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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing  >  Trailers & Tow Dollies

 > Tow Dolly Question

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Geeze

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Posted: 09/10/21 08:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a question for those who use a tow dolly. Do you unhook your tow dolly lights and just use lights on the back of your toad when you tow? I have been thinking about making a four flat splitter with plugs for both my dolly lights and the lights on the back of the toad. This would give me better visibility for braking and turn signals. My lights are all LED so current draw should me minimal.

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Posted: 09/11/21 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMHO better lighting is a good idea. Having been behind a number of tow dollies the reliance on the dolly lights meet the letter of the law, the lights on the back of the vehicle are going to a safer option. I see this a lot more often on the full timer setups vs the weekend warriors. But I think you are wise to consider it.


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mowermech

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Posted: 09/11/21 06:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having both lights is an excellent idea, IMO. The dolly lights will tell others where the outer edge of the dolly is, and the tail lights on the towed vehicle just might be required by state law in many states.
I know that here, if the load extends more than two feet behind the tail lights/turn signals, lights or reflectors are required (in the daytime a red flag at least 12 inches square is adequate). Yes, the lenses on the tail lights may qualify as "reflectors", but lights are a good idea, especially after dark!
As always, do your research. Check the laws in your state, and comply with or exceed them.


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ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 09/11/21 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never to much tail light. I have used a dolly for years and only use the dolly tail lights. But my Smart cars back is not far beyond the dolly tail lights and if I had a normal car it would have lights on the back.

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Posted: 09/11/21 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Better visibility is never a bad thing! We try to have running lights on even during the day. Seems that big box is close to invisible unless it has lights on.


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Posted: 09/11/21 09:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ferndaleflyer wrote:

Never to much tail light. I have used a dolly for years and only use the dolly tail lights. But my Smart cars back is not far beyond the dolly tail lights and if I had a normal car it would have lights on the back.
Since the Smart has an electrically shifted manual gearbox it can be towed four down so why are you towing it on a dolly? Since it is rear drive you gain nothing unless you are towing it backwards.


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ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 09/12/21 10:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First the dolly has served me for years under different cars. I have 4 now . My dolly cost $700 when new far less than installing flat towing apparatus on all of the various vehicles I have owned. I have owned Smarts since 2008 and I am curious as to what is wrong with towing my Smart while it is out is gear on my dolly. Saves my front tires and gas. LOL!

mowermech

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Posted: 09/12/21 11:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ferndaleflyer wrote:

First the dolly has served me for years under different cars. I have 4 now . My dolly cost $700 when new far less than installing flat towing apparatus on all of the various vehicles I have owned. I have owned Smarts since 2008 and I am curious as to what is wrong with towing my Smart while it is out is gear on my dolly. Saves my front tires and gas. LOL!


The big question is, how is your transmission lubricated? If it is splash lubed, as many two wheel drive vehicles are, it may not be getting adequate lube while being towed on a dolly or four down. It is misinformation to say that all manual transmissions can be towed without damage. It simply isn't true! Some can, some can't. It behooves you to know which yours is!

ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 09/12/21 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mercedes, who makes the Smart, says its fine to tow 4 down out of gear. So if thats OK it also OK to tow with the front wheels off the ground. It would make a lot of sense if people on here would not comment on things they know nothing about. Who cares how the transmission is lubricated, the manufacturer says its ok and for a couple of hundred thousand miles I have yet to have any transmission problems so I guess they know what they are talking about.

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Posted: 09/13/21 08:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mowermech wrote:

The big question is, how is your transmission lubricated? If it is splash lubed, as many two wheel drive vehicles are, it may not be getting adequate lube while being towed on a dolly or four down. It is misinformation to say that all manual transmissions can be towed without damage. It simply isn't true! Some can, some can't. It behooves you to know which yours is!
No one said that ALL vehicles with manual transmissions can be towed 4 down.

ferndaleflyer wrote:

My dolly cost $700 when new far less than installing flat towing apparatus on all of the various vehicles I have owned... Saves my front tires and gas. LOL!
You still are using up tires on the dolly. Can't figure how you would save gas pulling a dolly and the car. Your reason for using a dolly makes sense seeing that you are using various cars.

I chose to tow my Smart 4 down and have had no transmission issues.

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