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Old 09-03-2012, 09:17 PM   #1
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Hensley Arrow Hooking up

Any useful techniques for hitching up the Hensley Arrow. It tows great but it tries my patience when hitching up.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:20 PM   #2
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I cheat. I have a wireless magnet mount camera which I put right on the stinger and have a straight on view of the end of the stinger going into the hitch box. I only have to get out of the truck once, usually, for a final tweak of the tongue jack.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
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Practice, practice, practice. I too was somewhat frustrated at first. Now I can hitch in usually less than 5 minutes anywhere. It'll come, give it some time.

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Old 09-04-2012, 05:01 AM   #4
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We too experienced our share of frustration with the hook-up. A few years ago, we purchased a magnetic camera to use, plus a piece of 4' PVC on the ground as a guide. These two items usually make for a quick hook-up. Good luck!
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:51 AM   #5
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:19 AM   #6
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Cameras work well; however, a cheaper option might be a pair of "Hitchin Sticks" to allow a good alignment without getting out of your tow vehicle. Then utilizing a "Tongue Twister" will allow for minor adjustments right and left on the trailer tongue using your drill motor.
GOOGLE both the "Hitchin Sticks" and "Tongue Twister" for more information.
If you don't have a Dewalt drill motor to help in quickly adjusting your spring bars you'll find that most helpful along with a socket that will fit both the spring bar and "Tongue Twister".
NOTE: Most importantly; don't be distracted by others when hooking up. Do it alone and if others wish to chat, stop and chat, then get back to the task at hand by yourself. There's enough to check and double check without being distracted. It's too important.
It will all seem second nature after a while.
Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:25 AM   #7
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I don't have the Hensley, but do have a ProPride, and it's usually pretty easy. However, we just got back from a trip to CO, and UT, and one instance at Mesa Verde Nat. Park campground where the tow vehicle was slanted up hill and the trailer level was a real problem.

It required that I disconnect the bars to get the hitch head to the proper angle to hitch up.

I'm working on a solution/procedure that will help in this instance.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Posts #5 and #6 tell the story I was going to add. (I even posted in the #5 link.) We love our HAHA and hook up in less than five minutes after only one long season (26,000 miles; 35 states) of lots of camping.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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I have tried various methods over the few years that we have owned the Hensley, and finally come up with a combination of things that work well for me.

(1) swift hitch back up camera installed on the stinger.

(2) 4' long bright yellow fibreglass pole that I lay on the ground leading to the
Hensley socket. I follow it using the camera.

(3) A one foot long dummy wooden bar that I temporarily insert into the Hensley - it allows me to very clearly see any angle discrepencies between the stinger and the hitch box as I approach. I then adjust with the screw jacks.

(4) Sidewinder horizontal screw jack from Hensley to move the front of the trailer from side to side adjustment if needed. I welded angle irons on each side to give it a more stable base. (Mainly because I once buggered it up by trying too hard to get the stinger in and tipped it over and bent the screw!)

(5) I prefer to do the hook up completely on my own with aid of the above devices. Every time someone is trying to help me - even my good lady wife (!) it seems to take much longer!

(6) in the odd time when the stinger goes mostly in but just hangs up for the last 1/2" on the steel wedges on the stinger, I can usually just use the overcentre toggles on the Hensley and pull it in.

(7) I usually stop when I see from the camera that the stinger is part way into the box and I walk back to see it it looks like any last minute up/down or side/side adjustment might be beneficial

Like may others I did have quite a few frustrations the first year we owned the hitch but generally have no problems at all now.


Brian.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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Great method, Brian. How's that back of yours? Feeling better?
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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All the above and if you have to unhitch on a hill or angled to the TV, leave the hitch head right where it is so you can back into it. If you move it or straighten it, it can introduce a whole new set of dynamics.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Otter View Post
Great method, Brian. How's that back of yours? Feeling better?
Hi Greg,

I still get pretty regular backaches even a year after the fractured vertebrae, but I do still feel that slowly, slowly, things are improving.

The good thing is that riding the bike doesn't bother it at all! In fact I just got back from a few days ride with a chum to visit Harrisburg, Gettysburg and
Harper's Ferry. Very enjoyable!

Cheers ....... Brian.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:37 AM   #13
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Ouch. It's a bummer getting old, too. Glad you're back in the saddle.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I have tried various methods over the few years that we have owned the Hensley, and finally come up with a combination of things that work well for me.

(1) swift hitch back up camera installed on the stinger.

(2) 4' long bright yellow fibreglass pole that I lay on the ground leading to the
Hensley socket. I follow it using the camera.

(3) A one foot long dummy wooden bar that I temporarily insert into the Hensley - it allows me to very clearly see any angle discrepencies between the stinger and the hitch box as I approach. I then adjust with the screw jacks.

(4) Sidewinder horizontal screw jack from Hensley to move the front of the trailer from side to side adjustment if needed. I welded angle irons on each side to give it a more stable base. (Mainly because I once buggered it up by trying too hard to get the stinger in and tipped it over and bent the screw!)

(5) I prefer to do the hook up completely on my own with aid of the above devices. Every time someone is trying to help me - even my good lady wife (!) it seems to take much longer!

(6) in the odd time when the stinger goes mostly in but just hangs up for the last 1/2" on the steel wedges on the stinger, I can usually just use the overcentre toggles on the Hensley and pull it in.

(7) I usually stop when I see from the camera that the stinger is part way into the box and I walk back to see it it looks like any last minute up/down or side/side adjustment might be beneficial

Like may others I did have quite a few frustrations the first year we owned the hitch but generally have no problems at all now.


Brian.
Brian has got it right - the key lesson is in his first few points - whether you have the same gear or not - is that the stinger must be exactly square on to the hitch head. Without the gear this means getting comfortable with using the mirrors and visual markers on the trailer - and getting out at least 3 times (starting about 15' out) before actually trying to hook-up - just to make sure that the stinger is headed exactly in the right direction.

There are a couple of other things that I have found consistently helpful:
- one is making sure your spring bars are fully extended before hooking up - others will tell you (and the instructions emphasize) that the head must be adjusted to be at the same angle as the stinger before entry - I found this to be kind of a pain in the butt to do - and got in the practice of simply fully extending the bars - which seems to work just fine - and with a lot less fuss.

- another is the use of WD40 - a squirt on all 4 sides of the stinger's wedge and all 4 sides of the end of the stinger does wonders in avoiding jamming.

The last piece of advice that I have is for the one scenario that gives me a consistent challenge - that is when the trailer has been backed up a slope but the tow vehicle is either level or actually backing down a slope (i.e. the trailer and vehicle are forming a "V" before hooking up). Depending on the severity of that angle there is a really strong possibility of jamming - and a lot of frustration. If you find yourself in this situation what works is to raise the rear of the tow vehicle with a couple of longer 2X6 boards (or something equivalent). They need to be placed to get the rear wheels up just before stinger enters the hitch head - and then long enough to allow for the hook-up to be completed. This little trick also works if you find yourself on really rough terrain and the stinger is twisted to the hitch head - just use one board to help bring them back into line with each other. By the way - these two problems only ever happen in the rain or in heavy mosquito country.


Jay
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:58 AM   #15
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I find these two comments to so true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZoominC6 View Post
NOTE: Most importantly; don't be distracted by others when hooking up. Do it alone and if others wish to chat, stop and chat, then get back to the task at hand by yourself. There's enough to check and double check without being distracted.
I dont' know about you but it seems that just as I'm about to go through the process of hooking things up, someone comes by and wants to talk. Why is that?

Quote:
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By the way - problems only ever happen in the rain or in heavy mosquito country.
I couple of years ago my wife and I were on a five week trip. During which we hitched and unhitched the AS countless times. And the only time I had issue was at Diamond Lake, Oregon. And the mosquitos were terrible as we were trying leave in the early AM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk43 View Post
Any useful techniques for hitching up the Hensley Arrow. It tows great but it tries my patience when hitching up.
Lots of good suggestions here. Hooking up with a Hensley takes a bit of practice. We've had one for the last 7+ years hooking to our Silverado with a full window door on our topper (no tailgate to mess with).

Earlier I used two magnetic bases with a 3' threaded rod screwed into each (orange tape at the top of the rods). One I put on top of the stinger and the other on top of the orange HA receiver. I lined both up in the center rearview mirror and backed into alignment. A wooden stick with the proper reciever height made sure the trailer was at the right height to accept the stinger. Then, one time out of the truck at the final moment made sure everything was ready to connect.

Now I have learned to judge the side to side alignment by watching the topper door frame sides and how they line up with the propane tank cover. The marked stick for the proper receiver height makes sure all is ready for action. I also make sure the receiver is in the center position.

Many times now I am surprised when I get out for the final check and find myself 95% engaged.

LUBRICATE the stinger and receiver each event to simplify hookup and disengagement.

When unhooking I make sure the weight distribution bars are fully extended and then use the jack to move the trailer just a little until I detect movement where the stinger engages. Then, after making sure again everything is unhooked, pull the TV forward for an uneventful release.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomp1937 View Post
A wooden stick with the proper reciever height made sure the trailer was at the right height to accept the stinger. ....... The marked stick for the proper receiver height makes sure all is ready for action.
Can you explain the "wooden stick" a little more. I'm sorry, I don't quite understand. Are you using a stick to mark the height of the reciver when you disconnect?
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:07 AM   #18
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Our "stick" is a piece of scrap wood with the vertical hitching distance from ground to receiver marked on it with paint and a sharpie.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:38 PM   #19
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