2012 Mazda BT 50 tow bar

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 19:53
ThreadID: 103137 Views:6186 Replies:3 FollowUps:13
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Fantastic tow vehicle.
But I thought I would warn other Mazda owners.
Was gobsmacked when I went out to the shed today. Missing tow bar bolts. There are 4 bolts each end to attach to a chassis bracket. Mine had 3 one end (one with missing nut) and 1 on the other end.
Is this just a poor installation by Mazda. Vehicle has 14000 kms on clock. Had 10000 km service at local dealer just after Easter . We had just returned from a 4000 km van trip ( very little on gravel roads). I could hardly put this down to normal wear and tear considering more than 90% of towing has been on bitumen.
Will be asking local dealer tomorrow:
- why don't the bolts have a spring washer or nyloc nuts
- is the tow bar inspected when on the hoist at 10000 km service? If not mine will be from now on.
Moral of the story - tighten/check these tow bar bolts before you hook the van on next time. I usually check the HR hitch and tow ball bolts, wheel nuts etc routinely.
I wonder if Mazda would have covered the liability of a 2.8 tonne van careering down the road on its own. Perhaps the tow bar attached to the front of the van might have acting as another brake to the breakaway system LOL.
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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 21:00

Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 21:00
Your post should have read "the tow bar SHOULD HAVE 4 bolts. Just Joking!
It is very common for "dealer fitted" or "someone fitted" towbars to not be done up or have washers or even nyloc nuts.
Most fitters done know about and have never used Loctite either.

Bull bars on Landcruisers and BT50's have been known to fall off due to the expert fitting,
As mentioned once before it must be, fitting,fitting,fitting,fitting,fitting, because it keeps happening.

Although an alert service person might notice loose or missing bolts I wouldn't expect them to notice or check at any service time, why? because they are bolted on and never come loose, in their minds. Do you look for things that you know won't happen?

IF, and the issue is IF, (the forum doesn't allow bigger font IF's) the bolts are appropriate tensile bolts and done up to "tight" in the first place they should never come loose, even in a serious accident the towbar shouldn't move. May get bent but not move.

I think you are very accurate in where the fault lies. Those self disassembling Mazdas are a problem.

Ross M

AnswerID: 514460

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:43

Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:43
I think you'll find in a serious accident that bolts can break they will shear off if struck hard enough from the side which is their weakest point.
FollowupID: 793494

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 21:15

Sunday, Jul 07, 2013 at 21:15
I got a job working as an accessory fitter a while ago......I lasted the day out, but, did not come back the second day.

The leading hand who was mentoring me...commented that I was too smart for this.

I simply could not do what they where doing to someones new car.

Do not trust anybody elses work on racks, tow bars or bull bars.

I am gob smacked at what, to me is missing from the fitting kits and the low quality of the fasteners in general.

Just about anything I fit or assemble for myself i find my self adding extra washers and replacing standard nuts with nylocs.

You will be charged top dollar, but the whole accessory fitting business is very competitive and eveybody in the chain wants to make as much money as possible out of the deal..so corners get cut on just about every stage of every job

do not trust any accessoy fitter..check the work yourself.

AnswerID: 514461

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:58

Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:58
That's a poor statement saying don't trust any acc fitter what do you do for a living should I trust you or any body else in your line of work or just take it for granted that everyone in your line of work is completly incompetent of performing any task so I should tar every body with the same brush.
FollowupID: 793495

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 22:31

Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 22:31
Not a poor statement at all.....just a sad statement of fact....the standard of work among automotive accessory fitters is for the most part disapointing, quite a lot of it down right butcherous.

Almost without exception they are largely unqualified labourers with no formal trade training of any sort...there is no system of regulation.

A very large portion of what people think are factory accessories and fitted by the dealer or factory are in fact generic locally produced items with no factory design input and or fitted by low wage itinerant contractors and not the dealer

There may be a few accessory fitters out here who do know what they are doing and have technical ability, a comitment to quality and attention to detail.

But they will be the exception rather than the rule.

As far as my primary trade, a communications technician.....the vast majority, do poor work, have little more than a cablers licence and can not be called tradesmen in any sence of the word.

I am a formally Trade trained communications technician, from a time when we had a communications system that was considered mission critcal and we trained people properly.

In my original training I spent more classroom hours, more formal hand skill training and more off job practiacal training than most most trades now do outside of the military or aerospace industries.

These days most trades do 21 to a maximum of 28 weeks of College in their entire apprenticship..when I did my trade we did 24 weeks before our first field break and being allowed near real live equipment.
we then did a further two stints of 12 weeks colledge, then followed by equipment specific training in our 4 year apprenticship.

These days they are taking green recruits and in 6 weeks they have a "cabler trainee" working in the field on their own.
After 12 months and little or no more formal training can be issued with a Certificate 3.
Most basic trades these days are certificate 3 qualifications.

These days even the cablers employed by the major networks cant even be botherd filling in cable records.

Discusting work practice, outright disregard of regulations and ignorance of even the basic technical principles is the norm now in my original trade.

Walk up to many communications installations and it is plain and obvious that the work on those sites has been done by a conga line of those who simply do not care.

We live in a day and age where quality is not generally valued especially by those providing the service..and that is right across all areas of business.

No matter what it is, I check everything that anybody else does for me.....and I expect it of others.

A quality tradesman will be happy to be inspected at any time.....because it will be the rare case that the customer, will ever see what that tradesman puts into their work.

Sorry but quality work is a very rare thing these days.

FollowupID: 793568

Follow Up By: Batt's - Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 01:15

Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 01:15
So basically only qualified trades people are to be trusted to do any kind of work any where. I wonder if the people who assemble cars in factories are all qualified and ticketed to do so? Millions of people perform tasks every day competently where the only training they have had is on the job.
FollowupID: 793574

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 13:36

Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 13:36
I am constantly amazed at the failures in logic and comprehension I see on internet forums.

Basicaly the automotive accessory business is fundamentally cheap and rough...like so much other work these days..regardless of the price paid by the customer.

The only way you are going to see if the job done is satisfactory is to look yourself.

FollowupID: 793598

Reply By: Batt's - Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:37

Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 00:37
I use to fit towbars 8yrs ago and the kits came with spring washers but do not come with nylocks so I would guise if you change the standard nuts to nylocks you would be modifying it and voiding the warranty it sounds petty but is still a modification regardless of how stupid it seems. There was never any mention of using thread lock , again if the fitter used something that was not written on the instruction sheet it could cause legal problems. Don't quote me on this but once fitted I think it would be the owners responsibility to have it re checked after a period of time whether they done it themselves or took it back to the supplier which I have never saw happen. Suspension was re checked but never anything else eg- bullbars, towbars, spare wheel carriers, roof racks I was only fitting accessories for 3ys.
AnswerID: 514467

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 22:39

Monday, Jul 08, 2013 at 22:39
In some situations there is an issue with replacing the nuts provided with nylock nuts.

If high tensile bolts and nuts are provided or required a nylock on its own may represent a weakness.

Nylock nuts are not high tensile and are not as strong as high tensile nuts.

If you do not like spring washers....lots don't.
the solution is to replace them with a high tensile washer and then put a nylock on top of the high tensile nut.

But this may require longer bolts.

OH...BTW...anybody ever seen an accessory fitter with a torque wrench in their hands.....so how do they know the fasteners are correctly torqued.

Anybody ever seen torque specifications for most accessories.

FollowupID: 793570

Follow Up By: Batt's - Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 01:44

Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 01:44
There is such a thing as high tensile nylocks Bolts nuts and screws online just one company that supplies them so they could be used but I don't know why they aren't. Obviously the fitter can't be blamed if the manufacturer does not supply torque specs but some items do have torque specs and if they did I know we would comply with that. The shop I worked for had high standards and the people had pride in their work which starts with good management.
FollowupID: 793575

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 23:14

Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013 at 23:14
This is one of the problems when a trades person from a different industries thinks they can do it all or what goes in their industry goes in every other industry.

Batt's you are correct in saying if they don't supply certain washers or nut you don't fit something else because you think it's right. for two reasons....... one is it may of been designed that way and you could be liable for damagers and secondly when your talking yield strength of fasteners there is a pretty accurate science behind it why something is do in a way that doesn't seems logical.

Using spring washers and flat washer can servilely de-rate the yield strength of a fastener and can be dangerous.

Using a spring washer and loctite can make the fastener come loose as can using flat washers..... Loctite don't recommend washers or nylock nuts.

Most people know high tensile bolts but very few know about high tensile washers and nuts.

The other thing is in some applications a low or lower tensile strength bolt can last longer and perform better.

And different strength Loctites are used in specific applications so stronger is not better.

Most things these days that require a set yield don't use washers.

One other thing when drilling a hole for a fastener, a too smaller hole can be just as bad as a to bigger hole and specific hole to bolt clearances may be used in some fastening applications.

Metal types also play an important part.

There is a lot more to just drilling a hole, putting a bolt in and tightening it up.

Most accessories will have supplied with them torque specifications and with the onset of cheaper torque limiting devices becoming available torque wrenches are becoming a thing of the past for rapid installation work.
FollowupID: 793642

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 22:46

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 22:46
One problem is that there are plenty of people out there who will discuss nit picking and often incorrect obscurities and fail to deal with the simple basics.

NONE of the fasteners on these accessories will be using the fasteners close enough to their ratings to matter a damn about a washer causing a loss of yeild strength.

Besides there will be plenty of other issues in assembly, such as uneven surfaces that will effect yeild strength far more than any washer could.

The addition of appropriate washers will in most cases distribute the load better and allow more compressive force with less tightening torque.

Likewise the hole clearance issue is pretty much an irrellivancy at this level of engineering as long as the hole is a reasonable clearance.

As for torque limiting devices........oh come one.....most of these accessories are supplied with standard common or garden fasteners......in fact the cheapest they can buy most of the time.

Yah so ya recon these accessories are supplied with torque specs......so....link up the instructions that have torque wrench settings......lots of these cheaper accessories, ya lucky to get an assembly diagrame....poorly printed on cheap thin paper.

As far as guarantees a liabilities......they would have to prove that the replacement fasteners where inferiour and where a point of failure to effectivly palm off liability.

As for tradesmen from different industries thinking they can do it all......well damn straight I CAN....Correct work practice and engineering principles do not change, the same principles are valid regardless of the fastener......in fact some of the very small fasteners I worked with on delicate electromechanics where far more critical than the clumsy and crude engineering we see in fitting auto accessories.

Besides you would be surprised how much heavy engineering is involved in installing all sorts of electronics and how tightly it is specified.

Serioulsy folks this is not rocket science......

As far as high tensile nylon locking nuts.....no doubt they are available....but they are uncommon and you wont buy them at most bolt shops.
As for how much this effects the job.....if you actually go and look at the specs, a mild steel or low carbon alloy nut ( like a common nylock)..yes..will be slightly weaker in the application than a high tensile nut on the same fastener..
BUT, in the vast majority of cases for the vast majority of threads, once correctly torqued, the fastener will snap before the thread pulls thru the nyloc nut.
If the thread is going to strip or fail it is more likely to be when the fasteneer is being torqued.

FollowupID: 793694

Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 23:20

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 23:20
Thin paper they're just looking after the environment that's a tick in their box.. And I'm grateful none of their clumsy and crude engineered products have fallen of my car yet...Any way did you get the tow dar bolt replaced.
FollowupID: 793696

Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 23:23

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 23:23
ops tow bar.. dar we go dat's better
FollowupID: 793697

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 11:39

Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 11:39
I am pleased that these people don`t repair aeroplanes, because they would fall out of the sky.
FollowupID: 793706

Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 14:26

Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 14:26
Planes falling from the sky due to poor maintenance is just a regular event these days
FollowupID: 793841

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