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Old 07-06-2015, 06:08 AM   #29
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Well, apparently there are some folks that find a dolly to be an acceptable choice. Do as you like. I like what I do. No problem with that.


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Old 07-06-2015, 06:54 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedgard01 View Post
Well, apparently there are some folks that find a dolly to be an acceptable choice. Do as you like. I like what I do. No problem with that.


Ted
Well, yes there are.

There are also people who apparently, don't agree, with our choice to dolly tow.

Thank you for accepting our decision.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:16 AM   #31
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To tow or not to tow!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedgard01 View Post
Well, apparently there are some folks that find a dolly to be an acceptable choice. Do as you like. I like what I do. No problem with that.


Yes, it's good that there are choices, as everyone has different priorities. There are even those who prefer a full trailer. Everyone must make the decision about what is right for them (with not towing at all being a valid choice.)



But in fairness, I'd like to respond to a few comments; not to convince anyone to use one method or another, but to provide complete information so they can make their own choice.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
3.) Loading a dolly every time you do.

Loading a dolly means you drive onto the dolly then add straps to the front wheels and safety chains. Takes us less time then our flat towing friends because the brakes require no connecting/setting. Hope you have brakes
Then I contend your friends have chosen the wrong braking system. There are plenty of braking systems out there that require virtually no effort: in my case, the only extra work I need to do is snap the cable onto the breakaway switch - 10 seconds, 15 if I fumble. The necessary electrical connections are made when plugging in the lights. (Which all methods require,although you don't have to unplug dolly or trailer lights unless you also disconnect the dolly/trailer.)

I don't have any personal experience loading puma dolly, but I've seen other people do it. But I did have an interesting experience once: leaving a dog show, I pulled out of my site and onto the access road. Then I brought my truck up and hooked up. A tow dolly user was watching me, and when I was done, his comment was "Wow, I had no idea it could be that fast and easy!"



Quote:
7.) Maintaining a dolly

There is maint on flat tow gear too. A dolly is just like a tiny trailer...just check the tires, hubs, and hitch - simple.
Don't forget checking/replacing lights, cleaning/re-packing the hub bearings periodically, maintaining tire pressure, replacing tires when needed, and servicing the brakes. The dolly may also have to be registered (license plates) and/or annually inspected in some states.



Yes, there is some maintenance on tow bars: clean and lubricate the sliding arms occasionally, and install a rebuild kit occasionally (after 7 years of towing with my tow bar, I had to do the rebuild on mine: remove two bolts, pull out the worn nylon washers, stick in the new nylon washers, and replace the bolts: lots less work than repacking hub bearings, and much less frequent.)



There is some increased wear on the toad as well: with a dolly, two tires and the rear bearings are getting extra wear. With a tow bar there are four tires, four wheel bearings, and the brakes that are getting extra wear. But that only means slightly more frequent service on the toad which is already being routinely done.



Quote:
On the flip side - see what a dealership or private buyer will say about buying a car that was cut-up for flat-tow baseplates and about the unknown miles on the chassis and lower drive line.
When I bought a new truck a couple years ago, one of the first things I told the salesman was that it MUST be flat towable. I showed him what was done to the trade-in, and we crawled under several trucks on the lot and discussed what would need to be done to get them ready. The fact that mine was modified didn't bother him at all: I actually got more on the trade-in than I ever expected to get. (Of course everyone's experience may be different.)





Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
Strap tightening... With now over 15,000 miles on our dolly, the straps no longer stretch...new ones stretch. Having said that, we still stop after completing a full left and right turn, to check everything. I hope you check your tow set-up after initial start too...lots of locks, pins, and other moving parts in the self latching tow bars.
Lots of people report that they need to re-tighten straps, and the manuals for every dolly I've read specifically require it on all situations, not just when straps are new. It's not just the straps stretching, but the tires slightly adjusting their position on the platform. And yes, with a tow bar it is prudent to stop after a little bit to double check things: I always do, to make sure everything is tight and the brakes are cool and not set: walk down one side, look, give a tug on the bar and cables, walk around the toad feeling brake temperatures, walk back the other side and look/tug, and walk back to the cab. I've never found anything wrong, but I still do it. It takes longer to walk the length of the coach and back than it does to do the inspection:



Quote:
Moving the dolly at destinations... why did you unhook and move the dolly at destinations? We have never done this...but we have on occasion put the dolly under the RV overhang if we didn't want to see it.
Isn't putting the dolly under the RV overhang unhooking and moving it? You just said you NEVER do that.



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These are my (hopefully unbiased) thought of the pros and cons of different options:



Flat four down towing:
  • Equipment can be expensive, can take a day or two for one time setup.
  • The baseplate is usually discrete, but can sometimes be visible and alter the appearance of the vehicle.
  • Requires some form of lighting on the toad (diodes, extra bulbs, magnetic tow lights.)
  • Requires a car that can be flat towed, or requires modifications to make it towable.
  • Requires installation/removal of a braking system each time, or requires some modification of the vehicle to install a more convenient "permanent" system.
  • Some maintenance required (cleaning/lubricating, occasional rebuild.)
  • Easy/fast hookup, most require no crawling around.
  • May require special shift sequence in toad when hooking up.
  • Additional wear on the toad's tires and wheel bearings.
  • Small and relatively light, easy to remove and stow when not needed.
  • Cannot back up.



Tow dolly towing:
  • Could be least expensive option.
  • Just about any front wheel drive can be towed. Many all wheel or four wheel drive cannot be dolly towed (even with transfer case in neutral.)
  • No modifications to toad.
  • Can include breaks.
  • Larger and bulkier than a tow bar, must have storage space when not in use (and at occasional campground.)
  • Must be removed at back-in campsite.
  • More involved to hook up car than four down, sometimes have to crawl to reach tire straps.
  • Limited backing up possible?
  • May need license/registration, may need annual state inspection.
  • Similar maintenance to trailer: tires, wheel bearings, brakes, lights, etc.



Trailer towing:
  • Largest/most bulky option
  • ANY vehicle can be towed without modification (multiple vehicles possible)
  • Covered trailers provide weather and road debris protection
  • Complete backing ability.
  • Must have storage location when not in use, and often at campgrounds.
  • Requires typical maintenance: tires, wheel bearings, brakes, lights, etc.
  • Most need license/registration, may need annual state inspection.
  • Toad must be tied down, but usually easily accessible.



I'm sure there are lots of things I missed. In summary:
  • Flat four: main selling point is convenience, at the cost of more expensive equipment and vehicle installation/modification.
  • Dolly: main selling point is generally lower cost and no modification of toad, at the cost convenience.
  • Trailer: main selling point is flexibility (and weather protection if covered) at the cost of weight and bulk.



My personal impression from watching rigs on the road, and walking around campgrounds is that half to a third of motor homes don't tow. Of those that do, about three quarters of them flat tow, very few use a trailer, and the rest use a dolly.



I'm an inventor (engineer.) They say that laziness is the mother of invention, and that's true. I admit I'm lazy: I would rather spend some time up front to make a process easy and quick, rather than keep repeating a tedious process. It's the basis of engineering. To that end, I would much rather spend a couple says setting up the equipment such that it is easy in the long run. If that requires vehicle modification, so be it. (I actually think working out the details and installing the baseplate, lighting and braking systems are fun.) To me, flat down was an easy choice.



Other people are afraid to modify their vehicles, or they use a variety of vehicles, or they trade their vehicles frequently. Some just want to save money. A tow dolly is a good choice for them, even it does mean a little more time hooking up each time, and needing to find an occasional storage space.



Still other people want the ultimate flexibility or weather protection of a trailer.



And some people don't even bring along a toad.



There is a solution for every need, you just have to choose based on what's important to you.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:10 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
Yes, it's good that there are choices, as everyone has different priorities. There are even those who prefer a full trailer. Everyone must make the decision about what is right for them (with not towing at all being a valid choice.)
...

Isn't putting the dolly under the RV overhang unhooking and moving it? You just said you NEVER do that.
...
There is a solution for every need, you just have to choose based on what's important to you.
Thank you for the very thorough and thought out reply

I agree on all points.

About the unhook...we have after arriving at some campgrounds, decided to "clean-up" the camp site...and have pushed the dolly under the overhang. That's just our decision and was never required by the management.
This is usually when we are making routine trips around the back of the RV to go somewhere in the park (not common with the current design of many parks) just to ensure there would be a reduced trip hazard.

Yes, thankfully there are options and we can do what works best for each of us

Safe travels
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:30 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
About the unhook...we have after arriving at some campgrounds, decided to "clean-up" the camp site...and have pushed the dolly under the overhang. That's just our decision and was never required by the management.
Thanks for the kind words. About the above, I wasn't really talking about the need to do it or not, or why. I was just teasing you that you say you NEVER unhook it in camp, but then in the same sentence you say sometimes you do. Just a little friendly ribbing.

Reminds me of the Gilbert & Sullivan song from HMS Pinafore: "What never? No never! What never? Well, hardly ever!"
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:51 AM   #34
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You can't just make up stuff to further your point.

No US State requires plates or inspection on towed equipment ( dolly ).

There are many vehicles that require battery disconnects and transmission pumps to be flat toed and dragging your front suspension will cause more wear on it, and the tires, as you force the steering to turn, while the engine is off.
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Old 07-06-2015, 02:22 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
You can't just make up stuff to further your point.
I didn't make stuff up, and I'm not trying to further a point. I couldn't care less what equipment you or anyone else uses, as it doesn't affect me one little bit (as long as it is a safe setup.) I'm just trying to give as much information as possible so people can make their own choices.

I'm only defensive right now because you are calling me a liar. My hackles being raised have nothing to do with towing equipment choices.

Quote:
No US State requires plates or inspection on towed equipment ( dolly ).
Are you 100% positive about that? I'm not, that's why I said there MAY be licensing requirements. I've read conflicting information on it. You say US States, what about Canadian provinces (there are a LOT of Canadians on this board.

If no state requires plates, why are license plate brackets available for dollys? (For example, see the bottom of page 28: Demco Kar-Kaddy manual

Quote:
There are many vehicles that require battery disconnects and transmission pumps to be flat toed and dragging your front suspension will cause more wear on it, and the tires, as you force the steering to turn, while the engine is off.
Yes, that is true. That's why I had already included both points in my list of pros and cons:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
Flat four down towing:
  • Equipment can be expensive, can take a day or two for one time setup.
  • The baseplate is usually discrete, but can sometimes be visible and alter the appearance of the vehicle.
  • Requires some form of lighting on the toad (diodes, extra bulbs, magnetic tow lights.)
  • Requires a car that can be flat towed, or requires modifications to make it towable.
  • Requires installation/removal of a braking system each time, or requires some modification of the vehicle to install a more convenient "permanent" system.
  • Some maintenance required (cleaning/lubricating, occasional rebuild.)
  • Easy/fast hookup, most require no crawling around.
  • May require special shift sequence in toad when hooking up.
  • Additional wear on the toad's tires and wheel bearings.
  • Small and relatively light, easy to remove and stow when not needed.
  • Cannot back up.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:15 PM   #36
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Most FWD vehicles that can be towed 4 wheels down (note that I said Most, not all FWDs can be towed) have very little that has to modified for the tow cradle. Most come with hooks installed in the front of the frame and the tow cradle uses the same connections. Etrailer.com sells a plethra of tow items and some of the wiring harnesses for the tail lights are plug and play. Very easy to install. I did my Chevy Colorado 4X4 myself in one day. tow cradle, wiring harness and Aux braking system with 0 modifications . Total cost was $1300. Jeeps are very easily converted also.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:11 PM   #37
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ShapeShifter,

I would like to apologize for my off the cuff comments.

I often reply to posters asking about towing and being a satisfied dolly user, offer my opinion.

Within 3 of 4 posts, many 4 down posters, start with the dolly bashing.

Crawling in the mud in the storm, way to many things to hook up, the straps falling off, not being able to store the dolly and some even mention not being able to back up.

Then they start with the simple installation ( by a shop ), but seldom mentioning the cost for the whole system. There are also many, who don't use any aux. braking.

By the time their done, dolly user back out of the conversation, feeling like second class RVers.

After a year of defending my towing style, I get a little defensive.

I sold my house to go full time on my boat. My daughter announced her upcoming wedding, grounding me until then.

I bought a MH, got thru the wedding, and picked up a dolly to tow my non flat towable car.

I have been told to sell that car, sell the dolly, get a different car, take it to a shop, where some 20 something tech can pull the front off, to mount a plate and a bunch of hardware and fumble with the electrical system.

I paid for the dolly, picked up the correct hitch adaptor, hooked up the dolly and loaded the car. I was on the road for Fl. in an hour.

A year later I still am happy with my choice and have done some modifications to simplify the loading.

Again, I am sorry for venting my frustration, on you.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:03 PM   #38
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As a "newby" to having a "toad" we are using the Acme EZE tow, we decided to go with the dolly as we have two fwd cars, and a work minivan, I take call once in a while and it's easier to haul the Van behind and go straight to work other than running home to get it, now having our MH for three summers now, this is the first year we've decided to travel further than an our from the house, now our best friend has a C class and Ford Escape flat four toad, I have hooked up for her as well, yes it is slick as slobber, but I refuse to cut up the front of our new Fiat to flat tow, besides that means any time we go anywhere we HAVE to take that car. So for me .....the dolly is a better solution!!
My advise to the OP is this ..... Figure out what's better for YOU, what's better for me or someone else may not be the answer for you. Then research it, only you can make up your mind!!
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Old 07-07-2015, 12:35 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
......... and picked up a dolly to tow my non flat towable car.....
twinboat, same reasoning here except from the other side of the fence. Neither my Jeep TJ nor GMC 2500HD 4x4 can be dolly towed, and fortunately both are extremely easy, and economical, to prepare for flat towing. Some of our other vehicles cannot be flat, or dolly towed which requires towing one of the trailers. A trailer is also required when we take more than one vehicle with us. On the rare occasion that a trip dictates the need to transport 6+ people we load the Town & Country on the dolly and go. I suspect I'm in the vast minority here but I "need" all three transportation choices (flat tow, dolly, & trailer) to be available.

To the OP: Personally I recommend taking a toad with you regardless of the method you decide on. There are some great posts above that detail the available options listing the pro's & con's of each. All aspects of RV'ing are about personal choices, wants, and needs. There is no right or wrong answer, only what makes the most sense for each individual's situation and expectations. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your travels!
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Old 07-07-2015, 12:57 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
You can't just make up stuff to further your point.

No US State requires plates or inspection on towed equipment (dolly)
Actually WA does require a license plate when there is no car loaded. The KK-460 comes with a bracket that can lay flat when a car is loaded so there must be more than one state that requires it.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:38 AM   #41
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To tow or not to tow!?

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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I would like to apologize for my off the cuff comments.
Thank you. You sound a bit like me: a discussion can get "passionate" around a campfire, but it's with the best and friendliest intentions. Unfortunately, that usually doesn't come through in a typed forum post.

Quote:
Then they start with the simple installation ( by a shop ), but seldom mentioning the cost for the whole system.
Yes, there are those (on all sides of the fence) who take liberties and gloss over or leave off many details. I felt bad making such a long post, but I tried to be through and balanced.

I feel the expense and extra one-time setup is worthwhile, but I don't gloss over the part that there is a substantial amount of work involved. In fact, I wrote a detailed post about getting my latest toad ready: Setting up to flat tow an F-150

Doing all that work does scare away some people. When I set up my first toad, an Avalanche, it was already six years old and I had done a few modifications over the years, so it didn't really bother me. But with the brand-spanking-new F-150 in the driveway, I did stand there for a minute with the wrenches in my hand before I could bring myself to start. (On the plus side, when I was done, I was a lot cleaner than I was after working on the truck I had been driving for six years! )

Quote:
There are also many, who don't use any aux. braking.
Scary, isn't it? Unfortunately, it's not a flat-tow phenomenon, there are plenty of dolly towers without brakes.

Quote:
I have been told to sell that car, sell the dolly, get a different car, take it to a shop, where some 20 something tech can pull the front off, to mount a plate and a bunch of hardware and fumble with the electrical system.
That's just plain silly. But if your car is flat-towable, or you're in the market for a new one, it's worth considering the flat tow option. There are reasons it's so popular, just as there are reasons that there are a lot of dollys on the road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderfoot View Post
twinboat, same reasoning here except from the other side of the fence. Neither my Jeep TJ nor GMC 2500HD 4x4 can be dolly towed
I was in a similar boat: my 1500 Avalanche 4x4 could be dolly towed, it can only be towed four-down, or on a full trailer. My wife's AWD Escape could not be dolly towed or flat towed, full trailer only. So the decision of which car to tow and how to tow it was an easy one. But after doing the research, I had already decided that flat towing was the option I preferred, so it wasn't a hardship.

When looking for the 12 year old Avalanche's replacement (I do miss that truck!) my number one requirement was that it could be flat towed without modifying the driveline or adding a lube pump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Actually WA does require a license plate when there is no car loaded. The KK-460 comes with a bracket that can lay flat when a car is loaded so there must be more than one state that requires it.

Thanks for the backup. Like I said, there are conflicting reports out there. Dolly manufacturers aren't going to spend the money on license plate brackets (especially complex folding ones) if there is never a need for one.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:54 AM   #42
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46.16A.070 << 46.16A.080 >> 46.16A.090


RCW 46.16A.080

Registration — Exemptions.


The following vehicles are not required to be registered under this chapter:

(1) Converter gears used to convert a semitrailer into a trailer or a two-axle truck or tractor

(2) Electric-assisted bicycles;

(3)(a) Farm vehicles operated within a radius of twenty-five miles of the farm where it is principally used or garaged for the purposes of traveling between farms or other locations to engage in activities that support farming operations

(4) Forklifts operated during daylight hours on public highways adjacent to and within five hundred feet of the warehouses they serve;

(5) Golf carts, as defined in RCW 46.04.1945, operating within a designated golf cart zone as described in RCW 46.08.175;

(6) Motor vehicles operated solely within a national recreation area that is not accessible by a state highway

(7) Motorized foot scooters;

(8) Nurse rigs or equipment auxiliary for the use of and designed or modified for the fueling, repairing, or loading of spray and fertilizer applicator

(9) Off-road vehicles operated on a street, road, or highway as authorized under RCW 46.09.360, or nonhighway roads under RCW 46.09.450;

(10) Special highway construction equipment;

(11) Dump trucks and tractor-dump trailer combinations that are:

(a) Designed and used primarily for construction work on highways;

(b) Not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property on a public highway; and

(c) Only incidentally operated or moved over the highways;

(12) Spray or fertilizer applicator rigs designed and used exclusively for spraying or fertilization in the conduct of agricultural operations and not primarily for the purpose of transportation;

(13) Tow dollies;

(14) Trams used for transporting persons to and from facilities related to the horse racing industry as regulated in chapter 67.16 RCW, as long as the public right-of-way routes over which the trams operate are not more than one mile from end to end,

(15) Vehicles used by the state parks and recreation commission exclusively for park maintenance and operations upon public highways within state parks.
[2013 c 299 § 2; 2011 c 171 § 45; 2010 c 161 § 404.]

Notes:

Intent -- Effective date -- 2011 c 171: See notes following RCW 4.24.210.

Effective date -- Intent -- Legislation to reconcile chapter 161, Laws of 2010 and other amendments made during the 2010 legislative session -- 2010 c 161: See notes following RCW 46.04.013.
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