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Old 05-19-2004, 09:20 AM   #29
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2004 30' Classic
San Jose , California
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I don't remember reading this Q & A in the old one. Yes, practice is the key.

Question: Iíve heard that hooking up can be difficult at times. Is there any helpful tips
on making it easier?
Answer: Hooking up can be difficult at times but not impossible. Practice, practice,
practice makes perfect. The idea is to mirror the angles to each other using your jack
assemblies to change the angle of the hitchbox.
Spraying some lubricant on the bar or inside the hitchbox will help. The tongue twister
is another helpful tool in hooking up.

"It's the journey."

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Old 05-19-2004, 10:50 AM   #30
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2004 28' Classic
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Based on input from others, I have started using a Tongue Twister at all times.

I think the FAQ you quote above is a little misleading, or at least it was to me when I was trying to set up to insert the "stinger". It implies (or at least I inferred) that you can use the jacks to match the roll, picth and yaw angles of the trailer to the tow vehicle. I don't believe that the yaw angle can be matched by diddling with the jacks. (Some strictly lateral movement of the hitch head can be used by releasing the vertical levers that extend into the receiver, and the Tongue Twister can be used to move another 3" or so.) The big problem I've had is getting the yaw angle set - by the time I pull forward, cut the wheels and back up again, I never seem to be at the right angle (let alone on center).

Here's what I've done to help in aligning the yaw angles: I put a mark on the tailgate of the tow vehicle in dead center, visible in rear view mirror. I also use two vertical rods, encased in flourescent plastic (brand name is "Align-Quick"), and mount these using their magnetic bases - one is placed on the very front lip of the receiver, and one is placed on the flat area of the hitch behind the coupler.

Now, using only the rear view mirror, it is pretty easy to back up and align those three elements. And if they're in a row, you can't be anything but aligned correctly to insert the stinger. (This is provided that a) you have used the jacks to set the roll and pitch angles [I've found that you can do that by eyeball], and b) you have aligned the hitch head in its center position.) I also make sure that I have the wheels centered before making my final approach to the hitch - any cocking of the wheels can result in being off angle when you actually insert the stinger.

Hope this makes sense and is some help to others who, like me, have been been doing a lot of cursing trying to get the hang of this otherwise excellent product. I'm going to continue using this technique; if it works, I would suggest that the Hensley folks put pre-mounted fittings on their hitch (maybe as an option?) that fit SOB alignment aids. OTOH, I may not have thought through the problem well enough yet, and some other circumstance is just waiting on the sidelines to jump up and bite me in the butt...

I'd welcome further input from others on this approach - whether you think it will work in varied hitching circumstances, and if not, your suggestions for further tips and tricks for hitching in those situations.

Dave Jenkins
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Old 05-19-2004, 11:27 AM   #31
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Thumbs up Thanks for the tips!

I find the yaw to be the most difficlut too. But if I can get the stinger half way in, the OCLs have been able to get it the rest of the way, although it takes adjusting and readjusting OCLs, which is a pain. The hitch alignment helpers are invaluable!
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Old 05-19-2004, 01:56 PM   #32
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Bedford , New Hampshire
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I just don't have these problems. Maybe it's because I have a suburban with panel doors in the rear. Using the mirrors of the truck, I back the truck straight on to the trailer making sure the center of the post of my panel doors is in the center of the window of the trailer. I stop about 2ft from the trailer, get out and see how I'm doing. I then correct the one or two inches either side and of the trailer and back into the receiver. I make sure the receiver on the trailer is at the same height of the truck. With another person helping and the trailer firmly chocked, I leave the truck in reverse while the Over center latches are fastened. Once that is completed, I put the truck in park and finish the hook up. It just isn't that hard to do.

Don't be worried about giving the trailer a little bump inserting the tow bar into the receiver. You drive it in as far as it will go then use the ocl to finish the job. Sometimes you may have to raise or lower the hitch to help it go in.
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Old 05-26-2004, 07:43 PM   #33
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I had problems with the angle of yaw, too. I found that I could not get alignment right by looking over my shoulder and trying to line up with the middle of trailer through the back window.Colin (the Hensley Arrow guru) taught me a new way to back up. It's simple and it's worked for me. When backing up simply look at both rear view mirrors and try to line up such that you can see identical 'slices' down each side of the trailer in each mirror. I've been almost perfectly aligned and within an 1-2" of sliding in with the first shot using this technique. With my Ford SuperDuty it's actually easier to do with my mirrors in than extended out. Hopefully this is understandable, if not, I'll try to explain it better.
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Old 05-26-2004, 07:55 PM   #34
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These are fine solutions if you're always in a situation where you can back straight up to the trailer in line with it. I have to hitch up at a 45 degree or greater angle. There is nothing in the left mirror, and it's hard to judge where the Hensley receiver end is even with a set of keys on the tonneau cover over the drop bar as a guide.

So I bought those magnetic guides BigDee spoke of. One, adjusted a little shorter, on the end of the drop bar and one, adjusted to full height, on the top of the Hensley. Line 'em up just like a gun sight or navigational range.

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