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Old 08-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #1
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To swivel or not to swivel dollies?

There is a fellow who makes car dollies near me that do not turn or swivel.My question is, if your car is front wheel drive and the rear wheels are independent why does the dolly have to swivel? Does the swivel justify the big price?
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:26 PM   #2
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geometry ...

when you turn ... EITHER the platform that the front tires are on must pivot ... OR one of the front wheels will move ahead and the other will move back ...

It is just a matter of geometry ... on tight turns the distance is larger than you would initially suspect ....
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tqracn View Post
There is a fellow who makes car dollies near me that do not turn or swivel.My question is, if your car is front wheel drive and the rear wheels are independent why does the dolly have to swivel? Does the swivel justify the big price?
I assume the steering wheel of the car on the dolly must still have the steering wheel in the unlocked position so that the car will pivot on the dolly when negotiating turns. The toad ignition switch would need to be left in the on position just like flat towing. If the justification for using this type dolly is to allow backing of the motorhome with the car attached it would keep the steer wheels from slamming against the lock, however, one would still need to be very careful not to jack knife the car and destroy the toad steering mechanism. Keep in mind anything that is towed behind a vehicle that has a wheel base shorter than the towing vehicle is going to be a problem when backing. The shorter the wheel base the more likely a jack knife will occur.

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Old 08-23-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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When can dollies first came out they did not have the swivel platform, and everyone was instructed the the wheels on the platform must be able to operate. In other words the steering had to be unlocked on non-swivel tow dollies.

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:27 AM   #5
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While moving I have towed several times using a 2-wheel tow dolly from U-Haul and don't recall the trailers having a swivel. The cars were left in park and there never was a problem.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:02 PM   #6
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There is a fellow who makes car dollies near me that do not turn or swivel.My question is, if your car is front wheel drive and the rear wheels are independent why does the dolly have to swivel? Does the swivel justify the big price?
Take your little red wagon and lock up the front swivel and then try to pull it around a corner. You will have to drag the front wheels sideways to do so.

You will put a lot less stress on your toad, hitch and dolly if it swivels. Your dollies tires should last longer also.

I do like to root for the little guy however as far as tow dollies go I wouild not fool around with a good old boy selling home made dollies. Get one that is engineered and certified to meet all the DOT requirements etc.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:33 PM   #7
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While moving I have towed several times using a 2-wheel tow dolly from U-Haul and don't recall the trailers having a swivel. The cars were left in park and there never was a problem.
I was the manager of a LARGE U-Haul center and any of my people that rented a Tow Dolly without instructing proper use would have been fired on the spot, and the ONLY way to use a non swivel dolly is with the front wheels of the vehicle being unlocked else expensive damage can be done.

Also with a fixed dolly, a car cannot be towed backwards because the rear wheels are fixed, but CAN be backwards with a swivel dolly.

In other words, either the dolly itself, or the wheels on the dolly must be free to turn in order for the car to track. The only exception being if you are only going to go in a straight line.

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Old 09-14-2009, 09:13 AM   #8
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"and the ONLY way to use a non swivel dolly is with the front wheels of the vehicle being unlocked else expensive damage can be done."


In the Roadmaster Owners Manual they say that all vehicles must be towed in Park to keep the towed vehicle steering locked. If you didn't it would have the rear wheels going back and forth like a snake.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:15 AM   #9
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rek -

I believe you will find that your Roadmaster dolly has something called pivoting axles, or something like that.

There has to be a pivot point SOMEWHERE! In a true FIXED dolly, the pivot is in the UNLOCKED steering.

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Old 09-14-2009, 01:39 PM   #10
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Ed,
I get it now, the roadmaster without wheels that pivot, does swivel 9 degrees.
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Old 11-15-2009, 10:31 PM   #11
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Ed-Sommers, New to using a dolly and would like some more info on the non-swiveling U-Haul dollies. I bought a used one and have towed several hundred miles with it.
I am towing a '98 Chevy Tracker 4x4 with auto front locking hubs, so Chevy says to tow backwards.
First time I tried this the front hubs locked, fortunately I was just stopping in a parking lot so no damage. I removed the front driveshaft and proceeded home.
Second trip I put the toad on forward and removed the rear driveshaft and this seemed to work o.k.
Third trip I put the toad on backwards and removed the front driveshaft, unlocked the wheel, but had to put a heavy rubber bungie strap on the steering wheel to minimize the wheel turning on tight corners. I have had to do this when towing with a wrecker also.
What would you recommend in this situation?
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:56 AM   #12
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Swivel or non-Swivel Dollies

Hi, I am the owner of a Roadmaster 2000 Tow Dolly and have towed a great deal of miles with no problems. Yes, the wheels do pivot and the car is in Park with the front wheels locked.

The best part is that the dolly wheels follow in the track of the RV making it nice when going in and out of gas stations or tight places.

One point here has to be made and that is a tow dolly or a car four down cannot be backed up. I have backed mine up but only 2-3" so in reality you can not back it up.

There are a lot of tow dolly manufacturers and they have steering and some don't so I would get one that has steering. I happen to recommend Roadmaster because I have enjoyed towing with it. I added electric brakes to mine which I recommend some sort of braking whether it be electric or surge. The electric brakes require a brake controller to be installed in RV whereas the surge brakes don't. With Surge brakes there is a certain limitation you have to be worried about and that his the hitch configuration.

I have also added to mine a third wheel for manuevering around when at home or in a campground where I have to disconect it. I normally in a campground get a pull through site where I can leave tow dolly attached to RV. There is also a spare tire mounted on the tongue which eliminates the new to buy a tire when on the road if you get a flat tire. Speaking of tires if you purchase a used one please make sure the tow dolly has trailer tires and not car tires.

Hope this helps with your decision to buy a tow dolly.

Tom
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:46 PM   #13
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Tow Dolly

I tow the wifes car on the dolly, the Kar Kaddy that I now have is the "Cadillac", dolly wheels swivel.

TowDemco.com - Kar-Kaddy SS
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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In the discussion re: locked or unlocked steeriing column: if one has a swivel mounted on the dolly that the vehicle is strapped to, does the steering column need to be locked or unlocked or does the swivel table take up the needed swing when you are cornering?
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