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Old 12-03-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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Base Plate Failure

I see that there have been some base plate failures. Although a rare failure may be expected, I'm curious as to whether one manufacturer has had more failures than an another. I'm still on the fence between Blue Ox and Demco.



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Old 12-03-2010, 09:58 AM   #2
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I have towed my Honda CRV with Blue-Ox base plates 30,000 miles with no sign of trouble so far.

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Old 12-03-2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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I plan going the Blue Ox route. I just purchased the base plate for our CRV from Amazon; cheapest place I could find.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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20,000 miles with the Blue Ox base plate on my '01 Cherokee. Hardware is all still tight when I check it and no sign of cracks or fatigue. I also have a set on my '01 Ford F350 with about 6K on them and no problems.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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Allot of baseplate failures are caused by incorrect tow bar angle, regardless of manufacturer. If the toad is more then 4 inches height difference then the towing vehicle, it places too much force on the baseplate and frame of the toad during hard braking. That force over time will cause welds to break on the baseplate and/or the frame of the toad vehicle.

PS I chose Blue Ox over Demco also
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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I assumed that the tow angle and/or bolts that weren't tight may be major contributors to the problem. I see that someone said Blue Ox paid them $1,900 towards damages to their TOAD. That's either extreme goodwill or some level of admission they had a problem with their product.

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Old 12-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #7
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Blue ox failure

I have a 04 Ford Ranger pick up truck that I tow 4 down. I put a Blue Ox base plate and tow bar system on and was not sure of the engineering of the base plate. I called Blue Ox and questioned the ''cantilever'' of the base plate in relation to where it attached to the front of the frame on the truck. I was assured by their engineering department that it was safe and well tested. These people are idiots and have probably never tested anything.
I installed the base plate as per instructions and still had my doubts and I was right. On the way to Alaska the thing started ''rocking'' on the double bolts that held it to the frame. I had it ''welded to the frame'' of the truck and that helped some. It still had a tendency to ''move'' back and fourth and I knew I needed more bracing. YES, I HAVE AIR BREAKS ON THE TRUCK AND YES, THEY WORK WELL AND NO THE TRUCK WAS NOT OVERLOADED. ALSO I HAVE PROPER ALIGNMENT ON THE TOW BAR TO COACH TO BASE PLATE ASPECT
We stopped at a campground and the owner had a welder and he allowed me to weld braces on the base plate. I took 2 x 2 angle iron and put braces from both of the sides of the base plate back to the frame at about a 45 degree angle and ''burned it in to last''. This resolved my problem and I informed Blue Ox of this and they said they would take it under consideration and that was the last I have heard from them.
I can post pix if anyone wants them showing my ''fix''.....

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Old 12-03-2010, 01:19 PM   #8
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I've towed 60k miles with Roadmaster base plates and 35k+ miles with Blue Ox. Never a hint of a problem. Have no experience with Demco.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:26 PM   #9
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We have a Demco base plate and tow bar, 15000 miles and no problems.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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When I saw a couple of base plates being installed on cars at different places I questioned the mechanical heft of the steel, the fasteners, the placements, etc.

My outsiders observation then was that the motivation to minimally disturb the cosmetics, the appearance of the customers grill and front end... necessitates using an engineering approach that is more restrictive than might be best.
(eg: tying the two plates to each other, etc.)
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:44 AM   #11
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We had the Blue Ox baseplate on our Saturn Vue let go after about 40,000 miles of towing. The steel of the mounting plates cracked right at the edges of the welds indicating high residual stress in the steel.

Blue Ox paid to have a new base plate installed. They sounded like they would have entertained a claim to repair the car, but I had already repaired it myself. The car looked a lot worse than it was. The front fascia just snaps on, and even though there were a few tabs broken off, it went back on OK.

I noticed the installation instructions for the new baseplate now tells you to install safety cables to tie the baseplate to the vehicle frame in case of failure.

Blue Ox recommends inspecting the baseplate for loose bolts and for fatigue every time you tow. I used to check for loose bolts, but never for for cracks. I'll be doing that periodically from now on.

BTW, our tow bar is definitely level when hooked up.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:48 AM   #12
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I think most base plate failures are SUE failures (Stupid User Errors) this is not to say a bad weld can't happen.. but ...

The instruciton manual says to re-check the bolts from time to time.

When I re-checked mine.. I found one missing, and 2 loose enough to be scary.. Re-tightening, Re-placing and a drop of loctite on each and .... Well the base plate then outlasted the car.

NOTE: Mine did not fail.. I fixed the "Screws loose" in time.

But to be honest.. Was more luck than planning.

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