The Hensley requires nothing other than a standard 2"
receiver on the tow vehicle. The hitch can be installed on the trailer
by the customer in 3-4 hours with standard wrenches and a drill.
Hensley includes detailed instructions with the hitch complete with photos
of most installation tasks being performed. The instructions are well
thought out and the manual is well done. Hensley even includes the
drill bit and hex key necessary to complete the installation.
As with most instructions, they should be followed
exactly as laid out. My intent is not to go through the complete
installation process but to highlight some steps and make some suggestions
on things not to do.
I received the hitch late in the day. As always, I
was ready to jump into the installation. I unboxed the hitch, verified
that all of the parts were included and began the installation
process. I placed the hitch bar into my van's 2" hitch receiver
and then, with help from my wife, lifted the Hensley hitch box and slipped
it onto the hitch bar and locked it in place with the
"Over-Center-Latches" (OCL). I backed the Ford up to the
Airstream such that the hitch box was under the Airstream's tongue. I
lowered the trailer tongue onto the 2 5/16" ball that is an integral
part of the Hensley hitch box and locked the tongue in place as would normal
do when hooking up to a conventional hitch ball. Then I went
stupid. It was time to eat and I knew I had over an hour of
work left to complete the assembly. "No problem," I thought,
just remove the hitch pin from the van and drive out leaving the Hensley
hitch box and hitch pin attached to the trailer. BAD MOVE!!
Although it worked like a champ and we drove off to a wonderful dinner, I
paid for it later.
The next day I was ready to pick up where I left
off. I thought I would just slid the hitch bar out of the hitch
box. WRONG!! With the hitch bar very securely in the Hensley
hitch box it wasn't about to come out without a fight. Try as I could,
I was unable to pull the hitch bar out of the Hensley hitch box manually.
Lesson 1: Put some teflon
hitch lubricant on the hitch bar before inserting it into the hitch box for
the first time. The fresh paint on the bar and the inside of the hitch
box make for a VERY tight fit.
Then I had another idea. All I had to do was move
the van into place, use a stool to support the hitch bar and back the van's
receiver hitch around the hitch bar. NOT!! Try getting a 2"
square bar into a 2" square hole and keep everything lined up perfectly
so the hitch bar can be locked into place in the receiver! I spent
half an hour trying before deciding that wasn't the answer.
Finally, with the help of a neighbor, we resorted to
using his Toyota scissor jack and wood blocks to pry the hitch bar out of
the hitch box. Now I was able to put the hitch bar into the hitch
receiver, lock it in place, put a stool under the hitch box, lower the
trailer tongue, unhook from the ball, lift the hitch box back onto the hitch
bar, back the hitch box back under the trailer tongue, secure the tongue to
the ball in the hitch box and VOILA. Back to where I had been the
Lesson 2: Don't begin the
installation if you are going to need to move the tow vehicle before the
installation is nearly complete.
The remainder of the installation went as outlined in the
book until I got to the installation of the spring bars. Once again,
my curiosity overruled my common sense. After inserting the spring bar
into the bottom of the hitch box, I decided that I would remove it and apply
grease to the top of the bar. Removing the bars is not, repeat IS NOT,
fun. I ended up backing the Zerk almost all the way out before I got
the bar out. Then I was concerned that since the Zerk is preset at the
factory that I would not get it adjusted properly again. I was able to
get it adjusted, but it did cause me concern.
Lesson 3: Don't remove the spring
bars just for the heck of it and if you must, keep a good count of how
many turns you back out the Zerk (it may be quite a few).
After getting the spring bars installed, the remainder of
the installation went according to the book.
I would allow 4 hours for your first Hensley
installation. I would expect that the second installation would be