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Old 11-24-2017, 03:22 AM   #1
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Blue Ox Towbar Committed Suicide

I posted this a little while back over on iRV2, but wanted to get some opinions from here, as well. Hopefully that's not against protocol.

Has this happened to anyone else? We were driving our coach without towing, with our Alpha tow bar was in the storage bracket per the direction of the folks who installed the tow bar and base plate. Hit a rough patch of construction, and our tow bar bounced out of the storage bracket while under way. As best we can estimate, the tow bar was dragged behind the RV for about ten minutes, until a passing motorist flagged us down. The photos of the two triple lugs and the attachment ends of the telescopic arms show the amount of metal removed by road friction.

The photo of the storage bracket, in my opinion, shows how the accident happened. Note that there is a gap between the top of the pin holding the telescoping arms and the top of the bracket which is supposed to secure it.

The gap appears to be approximately the radius of the pin. This space provides more than enough room for the pin to vibrate and bounce sideways to the gap in the mounting bracket, where a bump in the road could bounce it out of the bracket, since there really isn't anything to stop it. The arms would then fall, and drag on the pavement. This seems to be exactly what happened to my tow bar. It's only about a year old, with a little over 6,000 miles on it, so I don't really think it's a lack of maintenance problem.

Both my installer and Blue Ox's technical service agent have confirmed that the towbar can't be repaired, and has been turned into finely machined scrap metal. Blue Ox asked for pictures, but since it's only been few days, they haven't gotten back to me yet. They did say that theyíve heard this has happened to others. Not really looking forward to having to replace it.
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:20 AM   #2
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That's really unfortunate. My Blue Ox Aventa LX has the same type of bracket for storing the tow bar, but it takes a considerable amount of physical effort to rotate the bar up and out of the bracket. In other words, it seems inconceivable that mine could come out of the bracket on its own. I'm wondering whether there was something wrong with your tow bar from the beginning?
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:26 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear that this happened...
This is why we always find ways to add additional straps to anything that's being carried...
Murphy's law essentially says that whatever can go wrong: will.
But he was actually an optimist: he left out the part where it'll go wrong at the worst possible moment!


(I think that he was trying to be an optimist! )
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:37 PM   #4
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Hmmmm, I have the Aladdin blue ox tow bar which has the same or very similar store latch. I never gave a thought to the possibility it could jump out under way. One more thing to secure when its not being used to tow.
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:58 PM   #5
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It usually doesn't take much to add some extra security to stuff like this.
We've used those small elastic cords that kids use to fasten lunch to their bike racks...
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #6
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In hindsight, which for me is better than 20/20, I wish I'd done that. Should have been obvious to me. Would have saved me a ton of money and grief. Blue Ox may be approaching it as something wrong at the outset, when they asked us for pictures. Hope so, anyway.
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:19 PM   #7
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As bad as this sounds...
Good luck! I'm hoping that they find something (that they did) that was wrong, and I "double-hope", that they make it right for you!
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocP View Post
That's really unfortunate. My Blue Ox Aventa LX has the same type of bracket for storing the tow bar, but it takes a considerable amount of physical effort to rotate the bar up and out of the bracket. In other words, it seems inconceivable that mine could come out of the bracket on its own. I'm wondering whether there was something wrong with your tow bar from the beginning?


I also have the same type of bracket and agree completely. Ours has to come back past center to release. I donít believe there is any way this could happen other than manufacturing defect. I hope that is what Blue Ox determines also.
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Old 11-25-2017, 02:45 AM   #9
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We rarely take the Vegas without our towed car. If we do, I pull the arms off and stow them or leave them at home. My Blue Ox arms are pretty stiff, and I can't imagine them bouncing out of the storage position.

We toured the Blue Ox plant in the middle of Nebraska, and were impressed by the plant and the personnel. They kindly took my Aventa bars and did a thorough check of them, replacing the bushings, all at no charge.

I expect Blue Ox will do the right thing. Please let the gang here know how this gets resolved!
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:24 AM   #10
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a $3.00 rubber tie down strap would be the smart thing to invest in.
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigwelder View Post
a $3.00 rubber tie down strap would be the smart thing to invest in.
Agreed, that or the bungee cord I already had. The new one will certainly have one. I have superb hindsight!
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:36 PM   #12
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Ours seems to be plenty snug but I always use a ratchet strap to secure just because.
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:40 AM   #13
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We have the same latch on ours and from the beginning we have always taken it completely off if we drive without a toad. As a CDL driver I looked at the latch and figured it was not a positive catch type. Now I'm glad I did because it seems every road we go down is rough. And those $3 rubber straps you should leave right in the store. They will break and pop off just as easily, I see them laying on the road all the time. Ratchet straps or chains are much much better.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:53 AM   #14
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Thanks for posting. I have yet to drive the RV with tow bar attached but no toad. Should the occasion occur, I'll be securing the bar.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigwelder View Post
a $3.00 rubber tie down strap would be the smart thing to invest in.
What do you tie it down to?
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:47 PM   #16
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Great Post and photos. Thanks for showing us this potential problem.

I have the same Blue Ox tow bar. I will put a strap on mine today. Hope this turns out well for you.
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