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Old 06-04-2014, 07:00 AM   #1
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Problem with Demco base plate

We've been towing our Cherokee for several years using a Demco base plate and Ready Brake Elite tow bar and brake system. For awhile now the ears on the base plate have been spreading, I keep watching for cracks in the ears and don't see any. The right side is about twice as bad as the left.
The last two times we towed the Jeep I found the pin bent after going over a badly graded road. Made worse by the pin not being supported better.
I think it's time for a new base plate. These pictures are of the right side. I notice some base plate/tow bar fittings allow more contact points to support the pin and minimize the side play seen in the picture. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:05 AM   #2
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Sweet Jesus I've never seen anything like that. I would replace that immediately.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:26 AM   #3
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Replace before you put another mile on the road!
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:30 AM   #4
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Looks to like the steel is too soft for the load placed on it. Please replace as it is just a matter of time before something lets go.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:33 AM   #5
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Excellent pics and a bad problem. I am having a similar problem but not nearly as severe. I would call Demco or find a Demco dealer and ask them for a replacement base plate. That should not happen because that is a heavy duty base plate.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:42 AM   #6
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Wow, that is ugly. Obviously there is some sort of sideloading going on that the tabs and that thin pin cannot handle. Blue Ox uses a thin pin as well but has a 3 tab setup to address this and Roadmaster (which I have) uses really big pins and thick short tabs. I am not aware of any problems like this with either setup.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:52 AM   #7
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Wow, that is ugly. Obviously there is some sort of sideloading going on that the tabs and that thin pin cannot handle. Blue Ox uses a thin pin as well but has a 3 tab setup to address this and Roadmaster (which I have) uses really big pins and thick short tabs. I am not aware of any problems like this with either setup.
WOW! Side loading is right! Pretty sure '98 Cherokees had locking steering wheel, could that cause the horrible side loads . . . the steering wheel locked while towing? Just a thought.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:15 AM   #8
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That is not a base plate issue. It is caused by making turns that are too tight. When making a turn the rear of the coach first swings in the opposit direction of the turn. That is exagerated by the amount of overhang past the rear wheels.
I have seen some where the toad has hit the rear corners of the coach, some hard enough to cause dammage to the rear cap.
I suggest you also check for bent arms on the towbar.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:26 AM   #9
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I think you should switch to a Roadmaster or Blue-ox baseplate. Then you can use the 3 point clevis mentioned by PushedAround. And check the steering lock Stik said.
That is unsafe, an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:27 AM   #10
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I think you should switch to a Roadmaster or Blue-ox baseplate. Then you can use the 3 point clevis mentioned by PushedAround. And check the steering lock Stik said.
That is unsafe, an accident waiting to happen.
Roger
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:45 AM   #11
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Been using a Demco for 6+ years and just went to look at mine. It looks to me like something is missing from your ears. Mine has a top and bottom plate welded to the ears to keep them from spreading. I would contact Demco immediately with the picture and the Demco model number. Check your installation and user manual to see if your baseplate should have these keepers. JM2...
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:32 PM   #12
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oO course this baseplate must be replaced before you use it again.

But before you make any changes, you shoud find out why this problem occurs. Just changing to a different manufacturers baseplate is unlikely to solve the problem, and at best, you will be out the money, but have the same problem.

A call to Demco is the best first choice. I have dealt with them, and they even sent a representative to my site to solve my problem -- operator error in this case and no charge from Demco.

If a call to Demco doesn't solve the problem, you must determine the cause of this problem. It is obvious that severe side pressure is what is bending the clevis support. Its just not obvious what is causing that stress.

The two suggestions have been locked steering wheel (front tires not turning when MH is turned), and too sharp MH turns that pass the turning radius of the tow bars. These seem to be very reasonable possibilities. You can use a helper and check for yourself by making turns of all kinds in a parking lot at very slow speed (walking speed). An observer can signal results of your turns, and that should give you the answer.

We can't tell a whole lot about the source from the photos, but it appears that the bending is almost all in the inside of the tow bar. That would put the stress on the inside clevis on the outside of the curve. That all indicates that the front toad wheels are not turning or the turning radius is too sharp.

Hope you find the problem and
Good Luck!
Wil
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wil01 View Post
oO course this baseplate must be replaced before you use it again.

But before you make any changes, you shoud find out why this problem occurs. Just changing to a different manufacturers baseplate is unlikely to solve the problem, and at best, you will be out the money, but have the same problem.

A call to Demco is the best first choice. I have dealt with them, and they even sent a representative to my site to solve my problem -- operator error in this case and no charge from Demco.

If a call to Demco doesn't solve the problem, you must determine the cause of this problem. It is obvious that severe side pressure is what is bending the clevis support. Its just not obvious what is causing that stress.

The two suggestions have been locked steering wheel (front tires not turning when MH is turned), and too sharp MH turns that pass the turning radius of the tow bars. These seem to be very reasonable possibilities. You can use a helper and check for yourself by making turns of all kinds in a parking lot at very slow speed (walking speed). An observer can signal results of your turns, and that should give you the answer.

We can't tell a whole lot about the source from the photos, but it appears that the bending is almost all in the inside of the tow bar. That would put the stress on the inside clevis on the outside of the curve. That all indicates that the front toad wheels are not turning or the turning radius is too sharp.

Hope you find the problem and
Good Luck!
Wil
Well said, Wil!
Roger
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:26 PM   #14
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I've been thinking about this a little more and a turning radius problem keeps coming up.

This seems to be a 38' gas motorhome. If it is gas, it will have a shorter wheel base than a 38' diesel pusher.

As has been pointed out before, when a turn is started, the rear of the MN initially moves in the opposite direction. Then it all comes together for the turn in the correct direction.

Because of the action described above, the toad is initially steering in the opposite direction to the final turn. Then the toad must make a radical turn to get into the proper position. The toad front wheels could, indeed, be turning, but as the toad is finally getting into the correct position, maybe it can't turn far enough. If that is so, it would put extreme pressure on the base plate, tow bar, and MH hitch receptacle.

The faster and sharper the turn, the more stress and possible damage. The slow walk through I described before is highly recommended.

Good Luck!
Wil
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