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Old 04-09-2011, 10:51 AM   #1
LCD
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Dolly questions: surge brakes vs electric brakes with DP

We have just aquired a DP (Itasca Meridian 39z). We plan to get a tow dolly to haul our 10 Jetta Wagon (automatic). Most of our driving is in the West (either uphill or downhill). I have two questions re choice of dolly. Are there dollys that work better for low cars? Second, when going down hill using exhaust breaking on the DP, will the surge brakes on the dolly always be trying to stop the dolly? Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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We have a small SUV Ford Escape would we need brakes on our tow dolly. We bought a dolly without any brakes.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:21 AM   #3
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Surge brakes are a proportional braking system. The harder you brake the more the surge brake is applied. Going down hill with the exhaust brake on the braking action of the coach would not be enough to over ride the surge brake internal limiting mechanism and cause the dolly brakes to be constantly applied. Only when you apply the coach brakes would the G-force of deceleration be enough to cause dolly brake application. I have towed a surge brake dolly and Toyota Corolla over 10,000 miles through hills and mountains in the eastern US without any problems.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniggles View Post
We have a small SUV Ford Escape would we need brakes on our tow dolly. We bought a dolly without any brakes.
Don't know about your MH chassis maker.
But Freightliner has posted in my closet with the weight's information. When pulling anything that weighs over 1,000 lb. make sure it has supplemental brakes.

You are pulling a little over 3,200 lb. plus the dolly weight and sometimes that 3,200 lb plus dolly is pushing you when you are trying to make a emergency stop.

I have BrakeMaster air brakes on my 4 down 3,300 lb. toad.

Comes in handy when that traffic light does a quick change and your rolling at 45-55 MPH. And when that 4 wheeler that just passed you. Cuts in short and then hits his brakes.
It is not if those things will happen, but when.
Been there, done that.
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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We live adjacent to the Sierras out West and pull our Escape on a MasterTow Heavy Duty dolly with surge brakes....no problem (behind F/wood 40' DP). Like lllkrob mentioned, when using the coach engine brake, usually the surge brakes won't activate until the coach brakes are applied. Suggest you do a search here re dolly's....a lot of experienced folks have posted their thoughts that can provide you some useful info. I strongly suggest you get a dolly with the swivel-type platform rather than the fixed-type. If I had to do it over, I probably would have purchased our dolly with electric brakes. But our MasterTow pulls like a dream and stops well also.

Sniggles....I wouldn't even consider pulling our Escape on a dolly with no brakes. That is a lot of extra weight back there for your coach to stop solo. And there are some states (ours is one of them) and Canadian provinces that require brakes on any towed trailers or dolly's/vehicles over certain weights. I would bet your set up is well beyond those limits. Just MO....
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:52 AM   #6
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Surge brakes are a proportional braking system. The harder you brake the more the surge brake is applied. Going down hill with the exhaust brake on the braking action of the coach would not be enough to over ride the surge brake internal limiting mechanism and cause the dolly brakes to be constantly applied. Only when you apply the coach brakes would the G-force of deceleration be enough to cause dolly brake application. I have towed a surge brake dolly and Toyota Corolla over 10,000 miles through hills and mountains in the eastern US without any problems.
I think if they are adjust properly for the weight they will work under light brakeing like when an exh brake is on.
I prefer surge brakes but only when they are adjusted right.
When they are adjusted right there is no surge. They work absolutly perffect when adjusted right.
I rented the largest ditch digger I could years ago. it was on a trailer with surge brakes. the thing weighed right at 10,000lbs with the trailer. it stopped just great. the more i steeped on the brakes the more trailer brakes I had. Most of the bigger equipment trailer i have seen with surge brake they have a lock out pin so if you have to back them up a hill you won't be fighting the brakes.
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