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Old 07-02-2011, 07:11 AM   #1
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Concerns with Using Tow Dolly

We just sold our 08 Acadia with the SMI Air Force One, base plate and Protect-A-Tow included. Picked up a new Acadia Denali yesterday. This is the fifth tow vehicle we have owned since getting in this inexpensive hobby. I have bought 4 base plates, a BrakeBuddy and the SMI and 2 tow bars. Getting ready to start all over again, execpt for the tow bar. Got me to thinking I might want to consider getting a dolly, as I could have already paid for several. I know all the downsides to it and probably won't, but if I do I have some concerns.

First, the Protect-A-Tow did a marvelous job protecting the front of all our vehicles we have towed. Does a tow dolly need a protector? Since the car sits up on the dolly I thought it might not need anything.

Second, the tow dolly has its own lights but I would assume you need the vehicle lights to work also, right?

Any other concerns I need to think about?

I am looking at the Demco Kar Kaddy SS but not sure the Acadia will fit on it. The folding feature would let it fit nicely in my garage.
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:27 AM   #2
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I've used tow dollies for 5 years with success. I pulled a Toyota Avalon and about the only "damage" to the toad was when I would get a lube job and the drive shaft grease would sometimes get thrown onto the car. I purchased the KarKaddy last year and pulled it about 2000 miles. According to Demco, it will load up to full size pick ups. I've since sold the Avalon and had a Malibu thats towable 4 down, thats what I'll be doing.

You do not legally need lights on the toad and also the dolly does not require a license plate.

BTW...should you decide on the KarKaddy, I have one listed in the iRV2 classified ads. PM me if your interested and delivery is negotiable.
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:34 AM   #3
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You probably would not need the bonnet.
You do not need to use the vehicle lights.
I use a tow dolly because it is a lot less wear and tear on the towed vehicle. Once you purchase the dolly, you can use it for several years and vehicles. I can also hook up my dolly and car as fast if not faster than the wheels down people. Dolly is the way to go. Be sure to get one with brakes. Surge brakes are great because you can use the dolly without a brake controller. The Kar Kaddy is an excellent choice as is Master Tow.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:37 AM   #4
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Jim, I sent you a private message.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
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Suggest you double check your state for license requirement. In Nevada, tow dollys MUST be registered AND licensed....towed vehicle lights not required. I would be surprised if we are alone in that requirement....another way for cash-strapped states to raise revenue. Our MasterTow HD (wider than standard with bigger tires) with surge brakes pulls like a dream. Only issue, sometimes, is getting the tire straps to "cooperate" from time to time. Once you get the "hang" of it, it is no problem.
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDT View Post
Jim, I sent you a private message.
And one back to you.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:10 PM   #7
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We have an 03 Kia Sedona, which weighs, according to the State license bureau, 4710 pounds. With most dollies being limited to a 4200 or 4500-pound toad, we have a problem. Also, with most dollies weighn 800 or more, we'd be over our hitch rating (5000).

Also, equipping the Sedona for 4-down is over $3k because so few people tow them (I guess), so the various hardware bits are very expensive. The car isn't worth a lot more than that. Right now we're managing without a dinghy and figure we can rent from Enterprise for about 90 travel days before we spend what setting up for 4-down will cost (over $3000). We rarely need a toad, so we might manage with rentals for a while!
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:55 PM   #8
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I am so new at this I have yet to do more then drive my 34 Ft RV from the dealer lot to home, but I need a "Toad", "Dingy" or what every you may wish to call it, and so I would like to expand on the question of Dolly over 4 down.

(a) What do you do with the dolly? (a.1) Leave it connected to the RV while on a trip?

(b) Storage when at your base of operations? (Assuming your not a full timer, which I am not, YET!)

Reading this thread, plus just being told it would cost somewhere between 3 and 4.5K to properly set up my 08 Town & Country Van to tow got me to thinking Dolly may be the best answer. I am also looking at towing a Grand Cherokee on some trips and the Dolly would work for either without additional costs, and space wise beats the heck out of the 10K car trailer I have been hauling before the RV.

Like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:52 PM   #9
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Frank, I'm not sure why the total weight of the vehicle is a concern by the manufacturers of the dollies. Our Acadia weighs 4722 lbs but has a 55/45% front to rear weight ratio. This means the front of the Acadia should weigh 2597 pounds. The Kar Kaddy SS we are considering weighs 635 lbs for a total of 3232. It has 3500 lb rated axles, which would be under to rating, but also states the toad max weight is 4700 lbs. We have a 10K hitch on our Ambassador so not really sure how the total weight of the tow vehicle comes in to play. I am going to call Demco first thing Tuesday morning for an explanation.

Cost is certainly a consideration which is why I posted this thread to begin with. We change vehicle we tow every 3 or 4 years, which is also always the wife's daily driver as I have to have a truck for my small business. We tend to buy nice vehicles which I hate to cut in to to mount everything. We did try owning two different cars for toad use only but we had to leave it outside and did not tend to drive it all that much unless we were traveling. Plus the expense of another drive train along with the insurance was a little much for us.

Ted, no experience but I would assume what you do with the dolly at the campgrand depends on the campground, whether or not you have a pull thru site or a back-in. At home, I would keep the dolly in our garage. This is why we are interested in the Kar Kaddy SS because it folds fron 133" to 67".
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:14 AM   #10
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.......Jim, I think most of the replies have answered your questions. I have a Master Tow with the swivel base that I've been using for about 8 yrs now, and if I had to do it all again I would not change a thing. Like OP mentioned, the tie straps can be confusing, but I solved that by using a l/side & r/side bag for them in the storage bay, no more problems. As for storing @ the campground, I slide mine under the rear of the Coach out of the way. When @ home, I just cover it. Our m/home has a full rear mudflap(which keeps debri from toad) but like you mentioned, the angle of the toad when loaded does not present a problem. JMHO and hope this may answer your questions. Good luck & travel safe.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:31 AM   #11
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Master Tow makes a heavy duty dolly. You can also upgrage your hitch.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:21 AM   #12
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Check out an ACME Eze-Tow dolly, it has an 80" deck.
I like mine because it is simple, all welded frame, low profile tires and fenders makes straps easier to put on,
surge disc brakes (no elecrtical controller), and 4-point tie down straps.
When I push it up under the back of the MH in campgrounds, it only sticks out about 24".
At home I stand it up against the wall in the garage, and low profile tires don't stick out very far.
It's functional, sturdy, and inexpensive.


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Old 07-05-2011, 03:17 AM   #13
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We tow with the model dolly you asked about. Yes your right, the folding capability is great when storing in the garage. Also helps out at the campsite if you have tight quarters as well. All the lights that are needed is that of the dolly. Your vehicle lights need not be hooked up but that is an option for you to decide if you really think you need them. No brake kit for the vehicle either as the dolly comes equipped with them. The most important thing for me was that the vehicle needs NO modification at all to tow and you have the option to tow something else if you like providing it's a front wheel drive. As I've said we like ours and I'm glad we decided to go this way. Happy Motoring!
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:24 AM   #14
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We had a tow dolly for three years. It was a pain. Switched to a tow bar and would never go back. Aside from the space it takes up is all the other work to get it ready to roll. Ours was a Mastertow.
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