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Old 07-31-2013, 07:51 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Winston, Oregon
Posts: 4
Base plate installation saga

I purchased my Blue Ox base plates from Amazon this week to install on my new to me '99 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Learning how to remove the bumper fascia was not too hard and the installation went very well except for the security cables not having a place to attach to the base plate except for the motor home security cable ears. I put everything back together and did a final check of the instructions to make sure I did not mess anything up and noticed the part about getting the torque wrench checked for accuracy. I had to go into town to do something else anyway and took the wrench with me to see if I could find somewhere to get it checked. None of the auto supply places or tool places could do anything but send it out to get it calibrated. I thought about a tire store and found they do have checkers and had them put mine on to see about its accuracy, and of course my Harbor Freight special which I bought in case I needed one on the Motor home was over torquing by 18 foot pounds. The requirement for the grade 5 bolts was 33 ft-lbs and I had 51 on them. Over to Loews to buy new bolts. Reading some of the posts here I decided to get grade 8 fasteners, washers and lock nuts instead of split rings. I went home and took off the fascia again pulled off the locktighted over torqued bolts and put on new grade 8 hardware with a new checked torque wench. Re-installed the fascia and looked at the safety cables again and was still not feeling right about how I had to attach them so I thought I would call Blue Ox to see if what I had done was okay. They said that both security cable should not be in the attachment ears and the cable may not be needed for my application anyway and would have the base plate engineer give me a call today to talk me though what to do about them. When finishing up the call I mentioned that I had replaced the grade 5 bolts with grade 8 bolts and was told that I would definitely have to use the security cable. I asked why and was told that grade 8 bolts would snap with no warning and grade 5 bolts were used by the company because they will bend before breaking and give me a better chance of catching a problem. I am now back to the point of getting new grade 5 hardware and putting that back on, because Blue Ox representative said they would not warrant their product if I used the grade 8 hardware and If I can get by without the security cables attached to the bar it would be easier to hook up. The cables cannot go around the bar like they show in the instructions because it is right in front of the aircon condenser and there is only about 1/8 of and inch between it and the mounts so the cable will not fit. Anyway if anyone needs the bumper fascia taken off their '99 to '04 Jeep Grand Cherokee in southern Oregon I am your guy, I am getting really good at it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:43 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,305
Yes grade 8 hardware is stronger yet more brittle. When I rebuilt my Aventa towbar I thought about upgrading to grade 8 bolts from grade 5 but after some research realized that bigger is not always better. That said make sure you buy QUALITY grade 5. Personally I don't have a lot of faith in the hardware that Home Depot sells but realize sometimes it's all you can get.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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It's nice that you were conscious about what kind of hardware you used and, what kind of torque was used on that hardware. I think you over thought some of it though, that's just my opinion. I installed the base plate on our 2011 Honda CRV and it too had very little room for the safety cables that were supposed to fit here and there. Well, I trust my own work and, torqued everything to specs etc and didn't use the safety cables.

I just installed a base plate (actually two separate ones) on our new toad, a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4 and, the Blue Ox safety cables did not fit where it showed in the pics. And, based on the style of install, there's no way on this earth that those two, independent base plates will ever come loose so, I did not install them (the safety cables) on this unit either.

And yes, Grade 8 bolts are harder and stronger than grade 5, they will have worked for you just fine. In that particular situation, you'd have never broke those grade 8 bolts. But, it's up to you, it's your vehicle. Good luck.
2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '18 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
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