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Old 06-21-2013, 07:35 AM   #1
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tow bar questions.

Looking to tow a Jeep Wrangler using a tow bar. Been using a dolly with different vehicle up until now.
I have noticed prices from a $100 tow bar from U haul to $1800 blue ox. Granted the Uhaul bar needs safety chains and mounting plates but that a huge price difference.
Can anyone explain why the huge price difference?
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:54 AM   #2
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Does the U Haul tow bar have adjustable length arms? It makes hooking up much easier. Blue Ox, Roadmaster, Reese, and many other companies make tow bars. J C Whitney does too. You sort of get what you pay for. Shop used. I bought a Blue Ox Avanda for $170 and have used it for thousands of trouble free miles. Having good, safe equipment, supplemental brakes, all gives peace of mind.

Check Craigslist:

Blue Ox BX7445 Aventa LX 10,000lb Tow Bar
Towing Equipment
Hitch Trader - Buy - Sell -Trade - Free Classified Ads
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:06 AM   #3
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I can appreciate getting what you pay for but a difference of more than 10x the price seems like I'm missing something. the Uhaul bar isn't adjustable but I would only use it 2 or 3 times a year. So the convenience factor isn't worth $1000 to me.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:18 AM   #4
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That U Haul tow bar is probably a 2 or 2 1/4 inch ball hookup. Here are some considerations door just about any hookup:

-Gross weight limitations. You might need a 6,000 lb. setup.
- All terrain hookup.
-Storage. Most tow bars will stow either on the towed or motor home. Not sure about the U Haul unit.
-Condition. Careful with used equipment. The rental unit has probably not had an easy life. A number of years ago, I was involved in the investigation of a fatal accident involving a tow bar. I did non-destructive testing on that tow bar and it was easy to determine what happened. Several internal old stress cracks, not caused by the accident, but likely contributors to the accident. Be very skeptical of old used towing equipment.
-Accessories. As you mentioned, you will need safety chains, base attaching points and of course, wiring. Is that U Haul device a bumper attachment? If so, will it fit the Jeep? Will it screw up the paint on the bumper?
-Your other options are certainly going to be more expensive. When we started towing, the dealer quoted $3,500 for a complete set up including labor. I was able to to get that done for around $2,000 by being careful with what I bought and doing the installation myself. This includes a braking system. I think my costs without the braking system was a little over $1,000.
Don't cut corners with that tow bar.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:40 AM   #5
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The U haul tow bar is brand new in the box. Its rated for 5000 lbs which the Jeep is only 3000lbs. It mounts to a 2"ball into the 3"receiver.
The plates mount directly to the front of the bumper and will stay attached which is fine. It has pins to pull so it can be removed and yes would have to be stored. Doesn't conveniently stay attached to tow vehicle. Which again for the few times we will use it that's ok. It does fold together to it can be stored in the basement compartment easy enough.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:47 AM   #6
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Not cutting corners. As I have followed the instructions and made sure everything is over rated for the job. Each safety chain I bought is individually rated at 5000lbs. Proper lights and braking system in place. But I have only $150 in the tow bar and seeing prices 10x that much concerns me I'm missing something. But if its just convienent features then fine. I will deal with a little more difficult system to save myself $1000.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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I did a forum search and this has been discussed before here

My wife gave me a Wrangler for Christmas!!! Help

I guess it can be done. Fooled me
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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I highly recommend the ReadyBrute Elite towbars with built-in ReadyBrake from NSA RV Products. You can get the combination for less than $1000. Yes, I know that's a lot more than the U-Haul, but you get what you pay for!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:17 PM   #9
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Thanks cliff. Yea I read that thread but no one really could say why such a huge difference in price. I've seen the different types of tow bars but just can't see where the upgraded features are worth what they are asking. At least for the frequency that I use it.
I could see it being worth maybe $500 but not any more than that. There just isn't that much difference to justify 10x the price. Imo
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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2005 TJ Rubi here, current towing setup:
  • BO RV mounted tow bar
  • BO brackets on existing after market bumper
  • Brake Buddy
  • Lights
  • Safety cables
About $650 invested via Craigslist finds.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:13 PM   #11
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They ALL need safety chains and mounting plates.

What is the difference? Well sticking with the company I know best (Blue-OX) they make a range of tow bars from a simple "A" frame, With this one you mount a base plate on the Towed, and when you go to tow you attach the "A" frame and pulling up very very precisely behind the RV drop the hitch adapter onto the ball.... Just like a travel trailer. This is low cost, and fairlly simple operationally.

But if you are one inch off it won't hook up.

However articulition is limited by the ball hitch, I can imagine situtations where you could exceed angle limits (Though with an RV they should be rare).

They make a 5,000 pound (I think) job that does not use a ball hitch, instead it has a 2" Square "Rod" that fits directly in the hitch receiver on the motor home. It has a fully articulated "joint" (And by that I mean you can actually turn the arms "Upside down" and continue turning till they are rightside up again) The bars "Telescope" so if you are off a bit,, Well,, They allow for that. You can be a couple inches to one side or the other, You can be at an angle, you can be an inch or two too close. NO problem. (It fixes itself when you first start to move) And what's more, When you get to the campground the bar stows on the motor home Just pull two pins, And the safety cables, and the light/brake lines and you are good to drive. This is what I have.

Blue Ox also makes a 10,000 pound unit. This one has a different type of articulated joing at the end of the 2:" square rod.. However that said everything I've just typed applies.. I'm told the joint is stronger but I do not have one.

Roadmaster makes one that works much like the blue ox, but stows on the towed. (I like Motor Home stowage better, but that is a personal preference).

Suggestion: Go to a campground... Look around... See what others have and talk to them about it.


Suggestion #2: Supplemental brake system.. I will divide them into 3 types

Portable (Brake Budy, Apollo. Et-al) I prefer to avoid, though they claim "No instalation" they mean no bolt in type install.. IN fact you have to install them every time you tow EVERY TIME, and stow them when driving the car. Way too easy to say "oh forget it" on a short tow. And to regret that decision later.

Installed systems:
Surge brakes, I'm told Blue-Ox makes one, so does Readdy Brake. I'm considering for my next towed, There is very little that can go wrong with this system, it is progressive, porportional, fully automatic in operation, nothing to do but connect/disconnect the control cable.

Active Installed systems Divided into two types, Air and electric powered, More to go wrong but again, in use you never actually touch the system save to hook up/unhook the control and safety lines.

I recommend an installed system.. I also recommend you check the install.. I've read about or seen too many bad installs,,,, including my last towed.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:49 PM   #12
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You only have to lose your car once to realize the difference. Also how about warranty on the U-Haul?
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:00 PM   #13
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I used an A-frame tow bar like the U-Haul for years. Hookup/disconnect does require two people, but once they have done it a couple three times it's pretty easy. The tow bar is toad mounted, so you either remove it and store it somewhere, or tilt it up and secure it with a couple bungee cords (easy to do with a Jeep Wrangler).

All the above said, I have upgraded as I posted previously to a Blue Ox tow bar that is RV mounted, and able to be connected/disconnected by one person. This is a much better setup - but the A-frame tow bar does get the job done.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post

Portable (Brake Budy, Apollo. Et-al) I prefer to avoid, though they claim "No instalation" they mean no bolt in type install.. IN fact you have to install them every time you tow EVERY TIME, and stow them when driving the car. Way too easy to say "oh forget it" on a short tow. And to regret that decision later.

.
My Brake Buddy has served me flawlessly for 13 years. It moves from toad to toad. Installs in less than 1 minute. Takes up about 1 cf while stored.

I'm good with that.
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