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Old 12-20-2005, 11:09 AM   #1
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Question Hensley Hitch?

I looked at a Hensley Hitch last week. seems like a military grade towing monster. But at $3000 is it worth it? ANyone have experience with this unit and comparisons to a standard Reese type hitch. I've been towing for 10 years with a standard weight distribution hitch with no problems. But we're looking at a new 28 footer and the dealer is really pushing these $3000 hitches. So...is it really necessary - considering the safety claimes of the company...or is it all smoke and mirror hype?

thanks
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:29 AM   #2
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We have one and love it. Yes it is expensive and to us worth it. But I believe that in 99 % of the cases a standard WD hitch with a good sway bar will suffice.

I bought it for the security that I feel when we tow. And I would not ever think of getting rid of it.
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:43 AM   #3
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We are on our second 34' and our second Hensley Arrow. We tried the Reese Dual Cam and it was OK, but doesn't come lose to comparing to the Hensley. If you can get past the price and look at the long term life of the product, then you won't regret your purchase.
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Old 12-20-2005, 12:50 PM   #4
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Brow,

I must add our vote for the Hensley. Our Hensley was put on our Overlander as part of our restoration. I can say that our Overlander is a delight to tow. I have not felt the first hint of sway. As far as hooking up it does take a bit of extra time at first, but now I can hook up by my self in a little less than 15min. I also like the weight distribution part of the Hensley( it stays with the trailer.) As far as the price, it was expensive, but after our first year I feel that this was money well spent.

I would order the free dvd from Hensley and give them a call if you have any more questions. Another plus is the customer service at Hensley...A+++
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Old 12-20-2005, 12:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vajeep
I would order the free dvd from Hensley and give them a call if you have any more questions. Another plus is the customer service at Hensley...A+++
The DVD sold us for sure! when you can see this thing in action you know it works. They set up a rig that is just asking to sway - except it doesn't with the HA. I wouldn't try what they did with a standard WD hitch and a sway bar - no way.
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Old 12-20-2005, 02:05 PM   #6
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What have you got to loose with a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee & Lifetime Warranty? If after you try it and still don't like it, you can just give them a call and they will send a UPS truck to pick your hitch up in the original boxes.
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Old 12-20-2005, 03:32 PM   #7
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In more than 35 years of towing Airstreams, I have had a couple of serious situations while towing at 60+ mph with 'other than' a Hensley, which put me into such swerving and tail wagging that I had almost no control [and no opportunity to touch the interior brake controller]. I believe the potential of such an emergency is far less with the Hensley, and I would no longer tow without one if I did not have to. I've had mine since 2000.
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Old 12-20-2005, 04:29 PM   #8
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Expensive? Yes.

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Old 12-20-2005, 05:49 PM   #9
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Having once been an RV tech (other brands) and having experienced severe sway more than once, I don't want to do it again. I'm not young and quick on the manual brake control like I used to be.

When we were considering one for our new 34', I downloaded the patent and studied it carefully. It looked like it worked to me. To double-check, I took it to a mechanical engineer I trust to look over it. He assured me it would do what they claimed, and was actually excited about the design.

It's like a seat belt. You may go your whole life and never need it, but when you do, it's too late to go back and use it if you hadn't. The difference is that you'll know when a seat belt saves you, while the Hensley may prevent the situation without you ever being aware it did.

We towed the 34' up to Jackson Center for service on a day a cold front moved through with 35-40 mph winds across the highway, and gusts over 60 mph. Semis were all over the road, but we didn't feel a thing in the truck. Coming home, we'd just entered a construction zone with concrete barriers on each side, when I saw a semi barreling down on us sure to pass. Just as he was blowing past us, the road (and barriers) jogged to go around an overpass support. One sway of the trailer as I made that manuver would've put it into the truck or the barrier. It tracked through like a sports car. That's a great description. It makes the trailer like a 10,000 lb Porsche on my tail through hilly, curvey two-lane roads.

We're sold. Can you tell? My wife was so convinced she sold her favorite motorcycle to pay for it. However, all this being said, I don't believe a Hensley is a substitute for a proper tow vehicle, the way their marketing and at least one Airstream dealer present it. It's an extra margin in a addition to it.
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Old 12-24-2005, 05:17 PM   #10
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Question To Hensley, or not to Hensley

Okay...

After 1 1/2 years of research, and acquiring, what I think, is an appropriate tow vehicle, I have purchased the Airstream that I think will work out best for my family.

Between the Hensley and the other hitch options, I am looking at an ~$2k price differential. My questions is this...

"Does the Hensley provide a significant design advantage over the other options, regardless of price?"

It is really more of a design issue over a cost issue. I figure that one mishap avoided will pay the cost difference. Safety and Security are paramount. From my reading of applicable posts there is a diversity of opinion. Is there any member of the forum who believes that the Hensley is an inferior design, compared to the other options?
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Old 12-24-2005, 06:41 PM   #11
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To Hensley, or not to Hensley

BeBop,

As a Hensley owner it is hard to describe just how easy the hitch makes towing our Airstream. It is much easer to "feel" than describe. On the interstate I am not effected by faster traffic that is passing. On mountain roads here in Virginia the hitch makes the 27' Overlander track just where the rear wheels of the Suburban were.
If you were anywhere close to Virginia I would love to take you for a test pull. Maybe you could find a forum member in your area that you could ride with?
Good luck with your search!!
Merry Christmas!!
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Old 12-24-2005, 07:15 PM   #12
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We towed our 30' Classic with a Reese HP Dual-Cam for the first year. We recently switched to the Hensley, and towing is much more pleasurable....to say the least. We made the switch, because, like Porky, we believe we are worth it!
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Old 12-24-2005, 08:48 PM   #13
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Hensley vs. Reese and others
Interesting reading opinions and experiences posted herein. However some of the post didn’t say what products and what specific features they are comparing their Hensley to. I know it may be difficult to describe a Hensley’ advantages whereas it’s easy to say that it just feels safer and better. For peace of mind I would like more than subjective opinions and anecdotes. You know we’ll never get Consumer Report to test different hitches with different size Airstreams.

The question BeBop asked: "Does the Hensley provide a significant design (and safety) advantage over the other options, regardless of price?" is one important question. No doubt it’s superior to others, just as some cars are superior to others when going from point A to point B at certain speeds and under different road conditions.
I was told at the JC factory that for my 25 footer, a Hensley would be a bit of overkill. But if I towed a larger and heaver trailer- -consider a Hensley hitch. And although my dealer sold Hensley hitches, he said the Reese is fine for my set-up. (Chevy Van 1500 w/ weight distribution).
I installed a sway bar assembly and haven’t experienced any noticeable swaying while towing at my regular 55-60 MPH speed with trucks passing or gust of wind. But my experiences are not objective tests. The only thing I don’t like is that on bumpy or broken roads I feel a mild jerking or pulling. Is that situation normal on non-Hensley hitches? Or are some adjustments necessary?

So it appears to me that if I upgrade to a bigger and heavier Airstream I should go for the Hensley hitch but for my present configuration I should be safe and not sorry. Any National Highway or technical data out there?
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Old 12-24-2005, 08:55 PM   #14
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Im with JStanley,

I have a Reese on my F150 and 1968 Trade Wind, it pulls like a dream with no sway at all. Its hard for me to imagine a better hitch, so please, more specifics on what makes the Hensley so much more desireable. Thanks.
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