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Old 10-01-2015, 12:15 PM   #1
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Weight Distributing Hitches and Sway Control

I've been a big fan of the Hensley Arrow for about 12 years. I used to tow a 28' trailer with a Ford Expedition, and the standard friction sway control devices never worked well. When I purchased the Hensley, the difference was unbelievable...no sway at all. There are only two downsides that I see to the Hensley...the fact that it adds about a foot to your overall length, and its cost...it is not cheap by any means. However, I don't think you can put a price tag on safety and peace of mind.

Having said that, I read in another thread here about the Andersen Manufacturing weight distributing hitch which is supposed to reduce/eliminate sway. I looked at their video, and it appears to me that it works on the same principle as a sway bar...friction. The ball actually turns in the shank, and there is some sort of sleeve in there that appears to increase the friction, and therefore the force required, to turn the trailer and ball inside the shank. But still, it seems to me that if enough force is applied, the trailer can sway...in contrast to the Hensley system where the trailer cannot sway.

I'm hoping someone can comment on the Andersen system, and perhaps compare/contrast it to the Hensley. Our new trailer is on order, and I'll be buying something...either a new Hensley or something else. I want to make sure I make the right choice.

Thanks,

John
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:53 PM   #2
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I recently purchased a X2B hybrid and needed a WDH. I went with the Anderson and so far think it works very well. I've hit speeds of 70 and experienced no sway at all. It is extremely easy to attach and remove with the big plus of being able to back up with the hitch attached.
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Old 10-01-2015, 03:58 PM   #3
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I too have the Anderson hitch and am very happy with it. No sway or wiggles with transports paying regardless of wind conditions or speed/size of transports passing. If you have a large TT like our 28BHBE, you may not be able to transfer enough weight back to the front axle of a 1/2 ton truck. (IMHO, TT'S in the mid 20' and up are too much for 1/2 tons anyway) The Anderson is quiet as well and the entire package as shipped was 66lbs. MUCH lighter than any other WDH. I spray a little silicon lube on the ball and the chain adjuster nuts to keeps them smooth. With a year of towing, the hitch has performed very well. (Our average tongue weight is around 1200lbs with a total weight of around 8800lbs. These are weights as scaled with full fresh water. (We almost exclusively "boondock"). Enjoy your new TT.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:46 PM   #4
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I've been using the Pro Pride 3P hitch for a year now and love it. It's an improved design on the Hensley and I think the improvements make it a better hitch. I tow a 2015 27DSRL which measures 32' with the hitch attached. My TV is a '91 Ford Bronco WB of 105" and have had zero sway with the 3P. I looked at the pictures of the Anderson hitch and don't see how it would eliminate sway with that design. In your thread you said the Anderson "is supposed to reduce/eliminate sway". The Hensley or 3P eliminates sway completely.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizoo Guy View Post
Having said that, I read in another thread here about the Andersen Manufacturing weight distributing hitch which is supposed to reduce/eliminate sway. I looked at their video, and it appears to me that it works on the same principle as a sway bar...friction. The ball actually turns in the shank, and there is some sort of sleeve in there that appears to increase the friction, and therefore the force required, to turn the trailer and ball inside the shank. But still, it seems to me that if enough force is applied, the trailer can sway...in contrast to the Hensley system where the trailer cannot sway.
I have been using the Andersen for almost a year now though I have a smaller and lighter trailer. It is a friction-based device - the sleeve is a form of brake pad material. The plate/chains ensure that the ball always turns with the trailer and the more tongue weight you have the more friction on the sleeve and the more resistance to sway. I've pulled about 4000 miles this summer in a variety of conditions including a 15-20 knot crosswind (based on windsock extension on a couple of bridges we went over) and never experienced any sway. Nor do I have any movement from the bow shock of trucks flying by. It is a very solid hitch. However, because it is a friction-based device I assume that under the right conditions the trailer can sway and I use it accordingly.

From research that I did prior to purchasing the Andersen it appeared to me that it was a better choice for small/medium trailers with tongue weights under ~800lbs, mainly due to issues with insufficient FALR for the heavier tongue weights. I believe that Andersen has been making some tweaks in order to address that. I know that the red bushings are now about an inch shorter and a bit stiffer than the original ones which is supposed to improve the FALR.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:29 AM   #6
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Went with the Equalizer hitch 3 years ago and couldn't be more satisfied. Works like a charm and the 4 point built in anti-sway is super! Yesterday going across eastern Arizona, got broadsided by a 30-40 mph wind for 60 miles. Yea, it wasn't fun but the hitch took care of business with virtually no sway at all.
It's expensive but I believe it's still less than the Anderson or Hensley.
There are a lot of good anti-sway hitches out there so make sure you get one.
Happy RVing,
Jeff
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:01 AM   #7
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I agree. Equalizer.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:30 AM   #8
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Well, since you already know that there is nothing better than a Hensley or ProPride...why change? Just remember that ALL other WDH's only reduce sway. NONE eliminate it like a Hensley or ProPride!
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiftedAWDAstro View Post
Well, since you already know that there is nothing better than a Hensley or ProPride...why change? Just remember that ALL other WDH's only reduce sway. NONE eliminate it like a Hensley or ProPride!
Try an Equalizer. It ELIMINATES sway also.
Happy RVing,
Jeff
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aizoo Guy View Post
snip...... comment on the Andersen system, and perhaps compare/contrast it to the Hensley. Our new trailer is on order, and I'll be buying something...either a new Hensley or something else......snip
John,

Considering your past usage history with the HA, and if a new HA falls within your present WDH budget, IMO stay with it.

The HA's unique and robust design addresses sway control very differently then the Anderson designed WDH, thus even under normal towing conditions one may "sense/feel" a tighter connection between the TV/TT with the HA (I believe this has to do with the increased lateral forces the HA produces at the TV's receiver).

It has been reported/experienced by some folks with heavier loaded TT tongue weights (1,000lbs plus) the Anderson WDH had difficulty maintaining proper weight transfer to the TV's front suspension. There are a couple of other RV forum's that have discussed/analyzed this claim in detail.

You didn't mention what size/weight TT you have on order, so my comments are based on a 1,000lb or greater loaded TT tongue weight, and your aware the HA WDH adds approx. 100lbs to one's loaded tongue weight.

Bob
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