Hensley TrailerSaver TS-3 squeaks


Here are the results of just over a year of ownership and 6166 miles of trailer towing (yes I do keep track), with proper maintenance of a $2600 plus hitch.

1st picture is of the jaw pins.
They have never had any lube - from the day of assembly!
They were bone dry when removed. Good thing there is little movement and you are using the truck to move the jaws around the pin box pin.

The next 3 pictures are the saddle pins. They had some fresh assembly grease on the inner, outside faces of the pins, what was left from the original installation pushing through.
They had, for the most part a bit of dried up grease around the pin. As you can plainly see, this is a metal to metal friction fit and not wearing well at all. You can just see what was left of this grease in the 5th picture (yellow arrow).


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This is the frame that the saddle mounts too, showing each side.

Now I may not be an engineer, and certainly not a genius, but I know enough to know this is not a good design. Although it may structurally be strong enough and made well enough, that lack of proper lubrication is going to limit the life span of these parts.

Maybe this is where that annoying squeak I have is.


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To say I am disappointed in this hitch is an understatement. I don't mind paying for quality workmanship, and as I said before, the whole assembly appears to be very well made. But, the lack of lubrication ability really has me concerned.

This is not just 3000 pounds or more of pin weight you are working with here. It is more of a dynamic load.
Driving down the highway and hitting some good bumps in the road could net you ten times the static load.

I really have to wonder why better lube ability is not part of the design. But what I really wonder about is why the use of bushings is not used. At least with bronze, oil impregnated bushings there is a bearing surface that is designed to do exactly what all these parts are doing.

Even though bushings can still wear out, at least they could be knocked out and replaced with relatively simple hand tools, and at much lower cost then all of the steel parts that are wearing out.

No doubt Hensley would be able to use over the counter bushings and save us all the aggravation of shipping heavy parts back and forth and the expense involved with having to pay both ways for warranty shipping.


So, my hitch has some wear and makes noise (squeaks).

Hensley has been pretty good about replacing "worn parts" since the warranty is for "failed parts". Worn and failed have two meanings when it comes to stuff like this, and I suppose the perception of wear is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, Aaron at Hensley has supplied me with parts to replace all my pins, except for the pins that the jaws pivot on, which I did not request.
Although these pins have some wear, there just isn't enough movement with them to worry about replacing the pins.

I added grease fittings to the main frame pivot. I'm sure this is overkill, but I am trying to eliminate an annoying squeak.
Originally this area had just 2 grease fittings on the center section. I plugged the original location and installed a total of 4 fittings, opposing each other. These fitting grease the pin where the actual frame rides on.

I also added 4 fittings (lines, no arrowhead) to the "non moving" section. I quote that because although the pin really doesn't have a rotating part it supports, it does actually move about 3/8". And I am trying to eliminate a squeak.



I know the squeak is not coming from the jaws, but there is no way to lube the pins the jaws ride on. So I drilled these out down the center and then cross drilled the pin with a 1/16" bit. I used a pin point grease fitting adapter to add the grease.



Works great.


Next place for grease is where the saddle rides on the pins. This is steel on steel.
I cross drilled the main support from both sides with the 1/16" bit. These were drilled so the holes ended up at the base of the bracket, where the most weight would be centered.



Works pretty good, you can see the grease pumped through here.


This bracket rides on a large 1 1/8" pin that is supposed to be pulled yearly and checked-lubed.
Since greasing this pin and sliding it back in removes most of the grease, I added two fittings on opposite sides and ends to fill the voids.





I have about 550 miles on this mod now and so far the hitch is whisper quiet. Prior to this I would grease what I could and have the squeak returning after about 100 miles.


Well-known member
VERY cool Duane. Are you sharing these pics with Hensley? Any chance they may consider upgrading their equipment to make it more greasable?


Well-known member
Duane, I am just seeing this thread for the first time. Not sure how I missed it.

As the owner of a brand new TS3, I'm more than a little concerned about what I'm seeing and hearing.

What does a guy like me (who perhaps lacks the mechanical wherewithal to make these modifications) do when things start to wear out? 6,300 miles is NOT a lot of miles.

So far, Hensley has been great. I had a BD3, which didn't work well, and they swapped it for a TS3. Then my spacers were too small, and I drove up to see Aaron (about an hour from my house) and he personally installed the 3" spacer kit for me at no charge. Nice guy. But I'm scared to death of having the problems you've experienced. Don't know what to do now.


Jeff, my first thoughts are you are probably running thousands of pounds less load then me. That may be a key factor.

If I didn't start looking for a squeak I would not have ended up where I did.
The one pivot (large fore-aft bolt holding the head to the frame) is a user maintenance item, once a year is recommended that it be removed, inspected and greased.

The main pivot pin across the front is something you can easily remove and add more grease to periodically in addition to the two grease fittings.

The two pins for the jaws have almost no movement, but since I was this deep it was "all in".
A shot of aerosol lube (not a grease, but some type of liquid) under the saddle and above the jaw would probably lube the jaw pins better then adding oil to the top of the saddle in the pin recess)

No doubt though, if I only lived 1 hour away I would be at the shop working on this :cool:

There are supposed to be thousands of these hitches on the market with no problems....................

If you do a search of Holland Head hitch failures, you will find issues similar to mine, but keep in mind, most of these issues are full timers, using very heavy trailers and MD trucks and true "Holland heads".
The Hensley head is similar in design but the steel is substantially increased, especially, from what I can tell, the vertical plates that support the head pins.

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I had the squeaks and noise problems with my Curt 20K hitch and noise when starting and stopping.
Went to the Andersen Ultimate hitch and now there is NO noise or squeaks what so ever.
Best set up I have ever had and over the years I have used a number of different fifth wheel hitches.
My signature shows the rail version Hitch. That is incorrect, it has been updated.
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I had the squeaks and noise problems with my Curt 20K hitch and noise when starting and stopping.
Went to the Andersen Ultimate hitch and now there is NO noise or squeaks what so ever.
Best set up I have ever had and over the years I have used a number of different fifth wheel hitches.
My signature shows the rail version Hitch. That is incorrect, it has been updated.

The Anderson graffiti hitch may be good and suitable for many, but it is not an air ride hitch, so not in the same category.


I had this thread re-opened for an update.

2 weeks ago I completely disassembled the hitch. My work with all the grease fittings has paid off as there is very little extra wear on all the moving parts that are steel on steel with no bushings or bearings.

It took several try’s to keep a grease fitting on the main left/right pivot bolt, I think I If all got that worked out as well.

The hitch has been without squeaks now for some time. Although I would still prefer something other then the steel on steel sliding-rotting surfaces then just a film of grease.


SInce my last update of June 2018 I replaced the Cyclone with a DRV, 7-8,000 pounds heavier and a higher pin weight (4,000+).
After 5 years the TS-3 is worn to the point that the clunking and banging got to be too much and the wear areas are all worn pretty good. My grease mods worked well with the lighter trailer but are no match to a DRV. And the DRV is over the weight rating for the hitch.

I don't know what changed on the newer TS-3's that gave it an increased weight rating, I don't see a difference.
I did add the 3rd air bag that is optional on the TSLB version.

I replaced the TS-3 with a lightly used BD-5, want to try out the higher capacity hitch.

Just finished a 3,000 mile trip and it seems to work well, although the head assembly has the same lack of grease points and the vertical slide has only two fittings. Seeing how the grease is applied, and especially if you grease it hooked up, only one of the vertical slide pins gets lubed.