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Topic: Roadmaster Sterling tow bar Lubrication

Posted By: RichardFM on 04/18/10 05:33pm

Two months ago I decided to clean and lubricate my Sterling tow bar according to Roadmaster procedures. I have always used WD-40 in the past with very good results but the tow bar arms were starting to stiffen up after four years of usage. Following Roadmanster's instructions I used Voom RV Cleaner them sprayed the tow bar with silicone spray and it seem to loosen up.

A month later I attached to tow bar to the motor home for a weekend trip the the arms were frozen solid and would not budge. After calling Roadmaster for a week I finally got an answer on how to disassemble the Sterling. This weekend I disassembled and cleaned the tow bar to where it is bright and shiny. It was full of gunk. After applying silicone spray again and reassembling the tow bar the arms still will not move without great effort.

It looks to me like the washers are too tight and silicone spray is worthless. Has anyone else had this experience and what did you do about it. Also what do you use to lubricate your tow bar. I am beginning to think that WD-40 is still the best solution even though Roadmaster says NOT to use it.


2005 Itasca Meridian 34HD
at Fort Mountain, GA



Posted By: The Texan on 04/18/10 05:43pm

My Roadmaster AT tow bar is 7 years old and never had anything except silicone used on it. Has always worked fine and the Roadmaster repair crew who serviced and upgraded it this winter, said the bars were like new. You need to replace the bushings and then forget WD-40, which is not a lubricant, but is a water dispersant and collects dust and dirt like a magnet.


Bob & Betsy(FishNFanatic) - USN Aviation Ret'd '78 & LEO Ret'd '03 & "Oath Keeper Forever"
'05 HR Endeavor 40PRQ, 400 Cummins-Pulling our '11 Silverado LT, Ex Cab 6.2L NHT 4x4, w/ the Rzr or ACE or a Quad riding in back.
Where the wheels are stopped today



Posted By: MRUSA on 04/18/10 07:26pm

I agree. I use silicone every time before I collapse the bars. Works like a charm and keeps everything working smooth. Read the manual. That's what it calls for.


Marc, Wellington FL
2013 Entegra Anthem 44SL
2010 Lincoln MKT toad
Unified Tow Brake
Pressure Pro Tire Monitor



Posted By: jchonroad on 04/19/10 10:26am

I clean my Sterling a couple times a year, and have never used anything but silicone, per the owners manual. IIRC, it's a 2001 or '02 model - I bought it used from a hitch dealer in '03, when he got the newer version for himself. I've never had a problem with it.
John


John '46
Joyce '46 (DW)
GOOD SAM LIFE MEMBERS
Heidie '00 (#1 Guard Dog, 11 lbs), Reggie '09 (#2 Guard Dog, 14 lbs) & Lady '12 (#3 Guard dog, 13 Lbs.)
'05 Winnebago Voyage 35A, Workhorse W22
'12 Malibu Toad w/Sterling Aluminum Tow Bar & Brake Buddy


Posted By: RichardFM on 04/20/10 02:41pm

Has anyone tried buying DRY Silicone Spray at any place other than internet sites in the Northwest? When I go into hardware stores and ask for it, they look at me like I was crazy. I finally found "Food Quality Dry" silicone spray at a local chemical supply company. It is used in the local citrus packing houses. Tonight I will reclean and lubricate the tow bar with the new spray. Roadmaster service advised me to lightly sand down the bushings to loosen them up.


Posted By: tyoungs on 04/20/10 07:26pm

I have a Roadmaster 5250 tow bar and found the biggest help in keeping arms free is to wipe down the arms BEFORE I lube with silicon spray every time I disconnect. That seems to keep a lot of the dirt from getting inside the arms and causing them to get stiff. When I have had the stiffness problem I was told by Roadmaster tech to use lots and lots of WD-40 to clean the arms - cycling them in and out while cleanning with WD-40 (especially with the back cap off the arm so you can spray the internal part of the arm).
Once I got them loosened up, then the wipe dirt off first, spray with silicon, and then slide arm in. Working as free as can be now.


Tom & Mary plus Snowflake the Bichon
2011 HR Endeavor 43DFT,
425 Cummins w/ Horton Fan
HRRVC #106803
2014 Buick Enclave toad
RV.NET Rallies attended - 6


Posted By: RichardFM on 04/21/10 02:02pm

It has been my experience that if I don't soak the release mechanism every morning with WD-40 before starting out for the day, then at the end of the day the release bar would not budge. I actually broke one off trying to lift it. So much for never jamming!


Posted By: wny_pat on 04/23/10 10:08am

RichardFM wrote:

Has anyone tried buying DRY Silicone Spray at any place other than internet sites in the Northwest? When I go into hardware stores and ask for it, they look at me like I was crazy. I finally found "Food Quality Dry" silicone spray at a local chemical supply company. It is used in the local citrus packing houses. Tonight I will reclean and lubricate the tow bar with the new spray. Roadmaster service advised me to lightly sand down the bushings to loosen them up.
"Blaster - The Dry Lube, from the same folks who make PB Blaster Penetrating Catalyst Home Depot. "Superior, long-lasting lubrication for every household lubricant need. Use on locks and catches, hinges, cables, window tracks and glass, rope, door tracks and conveyor belts. Safe for use on plastics."


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”


Posted By: wny_pat on 04/23/10 10:16am




Posted By: teebee1 on 04/23/10 11:55am

What about the dry lube spray used on slideouts?


teebee1
2007 Four Winds Hurricane 34B
2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser turbo, convertible
retired and irresponsible


Posted By: RichardFM on 04/23/10 09:07pm

teebee1 wrote:

What about the dry lube spray used on slideouts?
Doesn't that tend to be Teflon spray? I found dry Teflon and graphite spray but that is not the lubricant specified.

Wyn_pat: I will look for "Blaster" the next time I am at Home Depot but I usually don't get there more then 3 or 4 times on a weekend.


Posted By: Bill/Diana on 04/24/10 01:33pm

I have the Sterling setup too. When I first purchased it 6 yrs ago the arms would jam. Called Roadmaster and they told me they had an issue with the inner arms and they sent me 2 new ones free. Worked good for about a year and now they are back to jamming. I take them apart and clean with silicon but still the inner arms are really difficult to slide in.


Bill & Diana

Please click here to visit our Website



Posted By: RichardFM on 04/24/10 06:13pm

Success! After using three set of socket wrenches and some other heavy tools which I did not previously own but are now in my MH tool box, the arms are sliding smoothly for the first time in years. I am now carrying everything in my MH that I need to do a field overhaul of the tow bar. Several times I have come really close to having them jam up while on the road a long ways from home. The repair was done by sanding down the bushings (plastic or something like it) to release the excessive tension. It seems that years of being under spring tension causes the bushings to expand which cause excessive tightness. I also used "Pure Slick" food grade silicone which is very fast drying and much slicker then any previous silicone that I have tried.

Roadmaster will not sell the bushing because they consider them a non-user repair due to the tension requirement for the spring to get the tow bar to lock properly. Of course they told me this after they told me how to disassemble the tow bar and did not mention that I should not disassemble the arm spring assembly which also needed cleaning. Finding the correct tension is really an easy task of sliding the arms in and out and increasing nut tension until the locks engage with out an excessive amount of play and then removing the arms and setting the lock nut.

Of course if you can get to a major national rally, Roadmaster will probably be there and overhaul your tow bar for free and I recommend doing that at least every two years to prevent my problem from occurring but when the problem occurs and the Roadmaster technicians are four thousand miles away you have to take matters into you own hands.

Happy towing.


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