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Old 01-17-2013, 01:54 PM   #1
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Shortening the draw bar on a drop Receiver?

I plan on towing for the first time with our used 2001 MH which came with a Blue Ox Aventa II tow bar. Recently installed the base plate on a Pathfinder (another story) and the center of the attaching tab is about 18” above ground. The MH receiver is located in the rear bumper about 28” above the ground, a 10” difference. Blue Ox recommends no more that 3-4” difference in elevation from the receiver to the tow bar.

I sent this email to Blue OX:

“I am in the processing of purchasing a 8” or 10” drop receiver. I noticed that your 2” – 6” drop receivers are 6 ” long on the hitch draw bar and 10 ” on the 8” – 10” drop receivers. The longer the hitch bar is the more force or leverage will be applied to the hitch receiver mounted on the motor home. It's the same principal as using a longer bar to apply more force/leverage to free a frozen bolt or lift a heavy object. With the tow bar being in a slight upward position from the towed vehicle it will apply more force when stopping (or when pulling) to the longer draw bar which in turn will apply more force on the weld points on the receiver. Why is the hitch draw bar longer? Is it okay to cut the 8” – 10” solid draw bar shorter to prevent this from happening?”

Which returned this answer:

FYI from Product Support
Mr. Nelson is correct in his assumption that the longer the drop the greater the leverage. We have designed our drops to withstand force up to their respective ratings. This says nothing about the forces on the receiver itself. As a matter of policy, we discourage modification of our product.

I do not want to add additional force to the MH receiver with the longer draw bar as the tow bar has a long draw bar already (almost 13” alone). I will not be using a brake assist system in the Pathfinder. I suppose if I attach everything together, I could use my side mirrors to watch the Pathfinder. All kidding a side has anyone shortened the longer draw bar on a drop receiver? Notice any problems or improvements? Any information would be appreciated before I shorten the draw bar as I have now received the 10” drop receiver. I know some will wonder why I want to shorten the draw bar and not just use it as designed! Other than it looks funny with all the long bars sticking out, I want to keep from purchasing new longer safety cables and maybe electrical tow cable.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:26 PM   #2
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Hi

I also had to use a drop receiver up side down to raise the MH side of the tow bar to get it close to level as I tow a dodge Dakota. It did add some length to the whole system and it does look a little strange but on the plus side it moved the truck back and now I can turn sharper without
The truck hitting the back of the MH.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulgpa View Post
I will not be using a brake assist system in the Pathfinder.
Why not?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:13 PM   #4
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I would not cut / modify the drop receiver. Use it as is, it will be fine. And yes, a brake system is recommended.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:32 AM   #5
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Hi Again

Towing your pathfinder is Not like towing a trailer.
You don't have hundreds of pounds of pin weight on the receiver pushing it down. The only weight there is the weight of the tow bar, if its not level you will then get some weight pushing it up or down. As far a cutting the one you have I don't see a problem with that either., We have made hundreds
Of draw bars at work of various lengths and never had issues with them pulling a hitch off or
Bending the draw bar. But that said I would
Just leave it the length it is, the extra length will let you cut a sharper corner, but I would do what
You can to get it as level as possible.

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Old 01-18-2013, 01:21 PM   #6
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I had a welding shop make a drop hitch to my specs so the tow bar would be level. I could not find a manufactured one with the drop that was needed. I would think if you shorten the tow bar it would effect the manufactor waranty. You might want to check the weight of your Pathfinder to see if you are going to meet the rules for towing without a brake installed. Have fun gps
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for the advice, I probably won't shorten the draw bar (yet). I'll see how it works on our upcoming trip across country.

As far as not using a brake system, I have not seen any evidence that it is worth the cost nor which one to use. I have researched reviews and blogs and have read that the system is required in some states and that it
makes the toad/MH safer? I have talked with a few people that have towed much larger vehicles than mine without a brake system and they had no problems with the larger MH. They quote saying that they did not even feel it behind the MH except when going up a hill. So I am still trying to decide on which avenue to take but with a logical bent.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #8
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I use a drop receiver and when installing the tow bar stinger using existing holes, the thing was way to long. Even the prefab safety cables couldn't be hooked up.

I shoved the tow bar stinger all the way into the receiver and marked where to drill new holes. I then drilled new holes in the tow bar stinger which allowed me to shorten the length by 10".
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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Shortening the draw bar on a drop hitch Receiver

Using a brake on your toad, I would still recommend it.Talk to your insurance co or a lawyer for legal and correct advice. If you are self insured its your gamble.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:21 PM   #10
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Get brake system with a break away system. Your moho will appreciate the help stopping. It is nor worth your safety to try and cheap out on few dollars.

Ken
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:15 AM   #11
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I didn't like the idea of 10"s hanging down, so I made these out of rod ends and chromoly
tubing and made the adapter at the ball mount end. The white paint on the ball makes it
easier to see in my rear view camera to connect my 20' enclosed.

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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Thanks Dunner for the info. My problem is the amount that the drop receiver sticks out. See photo below (might be easier to see if you click the photo). As stated in my original post, I do not want to apply any more force on the MH receiver that is welded a cross bar under the coach. I was planning on cutting the draw bar shorter so it is closer to the MH bumber.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:27 PM   #13
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Find a hitch shop and see what they say about cutting it and drilling a new hole.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #14
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it is difficult for me to see how a 4-down toad is going to impart enough force on that assembly to matter, regardless of drop, and you can cut the drawbar with a sawzall or a chopsaw and re-drill the 3/4 inch hole with no worries. I have to re-drill almost every one of my drawbars or shorten them, because they bottom out in the cheap MH hitch and the holes don't line up.

It will cost you a rescue blade for the sawzall, a can of WD-40 and a lot of patience, that's all.
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