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Old 04-08-2015, 06:38 AM   #15
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Adam,

I reconcile my post and tow bar height comments by the information in the 4th paragraph of the "Towing Psysics 101" sticky at the top of this forum. The author of that article is Mark Penlerick, Engineering Team Leader, Blue Ox Towing Products.

So I take what he says as a reliable and authoritative source.

I also note reading thru the 5 pages of that sticky, there are several instances where the poster says their instructions indicate its OK to be plus and minus 3 or four inches. I've looked at the instructions for their models, and sure enough, it says plus or minus.

My Blue Ox tow bar instructions say my tow bar should be parallel, they don't give a plus/minus.

Over the weekend, I re-rigged my TOAD so it is about 1 inches lower than my MH.

I'll have to check it again next time the MH is loaded up and ready to hit the road.

My recommendation to the OP, Check his instructions, and, if he has the option, and is able to make the adjustment, make it so the TOAD is slightly lower the MH
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
So I take what he says as a reliable and authoritative source.
And why is the differing opinion by Roadmaster not reliable and authoritative? Because they didn't post an article on iRV2? I'm sure the Roadmaster engineers would be distressed to hear that their engineering opinion is unreliable because they didn't make a forum posting.

I wasn't asking how to reconcile the difference of opinion between various forum posts, but rather the difference of opinion between two engineering teams. One team says +0, -4 inches. The other says +/- 3 inches. Other than running our own engineering analysis, something I think that the average RVer is not set up to do either fiscally or technically, who are we supposed to trust?

I use both Roadmaster and BlueOx products in my current toad setup. Who's recommendations am I supposed to follow?

To me, having an engineering background (although not in the specific mechanical/structural/dynamic fields required to do this particular analysis) this difference of opinion tells me that there is some gray area: it's not the case where 3" is safe and 3.1" is a certain disaster waiting to happen. In my mind, being 1" high is not significant risk, even though one of the manufacturer's doesn't recommend it. I don't see it worth the money and effort (not to mention the introduction of flex and more potential failure points) to introduce a 2" drop adapter just to make it 1" lower because of one manufacturer's conflicting recommendation.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:33 AM   #17
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Adam;

I don't know

- As I pointed out, The author is from BlueOx. He says the TOAD should never be higher, yet in some of the Blue Oxs installation documents, it indicates plus/minus.

I suspect a call to Blue OX or Roadmaster would give a answer something like "Follow what it says in the instructions"

A call to me (not that anyone would call me) I would say something similar; Follow the instructions, but if you have the ability to adjust (many do not) the "plus / minus" height. My recommendation would be to shoot for the TOAD being lower than the MH, and my reasoning would be what I've already stated.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:00 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone for the great opinions. Just a little more information. I am using a new Blue Ox Aventa LX 10,000 lbs tow bar, and an Rvibrake 2. As others have mentioned, I think adding a 2 inch rise would also add more possibility of "Slop" in the connection, as well as extending the connection. I have towed trailers for the previous 15 years. The most recent was a 3,700 lbs popup, but never a car, and never with the Bay Star. I will probably be wearing out the rear camera, on our first trip with the Jeep. My wife is an RN, and I have told her the blood pressure cuff will not be allowed in the Motorhome during that first trip. I don't forsee any major difficulties, but at the same time, I have a bunch of unanswered questions. Will it feel different? Will it make driving the Bay Star tougher. I have no issues at all driving it, except in high winds, and that is to be expected from any motorhome. Oh well our forst trip with the Jeep in tow, will be in 3 weeks. A six hour run down to Emerald Isle NC. That should be a good test.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:11 AM   #19
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Bill;

I suspect the only concern you'll have will be; "Is it still back there?" as you won't even notice it..

Check your turn radous, after that you should good.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
- As I pointed out, The author is from BlueOx. He says the TOAD should be higher
Actually, he says exactly the opposite.

Quote:
I suspect a call to Blue OX or Roadmaster would give a answer something like "Follow what it says in the instructions"
I'm sure you're right, leaving the owner to reconcile the differences.

Quote:
My recommendation would be to shoot for the TOAD being lower than the MH, and my reasoning would be what I've already stated.
The OP has the toad one inch higher than the MH. So you are recommending that the OP buy a two inch drop adapter (the minimum size you can get) so that the toad is one inch lower? While I agree with your general sentiments, in this isolated case I personally don't see the need to introduce more weight, play, failure points, and cost.

With my last toad, the towbar was dead level. With the new one, I had to add a 2" drop adapter so that there was only a slight rise from the toad to the MH:

I notice that this toad tends to sway side to side more than the old one. Looking closely at the setup, the adapter adds a significant amount of play in the receiver, which when coupled with the extra lever arm length it introduces, appears to be a contributing factor in the sway. I've bought some stabilizer clamps to tighten up the connections, but I don't have enough miles with that setup to know if it makes much of difference, but it seems to be helping.

That's why I'm not recommending an adapter unless it's really needed. In my case, it means a second hitch pin/lock, two rattle clamps, a pair of wrenches for the clamps, and a lot more work to attach and remove the tow bar. (I don't leave it in all the time, half of the trips we don't take the toad but do use a hitch carrier platform.) So, for me, the need for a drop adapter has some significant downsides. I wouldn't recommend using one unless it's clearly needed. It's not clear to me that it's really needed in the OP's case.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPoland View Post
I have a bunch of unanswered questions. Will it feel different? Will it make driving the Bay Star tougher.
I would suggest taking the rig to a large empty parking lot and get familiar with it before going on a long drive.

Out on the open road, it will be no issue. The toad will follow along behind you like a little lost puppy. Some people worry about things like toll booths and construction cattle chutes, but if the MH fits through the space, the toad will also fit and follow along. It's the low speed and tight area maneuvers that will be the issue. That's why I recommend taking it out to a parking lot.

When turning, as you turn in one direction, the back end of the motorhome swings out in the other direction. That will start to force the toad in that direction, but it will quickly turn to the other direction and start following the MH around the turn. But it will likely tend to follow a little inside the turning circle of the MH. So, if you take a turn where the MH just clears the curb (or a pole) there's a good chance the toad will hit it.

If you're lucky, there will be a puddle in the parking lot surrounded by dry pavement. Drive through the puddle, and then take a tight turn after the puddle. Stop in mid turn and get out and look at the wet tire tracks. That should tell you how far the toad kicks out at the beginning of the turn, and how far it tracks inside at the end of the turn. If you aren't lucky enough to find a puddle, have your co-pilot slowly do a similar maneuver, and watch where the MH tires track, and then where the toad tires track. This will give you an idea of how much extra turning room you need with the toad.

Also, when turning, watch how close the toad comes to your coach. Most setups have no trouble, but sometimes the toad can come very close to the corner of the MH during a turn. If this happens to you, you may want to get a hitch extender to give more room.

There are a few things to watch for while making tight maneuvers with a toad. First rule: never back up! The tow bar is not designed for this, and the same caster in the toad wheels that tend to straighten out the wheels and track straight while going forward, will tend to turn the toad's wheels into a hard lock turn while backing up. Some people report success having a helper hold the steering wheel straight while backing straight up, or say they have no problems backing straight up for short distances, but the physics is working against you - odds are you will eventually have a problem, it's best to not tempt fate.

Also, avoid making S turns while pulling a toad. For example, turning right into a parking lot, and then immediately turning left. This puts a lot of side strain on the toad and tow bar. It's best to straighten out (even for a short distance) after one turn before starting a turn in the opposite direction.

When deciding whether to pull into some place, like a gas station, take a quick look and form an exit strategy before pulling in. Will you be able to easily pull out? Or will you have to back up at some point? If you will have to back up, be prepared to unhook the toad, make your maneuver, and then hook up again.

Don't let any of this discourage you. For the most part, having the toad behind you will make no difference at all. Just be aware of the details and the few potential sticky situations, and you should do fine.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:12 AM   #22
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ShapeShifter - Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, my copilot only helps out with navigational duties. She has no desire to sit in the left hand seat . If that coach moves, it will be me behind the wheel. Your idea of a puddle sounds good. If mother nature can't supply one, a couple gallon jugs of water gives me a portable puddle so to speak.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:26 AM   #23
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ShapeShifter;

Regarding the photo, I agree with you and think that receiver adapter is adding to the slop in the system.

If it were removed, the tow bar would sit a little higher (2 inches) and more forward.

Can you remove that adapter?
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPoland View Post
Unfortunately, my copilot only helps out with navigational duties. She has no desire to sit in the left hand seat
Even for a few feet? What if there is an emergency situation where you really need her help? Perhaps getting her behind the wheel in this relatively controlled situation and driving a few feet might show her that it's not quite as intimidating as she imagined?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
If it were removed, the tow bar would sit a little higher (2 inches) and more forward.
I'd like to remove it, but that would make the height difference too much for my comfort. I probably should've ordered a 4" drop adapter, which would pretty much make it dead-level, but I mis-measured: I don't think the air bags were fully inflated when I did the initial calculations (it was parked for a while.) While a 4" drop would probably be perfect, the 2" drop brings it within specs of both manufacturers, and no drop would put it out of Roadmaster's 3" range. It's not the ideal situation, but I think it's the lesser of two evils. Much as I don't like it, I'm not comfortable leaving it out.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:08 PM   #25
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Regardless of a 1", 3" or 4" difference in height between RV receiver and tow bar attachment to the toad at rest, heights will change when the RV brakes, causing nose to dip and all the overhang behind the rear axle raises. It reinforces reasons to have braking in the toad to prevent forces from getting so great as to allow the toad to leap-frog into the back of the RV or downward pressures so great as to blow a tire on the toad.

I had a 1-2" difference in height and added a 3" drop receiver to the back of the RV. I carved grooves in the pavement entering and exiting fuel stations and campgrounds. I decided the drop hitch wasn't worth it since I always have toad braking and the added weakness in using a drop receiver making forces at 90 rather than straight line. Just my experiences, but I've towed my car for over 10,000 miles with no issues.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:34 PM   #26
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Regardless of a 1", 3" or 4" difference in height between RV receiver and tow bar attachment to the toad at rest, heights will change when the RV brakes, causing nose to dip and all the overhang behind the rear axle raises.
I was thinking of bringing this up before, but didn't. However, now that YOU brought it up...

Yes, as soon as you hit the brakes, the coach will nose dive, raising the hitch receiver, and the toad's brakes will cause the toad to nose dive, lowering the toad attachment point. The toad will then push up on the back of the coach even more, and the coach will push down on the toad even more. That 0 to 4" rise that Blue Ox recommends will become an even larger rise.

I guess that's why I'm surprised that Blue Ox says the toad end should never be higher? If the toad were a couple inches higher than the MH, I would think the combined nose dive effect would tend to cancel that out and the toad end would end up lower than the coach anyway, and not be as severe as if it started with a rise. Perhaps that's why Roadmaster allows a small drop from toad to coach?

The engineers must have some reasoning behind their recommendations, and I'm second guessing them while not qualified to do so. There must be some conditions that I've not considered, but on the surface it just seems curious to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
Much as I don't like it, I'm not comfortable leaving it out.
This extra height difference during braking is a big part of why I don't just leave that drop adapter off. I'm afraid the height difference will become too big just when it matters the most.

I'm enjoying this conversation. I'd love to be sitting around a campfire with you guys talking about it.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:44 PM   #27
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Adam,

Likewise..
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #28
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BPoland...We pulled our 2013 Wrangler behind our Canyon Star using a Roadmaster Tracker basic tow bar for more than 11,000 miles without a problem. There was a very slight tow bar slope upward from the toad to the CS...very slight. We also used the rvi2 brake system and it worked very well when it needed to. Towing was very comfortable and the only real concern we had (other than overall caution at all times) was as previously mentioned in terms of pulling into gas stations. Watch for big dips in the transition from the road to the entrance. Then pick your pump carefully so that you can get out comfortably when you've completed fueling. We've been in a couple of stations that were very tight. Watch the rear swing of the motorhome as you turn...anywhere. You don't really want to hit a gas pump, a protective bollard or the car at the next pump. It won't take long to get a sense of what works and what doesn't.
We just traded the Wrangler for a GMC Terrain and we're setting up the towing system right now. However, while the Jeep was close to the CS in terms of hitch height the Terrain's baseplate is 10" lower than the CS. Looks like we'll be using a drop hitch and relying on that rvi2 to do its job. We're also switching to a Roadmaster Falcon 2 All Terrain tow bar since the Terrain already had a Roadmaster baseplate on it and the Falcon 2 All Terrain bar has a higher weight rating than the tracker bar.
Good luck and have fun with it.
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