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Old 04-10-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
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Tow Bar Life

I have an Aventa tow bar from Blue Ox that is about 6 years old days has about 40,000 miles on it. It. Seems to be functioning well. Do these tow bars have a finite lifetime? My dealer says it doesn't need any servicing .... What should I look for to determine if it needs replacing?

Tom and Karen
2014 Newmar Mountain Aire 4369
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:59 PM   #2
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I have tow bar serviced and inspected every couple three years by BO at a rally where they are providing service. If they say it's good to go, I keep using it.

Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:20 PM   #3
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I have been using a Blue Ox Aventa for 6 years and it's like new. I also have BO service it every two years, usually at an RV show (Hershey), where they often have service discounts.
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
Newmar Dutch Star 4320, Spartan MM Chassis, Cat C9, Jeep Grand Cherokee Hemi, Blue Ox Aventa LX, and Brake Buddy. TST 507 TPMS
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:05 AM   #4
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My Aventa has about 30,000 miles on it now and I have it serviced about every 10,000 as per Blue Ox’s recommendation.

Blue Ox recommends a full tow bar service every two (2) years or 10,000 miles.

If the arms become stiff and difficult to move in and out, they may require cleaning and lubrication. To do so:
  1. Remove the small cable ties holding the rubber boots to the legs and slide the boots back.
  2. Clean off the inner legs with a silicone spray or brake cleaner.
  3. Apply a light coat of multipurpose grease to each leg.
  4. Secure each boot back in place securing them with 8” UV rated nylon cable ties.
Blue Ox also sells a kit that includes the washers and nylock nuts required to do your own service.

Only the inner legs require grease for normal operation. All other tow bar joints rely on self lubricating washers, if these joints become to stiff clean as directed with soap and water.

Blue Ox attends many RV rallies and provide tow bar servicing at those events. That is where I always get mine serviced. As some events, like Quartzsite, you ave to take your tow bar to their service area and then pick it back up later. At more organized rallies they service your tow bar right at your rig, if parked in the rally’s camping area.

A Blue Ox technician inspects and service your tow bar, replacing lost or damaged components. They ensures that your tow bar is as close to factory specifications as possible and is still within its’ service life. Their fee for the service is $30.

At a FMCA rally in Pomona, CA, my neighbor’s tow bar was being serviced. The Blue Ox tech showed the owner a great deal of excess lateral play between the shaft of the arms and their retainer sleeve and informed him that the bushings were worn out and it was time to consider replacing the tow bar. My neighbor and the tech jumped onto the tech’s golf cart and motored off. Awhile later they returned with a new tow bar. The owner stated that Blue Ox gave him a credit on his worn tow bar (he did not say how much) toward the cost of a new one. He was happy with the deal.
Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
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Tow Bar Life

Tomp..... I don't have a BO. I have a Roadmaster Sterling that was attached to my coach when I bought it. I assume these assemblies have some similar characteristics.

Based on S/N my towbar is likely original to the coach, and I now believe it has never before been serviced.

Several months ago the inner arms started to stiffen up. I failed to act on it quickly, and by January, when we travelled to SC the arms were locked in the fully extended position. This made hookup and disconnect a very touchy, pita operation.

While here I called Roadmaster for advice, thinking the unit was toast. Their tech was very helpful. No, he said, bent arms unlikely, they just get so clogged with carbon dust they lock up. The toughest part will be getting it apart. Do you have a 2 Lb sledge?

So I ordered the right kits of bushings and washers and springs and nuts and bolts, and set to work. He was right; disassembly was a bear. If the tech himself had not told me what was necessary, I never would have hit those inner arms that hard!

But eventually I won. Great tech advice, and clear printed instructions, with twenty-seven 8 X 10 colored glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was....... No, wait, that's another story. Anyway, re-assembly was a breeze.

The arms now slide easily with one finger, but even at about 13 years my inner arms have less play than the new towbars at some dealers. I guess the lesson is that these towbars are fairly straightforward mechanical devices, and with proper care the lifespan could be near indefinite.

Roadmaster recommends the use of a dry lube- silicon spray- on the arms. Petroleum lubes like WD-40 leave a wet film that attracts and holds dust and grit. However, silicon also builds up in layers, and this could interfere with the operation over time. Their suggestion is to use WD-40 as a cleaner to remove built up silicon, wipe it off and then apply fresh silicon dry lube.

John & Diane, fulltiming since '12
'02 DS, FL, Cat, '04 Element
John & Diane, Fulltimers. RVM103 NHSO
On the road since June '12 with Lincoln, the guard cat.
2002 Dutch Star 40, Freightliner, Cat 3126, 2004 Element
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:20 PM   #6
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Bought a RoadMaster Sterling in early 2005, still using it although I did have it rebuilt in 2014 at the factory since I live so close. Cost $75 now, it used to be free. Plus service techs are at lots of the FMCA and GS rallies and check, clean and lube it for nothing.
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
Charter Good Sam Lifetime Member, FMCA, SKP
RV'ing since 1957, NRA Benefactor Life, towing '14 CR-V
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:54 PM   #7
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I have a Sterling about 10 years old and a Falcon All Terrain about two years old. The arms on the Sterling began to bind at about 1 year due to cleaning with WD-40 as recommended by Roadmaster. It causes the bushings to expand. Roadmaster gave me a new set of internal arms and directions to use 409 for cleaning. I did refurbish the old arms and still have them as a backup, although I now use the Falcon All Terrain all of the time. I do take it apart and clean it from time to time. The Falcon doesn't bind if we are at an odd angle, but the Sterling does sometimes. Nothing insurmountable, but a bit of a pain. Both are working fine.

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