Tow bars

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by 6 Lemons, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. 6 Lemons

    6 Lemons New Member

    Good morning - we are new to the towing scene and need to purchase a tow bar soon. Looking for information about brand, safety considerations, what to do and what not to do - we own an Itasca Sundancer and plan to tow a 1997 Saturn - not interested in hearing from dealers who sell a particular brand.

    RVers out there who have some experience with towning and different brands of tow bars would like your expertise and help - any an all info would be most appreciated.

    Thanks

    6 lemons
     
  2. Gary B

    Gary B Senior Member

    Tow bars

    Hi Jan, welcome to the forum, here are a few Mfg of tow bars: Reese, Demco, Blue Ox, and Draw-tite, all make tow bars with differnt features and price ranges of from $100.00 to over $1200.00. Some prefer the tow bars that stay attched to the MH other like the one that fold onto the tow vehicle, some don't like the ball type connector others (myself included) find them just fine. Some say that the ball type couplers can come off and somefolks have had this happen to them, also some folks have had the unit that are attached to the MH come off because of attaching pins/safety lock failure, all require saftey cables/chains for this very reason. The self alining types are easier to connect at first but with experience the fixed types are no problem. You may want to seriously consider an aux braking system such as the Brake Buddy. Good luck. :) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: :approve:
     
  3. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Tow bars

    I have a very different opinion than your first resonse. To me, the risk involved in using a cheap tow bar when towing an expensive toad behind an even more expensive motorhome, is a false economy. We use the Aladdin from Blue Ox, but they are not the only quality brand. But the key to remember is that the choice of a base plate to attach the tow bar can effect the wear and tear on the toad in the miles that you tow. And you want a product that will be reliable for many miles of towing. Another point is that the type of tow bar that stays on the motorhome when not in use is much more convienent than any of the other choices. The folding ones are no doubt next as with the bars that do not fold, it is much more difficult to hook-up and then you have the wish bone sticking up in front when you drive unless you take the time to remove it each time you use the toad. And as far as the hitch ball, that is the place that most toads that ever become disconnected from the motorhome do so. The reason is that if you cross too steep a dip or hump, the hitch can be pryed off of the ball. With the type of tow bar that stays on the motorhome, there is no ball and much less chance of a disconnect. It is true that you must have a safety chain or cable to keep the toad attached in the even of hitch failure, but that just means that the toad will hit you when you stop, rather than some other driver.

    The other thing that one should give serious consideration to when setting up to tow a vehicle is a brake system for the toad. There is no state currently enforcing the use of such systems, but in the event of an emergency stop, it could prevent an accident.

    As to what we use, we have a Brake Buddy for the aux. brake system and a tow bar and base plate from Blue Ox. They and Roadmaster are the leading manufacturers of such equipment, with Demco in a distant third.
     
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Tow bars

    I have a very different opinion than your first resonse. To me, the risk involved in using a cheap tow bar when towing an expensive toad behind an even more expensive motorhome, is a false economy. We use the Aladdin from Blue Ox, but they are not the only quality brand. But the key to remember is that the choice of a base plate to attach the tow bar can effect the wear and tear on the toad in the miles that you tow. And you want a product that will be reliable for many miles of towing. Another point is that the type of tow bar that stays on the motorhome when not in use is much more convienent than any of the other choices. The folding ones are no doubt next as with the bars that do not fold, it is much more difficult to hook-up and then you have the wish bone sticking up in front when you drive unless you take the time to remove it each time you use the toad. And as far as the hitch ball, that is the place that most toads that ever become disconnected from the motorhome do so. The reason is that if you cross too steep a dip or hump, the hitch can be pryed off of the ball. With the type of tow bar that stays on the motorhome, there is no ball and much less chance of a disconnect. It is true that you must have a safety chain or cable to keep the toad attached in the even of hitch failure, but that just means that the toad will hit you when you stop, rather than some other driver.

    The other thing that one should give serious consideration to when setting up to tow a vehicle is a brake system for the toad. There is no state currently enforcing the use of such systems, but in the event of an emergency stop, it could prevent an accident.

    As to what we use, we have a Brake Buddy for the aux. brake system and a tow bar and base plate from Blue Ox. They and Roadmaster are the leading manufacturers of such equipment, with Demco in a distant third.
     
  5. Butch

    Butch New Member

    Tow bars

    I've had several tow bars that cost less than $25 each. Built them myself to suit my needs at the time. Any of which were stronger than store bought items and just as safe if not safer while in use. Where I went with them, they had to be. While I don't recommend everybody run right out and start gluing metal together, I will say that higher priceing does not necessarily make things better. I currently use a Roadmaster for which I paid $50 for at a garage sale. I feel just as safe and secure with it as some would with their thousand dollar jobbie. In short, shop around. Towing world sometimes has used/rebuilt units for sale. www.towingworld.com Might also check on ebay or some of the other auction sites. These things pop up every where. I would recommend some type of auxillary braking system for the toad...
     
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Tow bars

    quote:. While I'll bet you don't know of a real incidence of a ball poping off, Gary B

    I hope that you wager isn't for too large a sum, but if you will post your address, I would be very happy to send you a location to mail your check! You see the information comes from two sources. One is an article in the Nov/Dec issue of Escapees magazine and the other source is Motorhome magazine from about a year ago. Additionally, I would be very happy to put you in touch with the person that I know who has had that experience, although I have neither heard of, nor met anyone who has had those pins fail. I do know of one who had one pin work out after the clip holding it in failed, but it was only one side of the tow bar and it was stopped by the brake-away on the aux. brake.

    I am sorry that some people having an opinion different than yours offends you. I do believe howerer, that there is some reason that far more fulltimers tow with either Blue Ox or Roadmaster than with a rig like yours and I doubt that it is only because everyone who does so is stupid! Since I can only speak for myself, I'll not attempt to explain why, but any RVer who looks can easily see which opinion is more common.

    One question though, aren't opinions what the bulletin board is about? Or is this only for your opinion? You are welcome to your opinion, but there are more who think as I do.
     
  7. Edmund A Skibinski

    Edmund A Skibinski New Member

    Tow bars

    ;) Jan ,I use the Sterling Tow Bar from Roadmaster , 6000# capacity , aluminum construction , huge stainless rods easy to hook-up and un-hook .
     
  8. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Tow bars

    Jan, I have the Roadmaster falcon tow bar that stays on the MH and it has been great. Purchased it on E-Bay at a good price and got all the cables and electrical hook ups. It is a little heavy (for me) when removing. Aluminium tow bars would be great if you have problems lifting. You should be able to find used brackets for the Saturn as they are a popular toad. Most are not very hard to install and you save the installation labor if you do it yourself. You might find something in the RVUSA classifieds or try hitch trader. I would watch e-bay. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
     

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