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Old 08-01-2017, 02:44 PM   #1
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Different BlueOx Shanks for Different Ball Mounts?

I have a 2017 FC 30'. TV is a Tundra. I purchased my AS from the dealer to include a Blue Ox Sway Pro with 1000lbs torsion bars. Come to find out they gave me an "older" version of BO which had the old style chain lever latches rather than the newer rotating latches that I have now.

Just got back from a 6000 mile six week trip and noticed that the BO receiver shank was getting sloppy in the TV receiver and thought I would buy a new one just to be safe. (Are there shims for tightening the fit on these?). Factory sent me a new shank. Click image for larger version

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ID:	291058 Hmmm. The new shank appears to be a "newer" channel design rather than the solid metal shank that came with the "older" BO. I assume the newer design cuts down on some of the weight. But the ball mount does not match up with the set screws exactly when firmly pressed up to the shank. See pic Click image for larger version

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Questions: Does this work at all? If so, how are the screws supposed to be set? I believe there was a preset angle of the ball mount that needs to be maintained, if so what is it? and how is it measured? Or, Do I need to return the shank for a solid metal one and avoid the problem all together? Lastly why do the BO shanks wear so quickly? Soft metal? Shims needed? I towed my 2007 25' AS with an Equal-I-zer for 10 years w/o replacing the shank and now I have to replace my BO shank once a year? Somethings wrong.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:52 PM   #2
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Have the dealer give you a recent version of the Blue Ox mount. The one you have looks like an older model that won't properly fit the shank.

Bruce
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:45 PM   #3
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Call Blue Ox and verify, but like Bruce says, it looks like the dealer gave you one of the original versions of the hitch. The new hitch heads are fixed angle and have no adjustment. No set screws to adjust. Suggest you work with your dealer and Blue Ox to get a current revision hitch. Given your purchase included the hitch, a conversation with your sales manager should move this along quickly.

The H-beam shank is a great idea to limit weight in the hitch assembly. However, it may be difficult to get one of the aftermarket shank clamps to function correctly without a solid shank.

The other concern is that your receiver may be deforming. Shank slop results from that problem too. As part of your inspection it makes sense to verify that the receiver is correctly holding it's shape and is strong enough for your application.

Good luck with your investigation. Let us know how it turns out. Pat

Edit - FWIW the H-beam shank we have has about 20K miles with no visible wear. We have a much lighter rig and that may be relevant.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:22 PM   #4
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All good thoughts. Thank you, you have confirmed my suspicions. I have sent the above pics to BO with the same notes. I'll see what they say. The easiest solution would be to swap out the H channel shank for the solid metal one. BUT I am inclined to upgrade to the newer model ball mount because it is a fixed mount and because the whole assembly weighs less than the older model.

I doubt the AS dealer (in Texas) will work with me as we were not happy with the whole purchase experience and made it known to the the owner and AS factory. Hard feelings all around. It happens. There is perhaps some merit to purchasing locally rather than 3 states away. hmmm?
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:44 PM   #5
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...-102802-2.html

The link is to a thread that has posts from folks with the old hitch head design. Might be able to contact for more info.

I thought that I read BO replaced the old design with new in a trade out. Can't find that info, so really don't know if it's my imagination or an old post that I read. Did a lot of research at one time, but this is an old thread. Certainly appears the hitch you got was really old stock. Quite surprised it was still around. Pat

Edit add http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...-in-34559.html

This link looks like about the start of the product reviews.
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:15 PM   #6
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Yikes, the AS dealer sold me a BO hitch that was at least 10 years old. Don't I feel silly? There is a story here. I made two 1300 miles trips to this AS dealer settled on a trade in price for my 2007 25' and price for the new AS to include a BO hitch. When we got there the service manager claimed they had no BO in inventory, my sales guy went and looked in the parts inventory and found 3 that didn't show up in their computer inventory. I should have known at this point that something was wrong. I was not familiar enough with the BO hitch systems then to know the differences between the styles of BO hitches. It looked new and said Blue Ox and I read the reviews and that was good enough.

Anyway heard back from the BO factory, said I needed to get a new ball mount AND spring bars to go with the new shank. Figured I would need a new ball mount, didn't think new spring bars would be needed too. So now I will have a completely new hitch system, that I should have had to begin with 6 months ago. Lesson learned.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:11 PM   #7
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My sympathy for your frustration. Sounds like your guy was trying to make it all work for you. Who would have thought that hitch would still be around to cause an owner such a problem. Pat
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zapper View Post
I have a 2017 FC 30'. TV is a Tundra. I purchased my AS from the dealer to include a Blue Ox Sway Pro with 1000lbs torsion bars. Come to find out they gave me an "older" version of BO which had the old style chain lever latches rather than the newer rotating latches that I have now.

Just got back from a 6000 mile six week trip and noticed that the BO receiver shank was getting sloppy in the TV receiver and thought I would buy a new one just to be safe. (Are there shims for tightening the fit on these?). Factory sent me a new shank. Attachment 291058 Hmmm. The new shank appears to be a "newer" channel design rather than the solid metal shank that came with the "older" BO. I assume the newer design cuts down on some of the weight. But the ball mount does not match up with the set screws exactly when firmly pressed up to the shank. See pic Attachment 291059.

Questions: Does this work at all? If so, how are the screws supposed to be set? I believe there was a preset angle of the ball mount that needs to be maintained, if so what is it? and how is it measured? Or, Do I need to return the shank for a solid metal one and avoid the problem all together? Lastly why do the BO shanks wear so quickly? Soft metal? Shims needed? I towed my 2007 25' AS with an Equal-I-zer for 10 years w/o replacing the shank and now I have to replace my BO shank once a year? Somethings wrong.
I have no experience with Blue Ox, so can't comment on it. However...........
I do have experience with 'hitch slop' and much rattling. So........

Being an aircraft tech, I really, really didn't like that. So..........

Using feeler gauges, I measured .064"+ gap between the receiver, and the shank. And..................

I obtained a piece of .060" steel strapping, and made two shims out of them.
One with a 5/8th". hole for the pin. And ends bent over for handles.
This was on a Husky hitch, used with a Hi-Lo towed by a 4-Runner,
It worked very well.

Later on with the F-150 receiver and an Ezy-lift hitch, I found it kinda tight, and had a machine shop grind it down to .050" with their surface grinder.
I do grease the shims, and the shank when installing; due to my old Air Force Sergeant's dictum. "If it moves, Lube it. If it doesn't move, Paint it. If it talks back, Salute it."
This prevents wear and rust, which I have seen destroy a hitch.
(And I wear a smock, and old gloves when handling, due to the grease.)
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:32 PM   #9
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The saga continues. New BO ball mount just arrived. Mounted it to the new BO shank and guess what? There is now a slop between the ball mount and the new shank after the bolts had been put in and torqued. Looked to be about 1/8" gap. Solution: Inserted 1/8" thick washers on the mounting bolts between the ball mount and the shank. Perfect. No movie.

New spring bars to arrive soon. Factory said I needed them, but old 1000 lbs bars fit just fine. Will compare old spring bars to new once they get here.

There is still some slop in the new shank and my receiver, not much, but bothersome. Just bought a Brophy Machine Works Receiver Stabilizer Bracket that fits over the shank and has bolts on one side and underneath that lock onto the TV receiver. Has anyone tried one of these to stabilize the shank slop in the receiver?
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zapper View Post
The saga continues. New BO ball mount just arrived. Mounted it to the new BO shank and guess what? There is now a slop between the ball mount and the new shank after the bolts had been put in and torqued. Looked to be about 1/8" gap. Solution: Inserted 1/8" thick washers on the mounting bolts between the ball mount and the shank. Perfect. No movie.



New spring bars to arrive soon. Factory said I needed them, but old 1000 lbs bars fit just fine. Will compare old spring bars to new once they get here.



There is still some slop in the new shank and my receiver, not much, but bothersome. Just bought a Brophy Machine Works Receiver Stabilizer Bracket that fits over the shank and has bolts on one side and underneath that lock onto the TV receiver. Has anyone tried one of these to stabilize the shank slop in the receiver?


New spring bars have arrived. 1000 lbs. When compared to the old style spring bars the look like they have been on a diet. Bars are much slimmer than the old and weigh less too. Test will come Thursday when I pick up the AS from the dealer for some warranty work. We'll see how the new hitch works
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:47 PM   #11
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Is the AS level? I too have a Tundra, and my shank is pointed down, and the hitch calculator says the proper ball height for the AS is about 19". I'm to move my ball farther DOWN.
Just curious. My Tundra is a 2015.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:56 AM   #12
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This is my experience with different shank lengths and ball heights on my Blue Ox with 1000# bars on a 2017 FC25FB with 16" Michelin tires, which raises my Airstream about 1/2" over the stock 15" wheels. My Nissan Titan XD's receiver pin is at 21" center from the ground. (the 2" receiver opening is 20" on the bottom and 22" at the top from the ground).

I found the 18-3/4" ball height recommendation from Airstream useless. I purchased the 11 hole Blue Ox shank so I could get my ball down to 19-1/4" while my Airstream was on order. When picking up my Airstream at the dealer, it was obviously set several inches nose down.

So I switched back to the standard 7 hole shank that came with my Blue Ox, using its lowest possible setting. This perfectly leveled my Airstream when using the 10th chain link with 2-1/2 links showing under the latches. I believe my ball height was 23-1/2" before connecting the Airstream in this configuration. But then I found that using the 11th link with 1-1/2 links showing under the latches improved performance by eliminating bow push. But using 11 links resulted in my Airstream riding around an inch nose high using the standard shank.

So I switched back to my 11 hole extended shank with the bolts in the sixth and eighth holes (set one hole lower than the standard seven hole shank) with the 11th link from the loose end of the chain in the slot. My ball height starts at 22" in this configuration. Now my Airstream rides about 1/4" low in front. With the choice of being either 1" nose high or 1/4" nose low at 11 links, I chose nose low. The nose-low attitude increased the weight distribution effectiveness, moving an additional 80# to my steer axle and lowering my pre-weight distributed tongue weight on my truck.

Note that starting ball height will be different on every tow vehicle to achieve a level Airstream when connected. Starting ball height will be greatly influenced by the amount of sag your vehicle has before weight distribution and the effect of your weight distribution. Estimating your ball height will be difficult before owning your Airstream, tow vehicle and connecting them while loaded for camping.

The bottom line is that I found that buying a shank length to obtain an unconnected 18-3/4" ball height before owning my Airstream was a useless exercise. I found that my unconnected ball height needed to be in the 22" to 23-1/2" range to have a level Airstream depending on the weight distribution settings I chose for my rig. Therefore you may want to wait until you can connect your rig before buying a longer shank than you will need. I should have bought the nine-hole shank instead of the eleven hole shank.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:17 AM   #13
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The bottom line is that I found that buying a shank length to obtain an unconnected 18-3/4" ball height before owning my Airstream was a useless exercise. I found that my unconnected ball height needed to be in the 22" to 23-1/2" range to have a level Airstream depending on the weight distribution settings I chose for my rig. Therefore you may want to wait until you can connect your rig before buying a longer shank than you will need. I should have bought the nine-hole shank instead of the eleven hole shank.
Hmmmm... I believe you.
But I'm now more confused. If the WD settings return the truck to the same readings as before hitching, then shouldn't it be the same as the unloaded height?
The hitch is not lifting both the front and back of the TV.

I already have the hitch but not the AS (yet). I thought I'd get it ready to tow before hitching up. This may be more complicated than I thought.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:33 PM   #14
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"This may be more complicated than I thought."

Its interesting to me to try different settings on my WDH. I test drove link 9, 10 and 11 in the rotating slots with the hitch head in the bottom bolt hole 7 or 8 for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles. I measured the Airstream front and back from frame to ground each time and weighed each at a Cat Scale. I'm pretty sure I've weighed my rig 21 times to date. Many of my weight tickets were posted on Airforums with my comments.

What I found was that perfectly level (bottom bolt hole 7 with link 10) was not the best setup for me because I had bow push. (I drove this way from Tampa to Minneapolis VIA Wisconsin.) I then moved to bottom bolt hole 7 with link 11, which removed the bow push. But this raised the Airstream nose 1" higher than the rear due to the extra WDH lift. (I drove this way from Minneapolis to Montana and back to Florida because I didn't have my extended shank). When I got home, I switched to my 11-hole shank and moved the bottom bolt to hole 8 with link 11. Now my Airstream sits 1/4" low in the front versus the rear from frame to ground. I've driven this setting for over 500 miles and will be using it my on next trip to Wisconsin next month. I've also weighed bottom bolt hole 9 with link 10 and 11 and posted the results on Airforums. Here is my latest setup posting with earlier setup pictures and scale tickets further up the thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1985301

P.S. that picture is with my hitch ball starting at 22" unhitched. You can zoom in the picture and see the hitch setup at bottom hole 8 and link 11 with 1-1/2 links showing under the latches.

The picture in the comment just above the link is lower bolt 7 with 11 links. Notice the nose high attitude. Other pictures on my thread were lower bolt 7 with 10 links. You can zoom in on them to check the hitch settings.
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