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Old 02-26-2014, 02:39 PM   #1
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Binding Hitch Pins

I have been towing four down for well over 100,000 miles with Towmaster tow bars and baseplates. After a lot of pin binding making unhooking a pain, I switched to their AllTerain series tow bars. The binding problem improved considerably, but there were still some times that the pins would bind and require a lot of work to disconnect.

The tow bar storage system on my Falcon II tow bar failed and caused me to drag the tow bar for several miles which ruined it. After researching the price of a new tow bar, I decided to get a Demco Commander tow bar to replace the Roadmaster Falcon II.

All went well, and I was impressed until unhooking the first time. What a pain! After finally getting unhooked, I re-read the owner’s manual several times. I was doing what the manual specified, but binding was very bad.

I only had several hundred miles and maybe 10 times of connect and disconnect. Each time was a hassle. Time to call Demco! The customer service person was very kind, but just read me what was in the manual. After my third call to customer service, they referred me to an engineer. He tried to explain the engineering concept of the tow bar. Well, in an earlier life, I also was an engineer and understand the engineering concept of the Demco unlocking system – that’s why I bought it. He was no help and after he said, “well, the design is what it is”, I hung up and called again and asked to speak to the President of Demco. I was surprised that the operator actually did transfer the call. I didn’t actually get transferred to the President, but to Mr. Kevin Ten Haken, Executive VP.

We exchanged several phone calls and finally he offered to send someone to me and my motorhome to try to get the issue fixed. I agreed to his proposal and in due time Mr. Jerry Childers arrived at my motorhome. We spent almost three hours discussing and analyzing the problem. Mr. Childers suggested several procedures to prevent the binding problem. Then we concluded with a road test to determine, to my satisfaction, that the procedures he suggested would remove the problem. The road test included several 90 degree turns and a stop for fuel.

I am happy to report that when we finally unhooked the toad, there was absolutely no binging problem. We unhooked in exactly the same place with exactly the same conditions where severe binding problems had occurred before. I am very much impressed with the way Demco handled and solved this problem. I can highly recommend them.

I think the binding problem isn’t just a Demco problem, but can become an issue with any system unless the procedures directed by Mr. Childers are followed. Demco and most other tow bar manufacturers have systems that unlock the tow bar for unhooking, and these procedures apply to those kinds of systems only.

The reason the pin binds is that there is pressure on the pin and clevis. The unlocking mechanism can remove that pressure if that pressure is trying to push the toad toward the MH. It can’t remove that pressure if it is trying to pull the toad backwards from the MH. In rare cases there will be no pressure on the tow bars and no problems will occur.

Here are the steps to make it all work easy from Mr. Childers.

1. Apply the parking brake to the MH. If it has a park position for the transmission, put the transmission in park. Always apply the parking brake first.

2. With the toad brakes activated, put the toad transmission in drive and then creep forward until the toad stops because of the resistance it receives because it can’t move the tow bar any further – a snug fit --, and has taken up all the slack in both tow bar and hitch mounting hardware. Getting rid of the slack is essential. If you watch this step while someone else does the driving, you can see just how much slack there is – more than you would suspect.

3. With the transmission still in drive, depress the toad brake pedal. Do not let the toad drift backwards.

4. Engage the toad emergency/parking brake fully. Do not let the toad drift backwards.

5. Only after the toad emergency brake is engaged, put the toad transmission in park. If the toad drifts backward, you’ve done something wrong! Shut the toad engine off. If you put the transmission in park first and take your off the toad brake pedal, you can see the toad jump backwards. That keeps the tension on the tow bar – not what you want.

6. Go to the tow bar and operate its unlock mechanism on both bars. Unlock the one with the most tension first if that can be determined. The tow bar with the most tension should jump a little toward the collapsed position and all tension should be gone from its clevis and pin. You can now remove that pin and shorten the tow bar.

7. In most cases, the other tow bar will have no tension now and the pin can be removed and the tow bar stored.

8. If the second tow bar does still have tension. Repeat the steps from 2 above for this bar, but is unlikely to be necessary.

Demco has helped me with my pin binding problem, and I hope this helps you.

Good Luck!
Wil
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:41 PM   #2
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When I get in one of those uphill disconnects where the toad is
pulling on the coach, we start the toad, have helper release the
tow bar latches and hold them down in the released position.
We then pull the toad up 3-4 inches and stop, set the brake,
and then disconnect. This relieves the pin pressure as well when
you are "in a bind". Using a different tow bar, but the issue
is common to all tow bar set-ups.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macandphyl View Post
When I get in one of those uphill disconnects where the toad is
pulling on the coach, we start the toad, have helper release the
tow bar latches and hold them down in the released position.
We then pull the toad up 3-4 inches and stop, set the brake,
and then disconnect. This relieves the pin pressure as well when
you are "in a bind". Using a different tow bar, but the issue
is common to all tow bar set-ups.
That's what I do too. Rarely have a problem.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:53 PM   #4
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Been doing it that way for years. I try to tell people there is no reason to beat the pins out but there are those that know you have to use a hammer.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting this information. I have not towed 1" yet, but have purchased the Demco baseplate, Dominator tow bar. The information is stowed away for how to do the disconnect. Also the way Demco handled your problem. Confirmed my experience so far. Now for some Spring!
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:37 PM   #6
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The tow bar storage system on my Falcon II tow bar failed and caused me to drag the tow bar

I have used a Falcon II for eleven years of fulltiming. I would be interested to know what failed that caused the tow bar to drag and destroy itself.

I tow a 2650 lb Saturn car and rarely have binding on the pins. On rare occasion I have to use the lever tool to depress the arm releases. Have never used a hammer to bang the pins out. Not sure if it is the lightweight toad, or just luck that has caused me no problems unhitching.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:03 AM   #7
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For storage, a part of the tow bar locks into place and can be manually released by operating a little lever.

The problem started by not getting the thing to lock at all. After a call to Roadmaster for instructions, working on the locking parts with a screwdriver seemed to correct the problem. Then it started unlocking all by itself. Working on it again seemed to fix it.

But it failed again while driving without the toad attached. The tow bar didn't break as such. Dragging on the road just damaged the clevis ends beyond repair. No repair parts were available from Roadmaster.

Good Luck!
Wil
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macandphyl View Post
When I get in one of those uphill disconnects where the toad is
pulling on the coach, we start the toad, have helper release the
tow bar latches and hold them down in the released position.
We then pull the toad up 3-4 inches and stop, set the brake,
and then disconnect. This relieves the pin pressure as well when
you are "in a bind". Using a different tow bar, but the issue
is common to all tow bar set-ups.
Same here with my Blue Ox tow bar. If I don't have a helper a bungee cord is used to hold the levers down.
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:25 PM   #9
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Well, all of this issue was about keeping the unhooking operation a "one man operation." I would not accept requiring two to disconnect. The Demco person helped me achieve that goal.

The problem is the slop that occurs when putting the toad transition into Park. The clearance in the transmission will allow the toad to move a little as influenced by gravity. If that tries to move the toad away from the MH, binding will occur. If it doesn't try to move the toad away from the MH, binding may or may not occur, but it won't be a serious problem.

The solution to all one man operations to counter binding is to move the toad toward the MH until it stops. Then depress the brake pedal so no toad movement is possible. Then set the toad emergency/parking brake to insure absolutely no movement of the toad will occur. Then, and only then, put the toad transmission into park. The toad won't move.

Then operate the tow bar unlock mechanism. The bound tow bar will move a little in the unlocked direction and it will be free. You can now continue to disconnect at your leisure.Two operators aren't required and shouldn't be.

Good Luck!
Wil
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:42 AM   #10
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wife unhooks our toad she puts in park I ajust with mh
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wil01 View Post
The solution to all one man operations to counter binding is to move the toad toward the MH until it stops. Then depress the brake pedal so no toad movement is possible. Then set the toad emergency/parking brake to insure absolutely no movement of the toad will occur. Then, and only then, put the toad transmission into park. The toad won't move.

Then operate the tow bar unlock mechanism. The bound tow bar will move a little in the unlocked direction and it will be free. You can now continue to disconnect at your leisure.Two operators aren't required and shouldn't be.
Thanks for your post on this. I've had some challenges unhooking my toad, and just recently figured out that moving toward the MH was the key. That was my theory, anyway, which seemed to work the last couple of times out - I'm glad to see it validated!
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