Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Crisis Averted

Posted from Mancos, CO

RVing in general, and fulltime RVing in particular, requires a constant vigil of the equipment. Sometimes, this also includes the vehicle being towed (for you motorhome RVers).

The last couple of times we hooked up our Honda Fit to the Blue Ox tow bar, I noticed a small amount of vertical "play" in the attachment tabs.  With the tabs in place, I could pull upward and feel some type of looseness in my baseplate connection.

Needless to say, this is not a good thing. I installed the Blue Ox baseplate on our Honda Fit back in 2012, so I was none too happy to have to tear off the front of the car to find the problem. It had to be done, however.  Here's a picture of the car with the front fascia removed.  I still have yet to remove the vehicle bumper. I found out once again how much I hate those plastic connectors on these cars!

With the bumper removed I was able to take a closer look at the baseplate connections.  On this vehicle, there are three 3/8" Grade 5 bolts which attach each side of the baseplate to the Fit's frame.

The "problem" was quickly located. On both the driver's side and on the passenger's side, the bottom bolt was completely missing. Here's a look at the driver's side of the bracket.

The same bolt was missing on the passenger's side of the bracket. Not only were the lower bolts gone, but the middle bolt on both sides were a bit loose.

I replaced all six bolts and nuts with brand new hardware, again using Loctite Red on the threads. (Just as I had done back in 2012). The bolts were all torqued to Blue Ox's specs of 33 ft/lbs as well.

When taking the fascia off the front end of the Fit I found 3/4 of the broken bolts and nuts laying in the horizontal plastic fascia beneath the bumper and radiator area.

I'm not sure what caused the broken bolts, but I did notice that the nylon locking nuts were backed off to the ends of the bolts, and the one bolt head appears to have broken on the outside of the baseplate bracket.

We (definitely with the help of Karen) were able to re-assemble the Fit without incident (and even had no parts left over).

There really is no moral to this story other than to check your equipment from time to time, and if a problem is found, don't procrastinate (like I did for a bit) and do something to fix it.  I was fortunate enough to be able to repair this problem without having to drag it to a service place and saved quite a bit of money in the process.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


  1. Wow! Good catch! Glad you are safe and avoided a potential disaster.

  2. Very good detective work. And now it is fixed. Bravo!

  3. Good thing you followed up and took off the bumper. Nice job.

  4. Great catch to avoid disaster.

  5. As you say, vigilance is essential in this lifestyle.

  6. Thank goodness you caught this in time, it's not good to have your toad pass you on the highway... :cD

    Nice to have the mechanical ability to do your own repairs, if you aren't handy before you own an RV you will be after buying one.