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Old 07-06-2015, 07:55 PM   #1
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Tow dolly or tow bar

We have a Coachmen C class and want to buy a tow vehicle but are unsure which is a better option for towing....tow dolly or tow bar. That decision will of course determine what car we buy. Please give us the value of your experience. Thanks.
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Old 07-06-2015, 07:57 PM   #2
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Done both with the same vehicle and MH.


In '97 we bought a Type C MH, towed a '95 Honda Odyssey on a dolly that was made locally. It was nothing fancy and had a swivel plate. Never had any troubles with it. Don't remember if it had brakes or not.


Personally it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. If I have to start hooking up the present Odyssey and don't have the removable brackets on the Ody it's a toss up as to which is quicker. But then I don't have to horse a 650# dolly around either. One big advantage to the dolly is that there is no wear on the front wheel drive components and the front end is up higher so less chance of rock damage. Another nice feature is I can tow any front wheel drive vehicle with no modifications.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:32 PM   #3
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I've had both. No way, will I ever go back to a tow dolly. Tow dolly: putting straps on when muddy and or wet, is a real mess. Straps are nylon, and they flex....had one flex after a hard stop, enough that the right front wheel came off the dolly forward. A real tight turn and paint on side of car got scratched. Every bump in the road goes to the motorhome frame. Always have to find a place for it at tight small campsite. Busted a tailbone rolling it down a wet steep driveway, when it ran over me. It takes longer to connect everything. Taking it loose to back out of a bad spot is a lot more work, and takes longer. Had fender weld break off and come lose.

Get the idea ? You couldn't GIVE me another one😜
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:16 PM   #4
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Personally for me it's a tow dolly. I don't understand some people's aversion to them. Like Mr. D said, I can tow any front wheel drive vehicle. Because I'm retired, if it's wet and muddy, I don't need to go anywhere else.

Besides, I chose the dolly because I refuse to give up my 93 Cutlass Vert. LOL
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:30 PM   #5
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I've used both as well.....I would never go back to a tow dolly..... 4 down is the best way for me.

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Old 07-06-2015, 09:31 PM   #6
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Don't forget dollies are also cheaper and cover a much wider range of vehicles! ;-)\

Straps can be an issue if one does not bother to stop and tighten them properly after starting out and letting the car and dolly get positioned from towing and turning a bit. Check them every time you stop just before leaving. ;-)
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:40 PM   #7
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If it's muddy and wet, I drive both RV with dolly and toad to a place where it's only wet. Why would anybody hook up in the mud.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:07 AM   #8
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If buying a car JUST for towing with the RV, then surely you will want to flat-tow.

A tow-dolly only gives you the ability to pick from many different toads that would sit up-high away from rock strikes, requires no modification to the car(s), prevents mileage from being added to the lower drive-line of the car, and comes with integral lights and can have integral brakes

Which ever way you pick...PLEASE get brakes on the toad. Brakes are not required in many places, but is obviously smart and safer.


This topic has been discussed repeatedly - there are many posts here to enjoy:
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/

Safe travels
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGBPokes View Post
I've had both. No way, will I ever go back to a tow dolly. Tow dolly: putting straps on when muddy and or wet, is a real mess. Straps are nylon, and they flex....had one flex after a hard stop, enough that the right front wheel came off the dolly forward. A real tight turn and paint on side of car got scratched. Every bump in the road goes to the motorhome frame. Always have to find a place for it at tight small campsite. Busted a tailbone rolling it down a wet steep driveway, when it ran over me. It takes longer to connect everything. Taking it loose to back out of a bad spot is a lot more work, and takes longer. Had fender weld break off and come lose.

Get the idea ? You couldn't GIVE me another one😜
I agree. A tow dolly came with the first MH that we bought, a Class C. Used it once and gave it to my neighbor free. I never wanted to see it again. Went out and bought a CRV and tow bar and never looked back.

With the tires on the dolly so far apart it is difficult to keep it between the lane lines. You have to drive the MH perfectly centered in the lane to keep the dolly centered. If you move too far to the right, the dolly wheels go off of the pavement and if its a gravel shoulder or there's a dropoff, watch out.

You're limited to a pull-through site if you want to use your toad. If you want to use a back in campsite like most of the state and federal parks have, the logistics of putting the dolly in a separate parking area can be very strenuous.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by aauummm View Post
...
With the tires on the dolly so far apart it is difficult to keep it between the lane lines. You have to drive the MH perfectly centered in the lane to keep the dolly centered. If you move too far to the right, the dolly wheels go off of the pavement and if its a gravel shoulder or there's a dropoff, watch out.

Dollies made in north America typically have the same width, tire-to-tire as the width of most full-sized RV's (about 101"-102")...this allows the typical car to easily fit between the dolly tires.

I submit that if a driver's dolly tires are outside the lane - the RV is outside the lane too...and with a typical wheel track of 95"-97" (less than 3" on each side) the RV's tire are on the edge too.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post

Dollies made in north America typically have the same width, tire-to-tire as the width of most full-sized RV's (about 102")...this allows the typical car to easily fit between the dolly tires.

I submit that if a driver's dolly tires are outside the lane - the RV is outside the lane too.
I drive the MH with my right-side tires on the white line. Any little steering correction in the MH and the dolly will swing, putting the dolly tires off the pavement, with the MH tires still on the pavement. With the long overhang in back on a 31' Class C the swing of the dolly is exaggerated. Having the tire on the dolly going off the pavement onto a drop-off, gravel shoulder just once in a 500 mile trip is too much for me.

I will say though that part of the problem was that the MH front end was out of alignment and that caused me to have to do a lot of steering jockying to keep it going straight. A good alignment fixed that, but by then the dolly was gone.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by barbmc2929 View Post
We have a Coachmen C class and want to buy a tow vehicle but are unsure which is a better option for towing.....
Just to keep things clear... a "tow vehicle" is on that is actually "doing" the towing such as your Class C. A vehicle that is "being" towed is a towed vehicle...affectionately called a "toad".

IMO, if you already have a vehicle you want to tow and it is a FWD vehicle and you can't afford to purchase another one...by all means a dolly will work just fine. As others have mentioned, they can be a bit of a problem to hook/unhook, store, and move around.

However, if you find that you can trade in your vehicle for one that can be towed four down...I would most definitely go this route. It's a little more expensive to configure than the cost of a dolly, but once set up, it is much more convenient.

Also as others have mentioned, this is a subject that is very popular and a simple search on this forum or other rv forums will provide you with tons of opinions and info.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

Ron
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #13
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I will say though that part of the problem was that the MH front end was out of alignment and that caused me to have to do a lot of steering jockying to keep it going straight. A good alignment fixed that, but by then the dolly was gone.
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Old 07-07-2015, 12:26 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post

Dollies made in north America typically have the same width, tire-to-tire as the width of most full-sized RV's (about 101"-102")...this allows the typical car to easily fit between the dolly tires.

I submit that if a driver's dolly tires are outside the lane - the RV is outside the lane too...and with a typical wheel track of 95"-97" (less than 3" on each side) the RV's tire are on the edge too.
Just measured the distance between my outside rear tires and they are 92" outside to outside of the treads, Ford F53 22K chassis. So if a dolly's width is 102" they would stick out beyond my MH tires.
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