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Old 04-03-2021, 08:17 PM   #1
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Blue Ox Experience

I wanted to pass on my recent experience I had with my Blue Ox towbar. I know everyone has their opinions, but we tend to only hear about the negative experiences after something fails. You can do a quick search and you will find failures from all of them- Blue Ox, Roadmaster and Demco. First off I am not trying to bash any brand or plug for any brand. I have no preference. This is just my experience. I have been flat towing for over 20 years. I have owned both Roadmaster and Blue Ox towbars. They both performed as expected. I never had a problem out of any of them. I had read the posts about Dave's latest towbar failure. My current towbar is a 5 or 6 year old Avail like the one that failed. It had been getting pretty loose and I had planned on getting it rebuilt the next time I went to a rally. After reading that thread, I decided it was time to get it rebuilt now. I contacted Blue Ox and was told the cost was $150 and the normal turn around was about 2 weeks. The sent me a FedEx shipping label and RMA number. I packaged the towbar up and put the shipping label and RMA number on it. I dropped the package off at FedEx on Friday and tracked it until they receive it on Monday. I received a call from Steve (the tech who actually does the rebuilds) on Wednesday. He told me about everything that he had replaced, including the coupling (the square tube that goes in the receiver that had broke on Dave's). He brought up the subject that there had been some stories on the internet forums circulating about Blue Ox towbar failures. He said there were many thousands (I forget the exact numbers) of blue ox towbars sold and a fraction of one percent that had issues. He said the majority of those were from owner misuse or abuse, but they do stand behind their products when there is a problem. He also informed me that the next time my towbar needed rebuilt, it would be time to replace it. He said Blue Ox or any Blue Ox dealer would give me $150 trade in on a new one. I wish I had known that when I bought my last towbar because I have an old one sitting in the shop I could have traded in. After a nice friendly conversation, he took my payment and said my towbar would be shipped out that day. I received a tracking number that showed it did in fact ship that day. I received the package on Friday, exactly 1 week after I dropped it off. It looked almost new again. All the slop and looseness was gone. It was kind of stiff like a new bar is. This was my first experience dealing with Blue Ox. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with their customer service and the service performed on my towbar.
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Old 04-03-2021, 09:13 PM   #2
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I have about 20k on my Roadmaster tow bar, what should I look for to tell if it needs replaced or rebuilt?? Does Roadmaster have that same service??? ✝️
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:22 AM   #3
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I know at Quartzsite show that Roadmaster is generally there and I believe that they do checks on their tow bars there. I assume other shows also.

Gary
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jherrin99 View Post
I wanted to pass on my recent experience I had with my Blue Ox towbar. I know everyone has their opinions, but we tend to only hear about the negative experiences after something fails. You can do a quick search and you will find failures from all of them- Blue Ox, Roadmaster and Demco. First off I am not trying to bash any brand or plug for any brand. I have no preference. This is just my experience. I have been flat towing for over 20 years. I have owned both Roadmaster and Blue Ox towbars. They both performed as expected. I never had a problem out of any of them. I had read the posts about Dave's latest towbar failure. My current towbar is a 5 or 6 year old Avail like the one that failed. It had been getting pretty loose and I had planned on getting it rebuilt the next time I went to a rally. After reading that thread, I decided it was time to get it rebuilt now. I contacted Blue Ox and was told the cost was $150 and the normal turn around was about 2 weeks. The sent me a FedEx shipping label and RMA number. I packaged the towbar up and put the shipping label and RMA number on it. I dropped the package off at FedEx on Friday and tracked it until they receive it on Monday. I received a call from Steve (the tech who actually does the rebuilds) on Wednesday. He told me about everything that he had replaced, including the coupling (the square tube that goes in the receiver that had broke on Dave's). He brought up the subject that there had been some stories on the internet forums circulating about Blue Ox towbar failures. He said there were many thousands (I forget the exact numbers) of blue ox towbars sold and a fraction of one percent that had issues. He said the majority of those were from owner misuse or abuse, but they do stand behind their products when there is a problem. He also informed me that the next time my towbar needed rebuilt, it would be time to replace it. He said Blue Ox or any Blue Ox dealer would give me $150 trade in on a new one. I wish I had known that when I bought my last towbar because I have an old one sitting in the shop I could have traded in. After a nice friendly conversation, he took my payment and said my towbar would be shipped out that day. I received a tracking number that showed it did in fact ship that day. I received the package on Friday, exactly 1 week after I dropped it off. It looked almost new again. All the slop and looseness was gone. It was kind of stiff like a new bar is. This was my first experience dealing with Blue Ox. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with their customer service and the service performed on my towbar.
After my trip next week I'm thinking of having that same service done. I had a conversation with Steve already about the rebuild process. Can you tell me what you shipped the unit back to them in. I'll assume a box but it would have to be one heavy duty box and lots of packing to avoid damage to the unit.Thanks
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:11 AM   #5
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I totally agree with your post. Ignore the tow bar and it will fail. I am guilty of all of the above before I learned the hard way. I was going to replace the BO Aladdin when I got home, as it was near the end of it's life expectancy. I didn't make it.
However the customer service from such a large company was not what I expected. They could have cared less and didn't even ask if everyone was OK. We were on our way to Entegra, close to Elkhart where the Blue Ox was replace with a Ready Brute with a lifetime warranty.
If you have not had the BO serviced, it needs to be done...speaking from experience, it will fail.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:16 AM   #6
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How do you know that a tow bar is at the end of it’s life? This roadmaster towbar is such a simple design where would you look for stress cracks or anything indicating failure?
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:21 AM   #7
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How do you know that a tow bar is at the end of it’s life? This roadmaster towbar is such a simple design where would you look for stress cracks or anything indicating failure?
Tow bar life expectancy 7-10 years. metal fatigue. I know there are those that say they have 20 year old tow bars still going strong. I had a nine year old one that died, my fault due to neglect (lack of knowledge at the time).
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:46 PM   #8
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After my trip next week I'm thinking of having that same service done. I had a conversation with Steve already about the rebuild process. Can you tell me what you shipped the unit back to them in. I'll assume a box but it would have to be one heavy duty box and lots of packing to avoid damage to the unit.Thanks
I did not have a good box to ship it in. I used some heavy duty shipping tape and an old heavy duty cardboard box from a washer of dryer. I taped the towbar up where it could not flop, then cut some pieces of cardboard from the big box that were just a little longer than the towbar. I wrapped the cardboard around the towbar and taped it up good. Then I did it again so I had 2 layers of cardboard. I did not use any shipping paper or material inside, just the cardboard. I folded the ends over and taped them up good, kinda like wrapping a Christmas present. I did not see what kind of shape it was in when they got it, but evidently it made it just fine. No signs of abuse when I got it back. They shipped it back in a heavy duty cardboard box with some packing paper inside. The box had many holes in it and was missing some staples from the trip because the towbar was just loose inside flopping around. It weighs about 50 pounds, so you can imagine how it gets thrown around in transit. I believe my wrapped towbar would have fared much better than their box, but again I did not see what it looked like when they got it. Be sure and put a couple of shipping labels on it and the RMA number in multiple places. I know my shipping label got torn off somewhere along the way.
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:58 PM   #9
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Tow bar life expectancy 7-10 years. metal fatigue.
What type of metal are those tow bars made from aluminum or steel? There is a great difference between the two.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:37 PM   #10
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For Blue OX, if you are mobile as we all are, make a visit to Pender Nebraska. They have a nice RV park, they'll service your tow bar or fix your braking system, and it's a quaint little town in the middle of the corn fields. Been there twice.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:04 AM   #11
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When I sent my BO for maintenance I just took the whole towbar assembly to a FedEx Office location and for about $25 they packed it for me. That saved me the trouble of trying to find large boxes and also added their insurance since they packed it.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:12 AM   #12
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The problem I have with Blue Ox is their current 10 year end of life concept, where if a tow bar reaches the age of 10 they will no longer service it. This makes no sense to me as while tow bars do wear out there are also lots of 10+ year old tow bars which have barely been used. I understand why they are doing it, as a combination of liability protection, as well as built in market for selling new tow bars, I just don't like it.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DoggieDaddy View Post
For Blue OX, if you are mobile as we all are, make a visit to Pender Nebraska. They have a nice RV park, they'll service your tow bar or fix your braking system, and it's a quaint little town in the middle of the corn fields. Been there twice.


Good to know. Thanks
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:02 AM   #14
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What type of metal are those tow bars made from aluminum or steel? There is a great difference between the two.
Mine was an Aluminum Aladdin, Dave's was a steel tow bar. Both failed for the same reason, metal fatigue. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f278/tow...re-527783.html
People can say what they want about "that will never happen with mine"......from experience, it does. Make one turn too tight and a stress point is started. I know for a fact, I turned mine too tight more than once.
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