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Old 08-31-2022, 08:24 PM   #1
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Acme EZ Tow Dolly and Toyota Prius

Hi:

I know there have been thread on this topic before and I have done my best to review them.
There seems to be a lot of back and forth on a Toyota Prius and an Acme EZ tow car tow dolly.
I have had an unfortunate experience inasmuch as I have purchased a 2019 EZ Tow Dolly and reading everything I could that would assure a good tow dolly and a good fit for my Prius. Well, from what I can see the Tow Dolly is great and very well constructed. The company seems to be very credible, however, my experience is that the Toyota Prius just doesn't work with this dolly. This is not my conjecture, it is my experience since I just ripped the entire air dam off the Prius today as there is absolutely no clearance.
I think I did all the correct things- Added a drop hitch that drops the unit 11" to about 12 1/2" off the ground. Lined everything up. Made sure all the tires on the dolly were inflated evenly and correctly and the bottom line is, it just doesn't work.
I am reaching out to this group to see if I am missing something here. I love the Dolly. All of my pre-research indicates that a Prius is no problem. I am here to tell you that doesn't seem to be the case. Any car with a low clearance and a low air dam which are many hybrids, I just can't see how they would work.
I am hesitant to put 2x10s underneath as I am concerned this will change the dynamics of how the tires work with the dolly as my Prius (2010) has a non-locking mechanism.
So I am hoping someone will shed some light on this issue. I don't want to sell the dolly, but, I am running out of options.
Thanks and please see photos of what is happening
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Old 08-31-2022, 10:57 PM   #2
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I have to say that it sounds awful low for the hitch at 12 1/2 inches. 18 is more the normal height. Raising the hitch will give you more clearance when loading.
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Old 09-02-2022, 10:24 AM   #3
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Can you remove the plastic air dam from the prius (or trim it)? If it's just a splash guard type thing, maybe you can get by without it. Look at your clearance once you have it on the dolly and make sure that when the prius suspension bottoms out, it won't hit the dolly, and it probably needs another 1-1.5" clearance for tire compression on the frame of the dolly. If the dolly frame impacts the metal bits of the car, it can lead to bad things.
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Old 09-02-2022, 10:50 AM   #4
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Worst dolly for a low car.

Sell it and buy any other brand , they all have tire platforms that swivel and you can add wood blocks to get the car higher.
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Old 09-03-2022, 03:26 PM   #5
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I guess so but the Prius already looks terrible. What I have been advised is to weld some steel into the wells so that it will sit higher. I have contacted a fabricator that will fabricate a couple of pieces to raise the air dam level. Hopefully, that solves this issue. It will be like wood blocks, however, because they will be welded in will not move and be more permanent.

Thanks
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Old 09-03-2022, 03:31 PM   #6
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Who do you believe the Acme tow dolly is bad

I am surprised to hear any negative comments about the Acme Tow Dolly. True the wheels do not pivot, but that has no impact on the car if it does not have a locking steering mechanism. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The problem here I believe is the low clearance on the Prius. Many Hybrids face the same issue, so I don't see this as a "bad tow dolly". It is light, stands upright, is easy to move, and most importantly comes with "surge brakes", which is important from a safety issue.

I would love to hear the "downsides of this particular tow dolly. I did my research and found very little, but I certainly want to learn as much as I can.

I don't know what I don't know.

Thanks
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:36 PM   #7
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My Hyundai hybrid was 6" off the ground in the front and it never hit on my EZE dolly, also bought in 2019. It was very close, though.

The manufacturer says to drop the front lower so low profile cars can get up the ramps without hitting. The OP has that part right:

What height does the hitch need to be at?

The hitch height needs to be set at 14-16 inches with 14 inches being ideal for most vehicles. However, if you are ever towing a low profile vehicle you need the hitch height to be at 12 inches.


I'm not understanding how that happened, though. When you load the car is the air dam on top of the front edge? I'd think you would have noticed that easily. If not, what exactly happened? Did the car shift or bounce down? Even then how could it tear the air dam off?

Or did that happen when you unloaded the car?

Ray
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucson85718 View Post
I am surprised to hear any negative comments about the Acme Tow Dolly. True the wheels do not pivot, but that has no impact on the car if it does not have a locking steering mechanism. Please correct me if I am wrong.



The problem here I believe is the low clearance on the Prius. Many Hybrids face the same issue, so I don't see this as a "bad tow dolly". It is light, stands upright, is easy to move, and most importantly comes with "surge brakes", which is important from a safety issue.



I would love to hear the "downsides of this particular tow dolly. I did my research and found very little, but I certainly want to learn as much as I can.



I don't know what I don't know.



Thanks
It's the only dolly that doesn't have any kind of articulation and depends on the cars steering to handle cornering. That should tell you something.

StehlTow, Master tow and other dollies have surge disk brakes.

I don't have to place and retrieve ramps, their part of the dolly.

My straps hold the car down, yours have to let the wheels move under them. Front tires don't turn the same amount in cornering. The inside tire has a shorter path and turns sharper.

I use standard ST 14 inch tires and Dexter hubs. Easy to get, if needed.
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Old 09-04-2022, 12:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat
It's the only dolly that doesn't have any kind of articulation and depends on the cars steering to handle cornering. That should tell you something.
Actually, it doesn't. What should it be telling me? I really do not know.

Quote:
StehlTow, Master tow and other dollies have surge disk brakes.
So does the EZE dolly.

Quote:
My straps hold the car down, yours have to let the wheels move under them. Front tires don't turn the same amount in cornering. The inside tire has a shorter path and turns sharper.
The straps do hold the tires down, just like any other dolly. How could it be otherwise? The strap get tightened enough to put a slight bulge in the tire bottom.

The car uses the locked front wheels, locked by the straps, as a pivot. That's why the car steering wheel turns when the dolly turns.

Ray
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Old 09-04-2022, 12:57 AM   #10
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Are your Prius front tires the stock size? Not a lower profile that would make the body closer to the ground, making it have less clearance on the dolly. Or could the front suspension springs be worn that they have sagged losing clearance? Are you the original owner of the Prius? If not could the previous owner installed lowering springs? Why I donít know, but it can happen.

Has body work been done on the front bumper/air dam, that is an aftermarket part that fits poorly compared to the OEM part?

Thatís all I got.
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Old 09-04-2022, 11:38 AM   #11
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I own one of these dolly’s and the manufacturer is only an hour from my house so I picked it up from the factory.
Really nice bunch of people and a very nice facility.
My question is have you contacted them directly regarding your problem? After having worked with them directly my impression is that this is something they would want to know about and help you solve.
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Old 09-18-2022, 08:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NXR View Post
My Hyundai hybrid was 6" off the ground in the front and it never hit on my EZE dolly, also bought in 2019. It was very close, though.

The manufacturer says to drop the front lower so low profile cars can get up the ramps without hitting. The OP has that part right:

What height does the hitch need to be at?

The hitch height needs to be set at 14-16 inches with 14 inches being ideal for most vehicles. However, if you are ever towing a low profile vehicle you need the hitch height to be at 12 inches.


I'm not understanding how that happened, though. When you load the car is the air dam on top of the front edge? I'd think you would have noticed that easily. If not, what exactly happened? Did the car shift or bounce down? Even then how could it tear the air dam off?

Or did that happen when you unloaded the car?

Ray
Hi Ray: Thanks, What happen is that it seemed to just clear moving it on from the ramps, but, when the tires "set" into place" the air dam dropped down. So, when I backed the car off, the air dam was caught on the front part of the frame.

Here is my workaround at this point. I brought the dolly to my mechanic. He was surprised I didn't damage the car more, but the Prius is mainly plastic underneath, so the plastic is ripped up a bit but salvageable.

The workaround was somewhat complex. The bottom line is twofold. (1) we cut off about 1/2" of the top of the front frame. (2) we are welding steel plates over the frame where the tire sits, so the car will sit higher, but not high enough to go over the top of the frame, but to bring the wheels higher to clear the front frame. The combination of the two modifications should resolve the problem.

Here is a word to anyone with a Prius. It is my strong opinion is that the Acme Tow Dolly is a good dolly, BUT, you will have to modify it to work consistenly with the Prius. If you don't, you will damage your car. No question. Also, we are welding eye hooks to the prius as well. You do not want to put saftey chains around your control arms. So we are welding eye hooks to the closest part of the front frame and mounting another on the front of the tow dolly.

To Acme Tow Dolly: You make a good product, but you indicated that thousands of Prius's use your dolly. I am not sure that is a correct statement. I would suggest you integrate some of these suggestions and modifications into future models and have an option for a "low clearance" vehicle, other than wood blocks, that just do not work long term.
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Old 09-18-2022, 08:13 PM   #13
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Yes...and Richard was very nice, but as I purchased this used, they really owe me nothing. He made comments about never having that problem, however, that's really hard to believe. My Prius is nothing special, but, the clearance between the air dam and the front frame of the dolly isn't even close. It's a joke.
The bottom line, it has to be modified. I explained the modification below in another post, however, it took a lot of calculations and a significant amount of engineering, which should have been considered at the factory. Because more cars are Hybrid and have low clearances, it is becoming more of a problem, which offers manufacturers an opportunity to come up with solutions. In my case, they have not.
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Old 09-19-2022, 12:23 AM   #14
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Priuses (Priusi?) have been made for a long time. Perhaps yours has changes that reduced the clearances; I dunno.

I got some heavy clear tubing from the hardware store and put my safety chains inside so the chains never contacted the control arms. I didn't want any damage to the aluminum control arms from the safety chains banging against them either. I also used a carabiner on the safety chains to keep them from possibly jumping out of the banjo slots.

Ray
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