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Old 07-16-2014, 06:06 PM   #1
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Warning To All Owners Of The Demco Kar-Kaddy SS-460 Tow Dolly

Hi,

I bought a slightly-used Demco Kar-Kaddy SS tow dolly back in 2004. I have towed it several thousand miles since then, and it has performed very well for me, with one exception.

Returning from a trip two years ago, I took the car off of the tow dolly about 15 miles from home, on fairly flat terrain. I live in the foothills, and prefer to have my wife drive the car home, instead of lugging it up these hills with the motorhome.

After unloading the car and on the way home that night (in the dark) I could see the tow dolly (in the side mirrors) whipping back and forth, (left to right) whenever I went over 40 MPH. I was on a busy highway with very little (if any) available shoulder to pull the rig over, so I just slowed down to keep it from 'whipping back and forth) and got it home.


The next morning, I went outside to investigate. What had happened was that the pivot bolt on the tow dolly's folding tongue had broken off at the top end of its threads. There were no threads left on the bolt, and with that being the case, the tongue was only held in place by the top portion of the bolt, AND the upper flange of the tongue. The remainder of the bolt wasn't long enough to reach down to and secure the lower flange on the tongue. The threaded portion and nut that used to be part of the bolt were 'gone', having dropped out along the highway.


The bolt hole in the upper flange on the tongue is worn slightly egg-shaped from the event.

Near as I can tell, the broken bolt (which I still have the top portion of) is a standard Grade 5 bolt. I went down to the local hardware store and replaced it with a Grade 8 Bolt and Nylock hex nut.

I contacted Demco by phone back then, and explained what had happened. They told me that they had never heard of anything like that happening before. I offered to send them the bolt for metallurgical analysis, but they declined my offer.

I apologize for my tardiness in reporting this issue, and I have no excuse(s) for it. I would suggest that anyone with one of these tow dollies replace that pivot bolt with a Grade 8 bolt as a preventive measure.

Regards, Alta Sierra
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:32 PM   #2
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The dolly was more than 8 years old, all fasteners need to be checked periodically. The class 5 bolt lasted all that time, so I don't think it was undersized. The bouncing of the empty dolly could have caused a loose bolt to shear, the evidence of the egg-shaped hole indicates it had been loose for a while.

U-haul won't allow you to tow an empty dolly more than a couple of miles, too many issues with towing fast empty.

The warning should be to inspect and tighten all fasteners, not replace all with class 8 fasteners.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:23 PM   #3
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On my Master Tow, I am suppose to reduce the tire pressure from 50psi to 10psi when towing it empty. Wouldn't your demco be similiar?
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:10 AM   #4
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Stuff happens, thats just the way it is, and a "warning" is not justified IMHO.

Ed
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:16 AM   #5
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Warning To All Owners Of The Demco Kar-Kaddy SS-460 Tow Dolly

Hello,

Well, as the old saying goes, "You learn something new every day".

It says nothing in the Demco Kar-Kaddy SS-460 owners manual about anything that is mentioned in the replies to my posting, other than to ; " Make sure all bolts are tightened and those requiring a set torque are up to specifications:

Tie Rod Castle Nut:-75 ft. lbs.

LUG NUTS: 120 ft. lbs.

Check Lug Nut tension after the first 5 miles, and periodically thereafter."

Regarding the failed pivot bolt, I stand by my decision to replace the original Grade 5 pivot bolt with the Grade 8.

As always, I Thank everyone for their replies.

Alta Sierra
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:24 PM   #6
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Playtime III, The Demco Manual says nothing specific about towing the tow dolly empty.
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #7
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BFLinn181: You posted: "The bouncing of the empty dolly could have caused a loose bolt to shear, the evidence of the egg-shaped hole indicates it had been loose for a while."

The slightly egg-shaped hole in the top flange of the folding tongue is not the hole that held the failed bolt...that slightly egg-shaped hole is on the opposite side of the top flange, where the 5/8" X 4-7/8" 'pin' locks the folding tongue in the towing position. With the broken bolt on the opposite side, IMHO, the egg-shaped hole was result of the slop in the rigidity of the tow dolly's tongue, due to the broken bolt.

There is no sign of any corrosion or discoloration at the snapped -off end of the broken bolt, and that tells me that it failed instantaneously, and that the failure was not due to an earlier crack in the bolt at that point. Thank you for your time.....

Alta Sierra
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:27 PM   #8
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Alta Sierra, I was just pointing out that an all points warning about Demco Kar Kaddies was just a bit over the top.

A.) It functioned for many years without failure.
B.) You were towing it empty at the time and reported "whipping back and forth." Not uncommon in empty dollies at full tire pressure.
C.) This incident happened 2 years ago. Have you continued to use the dolly?

As I noted before, U-Haul restricts dolly use towed empty, Demco does not mention this in the manual I consulted. However, they do caution that, "To pull the Kar Kaddy empty, make sure "Auto Steer" LOCKING PIN IS IN PLACE." (p. 19)

http://demco-products.com/assets/use...ts/RD20010.pdf

I don't know if your dolly has auto steer. This manual repeatedly suggestions to check bolt tension. It also shows a Class 5 bolt in the tongue pivot. I was surprised it makes no mention of tire pressures.

Also, it says never tow over 55 mph, I'm sure you've always followed that directive!

A posting about the problem you had is perfectly fine, people need to check all parts of their vehicles, dollies, trailers they take out on the public highways. I just don't think it warrants, "Warning To All Owners Of The Demco Kar-Kaddy SS-460 Tow Dolly"

Happy travels
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:29 AM   #9
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Hello,

BFlinn81,

My Demco Kar-Kaddy SS-460 does have the auto-steer, and the locking pin for the tie-rod is always in place whenever the tow dolly is 'unloaded'. I must admit that one time I did forget to put the locking pin in place, after unloading the car. My error was evident immediately as the tow dolly was wandering (not violently whipping as in the case of the broken hinge bolt)) back and forth' behind the motorhome. A quick stop to put the pin in place took care of that issue.


Last year, I took a 3600-mile trip with the motor home, tow dolly and my car. I had no problems with the tow dolly on that trip, except for two:

1) The loss of the two vertical nylon 'sliders' that fit between the hitch (at the very front of the tow dolly)and the 'female tube' that it fits into. I have new nylon 'sliders' from Demco and will be installing them before the next trip.

2) In eastern Washington state, the curb-side tire on the tow dolly had a blow-out. The shredded tire took out the rear portion of the fender (below the taillight housing),along with the taillight assembly. I also have new a fender here, and it will be installed shortly.

Not long after I acquired the tow dolly, I informed Demco that I had acquired it. A year or so later, they sent me a 'skid-plate' to attach to the tow dolly's tongue, in order to protect the lower, protruding portion of the hinge bolt and the locking pin for the tongue against contacting the pavement when entering/exiting steep driveway thresholds. I installed that immediately upon receipt, and it has done its job very well.

In closing, I myself will say that I will be carrying a spare hinge bolt from now on.... Thank You for your input.

Alta Sierra

As Always, Thank You for your input.
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