Blue Ox RV tow bar restore

During last trip through the Southern States, I noted a loosening of the Blue Ox tow bar. Countless thousands of miles over years of intense jerking and jolting, while pulling thousands of pounds of ‘Toad’, take it’s eventual toll on equipment, no matter the quality. Removing the entire bar and it’s square tube swivel base mount, then placing on a table for dis assembly, was the easy part. A 1/2″ drive socket set with extensions, including an additional 1 1/8″ deep well socket, is needed to remove the King ‘pull bolt’ lock nut, deep inside the square tube that locks the tow bar assy into the coach receiver hitch.

A few sharp raps with a rubber mallet on the wrench handle, loosened the internal 1 1/8th” ‘self locking’ nut, enough to unscrew it from the long ‘pull bolt’. After the nut is off, the long high tensile strength ‘pull’ bolt can be unscrewed from the floating threaded plate inside the base square tube mount for the ‘C’ swivel. I noted that the thin high density nylon washers originally used by Blue Ox, were crushed and broken from the constantly twisting, pounding load.

A square piece of high density nylon 3/8″ thick, served as a replacement ‘block’ rather than washers. Stronger, hand shaped/filed into a size that fit and could better withstand the pressure of the ‘C’ swivel against the head of the King pull bolt, it should last a bit longer. Take care Before assembling, to leave a clearance between the King pull bolt head and square lug link inside C swivel, when hitch is raised into storage position. I had to sand off a bit of thickness of my high density, high molecular weight polyurethane nylon block to achieve clearance.

The next stage was the C swivel itself and the side clearance to the next ‘lug’ link in the chain of flexible pieces. The large socket set in 1/2″ drive, in conjunction with another large appropriately sized wrench, will pay for itself on these large bolts. Blue Ox tech rep gave me a few spare nylon washers during an RV seminar a few years back. They can be ordered from Blue Ox as a rebuild shim kit. They served well to restore the firm fit, good as new.

Swivel links and cross bolts should be checked for side slop. Adding nylon spacers between the flexible pieces at each stage in the sequence of links, restores the viability of the system. Use judgement or Blue Ox torque specs, as you tighten the bolts and their lock nuts. I like a bit tighter linkage, so that while hitching and releasing the system from the ‘toad’, I can let the system help hold it’s own weight, rather than carry the entire load on my hands. The holes for the cross bolts will inevitably become ‘egg shaped’ during thousands of miles of towing. Parts are available if drastic ‘egging’ is noticed. The inside opening of the square tube coach receiver was tightened a bit, using heavy gauge Teflon tape strips to take up any upper/lower/side wear.

Removing the small black plastic covers from the square latch handle tube ends, makes it easy to spray a bit of Dupont Teflon spray (Lowe’s hardware/tools) into the sliding tube assemblies, making it easier to hitch the vehicles and release the latches during unhitch procedures. Friend told of blowing sand on a beach camp, penetrating the tube slides. Lots of silicone spray later, they were finally freed. Silicone or Teflon spray keeps the entire assembly from binding.

For easier disconnects, a straight, gradual, level stop of rig, with no left/right deviation from inline tow vehicle, is far better than an impossible ‘Bind’ disconnect, with the vehicles in a turned angle stop on a grade. Putting the toad into reverse, pulling back and letting it idle, sometimes assists the tension to pull the slide tubes back. This procedure lets one operator unlatch the release handles, by relieving pressure after stopping in a slightly awkward position.

Always wear gloves to protect hands from pinches and grime during hitch and unhitch. I use the safety cables (crossed as noted in Blue Ox diagrams) to hold down the two latch handles in the release position, while then moving the toad slightly forward, into the slack position. After placing the ‘toad’ in park, I can easily remove the hitch pins and swing the Blue Ox up into it’s stored position.

Placing a cover over the entire Blue Ox assembly when stored, protects the complex assembly from the elements. Sun exposure does it’s UV damage rapidly, as rain rusts exposed iron. The bellows covers over the slide tubes, suffer rapidly without a full cover. I have a keyed lock pin (Master) through the receiver, to keep opportunists from stealing the Blue Ox easily. The Blue Ox Aladdin has worked perfectly and reliably for many years and countless thousands of miles on two RV’s and several ‘Toads’. I have noted on other posts of DaFlikkers on   the process of installing the Blue Ox Baseplates.

Other previous trips are also posted on Da during fall and spring months we travel. Oregon and Texas being the favorites.

In the remote upper peninsula of Michigan, during a camping trip years ago, a man was searching the path of his trip into the park, after unhitching his toad. He had lost the hitch pins along the grassy entry road route. At the nearest opportunity, I immediately bought a second set of hitch pins, clevis pins and cables, along with a second set of Blue Ox receiver billets (they come with each new ‘toad’ base plate), not desiring to be placed into the helpless position of the man on the remote shore of Lake Superior.

Enjoy touring the United States of America. “One Nation Under God”, no matter what the ‘special interest’ antagonists insist.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s