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Old 07-23-2014, 10:42 AM   #1
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Tow Dolly's- to brake, or not to brake

I am curious to find out what the general consensus is with brakes on tow dolly's??

I have an opportunity to purchase a Kar Kaddy II, but it has no brakes.. I can purchase it for $500 and all it appears to need is a good lube job and new tires..

I think it would be ok to have a tow dolly without brakes, but the GF feels we need to have brakes.. Having brakes would be my preference. I'm wondering what other people are doing and what their experiences have been..

Is having brakes that big of a deal... especially when I will only tow, a maximum of, 1-2 times per year?

PLEASE enlighten me !!
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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If you want to stop, brakes are a good idea. For $500 you could buy the dolly and install either electric brakes for not too much money or hydraulic surge brakes for quite a bit more.

Some states require braking systems. Registration and a plate aren't required by all states, and you are only held to your home state requirements on the road. They do not forgive no brakes in a state that requires them. Without brakes, you lengthen your stopping distance and downhill can be quite a bit more exciting and dangerous with 4-5k unbraked mass pushing you down the mountain.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:45 AM   #3
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Agree I added electric brakes a little over $220 dexter was the brand from northern tool
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:50 AM   #4
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first question is how heavy is your towed? If you are towing a smart car it does not matter. If you are towing a P/U truck it does. ;-) What are your state weight requirements?
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:04 PM   #5
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You need brakes on your tow, whether it's a 4-down or a dolly.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:18 PM   #6
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I agree. You should have brakes for saftey reasons.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
first question is how heavy is your towed? If you are towing a smart car it does not matter. If you are towing a P/U truck it does. ;-) What are your state weight requirements?
A Smart Car on a dolly would weigh over 2,000 lbs. Brakes would still make it stop faster and safer than without.

By the way Eric, (oakcreekeric) I forgot to say how smart your girlfriend Denise is to want brakes!!
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:00 PM   #8
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Brakes, for all the above listed reasons. No question.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:08 PM   #9
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Check etrailer.com they have all the brake stuff you would need. $500 + $250 you are still way a head of the game. Do Brakes!
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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We used to tow a Harley motorcycle in an enclosed trailer that had a combined weight of less than 1500lbs. and because of the light weight we were not legally required to and so did not have brakes on the trailer. When we went to towing our Captiva we made sure we had the brakes of the Captiva operating. My wife and I are both convinced that we stop in shorter distances towing our Captiva (about 3700lbs.) than we did when towing our motorcycle and trailer (less than 1500lbs.). There are many relatively inexpensive ways to add brakes with your dolly. You'll be very glad every time you have to stop suddenly in a short distance that you have brakes helping with the toad.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:32 PM   #11
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I haven't read all of the posts in this thread but I think I can answer your OP this way. In most states trailers have to have breaks. Many require electric breaks over surge breaks. This site may help: Trailer Brakes | AAA/CAA Digest of Motor Laws
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
A Smart Car on a dolly would weigh over 2,000 lbs. Brakes would still make it stop faster and safer than without.

By the way Eric, (oakcreekeric) I forgot to say how smart your girlfriend Denise is to want brakes!!
While I won't argue against brakes I have had several people point out the the limit here is under 3000 loaded. A Smart car would be legal, though not so smart. There is a difference between what is manageable and what is the best way to go.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:43 PM   #13
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I notice the braking action on my Master Tow dolly...and thank goodness I do. Any help I can get to bring this freight train down when an inconsiderate motorist decides to cut me off...

My pop-up camper I pull with my WING has an electrically actuated hydraulic pump that applies disc brake calipers. It was a $1000 option. These xtra brakes saved me and my brides' life when an inconsiderate motorist...
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:54 PM   #14
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I have a dolly with no brakes and the coach stops fine. However I feel I may be on borrowed time and will get them on my dolly. On a long down hill decent from a camp ground we were at I kept the Escape off till I was down. Just to be safe.
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