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Old 06-15-2022, 06:49 AM   #1
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A couple tow dolly questions before ordering one

We can't afford to buy and don't own a car that can be flat towed so we're going the tow dolly route. I know - I know, we'll be sorry, we'll change our minds at some point, flat towing is the best, etc. etc. lol - I've heard it and I've read it....a lot - I know it's true, for the most part - we just can't afford it right now.

Our tow vehicle will be a 2014 Nissan Altima and we'll be pulling it with a 2017 Newmar Canyon Star (gasser). We hope/plan to do a number of trips from OH to the western states (MT, WY, CO, ID, UT and AZ) which means plenty of mountains.

Disc brakes and a dolly that isn't 'fixed' are important to me which seems to narrow the list of brands to Demco. Does anyone have experience with other brands that have these two features?

My primary concern with Demco is where to put it when at CG's? Question for anyone that uses a Demco that DOESN'T HAVE the folding tongue...Is any portion of the dolly tongue able to fit under your RV and if so can you tell me about it? I really don't want to spend the extra $'s for the folding tongue.

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 06-15-2022, 07:34 AM   #2
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My first motor home I had to use a tow dolly. Put it under rear of motor home. I see plenty of tow dollyís stored this way at camp site.
Make sure you strap tires tight. Suggested to recheck after about 50 miles IIRC
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Old 06-15-2022, 07:55 AM   #3
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I have a Demco with surge brakes, turn table and no folding reach. You can slide it under the back or front of your rig, but you will need to have another 5 or 6 feet to fit in your site.

Some places have a parking place for tow dollies, boat trailers, etc.

I always flat tow my Ranger pickup now. You are right about it being so much easier. Especially now that I switched from a Brake Buddy to a ReadyBrake.
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Old 06-15-2022, 07:58 AM   #4
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First - no shame in going the dolly route. 20 years ago, we would be doing that. Instead, we have gone without for two years. Doable, but not ideal. Ideal is the Startrek transporter and some would disagree with that plan.

No experience with the tow dolly, but always on the lookout for how the other folks do stuff. Have seen them under front, under back, at the rear of the site under a bush and just hooked to the back of the coach in pull throughs. As long as you can move the dolly by hand, you will find a way to store it. Just take care not to run over it and lock it up when not in use. While it's not a perfect solution, you will not want to be without it.

As noted above - keep the straps tight. Proactively maintain the dolly's tires, bearings, brakes, straps and coupler.

Take extra care when loading in the wet. Slippery ramps and wet tires move the wrong way.

Check the safety chains, receiver shank pin, lighting plug, and breakaway connection on your walk around after each stop.
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Old 06-15-2022, 12:11 PM   #5
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I prefer flat towing. But in your case there is nothing wrong with a dolly. Just be sure to buy a quality one. And definitely get one with brakes. Also get a good brake controller, a Prodigy would be the best!
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Old 06-15-2022, 08:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick feedback! Appreciate the advice, observations and words of caution. Adding a towed will dial things up several notches for me.
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Old 06-16-2022, 05:16 AM   #7
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Demco

I've just recently bought the Demco Kar Kaddy X and like it a lot.



I have only used pull through sites so far so haven't needed to put part of the dolly under the motorhome. The tongue wheel is adjustable so I guess it depends on the height of your RV. Unfortunately I store my unit offsite otherwise I'd measure it for you.



Like you, I understand towing four flat is easier/faster but that wasn't an option for us either. I have found hooking/unhooking isn't really that bad. Although I haven't had to do so in the rain yet.


Demco is a quality product. You won't be disappointed.


Happy travels!
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Old 06-16-2022, 06:31 AM   #8
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I used a mastertow 80THD tow dolly with electric brakes for three years, it was great, easy on, easy off. I never had any issue what so ever. The mastertow was light enough to push around at a campground so I would unload the car. push i to the back of the site and back the coach in. With a gas coach you can push the dolly tounge under the rear of the coach and it is pretty much out of site. I used electric brakes because with surge brakes your dolly brakes will be applied when going down hill and prematurely wear the brakes, with electic brakes you have control of the dolly brakes from the controller. The Mastertow is a simple dolly with integrated ramps and a pivoting plate, no separate ramps to attach and no complicated steering mechanisms. If you shop, one can be had for somewhere around $1500.
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Old 06-16-2022, 12:38 PM   #9
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I used a mastertow 80THD tow dolly with electric brakes for three years, it was great, easy on, easy off. I never had any issue what so ever. The mastertow was light enough to push around at a campground so I would unload the car. push i to the back of the site and back the coach in. With a gas coach you can push the dolly tounge under the rear of the coach and it is pretty much out of site. I used electric brakes because with surge brakes your dolly brakes will be applied when going down hill and prematurely wear the brakes, with electic brakes you have control of the dolly brakes from the controller. The Mastertow is a simple dolly with integrated ramps and a pivoting plate, no separate ramps to attach and no complicated steering mechanisms. If you shop, one can be had for somewhere around $1500.
I gave a lot of thought to the Master Tow but unless Iím mistaken disc brakes arenít an option. Iíd maybe be okay with drums if I didnít have so much mountain driving planned for my future trips.

Also, I thought about electric vs surge brakes but not sure my coach is wired for it.

I then thought electric brakes that worked off my coaches brake lights might work but lots of times Iím using the engine (downshifting) from being in the tow/haul mode to slow me. No brake lights (when engine downshifting) means the towed would be pushing my coach which would force me to ride the brakesÖI think.

Iíd rather not spend the $ a Demco costs but I want to be safe as travel.

Did you travel the mountains and if so what was it like as it relates to braking?

Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2022, 12:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kayakist View Post
I've just recently bought the Demco Kar Kaddy X and like it a lot.



I have only used pull through sites so far so haven't needed to put part of the dolly under the motorhome. The tongue wheel is adjustable so I guess it depends on the height of your RV. Unfortunately I store my unit offsite otherwise I'd measure it for you.



Like you, I understand towing four flat is easier/faster but that wasn't an option for us either. I have found hooking/unhooking isn't really that bad. Although I haven't had to do so in the rain yet.


Demco is a quality product. You won't be disappointed.


Happy travels!
Any experience with the surge brakes in the mountains and if so, can you share? Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2022, 01:19 PM   #11
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I used a MasterTow 80HD for multiple cars. It had surge, drum brakes. It seemed to stop fine. If your car isn't already equipped, you should think about adding a trailer hitch to it. The hitch can be used to haul the dolly around and for a bike rack.

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Old 06-16-2022, 03:17 PM   #12
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We started out with a tow dolly for a couple of years. Not the best choice but not terrible as some would make it sound. Good advice from PKI. The only things I would add is to check tailight operation before starting out, daily and to periodically check the lug nuts with a torque wrench for tightness . ( Had them loosen up first time out. Harbor Freight torque wrench, cheap money )
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Old 06-17-2022, 04:49 AM   #13
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One Mountain Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbrand22 View Post
Any experience with the surge brakes in the mountains and if so, can you share? Thanks.

Only been in the mountains once so far. I was alternating between 3rd and 2nd gear on the downgrade with quite a few curves. No issues, everything went smoothly.
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Old 06-17-2022, 05:33 AM   #14
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I traveled the entire country during the time I used a dolly to include the mountains out west and never had a brake issue. If you have an f53 ford chassis under your coach it is pre wired for a brake controller, you can activate the dolly brakes from the drivers seat. I never had any issues at all with brakes or anything else. Good rule to follow when towing, start slow end slow, start in control, stay in control.
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