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Old 03-28-2016, 01:48 PM   #1
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"All Terrain" tow bars

I have an older Roadmaster Sterling tow bar, which I think is NOT the "all terrain" version. I'm considering replacing it with a Sterling or Falcon all-terrain bar. Will these new versions REALLY disconnect under load? That would be wonderful!
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:50 PM   #2
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We also have the older Sterling and I've never had a problem disconnecting it. But then I don't go "four wheeling" either.
Personally I don't think it's worth the cost to upgrade. I even asked RoadMaster about an upgrade for ours and they said it can't be done, plus, at that time they didn't offer a trade in program either, but they might now.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:55 PM   #3
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I have the Sterling that I bought about 10 years ago. It will bind occasionally. I also have a newer Falcon All Terrain. The Falcon is much easier to disconnect. It is also a bit heavier than the Sterling. I do like the Falcon better.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:59 PM   #4
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Vanwill-

In almost all cases, our Sterling "Al Terrain" allows us to release the lock handles, freeing up the towbar arms. This is true for typical angles between the coach and toad centerlines, both horizontal and vertical. In some cases we choose to start the toad and move it forward or back to allow the handles to release more easily.

Another suggested method used is to move the steering wheel back and forth; I have not tried that method yet.

In my opinion. the Sterling "All Terrain" towbar works as expected.
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:08 PM   #5
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The switch is absolutely worth it....in our opinion. We can now disconnect in most situations with no effort. Nice when you don't have the available road length to keep everything straight & level.
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:22 PM   #6
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We switched and are very happy we did. The All Terrain doesn't care where I disconnect it now. It disconnects simply no matter the terrain, whether the truck is straight to the MH or even if there level with each other. Never a bind! I would not go back to the older model now after using the All terrain.
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your replies. I understand that one cannot disconnect if the coach is headed uphill, regardless the type of tow bar--the removable pins are under tension. I understand that the "all terrain" bar is primarily an aid if the toad is "pushing" the coach when parked.

I wonder if all this debate between the two types would be moot, if all tow bar designs incorporated a method to temporarily spring-load the release levers in the "release" direction. Then, whether the toad was "pushing" or "pulling" the coach, one could activate the release feature, move the toad forward or rearward until the latches disengaged, then move the toad slightly forward so that the arms were partially collapsed. The pins could then be easily removed.

I think I'll rig up something to try out this idea. Or has someone else already done it?
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:02 AM   #8
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I think I'll rig up something to try out this idea. Or has someone else already done it?[/QUOTE]

If the release leavers are binding and can't be pushed, you could try wrapping a bungie cord around it and then move the towed vehicle either forward or back to relieve the pressure. The bungie would press the lever down and allow release and disconnect. Cheap fix.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:12 AM   #9
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The danger in a spring loaded release lever is that if unintentionally moved or left in that position, it would release as you drove, yes ?

Probably why the manufactures don't do it.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:19 AM   #10
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The levers on the Blue Ox and Roadmaster towbars work in opposite directions. For Blue Ox, release is down; for Roadmaster, release is up.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drwwicks View Post
I think I'll rig up something to try out this idea. Or has someone else already done it?
If the release leavers are binding and can't be pushed, you could try wrapping a bungie cord around it and then move the towed vehicle either forward or back to relieve the pressure. The bungie would press the lever down and allow release and disconnect. Cheap fix.[/QUOTE]

Something similar to that is what I'm going to try. Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:41 AM   #12
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The danger in a spring loaded release lever is that if unintentionally moved or left in that position, it would release as you drove, yes ?

Probably why the manufactures don't do it.
True, but it's certainly not rocket science to design the release to re-set when the bar is released, either by collapsing it, or stowing it. Or to prevent it from being stored without reset.

I'm going to try something similar to the bungee method. You would have to remove the "release mechanism" to be able to store the tow bar.

The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to buy the new tow bar. Even the "all terrain" models don't allow one person to start the toad and collapse the bar so that the pins can be removed. But a method to temporarily hold the release levers in the open position solves the problem, even if the toad is "pulling" the coach.

I'll rig up something and try it the next time I tow. Stay tuned...
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:59 AM   #13
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Curious, Is there so many times that it's an issue ?

I've never been in a place I could not unhitch... and I've been in some binds..

now, I may need to push or pull with the toad a bit and use the emergency brake to hold it, but rarely more than once...

Now, I did refurbish my hitch very well, in fact TOO well, in that in now drops on it's own weight, need to tighten down some of the pivot bolts to fix that
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:55 AM   #14
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Curious, Is there so many times that it's an issue ?

I've never been in a place I could not unhitch... and I've been in some binds..

now, I may need to push or pull with the toad a bit and use the emergency brake to hold it, but rarely more than once...

Now, I did refurbish my hitch very well, in fact TOO well, in that in now drops on it's own weight, need to tighten down some of the pivot bolts to fix that
John Boy, it happens to me frequently. I have found myself in both situations--toad pulling and toad pushing, and unable either to release the locks, or remove the pins. And I always have to do the hook-up/unhook totally by myself--no one to help. Never a problem hooking up, of course.

It's possible I could use the parking brake on the auto transmission toad to help, but one of my toads is an old 5-spd Sonoma pickup, and it would be difficult to press the parking brake while keeping the truck "pushing" or "pulling". I think I'm going to try separate bungees for each release lever. That would allow both release levers to unlock by moving the toad, with or without using the parking brake on the toad. And the way I'm considering mounting them would make it really unlikely one would forget them after unhooking--they would prevent you from stowing the tow bar.
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