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Old 11-14-2019, 03:16 PM   #1
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Advice needed on tow bar tolerances

Im brand new to dingy towing and am in the process of trying to get my first one set up. I have encountered something Im not excited about.

I purchased Maximus-3 tow loops for my JL Wrangler which take the place of a baseplate. They look like this:



The tow loops are 5/8 thick steel plate and have holes for 7/8 pins. I had the tow loops sent to NSA who make the Ready Brute Elite tow bar so they could make clevises that fit. They told me they had an existing product that would work and they shipped everything to me.

My stuff arrived last night and I found the fit between the clevises and tow loops to be much looser than expected. The distance between the clevis forks is 15/16. There is 1/4 of slop between the loops and clevises. It looks like this:


Making matters worse, the clevises use 1 pins while the tow loops use 7/8 pins.

I emailed the company to complain and they said someone should have included the 7/8 pins. They stated since everything is steel there is no issue with the slop. They suggested I ream out the tow loop holes or they can ship me the smaller pins (which will leave 1/8 between the pins and clevises)

What are everyones thoughts on these loose tolerances? Part of me is ready to ship the tow bar back and go a different direction. I originally went with the Ready Brute since it has a built in surge brake. I could go with a Roadmaster or Blue Ox system and take a different direction with the brakes. Both companies make adapters with 3/4 openings between the mounting tabs and use 7/8 pins (which would fit much better).
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:52 PM   #2
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This is the sort of thing that happens when companies are into the one size fits all and don't really care to furnish a quality product. Any junk out the door and 95% WILL NOT be back, regardless how shoddy the workmanship, so they're money ahead regardless. Don't look to Blue Ox for anything better. It's been my experience that their products are poorly engineered, have a very poor durability, and they WILL NOT stand behind their junk, even when obvious defects are fully documented. Do a forum search on Blue Ox base plate and tow bar problems. I have had to shim just about every joint on Blue Ox tow bars and base plates to remove excessive play. Although I used a Roadmaster tow bar once, I have no extended experience with it.


Were it me, I'd take the Maximus-3 pieces and the matching tow loops to a good machine shop or certified welder and have them make it right. I'd doubt the Maximus-3 company will ever get it right, no matter what you do. Eliminate the headaches and save time and ulcers.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:42 PM   #3
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Well,
I must have got lucky when I was setting up one of our present toads, a '15 Jeep JKUR with Smittybilt XRC MOD front and rear bumpers. The front came with "Recovery tabs" which, are to be used for towing also. Well, we have a Blue Ox Aventa which, is rated for 7,500 lbs or 10,000, I forgot. But, I needed to adapt it to those recovery tabs on that new front bumper.

So, within just a short bit of investigating, I found that there was/is adapters for the Blue Ox towbar to the specific size of recovery tabs and, that includes matching the hole size in the recovery tabs. Both are 1" holes. The adapters came with short, 1" pins which, work. But, those shorter 1" pins are one pain in the buns to remove when disconnecting from towing.

So, off to Tractor supply to purchase some D-ring handled 1" pins. Waaaaaaaaay better. But, to the OP, too bad you're having excess clearance issues all around on your system. Again, I must have got lucky when I set ours up. All facets of the link-up are tight or, I should say they're as close as preferred.
Scott

P.S. In the pics, you can clearly see how much better the D-handled pins would be to use, vs the no handle ones that came with the adapters. I keep those around just in case.
Scott
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:03 PM   #4
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Here's my Roadmaster brackets on a '14 Jeep Wrangler. I use a Roadmaster Nighthawk towbar. With everything almost new there is some slop when connected. Probably at least as much as your setup shows. I wouldn't be too concerned.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:15 PM   #5
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The "slop" is reasonable. Do not worry about it. Correct the issue with the size of the pins.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:59 PM   #6
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That is the problem, there is no fix for the pins. The clevises take 1" pins and the tow loops take 7/8" pins. The Ready Brute people think it's not a problem to use smaller pins with their clevises, but I'm not so sure. It might work great for a while, but what will the clevises look like after 20k miles?
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:33 PM   #7
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just drill the tow loops to 1"
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsingbob View Post
just drill the tow loops to 1"
I thought about that, but after paying $200 for the tow loops and $200 for the clevises, I wasn't too exiting about modifying either. I decided I'm returning the Ready Brute and going with the Blue Ox Ascent and Blue Ox's off-road bumper adapters that should fit perfectly.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:44 AM   #9
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I think you should fix. All is easy to do. The ready brute is a great system.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:18 PM   #10
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I have been towing for 25 years and I can tell from experience that the less "slop" in your road connection AND hitch on the motorhome, your rig will drive better, it's the case of tail wagging the dog. Have a 31ft class C with long rear overhang, to prove a point, get a 2x2 that is about 6ft long,stick it in the receiver in the m/h and push the 2x2 side to side, and watch how much the coach moves.
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:39 PM   #11
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I'm working on a similar set up 2020 Wrangler Rubicon. I had previously started another thread on the same subject so I'll update it and let it die.

I purchased the Maximus Tow Loops, $219.
I already had a Demco ExcalibarII tow bar.
I purchased the Roadmaster adapters from E-Trailer p/n RM-035 ($123). These are intended to attach the Roadmaster tow bars to bumper recovery loops. It appears they will easily replace the ends on my Demco tow bar. The adapters have 7/8" holes. They came complete with 7/8" pins and a bushing that would allow them to work with bumper loops with 1" holes.
The pins fit nicely in the adapters / clevises and the Maximus loops. There is no excessive clearance. I would not be happy with the 1" diameter adapter.

The Maximus loops are only 5/8" thick and the adapters are made for 3/4" thick loops. This leaves about 3/16" space between the clevis and loop. My intent is to epoxy a 1/16" spacer inside each leg of the clevis to use up that extra space. That should leave a reasonable 1/16" clearance side to side.

I'm using the Air Force One braking system from Spartan Chassis $1,128

I just got the Jeep back from the installer. Charged for 6 hours at $125 for installation of the AF1 and Maximus loops. $750

Also had a wiring kit installed. Parts $90. Labor $142.50

Looks like it will all work well. Phoenix Conversions in Knoxville TN did a nice job on the install. I'll be relocating the breakaway switch and the air and electrical connections to tuck those away a bit better. Phoenix put them where I told them but I have a better idea now that I've seen the connections.
Total Parts $1,560 Not including tow bar.
Total installation $892.50
Harry
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