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Old 01-13-2016, 01:17 PM   #1
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Hensley Hitch

Ok everyone. After an earlier post, I think I have decided on a Hensley rather than an Equal-i-zer. Just would like, if you don't mind, to hear from anyone who has used a Hensley and any negatives you might have experienced. I really appreciate your help and plan to be helpful to others in the future. Thank you.
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:40 PM   #2
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We installed a Hensley Arrow on our first trailer, a 2013 25FB International Serenity, that we initially towed with my 2007 Mercedes ML 320 CDI diesel. The car was okay in terms of load on axles for the trip home, but was overloaded when the trailer was loaded for camping. The Mercedes was replaced with a 2012 Dodge Ram 2500HD Cummins which we used with a different Hensley stinger.

In order to tow with the Mercedes, I took it to CanAm in London, Ontario to have the Mercedes factory receiver (which was repaired by a factory recall) modified to support a weight distribution hitch. They also modified the Hensley stinger (a straight thru bar) to be used with my car by shortening the end of the receiver end by about 5" and putting a slight downward bend to preload the weight distribution. The different stinger (2" drop) used on the Dodge was not modified.

One has to double check the fittings on either side of the hitch head to ensure there is even pressure on both sides. There is a grease fitting on each side of both the Hensley and ProPride hitch heads. A farm implement grade high pressure hand held grease gun is needed to lube these fittings (about $25 at an implement dealer) and the Hensley will tell you by noise it wants grease about every 500 to 750 miles. So a box of rubber gloves (same as used for the sewer hoses) should be worn so one can wipe the old grease off below the hitch head with paper towels as the old grease drips out from new grease going in.

The second Jim Hensley design is called the ProPride. I have that design on the 31' Classic. I find that the ProPride is somewhat easier to use, but both will do a good job. The new ProPride price was less than the new price for the Hensley. So little research on pricing is necessary.

We reused the Hensley on the 2015 23D International Serenity and the Mercedes is the tow vehicle.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:26 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

KF,

Take your time backing up.....you will get good at it.

A couple things that made hitching easier for us.....

Hitch/n Rods....

A Hitch'n Rod with a 'O' ring on it to help with height adjustment.



Some folks complain they rust....
I applied a heavy Clear coat BEFORE installing

I cover mine during the Season.


And remove for Winter...


Sweet Streams...


Forgot to mention.....consider installing it yourself, it's not really that hard and you'll learn a lot about maintenance and how it works.


Bob
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:33 PM   #4
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The only negatives were:
1) Small learning curve for hitching up
2) "Hensley bump" until I learned how to dial it in

That's all. I have towed with 4 brands and styles of wd/sc hitches over 30 years and this design is, by far, the best.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:44 PM   #5
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Tell me about the "Hensley Bump" and how you fixed it. I tow a 32 foot Excel with a 2014 Tundra. Sometimes the bumping and porpoising is enough to make you want to wear a neck brace. I thought it was the truck. How do you fix that?
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:56 PM   #6
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Porpoising is primarily a function of truck and trailer wheelbase. That and pavement surface. Not a lot you can do about it, except play with the amount of wd.
The bump is exaserbated by the upper head being slightly off center with respect to the lower head. It is adjusted with the struts. A piece of tape on each half, in the center, along with a hitch camera will tell you when you have the struts adjusted properly. Also, turning up the gain on the trailer brake controller helps. I haven't experienced the bump in 2 years, once I figured it out.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:04 PM   #7
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I towed a '92 29-foot Excella with a Hensley for 8 years, 33,000 miles.
For the past 4 years I've towed my '59 Tradewind with an Equalizer hitch, 20,000 miles.
The Hensley is much more expensive and much more capable in preventing sway. Hitching takes time to learn and is not very forgiving of slight mismatches. It requires learning its likes/dislikes and getting skilled at doing what works. The stinger is a heavy piece of metal to deal with. I never felt even the slightest amount of sway.
The Equalizer is much less costly. Hitching is much, much easier and quite forgiving of slight mismatches in side-to-side truck-trailer alignment. Height alignment is of no concern. The truck can back up to the hitch from many angles. The hitch is a heavy piece of metal to deal with. There is much said about noise from the Equalizer, particularly backing up, but I've never noticed any. I've never felt even a slight amount of sway. Overall, for my current trailer, I much prefer the Equalizer.
But your mileage may vary.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:12 PM   #8
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We have found porpoising can be from insufficient weight distribution the the truck's front axle.

The bump is usually because the truck's brakes are coming on before trailer brakes, brake controller adjustment or fault. The hitch stinger/drop bar should also have enough tilt so the w.d. bars are lower at the back after w.d. is applied. If the trailer tries to overtake the truck (causing the Hensley Bump) the downward tilt of the bars will resist that movement.

It may be that you simply don't have enough washers to tilt the stinger/drop bar down, contributing to both issues. I think I have seen where Andrew T. at Can-Am has put a little bend in the stinger just aft of the receiver to get the w.d. bars lower at the back. You might check with them.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:15 PM   #9
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Note that ProPride and Hensley Manufacturing hitches are 'Hensley Designed' hitches. ProPride is the latest design, does not use struts that require drilling into the A-frame on the AS, and has an adjustable stinger.


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Old 01-13-2016, 03:24 PM   #10
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We are new to the Airstream, but have had MH's for 15 years. We have the proPride hitch on a new Classic. It is super easy to tow behind our 2500 truck. The hitching process is easy, the unhitching is still a little sketchy. Our experience is that it the height needs to be pretty exact to unhitch easily. Make sure you use wheel chocks. First time out, I forgot and it was impossible to unhitch without them. There are a couple of videos that I found useful on youtube. We use the hitch and go magnetic poles also that makes hitching alignment a piece of cake. Really like the o-ring idea from above and I'm going to give that a try to see if I can dial in the right height for unhooking. You'll find the stinger is a tight fit and any misalignment makes it hard to extract. I also plan on taking a hard look at how "level" the receiver and stinger are as there are some minor adjustments you can make. All in all, I wouldn't tow without the ProPride. It was highly recommended by a couple other people that went from MHs to the Classic that we know. Enjoy.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:26 PM   #11
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I have one of the few Propride adjustable stingers for Hensley which Sean made up. Tilt is important in proper setup.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:33 PM   #12
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Oops, sorry I'm thinking ProPride with the washers in the stinger. I Believe that Andrew T. puts a little bend in the Hensley stinger to get the tilt.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Oops, sorry I'm thinking ProPride with the washers in the stinger. I Believe that Andrew T. puts a little bend in the Hensley stinger to get the tilt.
Correct
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:42 PM   #14
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We purchased a used Hensley, cleaned it up, repacked and adjusted the tapered roller bearings, and painted it to match AS color of tongue. I use an adjustable height gauge to measure stinger height after spring bars are released to get tongue height right for unhitching. A pry bar between stinger and hitch releases the grip for easy uncoupling.
My tailgate has a backup camera which makes hooking up a snap.
Re "Hensley bump" I agree that proper trailer brake adjustment takes care of it.
Before we had a pickup, we towed with a Toyota fj cruiser. The Hensley allowed towing with a short wheelbase rig.
We tow a 25 fc.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:50 PM   #15
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Hensley works like a charm, I couldn't imagine a more relaxed towing experience. The only (Minor) downside aspects I found were:

(a) factory recommendation to grease the spring bars every 500 miles - not sure how important it is, but I have tried to follow that recommendation and recently when I repainted the hitch and pulled out the bushings that the spring bars go into, found virtually no wear, so I guess it does help! (36,000 miles on the hitch)

(b) I think we have now developed a method that works for us to get it hitched up on the first attempt - but when we first got the hitch we did have a few frustrations at times!

Also on one instance we were able to unhook! The site was such that the trailer was level but the truck was quite nose up and no matter what I did with the tongue jack, I could not manage to disengage the truck. (The access road was quite a bit higher than the site pad.)

I suspect that if I had put the trailer tires up on our Lynx Levellers that might have done the trick, but we just changed site rather than mess with it.

I don't have any experience with the Pro Pride, but I gather it works on the same principle as the Hensley. I believe it is a little less expensive.


I would have considered it when looking to purchase, but at that time it was brand new on the market and I preferred not to take the chance. Several years later folks seem quite happy with it !

Brian.


PS - having either hitch installed on your trailer could be a minor issue if someone else ever needs to move it and does not have a matching stinger.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:51 PM   #16
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I've never heard any negatives on the Hensley Hitch system although many back away because of the cost, myself included.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:46 PM   #17
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I don't have solid experimental data, but the ProPride design appears easier to hitch and unhitch. I've had no issues even at extreme angles of TV approach, hard turn then unhitch at darn near 90 degrees and hook up later, etc. I'm very happy with my ProPride.


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Old 01-13-2016, 05:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
I don't have solid experimental data, but the ProPride design appears easier to hitch and unhitch. I've had no issues even at extreme angles of TV approach, hard turn then unhitch at darn near 90 degrees and hook up later, etc. I'm very happy with my ProPride.


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I don't have any problems with haha either. They're both all about matching heights and angles and predicting how they change during approach on uneven ground.
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:19 PM   #19
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Yup. Exactly. Line it up right, and no issues. The only real difference is a bigger wider taper to the ProPride stinger contact area.


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Old 01-13-2016, 06:20 PM   #20
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I have used all three, in face I still own all three (long story for another day)...
Our F-150 has a backup camera so we have an advantage but I have not found a difference hooking up the Hensley vs the ProPride. The really big difference is in unhooking! The ProPride is very difficult to get the hitch bar from the hitch whereas the Hensley just unhooks. In retrospect, the Equalizer was simply not in the same league as the others. The difference is remarkable.
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