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Old 10-18-2015, 01:34 PM   #1
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Road Master Tow bar base plate - bolts sheering

Has anyone had a problem with the base plate bolts sheering off from the tow vehicle chassis, causing the entire base plate to fall away from the tow vehicle including the bumper of the tow vehicle?
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Old 10-18-2015, 01:45 PM   #2
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Nope, but then RoadMaster themselves installed the brackets on our Ody. I did the ones on our previous '97 Jeep GC and again never had a problem.
Are you sure it was installed exactly to RoadMaster specs?
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:39 PM   #3
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Hard to imagine all shearing at once, unless the holes were much larger than the bolts allowing them to slide back and forth while accelerating or braking. Also, do you have a braking unit on the toad?
Bob
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:51 AM   #4
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Hard to imagine all shearing at once, unless the holes were much larger than the bolts allowing them to slide back and forth while accelerating or braking. Also, do you have a braking unit on the toad?
Bob
Yes, we have a break unit and it was in the vehicle . This Roadmaster base plate has been on this vehicle since we bought it in 2010 and the brake unit has always been used when towing. Have had several similar vehicles and never had a problem.
The bolts were not bent just sheared off, which then caused the bumper to get ripped from the car. Where the bolts are mounted, it is very difficult to check if the bolts are loose over a period of time. Thank you for your reply. Lucy
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:47 AM   #5
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Mea Cupla

Oh, man... I'm "guilty as charged."

Post-new-install, when I found this as Warning #3 in the Roadmaster instructions

"Every 3,000 miles, the owner must inspect the fasteners for proper torque, according to the bolt torque requirements chart on the last page of these instructions. The owner must also inspect all mounts and brackets for cracks or other signs of fatigue every 3,000 miles. Failure to do so could result in loss of the towed vehicle."

before we left on an 8,000 mile trip, I asked myself: "Where are those bolts, and can I inspect them without disassembling the car's front end?" And my answer was: "Not all of them." So, I didn't inspect them at all.

Sorry you had to have a failure, but your story warns me and people like me that ignorance is not bliss.

Now, maybe I can get the mechanic who installed the tow bar mounting bracket to check it... at least he has a lift.

Mark
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Oh, man... I'm "guilty as charged."

Post-new-install, when I found this as Warning #3 in the Roadmaster instructions

"Every 3,000 miles, the owner must inspect the fasteners for proper torque, according to the bolt torque requirements chart on the last page of these instructions. The owner must also inspect all mounts and brackets for cracks or other signs of fatigue every 3,000 miles. Failure to do so could result in loss of the towed vehicle."

before we left on an 8,000 mile trip, I asked myself: Where are those bolts, and can I inspect them without disassembling the car's front end?" And my answer was: "Not all of them." So, I didn't inspect them at all.

Sorry you had to have a failure, but your story warns me and people like me that ignorance is not bliss.

Now, maybe I can get the mechanic who installed the tow bar mounting bracket to check it. at least he has a lift.

Mark

Good info Mark! I'm gonna have my shop check all that are accessible when we get back home!
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:33 AM   #7
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Yes, we have a break unit and it was in the vehicle . This Roadmaster base plate has been on this vehicle since we bought it in 2010 and the brake unit has always been used when towing. Have had several similar vehicles and never had a problem.
The bolts were not bent just sheared off, which then caused the bumper to get ripped from the car. Where the bolts are mounted, it is very difficult to check if the bolts are loose over a period of time. Thank you for your reply. Lucy
I mentioned the hole size being larger than the bolts, as there was another person on here that experienced the bolts shearing off.(I believe it was a Blue OX setup). It turned out that the installer had drilled the holes much larger than spec'd and that in turn allowed the base plate to move around enough to cause the bolts to shear.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:50 AM   #8
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No problem with shearing a bolt. I did experience a sheared top pin. The bar was not within the level specification, and a large dip in the interstate, caused the pin to shear. One bar will hold it, but it bent the mounting plate top bar, before we got stopped.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:16 PM   #9
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Wow....unusual that all bolts would shear ? I can see one being defective, or coming loose, but not all six at same time !. On my Blue Ox baseplate, there are safety cables which wrap the frame and run thru tabs on the baseplate to keep everything attached in the event of bolts or welds breaking.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rlhembel View Post
Yes, we have a break unit and it was in the vehicle . This Roadmaster base plate has been on this vehicle since we bought it in 2010 and the brake unit has always been used when towing. Have had several similar vehicles and never had a problem.
The bolts were not bent just sheared off, which then caused the bumper to get ripped from the car. Where the bolts are mounted, it is very difficult to check if the bolts are loose over a period of time. Thank you for your reply. Lucy
AS previously stated: we have the RoadMaster setup on the Ody. It was installed by RoadMaster as a test vehicle in 2005. It's been on there ever since and the torque on the bolts has never been checked. We also have the BrakeMaster unit that I installed myself. I also installing the brackets on our long gone '97 Jeep GC and never had any problems.
Is the towbar level when hooked up? If not then that probably is the reason. RoadMaster has a chart of the change in length of the effective length at different heights. Being too high or low adds a lot of stress to the towbar and attachment points.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:44 PM   #11
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Has anyone had a problem with the base plate bolts sheering off from the tow vehicle chassis, causing the entire base plate to fall away from the tow vehicle including the bumper of the tow vehicle?
It would be nice to know what year/model/type/ toad that all this is happening to. Also, who did the install? How long AFTER the install did any of this happen? How many miles before it happened? Is your tow bar within the reasonable angle (2" high or 2" low of level)? Are you making DEAD SURE that both sliders on the tow bar are freely moving before they're locked and, are they truly locked in the fully extended position?

Much of this can have an effect on the base plate. If one slider is not moving freely and, has a hard time locking up, then it's possible that the other one is locked and, is taking all the strain of not only pulling the toad but, pushing it when the brakes are applied.

The angle is not all that critical. Some like it dead level and, that of course is fine. I've seen it so bad that it's almost funny. I've seen tow bars at 45 degree angles UP to the coach.

So, these are maybe some things to check to see if there could possibly be any effects on your base plate which, could and would have an influence on the bolts that hold it on.
Scott
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:59 PM   #12
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in my opinion, this is purely an installation problem. If the base plate is installed properly there is no reason the bolts should come loose. The reason the manufacturer recommends checking the bolts is to protect themselves from any liability due to poor installation by DIY installers.
If this were the case, we should be checking every bolt on the vehicle every 3000 miles to make sure they are tight.
"I read the manual and watched a video, how hard can it be?" I'll save myself a hundred bucks.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:36 AM   #13
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It would be nice to know what year/model/type/ toad that all this is happening to. Also, who did the install? How long AFTER the install did any of this happen? How many miles before it happened? Is your tow bar within the reasonable angle (2" high or 2" low of level)? Are you making DEAD SURE that both sliders on the tow bar are freely moving before they're locked and, are they truly locked in the fully extended position?

Much of this can have an effect on the base plate. If one slider is not moving freely and, has a hard time locking up, then it's possible that the other one is locked and, is taking all the strain of not only pulling the toad but, pushing it when the brakes are applied.

The angle is not all that critical. Some like it dead level and, that of course is fine. I've seen it so bad that it's almost funny. I've seen tow bars at 45 degree angles UP to the coach.

So, these are maybe some things to check to see if there could possibly be any effects on your base plate which, could and would have an influence on the bolts that hold it on.
Scott

The base plate and tow bar have been used on the same vehicle for over five years and several thousand miles of towing.

We always verify that the slider arms are freely moving as advertised and that they the pins are locked prior to moving down the road.

Thank you for your input.
Lucy
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:57 AM   #14
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My base plate is Blue OX.. On my original towed the installer (General RV) forgot something as a result bolts went AWOL.. this was discovered during routine inspection and fixed.

On my second towed I had someone else do the install.> Bolts were treated with Locktite and are NOT coming loose.

A loose bolt will both tear the (*)@# out of the hole and shear/break/go AWOL on you.
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