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Old 09-03-2011, 01:52 AM   #1
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Question Hensley Arrow

I am picking up my new AS Tuesday. It is being outfitted with a HAHA, but I
am worried. My parking place is flat for the AS, but the truck will be downhill.
How do I hitch and unhitch in these circumstances? Please let me hear from those of you with experience. This has me really worried. I am going to try reaching Hensley tomorrow, but it is Labor Day weekend. Thank you so very much. So far this web site has been a life saver
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:57 AM   #2
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I have a Hensley Arrow. I have hooked and unhooked for a season now in a number of different situations. I have not found difficulty hooking up or disconnecting when the trailer and tv are at slightly different plains. I have not had to deal with anything too severe however. Once you loosen the weight distribution bars, you will find there is play for the tv to unhook. I have found though if the tv is on too much of an angle - left or right you will have problems disconnecting as the front jack stand will interfere with the weight dist. bars.
You will absolutely love towing with your Hensley. Congrats.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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We have had our Hensley for several years now. I have to be honest and say that we did initially have some frustrations in hooking up.

As I'm sure you know, it is important to have the hitch box (on the trailer) very well lined up with the "stinger" on the tow vehicle for an easy hookup - no only up and down and side to side, but the angles must match pretty closely.

The hitch does have the ability to be adjusted quite a bit my use of the trailer tingue jack and the two screw jacks that are part of the hitch.

I have tried various devices to simplify the process. The best combination of "gadgets" that I have found are ...........

(1) The thing that hensley sell (I forget what they call it - maybe sidewinder) that goes under your tongue jack and allows you to move the front of the trailer sideways with a wrench.

(2) A wooden bar that I made up (not my idea - I stole the idea!) that I can insert into the hitch box as I back the tow vehicle up towards the trailer. It is an exact replica of the stinger and slides right into the hitch box and fits tightly. It has an extension that sticks out of the hitch box about a foot.

As you back up the tow vehicle, this wooden bar extending out from the hitch allows a very good visual presentation of how the angles of the stinger and hitch box are matched and makes adjustment easy.

Some people don't seem to need gadgets to help in hooking up their Hensley, but for us this has been a big improvement.

I actually use a little level bubble thing that I move back and forth between the stinger and the dummy wooden bar to ensure that the angles are spot on, but probably a visal examination is all you need.

Of course as your tow vehicle approaches the trailer, you must stop leaving enough room to remove the dummy bar before completing hook up!

If you find that you have trouble, and want to try this, I think I have pictures if my explanation is not clear.

Since we have been using this setup, I think we have hooked up first attempt every time.

Once or twice before, it took us multiple times and maybe a half hour to get hooked
up - both frustrating and embarrassing!

Once hooked up it is a real treat to tow with the Hensley!


Brian
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:01 AM   #4
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How much of an angle difference are we talking about, Orson? Post a picture of the driveway area if you can.

A slight TV/TT angle difference is easy to cope with. A significant difference could be a problem. One time at a campground we had a situation where the angle was too extreme. We ended up constructing two ramps out of leggo blocks (Lynx Levelers) for the front wheels of the tow vehicle to get it level enough for a successful hook-up.

We would also be interested in what Hensley has to tell you.

Brian
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:32 AM   #5
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Our HA came with our Airstream as well. Friends had very scathing stories about how couples became stark enemies as a result of connecting with the HA. Thankfully, we have not experienced such contention.

The tools we have found to be very useful include a backup camera centered over the stinger and a measuring tape. I run about 8 feet of tape forward the hitch (with the head of the tape under the hitch ball, and allign the tape parallel with the trailer. I pull the truck far enough forward so I can back up with the stinger perfectly centered over the tape. This takes the pressure off my wife: as she is re raved of the duty to square me up with the HA.

My wifes duty is simply to give me a better perspective of distance, and to adjust the height of the receiver.

After a little experience, I have learned to detect when the angles are not correct, and have experienced the situation where the height of the receiver has to be adjusted as the stinger slides into the receiver. It is also much easier when the stinger is greased well.

I have also learned that the stinger does not have to be rammed completely into the receiver before trying to lock the knuckles.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Hi Orson,

The HAHA naturally points downward when the weight
distribution bars are tightened. I will measure this angle
if you like. What is the angle of your driveway dropping
away from the flat area?
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:57 AM   #7
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I found this set-up very helpful with the haha....

The hitching-sticks from Camping World, O-ring to get the rite height...
You can then use your jacks to get the head at the proper angle.

Slow practice is the key....GOOD LUCK 'yer gonn'a love it!!!

Bob
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #8
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That 'O' ring is a great idea Bob!
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Old 09-03-2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetOutDoors View Post
Our HA came with our Airstream as well. Friends had very scathing stories about how couples became stark enemies as a result of connecting with the HA. Thankfully, we have not experienced such contention.

The tools we have found to be very useful include a backup camera centered over the stinger and a measuring tape. I run about 8 feet of tape forward the hitch (with the head of the tape under the hitch ball, and allign the tape parallel with the trailer. I pull the truck far enough forward so I can back up with the stinger perfectly centered over the tape. This takes the pressure off my wife: as she is re raved of the duty to square me up with the HA.

My wifes duty is simply to give me a better perspective of distance, and to adjust the height of the receiver.

After a little experience, I have learned to detect when the angles are not correct, and have experienced the situation where the height of the receiver has to be adjusted as the stinger slides into the receiver. It is also much easier when the stinger is greased well.

I have also learned that the stinger does not have to be rammed completely into the receiver before trying to lock the knuckles.
That sounds a neat idea, I will have to give it a try. I use one of the
"Swift Hitch" backup camera and it is good, but depending on sun direction I find it difficult to distinguish the actual hitch box opening from all the other black stuff back there when using the small hand held monitor - maybe I should outline the hitch box in white paint.

Brian.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:05 PM   #10
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Orson,
You're going to love your HAHA set up. Someone here told me to think of the torsion bars as the handles of a wheelbarrow when making angle adjustments to the hitch head. That worked for my brain, and 18,000 miles later we hook up on the first try most times. My wife talks me in, adjusting the tongue height as needed. I center the back window of the bed cap on the cover of the propane tanks and ease her back.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:54 PM   #11
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So Orson, what happened? Do you have a problem, or did the HAHA workout OK?
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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Hello! Picked up AS. Hooked up HAHA on first try thanks to a wonderful young man at the dealership! Found out that a measuring tape is our best friend. My husband is a good backer upper. I think it would be handy having some of those magnetic balls on poles so that I can line it up. I'm not that strong, so it is nice to know that I can do some adjustments with my fingers before using the rachet wrench. The worst thing for me is the darn cotter pin. Now that is tough. Also got the Hensley brake controller which seems to work great (how do I know, never having had one before) So far I love the HAHA. Orson
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:41 PM   #13
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Orson,

Which "cotter" pin is giving you trouble?

The WD jacks can be easily adjusted with a cordless drill/driver, zips them suckers right up. I use my Christmas present.

You have a great combo, the TruControl is the best brake controller I've ever used, it replaced my.......never mind, might start a fire.

Glad you like the set-up....Happy Streams

Bob
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:57 PM   #14
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I use a back-up camera AND I painted the "trailer end" of the stinger and the square receiver on the Hensley white so they show up better. Also, it is really important to have the screw jacks on the load levelers "sloppy loose" so the Hensley hitch head can pivot left and right and up and down easily. For reference, I wrapped black electrical tape on the screw jacks so I can adjust them back to "travel" position very easily. I find I can hitch up in only 1 or 2 tries if I remember all this stuff. I back the truck up to within about a foot of the hitch, get out, raise or lower the tongue to match the stinger, and then back up smartly the rest of the way. I find I can't just coast into the hitch--I have to use a little force, just like the Hensley instructions state. It is for this reason you have to chock the trailer tires very tightly so the trailer doesn't move when the hitch slams home, and also when you unhitch, when the stinger sometimes sticks.

Kirk
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