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Old 08-16-2021, 11:40 AM   #1
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Tow Dolly - how precise to align?

We are relatively new to towing our SUV on a dolly. FWIW, we have an EZ Tow dolly but I think my question may apply to all brands. From the instructions that came with the dolly they said it is important to 1) have both tires ending up flush with the plate at the front of the dolly and 2) have the car be centered on the dolly (i.e., the car tires being equidistant from the dolly sides.)



We are having significant difficulty meeting these two requirements. Sometimes we manage to be perfectly square with the front plate but have one side of the car twice as far from the dolly side as the other. Other times it is the reverse of this with the car properly centered but one wheel a couple of inches shy of the front plate while the other touches. Of course sometimes both parameters are off. This whole process can take close to an hour to accomplish.



The question I have is how precise must these objectives be met? Are we being too anal? The bottom line is that we are seriously considering selling the dolly and the car and buying a car that can be flat towed. BTW, we already try to get the RV, dolly and car perfectly straight before we even start to load.
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Old 08-16-2021, 11:48 AM   #2
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Get it sort of centered and then turn the steering wheel to get both tires close to the stops.

The straps will pull the tires foward and they move about on EZtow dollys anyway. Just make them tight.
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Old 08-16-2021, 12:04 PM   #3
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If you plan to RV and bring a toad often, then certainly flat towing is the best experience overall. With your current setup, there are two types of tow dollies, those that pivot which requires the steering wheel to be locked, and those that don't pivot which requires the steering wheel to be unlocked. I believe the EZ Tow doesn't have a pivot plate and requires the steering wheel to be unlocked. With that in mind, the wider your toad is the more concerning it is that the toad be centered as if you are very off center, then the side closest to the wheel will (can) cause damage to the side of the toad when in a sharp turn in that direction. You want to be centered within a couple of inches so you have roughly an equal tuning radius in either direction. If you haven't already, I would have a spotter to watch and see how tight of a turn you can safely make.

I would suggest this, if you are centered but one tire is not up against the stop yet, then go ahead and strap down and then pull forward straight about 20' (or just head to the campground exit slowly then stop before exiting the campground) and you will see that both tires are now up against the stop, then further tighten both straps and you should be good to go. ~CA
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Old 08-17-2021, 07:55 AM   #4
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Interesting notion of initially only strapping down the one side that is against the stop. While it seems counterintuitive, it may be worth a try. Have you successfully done this?
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Old 08-17-2021, 08:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageNomad View Post
Interesting notion of initially only strapping down the one side that is against the stop. While it seems counterintuitive, it may be worth a try. Have you successfully done this?

I have, although I went ahead with strapping both straps, just that the one side that was not against the stop has to be re-tightened more than the other side. ~CA
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Old 08-17-2021, 08:25 AM   #6
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Right. I just drive up as straight and centered as I can, strap it. Drive a little bit, even a few hundred feet is enough, like to make at least one turn or two and then retighten. It is always going to need that second retightening anyway.

And youíll get where you can drive it up and hit it more nearly right every time after you use it a few times. I load from drive up to full strap down and light check in 15-20 minutes working slowly and methodically.

Learn from my mistakes: 1) donít let anyone talk to you or interrupt you while you do this. 2) stay focused. Failing to follow this iron-clad principle will mean you will drive off without latching the hitch and it will come off, or similar will happen. I speak from experience. You wonít drive far before it happens. When mine came unhitched the only damage was the breakaway cable was broken and had to be replaced. Iíve also unloaded without unhooking the toad light wiring. STAY FOCUSED! 3) ALWAYS USE SECONDARY CABLES OR TIE DOWNS on the car. At some point, even though you do everything right, those straps will come lose and you will thank God you had secondary cables in place.
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Old 08-17-2021, 12:34 PM   #7
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In addition to what Marvin stated and to mention one of my mistakes, I was dolly towing my Sonic which has relatively small tires (common for all small cars) and when I strapped it down, and even re-tightened it first after a few hundred feet and again and the next stop for fuel, I had an excess of strap that I had carefully tied into multiple knots to keep it from flapping and what had happened is that the knots untied in the wind and the dolly ran over the loose strap end and broke the strap (just on one wheel). I was able to purchase and use a temporary 6" wide strap from Tractor supply (best I could find in a hurry) but I learned two things, don't have any loose strapping and second, have spare straps just in case. ~CA
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