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Old 09-27-2011, 06:58 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
One of my co-workers' biggest concerns about the HaHa is that it can lull the driver into a false sense of security. .


Could be for some folks, but not for me as far as I am aware.

I do very much appreciate the great towing experience that I get with the Hensley, but I don't think (at least I hope not ) that I have changed any of my driving habits.

Whenever towing, I just naturally seem to pay lots of attention to keeping my speed within reason, constantly checking my mirrors, being aware of my extra length, taking corners wide, and making any moves slowly and carefully. I really don't feel I am doing anything differently than when I had a lesser hitch, with which I had at times experienced trailer sway - just a lot safer and more comfortable!

I find that the longer I tow travel trailers, and it has been about 40 years for me now without incident, (touch wood !) the more obsessive I become about tire pressures, tire age, a walk around to check everything including the hitch at every stop on the journey, or at any time on the road if ever something doesn't feel right etc.

Of course there are no guarantees!

Brian.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:00 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I don't know if this is what jmtandem meant, but sometimes I get the feeling that those with this type of hitch, big trucks, tire pressure monitors, and disc brakes Etc. feel too comfortable when towing.

There's an old saying; "If, and when, you think that you are not afraid of that motorcycle, [no fear at all] that's when you will get hurt."
To be honest, I quite often get the impression the "over confident about towing" among us are certainly spread across the spectrum of equipment. I actually feel that those of us equipped as you describe (fits me perfectly) got that way from a lack of over confidence and a bit of common sense. I certainly feel that all the things you mentioned are helping me to be safer, but they certainly don't make me feel invincible. I do not let my guard down. To me the ones that feel "too comfortable" are those towing large trailers with light tow vehicles and telling us how great they are doing.

I am only speaking for myself, but in my case I will add everything reasonable to keep the trip safe, and the easiest of all of those things is vigilance.

Ken
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:13 PM   #101
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Amen Brother Ken

Too much trailer. Too little truck.
Now watch the sparks fly.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:39 PM   #102
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The only thing the haha eliminates is SWAY, it does not eliminate complacency or raise IQ.

You still have to load properly, watch your payload and tongue weight, drive defensively to match conditions. Get rest when needed. And do the proper maintenance.

IMHO...That includes the HAHA, doing a complete inspection every year, including removal, re-torqueing all mount bolts, ball, chains and receiver.
If you buy it, install it, and forget it, nothing good is going to happen.

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Old 09-27-2011, 08:14 PM   #103
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After towing with the Hensley there are at least 3 things that are imperative to using this hitch properly.
  1. The strut bars must be snugged up tight or the trailer will tow sloppy - you will feel trucks and crosswinds.
  2. The trailer brakes must be adjusted equally. Front of the trailer pushes to one side when coming to a stop.
  3. The brake controller must be adjusted properly so that the trailer brakes lead the tow vehicle.
I have experienced negative effects with these 3 items. It is not fun when coming to a stop and having the "bump" from the hitch start pushing the rear of the truck around.

My speculation on this wreck is that the tow vehicle was "bumped" by the hitch swinging out to the side pushing him across the road towards the opposite guardrail. There was probably enough momentum to turn the trailer over on it side and when the truck flipped over the guardrail the hitch snapped at the welds - the weakest point of any hitch.

The Hensley is a good hitch but there are few things that you need to keep your eye on.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:47 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
One of my co-workers' biggest concerns about the HaHa is that it can lull the driver into a false sense of security. After lots of discussion, we are thinking along the lines that the HaHa will not give you an indication of trouble until it's far too late to do anything about it. My big orange hitch that's sitting in storage was donated to me by a national auto insurance company after the vehicle and Airstream it was installed on flipped, killing everyone on board. Luckily, that was not the case here.
Oy. I'd definitely hesitate to use that (specific) hitch too!

I had a "little" experience with sway about 15 minutes into my first experience towing our Airstream. The PO hadn't had the hitch set up correctly - sway bar too loose, lifter bars practically unloaded, breakaway cable routed through the chain - not that it mattered because when I tested it, the cable came apart at a crimp instead of pulling the brake pin, and the hitch brackets weren't set up so the chains were straight.

A pickup towing a large box trailer (the type race cars use) zipped past us and sent us swaying pretty badly. I was probably doing 50, he was probably doing 75, going in the same direction. I tightened the sway bar at the next stop and have been slowly adjusting the hitch to be better. But I definitely will not forget that first experience. (Since I've adjusted the hitch, I've been in situations where we were doing 55 on a two-lane road, and a truck going at least as fast passed us in the other direction, without even a wiggle, so I feel like it's in pretty good shape now.)

I'm glad everyone was okay in this accident. Scary as hell, though. I keep telling my wife that the most important thing about towing is, "Don't panic." (True for driving in general, of course.) I know firsthand, though, that in that 0.1 seconds you have when things go awry, it's a lot harder to remember my own advice.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #105
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I haven't seen anyone mention the necessity of being able to reach and apply the manual trailer brake control to bring a sway situation under control...

Every time I tow our AS, I practice several times to reach and apply the manual trailer brake control WITHOUT looking - trying to make it second nature, in effect, so I can hopefully actuate it in an emergency 'sway' event...

It's almost one of those items that you should be able to do without even thinking about - big sway in back - hit the manual brake control!!! Pilots and even big rig drivers to some degree practice automatic responses to emergency situations as part of their continuing training - perhaps we TV operators should be more proactive in this area as well...

Perhaps, with regard to this accident, there wasn't enough time to reach and apply the trailer's brakes to help stop the sway - but, it never hurts to try this method - and to practice it from time to time to get used to the effects of that manual control lever!

Be safe out there - I might be right behind you...
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:12 PM   #106
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Curt Hitch

I picked up my new receiver today.

Since my purchase was prompted by this thread I thought this would be a good place to share.

I was going to buy Reese, however my source now carries Curt. I did some checking and they are a reputable American company. They are rated the same as Reese. So I bought a new Curt for my 02 GMC Yukon.

Important note: Being a 1500 I could only get a class IV 10,000 lb rated receiver, max 12,000 with WC hitch. One must not exceed the trucks rating. class V is rated for 2500 or bigger, only.

Easy DIY job. With an air impact and an end wrench and car jack it took about 45 minutes start to finish.

I also gained 2 1/2 inches of clearance with the new receiver. I will have to re-adjust my drop hitch to compansate for the gain in receiver height.

Again I would like to thank those who have contributed in giving me this wake up call on a very important safety issue.

A new receiver is very cheap insurance.

Peace out.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:56 PM   #107
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Towing 250 miles across the Colorado mountains today, I kept thinking about this thread. We discussed what to do should the trailer start to sway. The brake controller is mounted at the bottom of the dash to the right of the steering column—not a good place, but the only place.

A long time ago I taught myself that if in an accident, the first thing to do when the noise and movement stopped was to turn off the ignition. When I was in my only accident, I went to do it automatically even though I had just banged my head on the roll bar (it was a '72 CJ5, an awful vehicle) and blacked out for a moment—there was no key! Those were the days when you could take the key out when the engine was running. I had another key and turned the engine off. Never did find the key—it probably was in the snow and had flown out when the top ripped apart. I slid off the road right after an ice storm and hit a telephone pole sideways, but I did remember to take out the key.

What to do when an emergency starts to happen should be natural and fast. This takes a lot of preparation.

Gene
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:21 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by r carl View Post
Is there a difference?
I know on my Sequoia the rear cross member is not a bolt on tube... it's a fully boxed part of the frame. For the receiver to destruct like that, the whole back end of the truck would have to go with it... ditto for a Tundra... no bolts!

I'd think the ball, shank, or coupling would fail first on a Toyota...
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:39 AM   #109
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Maybe other Tundras have no bolts, but our '07 has 6 on each side. The tubes are welded to the receiver and to a plate on each side. The plate is bolted to another plate which is bolted to the frame. If the tubes were not bolted to the frame, you couldn't removed the receiver assembly and replace it without cutting at the welds. There aren't a lot of welders I would trust cutting it apart and welding a new assembly in—bolts make it much easier to replace. Tubes are not necessarily bad—the type of steel, the thickness and diameter of the tube matter.

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:51 AM   #110
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I've read through most of the theories, and as an accident investigator, looking at the pictures of a wreck tell me only 10% of the story. What I would be doing at a scene like this is walking all the way back to where the incident began... looking for any evidence of the theories suggested (tire off edge, uneven pavement, debris). Any type of loading on a tire is going to produce a mark... maybe very faint, but if there was yaw/skid, then there would be marks.

Once I had an idea of where it started, and how it got to the end, then I would be interested in the resting state. A dented guard rail and a tipped over trailer don't tell me anything about how they got there. A download of the ECM would give me a good picture of what was going on with the truck's systems prior to wreck.

If I couldn't find anything showing the cause... I'd have the whole thing taken for a complete mechanical inspection - an autopsy of sorts. Then, with access to examine it in detail, I'd have some idea of which was the last part to fail... and go backwards from there.

There is only 1 good picture of the receiver, but here is what I see:

-impact point from the trailer/frame on the left of rear bumper
-left remnant of cross tube is twisted towards the front
-right remnant of cross tube is twisted towards the rear

This tells me that the receiver tube was twisted counterclockwise. I know the trailer was still attached when this was happening, because without the trailer, there is nothing to create this twist.

The impact on the bumper supports this. Without having access to the trailer I can't say for sure, but you are typically looking at a 45 degree angle before any trailer part hit's your bumper. So, it's very unlikely that the receiver failed and caused the crash. It's very unlikely the trailer became unhooked. To create this result, we need the trailer connected via the receiver.

That's about as much as I can walk backwards... the hitch would need to be examined to see the same thing... did it fail because of the extreme angle of the TV and trailer? If anything on the hitch is bent, then it likely didn't fail prior to crash. A part failure would be a fracture, missing bolt, something like that.

All that said... the receiver and cross member on that rig seems pretty skimpy for a Titan...
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:03 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Maybe other Tundras have no bolts, but our '07 has 6 on each side. The tubes are welded to the receiver and to a plate on each side. The plate is bolted to another plate which is bolted to the frame. If the tubes were not bolted to the frame, you couldn't removed the receiver assembly and replace it without cutting at the welds. There aren't a lot of welders I would trust cutting it apart and welding a new assembly in—bolts make it much easier to replace. Tubes are not necessarily bad—the type of steel, the thickness and diameter of the tube matter.

Gene
You are right... the hitch isn't added on to the frame like the Titan pic, it's part of the frame by being another rear crossmember. But, it does bolt from the ends... not from the bottom...
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:18 AM   #112
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Thanks For the Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by batman View Post
I picked up my new receiver today.

Since my purchase was prompted by this thread I thought this would be a good place to share.

I was going to buy Reese, however my source now carries Curt. I did some checking and they are a reputable American company. They are rated the same as Reese. So I bought a new Curt for my 02 GMC Yukon.

Important note: Being a 1500 I could only get a class IV 10,000 lb rated receiver, max 12,000 with WC hitch. One must not exceed the trucks rating. class V is rated for 2500 or bigger, only.

Easy DIY job. With an air impact and an end wrench and car jack it took about 45 minutes start to finish.

I also gained 2 1/2 inches of clearance with the new receiver. I will have to re-adjust my drop hitch to compansate for the gain in receiver height.

Again I would like to thank those who have contributed in giving me this wake up call on a very important safety issue.

A new receiver is very cheap insurance.

Peace out.
Thanks for confirming the ease of installation of the Curt hitch. That's the brand we are looking at also for the new Silverado. They do make a Class V that will fit ours. Thanks again...
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