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Old 06-08-2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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Blue Ox 10.000 lb. rebuild/refurbish

Gents,
Well, I recently acquired a Blue Ox Aventa II, 10,000 Tow bar. It was damaged while towing the persons toad. From the story I got, a weld had broken on the toads base plate and, one arm of the tow bar dropped to the ground. The damage to the tow bar and related components was fair but, not substantial. Needless to say, I got it for a song and a dance. I don't know how many of you have ever had your tow bar completely torn down but, there's quite a few parts in that mechanism.

It's really not a hard or, even that technical of a project. There's a few, what's called "Roll pins" that need to be knocked out in order to continue the disassembly process and, a couple of un-seen, internal nuts that need to be removed in order for the main coupler to be dissected.

The main damage to the tow bar was to one of the tubes. It got "TWEAKED" just a bit. One of the connector brackets, the ones that you put your 1/2" pins through, was ground down a bit when it hit the ground and was drug along for a bit, prior to stopping the whole mess. And there was similar damage to another part of that connector bracket, the part that's directly attached to the slider arm. The slider arm itself was not damaged at all.

In fact, even with the super slight tweak in the one tube, and the slight "road rash" on the connector components, the tow bar was actually still able to be used. But, I figured, what the heck, let's tear it all down and see what needs to be done to bring this baby back to new. Well, after about 1.5 hours, it was all dissected and laid out for analyzation. The bend in the one tube was so close to the pivot point where it and the other tube attach at the coupler, the only way to actually get it back straight again was HEAT!

No big deal. With the use of a rose bud tip, I had it straight in about two minutes. I let it cool naturally so I wouldn't alter the strength of the tensile of the tubing. Now, for the connectors. As you see in the pics, some pretty good road grinding had taken place. Well, out comes the MIG welder. I layer-welded them back and forth, 'till it was built up enough to grind back down to factory form. This one took a couple of passes and grindings to get it to perfection.

I had to do that same process on a couple of other parts too. No bid deal. All in all, I spent about an hour and a half doing all the corrections needed to get it all back to factory specs. Next, I used a flap-wheel to smooth out all the grinding marks and edges.

Next up, a stop at the local Powder coating establishment. Well, almost two weeks later, I got all the parts back. Those airheads at the powder coating place coated all of them the WRONG COLOR!! Man was I pi...off. All of them were supposed to be done in what's called "Hammer tone Silver-Gray" . In fact, it was on the ticket for the estimate. But, they "lost" that estimate and were to dumb to call me to check on color preference so, they just assumed it was to be done in black. I just wanted something a bit different instead of the old boring BLACK.

Oh well, they offered a substantial discount on the estimated price because of their incompetence. I could have and should have, just made them do it right and, they in fact offered to change the color to what I preferred. But, based on how long they estimated it would take and, how long it actually took, I just simply settled for Black.

But, back my man cave to the restoration. It took me a bit longer to re-assemble it than it did to disassemble it due to the fact that I forgot how some of the parts went together. Namely the locking mechanisms. There's a fairly strong little spring in there that locks that main pin in place when the slide rod is extended all the way out for towing. I had to figure out how to re-position that spring. No biggie.

Oh, by the way, I also purchased a complete, new nylon shim kit that Blue Ox uses when they do all your tow bars at events. That Kit was $15.00.

Well, after goofing around with it for a day, it's all done and back together. I even added some of those nylon shims where they're not supposed to go, just so things are snug and are not as sloppy as they normally would be. A few new nuts and bolts, some shims, I used crocus cloth on the sliding rams and, hand polished the lock handles. The rubber cover boots were still in good shape so, I re-used those. I gotta say, it's now a nice tow bar. The sliders extend and retract with ultra smooth gliding. And, I've had two different models of Blue Ox tow bars and never knew they also have a sort of "lock" while in the retracted position.

They have tip on the sliding rods that contacts a rubber sleeve in interior of the tube. When it does that, it sort of captures the sliding rod and holds them their until someone PULLS it back out, to extend it, to hook it up to the toad. That's cool.

Anyway, enough blabbing for now. Take a look at the pics and see what you think. If any of you would like to service yours or, need to replace parts, etc., and have any questions, please feel free to PM me. This is not some thing that's one of those LIABILITY things. If you've got any technical/mechanical ability at all, this is a simple operation. Once you start disassembling it, you see how simple the mechanisms are.
Scott









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Old 06-08-2015, 01:53 PM   #2
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Fireup--wow--you did a great job of explaining this rehab, complete with great photos too. And it looks like you got this tow bar looking as good as new!

I have a different BlueOx towbar--mine is their "ball and socket" model, and I've been using it without issue for 2 years, going on the third. The ball and socket joint is a LOT looser than it was originally, but I don't think that Blue Ox sells a user-kit to tighten it back up based on their web page. I'm not even sure whether I should be worried about it being loose like this? Maybe it's just broken-in now? It works fine, it's just a lot looser at the ball than it once was.

I know they will tune these up for us at rallies, but rallies just don't tend to fit our family lifestyle & schedule. When we vacation, we go to areas where there is a lot of kid-friendly activities, and so far we haven't been able to combine that (or simetimes the dates) with any rallies that I've seen.

Do you, or does anyone reading this thread know if there are kits for do-it-yourself people for tuning up the ball and socket type Blue Ox tow bars? And... does it require special tools??
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:34 PM   #3
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Statgeek,
Thanks for the nice comments. It's (the tow bar) in quite a bit better shape then when I acquired it, that's for sure. I have a vinyl graphics (sign making) system at home so, I might get around to making the replacement decals that usually are attached to the Blue Ox units. We'll see. Anyway, just doing a quick search for your "ball and socket" replacement parts yielded this:




6 reviews


Code: BX84-0097
Price: $210.95


Product Summary:
Accessories and Parts
Tow Bars
Replacement Parts


Product Specs:
Shank
Blue Ox




Replacement 2" shank for Aventa tow bar.
more information >

That was a quick search. I'll keep digging around to see what I can find. On the logic side, I'm not too sure I'd shell out $220.00 for a new Ball and Socket if yours is only 2+ years old. That's $110.00 a year just to keep a tight joint. It's too bad they (Blue Ox) doesn't fit a LINER made of some sort of HDPE plastic etc. that would take the brunt of the wear and, in a few years, replace that for a measly, oh say, around $5 or $10.
Scott
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:46 PM   #4
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Geek try this web site for repair info.
I switched from a Roadmaster TB to the Aventa, totally pleased especially the price was a little over 1/2 of the 10,000 Roadmaster and I like it much better.
https://www.popupgooseneckhitch.com/...nts/BX7445.pdf
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:56 PM   #5
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This winter I packed up my Aventa and sent it back to Blueox for inspection and rebuild. I have had it from the PO for about 6 years so thought it was time. When it was all said and done, they rebuilt the whole thing, replaced the ball Assembly and sent it back, prepaid for under $200. Basically a brand new bar.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:00 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. Yea, I agree that replacing the whole ball/socket joint is not reasonable.

Page 8 in that manual shows the exploded diagram of the joint. Wonder if I could just order those parts and tune it up myself? Not sure I have the tools, or the strength to break the bolt free? Unfortunately there is no shop near me that I could utilize for this kind of thing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
Thanks guys. Yea, I agree that replacing the whole ball/socket joint is not reasonable.

Page 8 in that manual shows the exploded diagram of the joint. Wonder if I could just order those parts and tune it up myself? Not sure I have the tools, or the strength to break the bolt free? Unfortunately there is no shop near me that I could utilize for this kind of thing.
Statgeek,
Well Sir, all you can do is try. You take a look at what's involved, see if you've got the tools and if so, give it your best shot. If you can't break nuts and bolts free, well, then you go to plan B. And that may to be to consult a friend or, just maybe send it back to Blue Ox for a rebuild.

As I've stated, it's really not that hard. Roll pins are basically spring loaded dowels. You need the correct sized punches to be able to drive them out of there holes. Other than that, it's not very hard.
Scott
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:08 PM   #8
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My Aventa II with the "ball and socket" is over seven years old and has been used to tow our toad more than 50,000 miles in that time. I recently had an appointment at the Blue Ox factory in Pender, NE for a tow bar checkup. Weather permitting, the service tech comes out to your pad and does the teardown and rebuild on site. The RV pads are set up for you to pull in and have the tow bar accessible to be worked on. With the exception of pulling the tubes apart, the tow bar is completely disassembled, cleaned and lubricated. Nuts, bolts and nylon washers were all replaced. The "ball" was disassembled and cleaned, no wear problems at all.. Total time at the site was about an hour.

No RV site charges for customers having work done, one hour of labor charged - no charge for the "bits and pieces" used in the process.

They gave me new pins and clips to use to attach the tow bar to the toad. The originals with the spring loaded locking tab are no longer considered safe by them. Apparently someone had the pins fail to lock in place, slip out in transit and disconnect from the toad.

All in all, well worth the trip if you can work it into your travel plans. Make an appointment and assure yourself of one of the pull in RV slots.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:24 PM   #9
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FIRE UP ... nice tech write up & pics. I recently rebuilt my Blue Ox - BX7330 Aventa and was pleased to find parts were still available from the factory even though the bar is 18+ yrs young! There are also plenty of you tube videos of the different models as well as instruction & parts manuals for those DIY'ers that want or need to service their bars. Blue Ox makes a great product and provides outstanding service.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:42 PM   #10
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I spent a day at their facility this time last year. Took the tour and enjoyed the "free campground". They gave me an estimate to rebuild the worn out tow bar to like new condition and then gave me a price for a new one including a trade in allowance. I choose the new one.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
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FIRE UP ... nice tech write up & pics. I recently rebuilt my Blue Ox - BX7330 Aventa and was pleased to find parts were still available from the factory even though the bar is 18+ yrs young! There are also plenty of you tube videos of the different models as well as instruction & parts manuals for those DIY'ers that want or need to service their bars. Blue Ox makes a great product and provides outstanding service.
Thanks Thunderfoot for the nice comments. I always forget about U-tube videos on things. I just dive into stuff. Sometimes it's a disaster and, like this tow bar rebuild, it comes out really nice. But, it was fun.
Scott
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:29 AM   #12
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I'm jealous of you guys that have the time to drive to BlueOx or other factories for factory-level service. We aren't retired yet, and we live in South TX, so driving up to the various factories isn't in the cards for us. I do find it curious that the entire RV industry relies on this kind of service model.

Who would drive their Chrysler to Detroit, MI for service? Anyone ferrying their Toyota to Japan for service? Like so many others on this forum, I sure wish these companies would take a lesson from the auto industry--train and CERTIFY technicians, then stand behind their work. It sure would improve buyer confidence in a brand.... but then again... they have a "successful" model going now when much of their customers are able to just take their RV's and accessories straight to the factory.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:34 PM   #13
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I'm jealous of you guys that have the time to drive to BlueOx or other factories for factory-level service. We aren't retired yet, and we live in South TX, so driving up to the various factories isn't in the cards for us. I do find it curious that the entire RV industry relies on this kind of service model.

Who would drive their Chrysler to Detroit, MI for service? Anyone ferrying their Toyota to Japan for service? Like so many others on this forum, I sure wish these companies would take a lesson from the auto industry--train and CERTIFY technicians, then stand behind their work. It sure would improve buyer confidence in a brand.... but then again... they have a "successful" model going now when much of their customers are able to just take their RV's and accessories straight to the factory.
Geek,
I'd venture to say that, most of these folks that have driven to the factories of various RV products, i.e. Blue Ox, Winnebago in Forest City IA, HWH in Moscow IA, Freightliner in Gaffney SC and more, are doing it as either side trips from other destinations or, they live close or, other reasons.

I had one of the most horrible repairs I'd ever done on anything I've ever owned, on this coach. It was the repair of the forward ram, in the bedroom slide in our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT. That is by far, one serious pain in the a$$ to get to and repair if it's leaking as mine was. I even had the help of my then 22 year old, mechanical son to help me with it. It took the better part of a whole day, just to get that ram out of there. It took about 20 minutes for a hydraulic shop to disassemble it and re-o-ring it, then another full day to get it back in and in service.

Another gent on this forum, had the same exact leak, in the same exact coach at almost the same exact time. He was in Kansas when he had the problem. He asked about it on this forum. No one had an answer to his situation other than, someone suggested a call to HWH in Moscow IA. He did that. At that time, they were actually answering the phone and, they asked him where he was, if he was traveling and from where to where. He told them he was in Kansas at the time and, was headed to Canada.

They suggested a deviation in his route to venture over to them. And, they knew exactly the repair situation for that ram. He did so. They had accommodations for him when he arrived. They jumped right on his coach, the next day. The techs had that ram out, repaired (actually with a new one) and, back in and working perfectly in right at 3 hours.

My point on this is, knowing how hard and bad that repair is, I'd just about venture TO IOWA FROM LAKE HAVASU CITY AZ just to get that repaired now. So, sometimes, just sometimes, it's maybe more advantageous to go through some hassle and, MILES, to get a repair/rebuild done. It's a judgment call.
Scott
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:24 PM   #14
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Fireup--I have to agree with you my friend. I have also experienced some pretty horrible service at my RV dealerships--so that now if I need service I reluctantly schedule it at a shop that is over 5h from home. If I have something SERIOUS to address, I guess I will make the trip to Decatur and have the Fleetwood techs handle it. I know they are fantastic and all, but my rant was just lamenting that the RV industry somehow evolved to a situation where local dealerships are completely unregulated, and that seems to be ok with the manufacturers.
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