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Author Topic: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?  (Read 8174 times)

Steve N Dee

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Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« on: June 16, 2011, 06:52:06 PM »
We just got a 2005 Winnebago Journey 34H.  We want to start towing for the first time ever.  We used to own a class C, bvut never towed.  Luckily we own a 2007 Honda Cr-V so we can flat tow.  Several people recommended the Blue Ox.  When I called a friend of mine who works at Camping World, he said they have used both and recommend the Roadmaster.  Does anyone have any opinion or experience with this?  Is there much of a difference?  I know nothing about any of this, but am trying to learn.
Steve & Dee - Racing towards retirement
Chihuahua's times 2
2005 Winnebago Journey 34H Diesel Pusher
2013 Ford Edge SEL AWD Toad
Burbank, CA

On time.....is when we get there

Jeff

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 06:59:11 PM »
Steve:

We have a Roadmaster and a lot of friends with Blue Ox and they are both fine tow bars that will provide good service for years.

Ned

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 07:26:07 PM »
Camping World recommends Roadmaster as that's all they sell.  But either one will be a good choice.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 07:29:42 PM »
I have had several bad experiences with Blue OX and the "articulating ball" design of the Adventa Tow Bar. I recommend the Roadmaster. Better design. 
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Tin man

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 07:32:27 PM »
Steve

I am in then process of buying a 2007 36 journey, and I purchased a blue ox. the braking systems are many, but I was directed
in the direction of air force one for air brakes. Good luck

Jim W

Just retired.
Jim W
AKA TIN MAN
2007 36G Journey SE
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schoolsout2

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2011, 07:33:00 PM »
I have been towing for a few months now and our Roarmaster has worked fine.  If you search here you will find many comments about both types.  Ours has the push pin type of release and others have a handle release.  I do not know the proper term but I would get the lever release next time.  I sometimes have to hit the push release with something to get it to release.
Dave and Sue Fullerman
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tswms

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 07:42:32 PM »
I looked at both before I bought.  I finally settled on Blue OX. Seemed to be Cleaner and simpler.(No cross bar). After 50,000 Mi
I have not been disappointed. I have a Blue Ox Avanta (old Style) towing a 07 Saturn.
Tony
90 Newmar Kontry Star
07 Saturn Ion
Siloam Springs AR (NW)

gwcowgill

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 07:53:45 PM »
I am on my second Roadmaster. The first lasted 18 years with trouble free operation. I have 2 friends with Blue Ox one has had trouble the other loves his. As stated above, sometimes you have to hit the pin release with something when the car is in a bind with the MH. I think both are fine with the Roadmaster Falcon2 being cheaper. They both do the job! I like the SMI braking system which works fine and is easy to install. Forgot to mention the origional Roadmaster I rebuilt and gave to my son and he is using it.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 08:08:17 PM by gwcowgill »
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Jim Godward

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2011, 08:12:40 PM »
Just to confuse the issue, look at the new design DEMCO tow bars.  I just bought the "Commander" and like it so far.
Jim
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John From Detroit

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 08:34:05 PM »
Camping World Sells Roadmaster, Thus they Recommend Roadmaster.

My Dealer Sells Blue Ox, care to guess what he recommends.. Yup, Blue Ox

Do you see a pattern

I have Blue Ox, I have seen several Roadmaster units, and I have an opinion.

That opinion is: Not much to recommend one over the other to be honest, both are very good companies, with very good products..  That said. I like my blue Ox

Why: The unit I have "Stows" on the motor home. ON the car there is nothing but the baseplate connectors.

SOME roadmaster units,, Stow on the towed.. I find those not as nice looking.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 10:31:50 AM »
And to really stir things up, several of us here on the forum use the Ready Brute tow bar that combines a tow bar and brake in one unit. You can check it out here http://www.readybrake.com/tow-bars.html  Better price too.
Marty--
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2011, 10:43:37 AM »
And I'll add an "X2" to what Sarge said. Our ReadyBrute Elite towbar/brake combo has performed flawlessly. I chose to use a Blue Ox base plate on my RAV4, in part because the location of the towbar eyes put the towbar within 1" of level with the motorhome receiver. The Roadmaster base plate would have meant using a drop adapter. In other applications the reverse may be true, so it's something well worth checking out before making a decision. NSA will supply connections for the ReadyBrute towbar that mate with Blue Ox, Demco, or Roadmaster base plates on request.
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

Steve N Dee

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2011, 07:17:57 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I have asked my friend that works at camping world for an idea of what it would cost to get set up to tow.  He said ballpark around $ 2500.00 for the the entire set up including a braking system.  Since I am NOT a handy guy at all, I have to hire pretty much everything done.  Does this seem like a pretty average price for the whole set up?  I just want to make sure I'm not getting ripped and I do trust this guy.  We will be flat towing a Honda Cr-V.
Steve & Dee - Racing towards retirement
Chihuahua's times 2
2005 Winnebago Journey 34H Diesel Pusher
2013 Ford Edge SEL AWD Toad
Burbank, CA

On time.....is when we get there

Jeff

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2011, 07:23:45 PM »
Steve that is a pretty good ball park figure for tow bar, base plates, lighting, and brake system installed if the brake system is a top of the line model.

skyking4ar2

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2011, 08:38:53 PM »
He said ballpark around $ 2500.00 for the the entire set up including a braking system. 

Not to disparage CW, but check that number very close, itemize it, and make sure it is a turn key solution, cabling, safety chains, etc. CW wanted $5400 to do my Honda. They did not get the business.
Kim & Christi Bertram
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2011, 09:40:34 PM »
I agree with skyking4ar2, I would question the quote from Camping World having a braking system included with that $2500 quote.  That seems a bit low.

Just to add in on this discussion.  We bought an Roadmaster Sterling.  One of the reasons is that it is so light weight; it's aluminum.    If I have to connect the car to the coach, it's really easy for me to handle.  However we did exchange the safety chains with ones that have hooks with safety clips.  I just didn't feel comfortable with the "ball end" type safety cabling.

Marsha~
Allegro Bus Diesel Pusher with Hyundai Tucson SUV toad.

mrschwarz

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2011, 10:01:27 PM »
I have had several bad experiences with Blue OX and the "articulating ball" design of the Adventa Tow Bar. I recommend the Roadmaster. Better design.

I have one of these. What kind of issues did you have?
Michael

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Steve N Dee

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2011, 10:34:47 PM »
I'm actually glad to hear you being concerned the price from CW is too low.  The person I know who works there is high up enough that he can give me a discount.  I was just double checking that it was a low price for a first class set up, which it sounds like it is.  I guess we'll soon give birth to a toad!
Steve & Dee - Racing towards retirement
Chihuahua's times 2
2005 Winnebago Journey 34H Diesel Pusher
2013 Ford Edge SEL AWD Toad
Burbank, CA

On time.....is when we get there

SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2011, 04:25:22 PM »
I have one of these. What kind of issues did you have?

Well, 3 failures actually. The first one was one of the connecting arms bent. The rod portion that connects to the vehicle. Called Blue Ox and sent them pics. They said that they would send me a replacement, and to ship mine to them. If their inspection showed that it was my fault, that they would bill me. I agreed. Never heard from them.

The second was the articulating ball that attaches the two arms was slowly working it's way apart. It can't be tightened from the outside. Called Blue Ox sent pics. They again sent a replacement, same conditions. Never heard anything.

The last time was the most spectacular. During a hard brake situation from about 45 MPH, felt a "thump" didn't know what it was. Looked in the back up camera, the Jeep was missing! Looked behind me, it's sitting in the middle of the street, about 100' behind me. Later determined that the connecting "bolt" that secures the articulating ball that the tow arms hook onto, and holds the ball to the main body of the tow bar snapped off. This was troubling enough, but the safety cables that attach the MH to the Jeep via the eyelets on the Blue Ox tow bar ripped out leaving the cables intact, attached to the MH.  My brake system locked the toad brakes preventing a major crash on a heavily traveled 6 lane highway at rush hour. 

I called Blue Ox, sent pics of tow bar and base plate. I get ignored for about a week. Finally I get a hold of some one at Blue Ox who sends me to a dealer about an hour away. I take him my tow bar and he is floored. He gives me a replacement and says he has to get it authorized with Blue Ox for the trade, but is sure that there will be no problems. He calls me the next day and says that Blue Ox is denying to cover it because the serial # on the tow bar shows that the MANUFACTURE DATE MADE IT TWO WEEKS PAST THE WARRANTY DATE.  Not the day it was sent to a dealer, or sold to me.  I was furious. The Dealer I went to called a few more of his contacts at Blue Ox until he found someone that would agree to warranty the failure. 

I took the new tow bar and immediately sold it on e-bay. My Jeep still has the base plate with the ripped out eyelets. My new Ready Brute tow bar has Blue Ox ends on it. I connect the safety cables to 2 WARN D-hooks that are mounted next to the winch.  I use the base plate to show others the quality of their base plate. 

Sorry for the rant, I have not posted this before but I was asked. See why I recommend Road Master or some other brand of tow bar?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 04:32:56 PM by SargeW »
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rsalhus

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2011, 09:44:36 PM »
Quote
This was troubling enough, but the safety cables that attach the MH to the Jeep via the eyelets on the Blue Ox tow bar ripped out leaving the cables intact, attached to the MH.


First of all. I think the above sentence should read like this:

This was troubling enough, but the safety cables that attach the MH to the Jeep via the eyelets on the Blue Ox baseplate ripped out leaving the cables intact, attached to the MH.

Secondly, that must have been some kind of hard stop!  What kind of supplemental braking system did you have in the Jeep at that time?  And was it working properly?

Rolf Salhus
Currently at: Our home in Apple Valley, MN.

taoshum

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2011, 12:13:51 AM »
SargeW, Helluva story!  You sound convinced some kinda "thump" you felt knocked the toad loose from the MH.  If there wasn't "collision" damage to the toad, then it must've been a faulty tow bar/plate system from BOx.  Like something threw a log or sumthin' between the MH and the toad or jammed the toad from behind.   Helluva "thump"!  Thanks for the posting... I wish we had more data on this and other such situations.  Amazing.
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2011, 04:51:40 PM »
The braking system was the Ready Brake surge system. Probably the reason why the Jeep didn't wind up parked on top of the Cummins when the tow bar failed. On a hard stop the Jeep will 4 wheel lock. The real troubling part was that the eyelets on the BASEPLATE never should have failed, regardless of what else was going on.  That's what they are there for.  This is what I found when I got back to the Jeep..........
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2011, 07:35:46 PM »
On the other hand, I've had excellent service from Roadmaster.  I purchased one of their Falcon All Terrain tow bars in 2006 and in 2008 it failed.  I had to fly to California to help with a family emergency so my wife and her uncle followed in the motorhome, pulling the toad.  Unfortunately, they neglected to undo the steering lock so the toad's front wheels stayed straight ahead the whole way.  On the last turn into the RV park, the towbar's inside arm bent and the extension lock failed.

I took the towbar to the RV show in Quartzsite later that month, where Roadmaster had a booth set up in the Big Tent.  Although the damage was clearly my fault, they offered to repair it for free in their installation facility out back.  When it came time to do the repair, inspection showed the damage was more extensive than they first thought and they wound up basically replacing everything except the outer casings on both arms.  Still free of charge, except for the tip I gave the tech who devoted close to 2 hours in the middle of a busy day to the job.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 07:41:23 PM by Lou Schneider »

Ned

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2011, 07:49:41 PM »
We've had similar experiences to Lou's, with Blue Ox.  When we completely demolished a Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar in an accident, they replaced it at no cost, no questions asked, even though it was not the fault of the tow bar.  We have never had anything but excellent service from Blue Ox, whether at a rally, Quartzsite, or the factory.

As I stated previously, either one would be a good choice.  Don't make a decision on one or two anecdotal reports, including mine :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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2007 GMC Canyon

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SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2011, 08:27:53 PM »
I would hardly call my report unreliable Ned. Unfortunately Blue Ox clearly wanted to decline responsibility, particularly where the base plate was concerned. Why? Because accepting responsibility for the base plate would require a significant amount of labor to remove and replace the base plate. To squirm and try to deflect responsibility because you don't want to answer the question how your supposed #10,000 tow bar and base plate failed to hold onto a #5000 Jeep on a straight level and dry surface, failed.  I don't know why.  But it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and I will never purchase or recommend one of their products. Ever. 
Just my .02 
Marty--
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rsalhus

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2011, 11:17:21 PM »
Ned never said your report was unreliable, Sarge.  He used the term 'anecdotal reports' which simply means 'short stories'. 


BTW, you mentioned that this tow bar failure happened with a Blue Ox Adventa tow bar.  I think you meant a Blue Ox Aventa tow bar.  Blue Ox made two different types of Aventa tow bars, the Aventa II (which I have) and the Aventa LX.  They both are steel tow bars and both are 10,000# tow bars.  But from your photos, it looks like yours was made of aluminum.  Is that right or was it actually steel?  What Aventa model was it?


Do you have a picture of the other Blue Ox baseplate eyelet that busted?  I'm curious as to what that looked like also.  And another thing that came to my attention is that you mentioned that you now have a new Ready Brake braking system for the jeep.  What happened with the old one, was it damaged at this time too?


I can see how you feel the way you do about Blue Ox; that could have resulted in a very serious accident.  Your story is causing a lot of us Blue Ox owners to put our Blue Ox products under the microscope.  Thanks for the report and the pictures.
Rolf Salhus
Currently at: Our home in Apple Valley, MN.

SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2011, 11:48:55 PM »
Actually there are several meanings to the word anecdotal, although I do not believe Ned was being derogatory. That is not his nature.  And you did catch my spelling error. It is an Aventa, see the below pic of the failed tow bar.  I also included another pic of the failed base plate safety cable attachment point.  If you look closely at the first pic I included, you can see that what looks like a fully circular ring on the base plate is actually just paint.  The front of the steel ring is missing.

The Ready Brake surge system that I was using at the time is fine. It was just the "receiver" brake system. When the tow bar snapped at the articulating ball the brakes locked as designed. The only thing that was left to hold the Jeep after the safety cables ripped out was the 1/8 inch aircraft cable that hooked the surge brake to the brake cable on the front of the Jeep. The brake cable was not really designed to hold the weight of the Jeep without a tow bar, so it pulled loose. 

I still have the receiver Ready Brake that I was using at the time. Other than the busted cable, it is still complete and functioning as normal.  When I decided I had my last go round with Blue Ox, going with the Ready Brute tow bar system was a no brainer.   Less money, incorporated brake, and lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. 

The best part is I sent all of these pics, and more, to Blue Ox within 2 hours of the occurrence.  And the response I get from them a week and a half later is "sorry, you are 30 days past the warranty period from the date of manufacture of the tow bar".   
Marty--
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taoshum

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2011, 01:34:18 AM »

They both are steel tow bars and both are 10,000# tow bars.  But from your photos, it looks like yours was made of aluminum.  Is that right or was it actually steel?  What Aventa model was it?



I can see how you feel the way you do about Blue Ox; that could have resulted in a very serious accident.  Your story is causing a lot of us Blue Ox owners to put our Blue Ox products under the microscope.  Thanks for the report and the pictures.

Yes, Thank You for this information.  I'm no metallurgist but the fracture line in the first set of photos looks like the "bolt" (or whatever it is) failed while being loaded from the side and it also looks like it might have been cracked before this incident.  The dark, almost, corroded section might be a crack in the metal. 

Like Rsalhus said, it behoves everyone to double check all the parts of the these tow bars to make sure they are in top condition.  I guess I could use a bottle jack to run a load test on the tow bar.  Here I thought the BOx looked stronger and more durable.  We have an older model without the spherical joint.

It's also sad to hear about the lousy tech support from BOx.  If they have product in the field like this, you'd think they would want to know about it, ASAP.  And, like you said, the safety cables/tow plate should have picked up the load no matter what.  Normally, if a product is rated at 10,000 lb working load, it has a margin of at least 3 times that for safety critical parts.  Certainly more than enough to hold the toad during a hard brake situation.  I don't know...

thanks, again.
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2011, 08:24:06 AM »
I've had excellent service from both, but currently have a Blue Ox Aventa LX. I don't think you could go wrong with either one.

Blue Ox rebuilt my towbar at no charge after it was damaged in an accident. No fault of theirs, but they did it anyway.
Gary
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SargeW

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Re: Roadmaster Vs. Blue Ox?
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2011, 09:07:02 AM »
Well, I never really paid much attention to the base plate cable attachment points until after the incident.  The loops that are punched into the plate are far too close to the edge of the metal to ever withstand and real pressure. Actually I got real lucky that it was just a straight forward stop with no sideways forces to throw the Jeep off it's wheels. Otherwise this would have been an entirely different scenario.  As I mentioned, the road was a 3 lane heavily traveled highway at rush hour. The vehicle breaking loose and spinning out of control would have been a disaster. 

As for the towbar, I believe that the ball design is the weak link in the design. A towbar with a simple grade 8 bolt for a pivot point is a much more robust design.

Again, just my .02
Marty--
2013 Phaeton 36GH
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