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Old 10-27-2008, 11:46 PM   #1
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i am considering buying a 2008 stehl dolly to tow my 2002 nissan altima. (3000#)

i will be towing mostly on the west coast including california, which i understand has the most restrictive regulations. i googled cal dot and cannot find any dolly towing info other than the max combined length of 65 feet, and chain requirements in snow on the moho and trailer axle.

the stehl has dexter electric brakes. is a breakaway switch required or just desirable? the present owner says that it is not required.

the stehl has taillights, turn-signals, and brake lights on the fenders. the present owner says that he also turns on the vehicle parking lights when towing after dark. is that adequate?

this is my first moho and first experience towing. any other thoughts about towing with a dolly would be appreciated.
thanks
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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i am considering buying a 2008 stehl dolly to tow my 2002 nissan altima. (3000#)

i will be towing mostly on the west coast including california, which i understand has the most restrictive regulations. i googled cal dot and cannot find any dolly towing info other than the max combined length of 65 feet, and chain requirements in snow on the moho and trailer axle.

the stehl has dexter electric brakes. is a breakaway switch required or just desirable? the present owner says that it is not required.

the stehl has taillights, turn-signals, and brake lights on the fenders. the present owner says that he also turns on the vehicle parking lights when towing after dark. is that adequate?

this is my first moho and first experience towing. any other thoughts about towing with a dolly would be appreciated.
thanks
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:17 AM   #3
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I pulled a tow dolly for 10 years and just switched to a Blue Ox tow bar.

I owned two tow dollies, one with no brakes and a newer one with brakes. I did NOT have a breakaway switch on either one.

Brake and signal lights would work when we left the house but always seemed to fail during the trip. Road debris always got up in the fender and tore the wires up - even with wire jackets, etc. I went to just using a pair of magnet mount towing lights and not even bothering with the tow dolly lights.

Newer minivans are NOT good choices to tow on a dolly. They are wide and their steering wheels don't lock (hopefully you are towing something different). The tow dolly fender WILL dent your car on tight turns. Also without the steering wheel locked, the car will work its way over to one side of the tow dolly.

Not sure of the laws, but it was good peace of mind to have those extra brakes.

Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:43 AM   #4
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I have towed for a number of years with a dolly, I tried to research the auxiliary brake, lighting and speed restrictions to great length and frustration. For the most part I found that most States do not differentiate between vehicles towing utility trailers, other vehicles, or tow dollies (with or without vehicles attached). I did find out in most cases tow dollies are cover by the reciprocal agreements that most States have with each other, therefore you have to figure out what the rules are for your home State, or State in which the dolly is going to be registered in (if required). The only thing that differs is the winter driving requirements, and speed restrictions.

Having said that, an auxiliary braking system, with a break-away feature only makes sense, regardless of the requirements. One has too much invested in your equipment not to protect it.

Most States require lights close to the rear of vehicles, or things being towed, so you either need your vehicle being towed wired so the rear lights are activated by the towing vehicle lighting system (tail and brake, turn signals), or use an auxiliary lights that are connected to your towing vehicle lighting system. Lights on tow dolly are not sufficient unless towing it unloaded. IMO the temporary auxiliary lights provide you the most versatility, you can use your tow dolly on any vehicle. I use both, made a splitter so I light up the dolly lights, and have auxiliary lights on the vehicle being towed (overkill), I get the side makers/clearance lights lite on the dolly.

Speed restrictions appear to be same as those for any vehicle towing something, which in most States is the Truck Speed limits, some States such as CA have signage that make it really clear that if you are towing something, they don't care what or how it is connected, the speed limit is 55 MPH. Also CA limits you to the right 2 lanes when towing unless otherwise marked (truck lanes or truck signage) or when passing.

Registration is up to your home State, WA State sees it as utility trailer, therefore plates are required if towing empty. If towing a registered vehicle, then no plates are required on dolly. Go figure! Would not attempt to even guess what other State requirements are, but WA leaves no revenue rock unturned!

Spike
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:13 AM   #5
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Hi Dan L,
My dolly has brakes, lights and a breakaway switch. I also use a light bar on the rear of the vehicle being towed. The light bar is mandatory for those states requiring the furthest most point on the vehicle having the lights. In these states the dolly tail lights do not meet this requirement.

All the items you mentioned should be considered to ensure the most enjoyable and safe trip possible. I do not want to be the cause of an accident.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:23 PM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GaryKD:
Hi Dan L,
My dolly has brakes, lights and a breakaway switch. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Does the dolly have a 12V battery to power the breakaway, or does it use the towed vehicle's power system? My dolly has electric brakes but I haven't added a breakaway switch yet - just wondering what's the easiest way to go...
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:06 PM   #7
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There is no battery on the dolly. The power or lack of power (that activates the brakes) must come from the coach. The dolly has been totally trouble free. I have paid no attention (except for maintenance) to the components. Unfortuantely, the rest of my RV toys take all my time to fix and maintain.
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