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Old 07-12-2016, 09:32 PM   #1
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TruCenter dangerous failures

I hate that this is my first post on this forum, but I am beside myself tonight. Last November we had a Blue Ox TruCenter installed by a very reputable dealer. It failed after a couple trips - not the electrical adjuster - the whole thing. The attachment to the tie rod somehow got jammed, twisted and the U bolts sheared off. It jammed the steering while going around a corner, but luckily at a slow speed. I had it removed and sent back for replacement. I never did find out whether it was replaced with a new one, refurbished or just sent back, but one was reinstalled. Now, several short trips later I heard and felt a familiar clunk in the steering, so I crawled under tonight to take a look. The U bolts and that end of the thing looked fine, but the thick mounting plates from the frame to the main end of the TruCenter were bent and distorted beyond belief! The thing is coming off for good, this time, and I'll have to see what Blue Ox will do to reimburse me. Has anyone else had such a problem??? We installed it on a 2011 Holiday Rambler Ambassador (38ft DP). We love the Blue Ox flat tow equipment. No problems there.

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Old 07-12-2016, 09:41 PM   #2
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I had a TruCenter years ago and I loved it - until it broke into two pieces with one piece dragging on the ground. I sent it back to Blue Ox and they replaced it. The replacement was fine until it too broke and was useless. I sent it back to Blue Ox but this time they said it was not repairable. They offered to sell me another one at a slight discount, but I had had enough.

Marc and Jill, Wellington FL
2013 Entegra Anthem 44SL
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:00 PM   #3
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I had one installed 3 months ago and did a 4000 mile trip with no problems yet.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:19 PM   #4
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I have had the Tru Center for about 4 years and 10,000 miles with no problem. Installed it myself. Sounds to me the shop doing the installed is not check for interference when doing the install.
1999 35 ft. Dolphin 5350, F53, Banks System, 5 Stars Tune, Air Lift Air Bags, Koni Shocks, Blue OX TruCenter, TigerTrak track bars F&R, Roadmaster 1-3/4" rear auxiliary sway bar, 2004 F450 Lariat 6.0 Diesel Crew Cab DRW, 4X4, B&W Custom Truck Bed, GVWR 15,000, Front GAWR 6,000, Rear GAWR 11,000, GCWR 26,000, 1994 36fT Avion 5er, GVWR 13,700
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:21 PM   #5
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Sorry about your problems with the TruCenter. I installed mine myself about 3 years ago and 15,000 miles. I have had no problems.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by blade76 View Post

Has anyone else had such a problem???
Yep, I totally agree that the shop doing the installation work has no clue what they are doing when it comes to the Blue-Ox Tru-Center.

My installation was done at a truck chassis shop with nothing even coming close to a catastrophic failure that you have experienced.

Now for the quality and reliability of the Tru-Center, well that's a different story. My first one lasted a little over one year before it decided to quit working. The solenoid had hung up plus one side of the dual action piston failed so while I was at the Blue-Ox shop in NE having it looked at I had them install a new cylinder. Plus I had them drill two holes in the solenoid cover to let condensation moisture out so the solenoid would not get hung up again.

When this cylinder fails I will remove the Tru-Center and invest in a Safe-T-Plus with a Henderson Trim adjustment add-on. They are far better quality and far more dependable and reliable than Blue-Ox ever thought they could be.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:11 PM   #7
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This exact same thing has happened to me. I think some are missing an important point relating to steering blocking, which the first post pointed out. My unit was 15 mos old and on a recent trip, I heard a pop, as I made a left into a campground. I found I could only turn about 10-15 deg. When I stopped at the office, I heard another pop and steering was fine. I crawled under and could not see anything.
In a few days, another pop, and steering restricted again. On this inspection, I found that the 2 u-bolts holding the unit to the tie rod had a nut popped off each of both of the 2 u-bolts, allowing the tie rod to slide, but sometimes bind.
I am under the opinion that the cylinder froze and the steering pressure broke the u-bolts. It was so much pressure that the plate holding the u/bolts on the tie rod was actually twisted.
I big bracket is fine, and I installed myself with proper torques.
A dangerous situation!!!
I have sent to BlueOx, so we'll see what happens. I'm not sure I want it back on.
David White '05 Monaco Windsor
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:58 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your comments. I have delivered the coach to the dealer to take the thing off! Then at least I'll feel safer for the next trip. I did like the more solid feel of the steering when it was working okay, but the thought of it "catching" again on a mountain curve is just too much to ponder!
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:55 AM   #9
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Descriptions above sound to me like the travel of some tie rods are greater than the travel of the blue-Ox, causing binding and failure if wheels are turned too far. If so, this is a serious mistake on the part of blue-ox.
2017 Fleetwood Discovery 40D w/2012 CRV toad
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:24 AM   #10
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Well, I just measured, and the promising theory that maybe the tie rod on my 2011 HR Ambassador had a travel in excess of the range of the Tru-center piston just didn't pan out. There was almost two inches to spare. Nevertheless, it failed twice. I have attached a picture of the mangled bracket that held the base of the piston to the axle. That's almost 3/8 in thick steel in those plates! The installation certainly appeared to have been done correctly (there's really not a lot to it!). I'm out of ideas other than to try to get my money back from Blue Ox.
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:00 PM   #11
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When you install a TruCenter, the tie rod has to be in the correct position and clearances checked. I installed one on my Monaco five years ago and it's still working as designed. I did check to make sure everything cleared in a full turn, both directions.
Don & Mary
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:40 PM   #12
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Seems to me you should notify both Blue Ox and the federal NHTSC about these failures and let them both investigate. Either that installer is incompetent or there is something wrong with the design as being applied to your coach. Others seem to have no problem, but that doesn't mean it fits properly on all rigs.
Gary Brinck
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Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:32 AM   #13
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I'll second Gary about the NHTSC notification. This was the only way that Winnie was forced to fix the brake caliper problem.
Jim and Valerie, 2005 Winnie Adventurer 37B, 2014 Subaru Forester Toad, hitches, brakes, anti-sways, autopilot, gourmet food on a Social Security budget.
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Old 07-24-2016, 04:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Starsekr View Post
I'll second Gary about the NHTSC notification. This was the only way that Winnie was forced to fix the brake caliper problem.
Good luck with getting anything out of NHTSC. I filed a report along with my NY State Automotive Repair Facilities Inspector about TPM Sensor failures two years ago and received absolutely nothing back from them.

2002 Fleetwood Storm 30H on Workhorse P32 chassis 8.1 gas.
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