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Hensley Hitch Repairs

Even though this hitch is built like a tank and weighs about 200 pounds all in, it can be damaged.

I bent a strut bar backing up a steep ramp.  By ‘steep ramp’, I mean a 10″ curb via upside-down wheel chock to get my curbside front tire off the ground so I could change Michelin LTX tire failure number three.

I was still able to tighten the struts, but at highway speed you can feel the hitch is not functioning at optimal performance.  Most likely from the ‘orange head’ (mine has been repainted ‘Metallic Pewter’ to match the tongue frame) being off-axis.  The 1/2″ pin bolts at either end also get bent, and I’ve learned even with a straight strut bar a bent pin will cause degradation in performance.

The damaged parts; strut bar and pins, are covered under the Hensley lifetime warranty and the Hensley warehouse in Romeo, Michigan is less than an hour drive from me.  So, decided to use this as an opportunity to spend some quiet time with my Dear Wife, sans the crumbsnatchers.

One shiny, new strut bar ready for installation.

Needed to buy some zerk fittings, as well. Those aren’t covered under warranty, but they hooked me up with a pair gratis.   While we’re talking zerk fittings, I’ve only two items on my Hensley Redesign Wishlist:

  1. Some kind of quick-release bolt that locks the hitchbox under the ‘orange head’ for backing up.  I’ve gotten used to ensuring extra backup space to allow for the orange head to settle to one side or the other, but it would be nice to be able to control which way the trailers going right from the rip.
  2. Better system for latching the spring bars in place. These little zerk fittings are what keep the spring bars from falling out of the hitch. I’ll explain, below.
Hensley zerk fittings: new and chewed by spring bar.

The new fitting on the left has a spring mounted ‘nub’ opposite of the zerk grease fitting.  That nub fits into the slot near the top of the spring bar where it fits into the hitch box sleeve.

1400# spring bar. The slot near the top is where the zerk fitting nub fits into. This keeps the spring bar in place.

The problem is screwing the zerk fitting in just the right amount so that the nub rides in the slot and keeps the spring bar from dropping out.

Underside of hitch box. You can see the nub sticking thru the sleeve. This has to be just the right amount to keep the spring bar in place. Looks like my sleeve wall is starting to thin out, too. That’s a warranty covered item.

If it’s not far enough into the sleeve space, you’ll drop a spring bar and that would be bad.  If it’s too far in, when you make a turn, the spring bar will basically shear the whole end of the zerk bolt off (as seen in used zerk fittings, above). Also bad.  Basically, the only way to set the right depth is to do it when the hitch is taken apart and cleaned.  This sleeve is usually packed with grease. Hensley recommends greasing at the zerks every 500 miles, till you see it coming out between the sleeve and the spring bar.  Read: lots of grease.

It’s not ‘set it and forget it’.  The zerk fittings always seem to work themselves out.  So, at some point, you’ll be unhitching the rig, and loosening the spring bar it’ll suddenly drop out on the sleeve end.  It’s underneath, so you really can’t get a view of it, and even if you could it’s full of road-grimed grease.  So, you basically have to slide the spring bar back up in there and then guesstimate on how much you need to tighten the zerk bolt in- and I’ve never guessed right because shortly after that readjustment I’m buying new zerk fittings.

Not a bid deal, just regular maintenance on great hitch system.

See You Down the Road.

 

 

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