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Old 02-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #1
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ProPride stinger weld failure

On another forum there is a report of a weld failure on a ProPride stinger. It appears that the weld between the rearward facing portion of the stinger, and the vertical section with the series of holes drilled to provide height adjustment, failed. The weld to the gusset reinforcing the connection also failed. Another forum has a photo of the failure:

Hensley Arrow vs. Propride 3p

It appears to me that the welds simply didn't penetrate deeply enough to provide sufficient strength. I understand from the forum posts that ProPride replaced the stinger under warranty in 2010, so they have been aware of the problem for some time.

Given the safety critical nature of the failure and the apparent process problem I am surprised that there has not been a recall. Perhaps Sean will join the discussion and share ProPride's thinking.

I'm going to take a look at mine next time I'm out at my storage location and possibly have it x-rayed if the welds look suspicious.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:16 AM   #2
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ONE hitch bar out of over 4000 does not warrant a recall.

You might also consider how many inches of weld there are on 4334 hitches. If there were a process problem I believe it would be showing up more than once in all the welds in 4334 hitches.

That's my thinking.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to address it again after 2 years and a couple thousand more hitches on the road without this issue ever occurring.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:39 AM   #3
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Respectfully, Sean you just might want to check with a really good Corporate Attorney before you stand firm on that position.

At the least, you should be x-raying a representative sample of stingers so that you have some factual basis for saying that you don't have a problem.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:15 AM   #4
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We do pull parts and have them examined at regular intervals.

There is no absence of evidence. There are 4334 hitch bars on the road. 1 of them had a problem. I think thats a pretty good sample of evidence.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:24 AM   #5
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How do we know that the part with the weld failure wasn't used in some inappropriate manner that caused the damage? Like pulling some big ole honkin truck or trailer out of some ditch. Since it would be almost impossible to prove that the hitch wasn't abused I don't know how you could go back on the manufacturer.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Woodruff View Post
ONE hitch bar out of over 4000 does not warrant a recall.
I'm surprised that you would see a structural failure that could result in fatalities as something that would be acceptable at a 1 in 4000 level of occurrence in the field. Did you determine the root cause? Was the stinger welded correctly? If so, is there a design problem? If not, is there a process problem? Were other hitches manufactured around the same time also affected?

The whole point of the 4-bar hitch system is safety. At what point are we better off with products from more established, high volume hitch manufacturers where there is no history of structural failures?
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
How do we know that the part with the weld failure wasn't used in some inappropriate manner that caused the damage? Like pulling some big ole honkin truck or trailer out of some ditch. Since it would be almost impossible to prove that the hitch wasn't abused I don't know how you could go back on the manufacturer.
From the photograph it appears to me that the weld was defective. The sheared area of the weld appears to be about 1/8" thick or less, judging from the photograph. The narrative that accompanies the photograph indicates that the hitch failed while towing a travel trailer, near the end of a a 7,000 mile trip.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I'm surprised that you would see a structural failure that could result in fatalities as something that would be acceptable at a 1 in 4000 level of occurrence in the field. Did you determine the root cause? Was the stinger welded correctly? If so, is there a design problem? If not, is there a process problem?

The whole point of the 4-bar hitch system is safety. At what point are we better off with products from more established, high volume hitch manufacturers where there is no history of structural failures?

There can be a people problem. People can, and do, make mistakes. A process is only as good as the people operating the process.

The design is not an issue. The design is proven.

I don't believe you can find a high volume hitch manufacturer that has no history of structural failure. I also don't believe you can find a manufacturer who will come here to discuss the issue.

I can't tell you at what point YOU are better off with a high volume hitch manufacturer. That is an individual risk tolerance question that you have to answer for yourself.

While analyzing individual risk tolerance I think all of the factors should be considered.

I can give many examples of people being killed when their trailer swayed out of control with a conventional hitch (high volume hitch manufacturer). I can give you examples of weight distribution bars being unloaded and the pry bar breaking a hand or foot of the user.

I CAN'T give you even one injury or sway accident example of anyone using either a Hensley Arrow or a ProPride 3P hitch.

As TG noted eluded to above, I can't tell you what some customers are doing with their hitch. I know this customer so I believe this hitch bar was cold welded and took full responsibility for it. I replaced it and it didn't cost him a dime. We do have the best warranty, bar none, in the industry. I wouldn't be in business for very long if I was replacing a bunch of hitches.

All I can do is look at the entire sample, the processes and people involved, and make a decision based on my experience and the engineering behind what I know to be true.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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I have read about mudslinging between PP and Hensley, in other threads.

Did I miss something ? All I ever see is the PP guy jumping on forums and attacking Hensley.

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Old 02-29-2012, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
How do we know that the part with the weld failure wasn't used in some inappropriate manner that caused the damage? Like pulling some big ole honkin truck or trailer out of some ditch. Since it would be almost impossible to prove that the hitch wasn't abused I don't know how you could go back on the manufacturer.

Unfortunately, I will never know what has taken place with a hitch. Most customers believe that when they have a warranty issue they need to make up some sort of story in order to get the part covered by warranty. That isn't the case with me because I cover everything regardless of fault. Very few customers call and take responsibility for what has occurred because they are afraid the warranty claim will be denied.

The funny part about these stories are that I have been doing this long enough to know exactly what happened in most situations.

While at Hensley Mfg I had a guy tell me his hitch just "exploded" while he was towing it into the campground. Exploded? I still chuckle at that one.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:29 AM   #11
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Well, this isn't helpful.

I'd love to know (from Sean) if, when that broken stinger came back in 2010 - you examined it and were able to draw any conclusions about why and how it failed. I wouldn't know how to deconstruct that photo and piece together where the tear started, or how it came apart.

An owner's account of an accident (sitting 10-15 feet away and looking the other direction) are only partly helpful - and that's if they're being honest, as you correctly point out.

I'd also enjoy hearing if, and how, these parts are tested in order to determine their limits. Do they occasionally go through controlled stress tests to see what they can handle? Or does the lack of broken hitches serve as the best empirical evidence that they're designed correctly?

Not asking to be contrarian - I've been learning how to weld recently, and am genuinely interested in how you arrived at your design / testing decisions.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:32 AM   #12
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Must be mid-winter with cabin fever setting in. Itching to start internet fights.

Sean,

If you addressed it years ago, link to where you addressed it, let us know you made right with the customer and be done with it. You are not going to do yourself or your business any favors by dragging this thread out and fighting with an anonymous new member.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #13
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ProPride Stinger Stress Model

Here is a link to a stress model for you.

2000lbs of tongue weight.

1000lbs of spring bar.

The model is shelled which is the equivalent of making it out of .5" plate to simulate the weld cross section. The ACTUAL 2" square hitch bar would not register even near this model.

ProPride Hitch Bar Model




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Old 02-29-2012, 11:47 AM   #14
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Several posts have been removed and this thread closed for a cooling off period. If you have a personal grievance with a vendor please resolve it in another venue and set the bucket of mud aside when you log into AIR.

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Old 08-05-2013, 08:19 PM   #15
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I know this thread has been closed for a while; I thought I'd comment on some of the things I've read because it was my hitch that failed. I would have done so sooner but I just joined this forum a few days ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
How do we know that the part with the weld failure wasn't used in some inappropriate manner that caused the damage? Like pulling some big ole honkin truck or trailer out of some ditch. Since it would be almost impossible to prove that the hitch wasn't abused I don't know how you could go back on the manufacturer.
I assure you that there was no misuse or abuse of that hitch... ever. I installed it myself (Mods - Propride 3P 1400 Hitch) after several back-and-forth questions with Sean, and I take good care of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
From the photograph it appears to me that the weld was defective. The sheared area of the weld appears to be about 1/8" thick or less, judging from the photograph. The narrative that accompanies the photograph indicates that the hitch failed while towing a travel trailer, near the end of a a 7,000 mile trip.
I drew the same conclusion - defective weld. And it did indeed happen near the end of our trip. After travelling 11,500 km across Canada and back, the failure happened in our own neighbourhood at 30 km/h about 300 metres from home. In other words, the trip was 99.99997% over.

In fact, several days prior while still several hundred kilometres from the end of our trip my wife noticed some cracks in the stinger. I took a look and told her that it was, in my opinion, a defect in the powder coat. All that distance, all those highways with my wife and daughter in the truck... I still get a little weak thinking about how lucky we were and I thank God every time I think about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Woodruff View Post
<clip>Most customers believe that when they have a warranty issue they need to make up some sort of story in order to get the part covered by warranty. That isn't the case with me because I cover everything regardless of fault. Very few customers call and take responsibility for what has occurred because they are afraid the warranty claim will be denied.
This wasn't the case with me, because I figured I had a very good read on Sean. I was right. Though I may have been tempted to invent a wild story if he ran his business differently.

Quote:
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<clip>

As TG noted eluded to above, I can't tell you what some customers are doing with their hitch. I know this customer so I believe this hitch bar was cold welded and took full responsibility for it. I replaced it and it didn't cost him a dime.
All true. Sean and I talked at length before I ordered my 3P and was talked at length about the installation after I ordered it. When the failure occurred he send me a replacement right away and requested the return of the old hitch; no cost to me at all. I was up and running within a week.

Since then we've put another 7500 km on the rig with no sign of trouble. I inspect the hitch more closely and more often, though.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #16
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I have trusted Sean with my family's safety via two ProPride hitches and three Airstream trailers.

Sean is a man of excellent character and high moral value. His design is sound and manufacturing process above par as over the years I have engaged him in various desicussions and opinions.

Great Product, Great Company & Great Owner.

Buy a ProPride, Use your ProPride, Inspect your rig, Enjoy your rig - Live Long & Happy Travels!
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:10 PM   #17
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JDnBeastlet - that has to be a scary experience! I went to your blog link, thanks for posting that.

First - so glad that happened when it did and not in the midst of a highway run. If there had to be a failure like that, you couldn't have been more fortunate.

Second - I believe yours has been the only one so far - I have no idea how many have been put on the road but I've not heard of any other failures. Glad Sean stepped up and dealt with it well and glad your story doesn't stop at that failure but continues on with safe and happy travels.

Any recommendations for inspection points?
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:14 AM   #18
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JDnBeastlet - that has to be a scary experience! I went to your blog link, thanks for posting that.

First - so glad that happened when it did and not in the midst of a highway run. If there had to be a failure like that, you couldn't have been more fortunate.

Second - I believe yours has been the only one so far - I have no idea how many have been put on the road but I've not heard of any other failures. Glad Sean stepped up and dealt with it well and glad your story doesn't stop at that failure but continues on with safe and happy travels.

Any recommendations for inspection points?
First - I completely agree with you - that's exactly how I feel.
Second - I haven't heard of any others; a Google search for "ProPride failure" leads back to me. Sean did the right thing (I never expected anything less from him) and we are still very happy with the 3P.

As for inspection points, yes... maintenance too:
  • Inspect the stinger for cracks at the weld joints
  • Inspect all nuts and bolts for tightness
  • Inspect frame bracket lateral alignment
  • Push and pull on the yoke bar from side to side; if there's a clacking noise, tighten the yoke bolt slightly and re-check. Repeat as necessary
  • Grease the zerk fittings (2)
  • Once a year, uncouple the main hitch unit and re-grease the ball. Some folks have installed a zerk fitting on the top of the coupler so they don't have to uncouple; I'm torn because we will have to sell this trailer someday.
  • Every once in a while, pop the covers off the WD jacks and inspect the grease. Mine is still like new.
  • Touch up the paint. Unfortunately there were several chips in the powder coat when we took delivery and we've earned several more on the road. Some sections have flaked and peeled. I keep a small can of black rust paint in the trailer and touch it up as necessary while camping.
I keep in the trailer all the tools necessary to remove the PP from the A-frame. If our camper is ever debilitated during travel and needs towing it's just a matter of minutes to convert it back to a coupler-pull for recovery.

Have I missed anything?
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:36 PM   #19
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I think I will try to break one in normal use too... Just kiddin! Not gonna break.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:37 AM   #20
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I find it hard to believe anyone would pay that much money for a trailer hitch.
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