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Old 08-22-2022, 03:32 AM   #1
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Base Plate Ripped Off Frame

This is a new one to me.
See photos for reference.
We pulled into a campground yesterday only to find the bumper on our toad looking like it had lost a fight. Obviously, something was very wrong. The driver's side of the baseplate was attached by the baseplate safety cable only!
Disconnected, drove to site and commenced crawling in and around toad front end to figure out what happened. The car frame metal had been ripped away and the remnants remained securely attached to the base plate attachment plate. I was able to pull up and strap the bumper back to a near normal position. All underside plastic shrouds had been re-stitched with screws and rivets, and we are continuing our trip as a 'caravan', not a unit.

I felt nothing abnormal and the bumper did not catch my eye as I refilled with gas 1 hour earlier (V10 gasser with rear fuel fill means I step over and around tow bar every refill). No sudden stops. No really bad bumps (usual bridge joints only). No pulling of toad to one side. The torn metal had shiny clean edges meaning without rust, so it had happened quickly.
???
Anyone have this happen to them? I am guessing after our trip I need to go to an RV body shop (someone who knows body repairs and RV towing) but any thoughts would be appreciated.
2020 Tiffin Open Road V10 towing 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. Total towed miles on this setup is 21,000 miles.

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Old 08-22-2022, 03:50 AM   #2
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How “flexible” was the connection between the coach and the toad?

It sure looks like everything was rigid in one direction or the other such that the metal in the toad frame work hardened and failed.
There is a lot of high and low frequency vibrations that occur between coach and toad that need to be allowed to dissipate.

Also hard to tell if your baseplate included a spreader bar between the frame rails. No spreader bar pulls the toad’s frame rails together with every tug of the toad - and those tugs are a constant pulling force, and that force tends to oscillate as you drive down the road. The oscillations cause work hardening and subsequent fatigue failure.
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Old 08-22-2022, 03:54 AM   #3
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Wow, very scary. Lucky no one got hurt. Just curious who installed the base plates? That looks as if the car's unibody gave way. Document everything. I'd be thinking of an attorney maybe. I've installed 2 base plates in 2 different unibody SUVs. The 2nd one was my current tow car a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. What I remember is drilling holes in the frame and there wasn't hardly any room for error, meaning you had to be dead center, not a tiny bit left or right. If it were a tiny bit left or right, you'd be too close to the edge. Is it possible this is a similar situation?

MrMark52- I am pretty sure these newer base plates have a bar between each side. My 2007 Jeep did. How else would it come?
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Old 08-22-2022, 04:54 AM   #4
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My first question is who installed the baseplate?
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Old 08-22-2022, 05:57 AM   #5
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Second question, do you back up with toad hitched to RV.
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Old 08-22-2022, 09:23 AM   #6
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Maybe I missed it but what brand base plate is it? At first glance the mounting doesn't look very robust.
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Old 08-22-2022, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMark52 View Post
How “flexible” was the connection between the coach and the toad?

It sure looks like everything was rigid in one direction or the other such that the metal in the toad frame work hardened and failed.
There is a lot of high and low frequency vibrations that occur between coach and toad that need to be allowed to dissipate.

Also hard to tell if your baseplate included a spreader bar between the frame rails. No spreader bar pulls the toad’s frame rails together with every tug of the toad - and those tugs are a constant pulling force, and that force tends to oscillate as you drive down the road. The oscillations cause work hardening and subsequent fatigue failure.
The final position indicates no spreader bar was in use on this set-up.
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Old 08-22-2022, 09:38 AM   #8
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Looks like not enough metal to support the load. Appears designed to support compression and not a"pulling" action, especially with today's roads. I would think the tow bar manufacturer would know this. You may want to get with them?

Safety cables are a good thing !!
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Old 08-22-2022, 11:01 AM   #9
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I had the exact same thing happen to me in Alaska
We were towing a Mini Cooper, which is unibody construction, and the Blue Ox base plate tore loose from the whole front of the car. The base plate is built quite sturdy, but the way they fasten it to the car is the weak link. I spoke to someone up there while I was fixing it, and he had the same thing happen on a CRV, so its fairly common on unibody construction cars.
I mounted the base plate myself, following Blue Ox directions, so I know it was mounted per their design - the design is just flawed in my opinion.
When I repaired it, I redesigned the base plate so it would attach to the front engine mount and the radiator core support, rather than the members coming out to support the front bumper assembly. Drove it another 25,000 miles with no problems.
I've subsequently replaced the toad with a pickup with a frame, and had zero problems.
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Old 08-22-2022, 12:23 PM   #10
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OP doesn’t indicate the brand of baseplate, but after watching a video for installing what looks to be a simarily designed baseplate, I’m thinking more like twinboat suggested - has the OP backed up with the toad attached? Maybe not once, but just slightly on multiple other occasions?

Either that, or the primary anchor bolts used that support the engine and transmission frame assembly into the body were not properly torqued and had come loose - with maybe the driver side on having come out all together (it appears the driver side of the base plate is hanging down, maybe to the ground).

Looking at the 1st photo a little closer, it does look like there is a spreader bar between the 2 mounting plates. What’s weird is there also looks to be a bend in the spreader bar that I don’t see in any of the bars on eTrailer.
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Old 08-22-2022, 03:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMark52 View Post
OP doesn’t indicate the brand of baseplate, but after watching a video for installing what looks to be a simarily designed baseplate, I’m thinking more like twinboat suggested - has the OP backed up with the toad attached? Maybe not once, but just slightly on multiple other occasions?

Either that, or the primary anchor bolts used that support the engine and transmission frame assembly into the body were not properly torqued and had come loose - with maybe the driver side on having come out all together (it appears the driver side of the base plate is hanging down, maybe to the ground).

Looking at the 1st photo a little closer, it does look like there is a spreader bar between the 2 mounting plates. What’s weird is there also looks to be a bend in the spreader bar that I don’t see in any of the bars on eTrailer.
It appears there is no spreader bar in play in front of the bumper to minimize horizontal forces during turns.
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Old 08-22-2022, 04:09 PM   #12
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Base plate ripped off front of car

This happened to us with a 2015 Ford focus and I think the brake line for the brake assembly thing from the motorhome pulled so tight it actually sheared the brake line and this happened after going over some rather bad railroad tracks and it actually pulled the whole front of the car off and blew out the tires on the front and it has happened at about 25,000 26,000 MI and insurance people said it was a total it was so bad engine actually fell down on the ground but it looked bad it looked worse than any of the pictures I've seen on this article
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Old 08-22-2022, 04:38 PM   #13
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I had something similar happen on a 2003 Acura MDX. I don't blame the baseplate manufacturers. These unibody frames are just not hefty enough for the task they are being asked to perform. It's like bolting the Brooklyn Bridge onto a beer can.
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Old 08-22-2022, 05:42 PM   #14
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Base plate

I hope the chevy Malibu does better
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