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Old 12-21-2015, 10:43 PM   #1
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Ball Mount/Conection, BlackHawk, Blue Ox

After 17 plus years of RVing in several types of vehicles, I'm getting more and more frustrated with the inability of backing up for any substancial distance when my toad is connected to my MH via our BlackHawk 10k lb. tow setup (I believe that this restriction is the same with the Blue OX).

So my question:
How many others have opted for a "ball" type connection (I'm not really sure what the technical or correct name describes this connection, but it is the one that places a cup type connection on the toad's end over the ball at the end of the hitch on the MH).
1. Is this more of a concern of the strength of this connection? Exam: If I am pulling a 5,000 lb. toad, the ball is insufficient?
2. How secure the actual ball connection is?
3. Availability of a stronger ball type connection?
4. What about the heaver type connections as seen on commercial equipment - sort of a "hand looking connection" on the pulling vehicle grabbing onto a bar type connection on the trailer

As you can probably immediately tell, I am not the technical descriptive affectionado I'd like to be. But, hopefully, you can gleam a basic understand of what I'm asking.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:07 PM   #2
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If you really want to back up in my opinion get a car hauler trailer. That is going to be the only thing that will back up correctly in my opinion
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:42 PM   #3
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Just for fun,
Just wondering why you feel the need for so much backing when you have a toad? It's your toad and your setup so, it's your business but, most folks definitely TRY and not get into situations where backing with a toad is needed.

It does happen every once in a while but, not very often. And due to basic geometry, it's not going to matter what style of link you have for your tow bar to coach. Be it a ball type or, u-joint type, both of them are designed for multi-plane movements, at one time.

And with that, you add the fact that your steering in your toad is also a pivot point, (that's why they're un locked for towing). So, what you end up with is, something that works flawless for GOING FORWARD.

But, trying to back it, for anything other than about a foot, is basically non-negotiable. OH yeah, you'll have some that will chime in here and state they've backed half way across the state but, I'd have actually see them do it for any length of distance, with no one helping in the toad and, no damage to any steering/tire/components of the toad. Due to castor, camber and toe, the torque on the connection points (ball or u-joint) and the possible height difference in tow bar to toad connection, there is a ton of stress on multiple components if and when backing is attempted with a toad and coach.


Can it be done, sure it can. But, just how much stress some or any of those components can take before damage is done is, I sure as heck don't plan on finding out. So, I'm one of those that tries like heck to make sure I can make a turn etc. before I commit. If I miscalculate, well, time to disconnect.

So, anyway, just wondering why so much concern about being able to back up withy a toad, no matter what kind of coupler you have???

As for either one being stronger or, more efficient, I'm no structural engineer but, I have had both and, to me, there is no efficiency difference in the two and, I also see no real structural strength gain in either one.

One is primarily designed to stay on the coach when disconnected from the toad and, the other is primarily designed to stay on the toad. But, both can be altered.
Scott
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Just for fun,
Just wondering why you feel the need for so much backing when you have a toad? It's your toad and your setup so, it's your business but, most folks definitely TRY and not get into situations where backing with a toad is needed.

It does happen every once in a while but, not very often. And due to basic geometry, it's not going to matter what style of link you have for your tow bar to coach. Be it a ball type or, u-joint type, both of them are designed for multi-plane movements, at one time.

And with that, you add the fact that your steering in your toad is also a pivot point, (that's why they're un locked for towing). So, what you end up with is, something that works flawless for GOING FORWARD.

But, trying to back it, for anything other than about a foot, is basically non-negotiable. OH yeah, you'll have some that will chime in here and state they've backed half way across the state but, I'd have actually see them do it for any length of distance, with no one helping in the toad and, no damage to any steering/tire/components of the toad. Due to castor, camber and toe, the torque on the connection points (ball or u-joint) and the possible height difference in tow bar to toad connection, there is a ton of stress on multiple components if and when backing is attempted with a toad and coach.


Can it be done, sure it can. But, just how much stress some or any of those components can take before damage is done is, I sure as heck don't plan on finding out. So, I'm one of those that tries like heck to make sure I can make a turn etc. before I commit. If I miscalculate, well, time to disconnect.

So, anyway, just wondering why so much concern about being able to back up withy a toad, no matter what kind of coupler you have???

As for either one being stronger or, more efficient, I'm no structural engineer but, I have had both and, to me, there is no efficiency difference in the two and, I also see no real structural strength gain in either one.

One is primarily designed to stay on the coach when disconnected from the toad and, the other is primarily designed to stay on the toad. But, both can be altered.
Scott
Scott:

All good points.

While I do not plan to "back half way across the state" I'm pretty good at planning before I comment to any (most) situation while towing. But... There are times when I would really love to be able to back up about 5 to 10 (15) feet so that I do not have to disconnect (even though I've become quite efficient at the whole disconnecting process). It would just make life a little bit easier - especially in very cold weather when my fingers feel brittle against the cold steel of the toad harness!!!!!
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
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Maybe I'm not following....

Are you saying you'd be ok backing up with one that has a ball mount? Or just that it'd be easier to quickly undo to move your toad separately?

When backing up, the caster of the front wheels of the toad quickly make the wheels turn to full lock. That's got nothing to do with the style of towbar.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:31 AM   #6
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x3 what Fire Up said. Changing to a different style will have zero effect. The problem is NOT the ball mount or lack of it - it's the geometry of the whole set-up and the likelihood of damage to tow bar or toad front end due to abnormal stresses.
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Scott:

All good points.

While I do not plan to "back half way across the state" I'm pretty good at planning before I comment to any (most) situation while towing. But... There are times when I would really love to be able to back up about 5 to 10 (15) feet so that I do not have to disconnect (even though I've become quite efficient at the whole disconnecting process). It would just make life a little bit easier - especially in very cold weather when my fingers feel brittle against the cold steel of the toad harness!!!!!
Just for fun,
I most certainly agree that there are times, rare but there are, when it would be really nice to be able to back up a toad, just like a trailer, for any given length, to accommodate your intentions at the time. But, as I and many others have stated, it's really not possible without potential severe damage.

In rare cases, an assistant can be helpful in backing a toad by attending the toads steering wheel and, keeping in close communication with the coach driver. And, while that kind of scenario can and will work for a short distance, you still have two vehicles, with different pivot points, trying to act as a coach/trailer situation that's primarily not possible.

As you know, a trailer can or will have one, two or three axles. But, those axles are close together and, your pivot point is the ball or, fifth wheel hitch. You can back those from here to Mars if you like. But, the distance between front and rear axles on toad and geometry involved, i.e the pivot point of the ball or u-joint tow bar attachment point, just ain't happening.

Good luck
Scott
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:54 PM   #8
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If you just need to back up 5 or 10 feet, the easiest thing to do is put someone in the toad, fire it up and let it pull the motorhome backward, motorhome in neutral with brakes off with driver in place and in communication with toad driver.

I've done it with a Geo Tracker and it works just fine. You won't overload the tow bar because toad traction limits the amount of force you can apply to the bar.
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:44 PM   #9
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There was only one tow bar that was OK to back up with and it was built by M&G a few yrs ago but not any more, it was one for sale on hitch trader about 6 month ago from a guy in OKlahoma, you definitely should not back up with any of the tow bars built today regardless of how its hooked to the coach.
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