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Old 01-16-2021, 07:43 PM   #1
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Never towed a car... Can you help?

Hi guys, I've never towed a vehicle and have now decided to do so and will need a tow dolly. I'm not doing 4 down so let us please not give conversation in that direction.

From what I've read I know I want one with a surge brake and the drive up ramps to be perminantly attached to the dolly. My question is, is there a dolly that is actually easier to hook up the car than others?

The videos I've watched, and I've certainly not seen all, all look about the same as far as strapping the front wheels etc. Any thoughts I'd be happy to hear.

Thanks
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:02 PM   #2
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They are all about the same. Tilt the ramps, drive up and the ramps pick back up. Then you pin them up and start strapping the tires down.

Most dollys come with safety chains that they recommend you connect to something underneath. I use vinyl coated safety cables thru the wheels and clipped to a link I installed. That's so I don't need to crawl under.

The cables are a backup if both straps come off, something I have never encountered.

If you wrap the straps correctly and tight, they don't fall off.

I have been dolly towing for 6 years with 3 different cars. We load the car up in about 5 minutes.

I have a StehlTow. Surge, disk brakes.
Its a carbon copy of the MasterTow.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:21 PM   #3
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Hi twinboat, Iíve been looking at the StehlTow. Surge dolly. Iíve always liked the Stehl products and there dolly is one of the more reasonable priced out there.

Your being happy with it is a good endorsement as far as Iím concerned and believe Iíll go that direction.

Thanks twinboat
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:53 PM   #4
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We used our Stehl for our first season. about 7 k miles. Shifted to four down second season. started having issues about keeping the dolly at some of the sites we camped on. No issues with dolly, just took a bit more time in the morning to get set up than our four down rig up.


Driving it feels about the same.
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Old 01-17-2021, 06:43 AM   #5
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I don't have any experience with a tow dolly but if I were looking, I would take in consideration how a specific model is in terms of ease of moving around by hand and amount of storage room needed when not in use. Then, when making reservations, add the appropriate footage to the minimum campsite when ordering. As an example, my rig is 33' long, and if I had a dolly that require about 4' of storage area, I'd always try to book a site that would accommodate a 37' site.
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:03 AM   #6
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We towed with a dolly for the first year, about 4,000 mi. They all are about the same as far as loading. I do prefer the basket style straps but that is just me. We tow 4 down since getting a jeep in 2015. Dolly storage at the campgrounds was not a huge issue for us but it does exist.
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:25 AM   #7
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I call the CGs and ask about dolly storage and never had a problem sticking it under the back end of my 30 ft MH.

I did install a caster wheel ( like a shopping cart ) just behind the hitch.

That way, I drop it off the ball and it becomes a 3 wheeler. The DW and I each push a fender to put it where we want it.

I even pushed it under the front axle a few times at short Federal CGs. They have that " no tires on grass " policy and curb stops at the back of the paved spot.
I had a 13 ft overhang with my old MH, so I backed in until my rear tires hit the stop and put the dolly in front, saving space.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
They are all about the same. Tilt the ramps, drive up and the ramps pick back up. Then you pin them up and start strapping the tires down.

Most dollys come with safety chains that they recommend you connect to something underneath. I use vinyl coated safety cables thru the wheels and clipped to a link I installed. That's so I don't need to crawl under.

The cables are a backup if both straps come off, something I have never encountered.

If you wrap the straps correctly and tight, they don't fall off.

I have been dolly towing for 6 years with 3 different cars. We load the car up in about 5 minutes.

I have a StehlTow. Surge, disk brakes.
Its a carbon copy of the MasterTow.
We have the MasterTow, and though the Stehl looks very similar, I would take it over the MasterTow now. Fenders are much more substantial on the Stehl, and I would greatly prefer the ratchets on the Stehl over my Mastertow. The handles of the Mastertow ratchets sometimes get caught on the air dams under our RAV4 up front. And the leverage isn't enough for my wife. On the Stehl she could just use a longer lever

I've never had any issues finding a place to park the dolly either. I also added a wheel up front and usually just push it to the back of the site and back the RV over it.

We bought what we could find on short notice when the one we ordered didn't show up right before a trip, so we wound up with electric brakes. They work, but I think I'd prefer surge.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:36 AM   #9
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Hey guys, can one of you post a picture of the wheel you added up front. And does the StehlTow stand up for ease of storage in garage?
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I call the CGs and ask about dolly storage and never had a problem sticking it under the back end of my 30 ft MH.

I did install a caster wheel ( like a shopping cart ) just behind the hitch.

That way, I drop it off the ball and it becomes a 3 wheeler.
Yup, did the same. $30 for a pivoting one at Tractor Supply. Get the biggest diameter tire you can so it goes over rough ground easier.

My dolly stuck out two feet when shoved under the back of the motorhome.

Ray
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:47 AM   #11
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Hey guys, can one of you post a picture of the wheel you added up front. And does the StehlTow stand up for ease of storage in garage?
This is the one I added. it works well on paved surfaces, not so well on gravel, soft, or uneven surfaces. Like NXR said, get a big wheel. I got the jack at Northern Tool and used a jack so my wife, who goes camping with her 84-year-old mom, can get it on and off more easily.

I also put a trailer hitch on the RAV4 so she could use it to move it if she wants.

And no, the Mastertow and Stehl do not stand up for storage.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:02 AM   #12
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I bought the caster wheel that had a wide enough bolt pattern to U bolt it under the tongue. 3 inchs, maybe. Got it all a Tractor supply.

The tongue jack sticks up and wouldn't slide under the rear axle.

My dolly is under my RV now but I'll see if I can get a picture of the caster wheel.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
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Not a great picture but its under the MH.

I remember cutting off the V shaped do it on the bottom. It would drag in the grass.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-17-2021, 04:28 PM   #14
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I've got the Kar Kaddy SS. It seemed to check all the boxes I needed; it's all galvanized, has a folding tongue and ramps for shorter storage (33"?), the hitch is a drop-on auto-lock type with a wheeled jack. The wheel bed is steerable when loaded and has a pin lock for empty towing. The wheels are chromed and they tires are rated for the load. It has heavy plastic fenders for no scratch on the towed vehicle and LED lights. It's a little pricey but there are used ones around.
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