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Old 05-15-2009, 11:43 PM   #1
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Lost my hitch and my Jeep

While traveling through the town of Pagosa Springs Colorado, my wife and I both heard a metal noise. About 10 seconds later, we heard it again. I got on the CB and told our 2 traveling companions ahead of us that we had a problem and had to pull over. We were only traveling about 25 mph, so we were able to quickly pull over to the curb. As soon as I stopped, I looked out my window to see my Jeep Liberty going down the street. I was scared to death that it would hit someone head on. I could see the tow bar in front of the Jeep as it kept moving. It moved over to the other side of the road where there was a curb, but after the curb was the office of a motel and I was then afraid that it would crash into the office and hurt someone in there. When the tow bar hit the curb, it ended up under the front of the Jeep and acted as a plow to bring my Jeep to a stop just as it hit the side of the old motel office building. THANK GOD no one got hurt.

I got out of the motorhome and ran over to the jeep to see what had happen. My first thought was, why did not safety chains not keep the Jeep attached to my motorhome? The answer, the hitch was still attacked to my tow bar and the safely chains were still attached to the Jeep and hitch. I went over to my motorhome and the hitch had been ripped off the chassis.

After it was all over, I looked under the motorhome again to try and figure out what happened. There are 2 bolts that hold the hitch to the chassis on each side. On the left side, the hitch was ripped off leaving a section with the nut and bolts still attached, but with a big hole, but on the right side, the 2 bolts were still hanging down from the chassis. The best I can figure is that the 2 bolts on the right side had not been completely tightened down and after 3 1/2 years and 30,000 miles they came off, thus causing the problem.

Damages: Hitch and Blue Ox Aventa II totaled. Left quarter panel where it hit the building. All underneath the front end where the hitch and tow bar ended up, broke many parts. Right rear corner hit a 'old coal car' on display and messed up the right rear area.

No, I did not have an auxiliary brake. But it would not have helped if I did, as the cable for it would probably have been attached to the hitch like one of my traveling companions setup was. In my case, the cable would have stayed connected just like my safety chains did. Rigs with air brake systems would have worked correctly I would think.

So, first, check your hitch to make sure all the nuts are tight. 2nd, attach the aux cable to something besides the hitch.

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Old 05-16-2009, 05:46 AM   #2
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Ben & Bonita:

WOW!! What an experience. Just curious, were you about to head over Wolf Creek Pass, or had ya just come over the pass?? Would have been tough to loose the Jeep while going over the pass.

There was a caution or alert about hitches cracked on some chassis just a short time ago (2 or 3 mos.). Wondering whether yours may have been one of them??

Glad no one was hurt. Did ya ever listen to that trucker song "Wolf Creek Pass", where the driver ends up in the side of a Feed Store in downtown Pagosa Springs. Your experience kinda reminded me of it.

Steve & Lynette

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Old 05-16-2009, 06:10 AM   #3
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Can only imagine the feeling. Glad no one was hurt. Gonna go check my hitch today.
thanks for sharing this info
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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Glad there were no injuries. This points out the importance of having an auxiliary toad brake with breakaway feature AND fastening the breakaway cable to a rigid frame member on the motorhome away from the receiver.

I know I shouldn't, but I fasten my breakaway cable to the receiver. I'm going to look for a longer cable and somewhere else to fasten it.
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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I've heard a couple other stories like this - hitch broke off motorhome. Scary! I now have a safety chain looped from the hitch to a nearby frame member. That way I can still hook up my regular safety chains easily (to the slots built into the hitch) and also have some piece of mind.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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I know I shouldn't, but I fasten my breakaway cable to the receiver. I'm going to look for a longer cable and somewhere else to fasten it.
Guilty here also.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:56 PM   #7
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Another guilty here also. Thanks for the reminder to check our hitches often and as said ,run another cable to the frame.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:03 PM   #8
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I am guilty of this also, and it has bothered me a lot. and the above made me consider what I have been thinking of doing to get a better anchor for the breakaway cable. I am going to use a cable (garage door cable) and loop it all the way back to the rear axel if I have to, to find a good safe anchor, and just leave the end of the loop laying by the hitch hardware.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:59 PM   #9
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That is why I have never attached the safety cable or the break away cable to the hitch or anything attached to the hitch. It is connected to the frame separately from the hitch. Most all of the instructions you read say not to attach to the hitch but to the frame.

Glad no one was hurt.

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Old 05-16-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Steve, we had already come over Wolf Pass. I am surprised it did not come loose then. I did not see the alert on cracked hitches. Wish I had, I might have check mine.

I hope that no one else EVER has to experience a problem like this. You always think it can never happen to you. Maybe my bad experience will get others to change the location of their breakaway cable and be better protected in case it does happen to them.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:09 PM   #11
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Couldn't find anything on cracked hitches but this thread may explain the stress placed on your hitch when towing.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:16 PM   #12
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As I recall it was a hitch problem on Spartan chassis around the 2007 year.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:41 AM   #13
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I used to hook the breakaway to the hitch.Worried about having the hitch fail so I got an eyebolt and drilled a hole in the body just above the hitch.Now the cable is connected directly to the body.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:24 AM   #14
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007, I have seen many people towing where they had more 4 inches difference in heights. Mine was even.

My problem appears to be the nuts on the right side not tighten as they should have been and came off over time. It never crossed my mine to get under the rig and check how tight the nuts were on the hitch. I sure will when I get another hitch installed.

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