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Old 01-05-2007, 06:50 PM   #127
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Mike Lewis

Sorry, I've taken so long to answer your response, but I missed seeing it until today. Apparently, each Hensley stinger is made slightly different. After talking with David Tidmore of Roger Williams Airstream, I've now modified and installed the Enkay hub onto my Hensley stinger. I took it to a local machine shop last Saturday morning. It was necessary to remove slightly over a 1/2 "of material in order for it to pin in the receiver. David has quite a bit of experience with this procedure and he warned me that every stinger is just a little different so I was mentally prepared.
We took a little off at a time chamfered at a 45 degree angle around the bottom and the full length of each side on the hub. We'd then attempt to reinstall the hub and pin it in the receiver, then we'd take off some more. We must have put it in and out more than a half dozen times. The difference is probably in the size of the weld on each stinger. Like you, I am relatively certain that we have not significantly weakened the hub with this modification.
In any case, it is now installed with the mud flaps reattached. I don't think I'm going to have to trim the flaps any, but they will hang closer to the ground with the Hensley stinger than before because in taking off the material from the hub, it now rides further forward causing the adjustment arms of the Enkay to lay back toward the trailer more than it did which in turn causes the flaps to hang closer to the ground. I feel some people might have to re-trim the flaps following modification of the hub.
For those trying to decide whether or not to order a longer stinger or to modify their Enkay hub, I would still choose to modify the hub rather order the longer stinger for three reasons. 1) It is not that difficult to modify the hub and doesn't seem to weaken it or corrupt its design in any significant manner. 2) A longer stinger is going to put the trailer out one whole inch further away from the truck and therefore amplify towing stresses that much more. 3) My understanding is that the longer stinger is going to either cost you approximately $200, or if furnished by Hensley under the lifetime warranty, will void any future obligations Hensley has under their warranty program. Since they sell that warranty for $500 to purchasers of used Hensley Arrows, the cost of getting the longer stinger through warranty would be costing you $500. Either way, it isn't worth it given the ease with which modification is made to the Enkay hub.
Before closing, I’d just like to address the difficulty in hitching up with the Hensley to which people are always alluding. I just hitched again today for the second time. Once again, I experienced absolutely no problems in hitching up by myself. I backed up near the trailer. I measured the distance from the ground to the top of my receiver cavity. The stinger was in the hitch box. I measured to the top of the stinger. The trailer needed to go down one inch. I let the trailer down an inch using the trailer jack, removed the stinger from the hitch box and pinned it in the receiver. I backed up until it felt snug and set the brake. BINGO. It was then just a matter of closing the over center latches, adjusting the weight distribution jacks and hooking up the umbilical cord, chains and emergency brake cable. That is twice with two different trucks. I’m sure my day is coming, but for now, I find it much easier when hooking up by oneself than trying to hook up to a traditional ball.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:06 PM   #128
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While hooked up yesterday, I took various measurements of the distance from the ground to the under edge of my wheel wells hoping to gain some better understanding of where the optimum setting might be with this truck. With the hitch installed according to the Installation Manuel's instructions, here are those measurements:

Change Noted From Unloaded & Unhitched Position After WD Bars Were Tensioned 100%
Right Rear Wheel Well To Ground Measurements:
39 ½” Unloaded-Unhitched From Trailer
37 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned Half Way (50%)
37 1/8” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned 3/4 Way (75%)
37 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned All The Way (100%)

After tensioning 100%, both Left and the Right Rear Wheel Wells are 2” Lower
Left Rear Wheel Well To Ground Measurements:
39 ¾” Unloaded-Unhitched From Trailer
37 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned Half Way (50%)
37 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned 3/4 Way (75%)
37 ¾” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned All The Way (100%)

Right Front Wheel Well To Ground Measurement:
38 1/8” Unloaded-Unhitched From Trailer
38 ¾” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned Half Way (50%)
38 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned 3/4 Way (75%)
38 ½” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned All The Way (100%)

Left Front Wheel Well is ¼” Higher While The Right Front Wheel Well is 3/8” Higher after tensioning the WD Bars 100%

Left Front Wheel Well To Ground Measurement
37 ¾” Unloaded-Unhitched From Trailer
38 ¼” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned Half Way (50%)
38” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned 3/4 Way (75%)
38” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned All The Way (100%)

Unloaded Hitch Height
18 ¾”

Loaded Hitch Height:
15 ½” With No Tension on WD Jacks
17” Hensley WD Jacks Tensioned All The Way (100%)
1 ¾” Lower Hitch Height Even After Tensioned 100%


Fully Extended: The Weight Distribution Bars were loose necessitating that I hold the nut in order that it wouldn‘t return each time I repositioned the ratcheting wrench.
@ 25% Tension: The Weight Distribution Bars were floppy loose. Again, necessitating that I hold the nut in order that it wouldn‘t return each time I repositioned the ratcheting wrench.
@ 50% Tension: Began to slightly feel tension on the Weight Distribution Bars, but no upward deformity of the bars was noted.
@ 75% Tension: The Weight Distribution Bars tension became somewhat noticeable, but only slight upward deformity was noted, if any.
@ 100% Tension: Weight Distribution Bars were tense in this position, there was significant upward deformity noted at the end of the 1000# WD bars. The WD Bars appeared to be positioned essentially near level with the trailer tongue. The struts were level with the trailer tongue. The Hensley Hitch Box showed only slightly downward positioning at the front of the hitch box. The trailer sat almost level with its nose in a slightly downward position. These measurements were taken with the 6” drop stinger installed. My truck is an FX4 F-250 4WD Crew Cab Shortbox.

Comment: This Hensley Arrow does NOT have adjustment marks or indentations on the WD jack barrels; therefore, all adjustments were done using the supplied ratcheting wrench. There are 100 half turns of adjustment to each jack. Half turns were counted precisely. Therefore, the above tension percentages are accurate.
I've reviewed the Hensley Installation/Operation manual cover to cover no less than several dozen times and re-inspected my installation at least that many times. I believe I have the hitch properly set up according to the manual, but it just doesn't seem to be transferring sufficient weight forward to the front axels. One forum member has reported on the forum that at the 100% level he noticed only +140 lbs. added to the front axel and -100 taken from the rear. Another noticed +340 added to the front and -360 taken from the rear at 100% tension. I don't think I’ve achieved either of those two weight transfers. The level bubble was 95% within the level marks, but was not centered indicating that the trailer nose was in a somewhat downward position. The WD jacks were correctly installed with two holes showing at the bottom of the jacks as instructed in the manual.
From the above measurements and in observing the amount of tension felt as I adjusted the WD jacks, it would seem to me that the 100% adjustment of each jack would be the more appropriate setting until I can have the benefit of expert evaluation of my setup. From the above measurements, it appears that at the 100% adjustment position, my front axles are not yet loaded while the rear axles continue to probably carry more than their share. I doubt that more than a hundred pounds was taken off of the rear axle at 100% adjustment. Any observations you might have prior to my pulling with this setup would be appreciated.
Gayland Stephens
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:55 PM   #129
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hi gstephens thanks for the reports...

1. once you visit a cat scale and get weights the adjustment is cleaner....

we have many threads here on w/d adjustments and all or any of those may help for reading too...

and as already written....insist haha send you properly made jack barrels!

you should not need to make your own markings...

2. stinger length...

good the standard worked for you...

you misinterpret the issues with a longer one however...

mine is 3 INCHES longer than standard...and i like it.

the extra distance gives me more turning radius...

the haha warranty is NOT voided or altered with a longer stinger...

the 'stinger exchange' program is...that is the '200$' issue...

should you get a new t.v. that needs a different drop,

standard stingers are exchanged free (shipping charge) but not so the extended version...

still i think the enkay mod is a good approach, like you have taken...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:23 PM   #130
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GStephens----It sounds to me like your making the spring bar adjustments more difficult than necessary. Personally I don't concern myself with side to side measurements and adjustments of the tow vehicle. Also am I to understand that you're having to crank the bars up as far as they will go?? {100 percent}. The amount of tension on the bars will vary of course depending on the stiffness of the rear suspention of your tow vehicle. This part is identical with any other WD hitch with the exception that you use jacks instead of chain links that you add or subtract links. In a nut shell here's my procedure. i attach the trailer to the truck with no spring bar tention{fully extended} Then I tighten the spring bars {EQUAL AMOUNTS}until the front of the trailer it lifted back to level. Using the marks on the jack this is close to the center mark or about 2 1/2 inches from the bottom end of the jack with 3 holes exposed on the connecting link. From there you can change the ride by changing the jacks one way or the other. Once you find the adjustment that works you can mark the jacks so you can return to that each time without measuring . I can't imagine you needing to crank the jacks completely up!!!!---mike
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:38 PM   #131
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Very well put, Mike.
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:19 PM   #132
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Thanks for the responses Mike Lewis and moosetags. To simplify things, ...with the jacks all the way up, the trailer is still not quite level, and my truck's back bumper remains squatted about two inches more than when unhitched. The front axle remains essentially unchanged from its unloaded state indicating to me that not much weight has been transferred to the front.

I'm not new to towing nor to setting up weight distribution hitches. I've towed something virtually every day of my adult life and I've towed this Airstream thousands and thousands of miles with other types of weight distribution hitches. I understand the other types and I realize that the jacks on the Hensley are essentially the same principal as the hitches with which I am familiar, but sometimes on the other hitches it is necessary to tilt the hitch ball back so that you can get more leverage to accomplish what you need to accomplish and still have enough links showing that the hitch operates as designed. That seems to be where I am with this installation. I need to accomplish what I used to do with the tilting of the hitch ball, but with the Hensley I do not have that adjustment available.

So far I haven't towed with my trailer since installing the Hensley. I just don't think it is set up quite right. It wasn't until I got almost to the 100% level that I had any appreciable tension on the spring bars or realized any appreciable lift on the truck. I realize that I probably over did the numbers analysis above, but I thought by doing so, someone might point out some simple solution to where this hitch would react better with less adjustment. What would happen if I had three holes showing rather than two. Would that make it adjust to where it is somewhat closer to the middle on the jacks? I can't see where there would be any other adjustments. I set it up with two showing because that is what the instructions said to do.

I understand that I can pull the Hensley even with absolutely no tension on the jacks so this is not an overwhelming problem, but I'd like to see if I am missing something in setting it up and I would like to get it set up right. I can call the factory and I guess that is what I will do. I just thought I'd try the forum first. Thanks again for your responses.

GStephens
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:23 PM   #133
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well he could need to be "all up"...
depending on stinger sizing, tongue mass and spring bar rating...

hi gstephens...

what length drop on your stinger?

what rating on the w/d bars?

what is your tongue mass?

what is the ball height when your trailer is dead level?

what is your receiver box height per the haha measurement?

have you got a photo of your set up so we can see the jack barrels and how many holes are open?

while i don't disagree with mike's hook up...

my initial approach to set up...

1. trailer dead level...
2. truck level and loaded...
3. stinger should fit or be slightly high
4. hook up now...
5. tighten haha jacks just to unload tongue jack...
6. raise tongue jack, and now the junction will sag some...
7. tighten haha jacks to level trailer primarily and then tv secondarily...
8. some 3/4 tons will still be 1/2-1 inch low at the rear...

my old spring bars (1000lbs) DID require FULLY tightening the jacks...

swapped out back in post 88 here...

1400lb bars are 3/4 inch from FULL up....

but the CAT scales must be used for accurate weight transfers...
my tongue mass is clearly greater than yours...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:33 AM   #134
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I answered most of your questions in post #129 above.
My stinger is a six inch drop.
My bars are the 1000# variety.
I’m pulling a 31’ Limited so my mass is probably not too much less than yours on the 34’.
Level trailer hitch height before hitching up is 18 ¾” to the top of the ball. That is also the referenced hitch height in my owner’s manual.
Unloaded truck receiver box height is also 18 ¾”.
After loading the trailer and tensioning the Hensley, my receiver box height is 17” or 1 ¾” lower.
My truck is a stock suspension, FX4 F-250 4WD Crew Cab Short box with factory sized tires.

I’m measuring on ground rather than concrete (thus the 1/8” differences between the right and left side measurements on the truck.) I am confident that I can pull safely with the Hensley set at the 100% level. There is significant tension on the bars. The trailer is near level with a slightly nose downward positioning which is a good thing. Its level enough that the leveling bubble is 95% within the marks.
I’ve talked to two different Hensley owners and now you who tell me that they also have to tow, or have towed, with their hitches at the 100% level so that makes me feel better about the whole thing. I realize that I’m going to have to get some weights before I know the whole story. It is just that I live in a rural area of Texas. There are only 6000 people here who live in the whole county. We have a few scales, but nothing very convenient to weigh individual axles.
Your response that you used a 100% tension before changing to the 1400# bars makes me feel much better about the whole thing. I just wanted to make certain I had not installed the hitch improperly.
Thanks again,
GStephens
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:15 AM   #135
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GStephens---after reading your last responce I highly suspect of the 6" drop on your shank {stinger} is to much drop. Like you said there is no way to tilt the head to get a different starting point for the bars. The drop of the stinger does in a sence do the same as the tilt. I have basicly the same starting points as you do wwith my 06/30' calssic and 04 Chev 3/4 duramax. I have a 4' drop on mine and think a 3' would work even better if they made one. 2air is exactly right about determining if your stinger is has the correct drop. Level the trailer with the stinger in the hitch and latched---back the truck up to it and it should be real close to sliding into the reciever... I really think you'll find your problem there. ------ Mike
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:27 AM   #136
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GStephens---as a side note about spring bars---i think it's common knowledge that, with the trailer and tow vehicle at the correct attitude,{leveled},with the proper heights as starting points and the proper spring rates, the spring bars should be aprox. parallel to the ground with an inch or so of bend. Mine with the 4" drop has and the jacks aprox half retracted have a little over an inch of bend but are a little higher at the rear,{not quite parallel} than I like. Since they only come in 2 inch increments the 4" is as close as I can get. i really think you need a shank with less drop---Mike
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:29 AM   #137
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2air ---are we in agreement??---mike
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:41 AM   #138
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Too much drop was my original problem with the Hensley. The dealer originally set me up with a 4" drop, and I had a terrible time hooking up. I was ready to junk the thing. I talked to Hensley and did some measurements, and found that I needed a 2" drop. I returned to the dealer and got a 2". Hooking up became easy, and the towing experience is great.

If I were doing this again, I would install the Hensley myself. Most dealer techs do not get much experience setting up Hensleys, and do not do a good job.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:37 AM   #139
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hi guys....

per the haha techs, i started with a 6 inch drop...

could not get level...

towing was horrible with the nose down...on a triple axle.

after returning 2 bars they finally sent me the 4 inch, i'd wanted all along...

big difference...

we've got basically the same truck, so i agree with mike and moosetags...

you would be better off with a 4 inch drop stinger...

once i was using the 4 inch stinger, taking up ALL the jack barrel length wasn't needed...

until the bushings ovalized.

and as mike notes the springs are up more at the rear than typical...
as many of the pics in this thread show...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:50 AM   #140
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Thanks for your responses. I think you are right about needing to change the hitch drop to a 4". My leveled trailer is only slightly more than one inch higher before hitching up than the top of my receiver when both the truck and trailer are sitting on level ground. If you take out that one inch of adjustment on the jack barrels, then that would be the difference in whether I am able to adjust my barrels half way or have to tension them all the way. There is only about 3 1/4" in total adjustment on each barrel.

At present, I think I am fairly close to where I want to be with the six inch shank and the jacks tensioned 100%, but I'd like to have the option of getting the trailer completely level and I'd like the front end of the truck to show that some weight is being transferred. Right now, the front end is essentially unchanged from its unloaded height once hitched up and after fully tensioning the jacks while the rear sits two inches lower than in its unloaded state. I'd like to see my front end squat to some extent. Again, many, many thanks for your comments, I'll look into a 4" shank.
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