Hensley Arrow Hitch System - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-15-2006, 10:57 AM   #1
Chris Daniel
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I recently sold my 30' Sunnybrook and now have only my 17' 2005 Caista SD. On the Sunnybrook I had a Hensley Arrow Towing System and was constantly asked "what is that"? or "did you really pay #$%^ for that hunk of metal"? The one question that was asked least of all was "does it work"? I explained what it was all over the USA. Yes I paid a LOT of money for it. Did it work? Can't say it did or did'nt to be honest. Would I buy another? NO WAY! Of course with a 17' with sway control I don't need it but if I were to go back to a larger RV that wasn't a 5th wheel I would not spend that much money on one. You may differ in thought and I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:08 AM   #2
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Chris... in addition to the Bigfoot, I have a 34' Airstream that I tow using a Reese dual-cam setup. I thoruoughly investigated the Hensley after having some signficant issues with my Excursion/Airstream setup, and it's an excellent hitch setup.

I've found that the causes of sway are many and most have nothing to do with the hitch, once it's properly set up for the specific trailer/tow vehicle combo. Generally sway causes are tire underinflation for the load (both on the tow vehicle and the towed trailer); load distribution issues; suspension problems with the tow vehicle; or a combination of the three. The dynamics of trailer towing change with each combination of tow vehicle/trailer. There are many instances of a trailer owner having a horrible experience with one combo only to have no problems at all with the same trailer towed behind the next tow vehicle.

The Hensley's engineering is excellent, and works as advertised, but often it's used as a band-aid to mask other problems that can be isolated and fixed using other measures that actually fix the problem rather than mask the symptoms.

It's been my experience that sway control should be added as an extra margin of safety AFTER all of the issues have been addressed rather than as an add-on that masks the true causes.


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Old 08-16-2006, 12:04 AM   #3
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The Henseley Arrow is not a sway control, per se -- Rather it is a clever engineering application of levers to effectively change a ball hitch into a 5W hitch by moving the effective pivot point from the ball behind the bumper to a point much closer to the rear axle -- This doesn't eliminate sway, regardless of what the company says, but it does signifcantly reduce the effects of sway on the handling of the tow vehicle.

It would indeed be overkill on a typical egg, but is a very useful, albeit expensive, piece of hardware for towing large trailers with a ball hitch.

OTOH, don't place too much faith in the typical friction sway control as they are not reliable on slippery surfaces and may be worse than nothing under the right conditions (carefully read the manf instructions regarding slippery surfaces...).

After an actual 5W design, a Henseley Arrow and a PullRite hitch, the DualCam or the Equal-Izer sway control hitches are a good thing, but both require a weight-distributing hitch as a base.
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:22 AM   #4
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I have PullRites on both my pickup and diesel Jimmy.

In one of my former lives when I had occasion to make frequent treks from Bremerton, WA to San Diego, CA and back, I towed an Avion 26 with a Chevy 4X4. I bought the PullRite initially so I could back into tight places much easier due to the increased swing angle. This ability kept me out of trouble numerous times.

However, I also found that my end of the day fatigue was much less with the PullRite.

After I bought the Jimmy, I found it was a terrible tow vehicle when connected to the Avion. One short trip down the Oregon coast a ways was pretty convincing. I almost turned around after the first hour or so. This was with a Reece WDH rated for the load, but with no frictional sway control.

Later in another former life, I towed a small tandem axle cargo trailer with the Jimmy, selling/delivering products from our farm. It worked fine enough. However I again wished I had the maneuverability of the PullRite, so installed one on the Jimmy.

I found the same end of day fatigue factor again. Plus, the Jimmy now has become my favorite tow vehicle for the Avion as well as the Scamp.

Now that I don't need to back into tight places, and I don't need to tow so many miles in a day, would I spend the big bucks again? For the pickup, probably not. For the Jimmy, yes. If I were to only tow the Scamp with the Jimmy, probably not.

Would I go for a PullRite again? With the pickup you lose the spare tire location under the box, so the Hensley would give you back your original spare tire mounting. With the Jimmy, the PullRite mounts under the fuel tank. The PullRite is quite a bit heavier and looks interesting to some and ugly to others. However it allows you to maneuver in what would be a jack-knifed position with other hitches. So I don't know which way I would go, if I were to start over.
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Old 08-17-2006, 11:14 AM   #5
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I'm with Loren. I had a really large tag along and installed a pull rite on a BFT (Big Ford Truck) and it pulled like a 5th wheel, backed as she described and was great.

The pull rite swivels right behind the differential and has rails at the back of the truck with bearings that ride on the rails.

I think I paid $1500 for that hitch and it was worth every cent for that large trailer.

In my opinion, I think it is way too much of a deal and extreme overkill for pulling an egg.
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