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Old 05-04-2013, 06:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
That's funny!!
I've towed with the some dolly for close to 20,000 miles and have never had to do much other than reconnect the wiring that pulled lose and replace a broken fender. This is a Demco KK-460
My original dolly was a cheap one built by a local utility trailer builder. I towed it even more miles but I did have to rebuild the brakes once due to overheating coming west ot of Jackson Hole.
Never even had a flat tire on either one.
I should add, our Odyssey is also set up to two four down. Tried towing it four down to Phoenix last year. New battery went dead three times, lots more rock chips, and tire wear. Ended up having to get an alignment and four new tires. Will not try towing the '05 Ody four down again!
We've used our Roadmaster dolly to tow a Buick over 25,000 miles and have never had to rebuild anything. It works as good now as it did the day it was new. In 12 years the only maintenance it's needed is repacking the wheel bearings, and a new set of tires. The tires were changed because of old age not because they wore out or had problems.

To us it's a toss up as far as towing 4 our Jeep down or the Buick on a dolly. Both take about the same time to hook up and unhook. Neither requires any special physical or mechanical abilities.

I have to admit we take the Jeep 4 down as often as possible. We like off roading and a Buick just doesn't handle the 4 wheel drive trails as well as the Jeep. It doesn't seem like a good idea to tow the Buick half way across the country then leave it at the campground while we rent a Jeep to go off roading.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:45 AM   #16
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I started towing DW car on a dolly but have since purchased a 12 Wrangler and set it up to tow 4 down so I have experience with both. The 4 down set up is a little faster to hook and unhook and is easier to store. The tow Dolly's really only drawback is the fact that you have to walk it somewhere when you unhook it and you sometimes get dirty putting the wheel straps on. The tow dolly gives you more options as to your toad and will cost less initial investment than a complete tow bar, toad lights, and supplemental braking system. If you have an auto that suits your needs, try a tow dolly, you will have little time and money invested and if you decide to go four down, you can sell the tow dolly. If you set up an unpopular auto to tow four down and trade, it might be difficult to recoup you investment or reuse many of the components. I still have my Stehl tow dolly but haven't used it since setting the Wrangler up to tow four down, so that could be the answer to your question. (moderator edit)
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:51 AM   #17
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My parents bought an 08 Jamboree, now we are trying to figure out whether to go with a tow dolly for my Fusion or purchase something used for a toad. I've looked at a few Saturn cars, but the prices are steep for the mileage and condition. We were told by the dealer that it had a class iii hitch rated at 5k pounds, and their grand caravan is almost to that weight. My Fusion is only 3600lbs, and I've rad horror stories about flat towing Fusions even though the dealer set the car up for it. The thing is, I've been told that dollies are unsafe and present their own set of challenges, which any trailer does. At this point, we are confused as to which direction to go. Any help, advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
I started towing a Ford Escape FWD back in 2005. I had no choice but to use a tow dolly and it was fine. I had surge brake model which made it even easier.

This year I purchased a 2013 Wrangler and tow 4 down. I have the patriot brake system.

Set up time is about the same, but no matter where you go with the dolly, you will have an issue of what to do with it while you are not using it. I was lucky enough that it slide under the rear of my class A with just the wheel sticking out.

Either style is fine, but in all honesty, flat tow is very convenient.

Good luck
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:13 AM   #18
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Theo you all so much. I can see that there are pros and cons to each style of towing. Investment wise, I think the dolly is going to be the way to go. I already have a small sedan that we can use, and the weight is prefect. My Jeep is to closer to the 5000# mark to set up, and since I'm the only one who is into offroading, it doesn't make any sense to use it.
Again, I appreciate everyone's opinions and advice. This forum is definitely better than the first one I tried!
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:51 AM   #19
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New Aspect, Pro Dolly

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Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post

We use a dolly for many reasons...

~Dolly lifts the front fo the car up to decrease the chance of rock hits on the toad.

Finally - I believe that my dolly wheels roll easier than the drive wheels of a toad in neutral to help the MPG.
Great points, two I'd never even thought of

Indeed, we seem to get less rock damage than the 4-down folks; however, that can be mitigated by a shield.

It stands to reason that rolling resistance is reduced, since the dolly tires are completely freewheeling and inflated to 50psi.

(A third implied in your post: cost. Four-down costs include the bar, installation, brake device, and loss of resale value.)
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #20
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Great points, two I'd never even thought of

Indeed, we seem to get less rock damage than the 4-down folks; however, that can be mitigated by a shield.

It stands to reason that rolling resistance is reduced, since the dolly tires are completely freewheeling and inflated to 50psi.

(A third implied in your post: cost. Four-down costs include the bar, installation, brake device, and loss of resale value.)
So far, the dolly is looking like the way to go, at least for now, or until my parents decide if they want to buy a toad or not.
Thanks for pointing those other costs out.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:36 AM   #21
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I had a Master Tow dolly with surge brakes that I used for 6 years. Once a a year I greased the bearings. It had the easy lube hubs. I replaced the tires once. Checked the brakes, they were fine after 20000 miles. I recently sold the dolly because of medical problems to go four down. I purchased a Honda CRV EXL AWD which I plan to keep for many years. The tow dolly served my very well. It was what I could afford at the time because I had a fairly new car that could not be flat towed. When I decided to go to four down, I made sure that the vehicle could be flat towed and upgraded to everything I wanted, knowing that the cost of setting it up would be expensive compared to the dolly. Dividing that cost over the several years I will keep the car made the decision a little easier financially. Reading the forums, you will find people in both camps. I have had both and they are equal in terms of convenience. It boils down to what you can afford and personal preference. One is no better than the other!
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #22
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Neither!

I would suggest you think carefully about how many "towed" miles you plan to travel every year. We recently completed over 2yrs of full-time travel averaging around 10K p/year ....we towed 4down...but if I had to do it again I wouldn't bother with any of it! Our average travel day was around 4hrs and near the end we seldom bothered with the whole tow thing. My wife is perfectly capable of driving our car and for a few hours we can stand to be separated.... With the tow vehicle freed from the RV she was able to scout ahead....we could stop more readily and explore things and the MH was much more maneuverable and enjoyable to drive.

When our current tow vehicle needs to be replaced, I'll buy whatever suits us best and forget the whole tow thing.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:52 PM   #23
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Neither!

I would suggest you think carefully about how many "towed" miles you plan to travel every year. We recently completed over 2yrs of full-time travel averaging around 10K p/year ....we towed 4down...but if I had to do it again I wouldn't bother with any of it! Our average travel day was around 4hrs and near the end we seldom bothered with the whole tow thing. My wife is perfectly capable of driving our car and for a few hours we can stand to be separated.... With the tow vehicle freed from the RV she was able to scout ahead....we could stop more readily and explore things and the MH was much more maneuverable and enjoyable to drive.

When our current tow vehicle needs to be replaced, I'll buy whatever suits us best and forget the whole tow thing.
Sometimes we just leave the toad at home and go toadless. We just walk some places if we want to, or sometimes just drive the MH around. Or just stay put for awhile. What we don't have, we don't need. We love our Norcold and we use formaldehyde religiously. We are truly RV mutants.:
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:26 PM   #24
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Sometimes we just leave the toad at home and go toadless. We just walk some places if we want to, or sometimes just drive the MH around. Or just stay put for awhile. What we don't have, we don't need. We love our Norcold and we use formaldehyde religiously. We are truly RV mutants.:

With ya RVM17.
Used to do that, but no S&B so gotta take it with.
I love my Norcold.
And I don't have rope lights.
My Wrangler goes 4-down with no percievable mileage decrease. I have no full width flap or toad protection. No chips in 16K miles.
I have watched folks hitch up their caddys. I simply cant do that!

To the OP, better not go 4-down as you will love it.

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Old 05-04-2013, 07:37 PM   #25
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When towing I want something quick and easy. We have stayed in campgrounds with only back in sites available. I have found myself in situation where I had to disconnect and turnaround. I have towed jeeps and currently a chevy equinox four down. When stopping overnight we like to go out and eat. Everyone should weight the options and choose accordingly.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:42 PM   #26
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That's funny also! I tow several vehicles on a trailer and I can back around the block if I feel the need. And I am not wearing out the tires, bearings or drive train components of my toad. And with the two foot high rock guard n the front of the trailer the toad will stay like new. I would never buy any vehicle that had been pulled four down ,or on a dolly as that is a very hostile environment that they live in. They remind me of a bull being dragged around by a nose ring!
That is reassuring as I am of the opinion that a trailer is the best way to take a car with you and not worry about damage to it. I also think that this is more economical because I can put whatever car I want (within weight limits) on the trailer for my toad with no modifications.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:10 AM   #27
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I would think having a toad would make it easier to go into small towns and to local sight seeing areas rather than taking a 31' MH.
I know there are some places where a MH of any size needs to be parked, and at certain destinations driving the MH to go out and eat just is not logical.
I never thought about a trailer, but I'm afraid of pushing the tire capacity of the hitch. As for driving the car separately, that kind of alleviates the family being together. I've also towed for a lot if years and it doesn't bother me, same with my dad. To me a dolly is the way to go, I wouldn't mind a trailer, but that's to much weight too add.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:42 AM   #28
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Aluma says our trailer weighs 1300 pounds. 16 foot tilt bed with 2 feet in front for a 18 foot deck. I upgraded to 4800 from 3500 pounds on the axle weights. From 14 to 15 inch on the wheels which I upgraded from steel to alloy. This trailer can haul over 8,000 pounds.
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