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Old 09-29-2011, 03:57 AM   #15
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I've towed the same vehicle ('05 Honda Odyssey) both ways. Each has it's pros and cons.
Brakes are on dolly so can tow multiple vehicles easily
Dolly weighs about 600#'s so need to add that weight.
Dolly needs to be stored at home or at the destination. (Ours folds so that helps)
Dolly needs to be rolled into place and hooked up.
Two extra tires to take care of
Towed needs to driven onto dolly and secured.
No wear on transmission, front tires or brakes.

Brackets and braking system need to be installed in towed vehicle. Can only tow the vehicle that's set up, extra cost to get new toad.
Extra weight is about #100#'s
Tow bar, bracket extensions and brake need to be stored somewhere
Bracket extensions need to be installed and removed each time or left on (ugly)
Brake unit needs to be installed.
Transmission can be worn or damaged
All tires wear when towing
Brakes wear when braking
Must make sure toad is towable four down or risk warranty coverage denial

Personally it's a wash, although I like the no trans, tire or brake wear/worry on a dolly and ability to tow other vehicles but the dolly is heavier and takes some extra work (not necessarily time though).
Time wise if the bracket extensions are removed and need to be installed again the time to load up and get ready is about the same, or maybe less with a dolly if you have to run the engine and got through the gears to tow four down like Honda's require. Also the battery can run down as you need to leave the key on to unlock the steering wheel.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:00 AM   #16
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We have used both. My preference is 4 down. Less hassle and time to go. The pros and cons listed are valid though. The pros outweighed the cons for me.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:09 AM   #17
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We bought our PT with the intention to tow 4 down but when it came time to purchase all needed accessories they had a lead time of four weeks. Being we were leaving sooner then that initiated the purchase of the tow dolly we have. I'm not sorry it happened that way. After I thought about it I didn't have to cut any holes in the facia of the car for a base plate for one and we also have the advantage of being able to tow other front wheel drive vehicles if we should decide to do that. I guess they both have advantages and disadvanatages but we have what we have and I'm not one bit sorry. JMHO
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:39 AM   #18
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I've used both and wish I had my Avalon and Demco SS Kar Kaddy dolly back.

I've towed 35000 miles using a dolly and 4000 miles with the four down.

The dolly is easier, much, much quicker and certainly a lot less wear and tear on the dingy. In 35000 miles I didn't get one rock chip because I guess when its on the dolly, the rocks go under the toad. First trip out with the four down I had two rock chips on the hood. I could easily and much quicker load the dolly than hookup the 4 down stuff. With a dolly, there are much fewer "hook-ups" that have to be completed. I could easily load and hook up the dolly by myself. Yeah, I can do the 4 down alone but how many times will you need to pull forward to latch the tow bar and then walk back to make sure its latches? I've not figured out how you can check if the toad brake lights work if you're alone.

The down side, if you have a back-in site you have to unhook the dolly and physically move it. That never was much of a problem.

All in all, I would love to have my dolly back and especially my Toyota Avalon. The 2011 Malibu is a truly inferior product that lacks the engineering, workmanship and overall quality that Toyota has. My wife commented the other day that I would not have the Malibu a year from now...can't believe I'll have to wait that long.

Oh! And now I find out Onstar will be tracking my every move for years to come-how cool is that. Maybe they truly are Government Motors.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:42 PM   #19
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We've pretty much run the gamut of towing. The first two were a 3rd car but because we generally travel no more than 3 months out of the year they would mostly sit for the rest of the time but still needed maintenance, insurance, etc. The 3rd car period did not last long.

We then decided to sell the tow car and trade whatever the wife had at the time for something that was towable. This summer we sold the 2nd of the wife's cars since making the change and bought the 3rd, which is also towable. Not exactly what she wanted but our options were limited because of my (I repeat, my) requirement it be towable 4 down. After getting the car it dawned on me this would be the 5th one in 10 years we have set up for towing. I could not make myself add up the money I had spent getting the first 4 ready to tow, which includes replacing a worn out tow bar.

Since we tend to trade her car every 3 or 4 years it finally hit me we need to do something different and the only option I could come up was a dolly. As someone previously stated, I am not going to miss tearing holes in the front of a new vehicle and worrying about transmission damage, speed limitations, are the brakes working, etc. We just made the change so not a lot of experience yet but my mind set is I'm going to love it. Everything has its accomodations and maybe dolly towing has a few more, but it's okay with me. Maybe a year from now I'll change my tune but I don't think so based on my early experience.

Our new dolly was custom built by Landgrebe Mfg to accomodate the weight and width of the wife's new Acadia. It weighs about 540 pounds but with the folding dolly wheel on the front I am able to move it fairly easily. I am fortunate in that I have room in my garage for it when we are home.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:53 PM   #20
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>>>> 4 down if you can, trailer if you cannot <<<<
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:26 PM   #21
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A couple of things were mentioned that are not 100% correct.

Not all vehicles require you to leave the ignition key on... I know the Ford Escape's requirement is to put the ignition in the off position but leave the key in.

Someone mentioned they couldn't figure out how to test the brake/tail lights on a 4 down with only one person. I think the same thing applies to a dolly :-)

I have never towed with a dolly but having to unhook and store the dolly, drive the car up on the ramp and stap down the wheels seems like me to be a major hassle.

One fact that hasn't been mentioned... You should only tow a Front Wheel Drive with a dolly. That leaves out rear wheel drive vehicles and 4WD/AWD vehicles. We drive a AWD and a 4WD and I would not want to own a 2WD vehcile. With a 4WD/AWD you can only tow it 4 down or on a trailer.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:47 PM   #22
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I have used both. My preference is 4 down. I did not like having to store the dolly and I could not hook up the car on it by myself. Fortunately I had help at the time, but as a single traveler I knew I did not want a dolly. I bought a car that would easily tow 4 down (Suzuki Sidekick). Yes, I still have occasional problems with the tow bar, but not anything that a little more strength could not solve. Yes, using a tow dolly would have prevented having to buy a second car just for towing, but I still say I am happier with towing 4 down.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:00 PM   #23
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Done both and I prefer the dolly. Even with the negatives, you are not tied to one dinghy due to tow brackets or brake system. Any front wheel drive will fit the dolly.

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Old 09-29-2011, 06:06 PM   #24
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And the tally is 6 for the dolly and 12 for 4 down and the hubby says with the changing of vehicles and all; despite, the survey we will go dolly. Wow, everyone has had such excellent info. So, glad we found this App!
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:09 PM   #25
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4 down. Don't buy a toad that will not work with this option. It's quick, easy and safe.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:27 PM   #26
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I think you made a smart choice. Its why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream. When we owners invest $2000-$4000 so we can tow four down we have to say its the only way to go.

Its interesting also that the majority of those recommending 4 down have never used a dolly so they can only surmise it must be better to tow 4 down. Trust me, I would readily go back to a dolly but then I'm also an individual that will/can admit when I've made a costly mistake.

mklove, take a look at the Demco Dolly. I pulled one over 30,000 trouble free miles. The only thing I ever needed to do was adjust the tire air pressure and when I sold (sniff) it the tires still looked new.

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Old 09-29-2011, 06:37 PM   #27
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Jim, if it would make you happier, I am sure there are any number of Toyota dealers that would love to take your Malibu on trade. After looking at the Malibu and the Ford Fusion....my wife it driving a Camry and the only reason it has been to the dealer was fro an oil change.

Maybe you could find a sucker....I mean RVer, that could use a car already set up for 4-down towing.

Ken
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:40 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
Jim, if it would make you happier, I am sure there are any number of Toyota dealers that would love to take your Malibu on trade. After looking at the Malibu and the Ford Fusion....my wife it driving a Camry and the only reason it has been to the dealer was fro an oil change.

Maybe you could find a sucker....I mean RVer, that could use a car already set up for 4-down towing.

Ken
nuff said!
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