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Old 09-22-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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Tow dolly

This site has been very responsive and helpful so I thought I would throw out another question. I have been thinking about a tow dollie to pull behind my DSDP. I have two cars, neither of which lend themselves to 4 down towing and since I prefer not to purchase another or trade have considered the option. Realizing that it would hinder backing and some maneuverability as well as perhaps some storage problems what other effects or ramifications can you experienced people enlighten me with. Toeing is not a problem since I have many miles as an over the road truck driver and have driven in every state in the lower 48. What for instance is the effect on fuel mileage? My Motor Home is a 1999 with a 300 cat diesel and most of our touring is in the south..mostly flat land.
Thanks in advance
Capt Frank

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Old 09-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Hi Frank,

I think you'll enjoy traveling much more with the toad. We tow 4 down so I can't help you with specifics... but I do think that a tow dolly might even be more manuverable than when towing 4 down. I think you've identified the big concerns I would have with a tow dolly... storage, set up/tear down time and complexity, etc.

As for mpg, in a recent thread I recall many folks implying that they didn't see much difference... as hard as that is to believe. We always tow so I don't know what we'd get w/o toad.

Good Luck...


Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:44 PM   #3
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on a dolly when i pulled a pontiac gran am i could not tell the diference.now i pull a 4 door chevy truck about 1/2 mpg difference now my rv is gas.i use the dolly all the time when friends car break dowm
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:08 PM   #4
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When I bought my 39' Fleetwood Providence DP, I initially got around 12 miles to the gallon. I thought "man, that's good mileage". Then, I bought a dolly and a Toyota Corrolla. My mileage dropped to around 8mpg . I now tow 4 down but I still average around 8mpg.
Roland & Jerri, with Maggie & Mollie, our Pups; '05 Fleetwood Providence, 39' DP; '08 Saturn. "The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has it's limits" (Einstein)
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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Tow Dolly

Originally Posted by gripper View Post
When I bought my 39' Fleetwood Providence DP, I initially got around 12 miles to the gallon. I thought "man, that's good mileage". Then, I bought a dolly and a Toyota Corrolla. My mileage dropped to around 8mpg . I now tow 4 down but I still average around 8mpg.
Do you like 4 down over the dolly and if so why.
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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I believe how you tow (dolly or 4 wheels down) does not have that great of an effect on your mileage, it is the wieght of what you are towing that makes the biggest difference!

When we tow our Mini Cooper (1800#) on a dolly we get a little over 12 MPG, when we tow our Nissan 4WD PU (4300#) 4 wheels down we get 10.8 MPG.

I find that loading Cooper on the dolly (with a surge brake), straping it down and hooking up the lights takes about the same amount of time as hooking up the tow bar, safety chains, lights, and supplemental braking system when I tow the truck 4 wheels down.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything"
2008 Newmar VTDP - 3330 - ISBXT 350 Spartan NVS
Toad - 2013 Mini Cooper S or 93 Nissan 4WD PU
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:53 PM   #7
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Towed wih both, in the begining I towed a Dodge Neon on a electric brake dolly. Now I tow a Saturn Ion 4 wheels down. Hook ups about the same time for each. Diriter hooking up wheel straps on dolly especially after rain. Yea you have to store dolly, but you can put the tounge under the RV. I put a class I hitch on the Neon to tow the dolly when I had to disconnect to get to a back in site.
2006 Damon Daybreak 3274 35' Ford F53 V-10
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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I've really not found any difference in mileage with out rig towing or not. Acually you don't even know the vehicle is back there. The only draw back is having to get on the ground to hook up the safety chains under the car. Other then that the tire straps are NO problem and stopping to check that all is tight within the first few miles isn't a problem either. Some may say that you'll get all wet when it rains????? I guess if you tow four down when it rains you don't get wet when tou hook up. LOL
Steve & Sally / HiTee & Hudson Our Little Poms / Heidi & Houston Forever in our Hearts
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Our 2004 Journey with a CAT 330 gets 8.0 to 8.5 mpg whether we are towing or not.

We towed a PT Cruiser on a Demco SS460 dolly for five years. The only issue was a blowout on one of the OEM Carlisle tires on the dolly due to a tread separation. No other issues during the time we used the dolly.

We now are towing a Jeep Wrangler 4-down using Blue Ox equipment plus a Brake Buddy. The dolly had surge brakes.

I agree with the earlier poster that the hookup/unhook time is about the same either way. The plus for the 4-down system is that I don't have to spend any time on the ground hooking up the tow straps--my 70+ year old body appreciates that and is the main reason for the change. We still have the PT Cruiser but it is taking a rest.

There are plusses and minuses for each system and we posters will always tell you the system we use is the best and only way to go. I saw a lot of vehicles on dollys during our 5,000 mile travels this summer.
2004 Journey 39W/330 Cat
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:21 PM   #10
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I've done both! Four down is the way to go in my opinion (I've got two non-towable cars parked at home). It definitely is faster and cleaner to hook up (for me w/Wrangler) even after the dolly is connected to the MH.

I've muttered about people who block the road with the dolly ("but its only a couple of feet") and I've seen parks where they charge to park the dolly (and require it be elsewhere than the MH). I recently watched a man screw up and badly damage a Cadillac while trying to load the thing (admittedly avoidable).

Neither a dolly or 4-down is suited for backing up in my opinion.

All of that said; its a choice and we all make different ones.

Ernie n Tara

Remember! Life is not a rehearsal!
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:42 PM   #11
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Here is what I think is the bottom line.............

There is no such thing as a perfect tow dolly, or it would be the only kind made.
I have a EZE-TOW dolly, is it the best (or worst) one made, no.
But it was my best choice at the time, considering my finances, physical condition, and what I needed a dolly to do for me.
It filled all my current needs and I am happy with it.
As I hope all of you are happy with your choices.

After all, it is just a little trailer.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:54 PM   #12
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Hey Capt Frank:

I use a Forest River tow dolly with electric brakes and I am delighted with the results. I have a Lincoln and a Honda, neither of which can easily be towed 4 down.

My dolly cost about $1500.00 (Canadian) When I bought it I had the dealer upgrade the tires to radials. It came with bias tires and I didn't want to take the chance of one blowing at 60 mph. Even the spare is now radial. It meant they had to rearrange the fenders somewhat (different brackets) but I feel it was worth the $500.00 or so it cost me to upgrade to safer rubber.

My gas mileage is about the same with or without the dolly. It took a little getting used to as far as set up time. The first time I used it I had to hook up in the rain which is nasty. But it's just practise. By the time you load the car onto the dolly 10 times you'll have a feel for it. I found on the Honda the dolly straps which were going over the front wheels came close to the brake lines..so I took the time to climb under the front of the car and re-route the straps away from potential contact with the lines. Again it was a little extra effort but I felt better about the results.

My Lincoln is no problem..just toss the straps over the wheels, tighten and go. I also installed LED tail lights for extra visibility at night. In addition I had a 4-way tail light plug installed in addition to the 7 wire trailer plug. I also run with a set of magnetic lights on the roof of the car..for added visibility. Plus I can see the mag-mount lights in the rear-view camera so I can be sure the brake lights and signal lights are working.

Very important with the dolly to stop every couple of hours to check your dolly straps to make sure they have not worked loose. I have never had that happen but I think it's a good habit to develop. It's all about safety. Off-loading the car is a snap. Some campsites I am able to get a drive thru site and leave the dolly attached to the coach (car off) Sometimes that isn't possible so I unhook the dolly and park it nearby with a cable and lock either attached to a tree or the coach as it wouldn't be difficult to steal it if someone were so inclined. Usually takes me 15 minutes to wheel out the dolly, hook it to the coach and load and secure the car. I hardly feel like I am towing anything. That said the extra weight does slow the coach on a long hill.

The dolly does involve some procedure every time but I have towed a vehicle on a dolly all over eastern Canada and parts of the northeast U-S no problem. Plan on never backing up. Better to unhook if you get in a tight spot. I just had to become aware of my limitations. I just never allow myself to get into a street or plaza where I can't drive thru. Shopping Malls are usually easy to get into but you will need about 10 parking spaces to set it down. I just head to the farthest, most deserted part of the lot.

Making turns is not a problem. Anywhere you can turn the coach you can turn the coach and the dolly. The dolly I have has a swiveling base which allows the car being towed on it to turn a little as the dolly turns. There are some junk old dollies for sale. But I would go for a new one with a large load capacity and brakes. I prefer electric brakes (with a controller in the driver's area). Accidents involving dollies tend to happen when people attempt to put too big a car or truck on them ignoring the recommended load limits..and by not properly securing the load or the trailer. It is important to be meticulous about the procedure of loading and unloading. Sloppiness leads to mistakes and accidents. A written check list works for some. Never put a vehicle on a dolly backwards. A dolly is suitable for front wheel drive units ONLY!

I have towed the dolly and a car at 70-75 mph no problem..I prefer to keep it around 60-65 however for safety and mileage.

Good luck..the most important thing I have said here is just to reiterate "if you buy a tow dolly spend the extra $$$ and upgrade to radial tires." Do not trust the stock tires. Lots of nasty stories online about them. They're really old technology and I would not trust them to drive across town. Oh, always have a spare too and a jack and wrenches with you to change a dolly tire if necessary. I never have had to change a dolly tire but I am prepared just in case.

Hope all that helps. BTW I have no experience with towing 4 down..but the dolly makes it so that I can tow almost anything including my kids' cars if needed. Happy Towing:

Jim, Christina & "Angel" (AKA "AJ")
2006 Georgie Boy Cruise Master 36'
Forest River Tow Dolly pushed by Lincoln MKZ
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:52 PM   #13
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I have a Forest River electric brake dolly as well. It does the job, but next time I make a car trade, the new one will be factory ready to tow 4 down.

It is possible to turn the motor home short enough going forward to cause the dolly fender to dent a front door. My car is going for paintless dent repair next week.

The Chinese tires that they come with are garbage. The Taiwanese tires the local tire shop sold me to replace them, to my great surprise, are much better. We HAVE to start making and buying our goods in North America again! I'm tired of using junk and supporting another countries economy at the expense of our own. Guess why we are in recession?

The wiring has caused me problems. There is very little clearance between the fenders and tires, hardly enough room for the wiring harness.
Jim & Pam Smith, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
2007 Holiday Rambler 40 SKQ, 2012 Ford Explorer XLT
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:26 PM   #14
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This is an older thread that has turned into a brand comparison but the Captain asked
I bought a new Langrebe dolly before a trip from San Antonio to Boston and back, towing a good sized SUV. The only problem I had was a broken fender marker light.
I had to put it together in the Estes trucking lot a couple nights before leaving for a 2 1/2 week trip. Langrebe said it would maket it in time and it did. They make them when ordered. It was $2300 with great tires, a spare and hyd brakes. It has swivel steering, the wheels swivel but not the fenders so I can tow our 4x4 Suburbans. I get 12-13 mpg without towing and averaged 11.9 towing going to Boston which had numerous hard climbs and lots of hilly terrain, Tenn, Virginia etc.

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