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Old 05-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #1
NOAZRK
 
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34' S/O with Hensley - What Weight Bars?

Hi,

I am setting up a Hensley Hitch to pull my 34' S/O Airstream.

Here's my set up.

Ford Excursion HD Turbo Diesel.

Hensley with 1000 lb bars.

I have several recommendations not to move up to 1200 lb bars.

Problem: For those familiar with Hensley hitches. I have three holes showing on the back torsion bar brackets and could go to just 2 holes showing. My bars are bowed pretty good, however according to Hensley they could absolutely take more weight. The Airstream tongue is down in the front ( about 3 to 4 inches ) and the back of the Excursion is also down about 2 inches.

1. It seems that my stinger should be about 1 1/2" higher to start with. I believe that not enough allowance was given to compensate for how soft the Excursion is sprung before the extra leaf springs begin to kick in. This should bring the trailer more level before beginning to distribute with the bars.

2. Recognizing the inherant frame issues with the 34'ers, it seems that it would be best to stay with the 1000 lb. bars. The issue with the front end of the trailer being too low is the big problem. I'm okay with using the bars to throw more weight onto the front wheels of the Excursion and Trailer axles but no so much weight as to stress the trailer frame.

I am headed for the Hensley factory sometime this summer to check my set up, however feel that I need to get the trailer more leveled out to make the trip.

Okay, there's my thinking. Does anyone have 1st hand knowledge with solving this problem.

~Alan
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:27 PM   #2
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Stinger height

It looks like you stinger is too low. Hensely makes one that will result in a higher ball height. Your dealer may allow you to try one out to see if it fixes your problem. I would not switch the bars yet. The 34 ft S/O trailers have a lot of tongue weight. Measure it and talk to Hensely. They may want to move up to the 1200's.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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My '91 34' has a much lower tongue weight than your slide monster...I'm using 1400 lb bars and cranking the heck out of them to get the proper weight transfer.

Check out the "Cat Scale" thread...
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:57 PM   #4
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Do you know what your actual loaded tongue weight is? I am suspecting you may need the 1200s, but we really need to know that tongue weight.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:59 PM   #5
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What inherent frame problem exists in the 34" S/O? The frame on my 30 S/O is very beefy and I would suppose yours is too?
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
My '91 34' has a much lower tongue weight than your slide monster...I'm using 1400 lb bars and cranking the heck out of them to get the proper weight transfer.

Check out the "Cat Scale" thread...
Ditto HiHo'
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Actually, when I pull up on my torsion bars I can't get the lid open on my square utility box behind the gas bottles. In fact, I can see a bulge in the aluminum skin behind the gas bottles that comes and goes depending on the amount of weight is on the tongue jack. There's plenty of articles here on the forum about this problem. On my trailer, the problem first appeared when I cranked up too much on my bars while trying to level out my rig. The factory is going to take a look at the problem on May 21st. I have a very low milage 2004 - 34' S/O that has never bottomed out or had any other hard use or abuse.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Well, the hardest thing to admit is a really stupid mistake. I took one look at that stinger and concluded that "right side up" was exactly the opposite of what it should have been. No LOL please.

When it stops raining around here I'll have to give it another shot.

All I can say at this point is that this Hensley is one strange animal. Hope it works as good as people say.

~A
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:04 PM   #9
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I have no idea what my tongue weight is in numbers, but in letters scale reads "HEAVY". That's why I can't be convinced to pull it with a Mini Cooper. As a full timer that's just drifing around, I'll take the weight and the space, thank you. I'm lovin the monster, as some would call it.

~A
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:15 PM   #10
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NOAZRK2690,

Don't feel bad, when I first installed the Hensley I put the screw jacks on bassakwards.

Your right to get the frame checked out ASAP, once squared away you can deal with the bars. More tension on the bars the more flex in the frame, not good.
You do need to get weights though, It's hard to make adjustments if you don't know the results.

FWIW...we use the 1000lb bars with a 1200lb tongue weight. I had to go from a 4" drop to a 6" as the 06 Burb was a bit higher.

Bob
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOAZRK2690 View Post
I have no idea what my tongue weight is in numbers, but in letters scale reads "HEAVY". That's why I can't be convinced to pull it with a Mini Cooper. As a full timer that's just drifing around, I'll take the weight and the space, thank you. I'm lovin the monster, as some would call it.

~A
"HEAVY"...That's cool...and I'm pretty envious about the 'monster'....

We love our 34', the wide bodies have so much more room and the slides...well...they are off the scale!

How aabout a funny story? we camped with some pals and our 3/4 T dodge just wouldn't fit into the small site with the 34'er...their Honda CRV fit rather nice parked in front of our camper......one guy actually commented about how good an Airstream tows, but towing one with a Honda even impressed him further...
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:52 PM   #12
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I have just changed my 1200# bars to the 1000# bars on my Hensley. They were to heavy for my 31 Classic. I have the bars and a 1yr old bushing if you would like them.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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I use 1000#ers as well on my 30' Classic, but I suspect NOAZARK is quite a bit heavier than us with our non-slide 30/31s.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I have just changed my 1200# bars to the 1000# bars on my Hensley. They were to heavy for my 31 Classic. I have the bars and a 1yr old bushing if you would like them.
Did you move down to 1000# because of tongue weight?
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:46 AM   #15
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Thanks for the replies.

The Hensley rep asks that I stay with the 1000 lb. bars until they prove to be too light for my tougue weight. They have been very helpful and will switch bars with out cost or shipping to make everything right.

I'm pulling out today for the first time with the Hensley and will report back to everyone after several hundred miles or so. Today should be a good test for the Hensley. There'll be a pretty strong head and side wind heading west today.

~Alan
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:22 AM   #16
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Angry

I didn't move down because of tongue weight. I purchased the trailer with the Hensley and I tow with an F350 and don't need the heavy bars. I didn't have to tighten them very much. Plus because I did not have much weight on the bars they seemed to chew up the zerks every so often.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:01 PM   #17
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GreggS,

Could you explain why you moved from 1200lb to 1000lb bars?

Today I towed my 34' S/O about 200 miles. Part of the trip was on good old Rt.80 in Pennsylvania. In case you are not familiar with the interstate, the cement slabs are tilted so they cause a rythemic bounce.

Basically, it felt like I was riding a horse and I'm wondering if my 1000lb bars were adding to the problem. It seems like they were springing too much and therefore adding to the bounce rather then to hold everything a little more rigid.

Does this make sense to anyone who has resolved a bouncing issue? My shocks are good on the truck and trailer and I wasn't overloaded. I had the spring bars pulled up pretty tight.

~Alan
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:06 AM   #18
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Alan,

We also use the Hensley with 1000lb bars. Our tongue weight between 1000-1200lbs. TV 06 Burb, 130in wheelbase.

It's my understanding that the "rocking horse" ride has more to do with the relationship between the TV and trailer and the spacing between the concrete seams. In my experience adjusting the speed can SOMETIMES reduce the effect.

I believe changing to heavier bars would only stiffen the abruptness and would cause a harsher ride in the AS with the possibility flex damage to the trailer.

My two cents...

Bob
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:02 AM   #19
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I have found that I can get the adjustment of the weight pretty close just by the "seat of the pants" feel. I have verified this with a scale reading of being within 200 lbs between the front and rear axle of the truck.
Simply put:
- If the ride is rough the weight bars are pulled up too tight.
- If the ride seems to porpoise a little too much then the bars are too loose.
- Sometimes it's the condition of the road and you can't do anything about it except find a speed that's acceptable.

I am using HAHA 1000 lb bars on a 3/4 ton pickup/ 31' Classic.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:56 AM   #20
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Bob and Steve,

Thanks for sticking with me on the Hensley bar questions. Between your experiences and suggestions, I think I'm going to stick with the 1000 lb. bars despite the extra tongue weight the slide-out adds.

I overlooked mentioning that for the first couple hundred miles traveled, I'm impressed with the sway elimination Geometry. On Rt. 80, there’s a steep downhill stretch with a sweeping curve at the bottom, then straight up hill. Like everyone else, I charge at the hills when it makes sense. In the past I found myself chopping into that curve while the trailer was pushing the rear end of the Excursion. Just add a tractor trailer passing at the same time and it is a recipe for disaster. With the Hensley, all the control problems were eliminated, plain and simple.

Originally, I thought that hitching up was going to be a big drawback, however after reading the installation instructions and understanding the occasional need to unwind the screw jacks to compensate for angle it makes sense.

Thanks again for the suggestions!

~Alan
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