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Old 03-27-2016, 09:16 PM   #1
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Location: Charleston, WV
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Dolly Brakes vs non brakes

I have a 38 ft Damon Challenger and I want to tow my wife's Honda Accord so a dolly is the only option. The brakes on the MH are adequate but I have my doubts about towing with no added braking. We live in WV so level roadway is not the norm. Is a dolly with brakes the norm or do most folks use dolly's without brakes. If brakes are used what type are the most economical and effective?

2000 Damon Challenger 335 Ford Workhorse
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:19 PM   #2
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What year Honda Accord, we pulled a 98 with no problems. Newer Honda may be different.
2 stroker

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Old 03-27-2016, 10:27 PM   #3
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We have a KK-460 towing a Honda Odyssey although now we've gone four down.
Would never try to tow a car on a dolly without add'l braking. The KK-460 has surge drum brakes, although I think the new ones have disks.
Have never had a dolly without surge brakes either and this is our second. First was a locally built one that worked just fine too although it sat much higher and only had the swivel pan.
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:39 PM   #4
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I will reply with a brief personal story. Many years ago, with the new Holiday Rambler gas Imperial we went up the mountain to the Apple groves towing the family car on a new dolly without surge brakes. On the way back down the mountain I could smell hot something. Then the brake peddle went soft, luckily we were on a semi-level grade when the peddle hit the floor. I pulled over to a nice wide spot and announced to the family that it was time for lunch. We made lunch, I let the kids get out and play in the meadow, and we had a quite 2 hours break...all this time I was sweating bullets questioning how I was going to make it to the bottom of the mountain. But when we started up again I found I once again had substantial brake pressure. So we headed down, at an exceptionally slow speed, in a low gear, until we finally reached the I-10 freeway. The rest of the way home I kept my speed below freeway speed, so that people would have to pass me, and I would not have to brake. Bet I made some real friends on that trip.
When we arrived safely home I called my local dealer and traded my almost new tow dolly in on a Demco KarKaddyII with surge brakes. It performed well for me for over 25 years. I now tow 4 down.
Best of luck, and Happy Trails
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:45 PM   #5
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If you tow a car, please use supplimental brakes. They are not required in many places, but smart and safer than without.

There are 2 types of brakes on a dolly...electric and surge.
Electric is like most any towable RV...controlled by a box connected at the drivers position and use electricity to engage magnet powered brake pads at the axle.

Surge brakes are totally automatic, self contained, and use hydraulic brakes (drum or disc) just like a car.

Electric brakes are generally less expensive and either will work.

Best luck
Kim and Steve, Mustang LCDR (Ret), '07 Damon Outlaw #1193
I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance, Samuel Coleridge
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:22 AM   #6
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Laws on towing per State

Originally Posted by Skymark View Post
I have a 38 ft Damon Challenger and I want to tow my wife's Honda Accord so a dolly is the only option. The brakes on the MH are adequate but I have my doubts about towing with no added braking. We live in WV so level roadway is not the norm. Is a dolly with brakes the norm or do most folks use dolly's without brakes. If brakes are used what type are the most economical and effective?


Hi, I hope this is a site that might help you out some in choosing a type of dolly. We were told by a dealer that some states require different things when it comes to towing a vehicle. I do not know what the norm is, sorry and I know this doesn't answer your question directly.
But I hope it helps you some when choosing a dolly by which states you may travel into and the specifics the state may require.

There maybe an updated list else where.....

Safe travels to you and your family!!!
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:09 AM   #7
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A vehicle in tow, either four-down or on a dolly is a trailer. And I don't know of many states that allow a trailer of over 1500lbs not to have brakes.

The only exceptions for towing with auxiliary brakes I have seen crawling through state codes is for tow trucks which have an exemption to get disabled vehicles off the road and none of us are tow trucks.
Dale & Mark Bruss
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:34 AM   #8
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I wouldn't tow any dolly without brakes. My dolly currently has surge brakes. If I had it to do over, I would order the dolly with electric brakes. When going down hill and using gears to hold the coach speed in check, the dolly brakes are actuated the entire time. A document I received from UPF, who makes the brakes, recommends electric brakes if this type of towing is the norm. I pulled into rest area after going down a long grade using the engine brake last fall and the dolly brakes were unbelievably hot. With electric brakes they wouldn't have actuated until I hit the service brakes to exit the highway into the rest area.
2005 Newmar Kountry Star 3742 - Gas
ACME Eze Tow Dolly
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:31 AM   #9
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I would never tow a car 4 down or on a dolly without supplemental braking. Most states will mandate brakes. If you look at stopping distances with and without supplemental braking you'll see why we do it. It's just not worth it.
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
Newmar Dutch Star 4320, Spartan MM Chassis, Cat C9, Jeep Grand Cherokee,with Hemi, hooked up with a Blue Ox Aventa LX, and Brake Buddy.
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:37 PM   #10
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A year or two ago when I was looking around at dollies, I went to three U-Haul places and asked about their dollies not having brakes. They said brakes weren't required, if brakes were required anyplace then they would have to have brakes since their dollies go everywhere.
May be different today, but that was their opinion then.
2015 Itasca Sunstar 36Y w/2012 CRV toad
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:33 PM   #11
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Hi, we have a Itasca Sunova and pull a Demco Kar-Kaddy SS with surge disk brakes and a Toyota Camry on it. I did a search the other day about state laws regarding dolly towing. It stated that only 8 states do not require brakes on trailers. They also state the speed limit, it ranges from 55 to 65 mph. Demco recommends 55 so that is what we try to maintain. Also we try not to drive over 5 hrs. a day, I hate to set up in the dark. It is also nice to set back and have a nice glass of wine and crackers to try and unwind with. So far we have not had any problem with brakes over heating. We will be heading up to Colorado next month so I will definitely put that on my check list of things to keep a watch on. Personally I think trailer brakes are required, it also help save the brakes on your coach. This is just my opinion, but me and the missus seem to be getting by with out to much discussion about my driving. Hope you have many days of safe traveling and enjoyment.
Texas-Flash and my Little Lady
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:20 PM   #12
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When I was looking for a car dolly, brakes were a must for me. I went with electric brakes because of mountain towing. I tow my wife vw jetta, not a heavy car, but coming down some of the mountains it sure is nice to have.

2008 National SurfSide 34E (Bunk Model) Ford V10
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brake, brakes, dolly

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