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Old 09-12-2020, 09:22 AM   #1
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ProPride/Hensley - Worth the added weight?

We're buying a rig next summer and I'm trying to figure out which WDH is best for my situation. I think that an Equalizer 4 point system would be sufficient. Most of our trips are short, but we usually have two annual 600+ mile trips.

However, I've also been reading up on the ProPride (or Hensley), and everyone says that it's a better hitch hands down. However, I'd like to understand if there's enough of an improvement to warrant the extra 100+ lbs of hitch weight, complexity, and cost. My main concern is the weight, which I'm really trying to minimize. I'm also likely going to use Lithium battery/batteries in the trailer to drop some battery weight.

Tow vehicle: 2021 GMC Yukon Denali w/max tow pkg
Payload: 1557 lbs
Curb weight: 5,843 lbs (7400 lbs GVWR)
Tow rating: 8,200 lbs

Grand Design Model 21BHE
GVWR: 6395
UVW: 4698
Estimated real tow weight: 5500
I've had some real world reports of hitch weight anywhere from 600-750lbs.

We tend to pack light. We had a 37' 5th wheel trailer previously, and when we took everything out and put it in totes, it was actually way less weight than I would have expected.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:15 AM   #2
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I am not fond of the Hensley hitch. While it does do a very good job in controlling trailer sway, it does a very poor job when it comes to avoiding oversteer and jackknifing. This is because it adds almost 2' to the distance from the hitch ball to the tow vehicle axle, plus it adds 200 lbs to the hitch point. In short, if you are only going in a straight line, it's great, but be very careful when you go around turns. In my opinion you would do better overall with the Equalizer, especially if you take the $3000 or so cost savings and put it towards a larger tow vehicle.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:24 PM   #3
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I completely agree with “move on” in regard to the Hensley hitch. But there is a way to offset the increase in weight of the hitch that few consider. The standard 10-15% trailer tongue weight requirement is mainly to increase sway damping and keep sway critical speed above normal highway speeds. The Hensley design is so good at controlling sway that you can reduce trailer tongue weight to the 5-10% range with no drastic reduction of sway critical speed. With a much lower TW the negative impact to tow vehicle handling (Oversteer) is greatly reduced. This is about the best case scenario while using the Hensley design hitch. With that said if you can truly keep the trailer TW to 600-750lbs and properly load the trailer by centralizing the added weight close to the axles there’s no reason why a Equalizer or Blue OX WDH wouldn’t serve you well.
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:58 PM   #4
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I had a ProPride on my 26' toy hauler which I towed with a Tundra. The trailer was near the max tow rating of the Tundra and with an Equalizer hitch I had my fair share of white-knuckle experiences.

I upgraded to the ProPride and it was a night and day difference. I no longer was pushed by passing trucks and the combo became very stable. I had no issues with understeer or jackknifing. I was off-road plenty of times and there was plenty of articulation for anything that I ran into.

I did step up to one size larger WD bars on the ProPride versus the Equalizer to account for the heavier hitch which allowed me to return ample weight to the front tires even with the heavier hitch and its longer leverage.

Once I got used to hitching with the stinger I found it easier than lining up with a ball.

I upgraded to a 1-ton and a much larger fifth wheel now, but if I went back to a receiver-hitch trailer I would absolutely get another Hensley or ProPride.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:58 AM   #5
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Iím all for safety, but I boondock a lot it fairly rough areas and often have to setup on a spot thatís not level. I came to the conclusion that a ProPride or Hensley would have too low ground clearance and be difficult to hook and unhook. If someone has a different experience, I would like to know. Click image for larger version

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Old 09-15-2020, 07:40 AM   #6
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I love my ProPride hitch on my small TT. No problem stabbing the shank into the hitch on even the roughest of rough ground. A good rear-view camera on the tow vehicle helps with stabbing. The screw jacks to tension the spring bars make adjusting the hitch to achieve 1/2" rise in the front end of the tow vehicle a breeze. No problem with trailer sway under even the worst sway-causing conditions.

But yeah, the price of a new one is a deal breaker. So I found a barely-used one on Craig's list and negotiated the price down to $1,000, plus I had to drive 800 miles round trip to go get it.

I tow my cargo trailer with a Reese Strait-Line trunnion. It does good, but I avoid extreme sway-causing conditions. Too much trouble to move the ProPride from one trailer to another, so I leave the ProPride on the TT and use the Strait-Line in the cargo trailer.

As to the weight of the ProPride, yeah it's heavy. If your tow vehicle is an SUV or a half-ton pickup, you're probably tongue weight-challenged. My 2012 F-150 was overloaded by 100 pounds with the TT that grossed less than 5,000 pounds. So when I ordered my 2019 I limited truck weight by going from a SuperCrew to a SuperCab. My payload capacity is now over 1,900 pounds, so no problem towing the TT or cargo trailer without being overloaded.

An Equal-I-Zer 4P, Blue Ox SwayPro or Reese Straight-Line Trunnion will handle about 99% of all sway-causing conditions. (Not the less-expensive Reese hitches, only the top-of-the line Straight-Line.). The ProPride increases that to about 99.99%. Not a huge difference, but if you have ever experienced uncontrollable trailer sway, you'll pay a lot be sure it never happens again.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:42 AM   #7
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We had the pro-pride and it worked well - ended up reselling to a nice young couple when we traded in the trailer for our 5th wheel...
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:16 PM   #8
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The Jim Hensley-designed hitch is an engineering marvel. Your tow vehicle can initiate a turn, but the trailer cannot. Hence, trailer sway is just not possible. I used a ProPride on the trailer I just sold, and I'll be putting another one on the new trailer I pick up in January.

Another big deal is the spring bars are permanently mounted to the hitch/trailer, so there is no need to ever handle them. I use a cordless drill with a socket to raise/lower the tension jacks--no chains in sight!

While the slightly-longer hitch length increases the possibility of oversteer/jackknife, increasing tire pressure on drive axle and reducing pressure on steer axle by a few PSI reduces the chances.

The sway control, easy of hitching, and attached spring bars more than compensate for the extra hundred pounds.
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Old 10-08-2020, 03:21 AM   #9
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The Jim Hensley-designed hitch is an engineering marvel. Your tow vehicle can initiate a turn, but the trailer cannot. Hence, trailer sway is just not possible. I used a ProPride on the trailer I just sold, and I'll be putting another one on the new trailer I pick up in January.

Another big deal is the spring bars are permanently mounted to the hitch/trailer, so there is no need to ever handle them. I use a cordless drill with a socket to raise/lower the tension jacks--no chains in sight!

While the slightly-longer hitch length increases the possibility of oversteer/jackknife, increasing tire pressure on drive axle and reducing pressure on steer axle by a few PSI reduces the chances.

The sway control, easy of hitching, and attached spring bars more than compensate for the extra hundred pounds.
No WDH can compensate for the position of its own weight (3-5ft behind the rear axle) since it moves no mass. The only way to compensate is to reduce the amount of mass the trailer tongue. Most of those that use the PP donít have the extra capacity needed and/or fail to reduce TW. They unknowingly increase one mode of stability (sway) and significantly reduce the other and feel that everything is great.
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by USAMTBR View Post
Iím all for safety, but I boondock a lot it fairly rough areas and often have to setup on a spot thatís not level. I came to the conclusion that a ProPride or Hensley would have too low ground clearance and be difficult to hook and unhook. If someone has a different experience, I would like to know. Attachment 301047

I think this is key. I boondock off rough dirt roads often with my Pro Pride. To me, hitching and unhitching hasn't been the issue. The issue is the binding and lack of articulation in the hitch. I'm beating this thing up pretty good...

OP - will you be camping in developed RV parks and staying on improved roads? These hitches WILL TOW BETTER ON THE ROAD. If you spend a lot of time offroad, I'd try a really good conventional WDH first.

Search for my posts about this hitch. I've listed quite a few pros/cons...
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Old 10-08-2020, 08:27 AM   #11
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I replaced a Husky WD hitch to a Hensley hitch to tow my 26' TT with my Yukon XL and just completed a camping trip in the CA national forest at 6K ft elevation. Was my second time using it and was a dream towing thru winding roads and steep grades. I kept an eye on my rear view camera monitor just to see how it worked and am quite pleased.


I don't think I would have bought one new but found mine on craigslist at very reasonable price, actually 1/3 the cost of new. After installing, it took a while connecting the stinger to the trailer the first time I used it and was frustrated, that's probably why the OP sold. But after viewing several youtube videos, it became clear that the stinger has to be perfectly straight to "slip" in to the hitch. With the aid of the backup camera and painting the hitch and stinger White, it is much easier to align.

As for trailer jackknife, it appears the major cause is the excessive swaying.


Hensley as well as ProPride eliminates the swaying.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:30 AM   #12
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As for trailer jackknife, it appears the major cause is the excessive swaying.
There are other causes of jackknifing such as going around a turn too fast, veering suddenly to avoid a pedestrian, jerking the wheel to get yourself back on the road after nodding off. Anything that gives the trailer more force and leverage over the tow vehicle will promote oversteer and jackknifing. All weight distribution/sway control hitches contribute to this by extending the distance from the hitch point to the rear axle and by adding mass at the hitch point. The best way to get around the problems of both trailer sway and jackknifing is not to rely on a hitch but to increase the size of the tow vehicle.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:52 AM   #13
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No WDH can compensate for the position of its own weight (3-5ft behind the rear axle) since it moves no mass. The only way to compensate is to reduce the amount of mass the trailer tongue. Most of those that use the PP donít have the extra capacity needed and/or fail to reduce TW. They unknowingly increase one mode of stability (sway) and significantly reduce the other and feel that everything is great.
Your point is valid from an engineering perspective. As a ProPride owner, I was only making the statement that overall tradeoffs for me were overwhelming in the "yes" category. I tow an Airstream with a 3500HD truck; I'm nowhere near my payload capacity limits so the extra hitch weight is not material.

What is material, is the ProPride's ability to infinitely adjust the spring compression to "dial in" the most comfortable ride. I've created a lookup table that I use to adjust optimal weight distribution settings based on how much weight I have in the trailer.
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Old 10-08-2020, 11:04 AM   #14
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I don't think I would have bought one new but found mine on craigslist at very reasonable price, actually 1/3 the cost of new. After installing, it took a while connecting the stinger to the trailer the first time I used it and was frustrated, that's probably why the OP sold. But after viewing several youtube videos, it became clear that the stinger has to be perfectly straight to "slip" in to the hitch. With the aid of the backup camera and painting the hitch and stinger White, it is much easier to align.
I, too, was frustrated in the early days of ProPride ownership. I have learned that lubricating the stinger and receiver (Pro tip: Use dry Teflon/PTFE or silicone spray--it doesn't attract dust and dirt) makes it much, much easier to slip the stinger in and out. I also lower the jacks to lowest possible height so the head has least resistance to self-adjustment during the lash-up procedure. Since I've made these improvements to my process, I find I can connect/disconnect first time every time--even if I'm not quite perfectly aligned in all 3 dimensions. As long as I can get the front of the stinger into the receiver, the rest takes care of itself.
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