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Old 02-02-2016, 02:10 PM   #1
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Towing With Dolly - A Little Confused

We'll have to use a tow dolly since we have a front wheel drive SUV and aren't going to trade it in for one which is towable flat.

Reading these forums, the instructions in our owners manual and the tow dolly manufacturer's web sites has confused me a little.

Do you normally need to unlock the steering on the vehicle being towed?
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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Depends on the tow dolly, from, what I know. We towed an American Two dolly for a few years, and since it had a rotating platform that the car sat on, we didnt need to unlock the steering wheel, however, I have read about other dollys that dont have the platform, and you do need to unlock the steering wheel.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:16 PM   #3
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In short, no. Wheels are locked down, lights on dolly wide and visable, and with surge brakes oon dolly, no need for ignition on.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:17 PM   #4
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Yes if it is a Acme dolly.

No, if it is any other one I have seen or heard about.

Sthil Tow, American Dolly, Master tow, Demco, Ultra Tow and a few others I can't remember.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:30 PM   #5
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That makes sense. Is there an advantage of one type over the other?
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:36 PM   #6
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We have used a MasterTow80 Dolly for 6 years to tow two of our front wheel drive cars. The steering is always locked.

Look for plenty of room (I think the max is 80") between the dolly fenders. Depending on how wide your car is, they (the fenders) can come into play by touching your car fender on sharp turns.

We have surge brakes and they perform fine. Check fluid often.

Good luck.

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Old 02-02-2016, 02:38 PM   #7
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Can't say, the only one I'v used is the Sthil Tow.
It has a turntable, surge brakes, LED lights and 14" tires.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:46 PM   #8
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I did a little more reading and it looks like those that pivot can have the vehicle steering locked, and those that don't pivot need the steering unlocked? Is that right? Those that pivot are also more prone to have the fenders contact the towed vehicle?
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:57 PM   #9
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I did a little more reading and it looks like those that pivot can have the vehicle steering locked, and those that don't pivot need the steering unlocked? Is that right? Those that pivot are also more prone to have the fenders contact the towed vehicle?
Maybe if it's a wide vehicle. Mine don't. Of course, I followed the directions for proper hitch height.

Keep in mind that when you read about a product from the manufacture, it is always better then the competition.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmcd View Post
I did a little more reading and it looks like those that pivot can have the vehicle steering locked, and those that don't pivot need the steering unlocked? Is that right? Those that pivot are also more prone to have the fenders contact the towed vehicle?

You can look at other and I am not saying one over the other, I researched several and for the money and features listed below the EZE tow dolly was best for me. The link can take you to the web site where you can look at more data. I tow a 2013 Hyundai Elentra on mine and have no issues with the Dolly. It is everything they said on the web site for my use and yes I have to leave the key in the ignition while towing but it is in the OFF position so the steering wheel wont lock. I just take the key out when I stop and lock my car then put it back in before I depart if I feel I need to secure my car while in transit. Going down the road is no problem and I have no battery drain or other issues and no other gear to hassle with, just load it, strap it down, and go. the Dolly really is very easy to move by hand

Acme "EZE-TOW" Tow Dolly - Car Tow Dolly

We have the lightest car tow dolly available on the market.
Most of our customers are retirees, and they won’t want to lug a 700 to 900 lb. car tow dolly around. At 330-380 lbs., our car tow dolly is the lightest and most maneuverable dolly available. Our dolly is well balanced and easily managed by one person.

Idler dolly weighs 330 lbs, Electric dolly weighs 350 lbs

The 3,700 lb. factory-built and engineered axles are rated to tow up to 4,985 lbs. curb weight with up 3000 lbs over the axle. The Electric dolly is rated 4,985 lbs and 2500 lbs over the axle.
The New “EZE-TOW” Hydraulic “Disc” Brake Car Tow Dolly

The FIRST AND ORIGINAL car tow dolly in the world with fully vented double vane “disc” brakes. As a tow dolly with surge brakes, the Ultralight “EZE-TOW” has more than triple the braking efficiency of drum brakes. We offer a car dolly with brakes that are very easy to service. You won’t have to worry about lock ups or chucking, and the pads are in clear view, making this the most trouble-free and reliable braking system available.

Heavy Duty Special Use Tires

Our 205/65-10 tires measure 8˝ inches wide and 22 inches tall. These low-profile tires are 10-ply and E-Rated. Each tire is rated at 1,650 lbs. and the axle has a total rating of 3,300 lbs. The Ultralight “EZE-TOW” dolly uses a common tire and wheel size making spare wheels and tires available from many sources. Spares are also available as an option. These are the same tires you see under very expensive boat trailers; compact but very tough 90 PSI tires. 75 PSI recommended. (note: These are 10 inch wheels, not 10 inch tires).

Best Turning Radius

Our unique axle-to-wheel geometry means that it’s nearly impossible for the car tow dolly fender to make contact with the towed car. This offers a better turning radius and easy usability.

Vehicle Curb Weight

Rated to tow up to 3,000 lbs. over the axle, the Ultralight “EZE-TOW” can tow a vehicle with a curb weight up to 4,985 lbs. Electric brake dolly is rated to tow up to 2500 lbs. over the axle.

5 on 4.5 Wheels and Hubs

Each towing dolly features powder-coated, heavy-duty, all-steel wheels with a common lug pattern available everywhere.

Emergency Break Away

Hydraulic surge “disc” brake car tow dollies are equipped with an emergency break away locking feature wherein the dolly brakes fully lockup if the dolly separates from the ball for any reason.

The Widest Car Tow Dolly on the Market

At a full 80 inches between the fenders, our tow dollies are the widest currently available. Because of the designed fender width and fully adjustable ramps, this unit can tow everything from a full-sized truck to a lawn mower. The idler and Electric brake dolly have 83 inches between the fenders. (Tow dollies are designed for front-wheel drive vehicles weighing 5,000 lbs. curb weight or less.)

The Only Car Tow Dolly with Fully Adjustable and Removable Ramps

Ramps are easily positioned in or out as needed. Ramps stow in the front of the dolly when not in use. The galvanized Sure Grip ramps are lightweight, weighing only 14 pounds each, but are rated for 3,000 lbs. They measure 40×9 inches, allowing for easy loading with 98% of cars. These ramps are versatile and practical but they should not be used over gravel or soft earth.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:04 PM   #11
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Your research is correct.

The KarKaddy is a bit different as it's premium unit has wheels that steer. Still allows the auto's wheels to be locked but eliminates the turntable. It is however the heaviest and probably the most expensive of the group.

Those that don't like the turntables can point out all the bad things about them and those that do like the turntables can point out all the good things about them.

While having to unlock your steering wheel sounds like a PITA, many newer cars do not have locking steering wheels. If you have one of the dollys that do not require the steering to be unlocked and your car's steering doesn't lock, now you have to figure out how to lock your steering.

When you have to unlock the steering wheel you have to leave the key in at least the first position which may mean something battery powered is now on and can run your battery down. Your auto's user manual will usually tell you about this and that you need to remove one or more of the fuses to prevent battery drain. In some cases that is easy and in some cases nearly impossible to reach for which they make remote fuse switches.

Every auto, dolly match up has different requirements and different pros and cons.

A lot here have went with the Acme Tow Dolly for first cost, simplicity and light weight.

YMMV
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Dean View Post
You can look at other and I am not saying one over the other, I researched several and for the money and features listed below the EZE tow dolly was best for me. The link can take you to the web site where you can look at more data. I tow a 2013 Hyundai Elentra on mine and have no issues with the Dolly. It is everything they said on the web site for my use and yes I have to leave the key in the ignition while towing but it is in the OFF position so the steering wheel wont lock. I just take the key out when I stop and lock my car then put it back in before I depart if I feel I need to secure my car while in transit. Going down the road is no problem and I have no battery drain or other issues and no other gear to hassle with, just load it, strap it down, and go. the Dolly really is very easy to move by hand

Acme "EZE-TOW" Tow Dolly - Car Tow Dolly

We have the lightest car tow dolly available on the market.
Most of our customers are retirees, and they won’t want to lug a 700 to 900 lb. car tow dolly around. At 330-380 lbs., our car tow dolly is the lightest and most maneuverable dolly available. Our dolly is well balanced and easily managed by one person.

Idler dolly weighs 330 lbs, Electric dolly weighs 350 lbs

The 3,700 lb. factory-built and engineered axles are rated to tow up to 4,985 lbs. curb weight with up 3000 lbs over the axle. The Electric dolly is rated 4,985 lbs and 2500 lbs over the axle.
The New “EZE-TOW” Hydraulic “Disc” Brake Car Tow Dolly

The FIRST AND ORIGINAL car tow dolly in the world with fully vented double vane “disc” brakes. As a tow dolly with surge brakes, the Ultralight “EZE-TOW” has more than triple the braking efficiency of drum brakes. We offer a car dolly with brakes that are very easy to service. You won’t have to worry about lock ups or chucking, and the pads are in clear view, making this the most trouble-free and reliable braking system available.

Heavy Duty Special Use Tires

Our 205/65-10 tires measure 8˝ inches wide and 22 inches tall. These low-profile tires are 10-ply and E-Rated. Each tire is rated at 1,650 lbs. and the axle has a total rating of 3,300 lbs. The Ultralight “EZE-TOW” dolly uses a common tire and wheel size making spare wheels and tires available from many sources. Spares are also available as an option. These are the same tires you see under very expensive boat trailers; compact but very tough 90 PSI tires. 75 PSI recommended. (note: These are 10 inch wheels, not 10 inch tires).

Best Turning Radius

Our unique axle-to-wheel geometry means that it’s nearly impossible for the car tow dolly fender to make contact with the towed car. This offers a better turning radius and easy usability.

Vehicle Curb Weight

Rated to tow up to 3,000 lbs. over the axle, the Ultralight “EZE-TOW” can tow a vehicle with a curb weight up to 4,985 lbs. Electric brake dolly is rated to tow up to 2500 lbs. over the axle.

5 on 4.5 Wheels and Hubs

Each towing dolly features powder-coated, heavy-duty, all-steel wheels with a common lug pattern available everywhere.

Emergency Break Away

Hydraulic surge “disc” brake car tow dollies are equipped with an emergency break away locking feature wherein the dolly brakes fully lockup if the dolly separates from the ball for any reason.

The Widest Car Tow Dolly on the Market

At a full 80 inches between the fenders, our tow dollies are the widest currently available. Because of the designed fender width and fully adjustable ramps, this unit can tow everything from a full-sized truck to a lawn mower. The idler and Electric brake dolly have 83 inches between the fenders. (Tow dollies are designed for front-wheel drive vehicles weighing 5,000 lbs. curb weight or less.)

The Only Car Tow Dolly with Fully Adjustable and Removable Ramps

Ramps are easily positioned in or out as needed. Ramps stow in the front of the dolly when not in use. The galvanized Sure Grip ramps are lightweight, weighing only 14 pounds each, but are rated for 3,000 lbs. They measure 40×9 inches, allowing for easy loading with 98% of cars. These ramps are versatile and practical but they should not be used over gravel or soft earth.
My car doesn't have a key and doesn't seem to have a position where the steering isn't locked and the vehicle is totally off.

Push the button while pushing on the brake starts the vehicle.

Pushing on the button while not pushing on the brake puts it in the accessory position
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:12 PM   #13
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My car doesn't have a key and doesn't seem to have a position where the steering isn't locked and the vehicle is totally off.

Push the button while pushing on the brake starts the vehicle.

Pushing on the button while not pushing on the brake puts it in the accessory position
Yep, our cars would be the same way. Unlock the steering wheel = run down the battery.
So it seems that your only choice would be a dolly that doesn't require unlocking the steering (or feed voltage to the car battery to keep it from discharging, but I'd guess that's more hassle than it's worth since you have another option).
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by barmcd View Post
My car doesn't have a key and doesn't seem to have a position where the steering isn't locked and the vehicle is totally off.

Push the button while pushing on the brake starts the vehicle.

Pushing on the button while not pushing on the brake puts it in the accessory position
you could call them or email them. The Toyota in the demo video on the web site is a push button so they should be able to answer your question easily
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