I just purchased our first class A after having a fifth wheel for some time. I know the subject of four wheels down vs. dolly has been beat to death, but I have a few questions and wanted to also check my assumptions on which direction to go.
I have a 2012 Ford Explorer FWD. The manual states that it can be towed with four wheels down as long as you do not exceed 60mph and that you start the vehicle, shift back and forth every six hours. My concern is that Ford recently retracted their towing recommendations on other FWD vehicles that previously stated the same procedure. I am wondering if the Explorer is right behind that. Also, my Explorer is leased so I am reluctant to drill holes and pay for the towing plates for a vehicle that I do not intent to keep. So that brings me to lean towards the dolly.
I don't have to worry about the wear on the drive train, or possible transmission damage.
I don't have to start the vehicle every so many hours.
I don't have to leave the keyless ignition in the accessory mode and worry about the battery going dead.
I don't have to worry about Ford issuing a later bulletin saying the car cannot be towed in a four wheel down position.
Does this make better sense than four wheel down towing?
I see the other side is that I have a trailer wherever I go.
What do you do with the trailer once you have arrived at your destination?
Is it difficult to move around once unhooked?
Is it difficult to secure the vehicle to the trailer?
It appears that it is easy to hook up to the hitch. I like things to be simple and it seems like the dolly is more of a hassle, but perhaps not as much as the above stated issues.
Are there other considerations that I am missing?
The Acme dolly says the maximum weight is right around 4,900 lbs. The Explorer weighs in at 4,700 lbs, so I am within limits, but close.
I appreciate your advice and thanks in advance for your candid input.
I presume that by "FWD" you mean Front Wheel Drive. If so, then dolly towing is an option.
If, however, you mean Four Wheel Drive, dolly towing is NOT an option, unless you wish to remove the rear driveshaft after it is on the dolly.
I have heard that some newer vehicles have wheel speed sensors that give information to the computer, and dolly towing these machines will drive the computer insane because the rear wheels re going 60 or 70 MPH, but the front wheels are not rotating. I don't know if this is true, but it sounds logical.
It may well be that a trailer is the only truly viable option, other than dumping the Ford and getting something that is easily towable (like a Jeep).
A trailer, of course, may have value in other applications. for instance, I have found mine to be VERY nice for hauling hay. It can handle about 100 bales!
Be sure your vehicle has a hitch for the trailer, and you can then use it to move the trailer around. Many campgrounds have a parking lot for boats, trailers, and dollys. Some have sites long enough that it isn't a problem.
Ratchet straps (2 or 3 inch wide) can be used to secure the vehicle to the trailer, as can chains and load binders.
You can back up with a trailer. It is not recommended with a dolly or four down.
Trailers have brakes. It is required by law in nearly every state that they have brakes on all wheels. You will have to have a brake controller in the coach if the brakes are electric. Surge brakes do not require a brake controller. If you go with a dolly, it should have brakes, also.
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad: 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ
Other toad: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy: 1977 Dodge W100 CC SWB, 3/4 ton axles & springs
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"
The FWD stated means Front wheel drive.
The dolly that I am looking at does have surge disc brakes. I also should note that with a dolly, I do not need to add a braking device to the vehicle.When it come time to replace the Explorer, I will look at purchasing a Jeep.
I use a dolly and tow a 09 Chev Uplander set up for my handicapped son. I have had both Blue Ox tow bar and dolly, and prefer the dolly myself.
It doesn't take me much longer to hitch the dolly than it did the tow bar, and the dolly was less money in overall cost.
Also doesn't rack up millage on the toad or put undo wear on the drive train.
We have a Ford Escape and went through all our options. We ended up w/an aluminum trailer, adding only 1200 lbs. We use ratchets and a chain for safety. Just went 3,000 miles over the Apalachians with NO problems. Every CG we went to had a site that our whole rig fit. We do have a hitch on the Escape that we could move the trailer with if necessary. We did take our MH front tires off to have them rebalanced (they were new and bounced after initial balancing), loading them on the trailer and pulling it to a dealer w/the Escape. Not sure we would want to give up the trailer as you can manuever it frontwards and backwards, unlike towbar or 4 down! There are many different opinions regarding this subject--in the end you will have to see what's most useful to you. Good luck.
I can definitely see why you're leaning much more toward dolly towing. For a leased vehicle, and with as many stipulations and questions around 4 down towing as your Explorer has....I think I would definitely go the dolly route.
You've definitely found what is probably one of the best dolly choices for the weight of your Explorer, the Acme EZE dolly. It is probably one of the only ones that can handle 5,000 lbs, yet only weighs 400 lbs. We have one (Acme EZE tow dolly), and used it briefly until we decided to go to 4 down towing.
Its too bad you live all the way in California. Our Acme EZE tow dolly is for sale, is almost brand spanking new. Would be happy to sell it to you.
Will & Angela
2 children that love camping, Stephen & Allison
2012 FR Georgetown 351DS on F53 (V10) Chassis Our Rig
Almost 50K miles with our dolly and no complaints. Demco has a fine product and excellent customer support. Load times don't seem to be much different than with tow bar. After the first half dozen times, now load and unload w/o DW assistance.
'04 Cross Country 35' w/300 Cummins
'05 Sebring CV on KarKaddy 460SS
'09 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 Crew 5.7 Hemi MDS
'51 & '53 Hudson Hornets 308 6cyl w/TWIN H-POWER & 5 lbs of BG the Yorkie
Grand Canyon Chapter of Hudson Essex Terraplane Club Inc