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Old 03-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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Location: Florida Keys
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Exclamation Blue Ox tow bar cracked at 65mph!

DW and I were cruising down I-95 in scenic Bowman, SC on Saturday morning going to the Florida Keys. In between rain storms, I suddenly saw the towed Jeep headlight in my side view mirror! Not where the Jeep is supposed to be.

Next I looked in my rear view camera and saw the Jeep was being held on by only one bar of my Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar. This is all going on while driving about 65mph on a very crowded I-95. I carefully hit the brakes, slowed down and pulled to the very narrow shoulder. The Jeep bumped the remaining tow bar as the coach slowed down but held as I stopped.

I managed to unhook the Jeep and DW drove behind me to the next exit. We tried to call CW but they don't stock Blue Ox. We called some Blue Ox dealers that we found on line but the only one with an Aladdin in stock was in Jacksonville, FL - about 4 hours away and DW did not relish driving the Jeep in the pouring rain all that way. One of the Blue Ox dealers suggested we call Uhaul - something we had not considered. Uhaul found a car trailer in Brunswick, GA that we reserved but it was still 2.5 hours away.

In the meantime, I called Blue Ox's 24 hours hotline and they called back in about 15 minutes. They did not provide any options for an immediate fix but wanted me to call back on Monday so that they could ship me a new arm.

Made it to Brunswick, GA by 4pm and picked up the car hauler. Made it down to the Florida Keys with no further issues. Uhaul did not have hitches so had to run to Advance Auto to buy one. I usually carry a hitch with me, but for some reason, I left it at home this time.

Spoke to Jeremy at Blue Ox on Monday and he was very helpful. They are shipping me a brand new Aladdin tow bar to the campground where I'm staying. They want me to send the old one back for them to examine.

I've towed my Jeep close to 50k miles with this tow bar with no issues. I hope that Blue Ox figures out what the problem was.

Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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All I can say is wowwww!!!!! Good save with no discernable damage to motorhome or Jeep or other traffic. It will be interesting to see the findings on cause of failure, metal fatigue ?

Gary & Janet
'12 American Eagle
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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Wow. Thanks for posting all that. Glad to hear Blue Ox is behind you with a new one. In the few other cases I've heard of , they did the same. Glad you're ok.

Cliff,Tallulah and Buddy ( 1999-2012 )
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Yes, thanks for posting and please keep us up to date on how this is handled by Blue Ox. I've used Blue Ox for many years and still do. So glad this didn't lead to a disaster!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Wow! That could of really led to something disastrous! I'm glad everything turned out ok, or at least no major damage. I hope you enjoy the Keys. Making our annual trip down to Big Pine Key in June.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:59 PM   #6
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What and experience, glad it worked out fairly well. What is the weight rating of your tow bar, and is Blue Ox offering to pay for the rental trailer? Keep us posted regarding the findings concerning the broken tow bar.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Since the tow bar was purchased in 2008, I did not bug them about the trailer rental (about $300) as they are 'extending' the normal warranty time.

They emailed me the tracking number and new tow bar should arrive on Thursday. When purchased, my bar was rated for 5000 lbs. One dealer told me that the current model is rated for 7500 lbs.
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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Not the first Blue Ox I've seen break although the last one was at the pivot point and not the arm.
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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Scary, I bet that got the Adrenalin moving way up!
Bob, Sandi & Marmaduke the Big Pug
SW OREGON 2004 Journey 39K, 330 Cat
If towing: a 2006 Mini Cooper or 1995 Wrangler
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:24 AM   #10
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Hard to tell for sure from just a photo, but that looks like a fatigue failure to me.

Blue Ox should be VERY interested in this. Think about it some before you return the failed part to them. If you can find a friendly metalurgist or engineer to look at it you should do so. At the very least, take some really good closeup pictures of the break, both pieces, before you send them back to Blue Ox.

Since no one was hurt and there was no vehicle damage, you don't have a lot of leverage for a lawsuit, but they should at least spring for the trailer rental and other expenses you might have incurred.

Legally, they're on fairly stable ground, since they never said their tow bars last forever. But, in reality, 5 years is not a very long time unless you're towing 100,000 miles a year.

This might be a good time for me to interject my feeling that aluminum might not be the best material for tow bars. Just my humble opinion.
John McKinley
2007 Damon Daybreak 3060, Ford 16,000# Chassis,
Ford C-Max Hybrid Toad , Suzuki V Strom 1000cc
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:29 AM   #11
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This is too scary.
Mark Anderson - FMCA 351514 - Louisville, KY
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:45 AM   #12
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First of all I'm glad to hear there was no personal injuries or damage.

I think it's a good idea that you're now getting a tow bar, albeit the same model but upgraded, rated at 7,500 lbs. When I owned and towed a Grand Cherokee depending on fuel load etc, it was well over 4,600 lbs.

I realize that is under the 5,000 lb max on the old style Aladdin tow bar, but too close for comfort for me, so I used a 7,500 lb tow bar.
Bob, Sherron & Kinsey (Goldendoodle)
2017 Tiffin Phaeton 40QBH
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:50 AM   #13
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Had a similar experience when I lost a pin on my blue ox system. Towing with one bar is scary. Put my RV brakes on so the toad was pulling on the RV as I increased pressure on the accelerator and Rode the RV brakes until I was stopped. (Did not go back far enough with one bar connected to pull breakaway pin for toad brakes) Had spare pins so I was not inconvenienced all that much, But yea it was an experience I do not want to repeat,
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jmckinley View Post

This might be a good time for me to interject my feeling that aluminum might not be the best material for tow bars. Just my humble opinion.
My thoughts exactly when I saw them. Especially the welding part of it.

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