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Old 07-06-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
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Spartan Chassis
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Unhappy Loss of Tow Bar Connection. Pin Came Out.


The good news...no major damage to toad or MH.

Bad news...Probably need/should replace tow bar.

We hooked up near Macon, GA on Friday the 5th and pulled out with our destination being the Lookout Mountain KOA west of Chattanooga, TN. Sandee & I share hook up duties. She does the driver side and I the passenger side. Once we get the tow bar connected I have always pulled on her pin to verify it is locked. For some reason, I didn't do it this time. After we get it hooked up I go to the cab and we do a light check and then I pull forward to lock the bar.

We stopped twice. Once in Donohue, GA for fuel and then north of Atlanta in Calhoun, GA at the big outlet mall. All was fine. After Calhoun we motored through Chattanooga with several stop and go situations due to traffic and gawkers slowing down for an east bound I-24 accident. Still no problem.

We exited I-24 onto I-59 south and nothing seemed amiss. We then exited I-59 shortly later, right turn up a hill, left turn on a hilly twisty road and finally a hard left turn at which time I saw the CRV tracking to the right of the MH. We just missed dumping it into a ditch.

At this time we were starting up hill and turning to the right on a another narrow road, up a blind hill and I had to straddle the centerline to keep the CRV out of the ditch. Fortunately it was not a tall hill and I could see it was clear. In the rear camera I could see I some how lost the driver side arm was no longer attached. Even as I was going up hill the CRV's momentum allowed it to catch up with me. I finally got some semblance of control as I crested the hill and started applying brakes. My hope was that the Air Force One would put enough brakes on my CRV to get it stopped first...WHEW...it worked. Having figured that out I knew I had to get down the hill about 200 yards to the entrance of the KOA where I could at least get off the road a bit. The AFO helped keep things manageable.

At that point we were able to get out and assess the damage. The free arm was pinned between the connected arm and the lower bumper facia but there was only a very minor cosmetic scratch on the CRV. We couldn't find the original pin that should have keep the driver side arm connected anywhere near. I had Sandee back up the CRV a bit and that allowed us to pull the connected pin out and disconnect the CRV. There was no damage to the MH. The electrical cord connecting the MH lights to the CRV's was severed as it was pinched between the arms. The locking ring of the large connecting bracket that holds the tow bar to the tow plate was also bent.

We drove separate for about the last mile to the KOA in the rain that we had suffered for nearly 4 days off and on. That really just made things more upsetting. I inspected the tow bar and things just didn't feel right so we are now driving the toad behind the MH. Currently we are in Paducah, KY for the night with about a 5 hour drive on Sunday.

I've gotten email from Blue Ox already and I will send it to them to inspect. If it is fixable it will cost me $95 plus I pay to have it shipped to them. They will pay to ship it back. If they evaluate it and it has more problems then can be fixed then it will cost me nothing except shipping and, of course, getting a new one. If it is fixable, I will pay for any added parts needed to fix it.

Sandee and I spent a couple hours trying to find where the pin came out. Partly because we want to see if it "broke" but I want to see if my scan broke down well ahead of my first seeing it break loose. We never found the pin.

I suppose that we can really count our selves EXTREMELY lucky that this didn't happen in Atlanta, Chattanooga, or near any other vehicles.

I want to make it clear, I am not blaming Sandee. This is a team effort and I failed to double check her work as I should have.

What I learned:

1. Double check all connections. The pin that came loose was the one Sandee put in. I normally double check that it is locked in place after she set it. I didn't do it this time.

2. No matter how miserable it is outside...when I come to a stop I need to get out and check connections. Like I said, we were in a 4 day rain event around Macon, GA and it was raining the whole day as we moved from there to the KOA. I need to ignore that.

3. Don't take chances with damaged equipment. With the biggest hills ahead and concerns over structural integrity of the tow bar, it didn't seem wise to push our luck. We opted to drive the toad 500 miles back home.

Thanks for listening folks. I needed to vent and maybe help someone else learn from our mistakes.

Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Guardian GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
2006 DSDP 4320, Spartan MM IFS, 2013 CR-V, Blue Ox Avail, SMI AF1, Samsung 197R Refer.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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Glad it was not worse than it was!

Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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Everyone safe and sound - vehicle and coach unscathed - lesson learned and shared.

So sorry this happened Don. Tell Sandee Annie and I blame you. Kidding of course - we all know there is no I in TEAM. Safe travels and speedy repair times.
Steve and Annie
Steve & Annie (RVM2)
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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One of my biggest worries is that pin coming out. I purchased a pair of like key padlocks to use in place of the pins. The padlocks are case hardened so I do not worry about them breaking and they are locked in place so I do not worry about something jarring the locking pin out and the pin falling out. I also feel this adds a bit of extra security to the toad. It keeps someone from just pulling the pins and taking off with the toad if we decide to pull into a restaurant or museum. The other safety Item we do is the ignition key. The enclave has to have a key in the ignition in order to unlock the steering wheel. I had my locksmith make me just a standard chevrolet key to fit in the ignition. This key will unlock the steering but does not have the chip enabling the car to start. Like the other posters I am glad that the damage was not more severe.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
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I don't know how pins with hairpin clips come out but I had to keep spares in the tractor tool box. Seemed like when the load increased, the day got short and the throat got dry the water jug fell off the tractor, the pin came out of the hitch. Of course it was like all tools lost in the field, it was neither found nor did it sprout.
I like the idea of using locks.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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I am very glad everyone was safe. It could have very easily not have been. Just goes to show like you said, check and double check and do it often. Hope you have safe, uneventful travels tomorrow.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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I have beard of people pulling pins out when folks are stopped. I bought a set of blue ox locking pins jjust for this reason. Do you think someone could have done this while you were at the outlet mall?
2017 Thor Windsport 34F
Blue Ox Aladdin - 2010 Chevy Cobalt
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:03 PM   #8
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If you use the Blue-Ox Locking Pins for the tow bar to the car, you will never have to worry about losing one or having someone monkey with it while you eating lunch at a restaurant.

They also make one for the hitch pin and they all can be keyed the same.

No more worries.

Blue Ox - Receiver Lock Kit, 2-1/2, 1 5/8 Inch

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Old 07-07-2013, 07:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jtroop View Post
I have beard of people pulling pins out when folks are stopped. I bought a set of blue ox locking pins jjust for this reason. Do you think someone could have done this while you were at the outlet mall?
We have the Blue Ox locking pins for the same reason. I'm left to believe that either it didn't get locked on correctly or not at all. Of course, there is always the possibility of a failure of the locking mechanism but I'm more inclined to believe in human error.

What bugs me a lot is knowing when it actually disconnected. I think I have good scan of mirrors and really hope that I caught the situation right as it happened. Given the tight back roads with tight bridges I was on, lack of attention could have been worse.
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Guardian GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
2006 DSDP 4320, Spartan MM IFS, 2013 CR-V, Blue Ox Avail, SMI AF1, Samsung 197R Refer.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:08 AM   #10
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A well-written reminder of checking and rechecking your checks. Bottom line is you are safe and will learn from the experience. Angels sometimes work overtime.
'09 Tundra pulling a '12 Arctic Fox 22H
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:39 AM   #11
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Me too had a scary experience with the loss of a blue ox pin. Have no idea why it came out. Now have locking pins.

Was going about 60 mph in the center lane of I5 at night in the rain with heavy traffic. I took quick action and recovered without any damage. Thank goodness I could apply toad brakes to pull toad back as I exited.

Carried spare pins and tow inserts so I was able to get right back on the road.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #12
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Lst one today as well

I hooked up the toad today, DH checked behind me, i asked him to..... Somewhere in the last hour of our trip the pin fell out, had just stopped at a gas station, Flying J... Hope it wasnt taken out... We filled up, then pulled over for a rest break.... Truckers pulled up on bith sides, as is par.... Even tho we were in a huge emoty gravel parking area. Didnt check again should have.... No problem but it coukd have been, were coming down a 6% grade..... Glad you avoided disaster....
Diane & Larry, (RVM64) our Westies LitaBit & QTπ
(Diwizi)retired educator,watercolor artist / (Zeelarry)ARMY ret
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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Sounds like it could have very well turned out worse than it did. Thank you for sharing.
John & Cathy R.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:19 AM   #14
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Happened to me in 2006, I'm fairly sure I know what happened (the sequence of events) tow bar could not be fixed, I inspected the break and told blue ox what had happened, Told them it DID NOT appear to be a defect but that the pin went by by, They still had me E-mail them photos of the damage, shipped me a new tow bar by overnight, and paid for the return of the original (NOTE: less than a year old) and said they would pay for the repairs to the car if it was their fault (It was not, I told them that, after they analyzed the break they agreed. Kind of confirms my faith in my training).

One question one always has... If the tow bar fails will the safety chains hold..... They did.

Home is where I park it!
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