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Old 03-07-2014, 07:32 AM   #1
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Towing 4 down vs. Tow dolly ?

After looking into toad vehicles and systems I am wondering about considering a tow dolly. Cost is the main factor but I am sure there are pros and cons for each. Would appreciate your feedback and experiences.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:49 AM   #2
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We've done both and the 4 down is the easiest of the two. Other then that one thing I liked about dolly towing is not having to modify the front of the car. (cutting any holes to accomodate base plate). Not having to wire the car for towing as well as a needed brake system. Now not all dolly's have brake systems but I do recommend getting one that does. We had the Demco Kar Kaddy SS which is a great dolly. Galvanized frame, LED lights, brake system and the tongue folded back for a smaller storage footprint. Not cheap by any means but a GOOD dolly. One other advantage with the dolly is that you can tow different vehicles (FWD) if you should choose. The "bad", having to lay on the ground in wet weather to hook the safety chains to the frame of the vehicle being towed. Other than that not to bad. Whichever way you decide, one suggestion I have, is when hooking up if you get distracted by someone that wants to chat start your hookup procedure from the beginning to make sure you don't miss anything. "Don't ask how I know". LOLOL Good luck with your decision.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:53 AM   #3
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Basically your preference or choice. Probably both do a good job. I tow 4 down and it works for me.

There is a section in the vehicle code about how far an item can stick out past tail lights before it must also have tail and brake lights. Therefore a dolly doesn't rid you of the tail and brake lights installation if you want to be legal.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:54 AM   #4
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On this question you will surely get a concise, unified, and amalgamated response with no one saying this topic has been covered to death.

PS I ordered an EZE tow last week!
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:56 AM   #5
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There are a lot of parks with pull through sites.
However, there is room for the RV and one vehicle.
If you plan on leaving your car on the dolly, no problem.
If you want to take the car off, where do you park
the dolly and the car. I have recently been to a lot of
parks only with back in sites. You need to unhook the
toad for this. Watched a guy come in, unfasten the car,
drive it off the dolly, then unhook the dolly, back the MH
in, park the car, and then try to manage to get the dolly
squeezed into the spot. The park manager told him he would
have to leave either the dolly or the car in the visitors parking.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyd View Post
There are a lot of parks with pull through sites.
However, there is room for the RV and one vehicle.
If you plan on leaving your car on the dolly, no problem.
If you want to take the car off, where do you park
the dolly and the car. I have recently been to a lot of
parks only with back in sites. You need to unhook the
toad for this. Watched a guy come in, unfasten the car,
drive it off the dolly, then unhook the dolly, back the MH
in, park the car, and then try to manage to get the dolly
squeezed into the spot. The park manager told him he would
have to leave either the dolly or the car in the visitors parking.
I roll the dolly in first and then back the MH over it. Only 3 feet or so sticks out.
Don't know of a park where that doesn't solve the storage problem.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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Steve and Sal,

I have been using my Roadmaster Tow Dolly for better than 13 years and never have to crawl underneath to attach safety chains. My tow dolly has electric brakes and there is a brake controller on the dash which allows me to adjust the amount of braking I need. THe wheels on the dolly are steerable which means they track in the same path as the rear coach wells do.

Like some one stated we use pull through sites when available and if not we unhook and since the dolly has a 3rd wheel we push it behind coach and after coach is in spot we reattach it. We went all the way to AK and back with my tow dolly with no problems towing a Honda Cicvic and now I tow a Ford Escape.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:38 AM   #8
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I towed with a Demco KarKatty II for 25+ years. During those fun years we never had a problem, other than a tire blowout (happens). We towed big cars, small cars, and once even our van, which was way overweight but it was only a 120 mile flat drive to San Diego. For the last 10 years we have towed 4 down, the change came when the kids stopped traveling with us and a single smaller car would do, we tow a Saturn VUE. Additionally the hookup is easier on my, now older, knees and back. If you have room to store the dolly then I personally rate them equally. The dolly gives you a much greater choice of towed vehicles, and flexibility should you want to travel with friends or family and take the larger car. When we had to have a back-in site, it was never a problem (then when the knees and back were younger) to unhook, and push the dolly into the site, then just pull up to it. Only once, at a "fancy Class A Resort" did I have to park the dolly off site, and the resort brought up a small tractor to move the trailer to stowage and return it when we checked out.
Your choice, Happy Trails.
But Please...Get a trailer with brakes...Really.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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I haven't used a dolly but the main problem I see is storing it at campsites. I tow 4 down and it has worked for me. Disadvantages include a supplementary braking system for the toad and a pressure monitoring system I think is mandatory.

If you lose a front toad tire while pulling and you don't catch it then the second front tire may be ruined by the drag effect. Once the second one goes then you could damage the front end systems like brakes, rims and other items. But I still prefer 4 down because of the easy connect and disconnect. I have watched people really struggle with the dollys and I am getting too old to manage that.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom-NC View Post
Steve and Sal,

I have been using my Roadmaster Tow Dolly for better than 13 years and never have to crawl underneath to attach safety chains. My tow dolly has electric brakes and there is a brake controller on the dash which allows me to adjust the amount of braking I need. THe wheels on the dolly are steerable which means they track in the same path as the rear coach wells do.

Like some one stated we use pull through sites when available and if not we unhook and since the dolly has a 3rd wheel we push it behind coach and after coach is in spot we reattach it. We went all the way to AK and back with my tow dolly with no problems towing a Honda Cicvic and now I tow a Ford Escape.

Good Luck!
I also have used a Roadmaster Tow Dolly in the past, how did you hook up the safety chains without getting on the ground? I carried old throw rug to throw on the ground and a piece of plastic for when it was wet. That was the only thing I hated about the dolly, having to get on the ground to hook up the safety chains. Otherwise, it was a great dolly.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:44 AM   #11
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Our car cannot be flat towed - so we use a dolly. And, if the car could be flat towed, I am not sure I still would do it.

~First - which ever you decide, PLEASE get brakes. Brakes might not be required by law in some places, but it is smart and safer.

~Second - I never have to get on the ground to load my dolly. I have towed many vehicles with my EZE-Tow, from a tiny Kia 2 door to a full sized E150 van (dropped the driveshaft). It is all in the way you pre-plan loading.

The costs are very different (usually advantage to the dolly) and the car is a big part of the decision (is it flat towable without damaging anything?).

Best luck
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Hi Irish Reb,
I tow both ways (not at the same time ). The tasks are different, but equally irritating. Which ever way you choose, get the best equipment available. It is a one time expense and can save you a lot of headaches down the road. For the dolly, I have a Demco Kar Kaddy SS. The tow bar and base plate are Blue Ox. The tow bar breaking system is USGEAR.

For the dolly, once connected to the coach, I have never had to disconnect it during a trip (some trips go for 3 months).

After all the time I've been towing, I do not have a preference. The dolly affords me the opportunity to purchase just about any vehicle I want. Four down towing eliminates the need for dealing with the straps the dolly requires. Both have their advantages.
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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Does size/weight of MH matter?

We have a small class C a Forest River Forester 24ft MH. Most of the replies seem to come from larger rigs. Just wondering if it makes a difference in choices between the two systems.
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:28 PM   #14
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The issue with towing by Class C is often weight limits.

Flat towing will add the least amount of weight on the tow.

Dolly's run from 405lb for the EZE-Tow to over 1,000lb for some tandem dolly's, so that can be a concern if the RV has a low tow weight rating.

Like our friend Class C has a 3,500lb tow rating. One should never exceed the ratings on the chassis.

Hope that makes sense.
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