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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing  >  Trailers & Tow Dollies

 > Conflicting information tow dolly

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JOERVDREAM

quincy, ca

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Posted: 12/29/20 06:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just bought a 2019 Ford Fiesta and a Stehl tow dolly. The Steering wheel does not lock and it’s front wheel drive. The vehicle manual says when on a tow dolly to put it in neutral and disconnect the battery. It says nothing about the steering. The dolly manual says put the vehicle in park or gear and lock or tie off steering wheel. An explanation as to why would be nice but it doesn’t offer one. I called a Ford service department to ask if they had any advice about the steering and the guy kept telling me that the steering does lock which I know it doesn’t. So that didn’t help any. I towed it from Phoenix to Quartzsite and as far as I could tell from the camera view it did okay. But the back end of the car is turning when I turn and it looks like turning to sharp would cause the fender on the dolly to hit the door of the car. Any advice? Anyone
Thanks
Joe

carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 12/29/20 08:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used to tow my Fiesta on a older Stehl dolly.

You just pull it on a strap it down. There's no need to disconnect the battery. That's only for 4-down towing. Likewise, nothing to worry about with the steering either.

The fenders can kiss the doors on really tight turns, so to be careful there. It was actually the lights on mine that would kiss, so you might be able to swap for a lower profile light and gain a little more clearance.


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phillyg

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Posted: 12/29/20 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it were me, I'd ignore Ford's guidance and securely tie down the steering wheel to prevent turning.


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opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 12/29/20 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I downloaded the manual and I think it is just poorly written. For a manual transmissions it mentions that when using a tow dolly follow the dolly manufacturers instructions. After this is goes on to mention towing 4 down with the trans in neutral. But when it gets to the automatic transmission section it never mentions a tow dolly. The way the manual is written I think they are assuming their instructions on the tow dolly in the manualtransmission section are automatically applied to the automatic section. But it's hard to say for certain.

In this case you're going to have to do some thinking for the person who wrote the manual as they obviously don't have any experience in this area and didn't know to ask the design engineer for clarification.

Call the dealer back and ask if your particular vehicle has any type of rear wheel drive. Or take to any mechanic (the dealer, the corner gas station, a brake and tire shop) and ask if the rear wheels have any power applied to them like in rear wheel drive or all wheel drive.

If the answer is no then there is no reason to put the vehicle in neutral when the front wheels are on a dolly. Just follow the manual transmission section of the manual and follow the tow dolly instructions.

If the answer is yes to all wheel or rear wheel drive then follow the Ford manual on towing.

As far as tying off the steering wheel. It sounds like this it to prevent the steering wheel from turning when taking a corner. If the steering wheel turns the vehicle can be damaged by the tow dolly. If the wheel is tied down then then the car and dolly turn as one and no damage occurs.

* This post was edited 12/29/20 10:21am by opnspaces *


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Tom/Barb

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Posted: 12/29/20 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces wrote:

I downloaded the manual and I think it is just poorly written.


Doesn't matter how well it is written, some one will misunderstand it.


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JOERVDREAM

quincy, ca

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Posted: 12/29/20 01:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looking at everything more today I realized that the cradle pan that the tires sit in pivots. So that’s how it follows. But at the same time the car was turning also which it’s not supposed to do. With both turning like that it limits how tight of a turn can be made and would of caused the fender to crunch the door if I had done so. I found the steering tie down strap on line and a video. It’s just a Y ratchet strap that secures to the break pedal or under the seat and to the steering wheel. I’m just glad I didn’t have an issue towing it like that. And the fact that both the Ford dealer and the trailer dealer knew nothing about it? Just amazing. So I have the strap on order and staying put till I get it. Thanks for all the input. Be safe!
Joe

QCMan

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Posted: 12/29/20 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are still vehicles manufactured without steering wheel locks?


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Dutch_12078

Winters south, summers north

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Posted: 12/29/20 07:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If your steering wheel doesn't lock when the key is off you can use your seat belt to lock it. Wrap the seat belt a couple times around the steering wheel and then buckle it in place. Now pull the seat belt all the way out so that as you let it retract it locks. Your steering wheel will be locked. That was our routine any time we had to tow a vehicle backwards.


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travisc

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Posted: 12/30/20 04:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are vehicles where the steering components can not handles the stress of this. I would get a representative of the vehicle manufacturer customer service engaged. There are fewer cars that are towable these days


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Up&DownDeCoast

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Posted: 12/30/20 09:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

QCMan wrote:

There are still vehicles manufactured without steering wheel locks?


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