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Flat Tow Tow Bar Choices

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Still rookies, so continue to forgive the ignorance. We are going to purchase a 2014 Honda CRV to flat tow. Last year before the CVT trans. We own a 3433 Ventana LE. I have narrowed down our choices to Blue OX or Road Master. Looking at the choices, you can pick either RV mount bars or car mount. RV bars are significantly more expensive. Can anyone explain the practical differences? Any recommendations on which style to go with and why?

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Both are good choices. We have a Blue OX. I like them because you can take the mount tabs right off the Toad and it is practically invisible. Ours is a RV mount. It stays on the RV when we disconnect. I never owned the vehicle mount unit and don't think I'de like it.

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The "practical difference" in a coach mounted vs car mounted towbar is strictly cosmetic. The coach mounted stays on the coach when disconnected and the toad mounted stays on the toad and in my opinion is just plain ugly hanging on the front end.  Both Roadmaster and Blue Ox make good towbars and baseplates.  

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Have had both over the years, Road Master car mounted, and now a Blue Ox coach mounted.

In the early years when we had the car mounted towbar, we would travel to our destination, unhook the toad, and then I would spend at least 20 minutes removing and storing the towbar.  Once removed I was always left with "where to store the towbar". (I always removed it as we often wanted to run the toad thru a car wash).  Usually I ended up storing the towbar on the ground under the MH.  Secured it with a cable lock to the frame.

Now we just unhook and fold the towbar against the RV.  No need to lock, already held into the receiver with a locking pin.  Takes less than a few minutes.

IMHO the coach mounted option is the one to go for.  

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I would second Ian's recommendation. As a result it makes hooking up, after a bit of trial and error learning to center and distance from the coach, a quick five minute job by yourself to be hooked up and ready to roll. I chuckle many times watching a couple, with him trying to guide the missus to a centered position and the distance from the coach. Many times it is greater than 5 minutes, why for the both of them to get the job completed.

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Roadmaster makes a coach mounted as well, that would be my 1st choice, 2nd would be Demco!

I have read too many failures with Blue ox for my liking's on two of their designs that were engineered with under sized aluminum brackets and swivel balls. I have a friend that has had his Blue Ox rebuilt 2 times and it might have 40,000 miles on it, and he babies his stuff while i'm hard on stuff. His used coach came with a Demco, he switched over and sold the Blue Ox after the last overhaul.  

https://www.demco-products.com/rv-towing/tow-bars/

I have a Demco Commander bar, it works flawlessly never had to be rebuilt and its 6 years old with probably 50,000  miles on it. They are a local manufacturing company in Iowa, not big on advertising. 

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Have had a Blue Ox for 14 + years. Latest Blue Ox inspection and tune up at the rally in 2016 in Springfield.  

No issues to date. IMHO they make a pretty good product!

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2 hours ago, elkhartjim said:

Here we go....Ford vs Chevy debate. :ph34r:

The major difference is that Blue Ox has its parts made off shore and Roadmaster manufactures its parts in house so its basically made in the U S.  I have toured the Roadmaster main plant.  Roadmaster inspects all of its bars at the conventions, free of charge and does repairs if needed.

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That's 1 for Demco, 1 for Bkue Ox, and 1 for Road Master.  

Just keeping score...🙂

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A Demco Excali-bar came with the 2003 Monaco I bought so I bought a Saturn Vue and put a Demco base plate on it (which required way to much drilling) and I can hook it up and be gone in 5 minutes. Although it takes me about 10 minutes to check and recheck that I have it all right. 🤪

Paul

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I always do my research before making a purchase. I simply couldn’t purchse Blue Ox after reading up on it. 

I had a fleet of Ford rangers at a Utility I worked at, we used them to deliver trucks around the system. Every Ranger had a Roadmaster bar hanging off the front and many people used them, they got beat hard (backing up and skidding the front wheels) you name it those bars saw it, not ONE failure!

I got the Demco on such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up. But looking at its design it’s solid. Plus it hasn’t needed any “tune up” and I’m not nice to it.

I get things need maintenance but that frequently sends many bad signals and with the amount of failures...no thanks!

 

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I've had both.  Prefer Road Master!  Back in the 80's, I used a A frame hitch, mounted on the front of my Trooper II.  Only nice thing about it, I could connect it to my truck and drop it off for service & p/u later! :) 

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I'm on my second Blue Ox, never had a problem.  Also, they are made in Nebraska.

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47 minutes ago, FIVE said:

I'm on my second Blue Ox, never had a problem.  Also, they are made in Nebraska.

Blue Ox parts are made off shore and assembled in the U S.  Roadmaster parts are engineered and manufactured in house (Vancouver, WA).

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Demco Excalibar with over 70,000 miles now, is what we have. Rebuilt it 2 years ago (new bolts, seals and boots. All welds fully checked) and it has been totally trouble free.

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Joe,

I am not disputing that the aluminum tow bar is weak as you showed in your picture. However I did notice that on the bar there was indication it had been torqued really bad in one direction. Just my observation. 

Herman 

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All the brands are good. :) Matter of choice!  Linda has a Blue Ox 10,000#, her toad is a Ford Expedition, heavy!  I had the same, when my toad was a Sierra 2500 Crew, Duramax 4 x 4, with a 85 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in bed of truck, 122 gallon total.  Heavy!  :D

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I recently bought a new towbar, Blue Ox Avail, 10,000# rated. Since both my Jeep and GMC Canyon were setup for Blue Ox, economically speaking, it was a no brainer for me. I now have a slightly used Blue Ox 7500# aluminum tow bar  available.

 

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I've had two Blue Ox tow bars, it was an Avanta, the black painted model & it would often bind when we tried to unhook, (although it never rusted) and was probably 5+ years old when we traded it in and upgraded to the Avail 7420 when it first was available. Within a few months the unit was covered in rust and all the lettering fell off. Contacted the rep who sold it to me at the rally. Her response, sorry, call someone else. Ended up going back and forth with the Blue Ox Nebraska office. After furnishing them images and much discussion, they replaced the unit. Within six months the letters once again fell off and rust started developing, although not as bad as he first unit. I contacted the newly hired Blue Ox customer service rep (the fellow I dealt with before was gone) sent more images, she responded with: 

Quote

Spray the rust with silicone or repaint it with Rustoleum paint. And we don't use the letters now I'll send you the new badge emblems and you can clean off the old glue and apply the new emblems. 

When I asked why the rust still continues, she said something like: its painted steel, rust is normal. So I said my truck is painted steel, its way older than this tow bar with more miles on it and it doesn't rust. Her reply: Where would you like your emblems sent?  

I understand that the rust is mostly cosmetic, as are the letters. However, so is the paint and emblems on your motorhome - they shouldn't fall off and they shouldn't rust. It is unacceptable and speaks to the quality of the product in my opinion. After all this is not an inexpensive product, and they purport themselves to be an industry leader.

I've since learned that:

  1. DEMCO offers a limited lifetime warranty
  2. Roadmaster offers a two year warranty (if you register within 30 days of purchase)
  3. Blue Ox provides a three year warranty (if you register within 30 days of purchase)

I've heard from Roadmaster and DEMCO owners that at conventions and rallies either company will service your tow bar for free. I've also been told that Demco will perform maintenance on your tow bar free of charge if you return it to them at their service center in Iowa. Blue Ox charges $30 at rallies and $95 + $20 return shipping to service your tow bar if you ship it to them into their Nebraska service center. Blue Ox recommends that you have your tow bar serviced by an authorized technician every 10, 000 miles or two years whichever comes first.

All in all - I think I'll buy a DEMCO or Roadmaster next time...

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2 hours ago, 2brew said:

I've had two Blue Ox tow bars, it was an Avanta, the black painted model & it would often bind when we tried to unhook, (although it never rusted) and was probably 5+ years old when we traded it in and upgraded to the Avail 7420 when it first was available. Within a few months the unit was covered in rust and all the lettering fell off. Contacted the rep who sold it to me at the rally. Her response, sorry, call someone else. Ended up going back and forth with the Blue Ox Nebraska office. After furnishing them images and much discussion, they replaced the unit. Within six months the letters once again fell off and rust started developing, although not as bad as he first unit. I contacted the newly hired Blue Ox customer service rep (the fellow I dealt with before was gone) sent more images, she responded with: 

When I asked why the rust still continues, she said something like: its painted steel, rust is normal. So I said my truck is painted steel, its way older than this tow bar with more miles on it and it doesn't rust. Her reply: Where would you like your emblems sent?  

I understand that the rust is mostly cosmetic, as are the letters. However, so is the paint and emblems on your motorhome - they shouldn't fall off and they shouldn't rust. It is unacceptable and speaks to the quality of the product in my opinion. After all this is not an inexpensive product, and they purport themselves to be an industry leader.

I've since learned that:

  1. DEMCO offers a limited lifetime warranty
  2. Roadmaster offers a two year warranty (if you register within 30 days of purchase)
  3. Blue Ox provides a three year warranty (if you register within 30 days of purchase)

I've heard from Roadmaster and DEMCO owners that at conventions and rallies either company will service your tow bar for free. I've also been told that Demco will perform maintenance on your tow bar free of charge if you return it to them at their service center in Iowa. Blue Ox charges $30 at rallies and $95 + $20 return shipping to service your tow bar if you ship it to them into their Nebraska service center. Blue Ox recommends that you have your tow bar serviced by an authorized technician every 10, 000 miles or two years whichever comes first.

All in all - I think I'll buy a DEMCO or Roadmaster next time...

Rust is a new one for me with Blue OX. Binding I’ve heard many times. 

This bar was acquired in 2011. I inspect it, lube it and that’s it.

image.jpg

image.jpg

 

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