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Author Topic: Blue OX  (Read 410 times)

Ron.Deb

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Blue OX
« on: June 20, 2017, 01:53:42 PM »
I recently had an issue involving a Blue OX Patriot Brake. This is an inertia sensing proportional braking system. We purchased the unit in 2014 and the manual at that time said normal vehicles should be towed with the sensing level at 5, hybrids at 3. This was fine for our HHR. This spring we acquired a Fiat 500 Pop. The Fiat is roughly 800 pounds lighter than the HHR. What a huge difference 800 pounds makes in terms of required braking power. Instinctively I felt that the sensitivity should be lessened so I lowered it to 3. I should have perhaps lowered it to 1 or 0 (break away only). While traveling in some very mountainous areas of Southeastern KY we completely destroyed the front brakes on a new car. Both front hubcaps were melted luckily the left side center section blew out lessening the damage. On the right side besides brakes we also had to replace the wheel bearing, wheel nut, right axle, and lower control arm. All of this damage occurred over a distance of less than 20 miles. The break away was not an issue, the device just applied too much brake. Picture a 2,000 pound car trying to slow a 22,000 pound RV on a steep downgrade.

In 2015 Blue Ox changed their manual to suggest settings that take into consideration the relative weights of both vehicles. The suggested setting for our weight of car and motor home was 3. In mountainous terrain as I stated before consider 1 or 0.

I am hoping that Blue Ox will share some responsibility for the $1300 dollar repair bill.

Bill N

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 02:25:31 PM »
Have you contacted Blue Ox  yet?  My dealings with them have been excellent.  I sent in a damaged in shipment Patriot (the outer shell was crushed) and they did a general overhaul and gave me an extra year warranty for less than $100 including shippng.  The seller paid the entire bill.  I have never had to experiment with any setting other than 5 but it can sometimes be a nuisance to set up when reinstalling the unit.  One thing I do dislike is that you have to reset it every time you turn if off.  Usually it is no problem if you haven't removed the unit from the car.  Good luck.
Bill
Bill & Joan N in Missouri
USAF (Ret)
2002 Winnebago Adventurer 35U
Workhorse W22, 8.1L Chevy V8
2013 Chevy Sonic Toad
Furbearers:  Heidi-17(Forever), Grace-10 & Squeak-4, Winnie - 6 months

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 11:47:54 AM »
I've seen a few similar complaints from other people with very light weight vehicles. And not just the Patriot. I suspect the brake manufacturers are going to have to widen their sensitivity adjustments to better accommodate them.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

ChasA

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 12:52:53 PM »
Do you not get any in-cab indications that your toad brakes are being applied so you could pull over and adjust the Patriot.?
I used to use an Even Brake and one time I had to brake hard and the box on the floor slid forward so that the toad brake stayed on. But my in-cab monitor showed me the brakes were still on. I quickly found a place to pull off and reposition the box. No damage done.
Apex, NC
2010 Winnebago journey Express 34Y (pre DEF)
2007 Saturn Vue

taoshum

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 10:29:59 PM »
Thanks to all for this information about issues with these systems... it is very helpful
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

Ron.Deb

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 06:17:08 PM »
Thanks for your responses. I have contacted Blue Ox, they are going to examine our brake for proper function. They have opened a claim and they have been very cordial and cooperative. I just thought anyone else towing a toad under 3000 pounds behind a 22k RV might wish to consider setting their brake sensitivity to even less than Blue Ox's recommendation. Yes, my in cab box indicated the brakes were being applied, that is what the Ox is for. Unfortunately you really have no idea how much brake is being applied. Keep in mind that as your RV is slowing descending a steep grade (using mostly transmission braking) the inertial brake is applying ever increasing brake pressure in response to the grade and deceleration forces.

The particular stretch of road I was on offered no places to pull off as in the case for most Kentucky rural state highways. Once the brakes got hot they never had sufficient time to cool off and each downgrade heated them even hotter.

I had no problems last year on the same stretch of road pulling our HHR at the recommended setting of 5 but beware just a few hundred (800) pounds changes the physics dramatically.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 10:15:58 AM »
Quote
Keep in mind that as your RV is slowing descending a steep grade (using mostly transmission braking) the inertial brake is applying ever increasing brake pressure in response to the grade and deceleration forces.

Should not be "ever increasing". The braking force should always be proportional to the rate of acceleration. That's the advantage of inertial vs time-based controllers.

The potential problem with these systems is twofold:
1. On long grades the brake is on for long periods and can overheat the car's brakes. The car brakes typically cannot shed heat as well as the larger motorhome brakes.
2. The Proportion of braking may be too high and the toad essentially tries to drag the motorhome to a stop. This can be difficult to detect when the toad is such a small fraction of the coach weight, yet the amount of braking causes overheating and is fatal to the car brakes.

Both of these are handled by proper adjustment of the brake sensitivity controls, but there is no simple yet foolproof method of figuring that out. It's pretty much a "seat of the pants" thing, trying to sense any subtle pull-back as the toad brakes come on. Not very scientific and highly dependent on each individual's sensitivity to forces. Ideally there would be a meter on the tow bar showing whether the forces on the tow bar are neutral, positive (forward) or negative (backward). The goal is that the force on the tow bar is as close to neutral as possible, i.e. the car is neither pulling nor pushing the coach.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Stephen S.

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 11:30:05 AM »
I'm getting a better idea of why people like the Ready Brake system. Being mechanical, it releases the brakes as soon as the toad pulls back from the RV. The only way to lock the brakes and drag the toad is with mechanical failure of the braking system.
Stephen S.
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'99 Winnebago Chalet
2002 VW Beetle
2007 Yamaha TW200
Home town: Mableton, GA

John From Detroit

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Re: Blue OX
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 05:02:50 PM »
Blue Ox has the Auto-Stop. basically same as Ready Brake but.... Not sure if all the features (Break-away) are there.. I plan on the Blue Ox system when I get to it hopefully later this year.
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