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Old 09-21-2013, 12:09 PM   #1
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Towing with a dolly

We are getting ready to hit the road again, for the winter.

Checking on line Uhaul tells us that we cannot tow our FWD minvan on a dolly but we can on a trailer. It seems to me that the dolly would be lighter than the trailer??

We have an older dolly with no brakes - and we're wondering if it would be easier to just put a brake package on that?

We're anxious to hit the road again - we've been in the same place for 3 summers and we want to spend the winter closer to family! Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #2
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Check two things.... does your owners manual state it's OK to tow with rear wheels down and does your tow dolly support the weight and wheel width of your mini- van.

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Old 09-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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Ok, just for the record, most any FWD Mini vans can be towed on a tow-dolly. But, the dolly should have some sort of braking system. Mine has what they call surge brakes and they work great. The only drawback is you can't back up, EVER! Now if you were to have Ele. brakes, this would allow you to back up some even though they don't recomend you backing at all in a tow dolly. Sometimes, just a foot or two would make all the difference. I have to ask, what kind of mini-van do you own? I've dragged my Town & Country all over the place on a two-dolly and haven't had one bit of trouble with it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:54 PM   #4
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We are towing a 99 Plymouth Grand Voyager. The tow dolly is older, and we are thinking just putting a brake kit on it. Uhaul wants to rent us a trailer - at double the price. Might as well just use ours if we can ?
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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I don't know of any FWD vehicle that can't be towed on a dolly. To be safe I would look in your owners manual. On the Remco site it says it can't be flat towed without a trans lube kit but that's about it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmorgan6375 View Post
Ok, just for the record, most any FWD Mini vans can be towed on a tow-dolly. But, the dolly should have some sort of braking system. Mine has what they call surge brakes and they work great. The only drawback is you can't back up, EVER!
What brand tow dolly do you have?
My Acme has a manual lock out device to allow limited backing.
I have occasionally had surge brake boat trailers, as far back as 1971, that had lock out devices.

This is the device for the Acme, others had a pin that was inserted.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:28 PM   #7
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U-hul probbly feels your van is heavier on the front axle than the dolly is spec'd for, thus the trailer, with twice as many tires.

It has noting to do with how heavy the trailer is, as long as your tow vehicle can handle it.

U-haul is very conservative.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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Is your van four wheel drive or front wheel drive? Uhaul may think yours is four wheel drive. Note, uhaul Dolly's usually do not have brakes, at least the one we rented a few years ago.
Don't know of any four wheel drive that's dolly-able without removing a driveshaft, most are flat towable. A lube pump will allow flat towing and you will like it!!
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:00 PM   #9
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We have an '03 Kia Sedona, which we bought before returning to the RV world. We were very distressed to find that we can't dolly tow it and that to convert it for four down would cost about 3 times its retail value.

I don't know how the Dodge/Chrysler vans compare, but our Sedona weighs 4800 pounds curb weight. Many dollies are restricted to 4250 pounds, so if we could find one hefty enough it would be expensive. It would definitely weigh more than 200 pounds, and would run the weight of the towed "train" above our MH hitch limit of 5000 pounds.

We're currently trying to solve the dilemma. Worst case is - we quit RVing altogether and sell the rig. We may end up doing that in a couple more seasons because of the escalating costs.

Next best is we buy a cheap, light car specifically as a toad. We don't need AWD, but it would have to have an automatic transmission. An older Honda Civic wagon or a Geo Metro wagon (wagon needed for two Labradors) on a dolly would fill the bill.

Third option, probably too expensive, is to trade the Sedona in exchange for a later model lightweight wagon that we could dolly tow.

Fourth option is to trade the Sedona for a Saturn LW, provided that the L model Saturn can be flat towed without any mods. Can anyone confirm that the L-model is flat towable without modifications as the S-model was? DW is reluctant to get a discontinued make of car.

I have a feeling that Option 1 will be the choice after one (maybe two) more seasons managing without a toad.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
We have an '03 Kia Sedona, which we bought before returning to the RV world. We were very distressed to find that we can't dolly tow it and that to convert it for four down would cost about 3 times its retail value.

I don't know how the Dodge/Chrysler vans compare, but our Sedona weighs 4800 pounds curb weight. Many dollies are restricted to 4250 pounds, so if we could find one hefty enough it would be expensive. It would definitely weigh more than 200 pounds, and would run the weight of the towed "train" above our MH hitch limit of 5000 pounds.

We're currently trying to solve the dilemma. Worst case is - we quit RVing altogether and sell the rig. We may end up doing that in a couple more seasons because of the escalating costs.

Next best is we buy a cheap, light car specifically as a toad. We don't need AWD, but it would have to have an automatic transmission. An older Honda Civic wagon or a Geo Metro wagon (wagon needed for two Labradors) on a dolly would fill the bill.

Third option, probably too expensive, is to trade the Sedona in exchange for a later model lightweight wagon that we could dolly tow.

Fourth option is to trade the Sedona for a Saturn LW, provided that the L model Saturn can be flat towed without any mods. Can anyone confirm that the L-model is flat towable without modifications as the S-model was? DW is reluctant to get a discontinued make of car.

I have a feeling that Option 1 will be the choice after one (maybe two) more seasons managing without a toad.
Frank, I think all or (most) saturns are towable 4 down. You can check with a few websites to check before your trade. All Honda model auto trans Civic and Accord are towable 4 down with auto untell 2001 year model (I think)
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
We have an '03 Kia Sedona, which we bought before returning to the RV world. We were very distressed to find that we can't dolly tow it and that to convert it for four down would cost about 3 times its retail value.

I don't know how the Dodge/Chrysler vans compare, but our Sedona weighs 4800 pounds curb weight. Many dollies are restricted to 4250 pounds, so if we could find one hefty enough it would be expensive. It would definitely weigh more than 200 pounds, and would run the weight of the towed "train" above our MH hitch limit of 5000 pounds.
The Acme tow dolly weighs 405 pounds and has brakes. Google them and look at their ads, their ad also pops up on this forum. Have you actually weighed your Sedona or going by a published curb weight? Perhaps you could put it on a diet, are there seats you could remove, put spare tire in the coach? Published curb weights normally include a full tank of gas, each gallon you don't tote is 6 pounds less. The Acme dolly is rated for 5000 lbs. runs $2100 new delivered to your door, I saw 3 of them sell off Craig's list in the last three weeks for $1400, $1200, $1200. If you get really close to the hitch limit of 5000lb, well.......
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:08 AM   #12
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Are you meaning FWD as Front Wheel Drive or FOUR Wheel Drive? If front wheel drive I see no problem with a dolly. Four wheel could be trouble and most likely is, especially if full time 4WD. Research can save you a pile of money in repairs
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:38 AM   #13
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Front Wheel Drive not 4x4.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:44 AM   #14
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If the dolly is rated for the weight you have, then you are ready to go. You really do need brakes however. Have a good and safe trip
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