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Old 08-07-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
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Using a tow dolly with brakes...

Hi, new to the forum, and a Class 'A' RV... Could use a little advice... We just purchased a new RV with a tow dolly for the car. It comes with brakes, but the dealership didn't set them up. The salesman indicated that with the size of our car (3200 lbs) we really didn't need the dolly braking system... I'm a careful person, and this seemed a bit cavalier to me, but i'm new to all of this and thought maybe I could get some feedback on what others have done... Thanks...
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
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Anytime you have the option for more braking power do so. It may just save you. However im guessing that brakes would be to be set up light as they may easily lock up.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #3
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First read this:
The Physics of Towed-Vehicle Braking

Then tell us the make/model of the RV, tow dolly and car.

I think you will get one over-whelming response.... You NEED brakes.

If not already setup, you will need to install a brake controller in the RV which controls the dolly brakes and applies the dolly brakes when you apply the RV brakes.

The cheaper brake controllers do just that. The higher priced ones also have accelerometers which adjust the braking force based on the RV braking.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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If you have them, use them. I would want all the brakes I could get.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:29 PM   #5
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I would have the brakes operational, if you consider that you have 1 1/2 tons on wheels attached to the motorhome pushing you every time you apply the brakes on the RV the extra brakes may prevent an accident some day. I recently purchased a dolly and wouldn't consider one without brakes. I bought an Acme with hydraulic surge brakes, I prefer the surge brakes over electric.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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Ford and Workhorse require add'l braking if the unit being towed weighs 1,500#'s or more.
Spartan says:
Quote:
"The chassis braking system is rated for the operation at the GVWR - NOT the GCWR. Separate functional brake systems should be used for safe control of towed vehicles or trailers. It is important for you to understand if there are any government (federal, state, local or other) regulations that apply to weight restrictions for the areas you plan to travel. Government restrictions could affect the size and weight of the towed item and whether an auxiliary brake system is required"
And then there's the laws of physics: more weight takes more braking force to stop it.
Also, state laws vary and you must comply with every state's laws when traveling through them.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:37 PM   #7
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I have a Thor ACE 30.1, and will be towing a mid size Suzuki at 3200 lbs... Thanks for the comments. I think adding the additional braking is a good idea, but I wanted to hear from you more experienced Class 'A' travelers... I was a bit concerned about getting the setting right and experiencing too little, or worse too much braking... With my 5th wheel I could feel the braking force because the trailer weighed more than the truck, now its opposite and i'm not sure i will be able to tell how the brakes are working behind my 20K plus ACE... I guess if they were smoking when I braked I would know...
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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"The salesman" is an idiot. You need all the braking power you can get.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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This subject is debated over and over and over. Usually it is with braking systems for a towed vehicle not for a tow dolly however it is the same kind of arguement. There are a couple of breaking systems you can get for the towed vehicle.
Here is a website to one of the more popular brands and one that i use.
Brake Controllers - Tekonsha

I do not tow with a tow dolly but I have a small farm and I take my 50 horse diesel 2 wheel drive tractor on a trailer and the tekonsha p3 is what i use. It works pretty well. once you get it set up for the tow vehicle you can kind of forget it. I use it for different loads on a trailer so I play with the settings but that is just a pair. of buttons to increase the braking voltage for the load. . It will control quite a bit. I think the p3 will control something like brakes on 4 axles. If you are not inclined to cut into the wiring under the dash look at the RF version it mounts the controller on the trailer and then communicates with a dash mount monitor via RF. As far as braking goes I have a braking system for my flat tow. I do not use it a lot. I know all the arguements for it. The bottom line for me is where I am going with it. Long trips I hook it up and large mountains or where there are state laws that require it with the last one being the most important to me. I am sure there are a lot of people going to say that you have to have it. Personally the specs for my motor home say it can tow 10,000 pounds the 4000 pounds of the car is not even close to the limit. I have noticed that when my proportional braking system is in the vehicle it rarely comes on. If i brake hard it does but the times when it does not activate I really do not know the difference.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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Get them and use them. Why not?

Don't press it.

Don
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:18 PM   #11
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Your dealer is a lazy idiot. Some state laws say brakes on towed vehicles weighing over 2600 pounds. Some say anything towed. Soon as I find the list of state laws I'll put them on here for you. Unless someone here has the list website handy.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCal View Post
Your dealer is a lazy idiot. Some state laws say brakes on towed vehicles weighing over 2600 pounds. Some say anything towed. Soon as I find the list of state laws I'll put them on here for you. Unless someone here has the list website handy.
And what you will find is that most of them are WRONG! Some just use AAA data and it's wrong.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:28 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the feedback...
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:55 PM   #14
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brakebuddy.com and towingworld.com have list of state laws for towing.
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