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Old 10-18-2007, 11:29 AM   #15
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It's like the old Packard ad: "Ask the man who owns one." But don't ask me - my old Reese works just fine. Darol
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:21 PM   #16
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The Hensley Arrow is basically like having the A-arms from the front suspension of a sports car rotated 90 degrees. It projects the rotation center ahead of the trailer hitch to somewhere around the differential ("pumpkin").

What this does is make a travel trailer act like a 5th wheel; when ever the trailer tries to sway and shake it's tongue, the force being transmitted forward makes it react more nearly directly between the tires, rather than 3-4 feet aft. So the trailer has less leverage to wag the tow vehicle. It's straight forward physics, and it works.

I don't own one, but I understand exactly how they work. I think they are the best, bar none. However, I am amazed that nobody has come up with a similar design and sold it at half the price. I think I see a business opportunity here

I'm helping a guy build an airplane right now. He's been a pilot for 40 years but has no clue whatsoever how to align the wings. I think just owning something doesn't qualify you to comment on how it works. But to 2Air's point, the original question was price justification and I've strayed a bit off topic here....

Seriously, you can't patent a 4-bar linkage. It'd be like trying to patent a car's suspension. It's too basic.

I use an Equal-I-Zer and have had very good luck with it so far. I used to use the Reese Dual Cam but didn't like fighting chains and grease. It did perform OK though.

Get a crew cab dually and just tow it on the ball. Seriously though, as stated before, you want to make sure everything else is dialed in right. Then if you still have troubles, look at the Hensely.

Take care,
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
the thread title is written as a question to those that OWN this specific brand of hitch...

yet answers about this product often and regularly come from folks...

who don't own one, haven't towed with one...

and yet seem to know as much (or more) about the product as those who actually HAVE used it.

it is really just the strangest behavior 2 me....


cheers
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2air...

It is not my intent to get into yet another cost/benefit analysis of the Hensley, and I can't address what causes other folks to post to these threads. I can only explain MY response to the Hensley question/answer phenomenon.

What annoys me most about Hensley advertising and the testamonials is that the Hensley continues to be marketed as a "panacea for all ills" to folks who don't understand the basics of why they have the symptoms they're experiencing. I have no beef with the apparatus itself; we've all agreed that it works. It's the marketing hype promulgated by the manufacturer and perpetuated by Hensley owners that I take issue with.

There are millions of travel trailers on the road being towed quite safely with hitches other than the Hensley Arrow. If a specific rig is so uncontrollable that the HA is the only thing that can cause it to be towed without problems, then perhaps either the trailer or tow vehicle should be retired as (contrary to popular belief) the HA does not in and of itself make it a safe tow rig. What it does is allows an owner to be less aware about those things that matter in causing sway issues.

What I hear is "I had problems and bought a Hensley and the problems miraculously disappeared!" The Hensley doesn't cause problems to disappear, it just spreads the unusual loads generated by the problems equally onto all of the axles and tires, and moves the apparent pivot point near the center of the rear axle which causes the problems to "appear to disappear" until the forces generated by the problem are so great that they can overcome the control of the Hensley.

Once again, I want to reiterate that I understand how the Hensley works, and it's a well designed system that does what it's supposed to.

Now for the BUT... so to do all of the other manufacturer's solutions out there when the factors causing the problem are resolved. So... does someone need to spend the $3k if their problems can be resolved by increasing the tongue weight, making sure the tires are aired up, or as was in my case, modifying the suspension of the tow vehicle to cause it to act as it should have from the factory? If you have no problems with your towing setup, do you need a Hensley? If you have problems that can be corrected easily, is it still necessary to buy one once those issues are corrected? I have no issue with folks who understand exactly what they're buying and who still want to spend that money

We all know that the Hensley is good at what it does; but there are penalties; e.g. weight and price. I just think that folks need to understand what is happening that causes them to experience what they're experiencing, and then be able to work through those issues until they're satisfied that sway isn't a concern. THEN, if they want that added margin, fine.

What I can't abide is someone spending the $3k for the panacea without knowing what the alternatives really are, and without fixing the actual problem that plagues them to begin with, but pronouncing it "cured".

Roger
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:55 PM   #18
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Side note question

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakman
I'm intrigued by the testimonials and the ability to back it up without having to run back and pull off my sway bar....
Doug
I hate to ask this, but am I not supposed to back with the sway bar on? I have yet to take it off to do so. Am I doing damge?
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:00 PM   #19
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On the other hand...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
the thread title is written as a question to those that OWN this specific brand of hitch...

yet answers about this product often and regularly come from folks...

who don't own one, haven't towed with one...

and yet seem to know as much (or more) about the product as those who actually HAVE used it.

it is really just the strangest behavior 2 me....

like nuns giving advice on sex toys

or groundhogs explaining travel in outer space.


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Old 10-18-2007, 01:03 PM   #20
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I back up all the time with my Reese Dual Cam. The bars slide off the cams as they should. There may be a bit more squeeking but it works for me. I recall John Irwin disengaging his Reese due to a driveway that was a sharp change from the the road surface.
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
I hate to ask this, but am I not supposed to back with the sway bar on? I have yet to take it off to do so. Am I doing damge?
Only if you bend it or one of the balls to which it attaches!

Roger

on edit... p.s. Oh... and Rodney... a sway bar is actually an ANTI-sway bar and belongs under the suspension of your truck to keep the body from leaning. What we have attached to our hitches is technically called a friction sway control device. <chuckle>
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
All trailers have a propensity to sway at a high enough speed. That threshold varies from tow vehicle/trailer setup to setup. The speed at which the onset of sway occurs is a symptom of some other deficiency, not an inherent problem in the trailer that can't be cured except by a mechanical sway control solution.

What the Hensley is NOT (contrary to the advertising) is a cure-all for imbalanced trailers, poorly engineered tow vehicle suspensions, soft-sidewall tires, or any other of the myriad causes of sway. A Hensley, or Equal-i-zer with sway control or Reese Dual Cam will mask the causes of sway, but they don't eliminate the basic problems or causes of sway.

Sway control of any variety should be used, but only AFTER the causes of sway have been resolved. If you have a sway issue, and you don't correct it before applying a mechanical sway control solution, your basic issues remain and will merely be masked until you overcome the sway control's ability to mask the problem, whatever it may have been. And then you crash, and usually without warning.

So, if you want to spend the money for the Hensley, and it gives you peace of mind, go for it, but make sure that you've corrected any deficiencies in your tow rig that cause sway first. That's not easy, and as I found out towing my 34' tri-axle with my Excursion that diagnosing the causes of the problem takes time, perserverance, and perhaps some cash to throw at the tow vehicle/trailer combo, but it can be done. Once you've eliminated the inherent issues that cause the sway to begin with, then adding sway control for an added margin of safety makes sense.

And, BTW, sway control makes sense for ALL trailers, not merely 25' and up, and the sway control solution you apply has as much or more to do with the tow vehicle than the trailer itself.

Roger
This is one of the most cogent post I have ever read here. It should be posted at the top of the towing page for all to see. Thanks Roger!
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
I back up all the time with my Reese Dual Cam. The bars slide off the cams as they should. There may be a bit more squeeking but it works for me. I recall John Irwin disengaging his Reese due to a driveway that was a sharp change from the the road surface.
Bob... you don't have a friction sway control device either, you have Trunnion bars (also called spring bars). You don't need to remove anything as the dual cam setup pivots with the trailer.

The problem with the friction sway control bar is that when it is all the way in, it is all the way in and pushing it further either bends the device or the balls to which it is mounted.

John's issue would have been that the cams would engage the street/driveway surface if they weren't removed... it didn't have anything to do with bending a friction sway control device.

Roger
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:15 PM   #24
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Yes Roger, I was fairly unhandy with a friend's friction antisway in Alaska last summer. A diesel 1-ton would bend that into submission! Or perhaps another indication we need to keep a hand open for http://www.airforums.com/forums/f348...ers-36380.html.
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
. . . . Seriously, you can't patent a 4-bar linkage. It'd be like trying to patent a car's suspension. It's too basic. . .
///rant coming

Our patent system is totally broken. When the original Hensley patent was issued, it was already in bad shape. The original patent has expired, and I am wondering why no one has jumped into the market.

Then I tried to read the claims on the new 2005 Hensley patent. What a joke! Totally incomprehensible! No one is going to challenge that patent because it is written is such a way that it would take a patent lawyer a year ($$$) to understand it. I think the Patent Examiner approved it just to not have to read it a second time. The market isn't big enough for some other manufacturer to spend the $$$$$$$ to hire someone to work around or challenge the new patent (which apparently is just a beefier version of the first).

Pretty smart move by Hensley. Unfortunately, everyone else is doing the same thing. Writing patents that are vague, unintelligible, unclear, and might as well be written in amharic.

Until someone cleans up the patent office and gets things right we will continue to suffer from a lack of competition. The original intent of patents was to encourage and reward innovation. Now all it does is encourage the legal profession to get wealthy.

///rant off

For your enjoyment, here is patent claim #13:

13. A hitch assembly comprising: a hitch bar assembly coupled with a hitch receiver of a tow vehicle for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the tow vehicle, the hitch bar including a square bar for inserting into the hitch receiver, overcenter latch tabs attached to the midsection of each side of the bar defining recesses, and at least one stop attached to the rear of the tabs on the bar; a hitch box assembly coupled with the hitch bar assembly for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the hitch bar assembly, the hitch box assembly having a first pivot point, the hitch box assembly including an outer hitch box defining an opening, front tabs, and back tabs, an inner hitch box attached within the opening of the outer hitch box including angular walls for seating with the stop of the hitch bar assembly, and at least one king pin attached at the first pivot point; an overcenter latch assembly securing the hitch box assembly to the hitch bar assembly, the overcenter latch assembly including a pair of latches pivotally attached to the front tabs of the hitch box assembly, each latch including a pair of connecting links attached in parallel with vertical tubes attaching to an end of connecting links, pivot pins pivotally attached to an end of the connecting links opposite the vertical tubes defining transversely threaded bores wherein the pivot pins can rotate about a vertical axis, and thrust links inserted into the threaded bores of the pivot pins for engaging the recesses of the latch tabs of the hitch bar assembly wherein the thrust links can be adjusted to insure a tight fit; a front support member pivotally connected to the hitch box assembly at the first pivot point for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the hitch box assembly and for pivoting during turns, the front support member including an upper crossbar for pivotally connecting to the king pin of the hitch box assembly at the first pivot point, a lower crossbar for pivotally connecting to the king pin of the hitch box assembly at the first pivot point, side caps connecting the ends of the upper crossbar and the lower crossbar, spring bar tubes attached to each bottom end of the lower crossbar extending at an outward angle; and side support plates connecting the spring bar tube to the side caps so the upper crossbar and the lower crossbar are parallel; a strut assembly pivotally connected to the front support member for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the front support member and the strut assembly includes a second pivot point, the strut assembly including side tubes pivotally attached to the front support member so the side tubes may pivot vertically but are rigid laterally to accommodate uneven roads during driving, rear caps attached between rear ends of the side tubes completing an arch-shaped frame, and ball mount pin attached at the second pivot point; a ball mount assembly pivotally connected to the strut assembly at the second pivot point for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the strut assembly, wherein the ball mount assembly laterally pivots about the second pivot point within the strut assembly during turns, the ball mount assembly including a tail tube extending rearwardly, the ball mount including a pair of c-shaped side channels extending rearwardly and horizontally parallel with each other so each opening faces inward for receiving the slide assembly and a rear portion of the side channels angling inward and connecting to form a V-shape for attaching to the ball mount pin of the strut assembly at the second pivot point, and vertical supports attached to front ends of the side channels; a ball plate assembly attached to the ball mount assembly for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the ball mount assembly, wherein the ball plate may attach at multiple height, the ball plate assembly including a crossbar, side supports attached to each end of the crossbar, and a hitch ball attaches to the midsection of the crossbar for removable attachment of the trailer for transferring pulling and stopping forces to and from the trailer; a tail support assembly attached to a trailer frame and coupled with the tail tube whereby the tail support assembly restricts lateral movement of the tail tube and ball mount assembly so the trailer remains relative to the ball mount assembly at all times, the tail support assembly including u-bolt plates attached to the trailer frame including an angled channel tab extending laterally inward, a channel attached between the u-bolt plates so the channel can be adjusted laterally, tail bracket attached to an underside of the channel for restricting lateral movement of the tail tube and ball mount assembly, and a roller attached to the tail bracket for supporting the tail tube and allowing movement of the tail tube along a longitudinal axis of the trailer to accommodate movement resulting from the use of surge brakes; a slide assembly residing within the ball mount assembly such that forces inherent in towing the trailer are not transferred through the slide assembly whereby the slide assembly slides forwards and backwards to accommodate the change in radial movement of converging links during turns, the slide assembly including guides attaching to the side channels of the ball mount assembly to act as bearing surfaces, a pair of slide plates attached in parallel with spacers, the slide plates including front ends for pivotally attaching to the converging links whereby the slide plates slide back and forth along the guides, crosslink brackets attached to the side channels of the ball mount assembly, and crosslinks pivotally attached between the slide plates and the crosslink brackets to limit the back and forth motion of the slide plates; the converging links pivotally connected between the hitch box assembly at the first pivot point and the slide assembly whereby the angular position between the first pivot point and slide assembly can be varied, the converging links effectively moving the pivot point between the tow vehicle and trailer forward of the hitch assembly, wherein forces inherent in towing the trailer are not transferred through the converging links; a hanging support assembly attached to the strut assembly including at least one vertical link pivotally attached to the ball mount assembly for transferring tongue weight from the ball mount assembly through the strut assembly and front support member to the hitch box assembly and hitch bar assembly so tongue weight is not exerted on the converging links or the slide assembly, the hanging support assembly including a support frame attached to the side tubes of the strut assembly including a pair of legs connected by a crossbar, and at least one vertical link pivotally connected between the crossbar and the side channels of the ball mount assembly; and a jack assembly attached between the trailer frame and the front support member for distributing tongue weight among tow vehicle wheels and trailer wheels, the jack assembly including jack brackets attached to side members of the trailer frame, jacks attached to the jack brackets, and spring bars attached to the spring bar tubes of the front support member and pivotally attached to the jacks whereby the jacks can be adjusted to appropriately tension the spring bars for proper weight distribution.
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:48 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
This is one of the most cogent post I have ever read here. It should be posted at the top of the towing page for all to see. Thanks Roger!
here in post #16 and #24 (the thread has other useful posts too)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...tch-19750.html

and here in post #14...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...ked-26261.html

and finally even here in post #21 when 'ready to buy one'....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f206...itch-4285.html

roadkingmoe's posts in each of the above threads are very well written/useful too...

perhaps they should ALL 'be posted at the top'

especially this one from david tidmore who has a haha on his 34 and his bambi, and helps MANY customers with their setups...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtbw
This whole subject will never be clear cut. Choice of hitch should not be such an emotionally charged issue. There are a number of designs that will work, but there is no doubt that due to the underlying mechanics of the Hensley, it works differently than the other designs. The Hensley does not stop sway, it prevents the root cause (ie a pivot action initiated from the trailer). With a Hensley, any pivot motion MUST originate from the the tow vehicle (makes the rig behave as a motor coach). The PullRite design effectively prevents sway as it converts the trailer to a fifth wheel config by physically moving the pivot point to just above the rear axle (fifth wheel configs are inherently sway free). I towed with a Reese dual cam on my parents A/S rig and I know that minor sway can occur with that setup. (never serious in my experiences). Friction designs use the same principal as brakes to convert mechanical motion (sway) into heat.

[A/Ss are NOT magically immune to sway. They are far more stable than many designs, but not immune. Anything that works to prevent, control or mimimize sway is a desirable goal.


The point that endlessly gets argued is the cost of the Hensley, not the fact that it works. We should agree to disagree. When someone requests info on hitches, we need to stay with facts and let the person decide based those facts as well as their pocketbook. There are those of us that feel the cost vs benefit ratio of the Hensley is reasonable and others that see it as a waste of money....the same could be said for A/S vs S.O.B

david
so roger we continue to AGREE that...

1. the marketing info is a big turn off, while the company testimonials are rasping, like fingernails on a chalk board and
2. the product WORKS, period, end of discussion.

and while i agree it'd be nice IF everyone understood and addressed every issue related to towing dynamics before buying ANY hitch...

that same logic would suggest...

-no one can have traction control without understanding friction, driving and simple physics
-no one can have abs or disc brakes for the same reasons
-no one can use headlights without understanding how to drive within visible range
-no one can use seat-belts/shoulder restraints because they might be tempted to speed or drive recklessly...
-no one can install solar without understanding batteries and energy management
-no one may use indoor plumbing without understanding waste management...

and so on.

also i find your take on price and weight misleading...

-the haha is essentially FREE for a 60/90 day trial, which other hitch does that?
-and the ultimate purchase price is 3% or less for most modern tv/a-s combos...
-used ones are readily sold at better prices than used a/s...

-the haha weights approx 100lb more than other sway control/weight distributon hitches...

-the weight difference is less than .005 of my total rig...

-and only 1% of a modern bambi/tv combo...

IF someone is within 100lbs of their load limits that becomes an issue regardless of hitch, you'd agree?

lastly for those that claim to understand 'completely' how the haha works....

the virtual pivot point is but ONE aspect and certainly NOT the most important...

since it disappears when NOT driving in a straight line...

i did as much/more investigation as anyone in advance of purchase,
some of which is documented here in various threads.

i've towed 50,000 miles with the haha now in just over 2 years....

it's been installed, removed and reinstalled, disassembled, reassembled, parts replaced, tweaked and adjusted in every conceivable manner...

and i STILL don't fully understand how it works or consider myself 2b an expert on the haha...

i'm just a user, who might just be smarter the average bear

so 'understand' seems to be the wrong word for users to use...

APPRECIATE how it works and that it works might be a clearer term.

and as for being qualified...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
...just owning something doesn't qualify you to comment on how it works....
my claim was/is that having spent the cash, DOES qualify one to answer the original question in THIS thread...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:59 PM   #27
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Why a Hensley? Because it works. I had mine installed, left the dealer lot in Weatherford (by the way, NOTHING leaves his lot w/o Hensley on it I'm told), and slammed from one lane into another, back and forth trying to get it to cut loose. It wouldn't. I did double-lane emergency changes (lane-over and lane-back) a half dozen times in the few miles to the Interstate, at 45-50 mph, brakes on or brakes off and a combination.

I've seen more than my share of rollovers and wrecks as a former professional truck driver. I've listened to the stories other drivers told. I've spent time poring over the materials at a friends office (truck insurance agent) and I can't see any reason NOT to want the best when steering control is in question.

And, having watched quartering winds tilt dry-van trailers across Wyoming one summer afternoon -- and the drivers unable to feel it at the wheel or but barely notice it in the mirror -- convinced me that when I got a trailer it would have a Hensley. I met some shook up drivers at the coffee shop in Green River that afternoon.

I still have rigging issues (rated weight of torsion bars; stiff rear suspension) and I may be starting a thread to go through these. I'm not retired and I may have to make some 600+ mile days for work, trailer and all. I ain't interested in compromising safety.

I expect to run into bad conditions. That's the conservative approach.
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:09 PM   #28
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I utterly reject the notion that the only way to gain understanding of a tool or a condition is to experience it. Using that logic we might as well throw away books or the seeking of advise and discourse in making decisions. Why have the forums at all if we can't benefit from a wide range of perspectives and experience?
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