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Old 05-30-2021, 05:35 PM   #1
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My experiences with an American Tow Dolly

We purchased our new American Tow Dolly, last September 2020.

Here is the feedback, both pro and con.

First the pro. Gary, from the beginning, had always been available (or near available) both prior, during and post times. He travels an unbelievable amount of time, but he is sure to answer/return calls.
We do like how the dolly can be stored, beneath the back of our Class A. But it can be rather challenging depending on the terrain, distance to be pushed, and number of people necessary to push, which is usually one, but quite often 2 people.

As for the tow dolly itself. Well, that's another story.

During the 9 months and 6.000 miles of travel, we have struggled with loading our 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid onto the dolly. There are several reasons for that.

First of all, we were newbies to toading. Secondly, our car has a very low ground clearance, which caused lower body scrapping and denting. We resolved that by adding large wood planks. We placed the large planks, on top of the sharp metal ramps. Problem solved. However, the weight of the ramps and wood planking are quite heavy and cumbersome.
Another issue is loading the tow dolly by yourself. Once we are on the ramps, our car does not allow you to open the car door enough to examine your final approach.
In addition, the supposed placement for the ramps, on the tow dolly itself, did not work for our low-hanging front end. We had to give up valuable space, in either the car itself or under carriage bins of our Class A.

We chewed up our first set of tire webbings on both wheels. Being a novices didn't help the situation. We had to purchase our second set of webbings at less than 3000 miles. Even now, we seem to quickly devour our webbings.

At about 5,000 miles, one of our dolly tires was terribly worn. We called Gary and his initial thought was that the dolly cam was incorrectly set, which caused excessive wear on the tire. We thought we might be able to switch tire positions for further use, but no so. We wound up purchasing 2 new tires.

Gary's instructions, both written and oral, did not work in securing our steering wheel properly. As a result, we encountered some front rocker panel damage, on both sides of the toad vehicle. We finally figured out our specific needs to strapping down the steering wheel. Once again, our learning curve was rather sharp.

In hind sight, I wish that I had all necessary equipment, including the trailer hitch, at the time of delivery. It certainly would have made for less newbie mistakes.

My final thoughts are saved for those RVers that are older and/or in less than good physical shape. The physical activity required to carry and place the ramps, load the tow vehicle and strap the vehicle down takes some manual dexterity and energy.
As for us, at some time in the future, we will be looking to tow 4 down.
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:25 PM   #2
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Yep - I had an American Tow Dolly and can tell you it isn't a bad dolly. The problems I encountered were more related to towing with a dolly than so much this specific dolly.

We did chew through one set of tire webs but found a different set that didn't attach at the same place and they worked great. Yes our Accord had some badges on it from loading and unloading.

I seemed to strain my back every time we used the dolly. A few days of ibuprofen and I was fine but it is cumbersome to pull around a 440 pound dolly.

Dolly's are wide. That adds to the stress of driving.

That said towing 4 down isn't perfect. There is also quite a list of things to remember. Many vehicles cant do it. However, I do prefer it.

Gary at American Tow Dolly was great to work with. They are good entry level dollies and with proper care can last a long time.

Personally, I dont like the 65mph speed limit on the ST tires on many dollies. When I tow 4 down I figure if my truck could safely do it by itself then the tires must be able to do it being towed.
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:38 PM   #3
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First, I don't know if you Hyundai Hybrid cannot be towed four wheels down? Is that why you went with a tow dolly? I have a Ford Fusion Hybrid and it is actually a recommended 4 down towable. Didn't buy it for that reason, just liked the car. Nice bonus as my coach came with a Blue Ox tow bar. So I have to put the baseplate and wiring in, plus a brake system. I've been quoted $1200.

How does your tow dolly brake? And does the owners manual say you can tow with rear wheels on the ground? My Fusion says either four down or all off the ground. Something to do with the regenerative brakeing.

I have never heard of the brand of dolly you have. I am a firm believer in Demco. A new Demco with surge brakes is about $1500. There are no ramps. You pull a pin and drive on. Then lock the pin. The steering wheel is locked. The Demco has a pivot plate that takes care of the turning.

Sorry you had so much trouble with the one you have, but if it is causing damage and is hard to handle, might be time to cut your losses, sell and buy something that is easier to handle.

I can unhook my Blue Ox, the tow bar folds on the back of the coach and the wiring just unhooks and goes in the trunk. 5 minute job to hook or unhook.
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Old 05-31-2021, 05:40 PM   #4
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Follow up on my Hyundai Ioniq and American Tow Dolly

My Hyundai is front wheel drive and therefore can't be towed 4 down.
As far as actual towing goes, I found the American Tow Dolly quite easy to navigate. My initial post had to do more with us being newbies and the drawbacks that we incurred either as a result of our "newness" or the cons to the American Tow Dolly.
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Old 02-18-2022, 06:24 PM   #5
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American car dolly

I have had an ACD for about 7 years now. Prior to, I had a Master. The ACD is a tuff dolly, I am not gentle. Like all dolly's there will be issues. First, it is heavy, moving it around was a workout. Then I got smart. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 4 inch steel swivel caster. Now my wife and I can puch it around easily. Why steel? Because we tow a small, low, sporty car so we had to lower the hitch to gain clearance. Unfortunately, if a drive has a steep apron we tend to drag, the wheel helps. The removable ramps " were great". Unfortunately there are now somewhere in West Virginia when they came off the dolly where they were mounted. Picked up aluminum ones, a little longer, made loading the car easier, added a storage problem. The brake system worked well except for moisture. Probably living in Florida is an issue, humidity. The electronics were a rusted less after a few years. The biggest problem is the fenders, nice strong steal fenders. In New York I had to swerve in an area under construction when another rig fish- tailed into my lane, blowout and the ruined tire and cement wall bent the fender. Just recently had another blowout on the other side, fender and light destroyed. Now I need to replace both fenders. They are welded on. My Master dolly had plastic fenders, they just shatter into pieces but are only 50 apiece and bolt on.
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