Hello everyone, This is my second Hensley Hitch. The first I bought used a year ago. That one was a few years old but I put it for sale after selling my Travel Trailer. We are in our 30s and work different schedules so that we dont have to put our 17 month old in day care. We sold our camper in the intentions to buy a new larger one but held off due to the amount of time we actually used it (hence the sale of my hitch). We thought of doing the tent camping thing since we only used it a hand full of times each year.
Some months later, I started thinking of what we are going to do with the dogs plus the added work setting up camp. I didnt want to make payments on something just sitting in the drive way most of the year. So, I decided to start looking for a used older AS. Something solid that I can polish the outside and slowly remodel the inside. I am pretty handy and can redo pretty much anything but I dont want to get into structure. I looked at a couple and they had bad leaks were the entire floor would have to be replaced. I have read that the shell has to be lifted off to do it right. Not to mention fixing the leaks that started it all. Still looking but want to get something 25 - 30 foot range. Since we were talking about getting another camper, the first thing I did was start searching for another used HA. One popped up and hour away. The guy was looking to get 1200.00 out of if but he ended up taking 1K. So I made the drive and picked it up. I had the 2" bar (which I wanted) but I also still had my 4" bar that I bought a while ago for my last one.
The hitch is a mid 3000 series. Jarrod from Hensley looking it up and it was 1998 or 1999 (cant remember). The hardware was in pretty bad shape and on collar on the frame bracket had to be drilled out. I dont know if this guy had made a bad turn or installed it wrong but 2 of the strut bar pin were bent bad and the pins for the spring bars were ready to snap. The jerk fittings were crushed from screwing them in too far. The spring bar u bracket showed some wear as did the lower jack tubes. So I ordered all new collars, pins, clips, jerk fittings, U bolts, spring bar u bracket, and lower jack tubes. Later I figured out that I could have just grinded the lower tubes and inverted them since they dont connect at the jack via the last hole. They were only 3.50 each so I will just retire these to my spare parts bag with a lot of the other stuff. The jack tubes and spring bar brackets had normal wear. The jerk fittings were screwed in to far wich caused them to be toast.
I started to clean it up and gettig it ready to repaint. I took the spring bar bushing off and noticed that it had a lot of wear. I called Jarrod back to order a new one. This wear is also normal also. The hitches have weak points that are designed to wear so you can replace low cost parts. I also asked about the barrel screws. I wanted new ones but decided to pass at the 9 dollars each since the only reason at the time was that I like the looks of the zinc plated better than the painted ones like mine had. I figured instead of the 20 bucks, I would just blast and repaint them. It wasnt until a few days after I received my bushing in the mail, that I noticed that the previous owner must have had a problem with it and welded one. As you HA owners know, the only thing holding our trailers to the truck are these two barrel screws. The guys weld looks good but Im not willing to trust it. Who is to say he didnt have it hot enough and it just looks good.
Before I got on the phone once again with Jarrod, I figured I would hold off a bit to make sure there isnt something else I need and just order one more time since I dont own stock in UPS
I kept wondering about the inside workings of the hitch. It was 9 or 10 years old and I feared that the grease was dried up. Grease seals dont last forever. I figured I would get brave and pop off the covers and take a peek. I started with the bottom ones so that it wouldnt show if I scratched the cap. Well I did sratch the cap on the first but learned that if you wrap your screw driver in about 4 layers of duct tape, it wont marr it. Just keep working the edge tapping it with a hammer. They are harder to get off than wheel bearings but not as bad as I thought.
I wouldnt suggest you folks start messing with your newer HA hitches. I would only do this if your hitch is old like mine. HA does this when they rebuild them so if you have a remanufactured HA, this was already done for you.
Taking the covers off revieled that I was getting water inside my bearings. See the white color on the grease? The bearings are all (8) Timken LM48548s. I popped the seals off and cleaned up the bearings. I am replacing 3 that had the water in them. I was going to replace the race as well but I pounded and couldnt get it out. I almosted just regreased these 3 bearings but got a good deal on ebay for 6 delivered for 25 bucks. Thats cool since I have 3 spares for down the road. These bearings dont spin at 15000 RPM like a trailer bearing so as long as they turn without binding they are fine. I am going to use Mystik JT-6 multi purpose grease to repack them. I read that its a really good lube for low speed normal temp. Had to order a case and will pick it up next week (only 20 bucks for 10 14oz tubes). I am one that thought high temp was better grease but some guys that really know their lube explained that this is totally wrong. For stuff like wheel bearings and hitches, it is way better to use a low temp grease. It lubes better when its for its operating temp. The grease seals are Transcom 171255TB (Dexter 010-019-00 or National 473336).
If you can repack and install wheel bearings, taking a HA apart is not new territory. Actually, HA are built to never need it since they use bearings that are way over rated for the job as well as they are only being used to turn 180 deg once in a while. I just didnt like the idea of water in there so I stripped it apart. I figured I would to a total rebuild and give it a nice paint job. I also got some new stickers from HA. I took off the serial very carefully with a razor blade. Wish they offered a service to send the old sticker in to get a new one. I am thinking about scanning the original then doctor it up via photoshop and have it printed printed by a boat graphics shop. I could just reuse it but I dont want a faded sticker on my newly rebuilt hitch.
Im not sure about the color or what paint I am going to use. I am looking at POR15 right now but that stuff is expensive. Also, that dark grey that some of you have used is really growning on me. POR15 doesnt have it in their 2 part hardnose paint but they do have the Orange.
I will try to update the post with more pictures and progress.. I also posted this in the looong HA tread by request of 2AIR..