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Old 05-21-2012, 01:52 PM   #1
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Taking the toad for the first time....should i be nervous?!

We are towing our dodge caliber with for the first time on a dolly. I have never towed before and I am a bit nervous. We have a 2008 damon challenger 376 on a ford chassis. I looked up the weight and looks like we should be ok. I guess the entire length of the two together is what makes me nervous. I have one question...do i need to buy magnetic lights to put on the car or are dolly taillights acceptable?
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:02 PM   #2
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I would recommend lights on the back of the car. May not always be required but will increase visibility.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #3
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Towing

Two observations in my one year experience: (1) You need to plan stops ahead, and plan the maneuvering at gas pumps, because backing up is for all intents and purposes impossible. (2) The magnetic lights are good extra precaution, however I don't think the regular ones are bright enough in daylight. I'm replacing mine with some LED lights.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bobb.25 View Post
Two observations in my one year experience: (1) You need to plan stops ahead, and plan the maneuvering at gas pumps, because backing up is for all intents and purposes impossible. (2) The magnetic lights are good extra precaution, however I don't think the regular ones are bright enough in daylight. I'm replacing mine with some LED lights.
Bob

Excellent advice, especially about planning ahead and gas pumps. And I use
magnetic LED lights, they are brighter.

And I may add, do not be overly nervous, but be very, very AWARE of all
that is going on around you. It is a big rig and there is no stopping on a
dime or swerving to miss a kitty, it will require your attention all the time...

.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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What kind of dolly did you go with? Currently we have a caliber and I'd appreciate hearing how it goes.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:11 PM   #6
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Great advice from every post. Lights, lights and more lights, good to be seen. I really like the "don't swerve for kitty". That's very good advice. Stopping takes a bit longer with the extra weight pushing you. Hope you have brakes on the car dolly. If you ever have to make a quick stop because of an idiot cutting you off you'll be glad to have all the stopping power you can get. Plan ahead always for tight areas, and NEVER try to back up, not even an inch. I did once, just a foot I thought, won't hurt, well bent the hitch so bad it had to be replaced. If you get in a bind, drop the car and dolly and then maneuver where you need to be.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:16 PM   #7
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When on the road I don't know the toad is back there unless I look. I find that using the backup camera to keep an eye on the toad adds to my peace of mind.
I only just use the dolly lights (LEDs), but my Aveo is a smaller toad than you have.
I use the Acme tow dolly with hydrolic disc brakes - easy and no thought required (brakes are a must). Also, good rear tires on the toad are a must - a TPMS on the toad rear tires is a good idea as well (I move my rear dually TPMS to the toad).
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:18 PM   #8
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This will work for towing or not towing. Staying a few miles per hour under the speed limit will keep people passing/away from you and out of the way while you travel down the road.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Just another quick thought for you, I put a tow hitch on my little Aveo to allow easy moving of the tow dolly around. I can unload at a open place a mile from the camp spot and tow the dolly with the car - works great. I think I would also use the car to tow the dolly if I ever got in a required back-up situation.
I use this option a lot.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bucksmom View Post
What kind of dolly did you go with? Currently we have a caliber and I'd appreciate hearing how it goes.

edit: I just realized this wasn't aimed at me, but I answered it anyway.


I have an ACME EZE-TOW dolly. If you mean you have a Dodge Caliber, then
you will have no problems with an ACME dolly. I have towed a Hyundai
Santa Fe and a PT Cruiser all over and no problems, and it has the ability to
tow a much larger and heavier vehicle, up to 4985 lbs.
Since the curb weight of your car is only about 3100 lbs., you would have
about 1800 lbs to spare on an ACME.

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Old 05-21-2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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Lots of good advice - don't assume a following car knows you are turning/changing lanes...as many people watch the tailights on the toad. Inch over slow so the follwing car has time to "realize" what is up. I wired my toad car lights also - this way they can't miss it. I also have a top of the vehicle light bar for long trips in busy metro area's....after driving trucks for some time I learned to keep the drivers side of the vehicle as your "lane width" guide. You can see all the way down the vehicle and you have a better relaization where you are on the road. The width of the lane is always wide enough so keeping a "tight margin" on your side means your clear on the otherside. Remember to "bend" around corners - not cut them tight as the toad doesn't follow exactly in your motorhome tracks....you'll learn that after cutting over a curb or two.....
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #12
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Oops - one more thing....I flat tow now - but use to dolly tow on a DEMCO dolly and they recomend stopping after 10-20 miles and retightening everything - GOOD ADVICE as when the vheilce settles in - things may loosen up a bit. Stop and check your setup early on.....
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:58 AM   #13
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Lots of great advice!! Thank you. I think the gas stations are the part i am worried about the most. But i figure if i take my time it shouldn't be a problem. I just told my wife the other day how nice it would be to be able to hook up the dolly on the back of the caliber to move it around. So looks like i will be shopping for a hitch!
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #14
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A few more thoughts: (1) Pilot/FJ has an RV guide and I have downloaded a copy. It has a column indicating which of their stations have pull through RV lanes. As much as possible I try to hit these and top off the tank, sometimes planning the trip around them. (2) Another post has recommended stopping after a short while to check for anything that has moved. This is good advice. I am always amazed how much the straps will loosen, even when trying to load the dolly absolutely straight and get everything tight. One thing I discovered last year that seems to help...drive the car onto the dolly and against the front stop, and put it into neutral ( not park ) while installing the straps. This way the straps can actually pull the car forward slightly, allowing for better tightening. Of course , put the car into park before taking off. (3) Use the backup camera to keep an eye on the toad, and it helps you stay centered in the lane when you are in narrow highway construction areas. Safe Travels !
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