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Old 06-04-2014, 08:13 PM   #1
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2011 Sierra Blue OX base plates

My base plates have loosened up after about 2800 miles of towing (one OH to FLA round trip and one OH in state trip). I installed them with the factory hardware and red Lock-tite, exactly as the Blue Ox instructions called for. I did not like the fact that they use course thread grade five hardware, split lock washers and nylon locking nuts. No auto OEM would use this type of hardware. I heard from one dealer that he had the same base plates on his Chevy Avalanche and his had a tendency to loosen, so I had added jam nuts.

Iím considering re-installing with fine threat bolts, star washers, and metal locking nuts. Iím debating grade 5 or grade 8.

I called Blue Ox and they said they never heard of any loosening problems with these base plates. Has any one else had they same experience? If, so have you found an acceptable fix?

Iím concerned that they are going to damage my truckís frame rails to the point where I cannot install any base plate.

Why didnít they engineer them to be installed the same way as the OEM tow hooks? If they had the frame rail would not have had to be squeezed to make the base plates tight. They also could have used the higher quality OEM hardware.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodski View Post
My base plates have loosened up after about 2800 miles of towing (one OH to FLA round trip and one OH in state trip). I installed them with the factory hardware and red Lock-tite, exactly as the Blue Ox instructions called for. I did not like the fact that they use course thread grade five hardware, split lock washers and nylon locking nuts. No auto OEM would use this type of hardware. I heard from one dealer that he had the same base plates on his Chevy Avalanche and his had a tendency to loosen, so I had added jam nuts.

Iím considering re-installing with fine threat bolts, star washers, and metal locking nuts. Iím debating grade 5 or grade 8.

I called Blue Ox and they said they never heard of any loosening problems with these base plates. Has any one else had they same experience? If, so have you found an acceptable fix?

Iím concerned that they are going to damage my truckís frame rails to the point where I cannot install any base plate.

Why didnít they engineer them to be installed the same way as the OEM tow hooks? If they had the frame rail would not have had to be squeezed to make the base plates tight. They also could have used the higher quality OEM hardware.
Yeah, I had the same problem over the summer of 2012. Blue Ox is lying to you. We took the Silverado to Alaska and I found I had to retighten the bolts just about every day. When I got home I found the bolt heads and nuts were deforming and thinning the steel frame where they went through. They also elongated the frame holes and cracked the frame from the outer bolt holes to the lower outside front of the frame. Due to the looseness, the removable hitch pins were also bent. I fully documented the problem to Blue Ox in emails, on the phone and by sending them about a dozen pictures of the damage.

About all I got out of it from Blue Ox was that they replaced the removable hitch pins. Terrible engineering followed up by piss poor customer service.

As a fix I fabricated truck frame doublers from 2"x1/4" by about 4" long doublers from 2" steel bar. I jig drilled these to the Blue Ox pieces to a very snug fit on grade 8 bolts. I then assembled the pieces on the truck with the bar stock on both sides of the truck frame and torqued them to grade 8 specs. A double nut secured the whole operation. I then brought the truck all set up to a local certified welder and had him weld the doublers to the frame as it was already assembled. He also welded the frame cracks. We've put about 10, 000 tow miles on the setup and so far all has been good. I inspect it by giving it a good shake test at every stop, and a very close visual inspection at each MH maintenance cycle. By the way I do all my own work and the base plate was installed EXACTLY as Blue Ox specified as it appears you did. Since I already had the 2" bar stock, the cost of my fix was about $100 and a day's work, but this was about $100 I should not have had to spend.

Needless to say, My opinion of Blue Ox is lower than a snake's belly. Too bad when a good company deteriorates to this level. It had a fully documented problem and changed nothing and then it seems they denied the problem ever existed. Sort of reminds me of Dometic/Norcold.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:45 PM   #3
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Well Gang,
I'm not sure there's any difference in the truck frames from Chevy to GMC but, our present toad, an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4 has now been towed for well over 5,000 miles and, those Blue Ox base plates are still as snug and secure, as the day I installed them. I've been using "Nylox" lock nuts for decades in Fire truck application (they get kind of sever duty use) and as of yet, have never had one loosen, on its own, ever in that time frame.

I kind of thought it was a pretty good system. At least on mine, the system does "NOT" squeeze the frame when the bolts are inserted and securely tightened down. There are sleeves inside the tubing base plates the prevent crushing in both the frame and or, the base plate material. I put some serious torque on those bolts and, they're still tight today.

Maybe they changed the style of construction of those base plates from yours to ours but, so far, ours are doing fine.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:20 PM   #4
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Woodski, The link to my original post on this problem is 2011 Chevy Silverado Blue Ox Base Plate

You can check out the entire thread.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:33 PM   #5
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I towed my Yukon XL for 3 years over 12,000 miles and nothing came loose.

I used the Blue Ox supplied hardware.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:02 PM   #6
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I have towed my 07 2500 Duramax and mine are as tight as the day I installed them. I read the thread on here about them loosening, but have not seen the issue on mine.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:20 AM   #7
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I would suspect your frame attachment point compressed allowing nuts/bolts to appear loose. Very unlikely the bolts back off using Red Loctite with aircraft nuts.
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