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Old 12-04-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
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My quandary: Need drop hitch for Toad, but now it scrapes

My quandary: To get the height different between my hitch and the Toad mounts down to less than 4", I bought a drop hitch. But now it scrapes on even a modest dip. I see no solution here and really need some help! I *have* to use a drop hitch, but I am going to struggle (or find it impossible) getting into gas stations and other places where there is a dip in the road.

I have a Winnebago 29' Class C. I think part of the problem is that the long overhang behind the rear wheels causes a much greater drop when hitting a dip or entering a sloped driveway than say, a Class A would. The big Class A's tend to have less distance behind the rear wheels.

Does anyone else have this problem with their Class C? I just bought a Mini Cooper toad, a Blue Ox towbar & baseplate and all the goodies, and we're driving from California to Florida in 10 days -- and I am panicking wondering how the hell I am going to get into gas stations along the way.

I also bought a ReadyBrake system which attaches in-between the drop hitch and the tow bar. This exacerbates the problem by making the whole setup even longer. So it goes: Hitch receptacle --> Drop hitch --> ReadyBrake --> Towbar. The whole setup looks way too long, and there is a lot of play in it. I am going to buy some hitch tighteners which will eliminate the play, but the extra length makes it scrape even easier than before. Scraping an empty hitch or the small wheels mounted at the tail of the chassis is bad enough, but scraping the tow bar is completely unacceptable. That could easily damage it badly enough to cause a catastrophic failure later on.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Tim
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:29 PM   #2
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This is a tough problem. I mention this in case you have not considered it. My Blue Ox allows four inches of decline from the receiver to the base plate , have you allowed for this? If not you can gain back some space.

My main tow vehicle is even across but I tow a truck that has a six inch drop receiver and I can drag if not careful. I did tow it on a 500 mile trip once and was able to get in and out of stations by just looking until I found one that was relatively flat at the entry and exit. Very unreliable and hardly a solution but I at least found stations that were that way.

Another issue (I hate to mention) but having that much drop puts a lot more stress on your hitch and depending on how much weight you are towing it is possible to exceed the capacity.

I wish I could be more helpful but his is what I can offer. Hopefully someone else has a clever thought or better experience. I'll follow the thread maybe I can learn a thing or two. Good luck I hope a solution can be suggested.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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Another thought; I had a custom tow configuration installed on my Saturn ( a small sedan) and it had a four or five inch rise on the base plate side of the set up. I never gave it a thought at the time but it helped lessen the kind of drop I needed on the receiver end so I seldom scraped with it.

I also have to add that when I wanted them to do the same for my truck they said they could not. I wanted some pulls that fit a blue ox base plate, they refused.

But if it can be done safely it might help eat up some of that space. See if it is something a good weld shop could advise you on.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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Hindsight is always better than when we first consider things. I don't see what you can do without spending more money to correct the dragging. It will all depend on how much you want to spend for different solutions. Cheapest is to follow njs42's advice and look for level entrances and exits, next sell the Blue Ox tow bar and the ReadyBrake and buy the ReadyBrute Elite which will shorten the tow bar combo and get you "some" relief, but you'll have to measure to find out how much relief. Most expensive would be to sell the Mini and get a car ( and new base plate for the tow bar ) that sits higher, hopefully high enough that you don't need the drop hitch.

Hopefully someone else will come up with better solutions because none of what I've suggested sounds good to you I'm sure. Good Luck!
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #5
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Feel your pain...most of us with drop hitches have that sick feeling when driving across a dip. Wish I had a solution for you.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njs42 View Post
This is a tough problem. I mention this in case you have not considered it. My Blue Ox allows four inches of decline from the receiver to the base plate , have you allowed for this? If not you can gain back some space.

My main tow vehicle is even across but I tow a truck that has a six inch drop receiver and I can drag if not careful. I did tow it on a 500 mile trip once and was able to get in and out of stations by just looking until I found one that was relatively flat at the entry and exit. Very unreliable and hardly a solution but I at least found stations that were that way.

Another issue (I hate to mention) but having that much drop puts a lot more stress on your hitch and depending on how much weight you are towing it is possible to exceed the capacity.

I wish I could be more helpful but his is what I can offer. Hopefully someone else has a clever thought or better experience. I'll follow the thread maybe I can learn a thing or two. Good luck I hope a solution can be suggested.
The natural height difference is 7" and the drop hitch is 4" bringing the difference down to 3". The toad is a Mini Cooper, weighing 2400 lbs.

In hindsight, I should have bought a Jeep which would not have had much of a difference. The baseplate on the Mini is only 10.5" off the ground, and really that is the root of the problem.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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I feel your pain... We tow a Cooper also. It is VERY low to the ground.
We set our drop hitch 3 inches higher than the cooper. This is within the specs of the towbar.
We still hit frequently at Gas Station dips etc. and we have a diesel with less overhang than your class C.
My DW and I carefully look at each entry before we pull in and if it looks like trouble we just head on down the road.

There really isn't a lot you can do. You don't want to continually bottom out, damage will occur, and you don't want to set your towbar with too much incline, this increases the stress on the towbar when the MH is braking and the nose dips and rear end rises.

Good Luck and happy motoring.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by njs42 View Post
Another thought; I had a custom tow configuration installed on my Saturn ( a small sedan) and it had a four or five inch rise on the base plate side of the set up. I never gave it a thought at the time but it helped lessen the kind of drop I needed on the receiver end so I seldom scraped with it.

I also have to add that when I wanted them to do the same for my truck they said they could not. I wanted some pulls that fit a blue ox base plate, they refused.

But if it can be done safely it might help eat up some of that space. See if it is something a good weld shop could advise you on.
Funny you should say that - I just got off the phone with my Dad and that was his suggestion. Take the attachment points that come out of the baseplate and have a custom rise made for it, thus eliminating the need for any drop hitch at all. But doing that in 10 days will be a challenge to say the least. Otherwise, I'll have to just risk it and avoid low dips, or leave the Toad at home. But hell, I bought the damn Mini just for this reason and if I have to leave it at home it's going chafe me all the way to Florida!
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:28 PM   #9
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You can drive a full day without gas? I can. Take your toad and drop receiver off at night, then the first thing in the morning head to a filling station and have your partner drive the toad to the station. Fill up then hook up then go.

If you cannot then drop the toad and receiver before you get gas where ever when ever.

If there is one thing I have learned about a Blue Ox is that it really does not take much time to remove the set up if you need to. And in a few spots I needed to, sounds like you do to? What do you think?

After the trip take your time and solve your dilemma. Who knows you might meet someone along the way who wants to trade their jaunty Jeep for your snappy little Mini.

Life is good, go forth have a good trip.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:09 PM   #10
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One thing I have seen in this type of situation is to install a couple of heavy duty caster wheels on the rear bumper or hitch itself that are set just below the drop hitch. That way if you are going to scrape, the wheels take the weight and prevent the hitch from hitting the ground. It certainly will not lift your drive wheels off the ground. I had plenty of height with my sidekick but "Wilson's law" still found me a brutal drop out of a gas station. Wished I had those casters that day!
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:59 PM   #11
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Timbo,
Well Sir, I've got a friend or two that has had the same issues as you have. Both of them DID create a rise in the base plate mounts for the tow bar. Now, I don't know if you're capable of the task but, an attachment can be made that is removable that will give you the rise you need. I'd sure like to see some pics of your setup. I too have the same "lengthening" situation but, not the scraping issue. In the picture below, you'll see how long our setup is. I had "raise" mine to be at an acceptable level to tow our 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4.

And, since I already had the Blue Ox Aladdin, I purchased the Ready Brake to accommodate the needs of the braking system. So, yep, it's a bit long back there.

Well Sir, too bad you're way up there in Hunnington Beach and I'm way down here in Ramona, I'd help you with your situation. Some fabrication is all it would take. But, again, I'd like to see some pics. Maybe then some ideas could pop up
Scott

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Old 12-05-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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I would try a 2" drop. That would gain you 2" and only put you 1" out of the recommended differential spec. I would think the 1" out of spec would cause less damage than dragging at every dip for 2,500 miles. JMHO...
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:23 AM   #13
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One thing I have seen in this type of situation is to install a couple of heavy duty caster wheels on the rear bumper or hitch itself that are set just below the drop hitch. That way if you are going to scrape, the wheels take the weight and prevent the hitch from hitting the ground. It certainly will not lift your drive wheels off the ground. I had plenty of height with my sidekick but "Wilson's law" still found me a brutal drop out of a gas station. Wished I had those casters that day!
I have casters now, which occasionally hit even without the drop hitch. But it just doesn't look feasible to lower them enough to fix this problem :(
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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I would try a 2" drop. That would gain you 2" and only put you 1" out of the recommended differential spec. I would think the 1" out of spec would cause less damage than dragging at every dip for 2,500 miles. JMHO...
Excellent idea and I have been contemplating that. The drop hitch I bought is a double. Meaning there are two receptacles, one is 2" offset the other is 4". So depending on which way you insert it you get a 2" or a 4" drop. The other receptacle can be used for a bike rack. I still scrape with a 2" drop, but not as often.
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