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Old 03-25-2003, 08:34 PM   #1
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Hensley Arrow, will it help?

We got back from our first trip in January. Pulled our 31' Sovereign 4500 miles with a 2003 diesel Excursion. The pull was fabulous and never had a problem with power. The question has to do with sway. I'm using a weight distribution Reese with a sway control. I felt like I was white-knuckling the whole way down. The sway was really nerve-wracking.

I am really considering a Hensley Arrow but want the opinion of the "experts" here who have nothing to gain by telling me their opinion. So please let me know what you think. For those of you who have one does it really work as well as purported? I'm not too concerned about the cost as the expected benefits seem worth it. I'm really interested in knowing if those who have one have noticed a difference.

I want to make my order by the end of the month so please... let me hear from you!

Thanks
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:46 PM   #2
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bummer!

You have probably the ultimate tow vehicle and are having problems?? All I can think of is not enough tongue weight and possibly too much weight on the rear if that is possible. Did you try backing off or completely removing the equalizer bars? I may sound crazy and I am ready for the onslaught of worry warts but your Excursion could probably handle the tongue weight with no problem. At least it's worth a try! I am considering removing the Reese Dualcam off of my Overlander as I don't think it of any use with my 3/4 ton truck though I do have airbags on the rear axle.

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Old 03-25-2003, 09:23 PM   #3
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I agree.

You have a great tow vehicle! How does the combination "sit"? Is it level overall or is the rear of the vehicle sagging or the front of the trailer sitting high? Any of these will affect towability, even with heavy duty vehicle. I have been towing my trailer with a 1/2 ton Suburban with a Reese dual cam with no problems at all.

I recently bought a 3/4 ton truck and am anxious to see how it pulls compared to my suburban.

Make sure your combination is properly adjusted and you white knuckle experiences will probably go away. The Hensley no doubt is a quality product, but for the price you could stay at some of the finest RV resorts out there for a long time!!

Good Luck


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Old 03-25-2003, 09:24 PM   #4
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My first attempt at posting, hope I get this right.
I pull a 31 ft rear bath, weight dist hitch with sway control and have no problems. I do know when a big rig is passing me at a much higher rate of speed it helps to speed up just as you are being passed.
I think you must be set up wrong. One thing you can do is park on a level space once you are hooked up, stand back and see if the truck and trailer is level with each other with no swag at all. If the rear of the truck dips or is slanted up you will have problems on the road.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:24 PM   #5
 
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74SovereignInt:

I have been reading a lot about the Hensley Arrow hitch, and I just want to share some of the comments which are out there, on this forum and others. I already posted some of those here: Airstream / Intrepid

and I discovered some more on the RV forum, which I repeat below. So before you spend your money, you may want to read all this, which can be summarized as do not rely on the compagny advertisement.

(these are not my words):

"While I agree the design is excellent, and can make a good towing rig more stable, the key is that it shouldn't be used to make an unsafe towing combination "magically" appear safe.
I emailed Hensley with these same concerns, along with questions regarding their ridiculous pricing. I was accused of being an irresponsible person and a bad parent (by the president of the company) because I actually questioned their price. He attacked me on a personal level, saying that if I loved my family, I would buy the Hensley at twice their asking price.
Based on that event alone, I would never buy one. Personally, I find the Pull-Rite a better design, and those people seemed VERY friendly when I talked to them.

"Hensley singled out ME, not the other way around. I wrote a simple email to them as an interested consumer, and because I didn't "Blindly" accept their price, I was attacked on a personal level by Phil Sinewe (I think that's his name).
I am an mechanical engineer by trade, and when I look at the Hensley I see a great hitch, worth about $1000. That's twice the cost of a Dual-Cam, and that's enough for me. No way in hell do I see $3000 worth of stuff there. He is ripping people off, plain and simple. He gets away with it by making people feel unsafe or irresponsible without his product. Then people who buy the hitch defend it at all costs because they don't want to feel like they overpaid the real value by about 300%, even if it does work well.

"I got the Hensley comedy video awhile ago. Unlike just about every commercial that has disclaimers on the screen, the Hensley video does not. And they go on saying things like it doesnt matter how you load your trailer, it doesnt matter what condition your axles and brakes are in, you dont have to worry. Its only going to be a matter of time before somebody tries what they say/show in the video, fails, and sues Hensley for every greedy penny they have, and wins."

As Chas said, it looks like your vehicle is OK, so do not count on the hitch to solve a problem which may be as simple as loading your trailer correctly.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:42 PM   #6
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Unbelievable! , is a Hensley really three grand??

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Old 03-26-2003, 12:17 AM   #7
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Well... since you asked those who have one the Hensley is $2800, but they had them on sale over the holidays. To me, its worth every penny... and those who own one will tell you the same thing. Those who don't own one probably won't.

In a free market, something is worth what the market will bear, no more, no less. Not everyone will pay the price of a new Airstream, or buy an older used one when they can have a new SOB for the same money. They don't think that's worth it either.

The Pullrite and the Hensley are both the safest hitches you can buy. Nothing else can come close because these are the only hitches that address the problem of a ball behind the bumper giving a trailer leverage over the tow vehicle by moving the point of pivot up to the rear axle. The Pullrite does it quite literally, while the Hensley does it with the trapezoidal link bars. At the same time, they provide NO resistance to the tow vehicle turning the trailer. All other methods of sway control are limited sway dampening systems because they resist the tow vehicle turning the trailer as much as they resist the trailer turning the truck. Get 'em tight to try to fight sway better and they bind in turns. Loosen 'em so they don't bind, and there's less resistance to sway.

I personally like the Hensley better than the Pullrite for several reasons, mainly due to it keeping the best of a behind the bumper pivot of a travel trailer, without picking up the disadvantages of a fiver, like the Pullrite does.

1. It stays with the trailer. Nothing added to the truck, no need to relocate the spare tire or reroute the exhaust (Pullrite does have some custom models for some vehicles that don't require this).

2. The trailer tires follow the tow vehicle tires much closer in a turn than a Pullrite, where the trailer follows much further to the inside of the turn, so you have to swing wider around corners. This is important with a longer trailer where the wheels are further back and turn more to the inside to begin with.

3. When backing, the Hensley backs straight like a fiver or Pullrite because of the point of pivot being up near the rear axle. But as angle develops, the Hensley's point of pivot moves back behind the bumper, and it turns MUCH quicker and easier than a fiver or Pullrite. In fact, slow response is the number one complaint of new fiver owners.

I towed for a living in another life and HATED the way fivers turn and back. I love the way the 34' manuvers with the Hensley. When towing with it, I can't help but think that the name "Arrow" is accurate... that's what the rig feels like.

When you order, make them throw in the spare parts kit and a tongue twister for free. You can get a coupla lengths of chain at the hardware store to extend the safety chains, and will probably not need to extend the electrical cord or emergency brake switch cable.

Hope this helps!

[on edit] I disagree with Hensley marketing the hitch as a cure for improperly matched rigs, but that nor the price will stop me from owning what I consider to be the best hitch out there. And I agree that the trailer should be properly loaded, etc. even with a Hensley.
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Old 03-26-2003, 03:45 AM   #8
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Lightbulb How abt

74SovereignInt.

I agree with Chas...

Quote:
Bummer
The next time you get your rig hooked up, would you mind taking a picture of your setup and, posting it here?

"Pictures give a better insight ~!"
ciao
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Old 03-26-2003, 09:36 AM   #9
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Clarification

Maybe I should clarify:

She pulls great going down the road, no waver or wobble. It sits nice and level with the bars on. The problem is with semis. We were sucked into every one that went by and got caught off guard by several. That and a couple of panic swerves are what has me looking at the Hensley. The panic swerves were for a hidden tire in the lane in Tenn. and a mattress (yep, a mattress) smack dab in the middle of our lane south of Atlanta at night in the rain.

Again, the A/S tracks fine as long as we're by ourselves. It is the semis that have me concerned. I absolutely hate that push and pull as they pass. Also, I understand that backing and turn radii are improved with the Hensley. Thanks for your thoughts.

When I have a chance I'll look for a hooked up pic from the trip. Right now it's tucked in real tight in the yard.
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Old 03-26-2003, 10:26 AM   #10
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I have seen a lot of posts like this one about having WD hitch and sway control. Usually what they have is a WD hitch alright but the sway control is the friction bar. For your trailer that is totally useless. Having been a passenger in a truck pulling a Bambi that did a 360 on Interstate 80, I can tell you that friction bars don't work. Check out Equal-i-zer and the dual cam Reese system. Since you already have a WD hitch it will probably take the dual cam without having to buy a new hitch. For those who swear by friction bars, you just haven't had a problem YET.

Of course the Hensley and Pullrite are best. Considering what you have as a tow vehicle and your TT, dropping $2,800 will be a good investment in towing safety and peace of mind. One more white knuckle experience and you and your family will be dumping a nice Airstream and hitting the Hotel or going to (gasp) a Fiver.
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:10 AM   #11
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hensley

74Sovereign..

I've used all three hitches, the Reese type WD hitch, the PullRite, and now own the Hensley. All the replies you've received on this matter are valid and reasonable. However, every tow vehicle / trailer combination is different and I believe every driver is different with their degree of comfort while driving. I know this is true in my own family. I was able to drive and handle a SOB rig with potential instability and probably drove it for over 10,000 miles. However, my wife had a very difficult time driving the same towing combination. Hence we purchased a pullrite and successfully used that combination for 7 more years. When we purchased the AS and the Yukon xl, I called pullrite and was told I would loose the spare on the tow vehicle. I purchased the Hensley.

I can say unequivocally, purchase the hensley. This does not releive you of the responsibility of proper towing technique and weight balance. The hensley just eliminates any and all sway and feeling of instability you may have while towing.

If you have the money, like to tow, and are going to put many miles on your tow vehicle trailer combination, and comfort and lack of tension to the driver are important for a safe and relaxing trip, the hensley is for you.

Our trailer is also 31 feet long, and in the last two years we have put over 15,000 miles on the trailer with trips to the southwest, the midwest and two trips to florida. Because of time constraints, we have shared the driving for periods of over 24 hours, and have done so safely and in comfort. The freedom from tension, known as white knuckle driving, is the purpose of the hensley. To this purpose the hensley absolutely shines. Say what you will about their advertising and claims, it works.

I might add, the company is also very pleasant to work with. They are open and helpful to their hitch owners. I've had maintenance and perfomance questions and they are a joy to work with.

Good luck with your decision,

Mark
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:33 AM   #12
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Big Rigs

74Sovereign..

I should add to my post above, the only problem we have with our hensley airstream combination and the big rigs, is surprise.

I will admit, sometimes we may not pay full attention to what's behind us and coming up to pass us. All of a sudden a big diesel tractor is next the drivers window and I jump from surprise.

We just don't get the pushing, sucking sensation from the fast trucks passing us.

Mark
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Old 03-26-2003, 04:32 PM   #13
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I pull a 27 foot Safari with an Expedition and a Hensley hitch. I purchased the hitch after a friend of mine rolled a 34 foot Excella , equipped with another type hitch. I have pulled my trailer about 17000 miles and experience no sway. I have even been in the situation where I have had to swerve sharply. The trailer tracked right behind my vehicle---just like the Hensley video shows.

I will never pull another trailer without a Hensley. It is worth every cent and then some. This product may be in the category of having to ask the person who owns one. I have never heard a negative word-other than cost- about this hitch.

I myself have noted in other postings that one drawback may be that one tends to get indifferent to the 7000 lbs. behind the vehicle. I have also asked in other postings for any negative comments about Hensley performance. I got no replies!!!
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Old 03-26-2003, 05:11 PM   #14
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I don't have a Hensley hitch, but I certainly admire the science behind the design. It's worth bearing in mind that the hitch prevents the trailer moving independently of the tow vehicle (sway), but if the tow vehicle itself causes a problem, then the makers quite rightly do not claim the hitch will save the situation. If you are registered with the Yahoo list, this link describes a nasty jacknife with a unit using a Hensley hitch. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Airstr...message/25744. The owner suspects that the tow vehicle wheels locked because of a problem with the brake controller and its adjustment.
I believe in the Hensley technology, and will probably buy one, but in fairness to the product, all the other elements of the rig should be set up correctly. It would be easy to believe that by handing over a big cheque, all worries would disappear from the towing experience. This is not so. I've been a passenger in a serious trailer wreck, and it's a terrrifying experience. The trailer jacknifed, overtook us, and went backwards through the curbside hedge, pulling the tow vehicle backwards into the adjacent field. I dived on the 4 year old boy in the back seat next to me to stop him being thrown out, and I didn't look up until the noise stopped. Perhaps that's why I take this so seriously. None of this is new to the experienced members of this list, but I would hate any newcomers to trailing to think that a large cheque avoids the need to learn how to deal correctly with all the other aspects of setting up a safe rig. Good luck. Nick.
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