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Old 03-28-2015, 01:52 PM   #1
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Pivoting vs Non-Pivoting Tow Dolly?

Hello all,
It's me again! I am getting so confused as to which is best bang for the buck: a pivoting tow dolly that costs $3800 or a non-pivoting one where the steering wheel needs to be unlocked for $1800.
I understand the ease of the pivoting unit, and I also understand that I would need to pull a fuse and or disconnect the battery to keep it from draining when the ignition key is in the accessory position and the steering wheel is unlocked.
I am looking here for real life examples.
I will be towing a 2012 Hyundai Tucson front wheel drive car. The owners manual does say the front wheels need to be off the ground.
Any and all help is much appreciated.
Thanks.
G Man
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:02 PM   #2
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The ACME dolly does the job and has surge brakes which makes operation a no brainer. However, the Toad's steering will need to be unlocked to tow.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:50 PM   #3
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I use a Stehl Tow, dolly, with surge brakes. It costs me $1600.00. It has a pivot plate.
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Old 03-28-2015, 04:52 PM   #4
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The pivot pan and steering axle dolly's are good machinery. U-Haul uses a very heavy duty version of a MasterTow (I think).

Besides cost, these steering dolly's weigh more than the fixed pan type...a few hundred lb for the extra steel parts. So that was a consideration for us.

Our Ford (exactly the same as a several Japanese brands) does not need the key to be "on" for the steering to be unlocked. This is worth checking as it is common for many cars...
1. Turn the key to on...unlocks the steering
2. Turn the key to off - BUT DO NOT REMOVE.
3. Check to see if the lock remains unlocked...hard turn left and right of the steering wheel more than 1/4 turn at least.

Our steering lock will stay unlocked as long at the key stays in the key hole. This is a type of mechanical lock.
We use the valet key to leave it in the car while towing and lock the doors with the primary key if wanted.

If your steering lock is electrical (locks upon turning the car off), then there will be a fuse that feeds the lock solenoid. Should be marked and can be removed.

These steering lock questions are the same for flat towing, so there are many options (like adding a wire to charge the car from the RV) and can be answered as you desire.

Besides the cost and lower weight, we especially like the EZE-Tow because of the standard disc surge brakes that work perfectly if loaded or unloaded (auto adjusting).

Best luck
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Old 03-28-2015, 11:07 PM   #5
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I use a mastertow with plate that cost me 1400 new at the factory 80 series with electric brakes. Love it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 11:17 PM   #6
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+1 on the Stehl, I tow my Hyundia Sonata with ours
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I use a Stehl Tow, dolly, with surge brakes. It costs me $1600.00. It has a pivot plate.
Thanks Twinboat,
I went to their website and I do not see a tow dolly with surge brakes, which I think are better but I am open to having my opinion change.
They only show dollies with electric brakes.
I will call them tomorrow to ask.
Thanks,
G Man
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jergeod View Post
I use a mastertow with plate that cost me 1400 new at the factory 80 series with electric brakes. Love it.
Thanks for the reply.
Electric brakes seem to be a hassle verses surge brakes.
Thoughts?
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:15 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great info, I will check out our Hyundai and see if any of that works.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
The pivot pan and steering axle dolly's are good machinery. U-Haul uses a very heavy duty version of a MasterTow (I think).

Besides cost, these steering dolly's weigh more than the fixed pan type...a few hundred lb for the extra steel parts. So that was a consideration for us.

Our Ford (exactly the same as a several Japanese brands) does not need the key to be "on" for the steering to be unlocked. This is worth checking as it is common for many cars...
1. Turn the key to on...unlocks the steering
2. Turn the key to off - BUT DO NOT REMOVE.
3. Check to see if the lock remains unlocked...hard turn left and right of the steering wheel more than 1/4 turn at least.

Our steering lock will stay unlocked as long at the key stays in the key hole. This is a type of mechanical lock.
We use the valet key to leave it in the car while towing and lock the doors with the primary key if wanted.

If your steering lock is electrical (locks upon turning the car off), then there will be a fuse that feeds the lock solenoid. Should be marked and can be removed.

These steering lock questions are the same for flat towing, so there are many options (like adding a wire to charge the car from the RV) and can be answered as you desire.

Besides the cost and lower weight, we especially like the EZE-Tow because of the standard disc surge brakes that work perfectly if loaded or unloaded (auto adjusting).

Best luck
Thanks for all the great info, I will check out our Hyundai.
G Man
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:32 AM   #11
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I had traded my aux brake and tow bar for a Stehl dolly. If was an older one but has the swivel plate. I had to mod mine because I haul a Honda Fit and it sits pretty low so when attempting to load on the tilting bed it would hit the front. To alleviate that I cut the damps off, fixed the tilt to permanent and just bought aluminum ramps. Works great for me. I would caution anyone before buying a tilting Stehl that you attempt to load your vehicle before purchasing.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:44 AM   #12
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This is a good one to look at Home | American Car Dolly it swivels, has full size tires, fairly light compared to a Stehland they deliver and show you how to use. You have to order and wait for them to deliver because they sell the heck out of them. They also deliver All over the United States.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:57 AM   #13
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I found the dolly at a dealer ( Large hardware store ). They had 3 types, no brakes, electric brakes and surge disk brakes.

If you look at the web site for parts, they show the surge brake kit. They probably just didn't update the main site.

I tow a KIA Soul with it.
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Old 03-29-2015, 12:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Man View Post
Thanks for the reply.
Electric brakes seem to be a hassle verses surge brakes.
Thoughts?
G Man
Like the pivot/fixed debate, it's all about what you want...

Electric:
Brakes are applied by 12VDC solenoids inside the brakes.
Needs a controller (usually mounted in drivers position) and 12VDC to operate and the power wire between the Towed and Towing vehicle.
Most often drum style brakes.
Must be manually adjusted for load and brake wear.
Operation can be controlled (extra braking to no braking) by driver, at the controller.
A break-away device needs a battery on the dolly.

Surge:
Applied by hydraulic pressure from the tongue mounted master cylendar (just like a car).
No extra pieces or parts used (self contained).
Fully automatic (operation and adjustment from fully loaded to fully unloaded).
Available in disc and drum style brakes.
Requires a lock-out to back-up (EZE-Tow comes with a lock-out key).
A break-away device is often just a pull cable on the master cylendar.

We have used both (electric on our old TT and surge on our boat trailer). Surge is much simpler to use, but slightly more expensive.

Some drivers like to manually engage Electric brakes to "keep the toad straight" on descents(?).

It's really a personal preference thing...both are good and do the job. BTW, there are many dolly's sold with no brakes. Brakes are not required by law on tow dolly's in some places...but obviously safer to have brakes

Safe travels
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