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Old 02-04-2003, 05:55 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by DreamStream
Getting the angles set when on uneven ground so that the hitch shaft will slide in properly can cause some sweat to break out. Then, after the cams are closed and the pins set, your work is just beginning. You pull out the crank and crank a little on one side and then a little on the other and then a little on the first side and then a little on the other and then a little more on the first side and then some more on the other, etc, and etc, until you are totally soaked in sweat. (I usually change shirts after hooking up!)
I think I'm detecting where the problem is. It's pretty easy to use the electric tongue jack to get the hitch height correct, and it's pretty easy to yaw the hitch to line it up with the centerline of the truck.

But it takes crankin' on the screw jacks to get the hitch pitch and roll to match the truck. And you say crankin' on the screw jacks to tighten the spring bars really gets you sweatin'. Sounds like you're still usin' the dogbone that came with the hitch.

I haven't done it myself (YET!), but several Hensley owners I've heard from use a socket on the end of a cordless drill for this. Maybe that would help!
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:07 PM   #44
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Thumbs up Cordless drill

Dreamstream,

I use a cordless drill and it that's 2 seconds to draw up the weight distribution bars.

After I'm hooked up, I draw one side up to my level mark and then the next. It's that simple.

Note: This is done prior to raising the tongue jack.

I hope this helps-John
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:39 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by markjoandall
Essentially the pullrite hitch turns your trailer into a fiver. You have all the stability and handling of a fiver.
...
Yes you do have load bars. I think you will have that with any trailer hitch.
...
It's kind of interesting watching your trailer go down the road on a pullrite, it wags any where the wind blows it, but the tow vehicle doesn't move because the pivot point is so close to the rear axel.

I think the hensley works on a different principle. Any turning movement in the rig has to be initiated by the tow vehicle. The trailer and tow vehicle are locked as one unit until the tow vehicle makes a turn.
The Pullrite DOES indeed turn your trailer into a fiver, and operates as Mark describes. But it has one major difference with the fiver. A fiver's living area starts at the tow vehicle's rear axle, where with a travel trailer behind a Pullrite, it starts some 7'-8' back. A rig that pivots at the rear axle follows the tow vehicle much more to the inside of the turn than does one that pivots behind the bumper.

This isn't as much of a problem with a fiver, since its trailer wheels are closer to the pivot point causing them to travel less to the inside to begin with. But it's more of a problem with a travel trailer behind a Pullrite, since the wheels are both back as far as a travel trailer AND it's pivoting at the rear axle. You have to swing wider with a travel trailer behind a Pullrite than you do with either a fifth wheel or a travel trailer with a hitch that pivots behind the rear bumper. To me, it looks like a trailer behind a Pullrite is trying to pass the tow vehicle on the inside in a turn.

The Hensleys "virtual" point of pivot is at the rear axle when the rig is straight or near straight, but it moves back behind the bumper.

Not only does this make the trailer follow closer in turns, but it also makes a big difference backing. One of the biggest complaints you'll hear from new fiver owners is how hard it is to back and park. And the Pullrite makes the travel trailer perform the same.

With a hitch that pivots behind the bumper, the smallest movement in the steering wheel and angle in the truck is magnified by the pivot being back behind the rear axle. Some find it hard to back a travel trailer straight without it "snaking."

A hitch that pivots at the rear axle is relatively insensitive to steering inputs and truck angle. While it takes very little angle and roll to move the ball sideways and turn the trailer on a behind the bumper pivot, it takes a lot more steering input and roll to move the center of the rear axle sideways.

A fiver (or Pullrite) rig may back a little straighter, but it take a lot more steering and roll to turn it! These rigs NEED the 90 degree capability to turn the fiver sharply.

The problem with the tow vehicle being at 90 degrees to a multi-axle trailer is that it's dragging the trailer front wheels one way and the rear wheels the other. The trailer is trying to pivot on a point at the X intersection of lines drawn across between the front and rear trailer wheels. It's also bending the trailer frame. It's not bad in sand, mud or grass, but murder on pavement. In fact, you can get into this situation even with the 82.5 degree Hensley. I have to pay careful attention to it on a triple-axle trailer.

So, yes, the Pullrite does turn a travel trailer into a fiver... with the same disadvantages... and it turns a 25' trailer into a 32'-33' fiver in turns.

Nevertheless, it IS as safe as a Hensley, but as Mark said, works a little differently with sway. The Pullrite lets the trailer sway in a manner that has no impact on the tow vehicle... just like a fiver. The Hensley essentially turns the rig into a motorhome with no pivot when the rig is straight. An engineer I work with said the point of pivot is at infinity in front of the truck as long as the rig is straight. But as the truck increases the angle from straight, a virtual pivot develops at the rear axle and moves back as the angle increases.

Both the Pullrite and Hensley share one trait that no other hitch has. While providing extreme resistance to sway or to its effects, they provide NO resistance to the truck turning the rig.

Any friction sway control, including an Equal-I-Zer, resists the truck turning the trailer as much as it does the trailer turning the truck. You have a compromise. If the friction control is tight enough to do much good against severe sway, it binds when the truck tries to put an angle in the rig. If the friction control is lose enough for the truck to put an angle in the rig, it has much less resistance to sway.

The Reese and Draw-Tite dual cam rigs for conventional hitches also resist the truck turning the rig as much as they resist the trailer turning the truck. But they only resist the truck until the angle has gotten large enough to overcenter the cams, so they're better than a friction sway control when it comes to binding in turns.

But the bottomline is that if any of these hitches resisted sway or its effects as much as the Hensley or Pullrite, they'd be so tight the truck couldn't put an angle in the rig.

There are your choices. All of them will have weight distributing bars that have to be hooked up and tensioned, to put BACK all the weight the tongue leveraged off the tow vehicle front axle onto the rear axle, AND put some of the tongue weight on the front axle.

And ALL of them, including the Hensley, benefit from raising the tongue jack up high when tightening the spring bars. In fact, with the conventional hitch with chains on the bars that hook on the tongue, that's the only way you can tension the bars. You'll find the Hensley screw jacks a LOT easier to crank up this way! I hope you aren't trying to crank them up with the trailer tongue down!

Hope this helps,
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:58 PM   #46
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Maurice,

I'm not clear on:

You'll find the Hensley screw jacks a LOT easier to crank up this way! I hope you aren't trying to crank them up with the trailer tongue down!

You're not talking about the tongue jack, right?

You are saying that it's harder to raise the spring bars with the tongue jack raise or in the up positions?

John
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:08 PM   #47
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John,
Once the drop bar is in the hitch, and you've locked and pinned the overcenter cams, if you raise the tongue higher with the electric tongue jack, the rig pivots at the ball and the trailer coupler. The front of the Hensley tilts down relative to the ball, which raises the ends of the spring bars toward the screw jacks.

What you are doing then when you tighten the screw jacks is essentially taking the slack out of the them until you get to your "mark." Then as you let the tongue down, the spring bars start pulling down hard on the screw jacks. It's easier to turn the screw jacks with no force or less force on them with the trailer tongue (and rear of the truck) raised by the tongue jack.

I just got in the habit of doing this with conventional hitches and carried it over to the Hensley. One other thing that it does is check to make sure the ball is fully locked in the coupler. While if you got the coupler on the ball once with the Hensley and locked it, it isn't uncommon for owners not to get the coupler on the ball and locked well. Raising the tongue jack up enough to lift the back of the truck makes sure the coupler is on the ball securely.

Try it. I think you'll hear your cordless drill working a lot less hard on the screw jacks.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:18 PM   #48
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Maurice,

Thanks for explaining because I thought you meant something else all together.

I guess since I've gone straight by Hensley's manual and also using the cordless drill, I haven't felt any resistance when loading the spring bars.

But I'll give your idea a try the next time I hook up to see first hand how this works.

Tks-John
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Old 02-05-2003, 09:56 AM   #49
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Thanks for all the input! I may re-think my position on the Hensley with all the tips you have given me. I always hitched up the way the HR dealer showed me. Can't believe I never even thought about not trying to lift the trailer while cranking the bars into position.
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