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Hensley Hitch Jaw Problem Follow-Up


mysticmd
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Hi All - some months (2-3?) back while trying to travel, I posted a Help! call out to our knowledgeable and helpful Escapees as we sat with the jaws not wanting to close around the king pin of our Hensley Air Ride. We had put a call into Customer Service (24/7) - the guy happened to be camping and out of connectivity.  I yelled on Facebook and they got a hold of him.     When he did finally call us, he told us to just smack it with a hammer and he'd warranty it if it broke.  It rectified the immediate problem and we traveled the following day. 

The follow up is: Hensley is saying the' teflon paint has been gunking up', so we have to ship the head back to them (at our expense, even though under warranty because when you purchase the lovely Hensley Air Ride Hitch apparently some paperwork states you are responsible for shipping at all times!), and they will ship a non-teflon head back.  We are very skeptical considering the sloppiness of the parts; even after my husband went over and over with Hensley and enumerated the various parts that were not meshing together, there was no acknowledgement by Hensley whatsoever other than a paint issue.  We do not have the new head yet, and I will post another follow up as time and usage ticks by, but I imagine we'll be heading to a machine shop.  I hope I have to retract these words and later post the hitch is working flawlessly.  Regards and happy, safe trails..... Mary

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2 hours ago, mysticmd said:

Regards and happy, safe trails..... Mary

Thank you for taking the time to come back and report to everyone! It is very helpful to the forum members when we get to hear the complete story and even more so if the reports come out as the story unfolds. We will be watching for what happens next.

Do have a very Merry Christmas and don't let any of these problems lessen the joyous season!

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I remember that.  I chimed in on that topic as I recall.  Also I recall going to the Mfg plant on my way back to Canada, spoke to Dave, the then boss of the assembly plant and he told me the holes were either off center or too small for the pin with the spring to engage.  They replaced the whole head, no charge....I was on site so no shipping charges.

Dave was the previous owner of the Hensley outfit and was due to retire within a year or 2.

Another reason the jaws may not lock is the space the jaws wrap around is shorter on some trailers than others.  Example, my Travel Supreme has that problem.  Using a Teflon disc is not possible, it prevents the jaws from locking.  Anything thinner than the stock one would get chewed up between the 2 faces of the hitch and trailer.

Teflon paint seems lame to me.

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The Hensley plant is only a final assembly facility.  

The parts are fabricated elsewhere in a number of locations then shipped to the main plant or assembly.  My recollection was of a number of pallets, each one having a number of the same part on it. 

Unless the components are dry tested before shipping out, it is possible to not catch such a problem

.

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With our old Carrilite and MorRyde pin box, we used a teflon plate.  Actually, it was one that David Dixon gave us.  When we went to pick up the DRV, I took the plate with us.  Long story short, with the plate on the DRV MorRyde pin box, it would "High Hitch" us.  Same Trailer Saver Binkley hitch head, just a different pin.  What surprised me was that both hitch king pins were Morryde products, but had a different height dimension where the jaws wrap.

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2 hours ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

With our old Carrilite and MorRyde pin box, we used a teflon plate.  Actually, it was one that David Dixon gave us.  When we went to pick up the DRV, I took the plate with us.  Long story short, with the plate on the DRV MorRyde pin box, it would "High Hitch" us.  Same Trailer Saver Binkley hitch head, just a different pin.  What surprised me was that both hitch king pins were Morryde products, but had a different height dimension where the jaws wrap.

Exact same happened to us. Grease now. No disc. Liked disc better! 

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At the suggestion of Hensley, plate was removed and measured - we were told that was the correct plate.  The plate is too sloppy and doesn't stay in its little grooves.  On one end it has slight tapers and it moves to one side and gets hung up.   It's been greased religiously.  The jaws go completely around the pin, just refuse to close.    Only suggestion Hensley had was :  Hit it with a hammer, we'll warranty it.   Now we find any warranty work means the transport to and from is on us.    Husband has the head (100 pounds)  crated up - took him many hours to custom make this wooden box with handles for transport.   He still hasn't decided whether because of transport costs, if we'll wind up taking it to a machine shop. There is no 'Teflon gunk" as Hensley is offering as their problem.    Obviously, not happy with Hensley.   I've been forwarding all your commentary to husband, thank you.   Mary

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35 minutes ago, rdickinson said:

may have a fix.

Hi Roger, oh, yea, it is the same 'mysticmd' yelling help, we need help now; another time we were at the Virginia International Racetrack and power at box, no power inside, or some such and again , a bunch of nice folks jumped in and came up with the inverter diagnoses, which was correct.       You are correct, this is the same 'jaws won't close' issue. - Looking forward to your next reply.  - Mary

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 OK, here's my take on things, first off the Hensley plant is on the final assembler of parts which come in from other fabricators.  They arrive banded on pallets.  So don't go too crazy on packaging the head if you ship it back....may be to late for that but the shippers won't use the handles.  They use forklifts, pallet jacks or fridge dollies.

I'm going to have to bring up the schematic of the hitch to provide the correct description of the parts but this will do in the meantime.

Another thing is we need to get Randy A and his buddy Schlord, I think Charlie is his name.  They are whizbangs at this and will be able to fine tune this scheme as they are both very familiar with the issues I had with mine last year.

If this thing doesn't get shipped back to the plant and you go to a machine shop, check with Hensley to see if that voids any warranty and explain this idea to them and see if they sign on.  Hopefully Randy and Charlie will fine tune it if needed before you call the plant.

My recollection is the pin with the spring which LOCKS the jaws in place is sticking IN when it goes in and refuses to go IN with the normal spring pressure.  You then have to hit the handle end of the spring loaded pin to drive it into the hole on the passengers side of the hitch.  Even then there is not a lot of bearing surface to prevent the pin from popping out.

To release the jaws, something needs to hold onto the Drivers end of the pin then be hit with a hammer to get it to pull out of the hole. 

Simply put, I'd be inclined to weld the hole shut, buff off both sides of the weld and re-drill the hole where is should be.. and it won't be much..  Easy for me to say, I know but the  two parts, the pin assembly and what it goes into  may have been made by 2 different fabricators.  Dave at the plant normally checks the alignment but may have overlooked yours and mine.  I clearly remember our discussion.  Never mind the Hensley people at head office, look up the plant phone # and speak to Dave directly, if he is still there.  Explain this scheme to him and tell him this is the same problem we dealt with  the Volvo truck from Canada with the Smart on the back...hopefully he will recall. 

I don't think drilling a larger hole is a good idea, there may be too much slop. 

I also don't think it is a good idea to chamfer or bevel slightly the end of the pin that goes into the hole.  That would reduce an already small bearing surface of the pin in the hole.

Randy and Charlie as I said earlier know this hitch.  Charlie made an aluminum wedge shaped block to drop in, pointy side down behind the  mechanism to hold it in place...it would prevent the jaws from coming unlocked.  This is a bit fuzzy as it was some time ago.  When we had the last go round with this issue, I asked them within the topic to chime in but they didn't.  Hopefully they will this time.  If not, I'll e-mail Randy directly and see if he can respond and perhaps Charlie can provide some pics.

I'll watch this topic and have it send notifications to me.

I'm sure this will fix the problem of the sticking pin and Charlie's wedge shaped block will keep things together.

Let me know.

Regards

Roger

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This makes me wonder if anyone at Hensley is doing any quality checks on the parts they are getting in from suppliers.  I would almost bet not.  Something like this happened to  my SIL with a major part from a highly ranked supplier from a speed shop supplier.  He is a little anal so he immediatly checked the parts for correctness and it was wrong. No problem, the company paid for the shipping return and sent another.  I was there when UPS delivered the 4th one on a Sat. Sure enough still not right. He calls and happens to get the owner who is obviously suspecious but courteous and says he will go out an pull one himself.   About an hour and a half later he called back and was apologizing profussly.  It seems every one on his shelves was wrong. They were brand new and most people unlike my SIL would have just installed it and maybe never had a problem.  I had a similalr deal on 2 flywheels years ago except I made the mistake of installing the first 2 so I had the labor to eat on 2 of them.

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3 hours ago, rdickinson said:

 OK, here's my take on things, first off the Hensley plant is on the final assembler of parts which come in from other fabricators.  They arrive banded on pallets.  So don't go too crazy on packaging the head if you ship it back....may be to late for that but the shippers won't use the handles.  They use forklifts, pallet jacks or fridge dollies.

I'm going to have to bring up the schematic of the hitch to provide the correct description of the parts but this will do in the meantime.

Another thing is we need to get Randy A and his buddy Schlord, I think Charlie is his name.  They are whizbangs at this and will be able to fine tune this scheme as they are both very familiar with the issues I had with mine last year.

If this thing doesn't get shipped back to the plant and you go to a machine shop, check with Hensley to see if that voids any warranty and explain this idea to them and see if they sign on.  Hopefully Randy and Charlie will fine tune it if needed before you call the plant.

My recollection is the pin with the spring which LOCKS the jaws in place is sticking IN when it goes in and refuses to go IN with the normal spring pressure.  You then have to hit the handle end of the spring loaded pin to drive it into the hole on the passengers side of the hitch.  Even then there is not a lot of bearing surface to prevent the pin from popping out.

To release the jaws, something needs to hold onto the Drivers end of the pin then be hit with a hammer to get it to pull out of the hole. 

Simply put, I'd be inclined to weld the hole shut, buff off both sides of the weld and re-drill the hole where is should be.. and it won't be much..  Easy for me to say, I know but the  two parts, the pin assembly and what it goes into  may have been made by 2 different fabricators.  Dave at the plant normally checks the alignment but may have overlooked yours and mine.  I clearly remember our discussion.  Never mind the Hensley people at head office, look up the plant phone # and speak to Dave directly, if he is still there.  Explain this scheme to him and tell him this is the same problem we dealt with  the Volvo truck from Canada with the Smart on the back...hopefully he will recall. 

I don't think drilling a larger hole is a good idea, there may be too much slop. 

I also don't think it is a good idea to chamfer or bevel slightly the end of the pin that goes into the hole.  That would reduce an already small bearing surface of the pin in the hole.

Randy and Charlie as I said earlier know this hitch.  Charlie made an aluminum wedge shaped block to drop in, pointy side down behind the  mechanism to hold it in place...it would prevent the jaws from coming unlocked.  This is a bit fuzzy as it was some time ago.  When we had the last go round with this issue, I asked them within the topic to chime in but they didn't.  Hopefully they will this time.  If not, I'll e-mail Randy directly and see if he can respond and perhaps Charlie can provide some pics.

I'll watch this topic and have it send notifications to me.

I'm sure this will fix the problem of the sticking pin and Charlie's wedge shaped block will keep things together.

Let me know.

Regards

Roger

Dear Roger, I read your last reply to Kevin and he said he is sorry he did not take a picture of the underside before he shipped because he said the one picture would have explained everything.  I now have my husband next to me and he is going to dictate:

For lack of a better term, let's call the sliding bar 'the lock'.  What happens is when you release the lock it moves forward say, half an inch, up to the back of the jaws; when you back under the king pin, the jaws wrap around the king pin as they should but the lock is hung up on the powder coating of the jaw or a burr on the jaw, which pushes the bar back.  Oh, by the way, Hensley is aware of the situation with the powder coating and/or burr on the back side of the jaws; compounding that problem, way too much side-to-side play between the channel and the locking bar; hence, most likely the head is going back to Hensley to not void my warranty which still has 18 months on it.

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OK, your initial explanation in post 1 sounded like a different problem from what we discussed some months ago.

Regardless, I'd still like Randy and Charlie to post some pics of the wedge shaped block Charlie made and its position when in place.

There is another potential issue with the hitch, it has no grease fittings in or on the main pivot.  The big pin that goes from side to side.  They don't plan to make that modification sooo, you need to make sure to keep it lubed.  It's not easy to get lube in there so a spray can with a straw on the nozzle will do the trick.  Dave at the plant said any type of lube would work.  If you don't keep it lubed, it will wear the hole the pivot pin goes thru into an oblong or oval and you will get "piston slap" developing.  My first one had it and I check others I come into contact with and let the owners know.

An owner put in grease fittings and Hensley voided the warranty.

While it's back there have them go thru it with a fine tooth comb for other issues.

R

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Roger and Mystic, This is sclord2002....Charlie Lord.  i am sorry I hadn't seen this post earlier. I follow the HDT forum but seldom follow other groups.  The Binkley heads are good hitch heads and pretty robust but can be boogers if the parts are not manufactured/machined properly.  It sounds as if there is a manufacturing/assembly problem with your hitch head, from what you have said of the conversation with Hensley.  I hope they take care of your issues.  Once you hitch head is properly fixed, periodic lubrication and inspection are all you are likely to need for a long time.

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I can't post pix at this time... and husband kicking himself for NOT taking pictures first, but it is crated to go back.  His first estimate going "Ground" - the cheapest/slowest -- $550 ONE way for 100 pounds..... so you know that isn't going to happen.  We are trying to find a trucker around here headed up that way, but .... we'll see.  When it gets uncrated, I'll have him take appropriate pix and will definitely post - should have done that up front, hmmm.  We are not happy with Hensley at this time..... not their product, not their 'customer care'.

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Hi Charlie - thanks for responding.

We can't afford to ship the head back for warranty work; in my mind, there is no warranty on Hensley hitches unless you are in the area and can take a layover while they do their warranty work.  If we do some local machining, which is the way to go in my mind, we void the warranty - oh, yea, there basically is no warranty!

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If Hensley won't fix your hitch head at no charge to you (including shipping) then I think you are right about not having any warranty. You say they found the same problem on other heads from their stock, so it seems that they should step up to the plate and take care of their customers. Sometimes it costs vendors money to fix problems but the ones I want to deal with are the ones who accept responsibility, fix the problems and save their reputations. I would be inclined to fix the head myself and chalk up doing business with Hensley as a mistake. Sorry, but that is just me. I have little tolerance for poor customer service.  If you do make pictures, take lots of them and let us see if we can come up with ideas for your problem. Henry Szymt, of E.T. hitch fame, knows these heads better than anyone. If they can have a problem, the Old Goat has seen it and fixed it. Please note that I use "Old Goat" affectionately and respectfully.

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