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Old 07-10-2009, 12:22 AM   #1
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Blue Ox - How to make a bad day even worse

On my way to Ventura from Phoenix last Friday morning the coolant recovery tank on my Cummins ISC cracked. Fortunately, it happened just outside of Fontana on I-10, so I was able to limp in to Freightliner where they eventually fit it in and by mid-afternoon (I was stuck there with seven show dogs to keep entertained all day) I was ready to hitch up the Jeep and get on my way.

I hooked the Aventa LX to the Jeep and as I was ready to pull out of my parking space a big rig pulled in front and blocked my exit. I pondered whether I would go back unhitch, move the Jeep, back out the Vectra, then rehitch or try backing up the whole rig including the Jeep. I was hot, tired and itching to get on the road again, so I decided to back up with the Jeep hitched.

For the first 20 or so feet all was well and I added in a little throttle to my rearward movement.

All looked good in the backup camera and I was sure that warning that Blue Ox has on their products about do not back up applied to everyone else. That's when the Jeep suddenly veered to the left and there was a loud bang.

I walked back to the Jeep and the Aventa LX looked like a pretzel. The big aluminum swivel ball on the tow bar had snapped and both sliding arms on the tow bar were bent. The bang I had heard was the tow bar flipping over and smacking the driving lights on the front bumper of the Jeep. The lights were shattered and hanging by their wires. The high lift jack mounted on the Jeep bumper was bent at a 45 degree angle and trashed. The 10" drop hitch was bent.

So, it was off to a local RV shop to buy a replacement Aventa LX and 10" drop hitch. About $900 later we returned to Freightliner, replaced the broken and bent tow parts and we were on our way.

A VERY expensive lesson. I will never ever for any reason trying backing with the toad attached. I had done it a few times before and gotten away with it, but this time it went way wrong and by the time I replace the parts on the Jeep I'll be looking at about $1,300 in damages caused by my failing to follow Blue Ox safety rules.

I didn't take photos of the mess. It took me a week of calming down to decide to share my stupidity with you folks.

I think what happened was one of the sliding arms slid in and transferred the force to the other, which twisted the tow bar snapping the aluminum ball.

Next time I follow the rules...
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:04 AM   #2
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Wicked.... I guess the one good thing about your incident is that others will learn at your expense!
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:48 AM   #3
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A common line, IN fact a VERY common line said by many is

"Next time I'm going to believe that warning"

I wish I could not phrase it this way but "Welcome to the club"

(Yup, you guessed it, used that line a few times myself)

Or as the song does not exactly say "When will we ever learn"
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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I will not back up 1 foot when the toad is attached. I will unhook or wait for the offending vehicle to move.
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:50 PM   #5
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As I often said when I was in high school, "It seemed like a good idea at the time...."
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:30 PM   #6
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Our favorite phrase would be, "good initiative, poor judgement".
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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Our favorite phrase would be, "good initiative, poor judgement".

Amen, brother! I hate to admit it, but I resemble that remark.

The worst part was my wife surveying the damage and then not saying a word to me for about an hour. I think she was rethinking her choice of a mate. The balance of the trip I never exceeded the speed limit or turned right on red.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:58 PM   #8
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Hey if it wasn't for people like you......well there wouldn't be anyone around would there?

We've all done it or something like it. More than once I've looked around wondering if anyone saw me being that dang dumb.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:09 AM   #9
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We almost did the same thing the other day (back up with tow car attached). My better half seems to have a loud enough voice that it over rides my poor judgement. Tried to make a 140 degree turn on a small road on to the freeway. Ended up blocking the road in both directions and the on and off ramps. For what ever reason the pins on the tow bar were both lose so it didn't take all that long to fix the mess. Not sure what all the people waiting in traffic thought. Sorry about your tow bar and jeep but a good lesson for us all. Joe
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked Whippets View Post
. . . A VERY expensive lesson. I will never ever for any reason trying backing with the toad attached. I had done it a few times before and gotten away with it, but this time it went way wrong and by the time I replace the parts on the Jeep I'll be looking at about $1,300 in damages caused by my failing to follow Blue Ox safety rules.

I didn't take photos of the mess. It took me a week of calming down to decide to share my stupidity with you folks.

I think what happened was one of the sliding arms slid in and transferred the force to the other, which twisted the tow bar snapping the aluminum ball.

Next time I follow the rules...
Thanks, Whippets, for biting the bullet and posting this; you probably just saved a whole bunch of us from doing something equally devastating.

Twice recently I had to unhook because I had gotten myself into a tight spot. I thought about the alternative, then realized, thank goodness, that there really wasn't one. After reading your post, next time I get in a jam (let's face it, there will be one) I won't even take the time to think about it.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:37 PM   #11
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A guy pulling into the campground today failed to make a turn and began to back up. I warned my wife that he was going to have problems and he did. When his wife yelled loud enough he stopped and managed to avoid much damage. I have unhooked rather than back up because those hitches are expensive.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:02 PM   #12
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Now I haven't heard this yet so I'll bring it up.
What about just putting the MH in nuetral and pulling it backwords? Now you are backing both units with the toad in control.
There has to be a reason this won't work!
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #13
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I'm not sure how the toad's transmission would feel about all that weight!
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:33 PM   #14
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I would think that would overload the tow bar and the baseplate.
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