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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing

 > Tow dolly or not?

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mleekamp

Washington, IL

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Posted: 04/18/22 07:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another option, though less used, is having someone drive the car / follow behind. We did flat towing for a bit, but as we've downsized (our flat tow vehicle was used only for that), my wife now just drives behind us. We don't dolly or do 4-down. However, we do 3 or 4 weeks a year "full time" but when we fully retire in a few years, we will do either a dolly or get something to once again tow 4-down. Just an idea.


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zigzagrv

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Posted: 04/18/22 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Towed a RAV4 on a dolly for years and sway was NEVER a problem, even on my gasser in sig. Highly recommend a dolly with surge brakes as it does not require any electrical hookups.(except for lights) Just load and go.


Ron

2003 Gulf Stream Ultra Supreme 33'
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2013 Ford Edge toad


JRscooby

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Posted: 04/18/22 07:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I confess, I have never used a tow dolly, but when I read a statement like

RetiredRealtorRick wrote:

and equip it with surge brakes (as opposed to electric -- although unlikely, electric can come undone, surge can't).


I have to think there is some real Harry Potter snot involved.
Pull up to a CMV check with surge brakes on your Bobcat trailer with surge brakes, the inspectors not likely to be happy. With E-brakes, he can hold is compass next to wheel while checking the brake lights and get a idea they work.
Now I understand, RVs will not be checked roadside. But what is the point of brakes if you don't know they work? E or S, worn shoes or out of adjustment need to lift or dismantle to be sure. But the E controller will tell you when not working electrically. And as you pull out, work the control, feel brakes.
The trailer, I could load, then back up hill before I left the yard. Not sure how well that would work with dolly. Also with the trailer, I could lube the linkage when doing the machine, daily. RVs From what I read once a year is hardship.

RCMAN46

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Posted: 04/18/22 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the last 20 years or so I have had a lot of Motorhomes towing Toads pass me.
To be fair I would estimate 75 percent or more were towing 4 down.
Having said that I do not recall any on a tow dolly that were swaying.
But I have seem many 4 down that were swaying to the point it was scary but most of the Motorhome drivers would not pay attention to me trying to signal a problem. Some times they would be passing me when I was towing a 5th wheel and I was not able to catch them to try and inform them of a problem. (they were going close to 80 mph and I will not under any circumstance tow a trailer that fast) Even saw one where the front wheels on the Toad was full turned to lock and front tires smoking.

TexasShadow

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Posted: 04/18/22 08:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO, the only downside to using a dolly is that it gives you, parking wise, the need for a third piece of equipment and lots of rv sites are too small for that.


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Leeblev

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Posted: 04/18/22 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are pros and cons to towing with a dolly. I towed for some time.
Here is what I found:
1. Parking the dolly when space wasn't long enough. Unless the ground was really level,it was very hard, or impossible to move the dolly. I finally installed a receiver on my car so I could move the dolly around.
2. It does take a lot of effort to load/unload the dolly because you have to have enough room to drive onto it straight and need to tie everything down.
3. You may need auxiliary wiring for tail/back up and turn signal lights, depending on length of the car. Some states require lighting if the vehicle extends more than 3' from taillights on the dolly. I wired my vehicle to accept a plug-in for lighting. I towed once with external lights and did damage paint.
4. Must have brakes on the dolly, depending on weight. I would guess that vehicle is heavy enough to require them.
5. The biggest thing for me was parking. Many, many of the RV park spaces were not long enough for my 36' DP, tow dolly and toad. I always had a hassle with that.
6. If you can't tow 4 down, then a dolly is the way to do it.
I never had a sway issue because the hitch was installed properly at right height for towing,


Lee
2001 36' Kountry Star DP


DouglasC

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Posted: 04/18/22 02:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think that the saying "to each his own" works here. As for me, I started out using a tow dolly 30 years ago. That lasted a year! Turns out that the tow dolly was stolen from my back yard while I was away on vacation. All my RVing friends wondered if I had paid someone to steal it! That's because I continuously complained about having to use the tow dolly to haul my car around. What a pain to load and unload the car and then store the tow dolly at a campsite. I took the money the insurance company paid me for the stolen tow dolly and had my car outfitted for towing 4 down. Never looked back!

Have now outfitted 9 vehicles over the past 29 years to tow them 4 wheels down. In my opinion that's money well spent, but of course some would disagree. Anyway, that's my story and I'm stick'n to it!


Doug
2006 Jayco Greyhawk Model 27DS
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Onyrlef

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Posted: 04/18/22 08:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DouglasC wrote:

I think that the saying "to each his own" works here. As for me, I started out using a tow dolly 30 years ago. That lasted a year! Turns out that the tow dolly was stolen from my back yard while I was away on vacation. All my RVing friends wondered if I had paid someone to steal it! That's because I continuously complained about having to use the tow dolly to haul my car around. What a pain to load and unload the car and then store the tow dolly at a campsite. I took the money the insurance company paid me for the stolen tow dolly and had my car outfitted for towing 4 down. Never looked back!

Have now outfitted 9 vehicles over the past 29 years to tow them 4 wheels down. In my opinion that's money well spent, but of course some would disagree. Anyway, that's my story and I'm stick'n to it!





Thanks Doug,I was tempted to go the dolly route instead of investing to make my truck flat tow ready, you've convinced me otherwise.

ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 04/19/22 08:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Over the long run Doug spent thousands of dollars outfitting 9 vehicles to tow 4 down which was his choice of coarse. I have spent $700 + tires over the same amount of time to tow maybe 25 different cars behind several different motor homes. I wasn't always 81 years old like now but so far this year I have towed to FL and back and twice to Myrtle beach with no problems. But thats just me and the way I like to spend my money.

RetiredRealtorRick

St. Augustine Beach, FL

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Posted: 04/22/22 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JRscooby wrote:

I confess, I have never used a tow dolly, but when I read a statement like

RetiredRealtorRick wrote:

and equip it with surge brakes (as opposed to electric -- although unlikely, electric can come undone, surge can't).


I have to think there is some real Harry Potter snot involved.
Pull up to a CMV check with surge brakes on your Bobcat trailer with surge brakes, the inspectors not likely to be happy. With E-brakes, he can hold is compass next to wheel while checking the brake lights and get a idea they work.
Now I understand, RVs will not be checked roadside. But what is the point of brakes if you don't know they work? E or S, worn shoes or out of adjustment need to lift or dismantle to be sure. But the E controller will tell you when not working electrically. And as you pull out, work the control, feel brakes.
The trailer, I could load, then back up hill before I left the yard. Not sure how well that would work with dolly. Also with the trailer, I could lube the linkage when doing the machine, daily. RVs From what I read once a year is hardship.


Surge brakes operate on momentum, not electricity (which may or may not be connected).

And, with a full trailer (I also owned a Featherlite tandem axle trailer), there's a huge inconvenience finding extra space in a resort or campground, whereas with the dolly, perhaps only a minor inconvenience, if any.

To each his own [emoticon]


. . . never confuse education with intelligence

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