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Old 09-30-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
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2011 Chevy Silverado Blue Ox Base Plate

Anyone other than us had a problem with the Blue Ox base plate on their Chevy 1500 Sivlerado base plate?

I installed mine myself and followed the instructions furnished EXACTLY. During this summer's trip to Alaska our base plate came loose repeatedly. Each time I went under and retourqued the bolts to specifications I found the bolt holes in the frame elongated and the frame distorted and cracked. When I got home and completely disassembled it, there were cracks in the corners of the frame and the frame was so distorted I had to drive the base place pieces out of the frame section where they were held. In addition each of the "tabs", the removable pieces that go into the base plate and hold the tow bar. were bent. They each deformed about 1/8" from straight, but I don't know if they were deformed in or out, as I didn't notice the bends until I had removed them.

I contacted Blue Ox about the problem and passed them a number of pictures of the damage. They did agree to replace the tabs, but that was the last communication I've had with them.

It looks like the Chevy rectangular tube frame was not thick enough to hold the bolts in place without the frame holes elongating. Also I suspect the frame area under the bolt heads and the furnished washers was not strong enough to support the loads imposed during towing. The base plate was rated for 10,000 pounds and our truck never exceeded 7,000 pounds.

The fix I came up with was to cut 1 1/2" x 1/4" x 4" pieces out of bar stock, precision drill 1/2" holes in it matching the base plate pieces, and install them as frame doublers on both sides of the frame for each base plate piece. After installation these doublers were welded to the frame, side and bottom. We were unable to weld the top edge as there was not enough room there to get a stick or wire feed in. So far, the fix seems to have worked.

This was a Blue Ox BX1674 base plate and was installed exactly according to specifications. I highly recommend any one having such a base plate on their 2007-13 Chevy/GMC 1500 pickup check the tightness of the installed base plate daily after pulling.

If anyone would like to see pictures of the damage or fix they can send me their email address in a PM and I'd be glad to furnish them.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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Pigman,
I'm very sorry you had the issues you did with the base plate(s) and mountings. We recently acquired a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4 to use as a toad. I installed the base plates myself too. I had to drill part of the frame for one of the bolts, each side of the frame. The installation went without problems. It seems to be a pretty stout system. I did not use those hideous cables they supplied. My thoughts are, these bolts, which are 1/2" in diameter, are pretty stout and, I have/had them seriously tight.

Now, I've also installed what's known as a "Rampage" motorcycle lift in the bed of the truck. I did that so we could carry our 2008 Honda GL 1800 Goldwing. That lift, weighs around 300 lbs. + or -. The Goldwing, around 850-900 lbs. The truck itself weighs right at, 5300. So, the combination, hovers around 6500 lbs, plus or minus.

So far, we've towed it around 2500 miles, up and down the eastern side of CA on the 395 and, we've had no issues YET! And, ours too is the Blue Ox 1674. Hmmm

So, I would like to see the damage, the pictures, the repair parts you made and whatever you have to offer. Our trucks are very, very similar.

I sure want to thank you for posting this. While I'm not a worry wart and don't get rattled that easily, you've got me thinking. And that's a lot for these brain cells. The pictures below are of my setup. I'll PM you with my email.
Scott





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Old 09-30-2013, 10:28 PM   #3
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Just got in from installing my kit in 07 Silverado. Thanks for the info and heads up Pigman1, will definitely keep an eye on them. Surprised they are only grade 5 bolts in kit, and should be hardened washers used as well.

I haven't wired lights in yet, but do your front signals come on as well in the toad, or just rears?
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjay View Post
Just got in from installing my kit in 07 Silverado. Thanks for the info and heads up Pigman1, will definitely keep an eye on them. Surprised they are only grade 5 bolts in kit, and should be hardened washers used as well.

I haven't wired lights in yet, but do your front signals come on as well in the toad, or just rears?
Mjay,
I don't know how Pigman did it but, I wired my truck for toad lights. I'm one of those that ties into the factory rear lights for toad lights. Some have panic attacks when that procedure is mentioned but, I've been doing it for decades on 9 different toads for us and as of yet, we've had NOT ONE problem with doing it that way.

To me, it's a very simple procedure. I run all the wires from the back of the trailer plug on the front of the truck, along the frame, and up into the back side of the left rear tail light housing. I remove the tail light housing and do about 95% of the wiring right there. The other 5% is crossed over to the right side tail light and finish up there.

All I do is this. I locate the left turn/brake light wire and strip about a 1/2" of insulation off. The wire is not cut. I wrap the appropriate wire from the newly added ones around that stripped section. Then, I solder it. Then it's wrapped securely with good quality electric tape. Done! I do the same thing with the running light wire. Strip, wrap, solder, tape, DONE.

Now, one thing I do also at this point is, add a Radio Shack diode just ahead of that newly created "T" intersection for the LT/Brake only, not the running. I then finish my work over on the right side in the same fashion. I also add a diode on that side too.

Now, as you most likely know, the diode is put into place to stop the signal from the motor home from traveling up stream to the front of the toad.

So, to answer your question, NO, the front turn signals on the toad DO NOT FLASH when the rears are flashing from signals being sent by the motor home. This system, is by far, the cheapest and most NATURAL looking ( to a driver following the toad while being towed behind the coach). This is important to me. I like the fact that the tail lights on the truck act EXACTLY the same when towing it, as they do when driving it.

And, I have no "Light bar" to remove and stow, no magnetic lights to remove and find a place for, and no additional bulbs working within an inch of the stock bulbs. It's a preference thing. Hope this helps some.
Scott
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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Thanks Fire Up.
I did get the wire kit with diodes in them, and planned on splicing in to existing wires.
Im going to see if I can find the proper wires under the hood at the main fuse panel and tie in there instead of running wires to the back.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjay View Post
Just got in from installing my kit in 07 Silverado. Thanks for the info and heads up Pigman1, will definitely keep an eye on them. Surprised they are only grade 5 bolts in kit, and should be hardened washers used as well.

I haven't wired lights in yet, but do your front signals come on as well in the toad, or just rears?
No, just the rears. I had a handful of diodes hanging around that I took off previous toads and just set them up for the rear. It would have been a waste of time to do the fronts as we use a toad cover from Coastline RV and Off Road - RV Products and it covers all lights, hood and glass.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:40 AM   #7
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Thanks Fire Up.
I did get the wire kit with diodes in them, and planned on splicing in to existing wires.
Im going to see if I can find the proper wires under the hood at the main fuse panel and tie in there instead of running wires to the back.
Mjay,
I'm sure it's possible to find the wires under the hood or, possibly under the dash but, it really wasn't too difficult to run them along the frame, wire tying them to existing wires/tubing etc. all the way to the left rear tail light housing, your choice.

Pigman, did you get my request for the damage pictures? Thanks.
Scott
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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After some 30k miles towing my 2010 Silverado, I have not noticed any issues with the frame. The distortion of the frame ends is troubling but the loose bolts is another issue. Install instructions requires the use of perm locktite on the bolts. However, once the distortion and enlargement of the bolt holes began, I guess all bets are off. So "chicken or egg"--did the loose bolts cause the initial problems or did the ditortion cause the loose bolts?
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:07 PM   #9
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Scott, check your email. Pix should be in your inbox. Old Scout, yep, that's what Blue Ox kept pushing, but I torqued those bolts to their specs and used the Loctite. After things started coming loose, I would re-torque and mark the bolts/nuts to be sure they weren't backing off. Breaking that dam* Loctite loose was a bear the first time, and I didn't want to have to do it each time the hitch loosened up. The nuts/bolts never physically loosened, so I think it was the frame thinning under the bolt heads that continued the problem.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #10
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Scott, check your email. Pix should be in your inbox. Old Scout, yep, that's what Blue Ox kept pushing, but I torqued those bolts to their specs and used the Loctite. After things started coming loose, I would re-torque and mark the bolts/nuts to be sure they weren't backing off. Breaking that dam* Loctite loose was a bear the first time, and I didn't want to have to do it each time the hitch loosened up. The nuts/bolts never physically loosened, so I think it was the frame thinning under the bolt heads that continued the problem.
Pigman1,
Thanks for the pix, received them just fine. I was picturing more egg-shaped holes but that was not the case. Yes, there is some distortion in them, that's for sure. I was wondering, my base plates would not fit inside the frame pockets without some slight "grinding" on certain edges etc. Once that was done, they slipped into a still, fairly tight pocket.

Now, with that in mind, I, most likely like you, had to drill presice holes to align with the inside base plates. But, there's "bungs" or, tubes that keep you from clamping down on that frame too much, correct? I'm going out to check ours right now to see if there's any possibility of looseness. Again, thanks for your posting this.
Scott
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #11
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Pigman1,
Thanks for the pix, received them just fine. I was picturing more egg-shaped holes but that was not the case. Yes, there is some distortion in them, that's for sure. I was wondering, my base plates would not fit inside the frame pockets without some slight "grinding" on certain edges etc. Once that was done, they slipped into a still, fairly tight pocket.

Now, with that in mind, I, most likely like you, had to drill presice holes to align with the inside base plates. But, there's "bungs" or, tubes that keep you from clamping down on that frame too much, correct? I'm going out to check ours right now to see if there's any possibility of looseness. Again, thanks for your posting this.
Scott
You'er right about the spacers in the base plate pieces, Scott, but it sounds like our frames were a bit different. My base plate pieces fit inside the rectangular frame quite loosely, if fact, a "two finger slip in". This definitely meant that my frame had to be deformed by the bolts before they mated up to the spacers and body of the base plate pieces. The only thing that did that deformation was the bolts. This may have caused a minimum of bearing surface in touch with the base plate pieces and it's subsequent looseness. As you can see in some of the photo's, you can actually see an imprint of the six sided bolt head impressed into the frame sides.

Regardless of why it happened, it looks like my goal of alerting folks with similar systems of a potential problem has worked. It could be that my frame was just a bit different than others and that caused my problem. Needless to say, I will be keeping a close watch on mine from now on. Good luck with your rig.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:36 PM   #12
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Pigman, I wonder if perhaps you did not receive the proper mounts. Could have been mislabelled at factory. I also had to grind a bit off the edge to get bolt to line up as well

It took maybe a full turn of the nut to start to compress frame rail to mount, but then I could feel the bolt tightening up.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:40 PM   #13
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Mjay, could have been the wrong part, I guess. Looked like the install instructions and were marked as BX 1674's, but when Lord Murphy gets his fingers into the act, anything's possible. Also could have had a slip up in the production line I guess, but hopefully I've got it solved now.
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