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Old 10-09-2016, 12:55 PM   #1
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Using a dolly, front wheels down?

I'm considering towing my El Camino but it has an automatic transmission. I don't want to do a drive line disconnect or ad a transmission pump. Am considering a dolly and towing with the rear wheels on the dolly and front wheels on the pavement. I have noticed cars being towed this way but never talked to anyone that has done it. I've thought of a pros and cons about this but would like any thoughts or comments.
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
I'm considering towing my El Camino but it has an automatic transmission. I don't want to do a drive line disconnect or ad a transmission pump. Am considering a dolly and towing with the rear wheels on the dolly and front wheels on the pavement. I have noticed cars being towed this way but never talked to anyone that has done it. I've thought of a pros and cons about this but would like any thoughts or comments.
Not a great thing to do Bob, the caster/camber, toe in/toe out, and the general alignment is for moving forward. Use the search bar at the top of the page about towing on a dolly backwards.........hours of reading.
Better off to buy a trailer and put it on it.....I am going to guess you El Camino is a antique.......Way better protection on a trailer..........My Grandfather bought a new one every 2 years.........a long time ago..........
Lets see a photo of her.......
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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If the makers of tow dollys do not recommend you towing with the rear wheels on a dolly, I would suspect there is a good reason. I think palehorse covered it.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:53 PM   #4
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We've done it towing a pick-up on a dolly that had a pivot pan (big heavy Master Tow).
The fixed tray dolly type (like Acme EZE-Tow) cannot pivot to allow turns...and will NOT work.

It is not the best way to tow, but it works...

The Caster/Camber/Toe issue is an actual consideration, but not for running backwards.
The car's suspension is not level to the road on a dolly with it's back-end up in the air...so, any normal toe-in adjustment will be magnified on the dolly = increased tire wear.

If you do this, it is very important that the toad's steering be restrained as close to straight as possible. Use a heavy strap of some sort to a hard point inside. Using the steering lock isn't good because it might be off-center or might be damaged.

If you do not restrain the toad's steering, the car can go off-center while driving or possibly even oscillate (whipping) leading to loss of control due to the higher weight (engine and transmission) in the rear.

If intending to use this set-up for the long term, it might be a good idea to adjust the front axle toe to zero.

Again...this is not the best way to tow (car carrier or flat-tow with drive-shaft disconnect is best) but it does work.

Safe travels.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:10 AM   #5
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As mentioned, you'll really need to use a pivoting (swivel plate) type dolly.

An Acme dolly might work (non-swivel plate), but you'll be skuffing / skidding the dolly tires every time you turn. (dragging the dolly tires sideways around the corner). There would be enough slack in the straps to allow a very small amount of turn, like lane changes, but any normal turns around corners would result in dragging the dolly tires sideways because they can't pivot. My Acme dolly does this anyway when I make very, very sharp turns.

Obviously you'll need to tie the steering wheel, don't rely on the steering column lock. Wrap the seat belt around the steering wheel a couple times and pull it tight. Front end geometry isn't designed to go backwards, but shouldn't hurt anything unless you have a bunch of worn out front end components that have a lot of play in them.

Check clearance with the dolly fenders. Also look carefully at how far the back end of the car hangs over the front of the dolly when its strapped down on the dolly.
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for the thoughts and comments. I do have a 16 foot utility trailer I can use but storing a trailer while traveling might be just a bit harder than a tow dolly. Haven't made up my mind on this and will certainly overthink it.
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