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Over the years I have rarely heard of a tow bar that failed due to a factory defect. I cannot say the same of failing tow bars that were abused by the owners. Stressed by carrying heavy loads and of course the big no-no - Backing up with a car attached to a tow bar.

My humble opinion is the owner may have inadvertently created a stress situation or at some point abused it without knowing. One other failure I have seen is the owner not paying attention when hooking up their car. They forget to insert a clevis into a pin or something else. I once towed my car from Florida to Indiana and forgot to put the locking cap on the pin. Thankfully it didn't vibrate out. I have seen base plates on cars get loose as well. I always suggest to once a year check the bolts on the base plate to be sure they are tight.

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All

I have attached a couple of photos.  what I think got lost in translation is that there was a redesign of the Avail tow bar a couple years back.  The old style had a yoke type connection welded from two L shaped brackets vertically welded in center and then stitch welded at the sides to end of receiver tube.   The new design has the plates welded to the sides of the receiver tube.

Second photo set is from iRV2 and think the same that Moonwink posted above.

As I have a new style Avail the topic was near  & dear to my heart/self preservation. I have read thru recent threads over on iRV2.  The common failure cause seems to be the old style yoke type attachment shearing at end of receiver tube.

I have inspected my tow bar and it looks good - I am sending back to BO for inspection as an added precaution.

 

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Good observation Mark! I totally agree with your conclusion.

With that said, I would HIGHLY recommend any member here that owns an Avail Tow Bar to find out what version they own and act appropriately.

If I was one that owned the OLD version I would get rid of it ASAP for a much stronger better designed tow bar.

JMHO

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I don't know how many of the Avail style towbars have failed similarly to the one in these images (it appears at least these two that ended up on IRV2) but if I owned one of these older style bars, I'd be upgrading it to the newer style ASAP.  You can buy the hitch connector assembly ($322.39 but hey, you get free shipping) from eTrailer.com that replaces the point of failure shown in these images.  At what point should Blue Ox stand up and issue a recall?

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Blue-Ox/84-0186.html

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After reviewing all the 20 pages of posts on IRV2 and the two pages of posts on our group, I do not believe we will ever know what could have caused the failure of the OP's Tow bar. There has been a great deal of speculation and good information about how, why and when about the failure. I do not condone nor go along with the Idea that it was a Fault of Blue OX. There are probably thousands of Blue Ox Tow Bars in use today and when properly maintained and inspected have had no failures. The biggest factor when it comes to failures in any piece of equipment is the owner/operator and not the product or the manufacturer.

In the IRV2 discussion it was brought up that Blue Ox recommends that any tow bar that they sell should be returned to them for inspection at least every two years or 10,000 to 15,000 miles so they can inspect and service the tow bar and its components. Blue Ox will pay for the shipping to and from and the owner only has to pay $150 for the service That is very inexpensive considering you are looking at around a GRAND to replace the tow bar. This inspection by Blue Ox give the professionals the opportunity to inspect and replace any worn parts and apply any updates or improvements that may have been developed since purchase. It also allows  Blue Ox to get Worn Out or Obsolete or Unsafe Products off the market and give the owner the option to upgrade if necessary.

After viewing all the posted pictures, it is some what obvious what might have attributed to the failure. The OP said he purchased the Avail 10K Tow Bar in 2015 and he personally did inspect the tow bar each time he used it, OK very good. His tow bar is of an old design that was updated with and approved design a few years later. If you look at the pictures the OP posted the two brackets that failed had a ninety degree bend on each bracket and then the bracket was welded on the end on the hitch. The two parts were weld to the hitch only on the two bends on the end of the hitch receptacle. The failure of the brackets was at the bends not the welds, which is the weakest point of the brackets. There is no gusset or flat plate welded to the brackets for reinforcement to prevent any side ways movement along the vertical bends. From the pictures you can clearly see that there is a lot of clearance between the brackets and the Hitch at the bolts and the brackets appear to be bent sideways and sheared vertically. this would indicate that there was a lot of movement left and right sideways before the brackets failed.

The same Updated/New Avail 10K tow bar has the two brackets that are straight  and extend along the side of the hitch receptacle and welded on all four edges of the bracket. There is no weak point in this design. Somewhere Blue Ox may have figured out that they may have an issue with the bent brackets and went to the newer design.

Now here is pure Speculation on my part, but if The OP would have sent the Tow Bar into Blue OX for the recommended inspections and maintenance the impending failure would have been recognized or the outdated Hitch could have been replace with the newer updated stronger Hitch.

I just do not condone blasting a Manufacturer when a part fails when the purchaser does not follow the manufactures recommended Maintenance and Inspections. When these failures occur, before you blame the part failure on the Manufacturer  take a moment and look in the Mirror. 

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You can't put all the blame on the user either.  Because I've had my Avanta II for many years, I took it to the Blue Ox service center at Quartzsite and few years ago to have them "tune it up".  All they did was replace the plastic/nylon washers and tighten the bolts.  For that, they charged $35.  I was extremely disappointed in the service but never complained - just paid the bill, grabbed my towbar and left.  They never mentioned a word about sending it back to the factory for the proper maintenance it needed.  The bolts wear as do the holes they go through leaving a lot of "play" after a few years.

I have never heard or seen their offer to send my towbar back to them for refurbishment in all the years I've owned it.  In fact, your post is the first time I've ever seen it mentioned and thank you for enlightening me. 

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I would think that a sharp u-turn would put the stress on those tabs. You always try to make it as quick as possible but you may have maxed out the angle at that point and it was trying to bend the tabs. If you have done this a few times, it just adds up. I hope this is understandable. 

Gary 05 AMB DST

 

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BlueOx has the offer to send the tow bar back to them for many years. At least 12 that I know of. We looked at the BO lineup when shopping for a tow setup and decided on the Ready Brute only because of the braking system. That was one of their selling points then. We still run the BlueOx baseplate which I've run on my last four toweds. That said, my final thought on this thread is that it doesn't appear the claimant took very good care of his equipment based on the provided pictures. This would leave me to believe he wasn't real particular when doing his inspection. He was also towing a very heavy vehicle which, even though within the tow bar's specs, still would put a lot more stress on the towing equipment if he were to do something foolish, intentionally or not. A lighter vehicle might not have stressed the tow bar quite as much. I'll sign off this thread and let the legal beagles fight the fight. Who knows if we will ever learn what the outcome is.....Have fun everyone, weather is warming up...time to go CAMPING!!!!.....Dennis

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As the OP my intent was not to criticize BlueOx, but was to hopefully make us all take a look at our tow bars now and then, and to show what can happen.                 There is no perfect apparatus regardless of who made it,  each will be lacking somewhere. 

Yes Dennis, lets go.  I'm heading to get new tags ( registration ) in a few minutes.   That's setting me back $365 here where I live in Texas.   I'm sure some states are higher and others lower,  it seems like quite a bit to me but at my age everything seems high.   I remember when tags for my car were like 10 bucks, of course I didn't have the money to buy them so I really can't complain.  Somehow we struggled through those early days of kids, college, weddings, etc and to my surprise here we are in these      so called golden yrs tooling around in our Monaco.   Is this a great country or what,  lets make sure we keep it that way.  It's not a sure thing you know,  other countries are examples we should take notice of when all the free stuff is being offered, it ain't really free.   You'll pay for one way or another.

Ok, enough rambling.

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I paid $384 to South Dakota but that was for the coach, the Equinox, the Mercedes and the Ram.!!! No smog and no safety inspection either. Mine come due in May so that figure may rise....we'll see. Remember when a 1/2 gallon of ice cream was actually a 1/2 gallon.? Or a can of tuna was actually 12oz.?? They think we can't read labels and keep selling less product but make it look like the containers are the same size..... Be safe...time to enjoy life....Dennis

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