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...