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Old 10-27-2003, 02:46 PM   #1
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Hensley Arrow hitch

Had a Hensley installed on my 25'Classic last week. Have pulled trailer only 60 mi. but is a world of diff. When I hooked up, it was done with the people who installed the hitch and it seemed straight forward. When I got home and read the manual it seemed like it could be more trouble than I expected for the hook-up. Does anyone have any tips for hook-up that are not included in the manual ? Thanks,
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Old 10-27-2003, 03:54 PM   #2
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Hook up just takes a little practice, but not much. I put the hitch bar in the receiver and back up to about 3 or four inches from the hitch. then I adjust the jacks a little until the angles match, comparing the hitch bar and the "hole" on the hensley arrow into which the hitch bar in inserted. This not have to be an exact match, but close. I do have a "tounge twister" and I use that to move the trailer left and right a little to help align the "hole" with the hitch bar. This device is invaluable in the hook up procedure. I usually have to move the tow vehicle a time or two to help improve the alignment.

When I was new at this, I made a wooden hitch bar that I inserted into the hitch to be able to better visualize how well the "hole" was aligned with the hitch bar itself. I soon tired of this messy item, finding that I could eyeball things close enough.

Then, I back into the hitch. You often cannot get the hitch bar all the way in, but you can pull the trailer into the right position by using the locking bars (I think that these are called the "over the latch bars) which you cinch up with the special wrench that Hensley supplies. Actually, it is quite surprising how skilled you can get at this process. I have found that you can pull the trailer forward the required 1/2 inch or so even when you still have the chocks in place.

In hooking up and unhooking ALWAYS have no load on the equalizier bars--they must be loose!!!

The only time I have to make several attempts is when several people are watching. These are the same people that are often standing on the first tee at the golf course.

I will be glad to talk to you more about this if you want to call me at 936-449-4345.
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Old 10-27-2003, 03:58 PM   #3
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It's easier to do than it is to explain.

The hitch has to match the drop bar in the tow vehicle receiver in 3 planes, pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as height (adjust with the tongue jack) and lateral (backing the truck up in line with the hitch and/or using a Tongue Twister).

Yaw (looking at things from a bird's eye view) is simple. You reach inside the itch, push the lock down out of the slots and swivel the hitch receiver to line up with the drop bar in that plane.

Pitch (looking at things from the side) and roll (looking at things from behind) can be done together, using the screw jacks.

Extending the screw jacks together raises the front of the hitch (pitch up), like you would want it if the tow vehicle was nose high/tail low. Shortening them together does the opposite.

Extending the left and shortening the right rolls the hitch to the left, like you would want it if the left side of the tow vehicle is low. Extending the right and shortening the left rolls the hitch to the right.

I have about the worst case for hooking up a Hensley. I have to back to the hitch from about 45-60 degrees off the street, which is crowned, so the front and left of my truck are higher. The trailer is on a driveway that slopes downward to where it meets the street PLUS the driveway is crowned so the front and left of the trailer are lower.

The real key is getting the truck backed up in line with the hitch. Hensley owners who always back up straight onto the trailer just pick out a spot on the tailgate and tank cover and hit it every time. Since I never back up at the same angle twice, and have very little room to manuver, I have the wife hold a pole vertically on the end of the hitch and line that up with the mark on the tailgate (a wrench on the tonneau cover above the receiver).

I back up until the tapered end of the drop bar is just short of the receiver and Hensley, and then do the initial height adjustment, and adjust the yaw and lateral (Tongue Twister) together. Then I do the screw jacks and touch up the height if necessary.

There's no point in trying to force it with the throttle if it doesn't want to go. If it's lined up correctly, it'll slide right in to the hilt. If it's close but not perfect, it's easy to pull the drop bar into the receiver with the overcenter cams.

The other thing you'll find with a new hitch is that the paint on the drop bar binds with the paint inside the receiver. I'm a grease freak when it comes to mechanical things and just coat both ends of the drop bar. I cover it with a plastic lawn bag before removing it from the truck and install it with the bag over it. On the Hensley Yahoo! Group, others have come up with less messy solutions.

And, as mentioned, don't forget to extend the screw jacks and loosen the spring bars before pulling the drop bar out of the hitch.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:09 PM   #4
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Ed,

You've read in the manual that when unhooking you should have the spring bars "sloppy loose."

The reason for the sloppy loose spring bars is so when you're hooking up, there's slack in the spring bars so it doesn't start to bind or tension while the hitch bar is going into the Hensley receiver.

So if you're hooking up and find that the hitch bar isn't going in easily, try loosening the spring bars a little more.

Also having 2 points(one from the tow vehicle & the other on the trailer) to help you align yourself while backing up to engage the hitch bar into the Hensley is also helpful.

I use a cordless drill with a 3/4" socket(same size as the stabilizers jacks) to raise and lower the spring bars. This makes it a snap.

Besides that, it's just a matter of time and practice.

Good luck & I'm sure others will give their tips also!

p.s. once you have it down, it will only that a couple of minutes.
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:25 PM   #5
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Hensley

Congratulation on the best there is for a hitch. You'll never regret your decision, especially when you do long hauls. The tension of towing is gone.

I have a Yukon XL with the panel doors in the rear. When hitching up, I have learned, that while backing the truck up to the trailer with the bar in the hitch receiver of the vehicle, I use the rear view mirror and not the side mirrors on the vehicle. I allign the post between the two rear doors of my truck directly in the center of the trailer and back straight towards the trailer. When I hear the thump of the tow bar hitting the hitch, I go back and see how close I am. I usually just have to raise or lower the trailer and proceed to hitch them together. All the time, the trailer has to be chocked securely. I get back into the truck and put the truck in reverse. The bar will go into the receiver and usually not seat all the way. I leave the truck in reverse and go back to the hitch and proceed with the over center latches. The truck usually hitches right up. With the truck in park, you proceed with the load bars and the rest of the hitching.

I have found, this manner of hitching to be much easier than with any other hitch I have owned. I have owned the pull rite and the reese style hitch.

I agree with everyone, it's much easier to do than to explain. I usually hitch up by my self, and can do so in very little time and usually the first attempt is successful.
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:32 PM   #6
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Princer, Maurice & Mark,

Do you all use a cordless drill to raise & lower your spring bars and the stabilizing jacks?
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Old 10-27-2003, 05:03 PM   #7
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Not yet, but you can bet I'm going to for the hitch. My trailer came with electric stabilizers, so I don't need it for that.
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Old 10-27-2003, 05:22 PM   #8
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Maurice,

I forgot that you have the Limited!!!

Do you have a control panel inside in which you lower them?

And how about over extending them, can you feel them inside or do they automatically stop when extended?
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Old 10-27-2003, 05:59 PM   #9
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They're outside. Both switches for each end of the trailer are on the streetside, down low. You're watching the stabilizers contact the ground, and listening to the pitch of the motor change as soon as they do, so you can get off the switch quickly.
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Old 10-28-2003, 07:12 AM   #10
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Thanks to all of you for the ideas on hooking the Hensley.
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Old 10-28-2003, 11:46 AM   #11
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hensley

I purchased my hitch this past June and followed the instruction manual in hooking and unhooking. Finally figured out that the manual isn't as accurate as it should be. The manual says when you unhook to go "sloppy loose plus a little more". This only tightens up the spring bars and makes it very difficult to hitch up.
Finally called Hensley and Jared told me to keep everything real loose and not to over tighten the sway control. Finger tight plus a quarter turn. Makes a world of difference. Hensley should update their manual to reflect all of this. All in all, it is a great hitch and I would not go anywhere without it.

sincerely
Bob
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:17 PM   #12
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When you say "sway control" you must be talking about the strut bars. They just keep the hitch in line with the trailer, and yes, finger tight plus 1/4 turn is about right. Make sure you check them again after the first pull.
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Old 10-29-2003, 10:16 AM   #13
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YES, to using a power drill

By all means, invest in an 18V, high torque portable drill ( I have the Ryobi 18V two speed). The socket that fits the Hensley jacks also is the same as the trailer stabilizing jacks and the lug nuts on the trailer tires. I took a short rachet extension and cut the female end off. Then I "squared" of the shaft so that it would lock in the drill chuck and not spin under load. Really makes running the stabilizing jacks up/down as well as the Hensley jacks a snap. I keep a 6" steel ruler in the drill case to measure the distance on the Hensley jacks when adjusting them.

As has been stated, hooking up to the Hensley takes a few times before it becomes second nature. I can usually nail it dead on the first time and with the earlier mentioned tongue twister, if I am a bit to one side of the other, moving the trailer hitch with the twister is certainly easier than moving the truck.

A tip for after you disconnect. I run the Hensley torsion jacks all the WAY to max extension. This aligns the Hensley parallel with the ground and gives the hitch a nice appearance (remember to loosen them back up before attemting to hitch up). Also be aware that there is a metal bar just inside the Hensley that, once you remove the draw bar, swings up to minimize movement of the disconnected Hensley. If you disconnect at an angle the bar will lock the hitch to one side of the other. Many times, I find that it is easier to reconnect if the hitch is moved back to the center position. To release the locking bar, just use a screw driver to depress the bar from just inside the orange head portion of the Hensley just above where the drawbar inserts.
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Old 10-29-2003, 11:26 AM   #14
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Reading David's post, I realized I may have given some dangerous advice above. While it's okay to reach in with a finger to release the latch and swivel the hitch when the drop bar isn't in it, do as he suggests and use a screwdriver if the latch has popped up in a slot with the drawbar in or partially in, and there's any tension on the hitch.
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