DIY Blue Ox Install

He said…

After talking, back in September 2016, with a sales rep at our regional FMCA rally we decided to go with the Blue Ox system for towing our 2014 Honda CR-V.  The system cost us about $2600 new for:

I know we could have gotten a system cheaper than that; but I have a hard time buying used equipment.

We ordered it on the 28th and three of the four boxes (all but the tow bar itself) arrived less than a week later. The tow bar is getting shipped in a week – so it’s a good thing that I ordered all of this early since we’re hitting the road in about a month).

The installation instructions looked a bit complex – so I decided to pay to have someone install it for us.  I looked at the Blue Ox website for the closest authorized dealer to do the install.

When I called them up, I had to explain that I already had all the equipment and that I wanted them to just install it.  They quoted my about seven hours at $96/hour! Ouch.

I called someone else who said they could do it and they wouldn’t give me a time estimate; but they would charge me $70/hour. Still ouch.

I decided it was time for me to learn something new!  So I started watching a few different YouTube videos and reading the instructions multiple times.  I decided I was qualified to do it! Heh heh.

Started looking at all the tools and materials that I needed and headed to AutoZone to get what I didn’t have. The next day the fun began.

Car up on blocks with the hood open.
Car up on blocks with the hood open.

First thing that we had to do was take off the face of the car. They call it the fascia.  Sounds simple; but this took us about an hour and a half.  It is also the scariest part of the procedure because of the noises that happen as you pull and prod the fascia out of the snaps.  In the process we broke three of the plastic push fasteners… so we know we’ll be headed back to AutoZone again to replace those.

Face off the car
Face off the car

Then we have to pull the bumper off.  This was going so very quickly…

Removing bolts from the bumper

…up until I noticed that I didn’t have the appropriate chisel.  There are two nuts that are welded to the frame that needed to come off – and a chisel is what is needed.

A second trip (first for the day) to AutoZone was needed. Once back, and a few hits of the hammer on the chisel (and a couple on my hands) and the nut came off.

No face - No bumper
No face – No bumper

Now it’s time to put the baseplate in.  I have no idea why it’s called a baseplate!  There is no plate involved… it’s just a huge chunk of metal in bumper shape with a bunch of spikes sticking out of it!

One of the fun things about this? Nothing…  It turns out that I over torqued one of the bolts and snapped it in two!  Yea me!  Back to AutoZone again to get an easy out and another bolt!

Broken bolt removed! Hah
Broken bolt removed! Hah

I got it though!!

Baseplate Installed – Installing the Break Away device

Once the baseplate was installed, Mariel and I reinstalled the fascia.  This was the most disconcerting task for me.  I wasn’t sure it’d go back easily – that’s the pessimist in me.  I was wrong.  It went together pretty easily.

Car ready to be towed

We started at 8:30am and finished before 2:30pm. During that time I went to AutoZone twice (about 30-45 minutes worth of time) and had lunch (another 20 minutes or so).  I’m guesstimating that it took Mariel and I about five hours to do this job!

Feeling pretty good about now – I can still be a mechanic if I have to. Tomorrow I plan on working to hook up the electrical system so the lights of the toad (towed vehicle) will replicate the lights of the RV as we go down the road. Guess I’ll take off the mechanic hat now and put on the electrician hat.

PS. Later in the day, I find water in one of the bays and some wetness beneath the back sink/shower!  Great…

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