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Old 08-12-2009, 08:56 AM   #1
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Used Hensley?

I have just returned to the trailer side of Airstream and remembered why I left it for a motorhome. I cannot pull up the pry bar to hitch my Reese stabilizers. I had my Reese installed and adjusted at Jackson Center on my E350 Ford to a 30' Excella. I need to use the third link of the chain and due to a physical disability it is almost impossible for me to pull it up. We just completed a 6500 mile trip with this hitch and experienced no sway or any problems other than the pry bar. I have investigated the Hensley before and am back to it again. Next problem is the cost. A retired chaplain does not have that kind of money so I would be buying used which is still expensive. There are several listed in our classifieds now.
What problems would I be looking at if I buy a used Hensley?
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
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Hi Kent

Send me a PM with your e mail or phone # I think I can solve your problem without buying a Hensley
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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is there a reason not to?

Have you considered using a longer pipe for the lever? A longer bar would reduce the amount of energy needed to latch the hitch.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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Have you considered using a longer pipe for the lever? A longer bar would reduce the amount of energy needed to latch the hitch.
Yes, this was an idea I thought about but quite often the shorter bar just clears the ground after getting the chain hooked on.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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Yes, this was an idea I thought about but quite often the shorter bar just clears the ground after getting the chain hooked on.
If you have an electric jack you are not using it to it's fullest. If your hitch is adjusted correctly, and I question the 3 links, and the jack used to lift the combination the bar should be just about horizontal when you hook the chains then your lift is only the last 90 degrees. An 18 in. bar would work just fine.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:16 AM   #6
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It takes progressively less force to use the pry bar the more you have the tongue jack extended.

Some folks have had their tongue jack jam at the extreme extension position - don't recall those details...
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
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Chaplain,
I rebuilt a used Hensley myself and rebuilt it about 2 years ago.
I fully disassemble the unit, cleaned, sandblasted and painted the hitch.
If I recall there were some seals (just like regular wheel bearing seals available at your local auto parts house) that I had replaced. Washed out and greased the tapered roller bearings - there was a lot of moisture in the old grease and bearings.
There are two wear items to watch for: spring bar bushing - will become egg shaped and the special grease fitting that holds the spring bars in place can wear out/break. These items are not too expensive. Call Jerod at Hensley and he can answer your questions. He was helpful to me.
I picked my hitch on flea bay for about $650 if I recall but was close enough I could pick it up in my car. Shipping can be expensive. My other expense for the hitch was I decided to purchase some steel and make an adjustable stinger. I believe Propride sells the adjustable stingers made to fit a Hensley now. I believe most hitches have the 1000 lb spring bar set-up.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:55 AM   #8
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What problems would I be looking at if I buy a used Hensley?
Probably no problems, but you may need to replace parts. I doubt if the head would be damaged, but you can check the strut bars to make sure they are not bent. Also, the grease fittings that hold the WD bars in place can wear, as can the brackets where the WD bars attach to the adjusters. All these parts are available through Hensley for a price. Another option, if you were to purchase a used one for a good price, you can also purchase a lifetime warranty for it from Hensley for about $500, which is kind of steep IMHO but good for piece of mind. Also you need to make sure you have the proper drop on the hitch bar. Hensley will swap it out for the cost of shipping, but you should contact them for details before. Check out 2Airs thread about Hensleys here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ide-26279.html
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:02 AM   #9
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If you don't mind working on something and can replace a few wear parts there really isn't a reason for the warranty. This hitch is one heck of a hunk of steel. Don't take this the wrong way but I can buy one heck of a lot of parts/strut bars/paint for the $500 warranty cost.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:51 PM   #10
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Chaplain Kent,

I also have the Reese hitch, and physical limitations (a bad back), and cannot lift much weight.

To handle the hitching weight, I do two things: First I attach the trailer to the ball, and using the electric tongue jack, jack the trailer and the truck up a ways. This makes the chains have less stress and the bracket and bar at a much higher starting position. Second, I don't lift the bar with my hands, but with my leg, which does not put any weight on my back.

With just a little experimenting I'm sure you can duplicate the procedure.
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:04 PM   #11
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Yep...use the tongue jack to lift the attached hitch & back of your truck slightly when you attach the stabilizing bars - it makes it soooo much easier, not nearly the tension in the chains - they can actually be loose and done without any leverage bars at all. Then lower it and everything gets tighten up like it should be.

This is one of the tips we give in our "Women & Towing" seminar at the RMVAC Rally...although the guys like it too!

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Old 08-12-2009, 01:21 PM   #12
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Yep...use the tongue jack to lift the attached hitch & back of your truck slightly when you attach the stabilizing bars - it makes it soooo much easier, not nearly the tension in the chains - they can actually be loose and done without any leverage bars at all. Then lower it and everything gets tighten up like it should be.

This is one of the tips we give in our "Women & Towing" seminar at the RMVAC Rally...although the guys like it too!

Shari
That is the way I do it, why work any harder than you need to? Now one of these days, I need to replace the manual tongue jack on the Liner with an electric one.

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Old 08-12-2009, 04:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Chaplain Kent,

I also have the Reese hitch, and physical limitations (a bad back), and cannot lift much weight.

To handle the hitching weight, I do two things: First I attach the trailer to the ball, and using the electric tongue jack, jack the trailer and the truck up a ways. This makes the chains have less stress and the bracket and bar at a much higher starting position. Second, I don't lift the bar with my hands, but with my leg, which does not put any weight on my back.

With just a little experimenting I'm sure you can duplicate the procedure.

Yes, this has been tried, today. I jacked up the van and trailer until the jack tripped the bresker. I had to manually lower it a few inches before it would work electrically again. There was still too much weight to pull or push up whether I used my knees, back, arms or head. I believe the E350 just has too tight a suspension to allow the jack to raise the assembly high enough for easy hitching.
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:10 PM   #14
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Yes, this has been tried, today. I jacked up the van and trailer until the jack tripped the bresker. I had to manually lower it a few inches before it would work electrically again. There was still too much weight to pull or push up whether I used my knees, back, arms or head. I believe the E350 just has too tight a suspension to allow the jack to raise the assembly high enough for easy hitching.
Just a thought, but maybe you are putting too much weight on the bars?

This doesn't sound normal.
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