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Old 06-29-2019, 02:30 PM   #1
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Master Tow Dolly Tire Life?

I currently have a very old U-haul tow dolly with no turning plate on it. Heavy old beast but stout as heck with steel plates and chains for tie-downs.
Bought it very cheap about 9 years ago and replaced the surge brake system with updated parts.
Only trouble it has given us is the very short tire life. Spare wheels that match the offset of the current wheels are non- existent so this is a problem with replacing tires on long trips.
Just drove from Arizona to Michigan and wore out 3 tires. Two were cheap tires but had to take what I could get on the road. They are 13". I was driving faster than normal with speeds up to 75 mph but it still wears tires at 60mph. This has been normal for this dolly to wear the tires fast with the outside edges going first.

So I am looking at a new Master Tow dolly here in Michigan and wondered what current or former owners found for normal tire life.

The dolly is also $300 to $400 cheaper here in Michigan than in Az.
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:46 PM   #2
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My 2016 Master Tow dolly has about 15k miles on its original radial tires and they still look great. I plan to replace when they are 5 years old, per date code. They do have balance weights on them and I use a TPMS.This has been a very good dolly and the surge brakes work very well. My neighbor put about 25k on his original MT dolly tires and replaced them before an 8k Mike trip out west.
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:57 PM   #3
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I've put 14,000 milesor so on my 2016 Master Tow with surge brakes. The tires have 7/32" of tread remaining. I just check the dolly and coach's tread depth and put in the coach's log book. I suspect the dolly tread will last until I change them out for time. I don't drive the coach more than about 10,000 miles a year and tow about half of the time.
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Old 06-30-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
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I have at least 35,000 miles on my Stehl Tow dolly tires. 14", Carlisle brand, I think.

I bought it in 2014 and the tires still look good.

Thinking about replacing them this fall, before we head out again.
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:47 PM   #5
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Do you by any chance have pictures of the tire wear pattern that you could post?
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:14 PM   #6
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Basically, trailer tire wear should be so slow and even that the treads just disappear over time. If you see the outside edges being worn away, it sounds like too much "toe iIn". Is there a way to adjust it or do you have a solid axle?
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:17 PM   #7
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If one outer edge on each tire is wearing, the axle is bent, either up or down, or possibly just the spindles are bent, changing the toe.


If BOTH outer edges wear on each tire, they are underinflated for the load.

Tow dolly use alone doesn't cause unusually poor tire wear. I would expect 30k-50k tire life, depending on the tie quality.
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Old 07-01-2019, 02:50 PM   #8
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Take a tape measure and see if you can measure the distance between the center treads at 12, 3, 6 and 9 O Clock.

The distance should be close to the same, in every position.

If you can't get to the center tread, use the inside of both tires.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:39 AM   #9
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The outer edges of both tires wear seemingly along with the direction the wind is blowing. The tire opposite the wind wear the outer edge with feathering to the side of the tire.
I have shimmed the hubs many times to set the tow from zero the about 1/4" toe in. Also used a machinists level to check the hub camber and adjusted it several times. Nothing seems to help.
I used to have to tow my wife's Tracker from the rear as it is 4 wheel drive with automatic locking hubs per the owner's manual. Changed the hubs to manual and tow from the front now. No change.
I spent almost $300 on new tires to drive 2,130 miles. It was the same last year when we made the same trip.
The heavy 8 ply tires will last up to 1k miles, the cheap 6 ply will last about 400 miles. The 8 ply are hard to impossible to find on the road.
It is not only the cost of tires but the downtime needed to have new tires installed.
The original wheels have an offset to the inside and even though I have looked along with several wheels suppliers none are to be found. My spare is a temporary tire and wheel I found in a auto scrap yard.
Time to get rid of this old U-Haul dolly.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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I think you just solved your problem, there’s no telling what it’s been through in it’s past lifetime.

The cost in tires alone would offset the cost of a replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post
Time to get rid of this old U-Haul dolly.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post
I currently have a very old U-haul tow dolly with no turning plate on it. Heavy old beast but stout as heck with steel plates and chains for tie-downs.
Bought it very cheap about 9 years ago and replaced the surge brake system with updated parts.
Only trouble it has given us is the very short tire life. Spare wheels that match the offset of the current wheels are non- existent so this is a problem with replacing tires on long trips.
Just drove from Arizona to Michigan and wore out 3 tires. Two were cheap tires but had to take what I could get on the road. They are 13". I was driving faster than normal with speeds up to 75 mph but it still wears tires at 60mph. This has been normal for this dolly to wear the tires fast with the outside edges going first.

So I am looking at a new Master Tow dolly here in Michigan and wondered what current or former owners found for normal tire life.

The dolly is also $300 to $400 cheaper here in Michigan than in Az.
U-Haul does not sell there tow dollies ?
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:54 AM   #12
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If you have no turning plate or steering wheels, are you unlocking the steering on the car you are towing ?

Something has to move between the car and dolly to prevent the tires from dragging around every turn.
Hitch it up, make a slow turn in a parking lot and see if the tires are dragging sideways.
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Old 07-02-2019, 04:18 PM   #13
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Depending on what tires you have on...must be radials...those cheap tires wear in no time
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Old 07-02-2019, 04:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post
I have shimmed the hubs many times to set the tow from zero the about 1/4" toe in. Also used a machinists level to check the hub camber and adjusted it several times. Nothing seems to help.
In my mind, this statement pretty much explains the problems with this tow dolly.
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