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Old 02-04-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
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Tow Dolly

When I recently purchased my motorhome, I also purchased an almost new tow dolly for an extra $500. It's the kind of dolly where the front wheels of the toad are off the ground. In doing some reading, it seems like most people tow with a bar setup where all 4 tires are on the road. I'd like to know if there is some major reason why I would want or would prefer to have this setup over the one I have now. This is all so new, that I have not yet towed my car, and would like to get this figured out before I do. I have a 2012 VW Passat SE with a manual transmission. Any insight is appreciated. I'm sure I'm not the first newb to ask this question, so if this is a beat to death topic, please direct me to the thread. Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:51 PM   #2
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Some vehicles you can't tow with all 4 wheels on the ground. Need to check with the dealer to see if it can be towed 4 down. Our mini cooper was front wheel drive and we towed it on a dolly because it couldn't be towed 4 down.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:57 PM   #3
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Most tow 4 down because its a little easier to hook up and you don't have to store a dolly when the car is disconnected from the RV but many prefer the dolly. Just be sure you check with your local VW dealer to see if and how your car should be towed.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:04 PM   #4
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Agree with Ranger Smith. It's all down to the vehicle whether it's towable 4-down. With our first MH purchased 6 months ago, we got a dolly because our Dodge Caliber with its CVT transmission could not be towed 4-down.
People who tow 4-down say it's much quicker and easier to hook up but the cost is much higher than a dolly. $2-3,000 for the tow bar and auxiliary braking system.
One additional consideration... Our Caliber was totaled a few days before a proposed trip. We were able to get a rental and dolly-tow it. At the short notice, we could not have got a suitable replacement for a dinghy and would have had to cancel the trip.
Pretty much any FWD vehicle can be towed on our dolly.
We now have a FWD Escape which sits on the dolly just fine.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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Chuck, I contacted my VW dealer and they expressly said they will neither condone or advise against their vehicles being towed... What's up with that?! Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:05 PM   #6
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Been there, done that and got a T shirt. There's nothing wrong with a dolly. Your VW should be OK since it's a front wheel drive. I was thinking of being able to take either of our 3 vehicles but other issues made me decide to settle on the Wrangler. Jeeps do not do well with a dolly so changed my setup to 4 down. Stowing the dolly at a CG shouldn't be a problem since you won't be moving the MOHO anyway.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #7
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I'm one of the few that has towed the same vehicle behind the same MH both four down and on a dolly.
I prefer the dolly due to less damage/wear on the towed. Last year we went to Phoenix for the Good Sam rally there. By the time we got home the new battery had run down several times, there were more rock chips and it needed alignment as the tires were wearing funny. Eventually ended up having to buy new tires.
None of that is a worry when on the dolly and yes, you do have to find a place to store it. But the Demco KK-460 folds up and takes half the space when folded.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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I agree with Chuck. I have towed with both and much prefer towing 4 down. My kids even say that it is much quieter in the back of the motorhome without the tow dolly banging around. Having said that, I have put many miles on with a tow dolly and still see a decent number of them on the road. Enjoy your travels!
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:39 PM   #9
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If your tow dolly has it's own brakes, then it's easy to tow almost what ever you like.
Not only little or no damage to the vehicle being towed, we also like the flexibility
of taking our car or our Jeep , depending on the type or trip we are going on.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:27 AM   #10
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The KK-460 has surge brakes so it requires only minimal wiring and no brake controller.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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As a seasoned newbie, here is my take . . . .
4 down, every thing I've seen says VW sticks are all good to tow 4 down, not as inexpensive, but can be more convenient.
4 car size brakes seem to work better than 2 trailer brakes.

As for the dolly, we have not had a storage issue, but we have a gasser and can back up over almost the entire dolly.
Your VW has 17 inch rims, make sure you can reach your hand around to the inside of the tire, even better the top of the rim.
Do you have access to the frame for the safety chains? We had plastic shielding, and had to wrap the chains thru the rims, covered with tube foam. And always carry an extra set of straps, you may not be just down the road from a CampingWorld like we were.

After we finish our sophomore season we can give a better opinion on 4 down.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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Hi StevieG,
IMHO I like the Tow Dollie.I did like you I bought a used Master Tow Tow Dollie and I tow a 2012 Hyundai Accent Front wheel drive and have not had one minute of trouble.Its really is not that bad to hook up and the dollie I have has electric brakes.Some people have stated that they worry about the rear tires not wearing the same as the front which is true but,I just rotate alittle sooner than normal.Not to worry.Good Luck and Many Safe and Happy Travels
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:50 AM   #13
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ChileRick, I have not tried towing yet, so I don't know what the specific issues will be with the chains or straps... if any. I assume when you say access to the frame for the safety chains, you mean on the motorhome... If so, there is a clear shot for the chains to attach to the receiver. If there is supposed to be a second set of safety chains that keep the car with the trailer, I have not seen them... yet. I do have a Camping World about a half hour away, but only buy RV specific items there.

Papaw, good point about the rear tire wear... I guess better to wear two than four? As for the increased miles, I don't see myself towing more than a couple of thousand miles a year at this time.

All very good advise. Thanks everyone! For the time being, based on your comments, I am going to keep the dolly and make a trip and let you all know...
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #14
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Hi StevieG,
I tow 4 down and with a dolly (not at the same time) Forget the dealer. Look in the owners manual to determine if a vehicle can be towed four down. The owners manual is the only place the manufacturer makes the towing statement, in writing.

I use the dolly or tow 4 down depending on which vehicle we will take with us. Both ways have a set of tasks to perform. For me both are equally irritating. Choose the method that is best for you. It is a personal choice, there is no right or wrong.
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