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Old 01-15-2007, 11:41 PM   #141
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Importance of Reading the Installation Manual

Hi All---I've read this thread from top to bottom today and got my question answered about how others secure the trailer against theft with the Hensley hitch. Thanks to 2Air for pointing me to this thread with a PM.

My experience in getting started with a HA may benefit others. I bought my 22ft CCD from a AS dealer as a slightly used unit and it came with the HA. On delivery day, the installation of the trailer to my truck came last in a several hour check out process and was conducted by a person not very familar with the HA. Needless to say, I left the dealership without the level of understanding on how to adjust the struts and W/D bars that I needed. This is my first TT and I didn't have the benefit of previous TT towing to know what was normal feel vs something needs to be adjusted.

To others who are new to the HA, before you venture out on a trip, READ the HA manual for comprehension of the important adjustment points. These are that (1) the two struts are adjusted in length via the adjusting nut so that any play at the two attachment ends is removed and then preloaded 1/4 turn so that the strut is in a mild state of axial compression. Any looseness here allows one of the struts to be in tension during a turn and pulls on its forward lug on the body of the mechanism in a direction that was never intended. Look at that lug closely and you see very little meat on the rear facing side. This lug is too easily deformed with a tension load. The (2) important adjustment is the W/D bar preload. Mark the three dimples with a spot of white paint so you can return to the same preload consistently. How to establish the right preload for your rig is well covered by others in this thread.

After bending the struts at the forward lug attach points and shearing off the fasteners at the rear bracket to trailer frame attach point, I contacted Hensley where Jerrod was extremely helpful in trouble shooting my situation. The hardware was replaced under the lifetime warranty promptly and without any hassle at all. Very refreshing and reassuring.

I then read the installation manual for comprehension, took the HA unit off the trailer and reinstalled it from scratch in an hour or two. The feel while traveling is now very smooth and linear, a marked contrast to before.

The message I got from all this experience is that the adjustment details ARE important and must be understood for optimum performance and hardware longivity.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:38 PM   #142
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Bob is quite right about the importance of getting the adjustment right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkelly
...the two struts are adjusted in length via the adjusting nut so that any play at the two attachment ends is removed and then preloaded 1/4 turn so that the strut is in a mild state of axial compression. Any looseness here allows one of the struts to be in tension during a turn and pulls on its forward lug on the body of the mechanism in a direction that was never intended. Look at that lug closely and you see very little meat on the rear facing side. This lug is too easily deformed with a tension load.
I am at Roger Williams Airstream this week having some maintenance work done. As part of that, we disassembled our Hensley today. It has ten months of use and roughly 20,000 miles on it.

During two months and about 5,000 miles of the above travel, the struts were not in proper adjustment and so the problem Bob describes above was caused. See the picture attached.

But we also found a significant amount of other wear inside the hitch, where you can't see it. The zerk fittings were nearly wiped out on the inside. The bushings were badly worn ("ovalized") too. And this was with regular lubrication. I'll be blogging more about this tomorrow and I'll post photos there, if you are interested in what happens inside a Haha during normal use.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:00 PM   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr
Bob is quite right about the importance of getting the adjustment right.



I am at Roger Williams Airstream this week having some maintenance work done. As part of that, we disassembled our Hensley today. It has ten months of use and roughly 20,000 miles on it.

During two months and about 5,000 miles of the above travel, the struts were not in proper adjustment and so the problem Bob describes above was caused. See the picture attached.

But we also found a significant amount of other wear inside the hitch, where you can't see it. The zerk fittings were nearly wiped out on the inside. The bushings were badly worn ("ovalized") too. And this was with regular lubrication. I'll be blogging more about this tomorrow and I'll post photos there, if you are interested in what happens inside a Haha during normal use.
When you indicate that your struts were "not in proper adjustment", do you mean that you did not tighten them as desribed in the owners manual, or was there another problem?
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:20 PM   #144
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The struts were properly adjusted by the dealership that put the hitch on, and then later I messed them up out of ignorance. (I was trying to fix a problem that didn't exist. It's a long story.) They were too loose. Eventually I realized my mistake and re-adjusted them properly.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:11 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkelly
Hi All---I've read this thread from top to bottom today ....
hi bob and thanks for taking the time to read and post here...

good info about the struts...

and so timely with rich getting his haha tuned up this week...

not only are they stressed during turns, the struts are the basis for sway control...

so IF the struts are loose,
crosswinds, bow waves, braking and cornering will overly stress those link pins holes as well...

as rich has shown in his picture....

what great support we're providing for each other here...

i love it.

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:21 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr
But we also found a significant amount of other wear inside the hitch, where you can't see it. The zerk fittings were nearly wiped out on the inside. The bushings were badly worn ("ovalized") too. And this was with regular lubrication. I'll be blogging more about this tomorrow and I'll post photos there, if you are interested in what happens inside a Haha during normal use.
hi rich and thanks for adding to the ultimate haha users guide...

it IS interesting to look at whats happening inside...

i'll be reading, to see if your bushings look like mine did back at post 92/93 here...

the zerks were ok when i replaced the bushings, but IF they are over inserted or loose or IF the spring bars are jammed inside improperly or fall out...

well the zerk tips get chewed up...

these are probably a common size but an extra set is included in the hensley 'spare parts' bag...

a nice thing i didn't notice till i need a spare pin...

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:23 AM   #147
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Worn zerks

Quote:
IF they are over inserted or loose or IF the spring bars are jammed inside improperly or fall out...

well the zerk tips get chewed up...
You wanna see worn nubs? Check out the 5th photo in this post. Mine were completely GONE.
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Old 01-26-2007, 08:09 PM   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi woodedareas...

i see you asked about the grease issue...

like mike noted there are options...

i use the cartridge style grease gun with a 1 foot flexible hose and standard grease fitting...

about 20$ from napa...a tube of grease last several months; perhaps a year.

yes the bars can be dropped out for greasing, but that is messy and more work...

also hensley recommends lubing the bars every 500miles...

i hit mine with enough to ooze out the old stuff every couple of days while on the road...

this may be overkill but according to them 'you cannot grease too often'

with the grease gun it takes less time than checking tire pressures....

as an aside the screw/stabilizer jacks on the airstream also need greasing occasionally.

the jacks have the same size zerk fittings...so the gun does double duty.

in the pics of the 'spring bar swap' you can see the fresh red grease just squirted...

posts #91 and 96...

cheers
2air'
I have now become expert with my grease gun and have gained some experience with a torque wrench. Didn't imagine doing these things when I bought the Airstream but I am learning and enjoying the process. I just returned to Arizona for a few days and I have my AS stored in doors so I thought I would experiment hitching the haha. About 45 minutes later i made it and I learned a great deal along the way. I was suprised that the struts had loosened since they were installed and I had only driven for an hour and 1/2. Everthing else was fine.As with my previous hitch it will take some time, but I think this is a good product. Next month we will have some time and I will do some traveling and will report my results.
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Old 01-26-2007, 09:11 PM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodedareas
...I have now become expert with my grease gun and have gained some experience with a torque wrench.... I was suprised that the struts had loosened since they were installed and I had only driven for an hour and 1/2.....
hi woodedareas and thanks for the update...

i agree greasing and torque'n brings some satisfaction to those of us...

who usually make adjustments with a credit card

as for the struts they settle in after the first 500-1000miles of towing...

and only adjust them to 'firm'; don't over tighten and adjust only when hitched up...

otherwise one may over tighten them...

otoh the spring bar jacks are sometimes noted to UNWIND while towing...

so check them regularly too...

look forward to your next report on the haha...

i've got some info to add to the users guide in the next week or so.

cheers
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Old 01-26-2007, 11:27 PM   #150
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2Air
You will recall that a few weeks ago, I was having trouble getting my newly installed Hensley adjusted properly and asked for your assistance. Here is my update.

I just returned from Roger Williams Airstream in Weatherford where I saw Rich Luhr's worn out nubs and worn WD bar bushings after 20,000 miles of towing. David Tidmore assessed the failure of my hitch to place enough down force on the front axle as incorrect weight distribution bars. He ordered the 1400# bars for me. They will be shipped to me here at the house. The bushings I have installed are the new variety that will accept either the 1000# or 1400# bars unlike the older bushings which had to be changed before using the 1400# bars. You'll remember, you suggested I weigh my trailer. I did and I actually have significantly more weight on the tongue of my 31' than David has on his 34' due to the significance of that third axle on his 34'. I just thought I'd share this insight with you for the future reference of other users.
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:32 PM   #151
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Questions

I just ordered a Hensley; I purchased one of the factory recondition units with full warranty. I was told I may need the chain and electrical extension kit with my 2005 25’ Safari. I ordered it as I was told I could return it.

1.Did I make a mistake by purchasing a rebuilt unit, saved several hundred dollars. I can still call and change the order.

2.Do I need the extension chains and electrical kit.

This is the Hitch, sold on ebay but the buyer bought something else so it was still available. Let me know if I made mistake.

Thanks Jim







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Old 02-07-2007, 01:49 PM   #152
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I got one too

Jim,
I did the same a month ago. I was told by Hensley that the unit was probably about a year old, according to the serial number.
It arrived looking almost like new. Only the hitch box (the orange part) looked like it had been used. All the other parts (struts, bars, etc.) were clearly new, as were all the pins, clips, etc.
Hensley told me that with the remanufactured units they replace all the bearings and lube everything, so there shouldn't be a problem there.
As far as the chains go, I bought several links of 3500# chain and two chrome screw-closed links (not sure what they're called). You can see them in the attached picture (click on it for closeup). I sent this photo to Hensley and they said it was fine, even though the chrome link was rated at 1700#.
My electrical was a bit short, but I re-routed the wire from under the frame and got the extra couple of inches I needed. I didn't want to have to deal with their 18" extension. Too much wire to have to mess with.
I went ahead with the HA because of this thread - and I'm glad I installed it myself. Made some minor mistakes and had to go back and re-do, but just read the directions carefully and you'll be fine.
Biggest difference for me was that I had a Blue Ox on before, and because of that some holes already existed in the A-frame. Four 1/2 in holes on each side, to be exact. I didn't want to drill more for the shear screws so I made some modifications and used the existing holes. Probably not the best solution, but I didn't want 2 more holes in that area.

Good luck. Don't worry. I went through the same doubts waiting for mine!!! It REALLY tows well now (1999 30' Classic with F240 4x4)
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:07 PM   #153
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Tin, thanks for the information, makes me feel better already. Now how will I hide those boxes from the wife?

Thanks Jim
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:10 PM   #154
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Use the safety pitch!!!

Jim,
anytime I want to justify something mechanical for the A/S, all I have to do is sell it on safety! She was very supportive of the HA (we tow in the rockies a lot).
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