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Old 01-20-2015, 04:18 PM   #1
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Non-Locking Steering Wheel Issue for Dolly Tow

Hello all:

First post ever here. I'll start by saying I've never dolly towed a vehicle long distances before.

I have a 2008 Chevy Impala. It is front wheel drive. To dolly tow it, I have a 2012 Demco Kar Kaddy SS.

The car physically fits the dolly fine. The dolly hooks up to the car and my Class C RV fine.

On my maiden voyage with this rig, I pulled over at 10 miles to see how the car was still doing on the dolly. The tires remained securely hooked, and straight - on the dolly. The car's tail however, started to veer WAY off to the right. With no immediate fix apparently available to this novice tower, we took the car home and did without a car at our camping destination.

I took the car to a local Chevy dealer to get the steering wheel lock fixed, as the steering wheel was of the "unlockable" variety. Found out it wasn't broken (and Id never noticed that in the last 5 years I owned the car) and that the car was not equipped with a steering wheel lock. It only prevented startup and placing the gear selector in gear.

Next I went to a local Camping World. They couldn't help. They suggested I buy a dolly or dinghy towable vehicle. Not an option.

Finally, I went to a huge local trailer dealer in my town. They suggested some kind of steering wheel strap from the same company that makes the dolly. It does not look like it would secure a steering wheel enough to prevent the towed car from swaying like it did previously.

I've seen steering wheel to brake pedal security bars, but they aren't adjustable for tight snug fit since they all have fixed detents by which to secure the brake pedal to the steering wheel. There's enough play for the steering wheel to turn slightly - enough for the rear of the car to sway.
Does anyone here have any ideas on how I can safely dolly tow this vehicle?

Remember, the car's front wheels stay straight and secure on the dolly, but the tail end of the car sways off to the side.

I'm truly stumped at this point.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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So are we, are you saying your car is wagging behind you or just staying to one side while driving straight.

I dolly to a car with no steering lock and it just follows me. If I stop during a turn, the car is not lined up behind the motorhome. If I drive straight, it gets back in line.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:57 PM   #3
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My ACME dolly wheels do not steer as yours does. When I go around corners the car steering wheel moves and therefore it is necessary for there to be no steering lock on the car. I do not know if this is true on your dolly since the dolly wheels steer. However, I see no way for the rear of the car to sway to the side while driving straight unless something is broken. From your description it appears you are mounting the front wheels of the car on the dolly and the rear wheels are rolling as would be correct. Please keep us informed of the eventual solution.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:10 PM   #4
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Welcome DEHartman,
I have a Mastertow tow dolly and I tow a car that the steering does not lock.I have to tighten the straps really tight and stop and check them every couple of hundred miles and have never had any trouble.You should be able to modify the section where the tires are where it wouldn't turn.I hope you figure things out.Good Luck and be Safe.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:28 PM   #5
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A decent way to lock your steering, at least for a try-out.

Take a piece of rope loop it through your steering wheel, be sure to do it at a "spoke" so it cannot slip. Pull the rope tight, slam the door on the rope between the door and windshield pillar, then tie a big knot in the rope so it cannot slip back into the car.

This sounds crude but back when I was young this was the way to tow a car backwards with the front wheels on the ground. Probably did it a dozen times a week when I was driving Police wrecker calls.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:37 PM   #6
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You're going to need to tie the steering wheel. Tow truck drivers use a bungee cord.

You have to many things steering. Either stop the cars tires from steering (doesn't take much) or the dollies wheels from steering.


From the dolly owners manual:

Step 7.

Drive vehicle onto the platform
-
front forward -
until tires touch the wheel stops at the front of each side of
the platform and the platform tilts to a flat position. Make
sure the car is centered on the platform. Towed vehicle tires
must fit in wheel troughs without overhanging sides. Engage
towed vehicle parking brake.
Shift loaded car into “park”
and lock steering wheel with front tires in a straight posi
-
tion. If the car does not have a locking steering column
the steering wheel must be tied securely with front tires
in a straight position.
Rear Wheel Drive:
Disconnect towed vehicle driveshaft for
rear wheel drive vehicles with automatic transmission.
For manual transmission:
Consult your vehicle ow
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:41 PM   #7
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Do you have the KarKaddy's pin pulled so that the trailer tires turn on corners? Or are they locked straight? I have one and have no problems. But my steering wheel locks.
This is weird that the steering wheel won't lock. Sounds like you will need to purchase a good heavy duty strap and strap the wheel and then open and shut the door on the strap, Thru the door frame and "not" thru the window.
Is it possible too have the wife or a friend drive a car and follow you as you maneuver around corners and the likes?
JMO,
Tim
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:47 PM   #8
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Hi DEHartman,
I have a Kar Kaddy SS, tow the wife's Caddy that has no steering wheel lock. The car tows perfectly. In addition to what has been suggested, consider having the car rear wheels aligned by a good shop or the dealer.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:26 PM   #9
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I have a mini that I tie down the steering wheel with 2 ratchet straps from the wheel to the seat mount bolts made on to size and taped so that i just hook it up then tighten the remaining one to snug
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brockx View Post
A decent way to lock your steering, at least for a try-out.

Take a piece of rope loop it through your steering wheel, be sure to do it at a "spoke" so it cannot slip. Pull the rope tight, slam the door on the rope between the door and windshield pillar, then tie a big knot in the rope so it cannot slip back into the car.

This sounds crude but back when I was young this was the way to tow a car backwards with the front wheels on the ground. Probably did it a dozen times a week when I was driving Police wrecker calls.
When I ran wrecker (many many years ago) we used a bungee cord the same way. Never did have any problems.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:24 PM   #11
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We tow a Prius and the steering does not lock either. Found taking a tie down strap from the steering wheel to the brake pedal works great.
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Old 01-21-2015, 09:03 AM   #12
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Dolly Tow Dilemma Update

All - many thanks for tips and suggestions. I noticed a few questions too, so I'll address them here quickly.

1) Yes, the dolly itself tracks my RV perfectly. The car's front wheels are perfectly centered and straight on the dolly. The car's rear end veers to the right - almost as if following the slight grade on most US roads. The car does NOT wag.

2) The car was loaded and reloaded a number of times exactly in accordance with the Demco Owner's Manual.

3) The Kar Kaddy dolly steering pin WAS pulled to allow the trailer to steer, which it seems to do with no problems - with or without a car.

Never dawned on me that the rear suspension may need aligned, so I will have that checked. At first thought however, I occasionally follow my wife when she drives that car and it always seems to track perfectly straight. I always immediately notice cars in which the rear end seems to veer to one side or the other - usually indicating that it was not properly aligned after a wreck or constantly goes over rough roads. Knock on wood, this car has never been wrecked.

I will try some of the strap and rope techniques some of you offered. My only concern is cinching the strap to the brake pedal too tightly causing the steering wheel to deform.

Give me a couple days and I'll report the good or bad.......

Thank you all......
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:06 AM   #13
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We used to call that dog trailing, a sure sign of a previous accident. I am not sure how tight it must be to work but I would check that out also. Just a suggestion maybe call a wrecker service and see if then will tell you how tight it needs to be.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #14
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On other thing comes to mind, check the dolly hitch hight. If to high or to low it could throw off the dollys steering caster.

I know, I know it`s out there but possable.
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