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Old 01-09-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
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Tow Dolly help

Hi all, I'm hoping I can get some guidance/tips from the fine folks here at iRV2. I have an acme tow dolly which I use to tow my Honda Odyssey behind my Newmar Allstar. I've used the dolly on a couple of short trips and one fairly long trip towed behind my old class C, but always with only one load/unload. This time I'll be unloading multiple times and I've got a couple of worries:

The thing tows very nicely, however the Odyssey is at the very maximum width the dolly will handle. What I am running into is the sharp edges on the dolly are damaging the tire and the edge of the bumper unless I get the car absolutely perfectly centered, which I am not skilled enough to do consistently. Even an inch one direction or the other causes impact at times when doing normal turns.
I'm thinking of taking an angle grinder and trying to round out the corners and adding some rubber padding as well.
I'm not experienced with angle grinders so want to know if you think they will do what's needed here.
I'm open to other cheap, DIY suggestions.
Here's a pic I found on the internet where you can kind've see the sharp corners I'm referring to. this isn't my vehicle, but the setup is similar. I don't currently have any of my own pics, so I borrowed.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF0242[1].jpg
Views:	184
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ID:	83017

I'm also open to tips on how to ensure I am aligning as centered as possible when pulling onto the dolly. I've basically used trial and error, backing up and trying again when I know i'm too dangerously close to one side or the other.
I'm going on a month-long trip in a week or so, and I want to avoid any issues if at all possible.
thanks for any input.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbmoberly76 View Post
Hi all, I'm hoping I can get some guidance/tips from the fine folks here at iRV2. I have an acme tow dolly which I use to tow my Honda Odyssey behind my Newmar Allstar. I've used the dolly on a couple of short trips and one fairly long trip towed behind my old class C, but always with only one load/unload. This time I'll be unloading multiple times and I've got a couple of worries:

The thing tows very nicely, however the Odyssey is at the very maximum width the dolly will handle. What I am running into is the sharp edges on the dolly are damaging the tire and the edge of the bumper unless I get the car absolutely perfectly centered, which I am not skilled enough to do consistently. Even an inch one direction or the other causes impact at times when doing normal turns.
I'm thinking of taking an angle grinder and trying to round out the corners and adding some rubber padding as well.
I'm not experienced with angle grinders so want to know if you think they will do what's needed here.
I'm open to other cheap, DIY suggestions.
Here's a pic I found on the internet where you can kind've see the sharp corners I'm referring to. this isn't my vehicle, but the setup is similar. I don't currently have any of my own pics, so I borrowed.

Attachment 83017

I'm also open to tips on how to ensure I am aligning as centered as possible when pulling onto the dolly. I've basically used trial and error, backing up and trying again when I know i'm too dangerously close to one side or the other.
I'm going on a month-long trip in a week or so, and I want to avoid any issues if at all possible.
thanks for any input.
I am not an expert on your dolly but grinding down the edges would not be that difficult or expensive. You can use a 5" grinder (wear glasses) get a metal wheel and just go easy. No need to push hard at all the rpm's will take care of the work for you. Another idea....get a mirror to put in front so you can see your wheels.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:42 PM   #3
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As for being centered I placed a piece of tape on the ramp and the dolly where the center of my left tire needed to end up at. A little trial and error pulling on but got used to it pretty quick. As for the corners I can't help. I didn't have that problem.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:56 PM   #4
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I'll second the use of an angle grinder. However I would use what's called a flap disk like this one. They're meant for deburring sharp edges and contouring.

Amazon.com: DEWALT DW8310 4-1/2" x 7/8" 120 Grit Zirconia Angle Grinder Flap Disc: Industrial & Scientific

They're available at almost any home improvement center or hardware store. Another solution might be to slip a thin piece of plastic between the tire and the dolly before unloading or loading it. Something like this:

Amazon.com: Norpro Icon Cut N Slice Flexible Cutting Boards, Set of 3: Home & Kitchen

If necessary you can duct tape them in place when loading then remove them for travel. They should also be available at home improvement or hardware stores.

I have no affiliation with either of these vendors. I just Googled "flap disc" and "plastic cutting sheet" and these 2 came up.
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:03 PM   #5
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Yup, angle grinder will make short work of it. If not enough material can be removed or not comfortable with doing it any welding shop can readily make the clearance.
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:17 PM   #6
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Can't help with the sharp edges but since I travel, load and unload by myself, I bought a gadget at Wal-Mart that really helped. It's really meant to help with hitching up a trailer or boat. Looks like two tennis balls on a telescoping wand that has a magnet at the bottom. I use them to guide me to the correct position. Had a friend guide me the first time then placed the magnets where I needed them, took silver spray paint and marked the spots, now to load, I simply stick guides on premarked spots, set ramps, line up using guides, and load, easy.

Here's what they look like.

http://www.amazon.com/Reese-Towpower...ssories+guides
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:42 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your advice! I'm going to give the angle grinder a try tomorrow and let you know how it goes.
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:33 AM   #8
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I haul cars and trucks for a living (10 per load) and also use the same dolly you have. On my car hauler I often have only an inch on each side of the tires to spare. If you know your vehicle will fit with one inch on each side, just lean your head out the window and watch your front tire as you load. If you have one inch on the driver side you will have one inch on the passenger side.
Left foot on the brake and right foot on the gas. Feed the gas a little and use the brakes to control your movement. After a few times it will be second nature.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:38 AM   #9
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The Acme EZE TOW Tow Dolly

That is an ongoing issue for the Odyssey. We no longer recommend trying to tow them because of the clearance issues. It can be a real challenge to get the clearance just right.

We had a customer that welded some thin gauge metal to the inside so his tires would have a smooth surface in case of contact.

This model is several years old. We have made several changes to the dolly since then. The fenders are now a one piece fender with an integrated light bracket and they are very smooth on the inside.

Wish I could give you more or better advice. I think that grinding down the points is a good idea, however I would not grind off too much of the vertical channel.

Also, our new fenders can be retrofitted to that o dolly. I can send you a set at cost, then you just need a good welder to take those off and weld the new ones on. Let me know. Car Tow Dolly -The Lightest and Toughest Tow Dolly For All Car Towing Needs - Acme Car Tow Dolly Company

Richard Brown
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:13 AM   #10
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update

I just realized I never updated with my results, got so busy prepping for our trip that I forgot! I used a grinder to round out the corners and it worked great. I also padded the edges using some foam rubber weather stripping used for garage door threshold seals. We are now at Fort Wilderness in WDW, and didn't have any issues at all with potential damage to tires or fenders. Still a little tight loading up, but getting easier with repetition. thanks again!
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:41 AM   #11
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I tow a Mini Cooper on the ACME dolly and modified the dolly to haul specifically the Mini. One thing I did not like about the ACME is its width, sticking out about 6 inches on each side beyond the width of a Class A RV. I cut 11 inches out of the dolly width and welded it back together. Then I lined the area the Mini wheels sit in with 2x4s and made a set of ramps out of 2x12s. The Mini has about 1/4 inch clearance on the sides which secures the wheels in a depression created by the wood. To position the Mini on the dolly I roll down the window and, and with the door open, watch the left front tire as I drive on. It drives up the ramps and drops in the 1-1/2 inch depression created by the wood. This creates a very easy to use and stable tow but limits the use of the dolly to only the Mini. DW and Chocolate Lab love the Mini Convertible
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #12
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Pulled the trigger

Just finished the ordering process for the Acme Tow dolly. Must say that was one of the most positive purchase experiences online I have had in very long time. What a great company to do business with.

We really like all of the features this dolly has to offer. Looking forward to using this for years to come.
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