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Old 09-16-2019, 01:34 PM   #21
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When the 40%/60% formula is ignored, sway will happen. I do not use hitch at all. I had a sway when I towed my previous popup because I was not careful with the 40/60% formula. I moved heavier things further up front to make the rear area lighter, the swaying issue stopped. I recently bought AS and never had a sway at all. Just a proper weight distributing INSIDE the AS, it takes care of any swaying.

A 29' trailer is a different animal than a 16' Bambi.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:55 PM   #22
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Since I do not have a Hensley I am going to argue that you really do not need it. But if I did have it I would use it. Or buy some other brand of WD hitch with sway control. I have never tried towing a Airstream on the ball. But you could give it a try and see how it feels.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:47 PM   #23
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My experience. We owned a 2005 , 30 foot classic. Towed it with an F-350. When we purchased the trailer the dealer said we had a big truck and only needed a weight distribution hitch. We went on our 1st Airstream Caravan in 2009 leaving San Diego to Cabo and back. A number of Airstreams used Hensley hitches. Occasionally they had problems hooking up. After seeing this , we said no way would we ever own a Hensley hitch. Later in 2009, using just a weight distribution hitch, I totaled our Airstream Trailer due to a problem with sway that we were not able to bring under control. We researched hitches and spoke to a number of Airstream owners. We decided to purchase a Hensley hitch. We have used the Hensley hitch on our new 2010 ,30 foot Classic. Occasionally we have some issues getting hooked up. But having a near death experience for ourselves and/or others, we will always tow our Airstream trailer with a Hensley hitch. ( Occasionally, I will encounter a trailer dealer who says they they tow trailers every day, hundreds of trailers a year without anti -sway hitches with no problems. To this I would say, you are probably very good at what you do, and probably won't have a problem -- but if you do ever encounter a sway problem it could kill you and or others.)
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:53 PM   #24
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There's how it feels under normal driving conditions, and then how it feels when you have to take sudden evasive action because something unexpected happens.

We bought a used Hensley when we towed our Overlander with a 1500 Suburban. Now we tow the Sovereign with an F350, but we still use the Hensley. I'm sure we could get by with something else, but I just never saw any reason to change. Small point, but it also allows us to fully open the tailgate while hitched without it hitting the jack.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:12 PM   #25
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For those new to towing an Airstream and those that have little experience with towing, I would not take the advice of Out-of-Sight and tow on the ball with no type of weight distribution and or sway control. Out of sight is a "professional" with many years of towing vehicles behind him. He can choose to do as he likes, but one-day the odds will catch up to him. Why not increase your odds of surviving an incident?

My advice is to use as much sway and weight distribution as you can afford. It has saved my butt more than once and I was glad to have it. But then again, I'm not a professional and I just tow for the fun of it, like most of us!
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:15 PM   #26
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One problem with a weight distribution hitch is that it removes weight from the tow vehicle's rear wheels. Without a good load there your trailer will be more apt to sway. So, if you use a w/d hitch you almost have to use a sway control device, too.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:19 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
What does your Ambassadorís tongue weigh (assuming 500-750# if using the 10-15% normative range) and what does your Ramís manual suggest for that?

I have a Chevy 2500 4X4 diesel and tow a 27FB (heavier on the tongue than RB, especially with the ProPride on the a-frame; similar to your Hensley). According to math against CAT scale tickets, my tongue is just shy of 1000#. According to my manual for my truck, on a 2500/3500, a WD hitch is *optional* for trailers up to 18,000# - so clearly optional for my 27FB with a max of 7600#.

For WD: weighing the rig with the 3 pass method, I found I was lifting about 500# off the steer axle of my truck (despite the heavy front end) and absent any WD, the ride was atrocious. For me, replacing as close to 100% of what was removed from the front reduced porpoising dramatically and kept the steering feel as close to unloaded as possible.

For those reasons, my opinion would be to get your scale weights, see what your Ramís manual suggests, test it out and decide what works best for you from there.

For sway control: the way the Hensley hitches work is ideal from a sway prevention perspective. Even if WD is optional (and you can of course dial in as little or as much WD as you want with these hitches), I personally wouldnít travel without sway prevention capability hooked up. The geometry of the trapezoid linkage turns your rig in to a virtual 5th wheel experience. As AmEx used to say, ďdonít leave home without it.Ē

Thatís my opinion. Free advice worth everything you paid for it.

Good luck.

PS - what are you tired about dealing with on the Hensley? Just curious....

When I exchanged the stinger for the 8 inch drop required for the Ram, the stinger "points up" more than my previous one and I couldn't get it to seat in the hitch. I was on level ground where i have always hooked up. I have had trouble in the past, but with the new stinger I spent over an hour trying and couldn't get it to work. I surely don't want to deal with that every time. My Hensley is 10+ yers old and a little "sloppy" so maybe it needs some maintenance. My previous rig was a 2007 Silverado 2500 Classic Duramax and a 2007 34 Classic. I had the Hensley and never towed without it. Towed that combo for 16k miles, but i never experienced the difficulty that i did this weekend. Maybe I'm just frustrated.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:21 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazyKelleys View Post
Hello All!

I have just upgraded my TV to a 2018 Ram 2500 4x4 Diesel. I am towing a 1975 Ambassador. The trailer is bone stock and weighs in at about 5k unloaded.
DK
With your new diesel you will be able to take advantage of the exhaust brake and additional engine compression that the diesel offers. I have a similar vehicle and in my case I wanted to avoid the "Hensley Bump" phenomenon when driving downhill; the recommended solution to avoid the bump is to adjust the brakes so that the trailer brakes are applied first to maintain a traction tension on the hitch even when going downhill.

I have the Equalizer (with 1200# wd bars; the trailer weighs a little below 8000# and 1100# on the ball). Have been very happy with the hitch; it offers a stable, smooth ride, and I have never had any sway of any kind.

And with the diesel, going down any grade of 11% or less I rarely need to touch the brakes. A lot less stressful on the driver.

But you will hear a lot of folks who just love their Hensley/ProPride! To each his own (be careful, this topic is pretty well in the same ballpark a religion and politics!!).
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:44 PM   #29
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One problem with a weight distribution hitch is that it removes weight from the tow vehicle's rear wheels. Without a good load there your trailer will be more apt to sway. So, if you use a w/d hitch you almost have to use a sway control device, too.
Actually, hitching up adds a significant amount of weight to the tow vehicle's rear wheels (more than the tongue weight) and then a WD hitch removes a small portion of that. And the user can decide how much. With WD properly set up, you still have much more weight on the rear wheels than before you hitched up, likely more than the basic tongue weight, even if you don't carry anything in the cargo area of the tow vehicle, which most seem to do.

Seems to me that it isn't honest to skip over the first part and just focus on the second part.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:51 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazyKelleys View Post
When I exchanged the stinger for the 8 inch drop required for the Ram, the stinger "points up" more than my previous one and I couldn't get it to seat in the hitch. I was on level ground where i have always hooked up. I have had trouble in the past, but with the new stinger I spent over an hour trying and couldn't get it to work. I surely don't want to deal with that every time. My Hensley is 10+ yers old and a little "sloppy" so maybe it needs some maintenance. My previous rig was a 2007 Silverado 2500 Classic Duramax and a 2007 34 Classic. I had the Hensley and never towed without it. Towed that combo for 16k miles, but i never experienced the difficulty that i did this weekend. Maybe I'm just frustrated.


I hear you. I had an hour nightmare hitch scenario early with my ProPride and was ready to give up camping after that.

I donít know if the Hensley does the same exact thing as the ProPride but Iím able to raise or lower the WD towers to get fine adjustments when the stinger gets stuck in the box - maybe you can do the same.

And I think you want that stinger pointing down a little not up - can you put some washers in behind the rivet in the portion near the receiver?

Donít blame you for being frustrated. When it doesnít line up it blows. But what it does on the road is so worth it in my view - and youíve experienced it too. I think if you get the stinger set up right youíll be back in business. I still recommend checking out your manual and weighing things on the scales. Good luck and happy camping!
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:12 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
One problem with a weight distribution hitch is that it removes weight from the tow vehicle's rear wheels. Without a good load there your trailer will be more apt to sway. So, if you use a w/d hitch you almost have to use a sway control device, too.


One glaring problem with your logic (besides the fact that level loading doesnít increase the likelihood of sway) is that the act of connecting a trailer to a tow vehicle already puts an enormous amount of weight on the rear axle of the tow vehicle.

The rear axle on my 3/4T is 3340# when loaded for camping. Attach the trailer and it jumps to 4840# - thatís an increase of 1500#. With WD applied, I remove only 360# out of that 1500# off the rear axle. So even with WD applied, Iíve added over a half ton to that axle (1160#). That a good enough load for you?

And connecting the trailer not only pushes 1500# down on the rear end, it also lifts almost 500# off the steer axle of the truck - thatís off a 3/4T diesel truck whose steer axle weighs in at 4660#. Itís a mystery why anyone would think itís not important to restore some if not all of the weight lost on the front end by connecting the trailer.

I agree wholeheartedly with the earlier advice given to ignore your counsel on this matter. Itís persistent. And persistently bad.

Caveat emptor.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:37 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazyKelleys View Post
When I exchanged the stinger for the 8 inch drop required for the Ram, the stinger "points up" more than my previous one and I couldn't get it to seat in the hitch. I was on level ground where i have always hooked up. I have had trouble in the past, but with the new stinger I spent over an hour trying and couldn't get it to work. I surely don't want to deal with that every time. My Hensley is 10+ yers old and a little "sloppy" so maybe it needs some maintenance. My previous rig was a 2007 Silverado 2500 Classic Duramax and a 2007 34 Classic. I had the Hensley and never towed without it. Towed that combo for 16k miles, but i never experienced the difficulty that i did this weekend. Maybe I'm just frustrated.
I would recommend you adjust the stinger so it points slightly down. When you go to hitch up, crank your towers all the way down so the head points up. Try to match the stinger's downward angle. You will have much more success with this configuration. I've "hitched up" hundreds of times now and I get it on the first try.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:39 PM   #33
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Hensley? Here is my post to the FB Airstream Addicts Group.

---

Thank you Hensley!

Had a very close call yesterday on US160 near Cortez, Co. Someone who should have not been driving for various, obvious reasons pulled onto the highway ahead of me and abruptly stopped in my traffic lane on this fairly busy two lane highway. To avoid a nasty collision, I had to make some very, very aggressive driving that included 80-90% sudden braking and then a set of very aggressive, quick maneuvers around this dipshit once the opposing traffic also recognized the situation and gave me an avoidance path - thank you.

My Hensley hitch made my truck handle like the 28’ FC was not attached. I had full control, not an iota of trailer push or jackknife. None!

The braking was so violent that the center drawer between the twin beds ejected and landed at the front of the trailer.

The swerving maneuver caused one of the sheer bolts on the hitch mechanism to give way pushing one strut out of alignment.

We stopped in Cortez, and then a few times again to re-align the hitch and continued on.

These hitches are a masterpiece of towing safety. Yes, they require more maintenance and yes, they are tricky to keep aligned and you better have a backup cam to hitch up but, I know it just saved us in this incident.

Get one!
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:23 AM   #34
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Hensley and ProPride are like having plenty of insurance when it comes to towing safety. The biggest hitching/unhitching problem is not getting the stinger unloaded and/or inline with the receiver. Raise, lower, or tilt the hitch so that the attitude is directly inline with stinger. Then it will go right in or come right out. Some people use a 2 X 2" piece of wood in the hitch head to see the exact alignment required.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:25 AM   #35
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When you remove weight from the hitch point, as when you use a weight distribution hitch, you are removing friction force from your rear tires. This friction force is what keeps your trailer from yawing out of control. Note however, the full yaw inertia is still there, but you now have less friction force to resist it. This is why a weight distribution hitch must always be used in conjunction with a sway control device. If your tow vehicle axle can handle the load you can tow on the ball and you won't need either weight distribution or sway control.

I would also recommend that you choose a vehicle with ESC. Most newer vehicles have it. It can save you during a catastrophic sway event such as when your trailer is hit by another vehicle.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:14 AM   #36
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When you remove weight from the hitch point, as when you use a weight distribution hitch, you are removing friction force from your rear tires. This friction force is what keeps your trailer from yawing out of control. Note however, the full yaw inertia is still there, but you now have less friction force to resist it. This is why a weight distribution hitch must always be used in conjunction with a sway control device. If your tow vehicle axle can handle the load you can tow on the ball and you won't need either weight distribution or sway control.

I would also recommend that you choose a vehicle with ESC. Most newer vehicles have it. It can save you during a catastrophic sway event such as when your trailer is hit by another vehicle.
Youíre analysis is indeed correct but most vehicles can tolerate at least a little WD. Using the Hensley/Propride with minimal to no WD would be ideal. The trailer needs to have TW minimized yet loaded and designed to have low yaw inertia. Both TV and trailer need to be considered to achieve good combination stability, the WDH with sway control shouldnít be the main defense against sway.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:07 AM   #37
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Youíre analysis is indeed correct ....

No it isnít. Itís incomplete.

There are 3 sets of axles in a TT/TV towing combo. The persistent posts of the echo chamber between you and OOS focus (near exclusively) on just one of those 3 axles; ignoring the system as a whole. That doesnít make for a correct analysis.

Posts from either of your accounts on these forums should come with an asterisk and a safety warning.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:18 AM   #38
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To the OP...In my experience, it would be wise to have a weight distribution/anti sway hitch of some kind.

No, it doesn't have to be a Hensley.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:21 AM   #39
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Hensley is Overkill

Hensley is overkill for your situation. If you are looking for an easier weight distribution hitch, you have lots of less expensive solutions to choose from. As an example, our Equalizer has proven to be both easy and economical.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:17 AM   #40
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I have been watching this thread from its outset and feel that I would like to chime in. I am somewhat experienced at Airstream towing. I am now creeping up on 200,000 miles with an Airstream hooked to the back of my tow vehicle, and have spent over thirteen years getting to this point. I have towed in all of the lower 48 states, Canada, and Alaska.

I would not consider towing my Airstream without a weight distribution/sway control hitch system. I have always used a Hensley. It has worked well for me. I have never experienced the slightest sway when tow the Airstream. There is a learning curve to hooking up with the Hensley, but it is not launching rockets.
The Hensley is expensive, but my Airstream and personal safety are well worth it.

I am not proposing that everyone get a Hensley, I am just telling you what works for me over the very long haul. I would not tow my 7,400# Airstream without some sort of weight distribution/Sway control hitch system. my Tow vehicle is a 3/4 ton Diesel Pick-up truck.

In my book, towing without a weight distribution/sway control hitch is rolling the dice.

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