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Old 07-22-2016, 09:15 AM   #1
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Hensley hitch issues

Seeing this group tows some of the heavier TT's out there and has higher numbers of Hensley and Propride hitch usage, I will ask about issues you have had and do they relate to my own.

These are issues only from the past 2 months and approximately 6,000 miles of towing. These are Hensley related issues only, as Propride has a different jack design and stinger.

- Jacks not holding their position, requiring torque to be applied tot tighten the screw at its max tension in attempt to keep it from backing out.

- Jack failure (Thought was accessible set screw backed out, but it was still in place.)

- Stinger not straight. I bet you never checked! Was it straight? Did it bend? Was it welded not-straight? I guess I have to add this to the list of things to inspect on this thing. The inspection list is far longer than any other hitch on the market, including Propride.



On the road quick fix to stop the jack from backing out. Lasted 200 miles.



Stinger out of veritcal (Z axis) straightness (or not parallel) by a full 1/4"




Jack failure confirmed...but only noticeable when unhitched and no load was on the jack. I was not given an answer as to what exactly failed upon its return to Hensley. They indeed charged me shipping for new parts and of course my return of the defective parts. Very poor practice IMO. I get paying to ship it back...not paying to ship the replacement.




Has anyone had similar failures?
Anyone measure their stinger and find the same non-straight result?
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:55 AM   #2
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For a expensive hitch IMO looks mickey mouse to me. I will stick with old style Reese dual cam. Easy to set up, easy to hook up and wd and sway control. Bottom line much less costly to pur. for same results
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:57 AM   #3
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Nope, nope and nope. I did disassemble and lubricate the jack threads, before I knew better. That did cause them to "unwind".
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:41 AM   #4
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How tight are you running the weight distribution bars?

The stinger is a massive piece of metal and to cause deformation would take tremendous pressures.

I used the Hensley for years pulling the '78 30 footer with vans with very little rear overhang and the distribution bars did a great job of transferring weight to the steer axels and the trailer - I confirmed the numbers often with trips to the Cat scales. Now, pulling a 34' SO with a crew cab 8' bed F-250 the weight distribution capability appears to be minimalized with the lengths of the current rig, but I really do not need to transfer weight utilizing the F-250 as Tow Vehicle. I talked to the Hensley Factory several times about the difficulty to transfer weight, and the problems I encountered running the weight distribution bars really tight (increased Hensley bump, the lack of the Hensley resetting to a "neutral" towing position after binding up in a turn, and the extreme pressures set up in the hitch with the distribution bars in the maximum position). Taking the advice from the factory experts (these guys really know their stuff since they work with it every day on different hookups) I now run the Hensley with the weight distribution bars set on the minimum setting (there are three indicator slots on the screw jacks, I pull the jacks up to the first indicator of the three).

The Hensley works great and does everything I expected it to do.

Having said the above I still frequently run the rig over CAT scales, and am a big believer of KNOWING what is going on with the truck, hitch, and trailer, rather than suspecting and assuming. A five run measurement over the scales is still less than twenty bucks, and is the only way you are assured of the exact weights on the axels and the hitch weight.

The Hensley and I assume the ProPride are great innovative mechanical devices and I would not attempt to pull the 34'er without such an anti sway device.

I owned a Reese Dual Cam prior to the Hensley and found it to be an excellent hitch for the money, I have towed with an E-Qual-Izer (and other hitches with similar setups) and found them to be lacking for two reasons, to load the distribution bars you HAVE to have a working power jack with a relatively large lifting range to preload the bars into the "L" brackets, and the sway is controlled by metal to metal friction between the "L" bracket and the bars. Lots of outside factors could influence the coefficient of friction between these two "dumb" pieces of metal, and I just did not feel comfortable pulling with this type of hitch.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:01 AM   #5
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Dennis' experience and analysis is EXACTLY as is mine. Didn't care for EQ at all, Reese DC is still my back up system, but haven't needed it. I keep my Jacks at the second indicator notch and get 460 pounds transferred back to the TV front axle, 580 pounds off the rear axle and 120 pounds to the trailer axle. That is with a ProPride adjustable tilt stinger "for Hensley" with max tilt washers in place. That's with a 1500 Maxtow double cab Silverado.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Nope, nope and nope. I did disassemble and lubricate the jack threads, before I knew better. That did cause them to "unwind".
Me too.....

Took apart and had to sooper clean the threads....

My on the road MacGyver fix....I still use them, just in case.

Bob


...rivet a steel valve cap to the clamp, align with the threaded rod set screw and tighten.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:34 PM   #7
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Last year I ran 1000lb bars, different set of jacks, no problems.

This year, same camper, same TW, 1400lb bars and new jacks, and this was the result.

Tongue Weight was almost exactly 800lbs. (I say was cause I just sold the TT and will be buying new soon, or at the 2017 winter RV show)

I realize what it takes to bend the stinger, which is why I believe it was welded as shown. I'd love to have a downward angle build in...may be the next TT will have higher hitch so I can flip it up vs down and take advantage of it.

But the fact these are made to flip and mine is not straight is what drew my attention and concern. The jack ordeal is ridiculous. I never needed to tighten them before, I only did so per Hensley in attempt to stop them from backing out. I also sprayed brake cleaner in them to remove excess grease. That did not work either. We'll see what the new trailer does with them.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RinconVTR View Post
Last year I ran 1000lb bars, different set of jacks, no problems.

This year, same camper, same TW, 1400lb bars and new jacks, and this was the result.

Tongue Weight was almost exactly 800lbs. (I say was cause I just sold the TT and will be buying new soon, or at the 2017 winter RV show)

I realize what it takes to bend the stinger, which is why I believe it was welded as shown. I'd love to have a downward angle build in...may be the next TT will have higher hitch so I can flip it up vs down and take advantage of it.

But the fact these are made to flip and mine is not straight is what drew my attention and concern. The jack ordeal is ridiculous. I never needed to tighten them before, I only did so per Hensley in attempt to stop them from backing out. I also sprayed brake cleaner in them to remove excess grease. That did not work either. We'll see what the new trailer does with them.
You can disassemble them and clean well. Although I have only the picture to go by, it appears to me that the nut at the bottom of the jack has come loose and the jack isn't "broken". I am having trouble remembering exactly how it looks inside (I haven't had mine apart in 4 or 5 years), but a bit of loctite on that nut will help it stay assembled. As I recall, I loosened my jacks too hard against the fully extended stop with my driver drill and loosened mine. I recall a locking collar allen head in the hole in the upper body of the jack that starts the disassembly.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:53 PM   #9
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I have used my Hensley for about eight years now and still happy with it - apart from the crappy powder coating job! I eventially strpped the powder coat and used POR-15.


A few years ago, i did experience a small degree of unwinding of the jacks en route - not completely but they had definitely unwound somewhat.

I welded up some doohickeys that would drop over the hex on top and then secure a pin into the hole in the side of the jack tube by means of a thumbscrew. That made it impossible for them to lose their setting

Later I discovered that I had likely caused the problem by squirting lube onto the jack screw through the hole in the tube! I don't remember if I read that in the manual or was told by Terry at Hensley.

That was quite a while back. My lube must have dissipated, as I find now that I no longer need to use my home-made jack screw locks, and the jacks retain their adjustment with no problem.


Can't comment on your measurement of the stinger other than to say that my first reaction in reading your post is that perhaps it is welded that way intentionally for a purpose.

If caused in use, I would think you would see evidence of bending of the bar(s) or problems with the welded side plates of the stinger.

A bit hard to imagine it bending unless it suffered a major trauma as it sure looks to be a pretty hefty piece of kit!

Brian.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:55 PM   #10
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Why 1400# bars? I run 1000# bars with a 30' Classic with 900 - 1050# receiver weight (depending upon if bike and bike rack are on the front) and get all the WD I need and maintain a more flexible action between truck and AS.
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:01 PM   #11
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Why 1400# bars? I run 1000# bars with a 30' Classic with 900 - 1050# receiver weight (depending upon if bike and bike rack are on the front) and get all the WD I need and maintain a more flexible action between truck and AS.
I mentioned I sold my TT and buying another. The bump from 1000 unit to 1400 unit is based the new TT. We know exactly what we're buying, and have known since last Summer.

I also much prefer the stiffer ride going from 1000 to 1400 on with 800lbs of TV. We tow with a 2010 Sequoia which has rear coil springs. They need all the help they can get and the heavier bars do it.
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Old 07-26-2016, 11:39 AM   #12
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Interesting. I just went out and checked my Hensley stinger. It has the same 1/4-inch angle that the poster noted. Since I know mine has not been overly cranked or subjected to any shock damage, I would guess that that angular alignment is on purpose.

The only problem I've ever had with the Hensley is what I call a "learning curve" problem about getting the stinger into the hitch smoothly. One of the first times I used the hitch I managed to bump my trailer off of the wooden block the tongue jack was sitting on. It bent the tongue jack sufficiently that it would not retract and had to be cut off and I had to replace the tongue jack. But that's my fault, not the hitch's fault.

I have since, polished the front end of the stinger. Removed the overly thick layer of paint or powder coat or whatever that glop is and then rounded all the corners to about a 1/8-inch radius. A little lithium grease on the very end and it slips together with very little pressure - far enough to then engage the toggles. The only thing that mandates is some rust preventative on the polished bar when it is out of the trailer or my TV.
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Old 07-26-2016, 07:45 PM   #13
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Interesting. I just went out and checked my Hensley stinger. It has the same 1/4-inch angle that the poster noted. Since I know mine has not been overly cranked or subjected to any shock damage, I would guess that that angular alignment is on purpose.
....snip
The only problem I've ever had with the Hensley is what I call a "learning curve" problem about getting the stinger into the hitch smoothly. One of the first times I used the hitch I managed to bump my trailer off of the wooden block the tongue jack was sitting on. It bent the tongue jack sufficiently that it would not retract and had to be cut off and I had to replace the tongue jack. But that's my fault, not the hitch's fault.


Haha Stinger....that's the way it's made.





Hitching aid's that work for us.

Adjust the Jacks for yaw.

"O" ring on Hitch'n Rods for height,

Rod's on the receiver & tongue for horizontal.

Bob
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:22 AM   #14
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Haha Stinger....that's the way it's made.

I have to believe this is an error in manufacturing. Every stringer they make is designed to be used up or down. In the up position as your picture shows (which looks just like mine) the angle robs us of weight distribution. If it was straight or angles down, the weight bars follow and suddenly a couple degrees change equates to inches of additional adjustment. That's why Propride has an adjustable angle like most populate WHD's do.
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