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Author Topic: Warning! Blue Ox owners  (Read 1144 times)

Fatboy01

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Warning! Blue Ox owners
« on: September 15, 2017, 04:52:07 PM »
Warning! Blue Ox owners,
 I own an Aladdin (7500 lb) tow bar, purchased new back in 2011. My RV has just 25,000 miles on it. On a recent trip I was towing my 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport (at 60 MPH) when I looked at my rear camera I noticed my Jeep moving back and forth. I cautiously moved off of the freeway to the side of the road. When I looked at my tow bar I could not believe my eyes, I had a locking pin shear off and the Jeep was being held on by one arm and the safety cables. After finally getting the Jeep unhooked from the tow bar, my wife drove the Jeep the rest of the way home.
I Called Blue Ox to report the incident, the gentleman I spoke to asked if I had the broken pin? I said are you kidding me, it's laying on the freeway somewhere! I stated that I had ordered new pins and a new piece that plugs into the baseplate on their website. He then stated that he would notify the appropriate people of this issue.
After I hung up the phone I searched the internet and discovered that I wasn't the first customer that had a pin shear off while towing! I was taken back how care free the Blue Ox employee was about the incident and the ‘oh well’ attitude he had towards me and my issue.
These are not plastic parts that failed but rather stainless still or hardened steel parts! If what I read on the RV forum is true (which I have no reason to believe it is not) Blue Ox should take responsibility for these failed parts!
I am very thankful that the Jeep did not break away and cause and accident or worse, kill someone…….
I now have no faith in the Blue Ox tow system and am very hesitant on towing with this system in the future for fear of losing my Jeep and injuring others.
 
Dennis Honeycutt

John From Detroit

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 05:34:05 PM »
I have heard stories about the Aladdin before.  I have the all steel 5,000 pound version of Blue Ox without the big ball joint (instead it has multiple "King pin" type joints or bolts)

Total complaints to date (12 years and change) zero.. Total problems TWO neither of which can be blamed on blue ox.. I know exactly what happned in both cases and it was not the tow bar or any part of it that failed. 
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 05:39:41 PM »
Quote from: Fatboy01
If what I read on the RV forum is true (which I have no reason to believe it is not) Blue Ox should take responsibility for these failed parts!

For clarification, any such comment would be the opinion of the poster, not the forum per se.

I suspect the reason they asked for the old pin was to confirm it was actually broken, although I understand it would be unlikely you could have found it. It could also have been due to the clevis pin coming out for one reason or another. FWIW my wife and I double-check each other's installation to ensure, for example, that the clevis pins have been inserted correctly.
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Fatboy01

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 06:18:07 PM »
As do my wife and I double check all connection.

Thanks for your reply

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 06:23:11 PM »
I think I'd call Blue Ox again and escalate to a higher level. I'd also document and send a letter up the chain.
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BRex

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 06:54:24 PM »

How do you know the pin sheared off? Were you able to find any of the pieces?
'97 Country Coach Intrigue

kudzu

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 08:11:48 PM »
FWIW, there is a thread on the TiffinRVNetwork (http://www.tiffinrvnetwork.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=122&t=94164) on this subject, reporting a couple of additional failures. If you persist, I expect Blue Ox will make good on your situation. As you pointed out, your relatively minor incident could have been a disaster.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 08:14:33 PM by kudzu »
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Kevin Means

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 09:52:03 PM »
I'm also curious as to how the OP was able to determine that the locking pin sheered vs. fell out of the locking hole. I'm not saying it didn't sheer, I'm just wondering how that determination was made if the remains of the pin aren't present. I was hooking up our Jeep last week when one of the oval clevis pins fell to the ground. It had somehow become bent, and was able to slide right out of the hole.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Fatboy01

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2017, 09:18:16 AM »

I am the OP of the blue ox issue, several have asked how do I know the pin sheared? I don’t. It could have been the locking ring failed and worked its way out and dropped on the highway. In either case, I had a failure of the Blue Ox system which could have been a complete disaster! I hooked up the tow system, my wife doubled checked the system prior to us leaving the RV resort and this incident occurred an hour later while on the interstate.
Thanks for your replies.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2017, 09:54:10 AM »
I think blaming Blue Ox is premature, though perhaps they could be more proactive in warning people to take care of the pins. First of all the pins are a wear & tear part and tow bar users cannot afford to be oblivious to that fact. Occasional inspection for wear (grooves, rust, etc.) is a must for a critical part, no matter how sturdy it may be. Second, it is only conjecture that the part broke. Human error is all too possible and examples of human failure are at least as frequent as mechanical failure.  My wife and I double check each other on our tow hook-ups and have occasionally found that one of us messed up. And on one memorable occasion, we both missed a pin that was not locked in position. Fortunately another RVer flagged us down when they saw the car pulling at an angle with just one side of the tow bar attached.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2017, 10:11:30 AM »
I learned early on with our Blue Ox base plate and ReadyBrute Elite tow bar that the arm pins would always move towards the same side of the clevis while traveling. If they moved in the direction of the retainer clip, the clip would start showing significant wear, potentially allowing the pins to slide out if the clips broke. I marked which way to insert the pins as a reminder, and now the retainer clips always ride away from the clevis and show no wear at all. I also keep a spare set of pins and retainer clips on board, just in case...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

wstuart

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 02:30:21 AM »
Dutch, I am trying to figure out in my tired mind what you mean.  I just don't get it, can you try again.  I have the same system so I am interested.  Thanks!
Maryann & Wayne
Nanaimo BC
Challenger 37 GT
Honda CRV toad Blue Ox tow bar

NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2017, 07:01:13 AM »
Dutch, I am trying to figure out in my tired mind what you mean.  I just don't get it, can you try again.  I have the same system so I am interested.  Thanks!

Ok, I'll try again. If I install the pins through the arm clevis and base plate "horns" from the outside towards the center, and secure it with a "hairpin" retainer clip in the small hole at the end of the pin, while underway the pin will work its way back out towards the outside until the retainer clip hits the side of the clevis. As it pushes against the side of the clevis, the clip will start to show wear that could eventually cause it to fail, allowing the pin to continue working its way out and the arm to disconnect. Since the pins always work towards the outside in my setup, I started installing them from the center with the retainer clip on the outside where it moves away from the clevis instead of towards it. That way, even if the retainer clips were left out, the pin would likely still stay in place. I don't know if that situation exists with all tow bar/base plate setups or not, but it could be worth checking to see if does on yours to help prevent an unexpected failure. It's a simple "fix" that could avoid a disaster.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 07:03:01 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2017, 07:09:29 AM »
Quote
I don't know if that situation exists with all tow bar/base plate setups

Must be a Blue Ox thing  ???   The tow pins on our Roadmaster can only be inserted from one direction, and the clevis/locking pins go through a small hole (in the receiver extensions) that prevents them moving the way you described.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 07:29:30 AM by Tom »
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SPSchaller

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2017, 08:15:56 AM »
We use a Blue-Ox Aventa tow system and have always inserted the tow pins from the outside with the locking pins towards the middle. Not sure why but when we got the system 12 years ago, the installation tech who showed us how to hook up did it that way, and, well, we assumed that was how it was done (blind faith...) We've not had any real issue with the set up (lost a locking pin once but that was my fault... placed it on the bumper of the MH while disconnecting and forgot to put it back in the tow pin when putting the equipment away.) Occasionally, one tow pin will be hard to get out when disconnecting, like the arm isn't releasing, but never noticed the pins moving or getting overly worn.
This is interesting... 

Chet18013

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2017, 10:02:46 AM »
If you want to be sure it won't happen again, go to Harbor Freight and buy a package of plastic zip ties. When you hook up, put a zip  tie on the pin and tighten it to the hitch. When you unhook, you'll  have to cut the tie, but they are cheap.
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2017, 07:09:27 PM »
Must be a Blue Ox thing  ???   The tow pins on our Roadmaster can only be inserted from one direction, and the clevis/locking pins go through a small hole (in the receiver extensions) that prevents them moving the way you described.

It may even be unique to our particular Blue Ox/ReadyBrute combination, Tom. It's been that way on two toads so far using two different Blue Ox base plates, but the same ReadyBrute tow bar. Just something for folks to watch for with similar setups. If they don't have the problem, then obviously they don't need to take any action.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2017, 07:17:55 PM »
I must admit to being surprised by this issue. Based on members' reports, I always held Blue Ox in high regard.
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wstuart

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2017, 07:21:17 PM »
Thank you Dutch!  Now I got it!  When I put my pins in I put them in from the outside, with the cotter pin on the inside.  The only reason I do it this way is I find it easier to pull them out to the outside, dont smack my fingers as much.  Thanks for the explanation.  I think I will pick up a couple more of the cotter pins just in case.  I guess I could get a couple extra pins from blue ox.
Thanks again
Maryann & Wayne
Nanaimo BC
Challenger 37 GT
Honda CRV toad Blue Ox tow bar

wstuart

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 07:22:40 PM »
I have never had any problems with my tow bar.  As long as I park more or less straight and level.  Then it is easy to unhook.
Maryann & Wayne
Nanaimo BC
Challenger 37 GT
Honda CRV toad Blue Ox tow bar

TonyDtorch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2017, 07:29:43 PM »
Clevis pins are common things you see laying along the side of the freeway,  they lose their spring value and fall off.

NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2017, 07:42:40 PM »
Thank you Dutch!  Now I got it!  When I put my pins in I put them in from the outside, with the cotter pin on the inside.  The only reason I do it this way is I find it easier to pull them out to the outside, dont smack my fingers as much.  Thanks for the explanation.  I think I will pick up a couple more of the cotter pins just in case.  I guess I could get a couple extra pins from blue ox.
Thanks again

My spare pins came from Tractor Supply, and my extra clips from a local hardware store. I added a couple of small welded rings to the clips to make them easier to remove.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2017, 07:43:51 PM »
Quote from: TonyDtorch
Clevis pins are common things you see laying along the side of the freeway,  they lose their spring value and fall off.

Maybe I should buy replacements and change them periodically  ???
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Stephen S.

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2017, 08:22:23 PM »
Huh... took me a while to realize you all are using the "hairpin" type retainers on your hitch. My BlueOx came with the lynch pin type that has a spring loaded ring that snaps over the main pin. The only way it is coming off is if I don't put in on the correct way. It is plainly visible from a distance if it is on correctly.

The pin itself is sturdier than the hairpin type. It will be decades before it wears out.

[edit] dropping in a pic of the hitch on the VW.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 09:08:23 PM by Stephen S. »
Stephen S.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2017, 08:36:55 PM »
I would have to drill out the holes in the ends of my pins to fit the smallest lynch pins I've seen. That might not be a bad idea though...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

ramblinbob

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2017, 05:25:45 AM »
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2010 Honda Element aka Ella B'

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2017, 07:15:31 AM »
Thanks for the link. Their photos clearly show the difference between the cotter pin on the Blue Ox and the clevis pin (aka linch pin) on the Roadmaster. They also show the difference in the two tow pins. Just curious what they have at the coach end of the tow bar  ???

I suspect that many folks have towed boats, trailers and cars with a cotter pin to keep the tow pin in place. I know we towed boats that way until we switched to a locking  style of tow pin.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2017, 07:59:50 AM »
I see that Blue Ox does offer pins with lynch pin keepers for $15/pr. I don't recall now whether our pins originally came with our Blue Ox base plate, or our NSA ReadyBrute tow bar.

http://www.blueox.com/towing-accessories/84-0140/
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

PAPA BARE

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2017, 09:11:54 AM »
I lost one of the pins that came with my blue ox but i caught it before the pin worked out. I replaced with pins from tractor supply. Have not had a problem after switching.

Tom

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Re: Warning! Blue Ox owners
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2017, 09:15:32 AM »
Tractor Supply is a good source if you have one near you. (We had one open a year or so ago.)
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