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Old 10-03-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
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Question Tow dolly advice, please

We recently bought a 2000 Damon Challenger. We have years of experience as full-timers, but always in truck/towable combos. This is our first MH.

We will tow a 2014 Hyundai Sonata (front-wheel drive). Need advice on a brand of tow dolly with brakes...safe and dependable with as little expense as possible, given our limited fixed income...new-or-used...accessories recommended or required...any pointers you can share. Some mountain driving anticipated.

Thank you!
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Old 10-03-2014, 02:27 PM   #2
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Congrats on the smart decision to dolly tow. Your car will be safe and happy riding up high away from rock strikes and not accruing the miles on the lower drive-line like flat towing.

And kudos to you for thinking about brakes on the tow set-up...not required by law in many places, but smart and obviously safer.

The least expensive dolly will be a used unit. Lots of people buy a dolly, then decide to flat tow or go RVing less and sell their dolly. Check Craigslist and the local for sale ads.

There are 3 basic kinds of dollys...listed from most expensive to least:
-Steering on the dolly axle - the dolly wheels actually pivot to negotiate turns.
-Pivot pan - like U Haul rents - the car rides on a pan that pivots separate from the dolly to negotiate turns.
-Fixed pan - the car's front tires pivot on the dolly to negotiate turns, just like flat towing - requires the cars steering lock remain unlocked during travel.

About brakes...there are 2 types on dollys:
-Electric - just like most all towable RV's - requires a brake controller in the RV and the wiring to the bumper.
-Surge - like the bigger U Haul trailers - uses the pressure placed on the hitch to engage hydraulic brakes - totally automatic and infinitely adjusted from loaded to unloaded.
-Then...there are drum vs. dics brakes. Just like a car, disc brakes are simpler and provide better braking and cooling over drums.

All makers dollys are pretty good and I have never heard of any brand that was a real lemon. We have an Acme EZE-Tow Car Tow Dolly -The Lightest and Toughest Tow Dolly For All Car Towing Needs - Acme Car Tow Dolly Company
We bought it second hand and have over 10,000miles on it. It is the fixed pan type and comes with surge disc brakes standard. At only 403lb it is very easy to move around when unloaded and using surge brakes, it does not need a brake controller in the RV and the adjustment for use from loaded to unloaded, like dollys with electric brakes.

And if considering buying new - Acme has recently improved their dolly with a lower weight, and new ramp and light design and other changes. See the post on iRV2 here: Acme EZE-TOW Tow DollyNew Design Release 09-30-14
I am not affiliated with Acme...I just like the product

Best luck
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:37 PM   #3
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I have a Kar-Kaddy 3. It's well built. I got it new for a little over 2K. They have hydraulic surge brakes. I don't even know it's back there. I watch it in the rear camera.

It's not hard to use but you do have to get down on the ground to hook/un hook the safety chains. It also requires a stop about 10 miles down the road to tighten the straps. Every time I have used it they have had to be tightened. but once you get past that it's very nice. No tongue weight to speak of. We tow a 2012 Malibu.

I think if you do full timing, a towing four down would be better. If you're a weekend warrior like we are the dolly works great for us.
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:56 AM   #4
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BevRedmond. Eze tow is great.. have had one for a year and no issues...really never know it is back there... we are going to 4 down with our mini cooper...(Mod Edit).
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:12 AM   #5
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Ive been towing either a Camry or Avalon for the past three years, probably 20,000 miles with a MasterTow with electric Brakes. I opted for the wide one, I think 80 inches. I have towed a Chrysler Mini van with this as well with no problem. I like it because in turns, it tracks in the same wheel track as the MH. I'd do it again.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:15 PM   #6
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I had a Roadmaster Tow Dolly with steerable axle and brakes, used you should be able to find for around $700, that is what I sold my 3 year old unit for with new tires. I like the steerable axle as it cornered very good, but I do not think it is a necessity as much as the brakes.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:11 PM   #7
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Thanks to all of you we now have a jumping-off point and can make a more informed decision. I do appreciate everyone's input!
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:32 AM   #8
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One more we have a Karkaddyss by Demco tongue folds in 1/2 for storage we love it our toad is a 99 deville concours toes nicely
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:23 PM   #9
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One more we have a Karkaddyss by Demco tongue folds in 1/2 for storage we love it our toad is a 99 deville concours toes nicely
Thanks! Do you have to do anything to your toad, other than put it in neutral?
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:32 AM   #10
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We're using a MasterTow dolly with surge brakes, it's the wider 81" version with swivel pan. I bought it used for about $850 and it has new tires. I tow a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix (front wheel drive) and don't even know it's back there other than seeing it in the monitor. You will need to check the wheel straps after a few miles as they will need tightening.
Since the cars front rides low I have to put a 2x8 under and in front of the ramps to get the car higher up as I drive on so the angle of the ramps are less to allow the air deflector to clear. Once on, I put the car in park, strap down and chain around frame. I also use the magnetic tail lights for added safety. I have put on 4k mikes in 5 months and no problems.

Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:44 AM   #11
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We purchased a Demco Kar Kaddy III a year ago and are very happy with it. It has steering built in so the steering wheel can remain locked and the vehicle can be in park.

The Kar Kaddy 3

This is the one that folds the tongue to make it more storeable.

Tow Dollies - Kar Kaddy SS
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:14 PM   #12
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Don`t put in neutral, just unlock the steering on acme dollys
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Old 10-18-2014, 12:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Dixon View Post
We're using a MasterTow dolly with surge brakes, it's the wider 81" version with swivel pan. I bought it used for about $850 and it has new tires. I tow a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix (front wheel drive) and don't even know it's back there other than seeing it in the monitor. You will need to check the wheel straps after a few miles as they will need tightening.
Since the cars front rides low I have to put a 2x8 under and in front of the ramps to get the car higher up as I drive on so the angle of the ramps are less to allow the air deflector to clear. Once on, I put the car in park, strap down and chain around frame. I also use the magnetic tail lights for added safety. I have put on 4k mikes in 5 months and no problems.

Good luck and safe travels.
Thank you for this information. Can you please tell me the difference between surge breaks and other kinds (electric?). I appreciate any help I can get. I'm learning more every day about the many differences between our new style of travel (MH) and our old style (truck and trailer), but I know that whatever info we will have absorbed before we hit the road will be nothing compared with what we still have to learn. I expect it to be an ongoing process......Bev
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BevRedmond View Post
Thanks! Do you have to do anything to your toad, other than put it in neutral?
Hook up the lights (we have the car lights working along with the KarKaddy's,) Put it in Park and go. We stop maybe 50 miles or less to re-check straps. Other wise that's about it. En-joy the ride because you won't know its back there...
Also be sure to have it even on the rack.
Tim
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