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Old 10-23-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
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Problems with pin removal on Demco tow bars?

I am about to purchase a towing system for our Navion and Honda Fit toad. After much reading of helpful posts on this forum I am leaning towards the Demco Dominator tow bar and base plate and the SMI Duo Brake system or the US Gear Unified brake system.

I need to make up about six inches of difference between my hitch receiver height and the Honda Fit and wish to minimize the drop hitch and use a four inch, which combined with the Demco tow bar and its ability to work "upside down" and an angling capability should provide an appropriate levelling of the bar and connection point.

I have ruled out the Ready Brute Elite system as my manufacturer (Winnebago) does not recommend surge brakes and also due to the extra length of the tow bar. (My setup will already be plenty long due to the drop receiver and I also want to add a two prong hitch gizmo to accommodate a bike rack on the tow bar.)

However, I have read in other posts some difficulty with the removal of the Demco pins.

Has anyone encountered this as a serious (or just a nuisance) problem?

Any other comments or advice on my proposed system would be appreciated.

Thanks for any help.

John and Margo
North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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I have a Demco Commander tow bar. I was towing a Ford Escape until now. I just purchased a Honda CR-V and will be switching over to that as my Toad.

In regard to the removing the pins, if you are not aware of some tricks you may find that the pins can become bound. I have heard others say that the same thing can happen with other tow bars as well. I even read one guy post that he had to use a hammer and screwdriver to free his stuck pins. IMO, that is simply just someone's opinion that did not have an understanding of how to free up a stuck pin.

I have found that there is not any reason to free up my pins with the use of force. In my experience, it is simple laws of physics that I need to use to eliminate any stuck pins.

One example, if you do not put on the parking break in the toad before pushing the release lever, you could experience a stuck pin due to the toad weight either shifting forward or back.

Regardless, if you do experience a stuck pin, simply relieving the stress on the pin will make the pin easily removable. One way to do that is turn the weals of the toad in the direction of the arm with the stuck pin. Many times that will free the stuck pin. Another is to start the toad and after applying the break, put the transmission into gear (either drive or reverse, as needed due to the direction of the binding on the pin). If needed you can even release pressure on the break to shift the toad weight slightly forward or reverse. Just be careful to not put significant stress on the tow bar.

The same type of basic laws of physics will apply when hooking up the tow bar. Sometimes one leg will not lock. Usually if you simply turn your tire in the direction of the bar that is not locking it will lock into place. In other instances after turning the wheels toward the bar that is not locked, you may either move the RV forward or the toad backward slightly to get it to lock.

Again, it is my understanding that this is true for other tow bars as well, not just the Demco brand.

I wish you well regardless of your choice in tow bars.

Have fun!
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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The above comments on how to un-stick a pin are pretty much applicable to my Blue Ox tow bar as well. If their is toad weight on the pin it won't want to readily slide out - which seems pretty reasonable...

Another thing I do with my BO is to hold depressed one or both of the arm release levers while pulling the toad forward a couple inches - takes off the weight/pressure and out come the pins. This is a two person job, or one person and a couple bungee cords.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedgard01 View Post
I have a Demco Commander tow bar. I was towing a Ford Escape until now. I just purchased a Honda CR-V and will be switching over to that as my Toad.

In regard to the removing the pins, if you are not aware of some tricks you may find that the pins can become bound. I have heard others say that the same thing can happen with other tow bars as well. I even read one guy post that he had to use a hammer and screwdriver to free his stuck pins. IMO, that is simply just someone's opinion that did not have an understanding of how to free up a stuck pin.

I have found that there is not any reason to free up my pins with the use of force. In my experience, it is simple laws of physics that I need to use to eliminate any stuck pins.

One example, if you do not put on the parking break in the toad before pushing the release lever, you could experience a stuck pin due to the toad weight either shifting forward or back.

Regardless, if you do experience a stuck pin, simply relieving the stress on the pin will make the pin easily removable. One way to do that is turn the weals of the toad in the direction of the arm with the stuck pin. Many times that will free the stuck pin. Another is to start the toad and after applying the break, put the transmission into gear (either drive or reverse, as needed due to the direction of the binding on the pin). If needed you can even release pressure on the break to shift the toad weight slightly forward or reverse. Just be careful to not put significant stress on the tow bar.

The same type of basic laws of physics will apply when hooking up the tow bar. Sometimes one leg will not lock. Usually if you simply turn your tire in the direction of the bar that is not locking it will lock into place. In other instances after turning the wheels toward the bar that is not locked, you may either move the RV forward or the toad backward slightly to get it to lock.

Again, it is my understanding that this is true for other tow bars as well, not just the Demco brand.

I wish you well regardless of your choice in tow bars.

Have fun!
Well stated.

I've been using a Demco Aluminator to pull my Jeep TJ behind our coach for about 6 years without any binding/stuck pins. As long as you're stopped on a relatively flat surface and both vehicles are in a straight line, the pins will release easily.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:36 PM   #5
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Physics is not one of my strong points and after using all the methods described I still had to use a "punch" method to remove the pins on the DemCo product. Worked for me.

Now with the Blue Ox system physics seem to be better applied with this system and the methods described work.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:28 PM   #6
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I have a demco dominator tow bar and base plate on a 2013 crv. Demco has a kit out that eliminates the stuck pin issue. A month ago we stopped at the demco factory in Iowa and they upgraded our tow bar ; no charge. New release works like a champ !
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:24 AM   #7
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Do you have pictures of the upgrade?
Thanks, Iver
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherone View Post
I have a demco dominator tow bar and base plate on a 2013 crv. Demco has a kit out that eliminates the stuck pin issue. A month ago we stopped at the demco factory in Iowa and they upgraded our tow bar ; no charge. New release works like a champ !
Are you saying there is an upgrade for all Demco tow bars or just for the Dominator? How old was your tow bar? How new is this kit and what does the kit do that eliminated the pins from sticking? If you could help with some pics that would be great as well....
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:55 AM   #9
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Do you have pictures of the upgrade?
Thanks, Iver
Sorry no pics. Its a tiny litttle add on below the release handle . Just squeeze and it releases.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info. I just spoke with a tech at Demco about the stuck pin issue. He said there was an issue with the older tow bars. The new Dominators (not sure about other models) are fixed as of 1-2 years ago. If the "sear" and the locking lever are different colours than this is the new improved version. if they are the same colour then this is the older model.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerman View Post
Thanks for the info. I just spoke with a tech at Demco about the stuck pin issue. He said there was an issue with the older tow bars. The new Dominators (not sure about other models) are fixed as of 1-2 years ago. If the "sear" and the locking lever are different colours than this is the new improved version. if they are the same colour then this is the older model.
what was cool is they did the upgrade and rejuvenated the whole thing for free.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
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You say no surge brakes??? I have the ReadyBrake, it works great. I had the BrakeBuddy, it is still a "surge brake". Unless you get the airbrake system or use electric brakes (used on horse trailers) I am lost by the comment.
I currently use the Demco aluminum towbar with my ReadyBrake pulling a Saturn Vue. If I am not level the pins bind, but having an assistant gently easing the toad forward or back with the towbar arms unlocked makes pin removal easy. Or I just look for a flat spot to unhook, then drive separately to my final parking place.
JMHO
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:32 AM   #13
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With all the information on others that have had the "stuck pin," I guess Demco bit the bullet and made some changes in the "physics" of the device. Happy to hear the newer models are working as designed.

My original had been purchased in 2008 so that may have been the problem.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:23 PM   #14
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With all the information on others that have had the "stuck pin," I guess Demco bit the bullet and made some changes in the "physics" of the device. Happy to hear the newer models are working as designed. My original had been purchased in 2008 so that may have been the problem.
Ok, mine was a late model, so that explains why I don't have an issue. Makes since now.
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