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Old 11-20-2015, 08:32 AM   #1
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Base Plate Choices for DIY

With my limited knowledge base, I believe there are about three manufacturers of Base Plates.
Demco, Blue Ox, and Roadmaster. If there are more please enlighten me.
I know there are of course compatible Road Bars(?) that go with each system, but I am asking specifically about the Base Plate installation.


To those who did the install yourself...

My question is, which Base Plate did you choose and why?
Is there a consensus, as to which is the best/easiest to self install, or does that depend on the Toad?

I don't post on Forums much, so forgive me it I ask a stupid question, or violate decorum.
Perhaps a Poll would be a good ideal, but I have no ideal how to do that.
Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:48 AM   #2
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Buy the tow bar you want along with the matching baseplate as a set. Tow bar choice depends on capacity(weight you are towing) and convenience features... you get what you pay for. I have installed three Roadmaster base plates on various cars, and all have been d-i-y all-day projects... good installation directions which can be downloaded. I have had the Sterling All-Terrain tow bar for 8 years and am very satisfied with it.What is your motorhome and what is your toad?
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:06 AM   #3
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My choice on 15+ installations has been Roadmaster baseplate, I think Roadmaster is a little more robust and heavy duty and I have never heard of one breaking loose from broken welds or metal. I do use thread lock and torque the bolts to specs. It makes no difference the tow bar you use as you can get the arm tabs to fit any baseplate, I run Roadmaster base plates and use a BlueOx tow bar with no problem.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:20 AM   #4
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A friend recently gave me a Blue Ox tow bar to be used with my newly acquired 2004 Jeep Liberty. Since there were no base plates with the tow bar, I called Blue Ox with the serial number, and they provided me with the correct part number for the base plate to be used with the Liberty. I and a friend installed the base plate in about 3 hours. It was straightforward and the directions (I downloaded video from You Tube) were excellent. I am a happy camper!!

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Old 11-20-2015, 09:44 AM   #5
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I went with the Blue Ox base plate and put adapters on my Roadmaster tow bar. The Blue Ox base plate has a solid horizontal cross member welded in place while the roadmaster has an external cross member mounted with bolts and pins. Welded makes a more rigid and lighter setup in my opinion. An external cross member is just one more thing to do when you are hooking up and one more thing to store. I liked the Blue Ox style connectors that just take a half turn to install without seperate clevis pins to lock them. I also thought the attach points on my cars frame make better sense. You should look at the specifics of your make and model car for each base plate. Things like the location of attach points to the frame, number and size of fasteners, height of tow bar connections compared to your hitch to minimize using a large drop receiver, required modifications or moving car components for clearance. If you have to drill large holes in your frame to install that can be a challenge for some.
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Old 11-20-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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I don't know what vehicle you are trying to install the base plate on, but I'll relate my experience. I installed a Demco base plate on my 12 Wrangler and am very impressed with the quality and design. It bolts directly to the frame and behind the bumper mounts so there is virtually no way it can be pulled loose without taking the front of the frame with it. It mounts very close up under the bumper for maximum ground clearance and the tow bar attachment tabs even come with snap on covers. It mates up perfectly with a Blue Ox tow bar, which I did choose because of quality and reputation. I did install it myself in just a couple of hours and only required drilling two holes.

I chose it over the Blue Ox and other base plates for several reasons that I won't go into as I don't want to appear to be product bashing. I am extremely happy with the Demco and would definitely install one again if needed.
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Old 11-20-2015, 10:29 AM   #7
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I have installed baseplate/towbar combos on my last four toads. All using Roadmaster equipment. I can't criticize Demco or Blue Ox as I have not tried those. I will say I have had zero breakage or failures with my Roadmaster setups with over 100,000 towed miles.

The one thing I'll say about DIY is it depends on your skill level. I have a decent garage and a lot of tools as well as experience during college installing hitches on cars and trucks. If you DIY prepare for a all day job. The reason why I say that is even on my Jeep Wrangler of recent you normally have to remove spray shields, bumpers, skid plates with each having unfamiliar fasteners. Then you generally need a 1/2 drill at least and the subsequent trip to the hardware store. I like DIY because I take my time, follow the instructions and do it right. The problem is it isn't for everybody. If you have any doubt take it to a large RV dealer and ask how many they have done.
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Old 11-20-2015, 11:29 AM   #8
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TurtleKent,

What is your motorhome and what is your toad?

Thanks for your response. We have a 2005 Winnebago Voyage. Just bought a new 2016 Jeep Trailhawk to use as a Toad.

Lt Dan
I chose it over the Blue Ox and other base plates for several reasons that I won't go into as I don't want to appear to be product bashing.
That is partly why I started the Thread. Not to bash products, but to hear some of the pros and cons of the different ones, and to see if there was a clear consensus on what seems to work best...if anything. If you don't feel comfortable comparing them I understand.Thanks
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Old 11-20-2015, 11:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruscifer View Post
With my limited knowledge base, I believe there are about three manufacturers of Base Plates.
Demco, Blue Ox, and Roadmaster. If there are more please enlighten me.
I know there are of course compatible Road Bars(?) that go with each system, but I am asking specifically about the Base Plate installation.


To those who did the install yourself...

My question is, which Base Plate did you choose and why?
Is there a consensus, as to which is the best/easiest to self install, or does that depend on the Toad?

I don't post on Forums much, so forgive me it I ask a stupid question, or violate decorum.
Perhaps a Poll would be a good ideal, but I have no ideal how to do that.
Thanks in advance for any responses.
Blue Ox. Why? They were easy to buy direct via Amazon.com at a decent discount from full retail price. They had base plate that fit my vehicle. The instructions were on-line at the Blue Ox web site so I could determine in advance what was involved in the install and if I could DIY or not. I could.

I can say they are good but I can't say if they are the best or not as I have only installed Blue Ox base plates and used Blue Ox tow bar and wiring accessories.

The self install is not easy but it is certainly within the abilities of many who are comfortable with auto mechanics. Most base plate kits require drilling into steel in your toad so be sure to buy some good drill bits of the required size.

At a few points in the install process a helper is useful but most steps can be done by yourself.
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:34 PM   #10
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I used a Roadmaster mounting bracket and Falcon 2 tow bar. Best price and relatively easy for me to install myself - minimal disassembly of my toad front end and NO DRILLING; completely bolt on. Very small amount of trimming of the plastic grill. The mounting bracket "front arms", which connect to the tow bar are removable when not in use, so the bracket is almost invisible.
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:42 PM   #11
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Generally, it will make life easier if the tow bar and base plate are from the same manufacture to ensure compatibility. i.e. tow bar mounting and interface to the base plate will change between brands.

I purchased a used base-plate on Craig's list for my Civic. It did not match my straight "A" tow bar. Not a problem, We drilled holes so the tow bar would mount to the base plate pins, and then had to add one cross member to the base plate mounting behind the bumper.

Access to hand tools and perhaps a little intuitiveness on mechanical loads and structures will help if things don't line up the way the instructions say. Some basic knowledge of how to remove body panels, etc. Computer skills also are important to do a search for YouTube videos on how to remove bumpers, etc.

If I can do it, almost anyone can do it.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:25 PM   #12
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I just finished removing the bumper fascia on my new toad. I'll attempt to install the base plate tomorrow.

I chose Blue Ox just because.
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Old 11-21-2015, 05:24 PM   #13
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Please let us know how it went?

Just heard back from Blue Ox. Apparently there is enough difference between the 2015 and 2016 Jeep Trailhawk that they made a new Base Plate. Should be ready mid-December.
Motorhome is in storage now, but between now and spring, gonna do something.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Old 11-21-2015, 06:02 PM   #14
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For us, there were four considerations:

• A 10,000 pound tow system
• A baseplate that I could install and maintain myself
• A baseplate that would be [relatively] invisible on the toad when not being towed
• A braking system that would be sure to integrate all of its parts and pieces to the tow bar and baseplate (a single-manufacturer turn-key system = less complications down-the-road, in my thinking), ...AND that I could move back-and-forth between two toads (for a while I waffled back-and-forth between towing two different Jeeps (depending on the kind of adventure we were heading for) and I did not want to invest in two different braking systems.

The options that we looked at were all pretty good, but we ended up going with the BlueOx system.

\ken
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