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Old 02-03-2006, 11:16 AM   #1
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2005 31' Classic
Castalain Springs , Tennessee
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 205
Hitching up with a Hensley

Have ordered a HA and while waiting for delivery thought I would ask about the hitching process. We have moved from a motorhome to our new 31' Classic and have never done any towing before. Will be towing with a F250 crew cab short bed, 6.0PSD. From reading posts it sounds like the Hensley might be more difficult than others to hook up to, is this in fact so? Any tips that would make the process easier would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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1977 27' Overlander
1954 25' Cruiser
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No big deal...

Not difficult - just different. We got the hitch helper (a very handy gadget) and have had no trouble. You still back up to the trailer and try to line up the tow bar with the hitch(mounted to the trailer). But you have to line up vertically as well as horizontally.
Other than that - no big deal.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:32 PM   #3
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1992 21' Sovereign
Oakland , California
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Hensley Help

I welded a magnet on the end of 2 pieces of 36-inch threaded rod. On top of each rod I put a piece of red tape as a flag. One rod goes on the 'stinger' and the other on the Hensley. When backing up, just line up the two flags. When the 'stinger' is close, get out and check the height and make up or down adustments with your jack. I usually hit it dead on the first shot. One other trick is that, once the 'stinger' is inserted, I leave my SUV in reverse while I complete the Hensley hookup - this puts a little pressure on the connection which makes locking the Hensley much easier.

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Old 02-03-2006, 02:04 PM   #4
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hi greggh and welcome to hensley ford airstreamin'

search the archives.....there are several long threads on using the hensley, backing, hitching, load bars, helpful tips and so on....

also look waaayyyyyyyyyy down at the bottom of any hensley thread....and there will be 5 more similar threads

the magnet/stick/flag thinggies are neat......and can be purchased ready made....for about 20-30$.... but after a while you learn backing landmarks without them, or mirrors, which many use.

the hitch helper from hensley is a great idea but doesn't solve the main issue of hooking up...vertical positioning of receiver, bar, and hitch....horizontial positioning is pretty easy over time...

i used it (h.helper) once and put it back in the may not be stout enough to support the tongue weight on a 31 safely (mine started to bow/sag), while using it the trailer can move sideways.....while camping! and it is lower than the standard jack stand which will be a problem with the 250 ford......and it limits your ability to level the trailer if needed to go higher at front....and it sinks into tarmac, sand, grass easily, and doesn't stablize load like the usual jack stands.....even with wood's not as stable...skip it.

while i understand the logic,
sure can't advise or support leaving the truck in any gear, with the engine running, while hitching........
waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many bad things can happen......

just remember to USE THE PARKING BRAKE every time, for every manuver....

good luck with the h.a.h.a. it's great.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:42 PM   #5
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If member DavidZ71 does not see this thread, PM him. He has a HA, is a good guy, and will be, in my estimation of him, willing to help you.

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Old 02-03-2006, 07:58 PM   #6
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
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Thanks Tom. Hope the family is doing well and ready for some camping.
Hi Gregg, I love my Hensley but it does have a few quirks you have to figure out when it comes to hitching. Never make the mistake of trying to unhitch after backing your trailer and leaving it at ANY angle other than pretty much straight. Ask me how I know? I backed my '86 Sovereign up the driveway and angled over some so that I could unhitch and park my truck for a straight shot down the driveway. Big mistake. I had problems unhitching and when I attempted to rehitch I had all kinds of problems. So, always unhitch in a straight line for easier disengagement and approach when you want to hook up again.

Pay close attention to the written instructions provided and also visit the Hensley site on the internet for additional tips for hitching up. Now, having said that, here is what I have found works for me:

1. Block the trailer tires so that the trailer will not roll backwards when you hook up. This is extremely important! Place the stinger (shank) into the receiver and pin it in place with the receiver pin.
2. Back the vehicle up until you are a little less than a foot away from the Hensley.
3. Observe the angle of the stinger from the side.
4. Remove the pin and stinger from the vehicle receiver and lock it in place with a camming action on the Hensley with the "tire tool looking device" provided. Place the provided pins in place to prevent the bars from unlocking (I'm doing this without looking at the manual for the correct names of parts so if I confuse you then let me know and I will get the manual for the part names).
5. Back the vehicle up until the stinger is less than an inch away from the opening of the receiver on your vehicle. Observe the angle of the stinger now as compared to what you remember you had when it was installed in the receiver.
6. You will find that the spring bar "posts" on either side can be adjusted by hand, socket wrench, speed wrench, etc. to change the angle of the stinger up or down. You will also find that adjusting one side over another will change the angle from side to side.
7. Use your power jack on the tongue of the trailer along with adjustments noted in step 6 above so that all you have to do is back the vehicle up and the stinger will slide right in. A little Reese ball lube helps the stinger slide right in. If you find some binding, make a few adjustments with either the power jack or the spring bar "posts". I have an Enkay Rock Tamer mudflap system which stays on the stinger all the time so it allows me to rock the stinger to check for precise alignment.
8. A few times I have left my truck in Reverse and made adjustments but as posted by another individual, I am a little leary of this. Practice has helped me get it right most of the time without that technique.
9. Place the receiver hitch pin in place, remove the tire chocks (may have to pull slightly forward to relieve any pressure on the tires) and pull forward.
10. Double check locking pins on receiver and on the Hensley then use a "speed wrench" to tighten the spring bar "posts" equally on both sides. Don't over do it.

You should be ready to travel provided you have hooked up the electrical umbelical cord, breakaway switch and checked all turn signals, brakes, etc.

Hope this helps.

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Old 02-03-2006, 10:37 PM   #7
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1996 30' Excella
Bowmanville , Ontario
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The more you hear from us the more you will probably be confused until you practice for yourself. I have a 30' Classic and use the hitch helper, it is harder to hookup without it, mine has never bent. The flag trick is something that would help, I haven't done that yet. I do not remove the drop bar from the truck receiver before sliding the drop bar into the Hensley. I do leave the truck in reverse until I lock the drop bar to the over-center latches( I have a friction type lock that goes between the tires so the trailer stays put). When you want to un-hook, make sure your spring bars are loose so when you kick them with your foot, they move freely, this releases the pressure on the drop bar so the drop bar comes out of the Hensley easily. It usually takes me about 10 minutes to align and hookup. Have fun, I would not be without this hitch, I love it.
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Old 02-04-2006, 07:17 PM   #8
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2005 31' Classic
Castalain Springs , Tennessee
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 205
Thanks for responses

Thanks for the responses. Will take the advice and put it to use when the hitch arrives and is installed.
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