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How To Install A Jim Hensley Hitch?

How To Install A Jim Hensley Hitch?

Taking measurements to install Jim Hensley Hitch

The ProPride 3P® Jim Hensley Hitch is by far the most developed trailer sway control hitch available for your towing needs. The ProPride 3P® Jim Hensley Hitch is a significantly improved new anti-sway trailer hitch designed for a superior towing experience. With simple installation and operation, you'll enjoy unrivaled towing stability and safety.

The ProPride 3P® Jim Hensley Hitch includes:

Main Unit

Main Unit

Made up of two 3/4" thick links that project the trailer's pivot point.

Adjustable Hitch Bar

Has numerous offset positions to get your trailer towing level.

Adjustable Hitch Bar
Weight Distribution Jacks

Weight Distribution Jacks

Allow you to precisely and easily disseminate your tongue weight.

Yoke

Prevents the main unit hitch ball from changing direction in the trailer coupler, allowing the trailer to sway.

Yoke

Before you begin installing your new hitch, you should remove any old equipment from the trailer. Start by removing your gas bottles and set them aside. People use this time to clean up the trailer's tongue, trying to remove rust and retouching the painted steel.

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Pre-Installation video

For an easy, step-by-step video guide on how to install your ProPride 3P® Jim Hensley Hitch, check out our instillation instructions playlist.

STEP 1: Pre-Install Measurements (Pages 4-6 in the manual)

Make sure to measure your tow vehicle and your travel trailer (see photo).

Required Tools:

  • Torque Wrench 20-200ft-lbs
  • Sockets and open-ended wrenches
  • Measuring Tape
  • Grease gun
  • All-purpose marine grade grease
Pre-Install measurements

STEP 2: Adjustable Hitch Bar Assembly Installation (Pages 7-14 in the manual)

The ultimate goal of this hitch bar set-up is that when you're hitched up and ready to go, your travel trailer is sitting parallel to the ground that means measuring parallel to the ground. Note: Tow vehicle rear end will settle with weight applied and may factor into the overall drop required. Figure at least 1.0” settle to Tow Vehicle.

Hitch Bar measurements

Assembly and Installation (Photos of ALL Hitch Bar configurations available on pages 11-14 in the manual)

  • Determine your tow vehicle receiver height. Measure from the ground to the top of your tow vehicle hitch receiver opening.
  • Determine your trailer ball height. Measure from the ground to the top of the coupler on your trailer.
  • Determine your hitch box height. Subtract 5-1/2” from the trailer measurement you determined in step 2.
  • Determine if the Hitch Bar Receiver End plates are installed UP or DOWN.
  • Insert the Tilt Adjustment Pin and (2)-Washers (2 extra washers are provided) in the upper tilt adjustment pin hole.
  • Hitch Bar Hitch End assembly.
  • Slide your Hitch Bar Hitch End up or down between the side plates until the difference between the top of the Hitch Bar Receiver End and the top of the Hitch Bar Hitch End is approximately EQUAL TO the difference.
  • Insert the 5/8 x 4” Hex Pivot Bolt into the LOWER pivot hole in the side plates and through the Hitch Bar Hitch End holes. Place the 5/8 Split Lock Washer on the pivot bolt and snug fit the 5/8 Hex nut.
  • Raise the Hitch Bar Hitch End by hand until it contacts the Tilt Adjustment Pin.
  • Insert (2) 5/8 x 4-1/2” Adjustment Bolts into the slots in the side plates. Use (2) 5/8 USA Thick Flat Washer for each bolt. One washer under the head of the bolt and one on the thread end of the bolt.
  • With all three hex bolts snug fit, raise the Hitch Bar Hitch End by hand until the slack in the Tow Vehicle receiver is taken out.
  • Use a 15/16” socket and 15/16” open end wrench to tighten ALL three bolts on the hitch bar to 200ft-lbs. Note: The OCL wrench provided is a 15/16” socket with a breaker bar that can also be used to torque these bolts.

STEP 3: Weight Distribution Jacks (Pages 14-16 in the manual)

Tools / Parts for Installation

  • Measuring Tape
  • (2)- Weight Distribution Jacks
  • 9/16” Socket / Ratchet
  • Weight Distribution Jack Bracket Hardware
  • 3/4” Socket / Ratchet

Installation

  • Measure from the center of the trailer coupler along the frame to 26”. Note: Jacks are Universal LEFT OR RIGHT. They can be mounted on the LEFT OR RIGHT of the frame.
  • Place the front edge of the Jack Bracket down on top of the trailer frame at your line you marked.
  • Insert the U-Bolt from the bottom of the frame UPWARD through the two holes in the Jack Bracket.
  • Insert 1/2 x 3-1/2” Adjustment Bolt in the threaded hole on the inside of the bracket. Pass the bolt through the hole in the shim plate and snug this bolt up against the inside of the frame.
  • Complete steps 3, 4 and 5 for the other side jack. Note: Shim plate MUST be used if there is a gap between the frame and Jack base. Shim plate may be modified to fit different applications. Place the shim on the inside of the jack base, then lower onto the frame for an easier install.

(Optional ½” x 4 1/2” Bolts included for C-Channel frame application.(May be left over at the end))

STEP 4: Frame Bracket Installation (Pages 17-18 in the manual)

Tools / Parts for Installation

  • Measuring Tape
  • 11/16” Socket / Ratchet
  • Frame Bracket
  • Frame Bracket Plates (2)
  • Frame Bracket Hardware

Installation

  • Measure from the center of the trailer coupler along the frame to 22” to use as a point of reference. (The final placement will vary on where the center of the Yoke tail ends up, could be up to 1.5-2.0” different) Mark the frame at this location on each side. Note: If the trailer has a gas bottle tray screwed to the frame at this location remove it temporarily.
  • Be sure to drill at 1” away from the edge of the tray so the bottles do not sit on top of the u-bolts. Note: Before drilling or permanently mounting the center bracket, wait to test fit the yoke tail for the correct distance.
  • Slide the U-Bolts over the top of the frame pointing down.
  • Raise the Frame Bracket upward against the bottom of the frame and insert the 4 U-Bolt ends through the slots in the Frame Bracket.  
  • Slide the Frame Bracket Plates on the ends of the U-Bolts and into the Frame Bracket channel. Snug fit the 7/16 Lock Washers and Hex Nuts up against the plates.
  • Center the two Frame Bracket down tubes directly in-line with the coupler. Note: Set aside the 1/2 x 4-1/2 Hex Bolt, Support Roller Sleeve and 1/2 Hex Lock Nut for use during Yoke installation.

STEP 5: Main Hitch Unit Install (Pages 19-20 in the manual)

Tools / Parts for Installation

  • Over-Center-Latch
  • Wrench
  • Main Hitch Unit
  • All-Purpose Grease

(This is the 15/16” Socket and Breaker Bar provided)

Installation

  • Slide the Main Hitch Unit onto the end of the Hitch Bar that is installed on your tow vehicle.
  • Latch one of the Over-Center-Latches (OCL) onto the hitch bar tab using the 15/16” socket and breaker bar (OCL Wrench) provided. Insert 7/16” Lynch Pin into tab hole.
  • Grease the hitch ball with all-purpose grease.
  • Align the tow vehicle as straight as possible with the front of the trailer. Note: This is the alignment when you are towing down the road. Try to be centered.
  • Raise the trailer tongue approximately 3-4” above level.
  • Back the tow vehicle until the hitch ball is under the coupler. Keep the tow vehicle and trailer in alignment.
  • Lower the trailer coupler down onto the ball but until it is seated. No downward load on the hitch ball at this point. Latch the coupler onto the hitch ball.

STEP 6: Weight Distribution / Spring Bars (Pages 21-23 in the manual)

Tools / Parts for Installation

  • 9/16” Socket / Ratchet
  • (2) Spring Bars
  • 9/16” Open End Wrench
  • (2) Spring Bar Inner Bushings (pre-installed in Main Hitch Head)
  • All Purpose Grease
  • (2) Spring Bar Links
  • Spring Bar Hardware

Installation

  • Slide the center of hole (3 total) of the Spring Bar Link over the hook on the Weight Distribution Jack. The hole at the bottom is twisted 90 degrees to the top three holes.   Repeat on the other side.
  • Remove the Spring Bar Inner Bushing from the bottom of the Main Hitch Unit with a 9/16” socket and a 9/16” open end wrench. Remove one side first and leave the other side installed at this point.
  • Liberally grease the end of the spring bar with all-purpose marine grease.
  • Slide the Spring Bar Inner Bushing you removed down over the end of the spring bar. Insert the spring bar in the plate end of the bushing.
  • Line up the slot in the bushing with the slot in the spring bar. Insert one Spring Bar Retainer Disk through the slot on the bushing and into the slot on the spring bar.
  • With the tail end of the Spring Bar facing the trailer, insert the Spring Bar Bushing back into the bottom of the Main Hitch Head and replace the 3/8 bolt and lock nut. Tighten the lock nut firmly.
  • Attach the tail end of the Spring Bar to the Spring Bar link bottom hole with the 3/8” U-Bolt. Use 3/8” Lock Nuts on the bottom side of the Spring Bar.
  • Repeat steps 2-7 for the other side. Note: There are grease zerks installed in the Spring Bar OUTER Bushing to grease your spring bars periodically without the need to remove them.

STEP 7: Yoke Installation (Pages 24-26 in the manual)

Tools / Parts for Installation

  • 3/4” Socket / Ratchet Yoke
  • 3/4" Open End Wrench Yoke Hardware (shipped loosely installed in Yoke)
  • 1-1/8” Socket / Ratchet
  • 1-1/8” Open End

Installation:

  • Remove the 3/4” (1-1/8” socket) hardware from the front of the Yoke. Do not remove inner steel bushing. Leave inserted in bronze bushing.
  • Remove your hitch cover. (2) – 1/2" (3/4” socket) Bolts under the cover attach it to the Main Hitch Unit. Set aside and reinstall after Yoke is installed.
  • Slide the Yoke under the trailer A-frame and behind the tongue jack.
  • Raise the front of the Yoke to align the bushings on the front of the Yoke with the holes in the side of the Main Hitch Unit. These holes are on each side of the hitch ball.
  • Insert the 3/4" bolts (1-1/8” socket), with the 3/4” flat washer under the head, through the Yoke bushings and into the 3/4" hole on the side of the Main Hitch Unit. Place the 3/4" split lock washer on the inside of the Main Hitch Unit and thread the bolt into the 3/4" hex nut. Once the bolt engages with the nut, the nut block welded into the inside of the Main Hitch Unit will aid in tightening the bolts. Take this slow to ensure you do not cross thread the bolt.
  • Tighten ONLY the two 3/4” Bolts (1-1/8” socket) on the main. These bolts MUST BE TIGHT. Torque to 175 ft-lbs. Repeat on both sides of Yoke.
  • Unlatch the one Over-Center-Latch (OCL) from the hitch bar. Note: Trailer tires should be chocked before this step or whenever you unhitch from the trailer. Pull the tow vehicle forward to clear the Hitch Bar from the Main Hitch Unit hitch box.
  • Raise the Yoke tail between the two downward tubes of the frame bracket. The frame bracket down tubes should be at the midpoint of the Yoke tail.
  • Insert the 1/2 x 4-1/2 Yoke Tail support bolt through the down tubes with the Yoke Tail Support Roller under the Yoke Tail and between the tubes. Tighten the 1/2“Locking Nut (3/4” socket) on the support bolt to take up any slack in the bolt. Note: If the Yoke Tail can be moved from side to side, tighten the nut more on the Yoke Tail Support Bolt. Check this after a few miles of towing.
  • Loosen the side bolts on the Yoke. The trailer side bolt is a pivot bolt. The bolt in the slot, toward the tow vehicle, should be adjusted up or down until there is approximately 1-2” between the Yoke and the bottom of the trailer A-frame. Note: The Yoke should be approximately parallel with the trailer frame.
  • Tighten the side Yoke bolts to the right to 60 ft-lbs. (3/4” Socket)
  • Assure Center Frame Bracket is centered, and yoke tail centered on roller. Tighten frame bracket U-bolts to 55 ft-lbs.

STEP 8: Final Adjustments, Hitching & Unhitching (Pages 27-37 in the manual)

  • Adjust the OCL latch screws so that they snap tightly over center and into the hitch bar. These screws are installed by the factory but can be lengthened (unscrewed) if the OCL latch is too loose and does not snap over center onto the hitch bar. If needed, adjust by ½ turns.
  • Check that the hitch bar bolts are tight and torqued. These should be very tight, 200 ft-lbs or more of torque.
  • Check that the two ¾” (1-18” socket) yoke bolts to the main are tight. 175 ft-lbs of torque.  
  • Check that all other bolts and nuts are tight. Reference PAGE 37 for all specifications.

Thinking about Hitching and Unhitching? Worry no more!

Here are the steps that will help you.

HITCHING

Step 1: Chock your trailer tires.

Step 2: Back your tow vehicle slowly toward the front of the Main Hitch Unit until you are about 2” from the hitch.

Step 3: Adjust the tongue jack until the hitch bar is approximately centered in the 3”x3” hitch box opening.

Step 4: Back slowly into the Main Hitch Unit inserting your Hitch Bar Hitch End into the hitch box. When the wedges are seated in the hitch box you will have approximately 1/8” of the wedge showing out of the front of the hitch.

Step 5: Latch the Over-Center-Latch (OCL) on to the Hitch Bar Tab on each side. Use the OCL Wrench included with the hitch (15/16” Socket and Breaker Bar).

Step 6: Insert the 7/16” Lynch Pin in the Hitch Bar Tab and snap the wring down over the tab on each side.

Step 7: Raise the Weight Distribution Jack with the 3/4” Ratchet Wrench included with the hitch. Raise the Jack on each side until you either lift the trailer off of the tongue jack or you raise it to your desired ride. NOTE: Using IMPACT DRILL can cause shear pins to break and is NOT a recommended tool.

Step 8: Raise the tongue jack.

Step 9: IMPORTANT – Route your tow chains UNDER the Main Hitch Unit and BETWEEN where the Spring Bars insert in the bottom of the Main Hitch Unit. When routed properly they should hang about 1” from the bottom of the Main Hitch Unit.

Step 10: Route your electrical connection over the top of the Main Hitch Unit and plug it into the vehicle.

Step 11: Hook up your emergency brake cable.

 

UNHITCHING

If you unhitch successfully, your following hitch will go more smoothly. The manner in which you previously unhitched has a significant influence on how you connect. The Main Hitch Unit will be ready for your next unhitching if you practice performing these procedures regularly.

You can unhitch your trailer from any direction. Simply turn the Main Hitch Unit's hitch box around to face in the same direction you disconnected, and you'll be able to reconnect at the same angle next time.

Step 1: Chock your trailer tires.

Step 2: Lower your tongue jack until it takes the load off of the back of your tow vehicle.

Step 3: Unhook your chains, electrical and emergency brake cable.

Step 4: Lower your Weight Distribution Jack until the Spring Bar becomes loose. Kick the spring bar with your foot to recognize that there is no tension on it. At that point, STOP lowering the jack, approximately 2-3” high from base. Repeat this on the other side.

Step 5: Unlatch the OCL on each side with the OCL wrench.

Step 6: Pull the tow vehicle away from the hitch. If you have released the tension from the spring bars the hitch bar should slide smoothly out of the front of the hitch.

 

Hitch installation normally takes 30-minutes to an hour or more based on the scale of knowledge and experience of the installer, the status of the vehicle and the tools being used and so on.

COMMONLY USED TOOLS WHEN INSTALLING YOUR ProPride 3P® Jim Hensley Hitch

 

Socket

Ratchet

Ratchet extension

Open-end wrench

Over-center-latch wrench

All-purpose grease

Measuring tape

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