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Old 10-13-2016, 09:28 AM   #1
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Stehl Tow Dolly

Hello, I've just purchased a slightly used Stehl tow dolly and have never towed a vehicle before. The first time we towed all went well until we went to unload. The swivel plate had done it's job and turned slightly but didn't return to the straight position. Hence, when we got home, the ramps didn't line up with the tires. I'm figuring that the swivel plate is adjusted too tightly. Should it swivel fairly easily and how do I know if it's adjusted properly? Should I just loosen the pivot nut a little? I'm a little afraid of making it too sloppy, but it is apparently too tight right now. Thanks for any help. Leelee
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:40 AM   #2
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I have the same dolly now for 3 years.. It would swivel but getting it back to straight was near impossible without a come a long.. I called the factory. The only adjustment they told me was to tighten the big nut until daylight was not seen between the washer and the plate.. I loosened the nut, it took two men, and still could not move the tray by myself.. I removed the nut and bolt and there are what appear to be large teflon plates on the tray and the dolly that slide against each other. they were caked in dried grease and road dirt.. scraped it all off with a putty knife and cleaned it up.. put a light coating of grease on all 4 pads and put the tray back on as per the factorys instruction.. it works much better now and we just completed a 5000 mile trip all around the canadian provinces.. I think that procedure should be an annual event if using the dolly regularly..
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:56 AM   #3
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Thanks. We're about to go outside and check it out now. Does yours swivel easily when pushed by hand? I'm just trying to get a feeling for just how easily it's supposed to move?
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:08 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Sorry I can't answer your question! I've never used a tow dolly! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:55 AM   #5
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Same dolly I would bet dirt under tray I have removed mine 3 timer in 10 years same problem
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:12 PM   #6
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I have the same dolly.

During a turn, the swivel plate will move. If you stop right after, the plate will be turned.

Just drive straight ahead, an RV length or so and it will straighten out. If it don't, the straps may not be tight enough.

Do you have the instructions ? They recommend rechecking the straps after a few right and left turns.

In spots, where I can't go foward, I just back down, following the ramps.

Once off, I straighten it with my foot, for the next use.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:18 AM   #7
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Thank you for the info. We will be checking out between the plates today. Had to get a 1 1/2" wrench for the pivot nut.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:26 AM   #8
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Thanks. We had pulled straight and the pan wouldn't straighten out. We could not straighten it out with all our might and had to use a couple of pipe wrenches (only things we had that were big enough) to loosen the plate nut enough to move it. I'm wondering how loose the plate should be. Is it easy to push with your foot or is there supposed to be a fair amount of resistance? The straps were still tight. We ended up using a couple of 2x12s to use as ramps to go over the skewed ramps. The owner's manual doesn't address the pivot at all.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:41 AM   #9
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I have the same dolly. Now I'm thinking of pulling the plate to check for dirt. I keep a ~4ft pry bar in the back of the mh. After unloading I use it to straighten the plate.

If you have not seen it twinboat came up with a great way to do safety chains on the vehicle. I used his idea and really like it. HD sells 15 ft safety cables for locking equipment. They are 1/4 steel in a vinyl shell with crimped loops. Cut around 50 inches off each end to keep the loops. It will probably take an abrasive cutter. Strip back the vinyl and clamp the cut end to the loop the ratchet rides on. Pass the other end through the wheel cutouts and connect back to the loop with screw gate chain links. No laying on the ground, hardly any time to connect up. I now use a length of wire coat hanger passed through the wheel to grab the loop. Beats reaching around the tire. ;-)
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:09 AM   #10
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My plate can be pushed by foot. Its a bit looser then new but no issues with it.

Are your front tires of the car turning and staying turned ?

Here is my safety cable setup.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:19 AM   #11
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We pulled the plate yesterday and it was grungy with caked old grease and grime. Cleaned it up, regreased it and it works like a charm now. I really like your idea for safety cable. Thanks a lot for the info.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:23 AM   #12
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I love this idea!! I'm going to do it. Thanks. And my front wheels on the car did turn slightly and remain turned. Why do you ask? 666
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:24 AM   #13
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Please ignore the 666 at the end of my post. My cat often helps me type on the computer.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:23 AM   #14
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My dolly has white poly material that the turntable slides on.

It is the same stuff 5th wheel owners use on their hitch plate, rather then grease.

I've never greased mine in 25,000 miles of use and would think that if greased, dirt would stick and build up in that area.

Maybe greasing it, is the wrong way to go.

Was the poly material showing gouges or wear ?

I asked about the turned wheels because if they are turned, the swivel plate, would also be turned. I find this on mine, if I haven't traveled foward enough after a sharp turn.

You may be fine, having cleaned it up and not binding.
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