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Old 12-06-2018, 09:47 AM   #1
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Let's talk tow dollies

Hey fellow rvers, I need advice on getting a tow dolly. We've been full timing for a year-and-a-half and happened using a flatbed to haul our Camaro. We got a new car that cannot be flat towed but can be put on a dolly which would help us in the places we go and camp. A six or eight foot dolly is going to take up a lot less space then 22 Ft worth of flatbed and tongue.

Before anyone suggests it we are leasing the vehicle so there is no way we can flat tow due to the changes we would need to make to the front end, even if it was a type of vehicle that would be eligible to be flat towed. The only thing I know I want for the dolly is electric brakes because we are set up for that now.

So is there anything else I should be looking for? I'm new to using a dolly even though we've been successfully using a flatbed for a year-and-a-half. the vehicle we are getting is around 3100 lb. Is there any weight issues I should be looking for? Anything special when it comes to ramps? What size drop hitch should I be using for a diesel motorhome? Anything I should be looking for in a dolly so that it can make turns better?

Thanks for helping this dolly Noob out
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:54 AM   #2
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I used a Demco KK-460 for a few years. Heavy but the ramps and tongue fold for storage. Hydraulic surge brakes.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #3
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Dollied for several years but prefer 4 down.

you need to look at the weight of your vehicle and the weight and size restrictions of the proposed dolly. I went to the next heavier dolly and the widest I could find to enable multiple use. I do not like surge brakes. They are cheaper but mountain driving causes the dolly brakes to come on as you go down hill, especially in a DP as the weight of the vehicle moves forward to the MH. Hydraulic is best with electric next preference.

Dolly will be simpler for you than the trailer but you will notice rock chips on front of vehicle unless you add on a rock guard however, check to insure it will not cause an air flow problem for toad. Didn't bother mine but some have indicated they had problems.

Enjoy - Richard
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:10 AM   #4
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I do like the simplicity of surge brakes and the ability to tow any front wheel drive car. I don't like hooking things up on hot summer days. So those are my main pros and cons.
I made a simple windshield protector out of reflex tex (just shut doors on it to hold it in place), but I really can't say if it was needed.
I've had good success with my Acme EZ Tow dolly - I think I got it in 2011 so long term it has been a good performer. Also, they are a good company to work with.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #5
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Dolly

American Tow Dolly,it's light easy to move by hand if needed,easy to load,removable ramps,lights,brakes ,swivel base so lock your steering wheel and go. Bought mine with electric brake unit installed ON THE DOLLY,just plug in lights done. I didn't have to do anything to my motor home. I called them owner answered the phone,told him what vehicle I was towing he told me what dolly I needed,asked me where I wanted it delivered and when . He delivered it to campground where we were staying demonstrated everything lights,brakes,how to load unload car,took a personal check no problem. Great buying experience,great company ,well built, great product. No high pressure sales, I even bought a spare tire and wheel. PS delivery and demo are free. I think total with electric braking unit and spare tire,wheel tie down straps, was $1800 delivered.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:22 PM   #6
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Also just bought a American tow dolly to use on the east coast the next 8 months. Iím leaving my enclosed trailer at my cousins in Indiana. Until I return . The dolly was all that has been listed. So far 1200 miles with no issues.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:35 PM   #7
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We have a Master Tow 80THD. It is rated up to 4750 lbs and 80" wide. We have towed across the country and it has worked very well. The ramps are built in on this model and it is much easier to handle. Be careful not to buy the narrow version dolly as some have had issues with it hitting the car in turns. Some other issues are make sure to drive straight with the dolly several feet before trying to load. When the straps are new make sure to check them several times as they stretch. Another helper is to have a small hitch on your towed car. Then you can use it to move the dolly around easily.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:45 PM   #8
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I've got over 30,000 miles on my Stehl Tow dolly. Original tires and surge brakes.
The ramps are fixed, so kneeling down to set them under the car. The plate that the car sits on swivels so no worry about locked steering in my cars.

If and when the brake pads are worn out, I'll replace them. The pads cost me $12.00. The tires at standard 14" trailer tires, sold everywhere.

The big issue with most dollys is the safety chain connection. I re-arranged them by using vinyl coated, steel cables that I thread thru each front tire and clip to some snap hooks. No kneeling.

They can be bought at larger hardware stores, the web site lists them.

Here is the safety cables arrangement I use.Click image for larger version

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Old 12-06-2018, 01:58 PM   #9
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Used Dolly in Classified.

Angelbones, check out the Classified section here in irv2. There are lots of good deals on dollies and you might even find one close to you.
Always nice to buy from the person that has used it. They will have tips that they have learned the hard way about using it, so you don't have to.
Happy Glamping.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
I used a Demco KK-460 for a few years. Heavy but the ramps and tongue fold for storage. Hydraulic surge brakes.



X2. It is probably the heaviest dolly, but then they are built by the #1 dolly builder in the US and are built to last forever. I have had to work back and "jack under" mine in making a too tight U-turn and it still didn't get the fenders close to the Prius. The wheels on the dolly actually pivot and follow the coach for a much better turning radius. By the tracking, it takes all of the stress off of the toad suspension rather than trying to force the front wheels backwards or forwards during turns, and the hydraulic surge disc brakes are a no brainer.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:43 AM   #11
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Anyone have an American car dolly?
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:23 AM   #12
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American Car Dolly

I've used an American Car Dolly Home | American Car Dolly

for 4 years now. We love it. Its very rugged and easy to use. We used to tow 4 down but find the wife and I are able to hook up just as fast with the dolly. It slides up underneath the motorhome when we back in to a site which is nice.

I tow a Ranger pick up in reverse with rear wheels on the dolly (extra weight in bed) and our Ford Focus facing forward. We love the versatility of being able to choose which of our vehicles we want to tow. Having towed both ways (4 down and dolly) for a couple of decades, we prefer the dolly and the cost, ease, and versatility of using it.

Having towed to Alaska and back from Georgia, and having run east coast to west coast 2X and from the Gulf to the Thousand Islands along with numerous other trips, we have nearly 60,000 miles on the dolly on every type of road conceivable.

I love the electric brakes as they require no brake controller in the cab and are activated by the motorhome brake lights.

After a couple years of heavy travel and hard roads I decided to change the brakes out on the dolly. I probably could have gone a lot longer but wanted to know I had a good set on. Changed the entire assembly easily in 20 minutes each wheel for less than $80. Overkill on my part but felt good doing it.

Can't beat the price or service from the company. A very well built set up and I am VERY pleased
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:10 AM   #13
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We use a tow dolly. Here are the tips I can pass along:

1) As soon as you get the dolly, implement the cable trick recommended by twinboat. We have a different brand dolly so our set up is a little different but still functions the same. It's a great relief not having to crawl under the car to install the safety chain.

2) Consider the type of places that you like to stay and how you will handle/park the dolly. The heavier ones that require the front wheel to move may not work well on loose gravel or sand.

3) You should get lights for the vehicle being towed. While there is some debate on the legalities, the lights on the dolly just aren't as effective as lights on the rear of the vehicle.

4) I have had good luck with the combination of surge and disc brakes.

5) Plan ahead for a location to load the dolly when you depart your campsite. Blocking the road in front of your campsite while you load the car on the dolly will not win you many friends.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I've got over 30,000 miles on my Stehl Tow dolly. Original tires and surge brakes.
The ramps are fixed, so kneeling down to set them under the car. The plate that the car sits on swivels so no worry about locked steering in my cars.

If and when the brake pads are worn out, I'll replace them. The pads cost me $12.00. The tires at standard 14" trailer tires, sold everywhere.

The big issue with most dollys is the safety chain connection. I re-arranged them by using vinyl coated, steel cables that I thread thru each front tire and clip to some snap hooks. No kneeling.

They can be bought at larger hardware stores, the web site lists them.

Here is the safety cables arrangement I use.Attachment 228241
I have one as well, well built and no problems with the Escape towing
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