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Old 12-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Tandem Tow Dolly Issues

Back in May, before full timing in August, we purchased a used Tandem Tow Dolly from an individual in Daytona Beach, Florida. These are pretty expensive dollies when new, so I sought out a heavy duty model on the internet. After looking it over thoroughly, we purchased it for towing our golf cart along with our Toyota Highlander behind our 41' Four Winds Mandalay.

We struck out for North Carolina for a month, then onto Atlanta for about 10 days. When we arrived in Dallas for about 5 days, I noticed that the right tire was bald on the inside of the tread. I replaced it with my spare and we headed onto San Antonio, for a month.

I contacted the manufacturer to find out why this may have happened. The spindle assemblies are welded onto the heavy duty square stock, so there is not adjustment and the axle is so strong that it was not bent (no damage was noticed upon inspection) I was told by the new owner, Dave Ault, with Elite Metal Performance, that he would research the issue and get back to me. The following day, Dave contacted me and said that it must be the angle of the tire was out of kilter. My dolly is a 2010 and out of warranty, but he told me that if I were to bring it to them, they would fix it for free. Well, I was about 1700 miles away and that just wouldn't be cost effective. Therefore, I sought out a metal fabrication shop in San Antonio.

Working with them, we calculated changing the angle of the tire only to find out that if we went by the specs we were quoted, the wear would have been worse. After thinking about it for a day & doing measurements, we came to the conclusion that the tire was welded onto the axle with a "tow-in". Therefore, the left tire was going straight down the road and the right tire was trying to go to the left. Therefore, the inside of the right tire was wearing out in about 1700 miles. (I put new tires on the dolly before we left). The fabricator almost had to cut the spindle/tire assembly off the trailer in order to straighten it out. This took about 10 hours and cost me about $800.

I would advise anyone wanting to buy a USED Tandem Tow Dolly to make sure they take accurate measurements concerning the alignment of the tires. This was something that was overlooked at the factory and I was informed that this has happened a few times on the older trailers.

On a positive note:
The trailer tracks great now. We have gone another 1500 miles and the tires are showing only normal wear!

The new owner of the Tandem Tow Trailer manufacturing, Dave Ault from Elite Metal Performance, was fantastic. He stayed in touch with me through the entire process. I didn't expect him to pay for the repair work, but he did everything short of that. The man was genuinely concerned. He said the new trailers are manufactured with very strict tolerances and I believe him. The next time I am near the manufacturing plant, I will stop in and say "thanks" to Dave for being such a wonderful and conscientious owner.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:16 PM   #2
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Congrats! 10 hours for $800 ($80 per hr) is a good proce for a welding shop.

If the problem was tow-in, do you think the angle of the tongue changed between you and the original owner - which increased the tire wear?

And questions for you...what do you carry on the dolly for you to want/need the tandem and being bigger than a reguar dolly, do you have trailer license plates for the dolly (if Florida does not require plates on a dolly)?
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:30 PM   #3
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Excessive Toe in wears the outside of the tire, so I would expect a toe out condition and / or a combination of toe out and bad camber. Zero toe for a solid non steering axle and zero camber.
Another point, how much does the camber change when you load the vehicle on it, I would guess the top of the tires lean inward some, due to weak axle.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Plate required

Steve,

I don't think the angle of the tongue changed at all since only the right tire was wearing poorly on the outside and not the inside as I stated in the first thread and as evidenced in the photo. Once the right tire was straightened out, everything was fine and the dolly tows perfectly behind the RV along with our car.

We carry a golf cart along with our Toyota Highlander on the tow dolly.

After contacting DMV in Florida, they stated that we needed to have the trailer licensed since it is NOT just a tow dolly, but actually a trailer.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Thanks Dave

I agree with you Dave,

Excessive Toe in wears the outside of the tire. I mis-typed. The wear WAS actually on the outside of the tire as evidenced from the photo of the tire on the spare tire rack. lol...

The setting for the camber when there is no weight on the trailer is 0.04" down tilt to accommodate for the weight of the car and whatever is put on the platform of the dolly. The axle is so strong that there is almost NO flex when weight is applied. Therefore, you dont see much of an angle on the camber when initially welding the spindle. I have the Heavy Duty XL dolly which can support a lot more weight than the Regular Duty dolly. I don't have the specs with me, but you can find them on the Race City website.

Thanks for the questions/comments. I hope they helped clear up any questions someone might have.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:00 AM   #6
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my new stehl dolly came with about 3/4'' toe in. i didn't use the dolly for 18 months so it was out of warranty. stehl would not talk to me.
a truck alignment shop in reno tried to contact stehl and they wouldn't talk to them either.
the shop in reno reduced the toe some. their hydraulic frame straightener bent the axle but they said that it would bounce back to almost the original position. i finally got it fixed in san jose ca. they heated the square axle and bent it.
i am on my 3rd set of tires in about 3500 miles and the tires appear to be ok now.
before buying any dolly or trailer i will always use a tape measure to check the wheel alignment from now on.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:54 AM   #7
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I have the same tow dolly as you. I bought mine in 2011. So i guess I got the new one. I use it to tow my Motor cycle and car or jeep. Love it. Do you have the tall or short rock guard? I got the tall one and have need had anything hit my bike or car. Here in Louisiana I did not need a plate for it. I tried but the said it is a tow dolly. So i got this in writing so if i get stop I can provide it in writing from my state. I have put about 4000 miles on mine so far and my tires still look fairly new no signs of uneven wear.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
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Hi Guys,

I Have the same dollie. While I love using it, I have a tire problem. Mine wears the insides of both tires. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.


Brian
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howdyb View Post
Hi Guys,

I Have the same dollie. While I love using it, I have a tire problem. Mine wears the insides of both tires. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.


Brian
that is similar to how my problem initially presented.
my tires wore on the outside.
check the toe. you may have toe out.
if the toe is ok, you can have the camber adjusted at a frame shop or truck alignment shop.
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:42 AM   #10
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I know this is an old thread, but I've been looking at used Tandems and I found one I thought was a pretty nice price considering its 2014. It even has brand new tires!

After reading this thread one might wonder why the tires wore out in less than 2 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bafrance View Post
Back in May, before full timing in August, we purchased a used Tandem Tow Dolly from an individual in Daytona Beach, Florida. These are pretty expensive dollies when new, so I sought out a heavy duty model on the internet. After looking it over thoroughly, we purchased it for towing our golf cart along with our Toyota Highlander behind our 41' Four Winds Mandalay.

We struck out for North Carolina for a month, then onto Atlanta for about 10 days. When we arrived in Dallas for about 5 days, I noticed that the right tire was bald on the inside of the tread. I replaced it with my spare and we headed onto San Antonio, for a month.

I contacted the manufacturer to find out why this may have happened. The spindle assemblies are welded onto the heavy duty square stock, so there is not adjustment and the axle is so strong that it was not bent (no damage was noticed upon inspection) I was told by the new owner, Dave Ault, with Elite Metal Performance, that he would research the issue and get back to me. The following day, Dave contacted me and said that it must be the angle of the tire was out of kilter. My dolly is a 2010 and out of warranty, but he told me that if I were to bring it to them, they would fix it for free. Well, I was about 1700 miles away and that just wouldn't be cost effective. Therefore, I sought out a metal fabrication shop in San Antonio.

Working with them, we calculated changing the angle of the tire only to find out that if we went by the specs we were quoted, the wear would have been worse. After thinking about it for a day & doing measurements, we came to the conclusion that the tire was welded onto the axle with a "tow-in". Therefore, the left tire was going straight down the road and the right tire was trying to go to the left. Therefore, the inside of the right tire was wearing out in about 1700 miles. (I put new tires on the dolly before we left). The fabricator almost had to cut the spindle/tire assembly off the trailer in order to straighten it out. This took about 10 hours and cost me about $800.

I would advise anyone wanting to buy a USED Tandem Tow Dolly to make sure they take accurate measurements concerning the alignment of the tires. This was something that was overlooked at the factory and I was informed that this has happened a few times on the older trailers.

On a positive note:
The trailer tracks great now. We have gone another 1500 miles and the tires are showing only normal wear!

The new owner of the Tandem Tow Trailer manufacturing, Dave Ault from Elite Metal Performance, was fantastic. He stayed in touch with me through the entire process. I didn't expect him to pay for the repair work, but he did everything short of that. The man was genuinely concerned. He said the new trailers are manufactured with very strict tolerances and I believe him. The next time I am near the manufacturing plant, I will stop in and say "thanks" to Dave for being such a wonderful and conscientious owner.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:34 AM   #11
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Hi,
I went thru the same repairs as others and now have a great tow dolly. I have used it for a few years without any tire problems. It currently is for sale if anyone near Colorado is looking of one. Time to sell the bike so no longer a need.

Thanks
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:45 AM   #12
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Have you ever used it to just trailer the bike by itself? You don't need the car also to "balance" the load?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Howdyb View Post
Hi,
I went thru the same repairs as others and now have a great tow dolly. I have used it for a few years without any tire problems. It currently is for sale if anyone near Colorado is looking of one. Time to sell the bike so no longer a need.

Thanks
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:23 AM   #13
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Have you ever used it to just trailer the bike by itself? You don't need the car also to "balance" the load?
I guess you could just tow a bike or other things if you have enough of a weight carrying hitch and rig. The tandum units do use a balance system to keep the hitch weight down. The towed vehicles wheel carrier moves fore and aft to adjust the balance and thus the weight on the hitch. Maybe you could try it with just a bike and get it weighed?
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:00 AM   #14
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I want to try it with a small car and motorcycle. Car weighs 2300 and motorcycle about 800. Hoping to balance some weight towards the rear to get it off the tongue. I will weigh first.....
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