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Old 07-11-2020, 12:44 AM   #1
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Hensley Hitch issue

Guys I need your advice!
After many years of planning, waiting, renting and dreaming, we purchased our first RV. We are now the proud owners of 2020 Globetrotter 30'.
We decided to have the best talked about hitch, "Hensley Hitch". Very expensive but safety first. Our dealer (RV One Tampa) didn’t want to install it, they have their own hitch, they tried to convince us to buy. For a fee, they delivered the Airstream to our driveway. Me and my son, read the installation manual several times, watched all the available installation videos online many times. And we installed it. Everything looked good and secure. So, we drove around our neighborhood very slow, then backed up in our driveway. Nothing crazy, no sharp turns, just normal driving. After lowering the trailers jack, I saw one of the struts bended (as per the photo). It looked bad. I immediately called Hensley, and Mark from the support team informed me that there are many reasons for this to happen, safety chains, too tight strut, sharp turn, etc. He agreed to send me new strut. I received the new strut today, and immediately started dismantling the damaged strut and found that the main hitch (orange part) is damaged (see photo) and both sides pins were bend. I called Mike and sent him some photos, and he suggested that the damage was cosmetic in nature and will not effect the integrity and the performance of the hitch. But, I was not comfortable towing a trailer with damaged hitch. I ordered a replacement for the damaged part (I have to pay a lot of shipping ).
Of course our travel plans cancelled. But we decided to be safe than sorry.
My question, did I make a mistake by purchasing Hensley Hitch? and did anyone on this forum owns Hensley hitch and had similar experience ? Share with me and others, please, your experience . Thanks
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Old 07-11-2020, 01:50 AM   #2
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I've got no experience with that hitch, but my fabrication experience tells me that hole the pin goes through didn't have enough material left for it to have any strength to begin with. I'm not surprised it tore out as that looks to be the weakest part.
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Old 07-11-2020, 05:02 AM   #3
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dralanir,

Welcome to Airforums and ouch what a first post.

I'm on the sidelines for this one but expect Hensley owners to chime in soon.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 07-11-2020, 05:16 AM   #4
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You are correct to be concerned, as that is not cosmetic damage. That affects the integrity and performance. Good move to replace it. A welding shop or auto body shop also could have repaired it. Consider that route and returning the replacement.

Clearly as you speculated, the hitch was not installed and set-up properly. The basic installed dimensions had to have been off to get that much tension and movement.

Like Gary, I'll sit this out for a bit as I don't have much experience with the Hensley.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:05 AM   #5
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My personal experience...
That happened to me after one month of ownership.(no head damage, just one bent strut bar)
I also self installed and made sure all measurements were spot on, chains & over center latches adjusted correctly.
I was backing, got the angle too sharp, Hensley had the replacement to us in one day. No charge.


A bent strut bar can't happen unless you have exceeded the range of motion in the head.

Lesson learned...15 Seasons of faultless use.

No, you did not make a mistake in choosing a PPP...👍

Bob
🇺🇸

I now use the 60* rule when backing-up...slowly.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:36 AM   #6
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I’m agree with Bob. I haven’t bent a strut but have stressed them and bent the pins. Jackknifing when backing is to be avoided. But the performance while towing is second to none. No sway. Wind, vertical rain, trucks flying by, no sway. I did a face time chat with Hensley after mine was dealer installed to get the install adjusted correctly.

I would send those pics to Hensley. They owe you a refund IMO for the part you ordered. But properly set up, it is a great hitch. I want the DW to feel confident driving and the sway from a passing truck would not help that. Safety is no accident. Hensley is part of our recipe for confidence and no sway.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:57 AM   #7
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Hensley Hitch issue

Hensley manual states when backing up do not angle in excess of 82 degrees so 60 should be no problem. I remove Hensley when trailer needs servicing at the very least use a placard so when service people move your trailer they are aware of limitation. Hensley hitches aren’t encountered often, I have spoken to service departments ‘ never heard of Hensley’ Need to leave Stinger if they don’t have one. Also Hensley is not bad to install follow well detailed manual.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:12 AM   #8
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Here we go.. I’m going to be that guy. (ProPride). There I said it. Now it’s out of the way.
Struts are a weak point in the Hensley “Original” design.
ProPride was founded on the Same basic design with a few major improvements.
#1 The most obvious is the adjustable hitch bar. This one is a no brained to me. Easy to adjust high height if you change you Tow Vehicle or setup.
#2 The ProPride Hitch replaces the Hensley strut design with a Yoke design. This Yoke attaches to both sides of the hitch head but is “one piece” instead of 2 struts. I believe this adds better “pull/push” control to the head. The yokes ablility to pivot is controlled by the yokes tail securely fastened to the frame of the trailer via the frame bracket.
I don’t think you could bend the yoke. I’ve never heard of it happening.

PS we also have a 2020 30’ GT also.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:21 AM   #9
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Many go with an Original not a Copy
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:26 AM   #10
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Hensley Hitch issue

Ditto. Have often gotten close to 90 degrees whilst backing with zero issues with my ProPride setup. It’s just a lot sturdier and if you really push it the yoke bracket will slip without damage.

Never liked the strut design bolted to the A-frame that the original Hensley manufacturing design has. Also a great fan of the adjustable stinger. I’m able to change TVs at will without shipping stingers back and forth.

OP, Sorry you are having problems.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:29 AM   #11
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Many go with an Original not a Copy
I’m camping and he’s not......
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:35 AM   #12
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Hensley Hitch issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
I’m camping and he’s not......


Hensley guaranteed for life of Original Owner, I think you just need to pay postage for replacement parts, if ever needed, same with yours?
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:36 AM   #13
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Hensley guaranteed for life of Original Owner, I think you just need to pay postage for replacement parts, if ever needed, same with yours?
Yep
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:43 AM   #14
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Greeting from the Florida Panhandle

I have extensive Hensley experience. I have had mine for 15 years. It has been on three Airstreams, and has towed over 180,000 miles. I have had the head unit replaced twice by Hensley under warranty. Once the the ball bearings came out of the head, and more recently the head locked up. These issues took place while on trips, once in Washington State and the second time in Montana on the way to Alaska. Both times, Hensley immediately shipped me a replacement head which we installed at the campsite.

I'm sorry to see that you sustained that much damage to a hitch that is pretty much bullet proof. I have closely examined your photos and think that a couple of things could have caused this catastrophic damage. First off the struts must be tight on both sides of the head. Another thing that can cause a severe issue in a tight turn with the safety chains OUTSIDE of the weight distribution bars.

I have seen instances in the past here on AirForums where the safety chain being run outside of the weight distribution bar has bent the strut in a tight backing turn. I have not seen it rip the pins from the head before though.

When you finally figure this thing out, please let us know as this is how we all learn.

Brian
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:46 AM   #15
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I have extensive Hensley experience. I have had mine for 15 years. It has been on three Airstreams, and has towed over 180,000 miles. I have had the head unit replaced twice by Hensley under warranty. Once the the ball bearings came out of the head, and more recently the head locked up. These issues took place while on trips, once in Washington State and the second time in Montana on the way to Alaska. Both times, Hensley immediately shipped me a replacement head which we installed at the campsite.

I'm sorry to see that you sustained that much damage to a hitch that is pretty much bullet proof. I have closely examined your photos and think that a couple of things could have caused this catastrophic damage. First off the struts must be tight on both sides of the head. Another thing that can cause a severe issue in a tight turn with the safety chains OUTSIDE of the weight distribution bars.

I have seen instances in the past here on AirForums where the safety chain being run outside of the weight distribution bar has bent the strut in a tight backing turn. I have not seen it rip the pins from the head before though.

When you finally figure this thing out, please let us know as this is how we all learn.

Brian
Thanks Brian for providing your wealth of Knowledge. 15 years is a lot of real world experience.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:48 AM   #16
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I don’t think you could bend the yoke. I’ve never heard of it happening.
It can and it has. I have the bent yoke hanging in a service bay at work.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:52 AM   #17
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It can and it has. I have the bent yoke hanging in a service bay at work.
Wowza! Sorry to “hijack”but How did you do it so I can avoid?
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:10 AM   #18
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Wowza! Sorry to “hijack”but How did you do it so I can avoid?


With your superior design and all those improvements over Hensley, don’t worry
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:15 AM   #19
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With your superior design and all those improvements over Hensley, don’t worry
Who the heck is this Guy? ^^^
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:22 AM   #20
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Here we go.. I’m going to be that guy. (ProPride). There I said it. Now it’s out of the way.
Struts are a weak point in the Hensley “Original” design.
ProPride was founded on the Same basic design with a few major improvements.
#1 The most obvious is the adjustable hitch bar. This one is a no brained to me. Easy to adjust high height if you change you Tow Vehicle or setup.
#2 The ProPride Hitch replaces the Hensley strut design with a Yoke design. This Yoke attaches to both sides of the hitch head but is “one piece” instead of 2 struts. I believe this adds better “pull/push” control to the head. The yokes ablility to pivot is controlled by the yokes tail securely fastened to the frame of the trailer via the frame bracket.
I don’t think you could bend the yoke. I’ve never heard of it happening.

PS we also have a 2020 30’ GT also.


I am responding to your post #8
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