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Old 03-21-2016, 12:57 PM   #1
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2008 25' International CCD
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Hensley Arrow weight distribution

I would appreciate the benefit of experience with the weight distribution ability of the Hensley Arrow hitch. I believe I have read all the applicable forum threads. I tow a 2008 25 foot International (5800 dry, 7300 gross trailer weight) with a 2010 Toyota Tundra extended cab, 5.7L V-8. For six years and over 30,000 miles I used the Reese hitch with 1200 pound trunion bars (the tongue weight of the trailer, dry and empty, but with propane bottles full, is 800 pounds) and dual cam sway control. I have never experienced sway and have been in all other respects pleased, except where the trunion bars contact the ball mount head piece, the trunion bars wore the holes in the head oblong, and the remaining metal was wearing quite thin. Reese sent me a new head under lifetime warranty, but the holes in it are slightly more oblong than in my original head when new, and I thought it would quickly wear again. This condition made me very nervous and insecure. So, I bit the bullet and just bought a remanufactured Arrow from Hensley for 2/3 the price if a new one. It came with a four inch drop hitch bar (that's what Hensley calls it, but I'll use the common term "stinger") and 1000 pound spring bars. I installed it all with no problems. Hitched up, with the truck empty, the front of the trailer tongue is about three inches too low when the spring bar jacks are cranked up to the one of the three index marks on the jack body which represents the lowest tension of the three, according to my measurements and calculations. I phoned Hensley technical support and was advised to exchange the four inch drop stinger for a two inch drop, rather than a straight one. In that conversation, and in earlier conversations with another technical support representative and with a sales representative, I was astounded by their cavalier attitude toward weight distribution. I had questions about weight distribution, but all responses were to the effect that weight distribution with a Hensley "is of no concern", that the hitch makes sway impossible. I presented my concerns that a hitch redistribute weight so that rear truck tires not be overloaded and front steering not be light and there be adequate weight redistributed to front truck wheels for breaking effectiveness as well. The responses to my expressions in these regards was in every instance that it is not a factor to be considered with a Hensley, that the hitch makes sway impossible! Furthermore, the promotional DVD I received in the mail has one scene with a man putting a large box in the rear storage compartment of an Airstream, and the narrator saying gone are the days when you had to be concerned about loading the trailer to evenly distribute weight and have adequate tongue weight. I swear it's true! I'm not making stuff up! Honest, it's true! Many of the forum threads have much discussion about having used truck scales to set up the adjustments to the Hensley, making appropriate consideration of weight on each axle, and for that matter on each wheel. Truthfully, I have never used scales. I set up my Reese system following the supplied written instructions, and studying the eTrailer company's uTube tutorials. I relied on measuring the distance of the all four wheel wells from the pavement, unhitched and hitched, and adjusting so as to be within specifications. Now, with the Hensley, on the lowest spring bar tension and with the truck empty as I stated, the wheel well measurements indicate weight is sufficiently distributed. I am concerned that, when I load the truck with the usual 1000 or so pounds I put in and on the truck, the sag will make my trailer tongue that much lower even with the spring bars cranked up to the maximum, and the attitude of the trailer will still be front low, with the front trailer axle and wheels taking much more load than the rear. Do any of you readers have the same trailer and truck as I, and which stinger is best -- the two inch drop or the straight? Also, what is the experience with weight distribution? Also, has anybody with a rig similar to mine found it preferable to go with stiffer spring bars than the 1000 pound?
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:45 PM   #2
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On the subject of heavy rear or front trailer loading, the consideration is sway that starts would be amplified by the heavy loads at the ends and harder to stop (like a pendulum). So as the Hensley/Propride will prevent sway from ever starting, he is technically right.

We still load light at the ends as instructed by my Airstream Owners Manual for safety, and to make weight distribution easier with a lighter front load. Always ensure no less than 10% of the total trailer weight is on the tongue, for stability.

Load and balance in the truck and trailer are very important. Your proper loading will help and your w.d. system will ensure it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:47 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot, Doug. I very much appreciate your having taken time to read my extraordinarily long post and providing the information. By 1000 pounds on and in the truck, I mean in the back seat, on top and in the truck bed, not including tongue weight. I have a fiberglass cap, two kayaks, two bicycles, 100 pounds of chairs, Webber portable grill with stand and 11 pound propane bottle, tool box, fishing equipment, and miscellaneous. The load rating of the truck is 1400 pounds. Wow! With the tongue weight, I am very well overloading the truck, huh? I do try to put as much of the weight in the bed as far forward as possible.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:04 PM   #4
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Put the bicycles on a Airstream Fiamma Bike Rack on the back of your Airstream, get lightweight chairs, and carry as much of the other in your Airstream as possible. Then weight your rig with trailer and gear hooked up. You must not exceed the axle or tire (at max pressure) rating of either truck or trailer, nor the trucks combined weight rating of truck and trailer.

Proper weight distribution, loading and weight distribution hitch, is very important as you near weight limits.
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:37 AM   #5
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Here's a thought - talk to Hensley, the people who made the hitch; have always been very helpful: 1-800-410-6580
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:06 PM   #6
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Just seems if you can't get the trailer level you need to change the stinger.
I picked up my 25 with the 4 inch drop stinger that came with the trailer. Barely got the truck leveled with full crank on the bars. Changed to a 2 inch drop at CanAm and everything pulled into level. You know when your truck isn't right...like you said the front end is too light. If the Tundra did OK with the Reese it will be OK with the Hensley. My 03 Dakota did fine with a Reese on my '89-25 and it tows exactly the same with the Hensley on my '96 25. Weights are similar to yours.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:13 PM   #7
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I've stated more than once my experience with poor reciever design and and it's effect on WD.

OEM 'Burb,(short mount), receiver would not level the rig with 1400lb bars at near max setting...


TowBeast with 1000lb bars moves 820lbs with ease...

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Old 03-23-2016, 07:29 PM   #8
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We are re-using the Hensley Arrow from our 25FB on the 23D. Both trailers were converted to the same 15" Michelin LTX (P) 235/75R15 XL tire so the hitch elevation is identical between the two units. Our Hensley stinger was shortened and slightly bent at CanAm in October of 2012 specifically for our Mercedes ML320 tow vehicle. CanAm also modified the factory installed hitch on the Mercedes while I was there.

We still have a left over unmodified Hensley drop stinger for the 2012 Ram 2500HD which was the successor tow vehicle for the 25FB and is now the primary tow vehicle for the Classic using a ProPride setup. The truck with the Hensley stinger can also tow the 23D.

Both hitches require careful inspections of the welds and attachment points. The Hensley is more insistent about wanting grease in the two lube points by the noise it makes when the grease supply is getting thin.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:02 PM   #9
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Hensley Arrow weight distribution

Heh, based on my experience, you only have to lift the head and bars once. The stinger I can handle, even at my advanced age😄😄😄


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