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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing

 > Tow Dolly Basics

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newfell

Springfield MA, USA

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Posted: 01/17/10 07:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been towing 4 down but am now going to get a tow dolly. Looking for information, and or, forum on tow dolly basics. Will be towing a Honda Civic, not a big load behind a 35ft class A. Next scheduled trip is to Disney World from MA.
Do I need brakes on the dolly? I was previously towing a Honda Accord with out brakes 4 down with no trouble.
Any and all information will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
PH


Patrick

barbjohn

Newburgh, NY, USA

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Posted: 01/17/10 09:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I realize that you're looking for advice, but perhaps I am looking for information in turn. I have been towing my toad 4 down for 6 years now and have had no problems. At the time I was setting up my rig, I wondered about what the advantages would be for using a dolly, but never seen any with the vehicle I tow (Suzuki Samurai - Approved for 4 down). Why would you go to a dolly when you have successfully towed 4 down?

I would like to revisit the advantages of a dolly as I am considering replacing my toad at some point with something small, but more comfortable (not too hard to do with a Samurai).


newfell

Springfield MA, USA

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Posted: 01/17/10 10:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the responses. In answer to some questions asked: I loved towing 4 down but the new civic has the CVt automatic transmission which doesn't do 4 down. Also it is the wife's car and brand new. 4 Down catches a lot of road debris, I am thinking the dolly keeps the car more up and away from that stuff. I'm going to look at an 05 master tow dolly. Any information, reviews on that brand?

Nomadac

Columbus, IN

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Posted: 01/17/10 11:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I towed a dolly w/electric brakes for 6 years and still have the dolly if I need it. I would never tow anything w/o brakes as how would you have a breakaway system if you do not have brakes and if it were to disconnect or break loose?
I have a Car-Tow Dolly by Forest River w/electric brakes. Total costs when new was around $895 w/spare tire and wheel and all straps. I bought a pr. of safety chains from Menards that I used to connect to the bottom of our RAV4 that we towed. I also installed a receiver on the back of the RAV so when I unloaded the dolly, I hooked the dolly to the RAV and would tow to the campsite, which saved a lot of manhandling. Never found a CG that I had a problem storing the dolly on my site. I painted line on the left ramp so I could load the RAV by myself following the line with the LF tire. The complete load time and tie down used to take under 10 min. and I never had to get on the ground to do it. Always check the tire straps after driving a few miles and at every stop. I did not use additional lighting as my dolly lights and rear lights on MH were clearly visible and the RAV is very short in length. I hope this helps.


Arnie
2003 Travel Supreme MH
38KSO1 Cummins ISC 350HP
2004 Honda Pilot w/SMI Air Force One Brake Sys.
1963 Pontiac Grand Prix 20' Enclosed Car Trailer

jauguston

Bellingham, WA

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Posted: 01/17/10 09:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A dolly is technically a trailer although in a grey area and as such it could be required by law to have brakes. It would depend on what weight it was considered to be hauling. I don't think they are normally licensed. I know the U-haul rental dollies are not licensed but I believe they have surge brakes. I would not pull one without brakes just like I won't tow four down without brakes.

Jim


2005 Coachman Sportscoach Elite 402 40'
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Goldencrazy

madison wi

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Posted: 01/17/10 09:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I went the other way. Towed Prius on dolly and now Smart Car four down. Sure like four down better. Dolly can have electric breaks or surge. Electric react off your moho breaking and surge reacts to the mohome movement. I had electric which required wiring. I think I would have liked surge better as I could never get the electric set to my satisfaction. Get a good dolly. I got a cheaper one that towed ok but it did not have the easy storage like ramps that fold up and a tongue that folded so it was more difficult to store at home and on the road. Glad I didn't invest a lot in the original as I didn't like towing on dolly. If it is a long term decision you are making with full knowledge of what you are doing then look for a good dolly with wheels that track well and ease of loading and unloading. Hooking the safety chains was difficult on mine requiring lying down underneath. The harnesses are all pretty much the same. I did not use auxillary lights relying on dolly lights but probably a good idea to wire in car or have lights that clip or magnet on the car. Good luck.

mowermech

Billings, MT

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Posted: 01/17/10 12:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check the laws in YOUR state! Just because registration and lights on the towed vehicle are not required someplace else does NOT mean you can get away with it! Brakes may not be required in your state, but may be in others (or vice versa), but having brakes is a good thing regardless of the law.
Remember, Reciprocity Agreements often only apply to Driver's Licenses, registration, and insurance. Equipment laws are usually NOT covered (lighting, brakes, mud flaps, etc.)! Not only do you have to comply with the requirements in YOUR state, but you may have to comply with the requirements for EVERY state in which you operate your rig!
Four down, dolly, or trailer is purely personal choice, but it can be dictated by what vehicle you choose to tow. There is NO "best" or "right" way. Do what works best for you.
Good luck.


CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad 1: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy (and Toad 2): 2001 Dodge QC SWB, 360 Magnum, Auto, 4X4
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"

turninghawk

Orlando, FL

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Posted: 01/17/10 12:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

newfell wrote:

Thanks for the responses. In answer to some questions asked: I loved towing 4 down but the new civic has the CVt automatic transmission which doesn't do 4 down. Also it is the wife's car and brand new. 4 Down catches a lot of road debris, I am thinking the dolly keeps the car more up and away from that stuff. I'm going to look at an 05 master tow dolly. Any information, reviews on that brand?


Master Tow makes a good dolly. I have a Demco commercial (all galvanized) that I bought new in 1999 and haven't looked back. It has surge brakes (my choice since they're mechanical & not subject to electrical failure). Check the tightness of your straps often (initially after the first 10 - 20 miles of towing), and the tightness of the lugnuts at least daily.

jauguston

Bellingham, WA

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Posted: 01/17/10 07:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mowermech,

How do you suppose U-Haul, a nation wide company, gets away without licensing their rental dollies-Hmmmm.

Jim

RRyall

SW PA

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Posted: 01/17/10 12:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have used a Master Tow HD dolly for about 3 years now, and have only had one minor problem. I ruined a bearing last year, but caught it before doing any real damage. Took about 10 minutes to repair on the side of the road, but it took me a couple hours to find a bearing. I now carry a spare bearing set, seal, and drum. I also grease the bearings more often now. There was a conflicting maintenance schedule between the axle manufacturer and Master Tow. I now follow the shorter one, actually I just ignore it in a sense and check and grease very frequently. This would not prevent me from using a dolly or another Master Tow product, I consider this my fault for not being sensible enough to check and grease more often. I do have electric brakes, don't use extra lighting, and do check straps often.

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