Author Topic: Choosing a tow bar base plate  (Read 388 times)

Offline Aaarrghh

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  • Posts: 136
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  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Warrior
  • Chassis: Chevy P-20
  • Engine: 350cid
Choosing a tow bar base plate
« on: July 02, 2019, 02:35 AM »
I just bought a dinghy, a 2013 Chevy Spark. Now I need to buy and attach a tow bar. Does anyone here have experience doing this?

etrailer.com has 3 base plates, the Roadmaster, Demco, and Blue Ox. The Demco has fixed drawbars ('arms'), the others are removable. There isn't much difference in price between the Demco ($388) and Roadmaster ($415). Is there a big advantage to removable 'arms'? Is one more difficult to install than the other? I'm not thrilled with having to cut and drill. The reviews for the Demco make installation sound relatively painless.

The Blue Ox is highest price. Is it that much better? Interestingly, the prices for each on eBay are higher than etrailers prices.

I rented the tow dolly just to get the car home from the dealer.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Year: 1995
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser 32RQ
  • Chassis: Oshkosh
  • Engine: Cummings Turbo Diesel
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 08:03 AM »
Blue Ox IS the best.  However...you need to check and make sure you can tow a Chevy Spark 4 wheels down.  You could end up destroying your transmission if it isn't designed to be towed, even in neutral.

With a front wheel drive Chevy Spark, you would probably be WAY better off scouring Craigslist and get yourself a tow dolly just like the one you rented.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Posts: 4375
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1995
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser 32RQ
  • Chassis: Oshkosh
  • Engine: Cummings Turbo Diesel
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 08:07 AM »
And here is the answer!  If it is a manual transmission, you are all good with towing it 4 wheels down.  If it is an automatic transmission, you can't even use a tow dolly...it HAS to be towed on a flatbed, with all four wheels off the ground.

Hopefully yours is a manual transmission.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-211785.html

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Aaarrghh

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  • Posts: 136
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Warrior
  • Chassis: Chevy P-20
  • Engine: 350cid
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 09:48 AM »
Blue Ox IS the best.  However...you need to check and make sure you can tow a Chevy Spark 4 wheels down.  You could end up destroying your transmission if it isn't designed to be towed, even in neutral.

With a front wheel drive Chevy Spark, you would probably be WAY better off scouring Craigslist and get yourself a tow dolly just like the one you rented.

Kev
I didn't commit all that dough not knowing it could or couldn't be flat-towed! Yes, it has a manual transmission, and the owner's manual says flat towing is OK. I wouldn't want to have to deal with keeping a tow dolly around wherever I was.

Why is Blue Ox the best, and why should I spend the extra money for it?

Offline Aaarrghh

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  • Posts: 136
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Warrior
  • Chassis: Chevy P-20
  • Engine: 350cid
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 09:59 AM »
And here is the answer!  If it is a manual transmission, you are all good with towing it 4 wheels down.  If it is an automatic transmission, you can't even use a tow dolly...it HAS to be towed on a flatbed, with all four wheels off the ground.

Hopefully yours is a manual transmission.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-211785.html

Kev
Thanks.. that is a helpful expert reply. I note they recommend the Roadmaster base plates. I submitted a similar question, but for the 2013 model year Spark. Don't have the reply, yet.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Posts: 4375
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1995
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser 32RQ
  • Chassis: Oshkosh
  • Engine: Cummings Turbo Diesel
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 04:51 PM »
Thanks.. that is a helpful expert reply. I note they recommend the Roadmaster base plates. I submitted a similar question, but for the 2013 model year Spark. Don't have the reply, yet.

My previous reply was also intended the same way. 

Anyhow, my opinion that Blue Ox is the best is because they are built for way higher load capacities than the others, and use thicker steel and beefier connections.  Which you don't have to worry about with a Chevy Spark, which is very lightweight. 

I usually towed heavy vehicles, loaded up like a trailer...a Dodge fullsize van, a Chevy fullsize cargo van, a Chevy K5 Blazer, and now my second 1998 Cherokee.

The only lightweight vehicles I have towed, which are still heavier than your Chevy Spark, was my 92 YJ (I miss that one!), and a Chevy Astro van (which can rot in a junkyard).  Which is why I always went with Blue Ox, as they are the heaviest duty ones still being made. 

But with your Spark, you should be just fine with any option you choose.  Congrats on the new ride!  I've read the reviews on the Chevy Spark, and they seem to be awesome little cars.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 4375
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1995
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser 32RQ
  • Chassis: Oshkosh
  • Engine: Cummings Turbo Diesel
Re: Choosing a tow bar base plate
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 05:02 PM »
Also, most of the other advice in the link I provided is also good advice.  The LED magnetic lights and 7 to 4 wiring adapter (which is exactly what we use with great success) and their link to the safety cables is good too (they are way cheaper than the Blue Ox version, and all you need for your Chevy Spark).  As far as a braking system goes, start looking on eBay and Craigslist for a nice used Brake Buddy.  I've seen them for as cheap as 200 bucks (which is what we paid for the mid 90s version that we have been using for a few years now with no problems), and even the original metal box incarnation of the Brake Buddy works great.  The one mentioned in the link I provided, as well as any of the new Brake Buddy systems, start at 1200 bucks and go up from there. 

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

 

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