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Old 10-17-2007, 09:24 AM   #1
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Mid-afternoon in moderate traffic at freeway speeds on Interstate 80 on September 19 we experienced a failure of the Blue Ox tow system attaching our Jeep Liberty to our motor home.

Subsequent analysis indicated that the Blue Ox (Aventa II) tow bar, (bx1122) tow bar bracket, and the components thereof, appear undamaged and in satisfactory condition except for a slight bend in the reinforcement of the tow bracket where the removable "ears" attach. The bracket(s), which were attached to the vehicle frame by bolts through the factory tow hooks mount holes (the hooks being removed during installation), had simply torn the frame from the vehicle. The pieces of the frame remained securely fastened to the brackets indicating that the installation of the system was done per instructions and not a contributing factor in this failure.

Has anyone else experienced a similar failure (and lived to tell about it;&lt? Thanks for your input
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
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Mid-afternoon in moderate traffic at freeway speeds on Interstate 80 on September 19 we experienced a failure of the Blue Ox tow system attaching our Jeep Liberty to our motor home.

Subsequent analysis indicated that the Blue Ox (Aventa II) tow bar, (bx1122) tow bar bracket, and the components thereof, appear undamaged and in satisfactory condition except for a slight bend in the reinforcement of the tow bracket where the removable "ears" attach. The bracket(s), which were attached to the vehicle frame by bolts through the factory tow hooks mount holes (the hooks being removed during installation), had simply torn the frame from the vehicle. The pieces of the frame remained securely fastened to the brackets indicating that the installation of the system was done per instructions and not a contributing factor in this failure.

Has anyone else experienced a similar failure (and lived to tell about it;&lt? Thanks for your input
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:48 AM   #3
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I had a Blue Ox tow bar fail on me, an Alexus tow bar, which was superceeded by the Adventa tow bar. It didn't seperate from the Jeep though. The swivel joint at the front of the tow bar loosened and rotated. This caused the extended arms not to stay paralell with the ground. They tilted in one direction which caused one of the arms to bend in the middle.

I contacted Blue Ox and sent them pictures right away. They replaced the tow bar free of charge and I sent my tow bar back to them.

So far no other issues.........

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Old 10-17-2007, 07:14 PM   #4
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I hope you contacted Blue Ox right away. If not, please do so now.

They are a fine outfit with a real concern about their products - I'm sure they will take a strong interest in your failure and "do the right thing".
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:46 PM   #5
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JB and BJ, Is this a BLue Ox or Jeep issue. From reading your description, it sounds like the fram of the Jeep gave way causing the damage to the Blue Ox base plate. Please correct me if I am wrong. I tow almost 8000# on the original Aventa II tow bar and base plate mounted to the Chevy 4x4. I keep a check on the mounting and all is good.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:00 AM   #6
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I seem to remember reading about a similar failure on RV.net involving a Blue Ox base plate failure on a toad where the install involved removing towing hooks.
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:05 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for your concern and replies. In my opinion, this is definitely a Blue Ox engineering problem in that the frame is not designed for the constant stress and strain of our towing situations. It is designed for occasional and intermittent use. The body and frame people to whom I've talked feel it should be, or should have been gloved, or suitably reinforced to handle these stresses. Inasmuch as Blue Ox has shown no intentions, despite our urgent requests, to advise their customers of the potential for this to occur, I've sent press releases to most of the major RV publications (with pictures) as to what to look for so that no one else has to endure what we went through. Frankly in my opinion, Jay Hesse (President) and Blue Ox have besmurched their wonderful reputation, and failed to act in the best interests of their customers in this instance despite having multiple opportunities to do the right thing.
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:46 PM   #8
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I checked Roadmaster's install instructions for the 2005 Jeep Liberty.

Roadmaster also uses the tow hook holes but they use a plate on either side of the tow hook holes to strengthen this area of the frame. Apparently Roadmaster recognizes the tow hook holes as needing reinforcement. A plate on each side of the holes it not a common install. Usually there is only a plate on the nut side of the holes.

Does BlueOx reinforce the frame with plates on BOTH sides of the tow hook holes???

If BlueOx does use a plate on each side of the holes your problem may have been caused by the bolts loosening.

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Old 10-22-2007, 12:47 PM   #9
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I don't believe this to be a Blue Ox problem at all. This the towed vehicle's FRAME we are talking about here. There are many, many vehicles that use that method from all base plate manufacturers. That sounds like a casting problem at Jeep. It seems from your description that all the Blue Ox pieces are intact. Both of my fingers point to Jeep on this one. That is lawsuit material. You could probably get a new Jeep if you make enough news. I'm sure that we all remember DriVer's eye-opening post on the breakaway out in South Carolina that resulted in an unnecessary, tragic loss of life.

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Old 10-22-2007, 03:24 PM   #10
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Seems as though it's a Blue Ox Problem. They modified the frame of the Jeep by adding the brackets, it's their responsibility to assure the suitability of the conversion. Any time you modify some one else's product the engineering is up to you. Now if Blue Ox submitted the alteration to Jeep and got approval thats another story. Mike
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:26 PM   #11
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I saw my buddies Blue Ox towbar bend and break as he made a slow speed turn in a campground. That's when I went out and replaced my 7 year old Roadmaster with another one. Just in case.
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Old 10-23-2007, 06:26 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BillArf:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by hondo122:
Seems as though it's a Blue Ox Problem. They modified the frame of the Jeep by adding the brackets, it's their responsibility to assure the suitability of the conversion. Any time you modify some one else's product the engineering is up to you. Now if Blue Ox submitted the alteration to Jeep and got approval thats another story. Mike </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree with you 100%. Blue Ox dropped the ball and not Jeep.



. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Allow me to expound upon my previous post. I understand your point entirely about contacting the manufacturer (Jeep in this case). We at SMI are constantly in contact with coach manufactures to find out their preferences and requirements; however, you will NEVER get their "approval" unless they stand to profit from it. What they will do is "tell you what they would do" and leave it at that; and that's after calling them over and over again. To them it makes no fiscal sense to give the "thumbs up." Once their stamp of approval is on a decision, they have opened themselves up to a huge liability and are at the mercy of engineers they don't know and can't control, only to receive no profit in return. If we had to wait for OE approval for baseplates, we would all be using trailers to tow, and I would be out of a job. What about the thousands and thousands of other Libertys out there being towed? If this is an improper location why is this not a wide-spread problem? Is everyone towing a Libery going to experience this same problem? I'm not just trying to stick up for Blue Ox - they were a staunch competitor for years until they stopped marketing their braking systems - but if there is an isolated incident where the frame of the vehicle tears, how is that not a manufacture's defect? Blue Ox has been at this for a long time, and from what I have have observed over the years I find it hard to believe that they would arbitrarily slap a baseplate on a vehicle with out communication with the manufacturer. However, I don't work there so I can't say for sure. It might be that the manufacturer let an improperly casted frame through because to them it was okay, not realizing it would be a tow vehicle and that lives would be hinging on that very frame. That still doesn't take away from the fact that it was wrong. I can't fathom a grade 8 bolt ripping a piece of the frame, the very foundation of the vehicle, off. I stand nothing to gain by putting my head on the chopping block for Blue Ox, so I will leave it at that. In my professional opinion, this ultimately falls back on a Jeep manufacturing defect.

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Old 10-23-2007, 06:52 AM   #13
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Sorry Brent, but you're sounding like a manufacturer. I owned a truck equipment distributor for years in which we constantly worked with chassis manufacturers while installing cranes and other "frame tweaking" components. It was totally our responsibility to understand the frame RBM (resistance to bending moment) and PSI and yield and all the other necessary components of the frame to determine suitability of use for the equipment we were installing.

The frame is what it is. It was up to us to suitably reinforce for the application. I cannot blame Jeep....their frame strength and materials are what they are and the information is certainly available to any responsible manufacturer who designs applications for utilization of the frame such as this. The Blue Ox system itself was just fine (as the pieces of the frame still clenched between the bolts can attribute). In my opinion, it was the Blue Ox engineered interface with the Jeep frame that was inadequate. I hope everyone with this application will see the warning I've asked them to publish to hopefully prevent anyone else from going through this traumatic experience. It would have been helpful if Blue Ox had cooperated, but in this litigous environment, it appears they're more afraid of lawyers than killing customers.
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:05 AM   #14
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I completely agree, but I go back to my previous post and ask "Why this one particular Jeep?" It is adequate all other applications from both Blue Ox and Roadmaster. Again, this is my opinion, and therefore I am going to agree to disagree as no benefit stands to be gained by anyone from this argument. I am just glad that when it was all said and done no one got hurt.

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