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Old 09-19-2017, 10:28 AM   #1
1996 34' Classic
 
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1996 34' Excella
Locust Grove , Virginia
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Uncoupling my Hensley Hitch

I don't have issues with hitching up between my GMC 2500HD and my 1996 34' Excella 1000. I use the jack to make sure the height of the tongue and the hitch are correct. My problem is with un-hitching. It seems like it always binds and then when I pull away, the tension keeps us connected. Is there a secret to the correct height of the tongue so that disconnecting isn't an issue?
Many thanks,
FT.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:36 AM   #2
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My 'trick'....

Loosen the WD Jacks.

A finger on the top receiver opening, raise & lower the tongue jack 'til you just feel the stinger move inside the receiver.

Practice.... it becomes second nature.

Bob
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:27 AM   #3
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What works for us is: Jack the trailer until the jack takes a very slight amount of the tongue weight and loosen the spring bar jacks until they are floppy loose. Use wheel chocks to keep the trailer from moving.

Tim
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:52 AM   #4
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In addition to what Robert says...after some time the wedge of the stinger mates to the opening. If this interface is dry, there can be a friction sticking situation. I periodically coat the ramps of the wedges with mountain bike chain lube (dry, wax-like film left behind). This eliminates the sticking completely for maybe a half season per treatment.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:38 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Thanks to all three of you

I appreciate your guidance. I've put white lithium grease on it but think I might need something a bit 'heavier' for longevity.
Take care and safe travels.
FT
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:45 PM   #6
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White lithium works well, but attracts a lot of sand and road grit....and inevitably gets all over your hands and pants. I suggest a dry lube of your choice. Jus' sayin'. Been there, done that.
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Old 09-19-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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Another tip we have learned. After backing into a campsite, right away pull ahead about a foot or two to take any sideways tension off the stinger/hitch head connection. I believe that sideways tension is from twist in the multiple axle tires that inevitably happens backing up.

That sideways tension locks the connection, you may hear/feel a pop when they come apart. It should pull away smoothly or there is horizontal or vertical tension on the connection.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Another tip we have learned. After backing into a campsite, right away pull ahead about a foot or two to take any sideways tension off the stinger/hitch head connection. I believe that sideways tension is from twist in the multiple axle tires that inevitably happens backing up.

That sideways tension locks the connection, you may hear/feel a pop when they come apart. It should pull away smoothly or there is horizontal or vertical tension on the connection.
X2

The tires are almost always under sideways tension. Since I started to carry 2x10 pressure great in 6' lengths -- backing beyond the point of rest, and pulling forward onto the wood -- the problem is gone. It's when I'm stopping overnight and have decided to make a store run I find out the hard way if I got the tire tension reduced adequately.

I have more than once in backing into a long term site alternately jacked the SS port & starboard to get the tire twist settled when no room was available. That I'm also going to overinflate the already at max tires makes me feel a little better about such a procedure. And easier to get tire covers secured. I really don't want to think about the $&#%^ tires than I already do.

Consider it a bonus. A little alarm has gone off that you've not properly finished parking the trailer.

.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
What works for us is: Jack the trailer until the jack takes a very slight amount of the tongue weight and loosen the spring bar jacks until they are floppy loose. Use wheel chocks to keep the trailer from moving.

Tim
What he said. Don't try and adjust the height to match, you already have that when you just start to take the weight off the tonque. I use the wheel chocks that open up between the wheels. I have found it is best to undo the lever things before losening the WD bars. There have been some occasions when the truck roles forward a couple of inches when losening them. Found the hard way its better to have them already released if there happens to be some tension in the hitch.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:31 AM   #10
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Hensley Un-hitching...

Tim had it right... his technique has worked for me for almost twenty years with no problems

"...What works for us is: Jack the trailer until the jack takes a very slight amount of the tongue weight and loosen the spring bar jacks until they are floppy loose. Use wheel chocks to keep the trailer from moving.

Tim

...the only thing I would add is that I use a dry lube on the stinger and inside the receiver every time to ensure a slippery entry and exit... I also am a big believer in using a "hitch helper" under the post to make minor lateral left and right adjustments when re-hitching...
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Old 09-20-2017, 10:01 AM   #11
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I have the opposite problem. I have no problem dropping the trailer in the campground and driving away.

My issue is hooking the damn thing back up.

There is never a level campsite so you are always either raising or lowering the tongue jack to get the trailer level.

My issue is I can never get the proper height so the stinger slides in correctly, it always hangs up.

Love the hitch but when it takes over an hour plus to hook up to leave I find that frustrating to say the least.
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Old 09-20-2017, 10:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWN306 View Post
I have the opposite problem. I have no problem dropping the trailer in the campground and driving away.

My issue is hooking the damn thing back up.

There is never a level campsite so you are always either raising or lowering the tongue jack to get the trailer level.

My issue is I can never get the proper height so the stinger slides in correctly, it always hangs up.

Love the hitch but when it takes over an hour plus to hook up to leave I find that frustrating to say the least.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...id-171968.html

This technique with a wireless backup camera looking right down the stinger into the receiver works like a charm. Five minutes, tops.

You take the yellow pole off when you get close to the stinger and then use the camera to make the final 3 or 4 feet to the receiver. Simple.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
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When hitching up measure the height of the stinger just before backing it into the hitch. When unhitching set the Hensley receptacle at this same height. This procedure will get you close. I also use the method Tim relates above. It works well if the stinger is not binding in the hitch. I did not grease my stinger until it stuck in the Hensley hitch once this Summer Now i put up with a greasy hitch and stinger.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
What works for us is: Jack the trailer until the jack takes a very slight amount of the tongue weight and loosen the spring bar jacks until they are floppy loose. Use wheel chocks to keep the trailer from moving.

Tim
Yes, use wheels chocks, loosen the WD springs (either the pry-up chains off/loose or the adjuster jacks all the way down/loose), & the tongue jack up enough to unload the stinger bar in the head's box. It's easy to forget to un-tension the equalizing spring bars.

Also - those TVs all have different heights to the receivers on them, so you may need to use a different drop ht. stinger for the Ford vs others, in order to keep the trailer within +/- 1" of level front to rear. If not & the trailer is nose or tail low, then it will put the stinger at a wanky angle (technical term ;-) & may cause more resistance when pulling out.

(PS - I'm assuming that you're having different experience between the GMC & Ford trucks/TVs - if not, just on the GMC - the proper stinger drop still applies. Terry Powell at Hensley can set you up with their lifetime stinger exchange if 1 TV at wrong drop ht., &/or with an "extra" stinger for about $100 IIRC if 2 TVs.)

Good Luck!
Tom
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:54 PM   #15
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I made this mistake once parking in storage for the winter...the tension was still there and the trailer came forward with the tow vehicle when I pulled ahead. I had no clue until the trailer scraped the edge of the door frame - I was not happy! My procedure now is:

1 - always have a spotter to assure me the stinger is coming out!
2 - adjust the jack height to take a bit of tongue weight
3 - put x-chocks between the trailer wheels
4 - loosen the weight distribution bars fully
5 - physically release tension by inserting steel bar between the HA head and the stinger base (between the steel tabs on the HA head opening and the pin holders on the stinger). If all is well it usually releases about half an inch.

Then I know I can safely drive forward. Sounds drawn out but with practice it's quick.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:50 PM   #16
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First pull straight forward slightly (as previously mentioned) and activate the manual brakes. That will straighten every thing out inline. After chocking the TT, lower the spring bars, lower the jack until you see the shank drop down slightly from the inside top of the receiver socket. At this point you can separate the Hensley at the truck if the pin is pulled or the hitch head if the over center latches are released. Drive away! My driveway is curved so I have to do the above.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:38 AM   #17
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Uncoupling my Hensley Hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by KWN306 View Post
I have the opposite problem. I have no problem dropping the trailer in the campground and driving away.



My issue is hooking the damn thing back up.



There is never a level campsite so you are always either raising or lowering the tongue jack to get the trailer level.



My issue is I can never get the proper height so the stinger slides in correctly, it always hangs up.



Love the hitch but when it takes over an hour plus to hook up to leave I find that frustrating to say the least.


There is a trick that I have used on uneven sites when I wasn't able to get the stinger wedges all the way into the Hensley.

I back the stinger into the Hensley as far as possible, move the "over center" pawls fully outboard, and close the pawl knuckles over the pawl seats on the stinger, and then insert the safety pins through the holes in the stinger extensions locking the knuckles over the stinger plate. This allows me to move the trailer with the stinger being slack, but "locked" to the Hensley unit.

I then pull the trailer to a level spot a few dozen feet away to level ground and hook the trailer up right.

I don't know, maybe I will support again so I can upload a few pictures, because I know some of you wont get what I am describing here..... but, even if I can't describe very well, the trick does work....
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:47 AM   #18
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I took a wooden yardstick and measured the height from the ground to the bottom of the hitch attached to the truck (this should always be the same). I marked this height on the yardstick. I then jack higher or lower the trailer hitch part until it is the same height as marked on the yardstick. I am then able to just back the truck up and connect. This has worked very well for me and is easy to do.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:38 AM   #19
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The tip I got some years ago from Terry at Hensley that has served me well is as follows (Previously I experimented with sticks with O-rings on them etc)

Once the weight bars are completely released, pay attention the the exact interface where the truck end of the stinger goes into the truck receiver and manipulate the tongue jack up and down.

In so doing, the point at which there is neither upward of downward force being transmitted from the trailer to the truck can quite easily be found - it is at that point that you know there is no binding of the stinger due to vertical load and it should pull free easily.

You can find this "no-load" point easily by either sight or touch.

If you watch closely the interface where the stinger enters the receiver, you will see slight relative motion between the top of the stinger bar and the top edge of the receiver when the load is removed / applied.

Or ...........

You can place a thumb or finger just at the entry point of the hitch and you will feel it come lose - and no, I have never had my finger pinched!

It always has worked for me.

Now and then if I am uncertain, I might run the jack slightly p and down a couple of times through the loose spot just to confirm that I have it right.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:46 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
The tip I got some years ago from Terry at Hensley that has served me well is as follows (Previously I experimented with sticks with O-rings on them etc)

Once the weight bars are completely released, pay attention the the exact interface where the truck end of the stinger goes into the truck receiver and manipulate the tongue jack up and down.

In so doing, the point at which there is neither upward of downward force being transmitted from the trailer to the truck can quite easily be found - it is at that point that you know there is no binding of the stinger due to vertical load and it should pull free easily.

You can find this "no-load" point easily by either sight or touch.

If you watch closely the interface where the stinger enters the receiver, you will see slight relative motion between the top of the stinger bar and the top edge of the receiver when the load is removed / applied.

Or ...........

You can place a thumb or finger just at the entry point of the hitch and you will feel it come lose - and no, I have never had my finger pinched!

It always has worked for me.

Now and then if I am uncertain, I might run the jack slightly p and down a couple of times through the loose spot just to confirm that I have it right.
This works well, and I have a couple of other suggestions to accomplish the same determination. If you have stinger mounted stone flaps (ie. RockTamers), while lifting or lowering the jack with one hand, reach the end of the flap bar and jiggle with your free hand. When tension is off the head and stinger, the stinger and head will flop around and "jingle" with your jiggling of the flap rod.

If you do not have stinger rock flaps, jiggling the head assembly with your free hand will accomplish the same thing.
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