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-   -   Tow Bar Questions (Blue Ox Avail) (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/tow-bar-questions-blue-ox-avail-512786.html)

Bogie71 10-28-2020 01:05 PM

Tow Bar Questions (Blue Ox Avail)
 
Figured I would rely on some wisdom from people using tow bars. When I hook up the tow bar, I push the car back to lock in the arms, but usually I am off center and only one locks into place. Is there a trick to getting the other one to lock in? I drove forward slowly and it took about 500 feet and a left turn before the other one finally clicked in.

Also, why do they say never back up with it? Just a pivot thing? It seems like the stress of the car stopping and pushing on the bar would be equivalent to any force exerted when backing up.

Lt Dan 10-28-2020 01:12 PM

I find that with my current Demco and my prior BO both arms very seldom lock at the same time. I drive forward slowly until the other arm locks and sometimes is takes a "wigwag" back and forth turns to get it to lock.

As for never backing, the toad's front wheels follow correctly when moving forward because of the wheel geometry. When you try to back up, the reverse roll of the wheels will cause the steering to violently swing right or left resulting in tire lock. That can cause severe damage to the tow bar. Some can back up a short distance IF someone is in the toad keeping the steering straight.

Bogie71 10-28-2020 01:16 PM

Thanks! So I guess I did not appear too crazy driving the RV with my poor wife running after to see if the tow bar locked up. :) I need to leave a little slower next time though, I think she was a bit mad at me. :)

As for backing up, that makes sense.

Randy125 10-28-2020 02:19 PM

When hooking up our toad we just back the toad up till they lock in.

vsheetz 10-28-2020 02:24 PM

Three BO here iver the years. I just pull the coach out and let the arms lock.

Pigman1 10-28-2020 04:20 PM

When you hook up and have only one arm lock, turn the toad front wheels in the direction of the UNLOCKED arm. Obviously, not to the stop, but a significant amount. When the coach starts forward the unlocked arm will lock within about 6 feet every single time.. Just pull the coach straight forward, and don't try turning it to lock the arm.

NXR 10-28-2020 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pigman1 (Post 5499319)
When you hook up and have only one arm lock, turn the toad front wheels in the direction of the UNLOCKED arm. Obviously, not to the stop, but a significant amount. When the coach starts forward the unlocked arm will lock within about 6 feet every single time.. Just pull the coach straight forward, and don't try turning it to lock the arm.


What he said. I turn the car steering wheel one-half turn and it locks almost immediately because the car begins turning in that direction when pulled forward and extends the recalcitrant arm.

Ray

Granite17 10-29-2020 08:24 AM

The newer Avail bars will lock automatically as you begin to drive off. No need to wiggle back and forth driving or have your wife run behind to insure they lock.

Bogie71 10-29-2020 12:51 PM

Awesome! Thanks for the tips. Got the unlock part to work much better today! :)

NXR 10-29-2020 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Granite17 (Post 5500015)
The newer Avail bars will lock automatically as you begin to drive off. No need to wiggle back and forth driving or have your wife run behind to insure they lock.

From page 3 of the Avail manual: https://www.blueox.com/wp-content/up...2/BX7420-1.pdf

3. On the towed vehicle, disengage the parking brake and set up the transmission for towing and unlock the steering wheel. Pull forward with the towing vehicle until one or both of the locking handles are engaged and locked (When locked they will “pop” up).

If only one locking handle is locked, turn the towed vehicle’s steering wheel towards the unlocked tow bar leg approximately 1/2 to 3/4 turn, before continuing forward. Drive the towing vehicle forward until the second leg locks into place.


Ray

CWSWine 10-30-2020 11:45 AM

When backing up the force is against the locking levers and can cause damage to the internal locks. That is what I was told at the Blue Ox booth but I gotten bad information before.

NXR 10-30-2020 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CWSWine (Post 5501710)
When backing up the force is against the locking levers and can cause damage to the internal locks. That is what I was told at the Blue Ox booth but I gotten bad information before.

Indeed. Because when the motorhome slows down the toad never exerts force against those same locks... :)

Ray

Dutch Star Don 10-31-2020 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Granite17 (Post 5500015)
The newer Avail bars will lock automatically as you begin to drive off. No need to wiggle back and forth driving or have your wife run behind to insure they lock.

X2...just drive forward slowly until you see, feel or hear the arms lock.

Pigman1 11-01-2020 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CWSWine (Post 5501710)
When backing up the force is against the locking levers and can cause damage to the internal locks. That is what I was told at the Blue Ox booth but I gotten bad information before.

Huh? Something doesn't sound right or I'm misunderstanding you. What vehicle, toad or coach, are you talking about backing up. When either or both arm locks do not lock, the easiest thing to do is to back the toad slowly to the rear. One or both arms will lock, and if only one, turn the toad front wheels TOWARD the unlocked arm. When you start to drive off in the attached combination, the unlocked arm will lock within 6'. Any time you are on the road and hit the coach brakes, the toad pushes against the tow bar arm locks. Whoever at BO told you that needs a new job sweeping streets or collecting garbage. The tow arms are designed to take tension AND compression loads. How they're applied is irrelevant, or BO would have a hundred warnings about NEVER towing a toad without brakes.

CWSWine 11-01-2020 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pigman1 (Post 5503926)
Huh? Something doesn't sound right or I'm misunderstanding you. What vehicle, toad or coach, are you talking about backing up. When either or both arm locks do not lock, the easiest thing to do is to back the toad slowly to the rear. One or both arms will lock, and if only one, turn the toad front wheels TOWARD the unlocked arm. When you start to drive off in the attached combination, the unlocked arm will lock within 6'. Any time you are on the road and hit the coach brakes, the toad pushes against the tow bar arm locks. Whoever at BO told you that needs a new job sweeping streets or collecting garbage. The tow arms are designed to take tension AND compression loads. How they're applied is irrelevant, or BO would have a hundred warnings about NEVER towing a toad without brakes.


I was also told at the booth that there they won't rebuild tow bars over 5 years old. Call BO they said 10 years and at another booth 8 years.

I also told that I bought a used tow bar since I purchased 3 year ago but the tow bar is over 5 years old. I said I bought it at FMCA rally in Indy in 2017 for the Blue Ox booth and he walk off saying we not rebuilding it.


When I discovered that the Blue Ox light kit for my 2017 Jeep the blinker would stop blinking when the brakes are applied Blue Ox tech line ask me how often I step on the brakes while turning. He also said it was a known problem with no plans to fix it. Roadmaster had a fix for Blue Ox Lighting Kits.


New owner of a Roadmaster Night Hask tow bar.

Pigman1 11-01-2020 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CWSWine (Post 5503975)
I was also told at the booth that there they won't rebuild tow bars over 5 years old. Call BO they said 10 years and at another booth 8 years.

I also told that I bought a used tow bar since I purchased 3 year ago but the tow bar is over 5 years old. I said I bought it at FMCA rally in Indy in 2017 for the Blue Ox booth and he walk off saying we not rebuilding it.


When I discovered that the Blue Ox light kit for my 2017 Jeep the blinker would stop blinking when the brakes are applied Blue Ox tech line ask me how often I step on the brakes while turning. He also said it was a known problem with no plans to fix it. Roadmaster had a fix for Blue Ox Lighting Kits.


New owner of a Roadmaster Night Hask tow bar.

Yeah, welcome to the wonderful world of Blue Ox products. I've been using BO tow bars and base plates since 2003 and have watched the continuous deterioration of their products and customer service. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they are the strongest tow bars on the market, AS LONG AS YOU CONTINUOUSLY INSPECT THEM EVERY TIME YOU USE THEM. We tow an 8000+ pound toad to Alaska and back, (9 times now) so we load our bar and base plate heavy, but within BO specs. After my last issue with their base plate I went to my local certified welding shop and had them fix it permanently. I also went to a Roadmasrter Night Hawk, however I had some issues with it. I bent and then broke one of the stainless bars (It was my fault, no doubt of that) doing a maneuver I had done many times before with the BO. Other than my stupid, I had no other problems with the Roadmaster. I did get the BO AvailI and have since completely rebuilt it myself due to excessive wear in the joints. I had been using stainless shim material to keep them tight. Although the price of the BO parts, quill, finger attach joints, and other minor parts, are absolutely ridiculously high, with frequent inspections I think the BO bar is somewhat stronger than the Roadmaster. If you're not pushing your tow bar limits I think the Roadmaster would give excellent service. Good luck with it, but watch it closely.

NXR 11-01-2020 09:50 AM

Quote:

We tow an 8000+ pound toad to Alaska and back, (9 times now) ...
Quote:

I also went to a Roadmaster Night Hawk, however I had some issues with it. I bent and then broke one of the stainless bars (It was my fault, no doubt of that) doing a maneuver I had done many times before with the BO.
For those of us with Nighthawk's would you please add a bit of detail so we could avoid what you did?

The current Nighthawk has an 8,000 pound rating so I'll presume that you were not towing your 8,000+ pound load when the Nighthawk broke but maybe you were?

Thanks,

Ray

Pigman1 11-01-2020 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NXR (Post 5504077)
For those of us with Nighthawk's would you please add a bit of detail so we could avoid what you did?

The current Nighthawk has an 8,000 pound rating so I'll presume that you were not towing your 8,000+ pound load when the Nighthawk broke but maybe you were?

Thanks,

Ray

OOps, I might have been mistaken on the model. It was definitely a Roadmaster, but it had a 10,000 lb rating. I got hung up trying to make a U-turn at a fuel stop in Alaska and couldn't go forward or back with the legs under tension. Since I was on gravel, I tried to push the toad back with the Bus thinking the toad front would slide on the stones. Didn't happen although I've done the same thing with a couple of BO's without doing damage. As I said, definitely my bad, but just so you know, I'm one of those guys who have been backing my toad hooked up for years. I know all the warnings and in this case paid for it but I can regularly push the toad straight back an unlimited distance and can actually can push on a curve, for up to 100-200'. I won't go further into that issue as it gives some readers VERY high blood pressure when I say I do it. The stainless bar actually broke when I straightened it (almost) and then did some tight turns. Again, I knew I was taking a gamble and lost, but in northern Yukon there was no other choice but to have DW drive for hours alone, and I didn't want to do that. As it turned out, she only had to drive an hour or so until some very sharp Canadian Machinists cut me out a new one.

NXR 11-01-2020 12:32 PM

Thanks. The Nighthawk has a row of LEDs on each arm that come on with the tail lights.

I get the blanket prohibition on backing and figure it's probably because of the high likelihood of the car jackknifing.

I would think that backing up in a straight line at a slow speed puts no more stress on the tow bar than the car would put on the tow bar as the motorhome is braking.

Unless you're using a surge brake system like the NSA Readybrake, of course. Or maybe it's also because any braking system based on G forces might sense a deceleration and try to apply the car's brakes while backing up.

Ray

Pigman1 11-01-2020 03:08 PM

OK, nice to know. As I remember it, shortly after I got the Roadmaster they came out with something that had lights somewhere, but I wasn't too interested so I didn't explore it further. BTW, we use an Air Force One toad brake.

Just to really get some folks in a tither, We also use the toad to help us out when we can't go forward. First time was in West Texas in an ice storm. We'd pulled into a rest area for a driver pit stop and even though the area was level, we just couldn't get going due to the ice. I put DW into the 4WD pickup, had her put it in 4WD, and used the pickup's power to help push the Bus forward. One caution, she NEVER touched the steering wheel. Worked like a dream until we got to a bit of downgrade and on a less slick area. Second time we were stopped on a 2 lane in Saskatchewan due to a fatal accident ahead. A long line ahead and were told it would be 6-8 hours. The road was too narrow to turn around on. After some trucks went into a nearby wheat stubble field to make a u-turn, we did our trick a second time. 4WD, low range and some power on the toad but hands off the wheel, and we made our turn. I'm sure we would have bogged down without the pickup pushing, but we made it just. The watching truck drivers were laughing their butt's off as we pulled out. Sometimes ya' just gotta be creative. Close inspection showed no damage after each case.


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