the trailer, (a-la "Kramer") with his own steering wheel, so the thing could go around corners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
but no they do not rotate or move at the ball...the movement is in the 4 bar/trapizioidal mechanism.
so what? there's a hinge there, and it can and does move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
most importantly this 4 bar linkage is arranged such that movement/bending can only be initiated from the front (tv) and never from the rear (trailer) a key feature for how the haha operates.
Reese claims the same thing.

Look, I'm only saying that the "ha ha" won't protect you from all that is evil, which is what its proponents often seem to say. "sway" is not the only thing that'll "gitcha" on the road. "Sway" is not necessarily what got the person described at the top of this thread. You could get sucked in to a passing semi, while maintaining a perfectly straight alignment, and still lose control from the impact and go cartwheeling down the highway. so the trailer won't initiate it...great. sign me up. I want one. But I won't ever expect it to create an invisible dome of invulnerability around me while I'm driving down the road with it.
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:21 AM   #53
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I have been riding my motorcycle a lot lately. My bike is a medium weight sports tourer, under 500lbs. After reading this thread, I have paid special attention while passing large moving objects on the Interstate. It is quite easy to notice wind movement around trucks, buses and rv's when sitting out in the open, right next to it. A semi, moving at about 70mph, does not actually have noticeable "suction" down it's side, according to my butt-o-meter. There is, however,a definite vacuum right behind it, definitely noticeable the next lane over. There is also a huge front turbulence. When passing a 53ft box semi, I get slightly sucked in BEHIND it, then that disappears and normal wind speed resumes, until about the driver's door, at which point a hefty gust pushes the bike the other way. Of course this is more pronounced the closer I get to the vehicle, and the faster the large object moves. Peterbuilts are mellow, flat nosed buses are pretty bad in that respect.
Letting a semi or large bus pass me, the whole thing happens in reverse.
And this concludes my crude study of windflow around large moving objects.
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:32 AM   #54
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Quote:
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A semi, moving at about 70mph, does not actually have noticeable "suction" down it's side, according to my butt-o-meter.
no, it wouldn't, all by itself. the suction is created when there are 2 similarly shaped objects running side-by-side, which create a column of air that is moving faster than the air around them, which creates a corresponding decrease in pressure.

so, next time, strap a 10'x30' piece of plywood on the side of the bike, like a big billboard, and your butt-o-meter will produce an entirely different reading. actually, several readings.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:23 AM   #55
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the "pucker meter"...

which, I suppose, is closely related to the "butt o meter", uh, tightens when passing those big triple semi's in OR. What I found though, was that my orginal hitch was set up with the trailer nose too high ... after I adjusted my 26ft trailer level, I didn't have these problems. I notice Uwe's observations - I get pushed "out" when passing the rear of the semi, and pulled "in" when approaching the bowwave of the front of the semi. All of these movements are slight, though (1 ton Dodge B350 Van with 26ft Argosy trailer). I'm impressed on how stable my setup is.

As the earlier example of a trailer that started swaying "all by itself" at slow speeds - I really think something was not set up right in that trailer / tv combo - or something drastically happened. At no time have I EVER had sway all by itself. Even with those triples, the trailer really doesn't move all that much.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #56
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I've always heard that described as the pucker "factor". as in the phrase, "the pucker factor was high"....often used in aviation to describe something like shooting an instrument approach at "minimums", in bad weather.

but I suppose "pucker meter" works, too...describes the intensity of the "pucker factor".
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