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Old 11-17-2016, 01:36 PM   #1
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Warning - Blue Ox Towbar Failure, Toad Damage

Please be warned that the Blue Ox Aventa may fail at the ball joint with braking. Blue Ox has denied by claim for damages stating that metallurgy analysis revealed no issue with the metal itself, so the use of braking and a bar extension to adjust for the toad height had to contribute to the failure and not the design of their product. My damages amounted to $7500. Blue Ox replaced the tow bar at no charge and feel they should have a satisfied customer as a result. Any know an attorney familiar with this type circumstance to help me?






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Old 11-17-2016, 01:58 PM   #2
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Was the bar level or within their spec's?

Yours is about the third or fourth failure I've seen on the IRV forum and, as I remember, at the same location.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:58 PM   #3
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Can't help with recommendation, but I'm wondering about the age of the bar. I'm seeing a lot of blue ox failures it seems. I use the aventa as well.


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Old 11-17-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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You didn't really include much detail about the incident. Why did you have $7500 in damages? The safety cables should have maintained control of the vehicle and the toad braking system should have activated preventing a collision with the coach.

I inspect mine regularly for pre-failure indicators. And always after a hard braking incident as that can put tremendous stress on the ball joint. They are going to ask for this in court as Blue Ox states that it should be inspected regularly. Did you keep an inspection log? Has the tow bar been regularly serviced? Do you have proof that it was regularly serviced?

It would most likely cost you half of your claimed expenses to retain an attorney and then you would only recoup that if you won in court. Plus the fact that you would have to bring the lawsuit to the county that Blue Ox does business in meaning your expenses would rack up travel for appearances.

You are best to search for attorneys in that county as it would be cheapest. At the very least you have to choose one that is barred in the state. Most attorney's will consult for a reduced hourly rate. If they offer free consultations I would steer clear, an attorney worth his rate is never going to waive it.

(My opinions come from personal experience and my wife is an attorney, take it only as a personal opinion and seek out advice from an attorney in the state that you will be pursuing legal action.)
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Old 11-17-2016, 04:29 PM   #5
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I actually witnessed a break similar to the OP's. It occurred when the driver was attempting to make a turn without rolling forward. That particular maneuver probably puts more stress on the bar than anything else. Combine that with a misalignment and the formula for failure is complete.

It looks to me like the OP's bar failed from lateral force, not vertical.

I'm not accusing, just saying.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukerj View Post
You didn't really include much detail about the incident. Why did you have $7500 in damages? The safety cables should have maintained control of the vehicle and the toad braking system should have activated preventing a collision with the coach.
Yeah, I agree. Additional detail about the actual cause of the damages would be of interest to those of us that use the same towbar. Also, curious if the alignment of the receiver hitch & toad connection was within 4" up/down?
And, curious about what type/brand of brake system was in use?

According to typical wear on my Aventa, the bar in the picture appears to be like new. I've racked my Aventa pretty harsh already both snapping forward and hard braking and never gave bar failure a thought at your bar breakpoint. At first blush my uneducated guess would be metallurgical failure.
Agree that pursuing legal action for that amount may be a long and winding road.

Along the line of similar failures, I personally know of two cases where folks had 6" to 8" drops on the hitch that cause the entire hitch to MH frame failures.

So sorry that you had such a bad and potentially dangerous experience!

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Old 11-17-2016, 07:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernieh View Post
I actually witnessed a break similar to the OP's. It occurred when the driver was attempting to make a turn without rolling forward. That particular maneuver probably puts more stress on the bar than anything else. Combine that with a misalignment and the formula for failure is complete.

It looks to me like the OP's bar failed from lateral force, not vertical.

I'm not accusing, just saying.

I don't know if it's just me or not but how can you make a turn without moving forward?


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Old 11-17-2016, 07:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Was the bar level or within their spec's?

Yours is about the third or fourth failure I've seen on the IRV forum and, as I remember, at the same location.
I used a 4" drop bar to level with my toad.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:41 PM   #9
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Bar failed. Safety cable failed. Was only moving slow so jeep did a slow roll to side of hwy. upon making my way to the jeep, found the invisibrake was activated preventing me from moving the toad, yet hadn't stopped the jeep from rolling across four lanes of the hwy. had improvise a wooden peg to insert into invisbrake to get it to release the brakes so I could drive it home.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:53 PM   #10
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Ref an earlier comment on this thread about the towed vehicle's braking system... Depending on the type of aux. braking system in use, I am not sure what sort of change in inertia the system would react to once the tow-bar breaks???? Contrary to popular belief, unless the owner has shortened the lanyard, the typical break away system is just that--requires a complete break away. Unless the towed actually separates completely from the RV [including the safety chains], the "break away" function will not stop/brake the towed vehicle. At least not until it slams into the back of your RV......
PS--Interesting, looks like the lanyard pulled the break away system activation plug from the bumper. Wow--you say the safety chains failed too? Where did they fail at: the hooks, the cables, the hook-cable connection, or the RV receiver hook-points?
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:12 PM   #11
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I have that bar too. Will be watching this thread with interest.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Bar failed. Safety cable failed. Was only moving slow so jeep did a slow roll to side of hwy. upon making my way to the jeep, found the invisibrake was activated preventing me from moving the toad, yet hadn't stopped the jeep from rolling across four lanes of the hwy. had improvise a wooden peg to insert into invisbrake to get it to release the brakes so I could drive it home.
Cables can snap like rubber bands. Dont ask how I know
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Old 11-17-2016, 10:15 PM   #13
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Many may not want tp hear this, but there have been at least 3 Blue Ox stories in the past few months and one I witnessed a month ago.

We were in a campground in New Mexico and a Dutch Star, like mine, came in with a motorcycle lift on the back. The wife was following in their new GMC Canyon with the hood smashed in. I walked over to talk to the couple to give them some info on how to cut back the dust storm their Freightliner chassis made when they drove in.

They told me they had a 10 year Blue Ox tow bar that broke at the knuckle two weeks ago, luckily, no damage. Blue Ox replaced the tow bar and the new one broke at the knuckle. He was done with Blue Ox.

Now I'm sure many will say he must have been set up wrong, but still these tow bars are usually overbuilt and will survive a lot of abuse. At some point, you have to question Blue Ox reliability. I know the similar joint on my Roadmaster tow bar is substantially larger than the Blue Ox unit.

Not trying to cause a war over tow bars, just making an observation.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:14 PM   #14
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Months later, still no resolution from Blue Ox. Just a word to the wise, or in my case maybe unwise!
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