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Old 05-24-2022, 09:40 AM   #1
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Is it possible! more MPG with a Hensley type hitch then towing on the Ball only?

I recently towed my 16’ Sport 200 miles with the Hensley and then again same trip on the ball only. I got significantly better MPG with the Hensley vs. Ball. Anyone else have a similar experience. I do not have hard numbers because I wasn’t expecting the result. Used the same grade of fuel, only difference was the weather was cooler maybe 10 degrees when on the Ball. It was a very noticeable difference.
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:20 AM   #2
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It takes X btu’s to move your trailer Y miles. All of those btu’s are contained in the fuel.

With the same tow vehicle and the same grade of fuel, I cannot imagine how the style of WD gear could enhance mpg. Pretty much defies physics.
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Old 05-24-2022, 11:16 AM   #3
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Drag from air has a lot to do with the higher fuel consumption resulting from towing a trailer.

The Hensley increases the space between the tow vehicle and the trailer. It is possible that somehow reduced the drag resulting from the air flowing over the vehicle and the trailer.

More likely were wind differences in your two "test" cases.

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Old 05-24-2022, 11:25 AM   #4
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I bet changes in the wind (velocity or direction) would be the major factor here, or possibly mild changes in terrain (flat vs some moderate grades). I don't see how the hitch could result in a significant change in MPG. The gap mentioned in an earlier post is an interesting thought, it could be possible there is a "sweet spot" that changes the aero flow just enough to get you some gain. If you really wanted to prove this theory, I think many more comparisons would be needed in your data set, including careful attention to wind and related environmental factors, for each of the towing segments.
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Old 05-24-2022, 11:30 AM   #5
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Moving the trailer further away from the tow vehicle will actually increase drag due to the increase in turbulence between the two bodies,
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Old 05-24-2022, 11:40 AM   #6
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Moving the two vehicles closer, or adding a cap on your pick up bed, doing something to minimize interruption in laminar air flow will lessen drag to some extent.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:18 PM   #7
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I tow with a hitch that leaves a fair gap in between the trailer and TV. The amount of space is sufficient for me to lower my tailgate while hitched. I also have a topper, and the resulting turbulence between truck and trailer is great enough to pull open the back window on my topper if it isn't locked. When I drive without the trailer, that back window does not open by itself when closed without being latched.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:25 PM   #8
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Great example, drmox.

Dunno, adding a 195 lb hitch, more gap for more turbulence, the only way mpg will get better is a long downhill grade trip.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:29 PM   #9
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I can think of no logical reason for any measurable reason for any difference in economy.

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Old 05-24-2022, 12:54 PM   #10
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Not exactly a scientific test, so I think it's impossible to draw any conclusions from your experience. Just wondering - why did you tow with and then without the Hensley? How much difference was there is the way the trailer towed without the Hensley? Also, what was the tow vehicle?
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Old 05-24-2022, 03:24 PM   #11
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Is it possible! more MPG with a Hensley type hitch then towing on the Ball only?

No, not at all. Way too many other factors that contribute to fuel consumption variations when towing. Way too many!
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genebuilder View Post
Moving the two vehicles closer, or adding a cap on your pick up bed, doing something to minimize interruption in laminar air flow will lessen drag to some extent.
I get considerably better MPG with this set-up...👍

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Old 05-24-2022, 05:51 PM   #13
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Having towed a 16’ Airstream some 80,000 miles I have a couple of thoughts…
1. The 16’ Airstream is probably the least “directionally stable” model Airstream makes.
2. Towing on the ball will allow a 16’ to waggle back and forth. Not a lot but certainly enough to be felt.
3. Not sure what you are towing with but if it has any kind of built in sway control, those systems use the application of brakes on each side to help tame the movement.
4. A Hensley hitch has huge impact on a smaller trailer… we used one and the difference was simply astounding!

My wild guess is that you are seeing a smoother towing experience with the Hensley that prevents the sway control system from engaging.
We had a ProPride hitch bar loosen up once. I could feel “something” but couldn’t identify the issue until I unhitched and found the loose bar. We lost about 2 mpg on that 300 mile trip. Sway control???
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Old 05-24-2022, 07:18 PM   #14
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Is it possible! more MPG with a Hensley type hitch then towing on the Ball only?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
Having towed a 16’ Airstream some 80,000 miles I have a couple of thoughts…

1. The 16’ Airstream is probably the least “directionally stable” model Airstream makes.

2. Towing on the ball will allow a 16’ to waggle back and forth. Not a lot but certainly enough to be felt.

3. Not sure what you are towing with but if it has any kind of built in sway control, those systems use the application of brakes on each side to help tame the movement.

4. A Hensley hitch has huge impact on a smaller trailer… we used one and the difference was simply astounding!



My wild guess is that you are seeing a smoother towing experience with the Hensley that prevents the sway control system from engaging.

We had a ProPride hitch bar loosen up once. I could feel “something” but couldn’t identify the issue until I unhitched and found the loose bar. We lost about 2 mpg on that 300 mile trip. Sway control???


I think you are spot on, my tow vehicle is a Ram 1500 and it does have Trailer Sway Damping. When I towed-on the ball I could best describe as the trailer tugging and a jittery sensation. When I towed the same exact route with the Hensley I had none of that, just a smooth pleasant driving experience. And as I stated noticeably less fuel consumption.
One person asked why I towed on the ball? My trailer was in winter storage and the Hensley was removed for the winter. I had a service appointment, 200 mile trip and didn’t have time to reinstall it before I brought it in for a cursory estimate. When I actually brought it in for the repair work I reinstalled the Hensley, that’s why I travelled the exact same route with and without the Hensley. I have a ridged 3 piece box cover on the truck
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Old 05-25-2022, 06:09 AM   #15
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Is it possible! more MPG with a Hensley type hitch then towing on the Ball only?

Oops!
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Old 05-25-2022, 06:12 AM   #16
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I get considerably better MPG with this set-up...



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Old 05-25-2022, 07:35 AM   #17
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I get considerably better MPG with this set-up...👍

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Old 05-25-2022, 07:42 AM   #18
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I think you are spot on, my tow vehicle is a Ram 1500 and it does have Trailer Sway Damping. When I towed-on the ball I could best describe as the trailer tugging and a jittery sensation. When I towed the same exact route with the Hensley I had none of that, just a smooth pleasant driving experience. And as I stated noticeably less fuel consumption.
One person asked why I towed on the ball? My trailer was in winter storage and the Hensley was removed for the winter. I had a service appointment, 200 mile trip and didn’t have time to reinstall it before I brought it in for a cursory estimate. When I actually brought it in for the repair work I reinstalled the Hensley, that’s why I travelled the exact same route with and without the Hensley. I have a ridged 3 piece box cover on the truck
My 16 would push and tug when towed on the ball only. None of that with my equalizer hitch. I’m sure the Hensley is even better. I can’t see how that would not effect MPG.
On as side note has anyone tried a Henweigh instead?
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:16 PM   #19
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If the trailer is towed on the ball the whole aerodynamics of the situation changes considerably. The truck and trailer are no longer trimmed for optimum air flow. The truck nose is up in the air and the trailer nose is way lower than before both interfering with airflow above, underneath, and on both sides. It all adds up to more drag and fewer MPG. Extensive tests would be interesting though.
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Old 05-26-2022, 04:02 AM   #20
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Mileage on the Hensley hitch

Without question the Hensley hitch is tremendous work of engineering. We have 3 X 34 foot tridems of various vintage. We tow with the hitch they came with. Two have basic weight distribution hitches with friction style sway control and one has a Hensley. The towing experience cannot be more different. With the Hensley the 34 footer tows easily with a 1500 series GMC the others we use a 2500 series for the extra stability. We get better mileage with the Hensley but in our case we are moving a lot less weight as the 1500 is much lighter than the 2500.
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