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deadeye916 04-10-2010 12:48 AM

Baseplate pins "missing"
Just a friendly reminder to check your base plate pins before heading off down the road.

We had a camper pull in here on Wednesday and I noticed their toad was offset from the rear of their MH. I went over to take a look and discovered one side of toad tow bar was dragging on the ground and completely separated from the car. They had the base plate mount that you can remove and leaves the front of the car "clean".

Once I got under the car and looked I discovered both pins were missing. It was a miracle the car did not come loose...and to make matters worse, they had no safety cables installed.

The Stowmaster mount to the baseplate is bent, and the towbar did some minor damage to the plastic grill on the car, but considering how this could have turned out I think they are very lucky.

How the pins came out we don't know. They told me they never remove the base plate receivers and it's been on the vehicle for 2 years or longer. I have never seen any safety clips rusted so I think they may have just come loose from miles of travel, and then the pins worked there way out. Or maybe someone was going to steal the car...who knows.

I know I will be checking mine from now on when I do my walk-arounds.

Seajay 04-10-2010 08:20 AM

Warning read this for your safety
I have a 04 Ford Ranger pick up truck that I pull flat footed behind my pace arrow. When I bought this truck I bought a Blue Ox tow bar and a baseplate for the truck.
When I unpacked the base plate and checked the instructions I could not believe the method for attaching the base plate to the truck. The simple story is that the base plate was essencially held on with four bolts thru the front of the frame on the truck. The base plate has two ''legs'' that extend down past the bumper of the truck and then forward to the front of the bumper with the ''hook ups'' there. I have done a lot of ''engineering'' and this thing absolutely was not safe. The cantalever of the base plate was such that all the weight of the truck was so that the baseplate was ''wiggled'' front and rear every time the truck was moved. I called Blue Ox and they assured me that this was safe and well engineered. I went on their advise and used the outfit.
After about 5 thousand miles I noticed that the ''baseplate'' was ''wiggling''. NOT GOOD... Long story short. I finally welded the attachment points on the frame of the truck. I also installed a 2x2 brace from the side of the leg back to the frame of the truck at about a 50 dagree angle and welded it in place. PROBLEM SOLVED.
yes, the tow bar was level with the truck..
Yes, I have a break system on the truck that works when I push the breaks on the coach. It works very well ..
if you have a 04 Ford Ranger with a Blue Ox baseplate on it. LOOK IT OVER VERY CLOSLEY. IF IT IS WIGGLING....... GET IT WELDED IMMEDIATLY .....
This advise is FREE..

Wizard 04-10-2010 08:20 AM

I've always had a fear of something like this. Every rest stop, one of the things I do is walk around and look at all hookups, especially the pins and wiring on the tow bar.
Another thing I will add is that the main pins that hook the bar to the base is not easy to find if you lose one. They are not a standard size that you would find at the local hardware stores. Don't ask how I know, a long story.

Bob N Deb 04-10-2010 07:01 PM

I have a set of pins that all lock I have the same key for all of them .the reciever and the 2 that hold the tow arms to the car. I got the locking ones because I was worried at how easy it would be to just pull the pins out .

Norm4015 04-10-2010 07:23 PM

A few months back I was fueling at a Flying J and a motorhome drove in dragging one of the tow bar arms. I went over to see if I could help and found the pin was missing along with the pin that locks it in. The pin in the other arm was rusted and badly worn. The owner said he had used the same pins over nine years and they were worn out.

I replace mine every three years and keep the old set as a spare. I had two spare sets so I gave him one set. He thanked me several times and then headed back to the interstate.

deadeye916 04-11-2010 12:50 PM

Good info Norm. I wondered if it was possible for the latch pins to rust out. I bet that's what happened to these folks.

I should have taken some pictures...would have been a great way to illustrate this potential problem.

Wayne M 04-12-2010 08:37 PM

My Demco tow bar uses the "Click Pin," for attachment. I carry a couple spares. Just recently I was thinking of changing them to a new pin, just for piece of mind. I did have a click pin loose it's spring ability and I ended up tie wraping it to the clevis until I could get another one.

Lindsay Richards 04-15-2010 06:04 PM

I have seen several postings over the years stating that pins had been removed by either thieves or by kids. I aways check, carry spares and have been considering using padlocks as clinch pins.

deadeye916 04-16-2010 11:06 AM

I've been using padlocks to secure all the pieces of the tow apparatus to the Jeep and the coach. Towbars are not cheap and I didn't want them walking off.

I will be adding this check to my departure procedures and rest area walk-around checks and hope I raised everyone's awareness.

scenic route 04-21-2010 10:27 PM


Originally Posted by Lindsay Richards (Post 627516)
I have seen several postings over the years stating that pins had been removed by either thieves or by kids. I aways check, carry spares and have been considering using padlocks as clinch pins.

Absolutely, that's exactly why I bought the matching Blue Ox 4 lock set for our towbar. The extra lock is in case I want to add a receiver and bike rack to the back of the Jeep. I just hope the 'all one key operation' isn't too generic.

deadeye916 is dead-on...this stuff is NOT cheap! Bob:)

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