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Old 08-02-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
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Roadmaster Sterling bar binding

My Sterling tow bar binds...meaning that it is difficult to retract or extend the polished bar when I need to engage or disengage the MH & toad. I have followed the instructions to spray the arms with silicone. But it seems that there is "dirt" in the arm tube and therefor creating the binding that I am experiencing. It takes alot of effort to pull/push the bar. I played with a unit a showroom and it moves effortlessly. Any hints on how to keep this clean so that it slides in/out easily. Is there a bushing or gasket that needs to be replaced?

Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:00 AM   #2
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Since the Sterling is top-of-the-line with Roadmaster, it should be one of the easiest bars to work with. If it is binding, I would check for a bent arm.

I have a Falcon 2 and used to put grease on the sliding arms but found it built up to the point of causing a bind in the operation of the arms. Now I strictly use a dry spray and no more issues.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:54 AM   #3
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It looks straight. I did not put a straight edge to it to verify. I read somewhere that I might need to clean the inside of the arm tube itself...
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:52 AM   #4
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Roadmaster will rebuild it for you and make it like new. If you attend a major RV rally, they will be there and do it for a pittance (it used to be free, but I hear they have a nominal charge now).
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:03 PM   #5
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Try cleaning the shafts with liberal amounts of silicone working the shaft in and out wiping with a rag on the out stroke. Sooner or later it should start to work smoothly UNLESS the shaft s bent. It may take a while. the trick is to wipe after you tow and then slide it in. Good luck.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:38 PM   #6
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From Roadmaster Manual
http://roadmasterinc.com/pdf/85-1880-06.pdf

As is the case with most precision equipment, frequent cleaning and care results in better performance and longevity.
Use the following guidelines to keep your tow bar clean and well-lubricated.
Always clean the tow bar before lubricating. Use a watersoluble cleaner such as Voom RV (part number 9911) — it does an exceptional job of breaking down road
film, dirt and grease.

With one tow bar arm raised, spray a liberal amount of cleaner at the top of the inner/outer arm assembly.
Then flex the tow bar arm up and down to flush dirt and debris out the bottom of the assembly. Repeat, if necessary, until the arm is clean.
Repeat for the other arm.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:09 PM   #7
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Check w/a straight edge first. If the arm is bent, you need to address that w/new parts from Roadmaster. If straight, it is a simple matter to disassemble & clean. There is a nut on the forward end by the pivots, and a keeper assembly that installs w/circlips at the lever. take photos as you go, or lay the parts out in the order of disassembly. Clean like you don't want to do it again, ever. Then reassemble, & lube w/silicone. If you have been jambing it for a while, the plasctic shim parts may be worn. Don't know if you can buy those separately from Roadmaster but its worth a call.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondo122 View Post
Try cleaning the shafts with liberal amounts of silicone working the shaft in and out wiping with a rag on the out stroke...
I do it after every trip... but if it rains during the trip, that's when the binding gets bad. I resume rain + dirt is causing my issue.

the cleaning instructions are nice-to-knows. I'll try this in next couple of weeks.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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I just cleaned mine. Removed the inner bar. Used one of those foam sanding pads to polish up everything. Use a fine grit. It will not damage the bar. I also reloved the spring assembly.
No need to mess with the locking arm. NEVER use oil/grease on the tow bar.
The fiber slide bushing are what causes the binding. Dirt builds up around them.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:48 AM   #10
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My Roadmaster towbar became so tight I had to connect the car to pull it out. I removed the shafts and carefully sanded the fiber washers and cleaned the tubes with carb cleaner.I can now slide them with one hand.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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My Roadmaster towbar became so tight I had to connect the car to pull it out. I removed the shafts and carefully sanded the fiber washers and cleaned the tubes with carb cleaner.I can now slide them with one hand.


The fiber washers act as cushions. Over time they expand and become tight in the bore. If you fully retract the bar you can get a socket (I can't remember the size) on the nut on the threaded end of the shaft. When the nut and retainer are removed the bar will slip out of the housing. If the fiber washer is a larger diameter than the shaft take a file or piece of sandpaper to it until it's the same diameter.

RoadMaster doesn't recommend WD40 for cleaning but it does a better job than almost anything to dissolve any petroleum or tar deposits. Once the bars are clean wipe them down to remove any residue. Then give them a liberal coating of silicone. I disassemble and clean ours annually. It has over 5 years of use and has gone over 50,000 miles.

This year at the Winnebago GNR it was inspected and the stinger was replaced. At that time they did a cleaning and replacement of all the bushings and washers. It works as good as today as it did when it was new
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:36 AM   #12
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Whatever you do, do NOT use WD40 to clean your towbar! That stuff acts as a magnet for dirt and you will have a lot more problems in the future. Stick with a dry silicone spray, wipe down and clean well with dry rag, then apply a thin layer of lithium grease from NAPA. Make sure to do this at least once a year. If you own a Blue Ox and at a rally, the service guys will come around and give you a complete overhaul and add any needed parts for only $25.... very very well worth the money.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lucky leo View Post
Whatever you do, do NOT use WD40 to clean your towbar! That stuff acts as a magnet for dirt and you will have a lot more problems in the future. Stick with a dry silicone spray, wipe down and clean well with dry rag, then apply a thin layer of lithium grease from NAPA. Make sure to do this at least once a year. If you own a Blue Ox and at a rally, the service guys will come around and give you a complete overhaul and add any needed parts for only $25.... very very well worth the money.
I've heard this for years. Untill this year I resisted using WD40 mainly because of this very warning. Every year I've used nearly a full can of "Lubemaster Heavy Duty Silicone RV Lube" (the same stuff that came with the Sterling tow bar when I bought it in 2005). It would take well over an hour to spray clean and repeat the process several times to get the bars to move reasonably well. Over the years I could get most of the gunk and goo out but the rods were never as free as when it was new.

This year I decided it was time to try something different. When I sprayed WD40 on the rods a ton of stuck on road goo was dissolved almost instasntly. Within a matter of seconds the bars moved as freely as they did when the unit was new. After cleaning it with the WD40 I thoroughly washed down the whole assembly with Fantastic cleaner and water as recommended by Roadmaster. After thoroughly drying it I applied a coat of the Lubemaster spray. Everything worked fine when I finished and still works fine after another 1,000 miles of towing. I just wipe the rods down before I disconnect them From the Jeep and all is well.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #14
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Hmmm. I've got about 70K on my Sterling Roadmaster towbar and just wipe the extension arms before retracting. Only have had problems when I had an obvious tension problem between the Towed & the RV. My extension bars have wear notches in them. Not deep but noticable. Was advised by Roadmaster "The extensions are solid steel. Modest wear won't affect their safety." I'm not expecting to replace them soon.
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