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Old 09-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
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Blue Ox Towbar Annual Maintenance

A couple of years ago while attending the National Rally the Blue Ox tech inspected my tow bar and told me that I had not properly maintained it since the legs were dry.

Well; I wasn't going to let that happen to me again since (I bet) the same Blue Ox tech is going to be in Sevierville for our National Rally.

Although I could have taken pictures of this whole process, working with grease and cameras just doesn't work that well so I will describe as best as I can what I accomplished.

I am working with an Aladdin Towbar that has not been serviced since the last National Rally in Urbanna, VA.

The tow bar should be covered when not in use so I removed the cover. Each arm of the tow bar has an expanding bellows that covers the arm that extends out of the piston. Toward the piston there is a larger 1/4" wide tie wrap and away from the piston toward the vehicle there's a 1/8" tie wrap. I carefully cut the tie wraps off of the ends of the bellows. Once the tie wraps are cut the bellows can be moved off of the races that accommodate the tie wraps.

I pushed down on the release locks and pulled the arms out to the extent of their travel. In the tow bar service notes, it says to use silicone spray or carburetor cleaner to clean the arms. I thought I would use a product just as effective which I believed worked just fine, WD-40. WD-40 cleans grease off very well and it evaporates and does not leave a contaminant residue. I used paper shop towels to completely wipe and clean the pistons. All that is needed is a small quantity of WD-40 and I did not let it run into the piston bore.

Using an extreme pressure chassis grease, I applied a bead across the top of the piston. With my gloved hand, I spread the grease around the circumference and length of the piston from one end to the other. I then moved the bellows down toward the Y and pushed the end over the piston land. I fitted a 1/4" tie wrap over the boot and slowly tightened the tie making sure that it was centered over the land. Verifying the position, I yanked out any additional slack and cut the tie to fit.

I released the lock and pushed the arm in and out a few times to distribute the grease. I left the arm at about the half way position and pulled the boot over the lands on the vehicle side. Observe that the arrow on the fingers is pointing in the proper direction, I believe it says "UP." Install a 1/8" tie wrap over the boot locating the land and slowly tighten and check the position of the tie wrap.

Confirming the position, remove any slack in the tie wrap and cut the tie. I then moved the arm in and out of the bore and half dozen times assuring that the boot would stay in place. Using a paper shop towel, wipe any excess grease that may have squeezed out of the ends of the boot.

Multiply times 2 and you're done.

While you are working on the tow bar, make sure that all the roll pins are in place make sure that there's a medium heavy drag between the arms and make sure that the tow bar has a heavy drag at the retainer (pivot bolt).

That's it for the annual maintenance of the typical Blue Ox tow bar.

I restored the cover of the tow bar and that was it for the day. Total time to do the maintenance on the tow bar, approximately 30 minutes or less. Before you start make sure that you have the 2 different size tie wraps and don't use a 1/8" wrap on the cylinder land.

Don't get caught at the National Rally with a dry tow bar.

During your on-site service, the Blue Ox tech will grease the arms and check all the fasteners and tighten all the bolts. I can't remember what they charged last year but it was worth it. They even fixed a bad connection in my umbilical cord
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:40 AM   #2
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Thanks Driver for posting this procedure/reminder. I too learned this at a rally some years ago and need to do it yearly ( haven't done it in two years. eek ). It's like the old Fram commercial , " pay me now or pay me later "
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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DriVer ... thanks for posting this. I just did my annual maintenance following your procedure which was very easy to follow.

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriVer View Post
I can't remember what they charged last year but it was worth it.
I was at the Blue Ox factory last month getting my Trucenter installed. They did the towbar service at the same time for $25, which included the piston greasing described above, and also replacing several thrust washers and pressure washing the whole thing. Looks like a brand new towbar! I would guess they'd charge the same $25 at the rally.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:25 AM   #5
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I would guess they'd charge the same $25 at the rally.
For the amount of time and effort they put into the service procedure $25.00 is definitely worth it.

Come to the Recreation Hall on Monday and sign up. Blue Ox is coming but they are right on the heels of the Hershey Show and they are going to be getting there late Sunday or Monday morning. As soon as they set up their display they'll be writing service orders.

Depending if the Check-In table folks have time, perhaps they'll startup a Blue-Ox Sign-Up sheet and give it to the team when they get here. That might save a little time and help them and the members get together for service.

If you have a Blue Ox towbar, you are NOT going to want to miss out on this opportunity. There will be a fully stocked service trailer and there isn't anything they can't do.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriVer
For the amount of time and effort they put into the service procedure $25.00 is definitely worth it.

Come to the Recreation Hall on Monday and sign up. Blue Ox is coming but they are right on the heels of the Hershey Show and they are going to be getting there late Sunday or Monday morning. As soon as they set up their display they'll be writing service orders.

Depending if the Check-In table folks have time, perhaps they'll startup a Blue-Ox Sign-Up sheet and give it to the team when they get here. That might save a little time and help them and the members get together for service.

If you have a Blue Ox towbar, you are NOT going to want to miss out on this opportunity. There will be a fully stocked service trailer and there isn't anything they can't do.
Newbie here...... Will they be doing service at the Hershey show?? I have an aventa tow bar and would bring it up to the Hershey show if they are doing service up there.
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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Newbie here...... Will they be doing service at the Hershey show?? I have an aventa tow bar and would bring it up to the Hershey show if they are doing service up there.
Give it a shot but Hershey is not really an event where the Blue Ox support team does a lot of work since there aren't very many campers. Hershey is more of a admission based show. Blue Ox takes up a lot of floor space in the hockey rink so you can't miss their display. Your car is going to be parked some distance from where you actually go and see the show. I don't think that you're going to want to carry the Aventa around for very long!

Bring the tow bar, leave it in the car. If they can fix it for you, I'm sure you guys will find a way. See if you can find Jay Hesse (President) and introduce yourself. Let him know that you're an iRV2 member.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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Great post Driver! Thank you!

I wasn't aware of this required maintenance and just this morning got weather nice enough to tackle it.

A really simple job but my tow bar sure needed it.

Rick
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