Wesley Chapel, Florida
As I mentioned in a previous post, we had a problem with one of the base plates on the truck coming loose. We tow our Nissan truck behind the motor home. Base plates are installed onto the front of the tow car to connect with the Blue Ox tow bar, which is attached to the motor home. It’s critical everything is connected and mounted properly.
When we were getting ready to leave Georgia, Al noticed one of the brackets mounted on the truck appeared to be loose. Upon checking, he found a problem with two of the three bolts on the drivers side. One was broken off, and one one was stripped so that it couldn’t be tightened.
We had the original face plates put on last August, at a place nearby in Clearwater, called Rentz Trailer Hitches. We had some issues with them, but ended up getting everything resolved and we were happy. You can read about that here. There was some sloppy work to be dealt with.
One of the problems was the owner was rude to us when we wanted some problems resolved. I don’t like spending thousands and getting rude treatment just because I want the job done right. They had a new tech working there and he was making mistakes. When Tony, the shop manager got involved things improved.
Anyway, we have been traveling all this time thinking everything was okay. Al checked the brackets and tow bar occasionally and all appeared to be fine until last week.
When we got back to Florida, we called Rentz to tell them about our problem and make an appointment to bring the Nissan in to have the base plate fixed. Al was told by the owners son, that they no longer took appointments and it was first come, first serve. That’s nice in theory, but what if the technicians haven’t finished their work from the day before? You could arrive first thing in the morning and have to wait all day while they finish up. We chose not to do that, because it’s a long drive over there with no guarantee that anyone would be able to look at your vehicle. They also didn’t seem to be too concerned about our problem.
We decided to go to Rv Medic here in Tampa to have the work done. They are where we should have had the work done in the first place. In order to get at these bolts, the entire front bumper cover had to be removed. Vaughn, the mechanic showed us what the problem was after he got it all torn down.
Apparently, these bolts were put on without using “RED Lock tight.” They became loose, which was what caused them to eventually break. Vaughn said in the instructions from Blue Ox, clearly state that RED Lock tight must be used on these bolts.
Vaughn showed us the bolts and there was NO lock tight used at all. Apparently, it would still be visible on the bolts.
Vaughn wanted to check the bolts on the other side as well and he found a broken bolt there as well and one that would break when he tried to remove it. No Lock Tight there either!
$400 later, we left with the problems resolved. Vaughn was very thorough and we trusted his work. Sure wish we had used him in the first place!
Vaughn saved the bolts for us and they wrote up exactly what they did and the problems that were found. It was his opinion that not using Lock Tight was the cause of the entire problem.
My guess is the new technician at Rentz never read the instructions for the Blue Ox faceplate install and no one ever checked his work.
We are going to contact Rentz on Monday, but from our past dealings with the owner, we aren’t expecting much. We will try to deal with the shop foreman Tony if we can.
We feel they should cover the entire cost to repair their error, but we’re not too optimistic. Now that it’s over, I’m glad we didn’t bring it to them. I have no confidence in their work at this point.
If we don’t get any satisfaction from them, we will be spreading this story out all over the RV world and internet. We will also be making a call to Blue Ox, since they were on their website of recommended shops.
We can cover the $400. That’s not the most important thing. The main issue, is that our lives (and others) were put at risk because they didn’t read the manual. (RTFM is one of my favorite sayings).
Our recommendation to everyone that tows a vehicle behind your motor home is to check all the brackets before each trip. Check tow bar itself and then also check the face plate brackets.
We’ll see what happens when we call Rentz on Monday, but in the meantime….just in case, any recommendations of where to spread our story?
Stay tuned to part two!