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Old 09-24-2011, 06:43 AM   #1
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Check EVERYTHING On Your Hitch

While on their way to our September rally, our members had an accident the driver reported started as an uncontrollable sway and ended in this. The trailer was a 90's 31' towed by a new Nissan 1/2 ton truck using a Hensley hitch.

The only fortunate this is, no one was seriously hurt.
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #2
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Not Good..... good to hear everyone is fine.....
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:00 AM   #3
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Hitch

Do you know the cause yet?
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:35 AM   #4
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Wow. So glad everyone's OK. I'd be flippin' out!
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:59 AM   #5
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Holy Moly! That looks ugly! I'm glad everybody was ok, but would sure like to know what caused it.

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:12 AM   #6
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Glad everyone is allright but these type of accidents always fascinate me. That Airstream is banged up but in ONE piece. The solar panel, the AC unit, the propane tanks--all still attached. I have seen similar accidents with box/SOB trailers and they basically shatter and spread themselves about the highway in thousands of chunks of pressboard and wood. Much to be said about the construction techniques of Airstreams that after this incident, although banged up, it looks as though the trailer could be righted and towed away from the scene.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:05 AM   #7
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size does matter

Back to the eternal argument. I don't care what kind of hitch you use....if you try to tow a long heavy trailer with a short, light tow vehicle....regardless of the suspension and horsepower, that heavy trailer will want to take the lead somewhere along the line.....and it will!
I am so glad that no one was hurt by this accident.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:29 AM   #8
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Kind of a presumptive opinion before the facts, Melody. But does look like the hitch and/or the Hensley became separated from the TV. Will be interested to know what failed to cause the sway and loss of control.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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Actual Cause of Accident?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
While on their way to our September rally, our members had an accident the driver reported started as an uncontrollable sway and ended in this. The trailer was a 90's 31' towed by a new Nissan 1/2 ton truck using a Hensley hitch.

The only fortunate this is, no one was seriously hurt.
The title of the original post seems to imply that a hitch failure caused the accident. Is this true? Has an accident investigation pinpointed the actual cause of the accident?
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:57 AM   #10
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@Melody Ranch: Nissan half-ton would be a Titan, which starts above 4800 with a 140-inch wheelbase for the smallest 2wd and both figures go up from there depending on configuration. I've no idea if the truck had anything to do with it, but it doesn't seem like a small TV.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:19 AM   #11
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Yes, a premature assumption Melody. 1st the facts, then the conclusions.

It would be nice to view the accident report.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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@Melody Ranch: Nissan half-ton would be a Titan, which starts above 4800 with a 140-inch wheelbase for the smallest 2wd and both figures go up from there depending on configuration. I've no idea if the truck had anything to do with it, but it doesn't seem like a small TV.
This vehicle is hardly outside the choices of a good TV. A "tripping hazard" accident would have upset even a "big" TV given proper factors. Solo vehicle stability graph curve flattens out after 4k-lbs and 120" wheelbase.

The tail wags the dog, and TV size isn't a determinant by itself given thorough analysis (in which that TV might or might not be found a good choice). I've seen a 6k-lb portable generator overturn a 1T dually pickemup. At 45-mph.

I'm quite sorry for the owners. Glad for them, though, it wasn't cold, raining, lonely and far from services . . best of all was the presence of concerned acquaintances & friends.

.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Kind of a presumptive opinion before the facts, Melody. But does look like the hitch and/or the Hensley became separated from the TV. Will be interested to know what failed to cause the sway and loss of control.
I reviewed the image for a while and noted the following:
-WD bars still connected to A frame
-Hensley head disconnected from trailer ball socket
-Gentleman in safety vest seems to be wrestling with what seems to be the truck's hitch receiver
-There is no hitch receiver seen on the bottom of the truck
-trailer/truck are 180 degrees rotated

It would be interesting to see what component(s) failed.

It the hitch receiver failed, losing the rigid connection to the TV would create a nightmare.

Good thing no one was seriously hurt.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:54 AM   #14
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Accident reports are and can be a very valuable tool.

Some believe in them, some don't.

Usually, how a setup was rigged, with all the component specs, is adequate.

Then, usually, Physics jumps out.

Most, but not all, loss of control accidents, when towing an Airstream, is related to improper rigging.

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Old 09-24-2011, 11:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
The tail wags the dog, and TV size isn't a determinant by itself given thorough analysis (in which that TV might or might not be found a good choice).
But Hensley's claim to fame is that sway is impossible with their hitch, no matter what the tow vehicle is. I'd really like to know how this happened with what is supposed to be the safest hitch on the market connecting the two.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:17 PM   #16
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At this time, we only know this:

1. The driver pulled to the Right side of the road to let traffic pass, and then the sway started.

2. The driver stated the trailer came loose from the TV.

3. The trailer turned over on the curb side only. ( 1/4 roll)

4. The TV went over the guard rail, and turned over to the driver, road side. (3/4 roll)

5. The receiver was ripped out from under the truck, and the center section was still attached to the drawbar.

6. The Hensley center section of the hitch was loose from the trailer ball hitch.

7. The Hensley bars that keep the head straight were also ripped loose from the trailer tongue.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:20 PM   #17
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:45 PM   #18
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Load equalizing hitch platforms and/or receivers are bolted to the tow vehicle.

Welding went out many years ago.

I would suggest that the loss of control was possibly due to the platform coming loose from the tow vehicles frame.

Andy
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:05 PM   #19
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Well that scares the beans out of me! We tow our 23' with a 2010 Titan HP and WB never felt like its been an issue and all of the towing parameters are well within spec. We also tow with a Propride 3P.

Seeing these pics jarred my memory to a post I'd seen a while back on the Titan

http://www.clubtitan.org/forums/show...ght=2010+hitch

Wonder if something like that happened in this case? spooks me since we're getting ready to head over to ABQ next week.....
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:06 PM   #20
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Blow up the picture and you will see that the lateral support welds on the truck hitch have been ripped. Was this the cause or result, it will have to be determined.
Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Load equalizing hitch platforms and/or receivers are bolted to the tow vehicle.

Welding went out many years ago.

I would suggest that the loss of control was possibly due to the platform coming loose from the tow vehicles frame.

Andy
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