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Old 03-16-2014, 08:15 PM   #1
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New to Me: Hensley Arrow

I got this bug a couple of weeks ago and found a used Hensley Arrow hitch from a Gent Near Tyler, Tx. It was an incomplete unit and I had to buy jacks, frame brackets and hardware to complete it. I got it installed today and took it out on I-10 in the 20-30 mph gusty winds that we had and it seemed to help, especially when the 18 wheelers pushed by me. I could still feel a little push sideways but the trailer was not fishtailing like it would with the traditional setup I was using.

One thing I am curious about is the alignment of the Tow Vehicle to the Travel Trailer....the TT seems to ride off-center to the TV now and one side of the Hensley is tilted up with respect to the other side. Question: when these tow down the road does it naturally tow into the center of the TV or will it float from side to side. My understanding is that it sould stay centered and fixed in alignment with the TV until there is a tight turn or something.

During braking, does the TT stay centered or will it push off center?
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:55 PM   #2
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The strut length will determine centering of the orange part while the TT and TV are in a straight ahead alignment. Do not rely on your measurements to assume the length or centering. I determined that my A Frame must not be exactly geometrically true when it was all welded together. A camera will tell you when it is centered...or someone riding in the bed of the truck, if and where safe.

I can't fathom why the head would be tilted, unless you have unequal tension on the spring bars. I suppose if the head is far off center, relative to the centerline of the tt/tv, it could cause unequal upward force of the spring bars, but I have never noticed that. I would get the struts adjusted to center the head, and see where you are.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:57 PM   #3
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I ain't the smartest man in the world, but I kinda thought that was the point.
I thought the idea was that the trailer would go left or right of center, but remain in a straight line compared to the tow vehicle- a wind gust or bow wave from a big truck would still move the trailer and/or tow vehicle, but the 2 remain straight in relation to one another (no sway) rather than regular hitch flexing/pivoting in the middle- one points north, the other points south- sway.
That is how it eliminates sway- allowing the trailer to move a little left or a little right, but remain "arrow" straight.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:00 PM   #4
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I, too, just installed a Hensley Arrow. I towed it about 35 miles. Since my Airstream never fishtailed before I didn't notice much change. I DID read that when you brake, the Airstream momentarily is going faster than the TV, and will engage the anti-sway capabilities of the hitch. Solution is to adjust your brake controller to engage the trailer brakes a split second before the TV brakes.

Since I have the trailer LEAST likely to sway, and I bought the most robust anti-sway hitch available, some might say I an overdoing it... But anything worth doing is worth overdoing...!

Phil in Irvine
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:08 PM   #5
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It should only move off center when the driver inputs steering wheel motion, not due to side gusts. A steady side wind or a heavily crowned road will force a slight steering wheel turn and induce a small off center, but not much, and not consistently. Also, if the bearings are not tight in the head, all sorts of sloppiness can occur. These are adjusted like a wheel bearing, but I do keep them a bit tighter than I would a wheel bearing, as they spin at much less than .0000001 rpm. (they don't spin at all, but just rock back and forth...zero heat buildup, etc. like a wheel bearing)

I have studied mine with a hitch cam over hundreds of miles and have never seen motion due to trucks nor gusts.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:13 PM   #6
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So- the left or right movement is so slight it is imperceptible?
I think another principle is "pivot projection point" which is supposed to make it like a gooseneck or fifth wheel hitch- another way of eliminating sway...
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:21 PM   #7
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It is perceptible, but barely, until you go into a turn. Let me put it this way. When I painted my HAHA, I installed a strip of 1/2" wide tape on the head and the hitchbox in perfect centered alignment with each other. A stout side wind or a heavily crowned road will cause the tapes to offset about 1/2 of their respective widths, or about 1/4". While going down the road, slight steering corrections and pavement/suspension undulations will cause it to rock about 1/4 of the tape's width or 1/8".

Any more off center and any more rocking motion while driving in a straight line, at speed, indicates misalignment and/or looseness in the system.

Edit: changed numbers....have 1/2" tape on the hitch...sorry.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:22 PM   #8
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I do believe that when towing, it should be 100% on centre. If not, I wonder if you have it set up properly.

People do speak of the "Hensley bump" when stopping as the hitch swings to one side or the other, but we don't really seem to get that. If you do, I wouldn't worry about it.

The biggest challenge we found was hooking up. Once or twice it took us 30 min and a lot of cussing and swearing!

Now, I have adopted several techniques that seem to guarantee we hook up first time every time.


(1) I use a backup camera

(2) I outlined the hitch box on the hitch with fluorescent yellow paint so I can see the opening in the camera no matter what direction the sun is coming from

(3) I lay a bright yellow tape measure on the ground leading to the centre of the hitch and parallel to the axis of the trailer so that I ensure that the truck is totally parallel to the trailer as I approach. I can see the tape on the ground very clearly in the camera as I back up

(4) I use a "DUMMY" wooden bar stuck into the trailer hitch as I approach with the truck. That way, I can ensure that the angles of the "stinger" on the truck and the rich box on the hitch match exactly. Obviously I remove the wooden bar before final hookup! adjust the angle of the hitch box using a combination of the electric jack and the hitch bat screw jacks.

(5) I also use a side to side screw jack trailer post support to make fine adjustments to ensure the stinger lines up with the hitch box. You can buy one from Hensley.

Sounds like a lot - but really is not, and ensures a perfect hookup with little effort!


Brian.


PS - if your stinger will not go the last 1/2" or so for full engagement, you can usually use the toggle bar to pull it in - worth a try!

Hope this info is of some use!

Brian
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for everyone's ideas and input. I hitched up last Friday and noticed that there were 3 holes showing on one jack and 2 on the other. (I set them both to 3 holes.) That caused one torsion bar to exert more force tipping the head sideways. I'm glad I noticed that and had a good 200 mile trip to West Texas. The hitch trails straight and true. Ride was good on the first (top) mark of the jack. On the way back I set both the jacks to 2" above the top mark. I think I got more bounce on rough roads with less tension on the bars so I might experiment to find the "sweet spot" for me. I did experience the "Bump" as I pulled into a rest stop and braked heavily while I turned.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texascanuk View Post
Thanks for everyone's ideas and input. I hitched up last Friday and noticed that there were 3 holes showing on one jack and 2 on the other. (I set them both to 3 holes.) That caused one torsion bar to exert more force tipping the head sideways. I'm glad I noticed that and had a good 200 mile trip to West Texas. The hitch trails straight and true. Ride was good on the first (top) mark of the jack. On the way back I set both the jacks to 2" above the top mark. I think I got more bounce on rough roads with less tension on the bars so I might experiment to find the "sweet spot" for me. I did experience the "Bump" as I pulled into a rest stop and braked heavily while I turned.
Glad to hear you worked it out. Since it's a new install, and you've used it a bit, it's a good idea to recheck the torque on the frame bracket U-bolts. You don't want those to loosen up. Also remember to check for play in the struts after you hitch it up. A loose strut can cause them to bend. Not much else to do except lube it at the zerk fittings every 500 miles or so.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:45 PM   #11
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Storage idea for the stinger. Just picked up a bumper receiver at Harbor Freight for $15, two U-boat at Rural King for $12 and I have a place to lock my stinger when off the TV.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:46 PM   #12
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Couldn't add photo but I did take a photo.
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