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Old 01-08-2019, 04:53 AM   #1
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Tow Dolly Features

We are in the process of purchasing a motor home and plan to tow the wife's car (front wheel drive Toyota RAV4) on a dolly. I have looked at a few dolly models and think I am down to with or without dolly wheels that turn. Both have surge brakes. I am having trouble understanding the value of a dolly with turning wheels.



Second item. Is it necessary to leave the steering wheel lock off when towing. Not sure how to do that on her car it has no key, just a push button to start and stop.


I am sure there are more items I need to address that haven't surfaced yet.
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:12 AM   #2
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We tow with a Demco Kar Kaddy with steerable wheels-easy on & off pulls great -folds in half for storage-added a 3rd wheel to move around easy at campgrounds-normally pull dolly to open spot for loading so we don't tie up area by campground-once you get the hang of loading and strapping it becomes a piece of cake
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:03 AM   #3
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Only the ACME dolly needs the steering unlocked.

Anything that steers or has a swivel plate for the cars tires can stay locked.

The Demco with steering wheel is loaded with features but also has a bunch of mechanical joints and moving parts.

Others with swival plates are real basic, practically one peice, and the tongue can be slipped under the RV to take up less space.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:18 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Not a tow dolly guy but wanted to say hello to a "kinda" new member! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pushtrk99 View Post
We tow with a Demco Kar Kaddy with steerable wheels-easy on & off pulls great -folds in half for storage-added a 3rd wheel to move around easy at campgrounds-normally pull dolly to open spot for loading so we don't tie up area by campground-once you get the hang of loading and strapping it becomes a piece of cake

We have the Demco and love it...

Now bearing in mind that I've was called and idiot for questioning this before, my question is where does that forward and backward motion of the dolly plate go? I am wanting to make a video and I think I may have a better visual.
Take a dolly and four objects (cones, filled water jugs, dead dogs, ect) and place two in the wheel spots in the dolly, and the other two ten feet behind to simulate the position of the rear wheels. Then turn the dolly hitch to the left or right about 35 degrees to simulate a turn while keeping the pivot point in the same spot. This does not require any particular dolly and can actually be done with 2X4s sitting on a can.
Anyway, take your first measurement and then simulate the turn. One side should be longer than the original length and the other one shorter by the same amount. With all but one dolly, this stress (pulling one / pushing the other) is absorbed either by the swivel plate or turning the dolly wheels making the dolly a part of the car and the same effect as towing four down.

I know that one tire rolls slightly forward and the other slightly back to help compensate for this, but how far is enough, and the second thing is how much stress is that opposite rotation putting on the internals of the transmission.

Now comes the 825 responses telling me I'm .
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePowells View Post
We have the Demco and love it...

Now bearing in mind that I've was called and idiot for questioning this before, my question is where does that forward and backward motion of the dolly plate go? I am wanting to make a video and I think I may have a better visual.
Take a dolly and four objects (cones, filled water jugs, dead dogs, ect) and place two in the wheel spots in the dolly, and the other two ten feet behind to simulate the position of the rear wheels. Then turn the dolly hitch to the left or right about 35 degrees to simulate a turn while keeping the pivot point in the same spot. This does not require any particular dolly and can actually be done with 2X4s sitting on a can.
Anyway, take your first measurement and then simulate the turn. One side should be longer than the original length and the other one shorter by the same amount. With all but one dolly, this stress (pulling one / pushing the other) is absorbed either by the swivel plate or turning the dolly wheels making the dolly a part of the car and the same effect as towing four down.

I know that one tire rolls slightly forward and the other slightly back to help compensate for this, but how far is enough, and the second thing is how much stress is that opposite rotation putting on the internals of the transmission.

Now comes the 825 responses telling me I'm .
With swivel plate dollys, I use the childs little red wagon as an example. The dolly just turns under the front if the car on the center pivot.

On the fixed deck dolly ( Acme ) the cars wheels must move fore and aft, under the straps for it to corner.

As far as transmission stress, the differential allows one wheel to turn foward and the opposite to turn backwards. Even with limited slip, it will not break anything.
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:17 AM   #7
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Have you tested your RAV 4 steering wheel to verify that it locks? All the steering wheel locks that I have seen are mechanical and I don't see how that would work with a push button start. What happens if the car dies? Does the steering then lock? At the very least, I would expect the presence of the FOB to be enough to unlock the steering.

As for general tow dolly advice, the best I can offer is to consider how you plan on using the dolly and what type of camping you will be doing. Every manufacturer has their pluses and minuses and what works for someone else might not work for you.

For me, I chose an ACME tow dolly mostly because of its weight and low profile. I can easily pick up the tongue of the dolly and move it around when I get to our camp site. Then it fits nicely under the rear of our RV so it doesn't use much space in the campsite. Because we typically camp in areas that don't have paved sites and are either sand or gravel, I did not want a dolly that required a tongue wheel to move around.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:40 PM   #8
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OP, as far as the steering wheel locking... your car will have a strap to use if the column doesn't lock it.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:37 AM   #9
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Many newer cars do not have locking steering wheels and use another (electronic) type of anti-theft device. Since yours has keyless ignition, I'll bet it does NOT have a locking steering wheel. Dollies with a fixed wheel rest plate (aka "pan") require that the steering wheel be unlocked; dollies with movable (swivel) wheel plates require that the car steering be locked or otherwise immobilized. Usually the driver seat belt can be tightened around a non-locking steering wheel to stop it from turning. I've towed a Buick Verano on a swivel plate dolly using the seat belt to tie down the wheel. Works like a champ!


When you say "dolly with turning wheels", I assume you mean a steerable axle, ala the Demco Kar Kaddy feature. It allows a tighter turning radius, but I see zero value in that since the dolly tracks nicely behind the coach and follows its turn radius even without the steerable feature. On a tow dolly, I consider it more of a gimmick than a helpful feature.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:51 AM   #10
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The advantage of steerable wheels is that when turning corners they follow in the path of the rear wheels of the motorhome. Dollies with non steerable wheels will cut the corner slightly shorter than the rear wheels on the motorhome.

Here's a link to the Roadmaster2000-1 dolly with steerable wheels.

Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:29 AM   #11
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Not all dollys track inside the MH path.

In many MHs, with long overhangs, the dolly will actually track outside the MHs path.

My old class C had a 13 ft overhang. If I was parked parallel to a curb, if not carefully, the dolly tire would climb the curb, if I pulled away to sharply.

I could never clip a curb, with the dolly, on a sharp right turn.
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