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Old 05-03-2019, 04:10 PM   #1
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Dolly Towing w/ Hydralift MC Lift

I am looking into installing a Hydralift Motorcycle Lift on my 2011 Phaeton DP w/ Tag. I recently purchased an Indian Roadmaster (950 lbs) that I would love to take with me. I am pulling a 2018 Nissan Rogue on a Mastertow tow dolly as this vehicle cannot be towed 4-down. Looking at the Hydralift website they show pictures of setups where the coach with a Hydralift (loaded with full dress MC) is towing a vehicle on a standard tow dolly. I have looked at a couple of used Hydralifts and the manufacturers plate on the Hydralift says you cannot have any tongue weight if the lift is loaded. My question for anyone who has this setup is: What did you do to your setup to allow dolly towing while your lift is loaded.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainSaw View Post
I am looking into installing a Hydralift Motorcycle Lift on my 2011 Phaeton DP w/ Tag. I recently purchased an Indian Roadmaster (950 lbs) that I would love to take with me. I am pulling a 2018 Nissan Rogue on a Mastertow tow dolly as this vehicle cannot be towed 4-down. Looking at the Hydralift website they show pictures of setups where the coach with a Hydralift (loaded with full dress MC) is towing a vehicle on a standard tow dolly. I have looked at a couple of used Hydralifts and the manufacturers plate on the Hydralift says you cannot have any tongue weight if the lift is loaded. My question for anyone who has this setup is: What did you do to your setup to allow dolly towing while your lift is loaded.
Thanks in advance.
Not familiar with this type towing (hydra lift) but owned a dolly for 20 years now. Looking at hydralift vids and that's already a huge load on the hitch hardware. While a tow dolly generally has little tongue weight the force exerted during braking plus a (800+ pound?) Indian on it might eventually break the assembly. That's my best guess.

Nice toys BTW.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainSaw View Post
I am looking into installing a Hydralift Motorcycle Lift on my 2011 Phaeton DP w/ Tag. I recently purchased an Indian Roadmaster (950 lbs) that I would love to take with me. I am pulling a 2018 Nissan Rogue on a Mastertow tow dolly as this vehicle cannot be towed 4-down. Looking at the Hydralift website they show pictures of setups where the coach with a Hydralift (loaded with full dress MC) is towing a vehicle on a standard tow dolly. I have looked at a couple of used Hydralifts and the manufacturers plate on the Hydralift says you cannot have any tongue weight if the lift is loaded. My question for anyone who has this setup is: What did you do to your setup to allow dolly towing while your lift is loaded.
Thanks in advance.
Hey Chainsaw,
Well Sir, I'm one that did use a Hydralift and, without a doubt, it's by far, the best lift/carrier on the market. It's the least amount of moving parts, the most stable, and, while some go run and hide when hydraulics are involved in certain operations, the hydraulics on their system are problem free. I used that lift for approximately 2.5 years and had absolutely ZERO problems with any portion/component/hydraulic part(s) on that list. I recommend a Hydralift in a heartbeat.

But, also, without a doubt, they're very proud of their lift 'cause, they're the most costly of all the lifts out there. Normally, they hover around $4,100 plus or minus a tad, WITHOUT installation. I'm the one that did the install of ours. And, due to that ability, it allowed us to be able to be patient and look on Craigslist etc. for a used one. Well, in not too long of a search time, we found one and, had to go from San Diego to Scottsdale AZ to pick it up.

ROAD TRIP!!! And, by doing it that way, we paid a mere $1,800 for it. Now, I don't know just how involved you would be in the installation process and manner but, here's just a tad bit of advice for you. First, what I did was remove the factory, 10,000 lb. factory hitch/receiver. You don't even want to think about attaching that Hydralift to a factory hitch system. Second, while I won't go into ALL the details of my installation, unless you ask, I designed and created a system so that, if I wanted that lift off the back of the coach, for engine maintenance purposes etc., that lift could be completely removed in 6-8 minutes.

That included quick release hydraulic fittings and, a Weatherpack, three point, completely sealed electrical plug for the electric side of things. I'm one of those that's not lazy. If I wanted to do some minor rear engine or radiator maintenance, I had ZERO problems popping that lift off the back of that coach to make for waaaaaaaaaaay easier access to the rear of that coach.

Now, you asked about tongue weight while that lift is loaded. Well, based on one of the pictures below, you'll see the info plaque that is riveted to the Hydralift and spells it all out, in terms of loading specs. As you'll see, there is ZERO tongue weight allowed when the lift is loaded. Sorry. This is at least one reason we ALWAYS purchase FLAT TOWABLE vehicles. I've never been a fan of dollies, never will be. But, that's a personal choice.

So, I'm really, really sure you'd love the Hydralift. And, you can tow with a loaded lift. You just can't have any tongue weight. And that means, you may have to change vehicles to bring along, that's flat towable with a tow bar which, exhibits ZERO tongue weight. Good luck and let us know if you proceed with the project.
Scott

P.S. One more IMPORTANT point here. I did not WELD my Hydralift to the coach. I BOLTED it on. The prime reason for this is, if, at any point in the future, you either sell your coach or, decide that the Hydralift is not working out, you can simply UN BOLT IT, and re-install your original hitch/receiver. That thought process worked out flawlessly as we decided after quite a few thousand miles of happy Hydralift using, that we wanted to change our thoughts. Off came that lift and back on, was the original 10,000 hitch/receiver.

Bolting that Hydralift on was every bit as strong as welding it on. Not one issue ever manifested itself, due to bolting it on.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:23 AM   #4
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I don't think a tow dolly really has any tongue weight?
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:28 PM   #5
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My tow dolly has maybe 50 lbs of tongue weight. We have lifted it off while loaded.

If you were to move that car back, by extending the stops the tires hit, that weight could go to zero. I don't know what effect that would have on the ball and coupler, they always have some weight in them.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:25 PM   #6
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I'm another very happy Hydralift owner, been using it for 3 years now. I had it installed by Smitty's in Houston. All in I spent about $6200. They welded on some very substantial beams to my frame, which included a massive horizontal piece on the back that the Hydralift is bolted to.
We flat tow our toad, so don't have your issue. Before pulling the trigger on your Hydralift, you could look at some other options.

-A 'Tandem Tow Dolly':

The Carrier and Lift Store – motorcycle trailers

They sell units that handle 1 bike or 2 along with your dolly car. You're committed to a dolly right now, so this would be just a bit bigger to move around. I helped a guy with his in an rv park and it really wasn't bad.

-Change to a pickup truck for your toad. I know that's a big step but that opens you up to one of the hydraulic loaders such that you can easily put the Indian up in the box.

-Change over to flat towing, likely would mean trading the Nissan.

-Travel 'either/or', i.e. take the bike or take the car but not both on the same trip.

You could always get a good tongue weight on your loaded dolly and contact Hydralift to discuss it but it's pretty hard to say what goes on with the dynamic loading while braking, turning, taking bumps etc. It seems unlikely they would sign off on 'any' tongue weight.

When I went through all this it was obvious that there is no "perfect" solution. Of course, you live in Tennessee. That's where I haul my bikes to get onto some good roads, so you could just stay home and ride!!!!
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Sky View Post
I'm another very happy Hydralift owner, been using it for 3 years now. I had it installed by Smitty's in Houston. All in I spent about $6200. They welded on some very substantial beams to my frame, which included a massive horizontal piece on the back that the Hydralift is bolted to.
We flat tow our toad, so don't have your issue. Before pulling the trigger on your Hydralift, you could look at some other options.

-A 'Tandem Tow Dolly':

The Carrier and Lift Store Ė motorcycle trailers

They sell units that handle 1 bike or 2 along with your dolly car. You're committed to a dolly right now, so this would be just a bit bigger to move around. I helped a guy with his in an rv park and it really wasn't bad.

-Change to a pickup truck for your toad. I know that's a big step but that opens you up to one of the hydraulic loaders such that you can easily put the Indian up in the box.

-Change over to flat towing, likely would mean trading the Nissan.

-Travel 'either/or', i.e. take the bike or take the car but not both on the same trip.

You could always get a good tongue weight on your loaded dolly and contact Hydralift to discuss it but it's pretty hard to say what goes on with the dynamic loading while braking, turning, taking bumps etc. It seems unlikely they would sign off on 'any' tongue weight.

When I went through all this it was obvious that there is no "perfect" solution. Of course, you live in Tennessee. That's where I haul my bikes to get onto some good roads, so you could just stay home and ride!!!!

While we truly loved the Hydralift, and as stated, had zero issues using it an a toad, due to circumstances beyond my control, we changed to just what was suggested in red above. We sold the Hydralift, (really hated to see it go) and I purchased a Rampage lift/carrier and, I did the install. I did an almost exact same scenario with that Rampage as I did with the Hydralift. Only with the Rampage, it's a lot easier. I built a cart for that Rampage that allows for that Rampage to be rolled around, to and from the pickup bed. It takes oh, about 4 minutes to install it when we're gonna take the bike on a trip with us.
Then, upon return home, it takes about the same amount of time to remove that Rampage and the truck is now a truck again, in a matter of minutes. It's a trip loading that bike, an '08 Honda GL1800 Goldwing, about 900 lbs. I get audiences in campgrounds and RV parks all the time.
Scott
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses.

to everyone who took the time to respond. Iím going to try to contact Hydralift on Monday to hear what they have to say about it.

kdauto: We do love our toys

fireup: Nice pics. I might get back to you on your install. I too want to do a bolt on application. There are definitely some awesome rides in East TN. Iím glad you enjoy them. I know I do.

darksky: I have seen the Carrier and Lift website and am considering that option.

I too have lifted the loaded tow dolly off the draw bar. I would estimate it to be around 100#. Not a lot I wouldnít think but might be enough to make a difference on braking, speed bumps, etc... My tow dolly has electric brakes so I could dialup the boost to insure it would not be pushing on the lift but that does not solve the up and down movement.

Getting a flat towable or a pickup is definitely not an option. DW is dead set against both. She loves her Rogue and despiseís pickups. Have also thought about pulling a 24í enclosed trailer but DW is concerned about being able to find campgrounds big enough to handle 65+ feet of rig. We have already run into some issues with just our current setup.

Iíll post some more info after I talk to Hydralift.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:44 AM   #9
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UPDATE!!

Iíll post some more info after I talk to Hydralift.[/QUOTE]


I never did talk to Hydralift. I procrastinated long enough to go down a different path. One of the options I was considering was a Tandem TowHD Dolly. Some of you may already know these units are very difficult to find used at a decent price. New they run in the neighborhood of $6000. As luck would have it I ran into a fellow RV'er at a campground in Mississippi who was pulling a Tandem Tow HD with NO motorcycle. Turns out he sold his HD last year and didn't have a need for his Tandem Tow Dolly. Seeing how he still needed a regular tow dolly and I just happened to have a MasterTow behind my DP we were able to make a deal happen. I am a proud owner of a 2009 Tandem Tow HD. It needs a little TLC but I got a very good deal on it (less than $2000) and have the time & ability to fix it up when we get to Memphis this weekend.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:09 AM   #10
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Congrats on a great resolution! Looks like you saved a bundle and now you can enjoy riding your Indian while camping; brings a whole new dimension to a trip. I really like going out on day trips while based in the Rockies or the Black Hills. Enjoy!
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:29 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ChainSaw View Post
Iíll post some more info after I talk to Hydralift.

I never did talk to Hydralift. I procrastinated long enough to go down a different path. One of the options I was considering was a Tandem TowHD Dolly. Some of you may already know these units are very difficult to find used at a decent price. New they run in the neighborhood of $6000. As luck would have it I ran into a fellow RV'er at a campground in Mississippi who was pulling a Tandem Tow HD with NO motorcycle. Turns out he sold his HD last year and didn't have a need for his Tandem Tow Dolly. Seeing how he still needed a regular tow dolly and I just happened to have a MasterTow behind my DP we were able to make a deal happen. I am a proud owner of a 2009 Tandem Tow HD. It needs a little TLC but I got a very good deal on it (less than $2000) and have the time & ability to fix it up when we get to Memphis this weekend. [/QUOTE]

Hey Chainsaw,
It really doesn't matter how you do it but, bringing a motorcycle along with some form of vehicle, is to us, the ultimate. Be it a Hydralift, tandem tow dolly, enclosed trailer, flat bed trailer etc, as long as you have the option for different modes of transportation, especially if the weather cooperates, you're golden. Good luck and have a great time.
Scott
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