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Old 12-02-2013, 09:03 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by nickmeloy View Post
A friend sent me the following link to another forum. The other forum has a thread on Hensley hitch failures. I thought that all of us Hensley hitch owners might benefit from reading this link.

http://forums.woodalls.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/27386075.cfm

These hitches are subject to a lot of stress, and a periodic inspection of the hitch is a prudent policy.
That's actually my thread over on that forum, it's where I started my question Sat night when this all happened. Then I found there's alot of hensley/propride users on this forum and started searching here.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:31 AM   #44
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Broke my Hensley last week. Came off the I91 onto the 7 in Vermont had to brake a bit harder and heard the Hensley bump. After that the hitch started to make a "knocking" sound. I drove for about 10 minutes and then stopped. I checked the strut bars and they were still tight. Everything looked normal other than the hitch was off to one side. I added more grease and continued. When I got to the I90 I heard more of the "knocking" sound and pulled off at the next rest stop outside of Albany. The hitch was still off to one side, but everything looked ok (struts tight nothing looked out of the ordinary). I unhitched and re-centered the hitch manually and re-hitched. Added more grease and continued. No more noise everything seemed fine. Drove about 70-75 rock steady. Then after Syracuse got off onto the 690 and then off the highway and "bang". Trailer started swaying violently. I was able to stop and limp to the Camping World which was around the corner. Hitch destroyed. What a let down. Only about 25k on this thing. Good thing it didn't happen 5 minutes earlier. Ended up buying an Eaz-lift but not happy with it. Maybe time for a ProPride.


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Old 08-14-2014, 11:45 AM   #45
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Wow, that last picture really givse a good indication of the forces that are involved in these hitches. I'm very happy with our Pro-Pride, however its construction in that area looks similar. But it is definitely time for a new hitch, I sure would not want to have that repaired and continue to use it.

Ken
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:49 AM   #46
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I thought those hitches had a lifetime warrantee on them?

Perry
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:10 PM   #47
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Fixing "Ignorant" is a do-it-yourself project.

We are ALL ignorant, just on different subjects. And no, you can't fix Stupid. Deciding to STAY ignorant is stupid.
Lifetime Warranty is not a synonym for "stupid proof" or "ignorant proof".

I've convinced more than one man that a sewing machine IS a power tool... I've let them teach me that a high heel IS NOT a hammer and a butter knife is not a screwdriver. Heck I now carry a little pink "tweaker" screwdriver in my purse!

Lifetime warranty doesn't mean abuse proof... or safe even when misused through inattention or ignorance. The Hensley or Propride ARE more complex than any old (fill in brand of your choice). I've had mine for a year - and this thread makes me realize I'm not nearly as competent as I should be about the proper care and maintenance of my hitch. So off to Youtube, and back to the installation manual to LEARN. These hitches are uncommon enough that it's unlikely I'll find someone ELSE to maintain it correctly. I need to know a lot more than how to squirt grease into the zerk.

My mother was a woman of the 1950's - she drove but had no IDEA how to put gas or oil into the car. The advent of self service gas stations nearly caused her to have a nervous breakdown. Then I went to the gas station with her and taught her how to do the most basic stuff. She did the classic "That's not very ladylike" but within a week or two was impressing her church friends with her new found competence.

Being ignorant about hitching - well on any given day watch 5 to 10 RV trailers going down the road with just ball and chains, and at least 2 reach "Gawdafful" on a gut reaction. My favorites: (a) a 4 ton trailer on a BUMPER hitch that was probably rated for a jet ski and (b) a small pop-up so nose down that it's wheels regularly left the ground as it bounced - if they had any whipping cream in the fridge it was butter by the time they got to their destination.

Unfortunate truth - there are lots of very smart people who damage the engines of their cars because they don't want to "bother" with checking the oil. Many of them sorta-kinda know that checking the oil is the single most cost effective thing they can do to keep their engine alive. I'd rather not waste a beautiful Saturday messing with my hitch - and if Hensley could give me a list of places I could go to have the work done, I just might cough up the dough. (my poor little delicate fingernails break so easily - really I can break a fingernail back to the quick doing dishes) But barring a trip to the factory or someplace like Aluminapalooza where a rep might DO the work for me, I'd rather DO it than screw it up!

Paula
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:54 PM   #48
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Weld broke on Hensley

Imo, it is my opinion from viewing the photos of the three hitches I have seen failed , is that they all failed because of substandard welds, not a design failure or from misuse.

In the case of the sockets that hold the WD bars, their strength is reliant on the welds being sound along the entire circumference. Had the welds been good here I dont think these failures would have happened.

Same with the picture I saw of the hitch where the ball was coming lose from the hitch body.

This hitch was designed to be one piece. IMO they failed due to welds with very poor penetration.

My grandpa used to say that if he saw a break in the weld itself, and not in the metal around the weld, this meant that the welder wasn't worth a "shoot".
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:04 PM   #49
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So, what's the consensus here? Did the bar pocket break (as the root cause) allowing the stinger box to twist under the stress of now one spring bar supporting all the WD. Then this twist caused hard contact between the box and orange head and on the next turn they locked together causing all the rest of the bent and distorted parts?
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:18 PM   #50
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So, what's the consensus here? Did the bar pocket break (as the root cause) allowing the stinger box to twist under the stress of now one spring bar supporting all the WD. Then this twist caused hard contact between the box and orange head and on the next turn they locked together causing all the rest of the bent and distorted parts?
It appears to me that the WD bar pocket would have been the first part to fail. I don't think it's a weld failure, because it looks like the bottom plate is torn.

I would speculate that the root cause may have been a collision of the WD bar with an object protruding into its path from the surface at the road, possibly quite some time before the actual failure. It is not uncommon for the WD bars to contact the pavement when pavement angles are extreme, and they may also contact off-road hazards, stumps, rocks, etc.

Once the bar pocket failed as shown, it would no longer be possible for the hitch to turn, even though the lower assembly may not be in contact with the orange head. The truss rod ripping out of the head would be the result of attempting to turn under such circumstances.
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:24 PM   #51
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A disadvantage of the Hensley/Propride design is that the WD bars hang low below the hitch head. The trunnion bar type designs, particularly, used in many other hitches are less prone to damage because they have better clearance.

Though I still have my ProPride, I'm increasingly reaching the conclusion that there are tradeoffs between the improved anti-sway performance and the longer track record and higher production volumes of more conventional designs.
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:36 PM   #52
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Right, I should've said contact between the pivot arms and the box or head...or out of parallelism between the two pivot arms. If you follow the link to woodalls, the pics there do show some contact with that poster's spring bars and the pavement. Although the scrapes look superficial, one appears fresh. Pic quality isn't that great though.

I've only scraped mine once, coming uphill out of a gas station over a flat walk and down again to the street gutter. Was at slow speed and not very hard contact at all. But this area must be on my regular inspection list.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:29 PM   #53
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I thought those hitches had a lifetime warrantee on them?
Not if you buy one used. Mine came with the trailer, but I actually paid 2k extra for the guy to include the hitch. Hindsight is always 20/20. Next time buy one re manufactured or better yet buy a P3.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:31 PM   #54
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I thought those hitches had a lifetime warrantee on them?

Perry
I think the problem is, with a crack like that, it has reach the end of its lifetime.

Ken
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Old 08-14-2014, 06:53 PM   #55
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Guess it is about time I gave our Hensley more than a cursory look!

I just went back through my diary and added up the mileage we have put on it since we bought the trailer used in 2008. We bought a new Hensley at that time.

I was surprised to see that our trips have added up to about 31,000 miles!

Never had any issues with the hitch other than one U-bolt that stripped when I re-torqued it one time not long after the hitch was new.

I have tried to adhere to the 500 mile re-grease schedule for the zerks but have probably slipped to 1000 miles once or twice.

I suppose that apart from looking closely at all the welds and looking for any evidence of cracks or deformation, I should maybe drop the bar bushings and see how they are doing.

Anything else recommended?

Brian.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:08 AM   #56
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It appears to me that the WD bar pocket would have been the first part to fail. I don't think it's a weld failure, because it looks like the bottom plate is torn.

I would speculate that the root cause may have been a collision of the WD bar with an object protruding into its path from the surface at the road, possibly quite some time before the actual failure. It is not uncommon for the WD bars to contact the pavement when pavement angles are extreme, and they may also contact off-road hazards, stumps, rocks, etc.
I would agree with you that the WD bar pocket were the first to fail, since there was no evidence that anything was wrong in the 2 stops to inspect the hitch prior to it failing.

As far as it hitting something, I know I never hit anything with it. Any scraps shown were due to the hitch being dragged across the parking lot to load it into my vehicle after it was removed from the trailer.

I know that with my last trailer which was a lot shorter, but had the conventional hitch I hit many things. I got it caught on tree stumps and roots going into camp sites and then bottomed it out on construction sites and going on and off the ferry. Some areas are just unavoidable. But as far as the Hensley was concerned it never had this treatment. It was religiously greased and checked.

This hitch was set up professionally. The dealership that set it up now has also dropped Hensley as a supplier due to these sorts of failures.
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