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Old 08-10-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
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Hensley Maintenance

Have been a Hensley owner since 2006, after using a white-knuckle traditional friction sway control on an SOB, being towed with a medium-sized SUV. The hitch is now on its third trailer, and second Airstream. Each trailer has been kept in fully enclosed rented storage, but somehow the hitch's paint seems to age rapidly despite this.

On our maiden trip with the 23FB, we noticed some pretty loud squeaking when turning. Our dealer did include the hitch swap with the trailer sale, and they do install Hensley Arrows routinely, so I didn't check their work. Shame on me. I raised the tongue from the orange assembly, and sure enough, the ball hadn't been re-greased. So i decided to do an inspection, clean, and lube.

The tension struts had been newly greased, but were not firmly snugged (do not over-tighten, I know). The spring jacks and pivot mounts still moved easily, but took a few shots of red grease. I dropped the notched weight distribution bars, and inspected the ends for wear. They seem pretty good for the age and relatively light duty. I did notice some light external scrapes on the elbows, where the low-hanging assembly has kissed asphalt. The bar's bearings looked good, but I didn't pull all the hitch's bearing caps. After a lot of grease, I had to bring up the Hensley manual on my phone, to recall how to rotate and snap them back into place!

The hitch has a few small rust spots, and the orange paint comes back with a little cleaner/wax. Like many owners, I think the aging hitch looks kinda sub-par on the brand new trailer, but not yet bad enough for a full tear down and repaint.

Of course, I spent a good bit of time reviewing a classic thread...



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Old 08-10-2014, 06:11 PM   #2
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I really should take a close look at ours - we've owned it now for about 5 years (bought new).

I have aways been very impressed with how well it works - although it took me a while t develop techniques that work for me to ensure a quick and easy hookup every time!

As far as I know I have no mechanical problems with it - I do carry a grease gun and try to stick fairly closely to Hensley's recommendation to give it a few shots every 500 miles.

The paint on ours really has not stood up well even though when I bought it new, I paid the ridiculous price they charge for a cover!

It is overdue for a scraping, sanding and repaint - I'm to sure if I will bother with orange though! Probably just some cent rust paint - black or gray.

I do have some of the Airstream "Pewter" paint used on the tongue etc. - maybe I should just go with that, although I think it is only available in rattle cans, I would probably prefer to brush paint as I don't plan on removing the hitch to do it.

We cannot keep our trailer at the house and so it is a bit of a chore to undertake lengthy jobs.



Brian.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:04 PM   #3
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Timely post......


A few months ago I decided that our Hensley Arrow was in dire need of a "make-over". It also had been giving me some noise issues and making some uncomfortable "clunking" sounds while in use. After a lot of reading and studying, I finally felt comfortable with disassembly.....



I gotta say, I never guessed there were so many parts in this thing!! Glad I went through the trouble however. I found that both of the bearings on the bottom side were trashed, most likely due to failed seals that allowed in water, then the upside down caps held in all in and made quite a mess of the bearings and races!
Visually, the Hensley looked it's age too! ( i'm the third owner of this 13 year old hitch) so off to the powdercoaters went all the parts for their "beautification" process. Cant wait to see the results.

I would highly recommend any Hensley owner who hasn't given the bearings a good look in the last 2 years, spend an afternoon doing a little maintenance. The bearings, races and seals for just the bottom side cost about $80, a bit steep for 4 bearing, 4 seals and 4 races......
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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I re-painted our Hensley while still on the Airstream. Wire brush, clean and paint with rust paint. Keep it orange as I kind of like it...and easy to see so you don't crack a shin on it!!!
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truxpin View Post
Timely post......


A few months ago I decided that our Hensley Arrow was in dire need of a "make-over". It also had been giving me some noise issues and making some uncomfortable "clunking" sounds while in use. After a lot of reading and studying, I finally felt comfortable with disassembly.....



I gotta say, I never guessed there were so many parts in this thing!! Glad I went through the trouble however. I found that both of the bearings on the bottom side were trashed, most likely due to failed seals that allowed in water, then the upside down caps held in all in and made quite a mess of the bearings and races!
Visually, the Hensley looked it's age too! ( i'm the third owner of this 13 year old hitch) so off to the powdercoaters went all the parts for their "beautification" process. Cant wait to see the results.

I would highly recommend any Hensley owner who hasn't given the bearings a good look in the last 2 years, spend an afternoon doing a little maintenance. The bearings, races and seals for just the bottom side cost about $80, a bit steep for 4 bearing, 4 seals and 4 races......
J
ust curious, what is involved in removing those domed covers on the bearings? presume they are a press fit? If so, hw do you get the out without messing them up badly - or do you replace with new ones?

Thanks ....... Brian.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:24 PM   #6
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Here's my re-do from a couple years back. All I needed for a complete rebuild was new seals, a couple bearing caps for the top, new spring bar bushings, and spring bar bushings. Bearings were fine.


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Old 08-12-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
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Brian, come in from the side on the joint between the head and cap with a long chisel or screw driver and pop them upward. Patience and they will come. I replaced my top two only because PO dented them using a BFH to put them back on sometime.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
J
ust curious, what is involved in removing those domed covers on the bearings? presume they are a press fit? If so, hw do you get the out without messing them up badly - or do you replace with new ones?

Thanks ....... Brian.
Yea, like Rich said.... the process is made considerably easier when the Hensley is dropped off the Airstream. That way you can attain the awkward angle to effectively tap upwards on the lip of the caps. Try to avoid tapping too much at a parallel angle, only enough to slip the screwdriver blade in, once you've achieved that try to work at more of an "upward" angle. The caps were considerably "beefier" than I thought they'd be, but still not real heavy duty.
Plus, once the Hensley is dropped off the trailer you can flip it upside down and access the ones underneath. those are the ones I'd focus on!

I figured as long as I had the entire A-frame area disassembled, I'd give it a face lift also. I got ahold of a local guy that has a mobile soda blasting biz, he's gonna blast the frame from the hitch to the body for $60-$80 bucks. Now I have to find a paint code and try to match the Grey color.
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