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Old 12-15-2019, 09:08 AM   #1
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Newbie buying AS with Hensley Hitch

Hi everyone - we are very excited because the day after Christmas we become first time Airstream parents. We have a 2004 28ft Classic being delivered to us, this beauty comes with a Hensley Hitch attached to it. Having found out what a Hensley Hitch is I started to get even more excited and then the questions started and now I’m in a panic. Why ? - I’ll tell you - the AS is being delivered on a flat bed which will not be able to get down our road, so the trailer will have to be unloaded in a nearby parking lot and I’ll have to tow it home. My question is - will the stinger and hitch fit into each other, will the stinger be at the right height, can it be adjusted if not or do I need to take the Hensley off in order to tow it a short distance home and then work it all out (and how would I do that)..PLEASE - if anyone answers this for me try to remember that I know NO technical terms at this time regarding the Hensley ( I’m reading up but getting confused) Thanks in advance for any help anyone might be able to give.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:39 AM   #2
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Greetings from Walton County

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. As to your concerns about hooking up with the Hensley, your only issue will be is the hitch bar (stinger) the correct drop for your tow vehicle.

The Hensley Hitch Bars come in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 inch drop. Regardless of which one your Airstream is coming with, you should be able to hook up to your tow vehicle for the short trip from the road to your house. This may not be the one that you will want to tow with on the highway though.

You should ask the previous owner which hitch bar is coming with the Airstream. Then go to the Hensley Website and do a measurement of your tow vehicle receiver height. From this you will be able to determine the hitch bar you will need.

If you need any further assistance, my direct email is moosetags@aol.com. Send me a quick email with a contact number and I can give you a call if you would like to discuss this matter directly. We have been using the Hensley for 14 years.

Brian
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. As to your concerns about hooking up with the Hensley, your only issue will be is the hitch bar (stinger) the correct drop for your tow vehicle.

The Hensley Hitch Bars come in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 inch drop. Regardless of which one your Airstream is coming with, you should be able to hook up to your tow vehicle for the short trip from the road to your house. This may not be the one that you will want to tow with on the highway though.

You should ask the previous owner which hitch bar is coming with the Airstream. Then go to the Hensley Website and do a measurement of your tow vehicle receiver height. From this you will be able to determine the hitch bar you will need.

If you need any further assistance, my direct email is moosetags@aol.com. Send me a quick email with a contact number and I can give you a call if you would like to discuss this matter directly. We have been using as Hensley for 14 years.

Brian
Good information here and a great offer to help. Be prepared to have real problems hitching up the first few times. My wife and I took 2 1/2 hours to figure it out. Have them put the trailer on the most level area possible to avoid these issues. Latter, you will learn to deal with uneven surfaces.

You got a great hitch there. Just don't get frustrated over the procedure to hook it up. After several years of towing, I can engage the hitch the first time every time. I also would be available to help if need be. Just PM me for phone number.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:31 AM   #4
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Merry Christmas to you! Don’t worry if it is not exact if the distance is short and you don’t have the right stinger to get it home. Just go slow.

And don’t worry about it being frustrating to hitch up either. First time it took 2 min. After that I had some issues but after a few trips, it is routine. Remember to keep the weight screws loose when hooking up and unhooking.

If you ever feel a sway, the square nuts are loose. Always check them as well. I put a Velcro wrap around them but they settle in after a while and need tightening. Still a great hitch and you are going to have a great time. Congratulations!
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:40 AM   #5
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Thank you

Thank for your help with this - feeling much better already - the other half is planning to take sandwiches and a flask of coffee to the delivery so we can dig in for a couple of hours getting her hitched !!!!!
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:46 AM   #6
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Actually, the parking lot may work out well for you. Most importantly, take your time, make sure the wheels are checked well and adjust the trailer up or down as needed to engage the stinger. Adjust the weight distribution bars if you need to change the angle a little. You can do this,just be patient. After it is settled in, I would recommend servicing the Hensley as much for your familiarity as for safety.

Jim
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:47 AM   #7
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Checked should be chocked.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:13 PM   #8
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OK, I have to ask. If flatbed is not able to get to your property, how are you going to be able to drive, turn and park your Airstream? Are you up for the challenge, have a plan?
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:07 PM   #9
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I suggest searching for "Hensley Hitch hook up" on YouTube. That will bring up a number of good videos which will help you understand the hitch better. We have used a Hensley since 2002 and an improvement for hitching was getting a tow vehicle with a backup camera. Otherwise, moosetags sounds like a great resource for you.

Tim
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:14 PM   #10
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The plan

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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
OK, I have to ask. If flatbed is not able to get to your property, how are you going to be able to drive, turn and park your Airstream? Are you up for the challenge, have a plan?
We have a plan we just donít know it quite yet !
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:05 AM   #11
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Helping out

We live in Daphne, AL only a short distance to Pensacola, we have a receiver for our truck that we use for a Hensley. If you need help just sent me a private message with your phone number and we will drive over and help you out. Been there and done that with a Hensley. No problem with helping you out. Bill
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:28 AM   #12
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I have a ProPride which is similar to the Hensley. Both of these are great hitches. However, there is a learning curve to the hookup and unhooking. Take your time to learn because you will love this type of hitch once you become familiar with it.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:27 PM   #13
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Congratz KenNSabine!



Others have given you good advice above.



Ask the seller which drop their stinger(s) is/are, & to measure from ground up to the top of the hitch head's hole/receiver - then measure ground up to your TV's receiver hole, to see if the drop is close to +/-1". If not, then you'll want another drop size stinger from Hensley, & they can sell you a reconditioned used one for a bit less than new.



While you're talking with Hensley about the stinger - ask them about the transfer of their lifetime warranty, so that yuo can get your new one transferred into your name now (assuming the sale is now finalized, otherwise wait for final transfer of the AS title to you to transfer the Hensley warranty).



You don't say what tow vehicle you have, but a back-up camera is very helpful with hooking up that 2" square stinger into the 3" square hole. Do it in steps of backing up, & checking your alignment, adjust as needed - you'll need to be pretty straight into the Hensley head in order to get it prperly engaged, & not kick off to one side.



Go to the Hensley website for some good hitching videos, as well as the check your TV's hitch height as mentioned above (order



Make sure to ask the seller to ship all Hensley spare parts, documents & stinger(s) with the trailer (often folks have multiple stingers for various TVs), as well as any spare parts, documentation, etc. for the AS.



You'll need to have your wife help you with backing & parking the rig - especially in a tight space, but you should also get out to look for yourself to get a picture in your mind of what lies back there vs trailer size. Also get some neighbors to help with traffic control if you have any traffic on your street, as well as to keep any street parking off of the area where you'll need to maneuver, &/or ask neighbors to move their street parked cars while you back in.



You'll find that the Hensley can turn much sharper & tighter than the traditional hitch does due to it's design (ProPride too), so also make sure to watch the back of your tow vehicle as you're backing 7 turning - so that you don't hit part of the trailer or LP tanks etc. on the Tongue/A-frame onto the back end of your truck/SUV! You'll find it's easier to maneuver in tight spaces with the Hensley.


We have to thread the needle into an 8' wide driveway with only 18" clear on each side of that at the narrow points, with telephone pole, concrete wall, house, bushes, etc. as obstacles, off of a narrow 32' wide street with parking on both side - so we do all of the above.


Enjoy the world of Airstream "Glamping"!


Happy Holidays!
Tom
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:54 PM   #14
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One suggestion that I haven't seen mentioned is a wireless backup camera. We have a magnetic one that I put directly onto the stinger so I'm looking right into the receiver. The camera that's built into the truck looks from above and is too wide a view to be of help trying to get the stinger into the receiver.

As others have said, it takes time to learn how to deal with the Hensley but it tows like it's on rails.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NCMEDIC View Post
One suggestion that I haven't seen mentioned is a wireless backup camera. We have a magnetic one that I put directly onto the stinger so I'm looking right into the receiver. The camera that's built into the truck looks from above and is too wide a view to be of help trying to get the stinger into the receiver.

As others have said, it takes time to learn how to deal with the Hensley but it tows like it's on rails.
I have used one of these for years. They are dirt cheap and make hitching (as well as a variety of other maneuvers) a piece of cake.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:20 PM   #16
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Just a little additional information on hooking up and unhooking. The opening of the Hensley/Propride hitch that the stinger (which is in the TV receiver when hooking up and left in the TV when unhooking) has multiple parameters that have to be adjusted to simplify hitching/unhitching. They are:
1. Height of the hitch opening must match the height of the stinger end.
This is adjusted with the trailer tongue jack.
2. Vertical tilt of the hitch body must match the vertical tilt of the stinger.
This is adjusted with the Hensley/Propride WD jacks acting together, i.e. same amount of lift on both sides.
3. Horizontal angle of the hitch body must match the horizontal angle of the stinger.
This is adjusted by changing the angle at which the TV approaches the trailer.
4. Twist of the hitch body must match the twist of the stinger.
This is adjusted by setting the WD jacks differently on each side.

All this sounds complex, and at first it is. When hooking up, back up until the end of the stinger is an inch or so away from the opening of the hitch. Look at how the stinger is approaching the hitch and adjust as necessary using the adjustments above.

When unhitching I first chock the trailer and then move the TV slightly forward to straighten the hitch since it will often pivot to one side when backing into a site. I then place the TV in neutral for a moment before putting it in park and setting the brake to relieve any stress on the hitch. Then I relieve the load on the WD jacks until they are only slightly loaded by going until they are loose and then tighten up just a little. I then place a finger between the trailer ball coupler and the body of the hitch. Typically I have to raise the trailer significantly until I feel the coupler JUST lift off of the ball. It doesn't move much, maybe 1/16 of an inch. At this point everything is typically loose and I undo the overcenter latches, disconnect the safety chains, disconnect the umbilical cable and disconnect the breakaway cable. Most times I can then pull away from the trailer with no problem.

All hitching and unhitching is done with the trailer SECURELY CHOCKED!

If there is a problem it is usually because one of the above alignments has an issue and is usually caused by uneven ground.

With experience now I can usually hitch up and unhitch on the first or second try which is about the same as my result with my Equalizer.

The additional safety of the Hensley/Propride anti-sway design is well worth the slightly increased difficulty to me.

Al
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:53 PM   #17
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Hensley hitch gone wron

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenNSabine View Post
Hi everyone - we are very excited because the day after Christmas we become first time Airstream parents. We have a 2004 28ft Classic being delivered to us, this beauty comes with a Hensley Hitch attached to it. Having found out what a Hensley Hitch is I started to get even more excited and then the questions started and now Iím in a panic. Why ? - Iíll tell you - the AS is being delivered on a flat bed which will not be able to get down our road, so the trailer will have to be unloaded in a nearby parking lot and Iíll have to tow it home. My question is - will the stinger and hitch fit into each other, will the stinger be at the right height, can it be adjusted if not or do I need to take the Hensley off in order to tow it a short distance home and then work it all out (and how would I do that)..PLEASE - if anyone answers this for me try to remember that I know NO technical terms at this time regarding the Hensley ( Iím reading up but getting confused) Thanks in advance for any help anyone might be able to give.
You can do it, but carefully. Email me to discuss. Drskyking2@gmail.com. There are a few critical items. I have become most informed not by choice. And I have two different height stingers for sale, cheap
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:25 PM   #18
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DrSkyking - is that your rig on its side with a Hensley hitch? If so - first - sorry to see that and hope no one was hurt. Second - how on earth did that happen? I thought the VPP hitches were impervious to sway???
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:03 AM   #19
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It hurts just to look at that pic...
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:46 AM   #20
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I'm wondering if the hitch contributed to that wreck. There are two aspects to rig stability. One is oscillatory sway and the other is oversteer. The latter is rarely talked about. It comes about when the trailer center of gravity is too close to the hitch point. When you need to make a sharp turn the mass of the trailer can push the back of the truck sideways and cause it to spin out and jackknife. Putting a 200 lb hitch there makes it worse. Also, taking weight off the truck's rear axle with weight distribution bars will diminish the truck's ability to resist the trailer's pushing force. It is possible this accident could have been avoided had the trailer been towed on the ball.
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