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Old 08-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #1
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Blue Ox TruCenter or Bilstein Steering Damper

I need opinions! I ordered a Bilstein Steering Damper which will arrive in my home base next week. We are currently parked in the Blue Ox factory campground to get our tow bar serviced tomorrow. I am tempted to tell them to go ahead and install a TruCenter at the same time. The Bilstein will run me $400 (I'll install it myself). The TruCenter will run $1,400 including installation.

Is the TruCenter worth an extra grand? I need to make a decision tonight as the coach goes in to the Blue Ox shop 7:30am tomorrow.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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Wow. The Tru Center has "trim on the fly" capabilities if I'm not mistaken. That's a BIG plus in my book. I'm not really familiar with the Blistein unit but at that price I'm sure it's just a dampener.

The question is whether it's worth a grand to have the system with better features installed for you.

I had the Safe T Plus installed a number of years ago and loved it except for not having the in motion trim. They've since begun to market one for about $700 and it's been on my wish list.

I'd say if you're doing a good bit of driving and can swing it, go for the Tru Center. Having said that, they did have serious problems initially with solenoid welds (or something like that) breaking and there were a lot of unhappy customers. I've read that they now have it under control but you may want to get a response from the horses mouth since you're right there.

Good luck.

Rick
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickO View Post
Wow. The Tru Center has "trim on the fly" capabilities if I'm not mistaken. That's a BIG plus in my book. I'm not really familiar with the Blistein unit but at that price I'm sure it's just a dampener.

The question is whether it's worth a grand to have the system with better features installed for you.

I had the Safe T Plus installed a number of years ago and loved it except for not having the in motion trim. They've since begun to market one for about $700 and it's been on my wish list.

I'd say if you're doing a good bit of driving and can swing it, go for the Tru Center. Having said that, they did have serious problems initially with solenoid welds (or something like that) breaking and there were a lot of unhappy customers. I've read that they now have it under control but you may want to get a response from the horses mouth since you're right there.

Good luck.

Rick
Rick, yes I asked them today about the past problems. There were some bad welds which resulted in a design change, and a problem of the solenoid burning out if the button was held for too long. That was fixed by adding a timer. So far I'm getting a really good impression of this company. They do seem to stand behind their products. I agree that the "on the fly" adjustment is a big plus. The Bilstein seems to be nothing more than a shock absorber mounted horizontally between the steering tie rod and the frame.

We drove 600 miles from Denver to Blue Ox in Nebraska the last two days and I was fighting crosswinds the entire way. Steering wheel over at 30 degrees or so, then an 18 wheeler would come the other way on the 2 lane road and almost suck us in to him. I think a TruCenter would compensate for the sidewind, and would keep us in a straight line when the trucks pass. Gee, I seem to be talking myself into it!
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:24 PM   #4
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Gee, I seem to be talking myself into it!
My kinda guy!

I've been a Blue Ox fan for a long time. Somewhere I have a picture of the rear of my rig with Blue Ox logos on the tow bar, drop hitch, bike rack, and locks for the whole shebang. They build a "stout" product.

I think the Blistein unit looks like a shock absorber but it's probably like my Safe T Plus and is actually a big (300 lb?) spring which resists steering movement in either direction. The trim controls just add bias in one direction or the other.

That actually brings up a question I've had. Stabilizers like the STP and Blistein provide a good margin of safety in the event of a front blow out... or at least that seems to be the case from what I've heard. Does the Tru Center provide the same?

Good luck with your "decision"

Rick
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
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I had a Blue ox Tru-center installed in 2006.. Visited the factory later that year and when the rep there told me they were still working on that solenoid burn out issue I suggested a timer was the solution.. Guess what.

Mine failed a while later.. Blue OX sent me a new one after I sent it back to them.. Complete with a nice new timer .

I can tell you this. There are many companies who have cuss-some-more non-service departments.. Blue ox is not one of them.

When they say Customer Service, they mean CUSTOMER SERVICE, above and beyond.

Had a problem with my blue-ox tow bar.. Now I know for a fact this was not their fault. I know what happened, how it happened and I think I know why it happened and it was by no streatch of the imagination a defect in materials or workmanship. It was NOT their fault.

And I told them this up front.. They shipped me a new tow bar and a return label for the old one and promised to pay for secondary damage repairs if it was their faut (Which they finally agreed with me, post post mortum, that it was not teir fault).

I will say this though, the safety cables (Which they also replaced, later) held.

I am very impressed with this company.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
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My kinda guy!
That actually brings up a question I've had. Stabilizers like the STP and Blistein provide a good margin of safety in the event of a front blow out... or at least that seems to be the case from what I've heard. Does the Tru Center provide the same?
Rick
All of their advertising literature specifically claims straight line control in the event of a front blowout. I've convinced myself. Provided they can schedule me it'll get installed tomorrow.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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Smart man..........I like it! Those Nebraska winds will just keep on blowing and the 18 wheelers will keep on trucking!
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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Smart man..........I like it! Those Nebraska winds will just keep on blowing and the 18 wheelers will keep on trucking!
Well, I am now the proud owner of a TruCenter, and the handling hasn't changed at all. Oh, wait a minute, it's in the basement storage still in the carton . The Blue Ox service facility was all backed up and they couldn't schedule me for installation today. We didn't want to wait around over the weekend so I'll probably do the install myself next week at home base along with the Cheap Handling Fix.

They did, however, service my tow bar. We took the factory tour and were able to watch the tech working on the tow bar. Blue Ox does an excellent job. They are a shining example of "made in America employing local labor".
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdickson View Post

We drove 600 miles from Denver to Blue Ox in Nebraska the last two days and I was fighting crosswinds the entire way. Steering wheel over at 30 degrees or so, then an 18 wheeler would come the other way on the 2 lane road and almost suck us in to him. I think a TruCenter would compensate for the sidewind, and would keep us in a straight line when the trucks pass. Gee, I seem to be talking myself into it!
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Originally Posted by bdickson View Post
Well, I am now the proud owner of a TruCenter, and the handling hasn't changed at all. Oh, wait a minute, it's in the basement storage still in the carton . The Blue Ox service facility was all backed up and they couldn't schedule me for installation today. We didn't want to wait around over the weekend so I'll probably do the install myself next week at home base along with the Cheap Handling Fix.
Just my .02, but I think I would have done the CHF first. Based on my experience with it, I think your issues with the crosswinds and the semi trucks will be vastly improved once you do the CHF. I'm still thinking about adding the blistein damper. www.shockwarehouse.com has the blistein steering dampner for $103.76 and the bracket kit for $95.59 with free shipping.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:26 PM   #10
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I installed the Blistein dampener on my rig, didn't help much, to small. Ordered and installed the Trucenter, like day and night the difference in the handling with the Trucenter.

Chuck Boone
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