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Old 04-30-2012, 01:09 AM   #1
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What happens if arms aren't equal?

I have a ReadyBrute Elite towbar and tow a Smart Car, which is only 1840 pounds. Before connecting the car to the towbar, I turn the red handles that allow each arm of the towbar to extend out to the needed length connect. After connecting I return the red handles to the locking position, but it's not until I drive forward that they both actually lock. I always make sure that I have a long straight path ahead so that hopefully both arms extend equally before locking.

I'm a little paranoid that the car won't be centered or that both arms won't be fully extended. The instructions say that a turn may be required to get the arms to lock. I have been stopping after doing a left and right turn and at least 500' of straight travel just to make sure the car is towing straight. I love it when I have a large parking lot to get the towing ritual done.

Am I over thinking this? Would the towbar compensate if one arm was an inch or two shorter? My furkids hate it when I stop and get out.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:34 AM   #2
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Each arm has to lock. Nothing will compensate for that.
If I am not in a good place for drive and lock I will reverse the toad and get at least one side to lock or DW has steered the toad side to side a little while I am rolling forward in the MH. Even did the above while using the toad emergency brake when forward was down hill.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:06 AM   #3
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Okmukey my towbar failed to lock evenly, i.e. both arms the same length. As soon as I started traveling straight the towed vehicle began to lurch from side to side. This was very pronounced and easily seen in the backup monitor.

In my case this was a malfunction of the towbar and a little TLC from the right people eliminated the glitch.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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We tried pulling the MH forward a couple of times to lock the tow bar arms, but we were unsuccessful because didn't have enough distance to do it properly. The toad veered to the side that didn't have the locked arm, which is pretty scary. We now back the toad to lock the arms of the tow bar. If the arms are uneven, turn the steering wheel of the toad away from the shorter arm before you back up. Remember to straighten the wheels before you drive the rig away.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:37 AM   #5
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I was following a couple up the interstate last week and they had one of the arms locked long and the other locked short. What it did was cause the toad to track off center and was in fact a few inches outside of the MH's right side. It looked as they could get into trouble easily when the wind effected their travel as the toad seemed to become a bit eractic. I flagged them down and told them what I observed and they asked if I thought it was dangerous. I suggested at the very least that I would slow down. They proceeded to quickly dissapear ahead of me after we got back on the road!
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiest Dre View Post
I was following a couple up the interstate last week and they had one of the arms locked long and the other locked short... I flagged them down and told them what I observed and they asked if I thought it was dangerous. I suggested at the very least that I would slow down. They proceeded to quickly dissapear ahead of me after we got back on the road!
Nothing else you could have done...

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiest Dre View Post
I was following a couple up the interstate last week and they had one of the arms locked long and the other locked short. What it did was cause the toad to track off center and was in fact a few inches outside of the MH's right side. It looked as they could get into trouble easily when the wind effected their travel as the toad seemed to become a bit eractic. I flagged them down and told them what I observed and they asked if I thought it was dangerous. I suggested at the very least that I would slow down. They proceeded to quickly dissapear ahead of me after we got back on the road!
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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So the toad will let me know if she's not OK. Good to know! I watch her carefully on the monitor for the first few minutes after starting. Only once have I had any erratic movement -- when I left a parking lot requiring a tight turn. If the arms were uneven, it would only be an inch or two. My Ready Brake and breakaway require the arms to be fully extended.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:38 PM   #9
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Barb--are you sure you should lock the sides manually (with the red levers)? I thought they automatically self-lock when we pull forward and the arms fully extend. We have also had to back up the toad a few inches to get them to lock.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:28 PM   #10
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Sarah,

At times, if I have to hook-up facing downhill, I leave the red handles in the unlock position until I can pull to an uphill position. I then push on the car to make sure it is all the way back. Sometimes one or both won't lock. The NSA instructions say a turn might be required to lock the arm. I try to make gentle turns left and right and then get out and check again.

What I am wondering is if the arms are uneven by let's say one click, an inch or two at most, will it cause damage or excessive wear? Or will the joints on the towbar adjust and just pull the car a little off-center to the moho? Without a ruler, I'm not sure that they are equal.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:36 PM   #11
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That would probably be an excellent question for NSA to address. I didn't think the arms would lock unless fully extended.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:41 PM   #12
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If the short arm is on the left, a sharp jog to the right should extend the bar to equalize with the other. A quick 'wig wag' of the RV should show that the bars are extended and locked.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
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That would probably be an excellent question for NSA to address. I didn't think the arms would lock unless fully extended.
Duh, you are right! I was thinking there was a series of locking spots under the rubber boot, but it makes no sense that there would be. There is only 1 locking hole, right?

It takes a village sometimes, LOL.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:29 PM   #14
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Barb,
I'm definitely not familiar with your system, but I'm just thinking out loud. Could you just start the car and gently back up until the arms lock in position? I do that all the time.
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