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Old 03-30-2008, 09:19 AM   #505
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My Hensley Rebuild

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..
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:26 AM   #506
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Noce post, Bob. Very informative.

Brian
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:41 AM   #507
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Height Adjustable Hitch Bar

I was looking at the new Hensley-type 3P hitch on the Propride website. Since I have a HAHA that I dearly loved, I was juxt looking out of curiosity. The hitch bar for this new 3P is height adjustable. I think that this feature is super neat as we use two different tow vehicles. I have had 4 different hitch bars since I've had my HAHA due to TV, receiver and tow vehicle changes. It's a real pain to change these out.

In the pursuit of making life easier, I fired off an email to Propride asking if their height adjustable hitch bar would work with the Hensley. Propride responded that their hitch bar would not work with the HAHA, but that they were planning to to produce a height adjustable hitch bar that would fit the Hensley later this year.

Any thoughts out there? I'm planning on buying one.

Brian
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:58 AM   #508
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Thanks mikeb9550 for your great photos of the guts of the Hensley! I repainted mine and took apart as much as I could, but didn't have the 'guts' to go as far as you did! Those bearings are beefy. Wow!

I would think seriously about the 3P, Brian. I like the design of the 'yoke' and the adjustable hitch bar is very nice. I hope they do bring out a retrofit for the existing HAHA. That would be nice!
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:14 AM   #509
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeb9550
...I will try to update the post with more pictures and progress..
outstanding post mike! thanks for adding these details, and the part #s are also great to have.

look forward to your cosmetic updates and re assembly posts.

haha stinger issues...

i agree more increments of drop would be nice.

if anything haha has gone BACKWARDS in the stinger offerings.

they used to provide a bar 1-2 inches longer for enkay mud flap users...

NOW they only offer the standard bar OR a unit 6 INCHES longer.

we can have the EXTRA LONG STINGER cut down (and drilled), but apparently that voids the warranty and exchange program.

6 inches is a LOT of length to add, miight affect the chains and 7 pin reach and moves the pivot point back.

ADJUSTABLE STINGER

pics of the pro stinger are in this post...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/486716-post62.html

my concerns with the 'bolt together' stinger relate to how well it will hold up to the significant lateral and rotational stresses.

it might be fine once set up and tightened down, but i would NOT want to loosen and retighten it often.

that would only seems to be increase the chance of movement or USER ERROR.

plus the stress on these bolts means one more set of spare parts to carry.

the adjustability might cut down or returns/shipping/fit issues for the vendor, but as a user i want SOLID reliable bits...

and do i really want have to CHECK AND TORQUE another set of nuts/bolts?

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:38 AM   #510
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Propride Shank

I wouldnt worry about the adjustable stinger being strong enough. Its built stronger than any of the 1400 lb WD hitched on the market today. I like how the angle can be adjusted. If its not too expensive, I may buy one. With my van's bumper, I cant use anything greater than a 2" rise. The propride may be the ticket. Wife already thinks Im crazy for spending as much as I already have.

My buddy laughs and me and my "super hitches". I almost bought a used pullrite for my van but the shipping was crazy. Glad I didnt since I dont like the cons apposed the the HA's cons. All hitches have a trade off.

The only downside for some would be the weight. I think it might weigh more but that isnt a big deal for me.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:34 AM   #511
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Have you ever experimented with asymmetric WD? I’ve not been able to find a scale where I can weight only one side of the rig… but I’m suspecting with the slide option, there’s a substantial difference between curb and street side…

The Arrow’s continuously variable torsion adjustment would lend itself nicely…

Do you suppose there’s any merit to this?
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:15 AM   #512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finalcutjoe
Have you ever experimented with asymmetric WD? I’ve not been able to find a scale where I can weight only one side of the rig… but I’m suspecting with the slide option, there’s a substantial difference between curb and street side…

The Arrow’s continuously variable torsion adjustment would lend itself nicely…

Do you suppose there’s any merit to this?
All of the weight distribution is through the reciever tube so I don't think you'll be able to notice much doing this.

As for the adjustable bar... I understand everyone will just have to wait, or weight, and see.

I have already loaded the design to 3000# of tongue weight and attempted to bend the thing and ripped the reciever off one side of my vehicle. That was how I had to weight and see.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:48 AM   #513
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With 37 pages of thread, maybe I missed this, but how about some tips and tricks for backing up?
I have been using a haha for two seasons now, and it is still not fun when backing into a tight campsite. With a single point hitch, a small correction with the tow vehicle wiggles the rear of the trailer immediately. With the haha, I seem to need to swing the front of the tow vehicle a lot to make corrections. Not a lot of fun with a narrow campground road and a nervous 70 year old in his mega motorhome across the street.
So, does anyone have any tips?
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:59 AM   #514
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Woodruff
All of the weight distribution is through the reciever tube so I don't think you'll be able to notice much doing this.

so why not use 1 torsion bar... hmm... i smell patent...
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:18 PM   #515
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Please excuse Joe. He's from Michigan. It's been a very long winter.
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:26 PM   #516
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i've used a haha for about two years and like it. Little or no sway with it. But.......I learned a bad lesson last year backing into a very tight space: I tried to jacknife the trailer too tight and I bent one of the bars. Got home all right after I talked to Jarrod with the Hensley factory(fantastic resource!!) But - don't do that! Only use and experience will make you proficient with hitching and un-hitching. Don't think I'd spend the money for one,though. Mine came with thr trailer.
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:42 PM   #517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander17
With 37 pages of thread, maybe I missed this, but how about some tips and tricks for backing up?
first a forum tip....

adjust your settings to show '100 posts' per page, doing so, this thread is only 6 pages

backing tips? good idea for the haha users to cover.

honestly i haven't observed much different from on the ball maneuvers....

-always pull further forward than u think is necessary.
-always walk the site and right truck side, looking for clearance issues before backing
-start with LESS steering correction, but maintain it longer
-or start with MORE steering correction but quickly dial it back
-always finish with a small FORWARD tug, which makes unhooking easier.
-sometimes laying out a 'guide wire' to approximate the arc helps, i use a water hose on the left side...

with a triple axle getting the leveling blocks correctly positioned often takes more effort than backing into the spot.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:58 PM   #518
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You shouldn't bend a strut bar if your u-bolts are torqued to 45 ft-lbs. I've oversteered twice and broken the sheer bolts, which allows the bracket to slide. That's the built in safety feature.

That's another reason not to weld on those brackets.
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