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Old 10-09-2020, 03:33 PM   #1
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Tow dolly straps

I am new to towing with a tow dolly and have some questions that you guys experienced with dolly towing can help me with.
I have a Tow Master dolly with electric brakes, works good with no towing issues. My concern is the Straps!! A lot of the time when I load the car (1998 Toyota Corolla) after I have the ratchet snugged down and check the rear flat hook end of the strap, it is loose!!! I make sure it is good and snug before ratcheting and the front, top, and sides are tight and the tires are dimpling. Then I recheck the back strap and it is loose, not even snug!!
I have spent an hour loosening and restraping the tires before I can get it tight. Then 30 -40 miles down the road I stop and check them and they are loose again!!!
HELP!!! What am I doing wrong or NOT doing?!?!?

All input appreciated
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Old 10-09-2020, 03:57 PM   #2
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Ratchet not ratcheting? Slipping backwards, in other words, letting the tension off? Apparently not a broken ratchet because you eventually get it tight. So would seem to be something you aren't doing consistently right.

Hard to guess what is or isn't happening. Maybe have somebody video your procedure and post it here for review by others?
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:10 PM   #3
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Your doing nothing wrong.

Tighten up the ratchets, at least one and a half turns of strap on the drum, as tight as you can, and then bang on them just above the ratchets. I use the wrench that came with mine. If you don't have a wrench, get a 2 ft long, 1inch pipe.
That shock will help pull the straps around the tires.

Once the slack is pulled foward, re-tighten them.

If that don't work for you, get in the car and drive foward, once the straps are on. That will pull the slack foward.

You will always need to re-tighten them once you make a right and left turn or two.

Drive around the block or campground and stop to re-tighten.

Are you strapping it down with the parking brake on ? Don't, that holds the car from pulling against the stops.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:06 PM   #4
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No parking brake on when tightening, But I got to thinking about something you said about driving the car forward... when I load the car I go forward until the tires are really pushing against the front stop. Maybe I should leave a little space and let the ratchet pull the tire up tight. seems that would put more tension on rear strap??? BTW, the straps I use are a single strap across tire with side straps and one side to side across tire. I have to use this type strap instead of a Basket strap to work on the small 14" tires on the Toyoto.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:21 PM   #5
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We all tend to drive on the dolly until we hit the lip at the front of the tire pan, and stop there. Then we set the parking brake or put the car in park, and put on the straps. The problem is the tires can't rotate as you ratchet down the strap, and the rear hook and that part of the strap stay loose while you tighten the loop around the tire.

Back off a bit from the front lips of the tire pans. Put on the straps and ratchet them down. Then take the car out of Park and/or release the parking brake. Ratchet the straps down tight. The wheels can turn now, and take up the slack in the back. Don't forget to re-set the brake and/or put it in Park.

The instructions could be better IMO.

HTH...
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2zon View Post
We all tend to drive on the dolly until we hit the lip at the front of the tire pan, and stop there. Then we set the parking brake or put the car in park, and put on the straps. The problem is the tires can't rotate as you ratchet down the strap, and the rear hook and that part of the strap stay loose while you tighten the loop around the tire.

Back off a bit from the front lips of the tire pans. Put on the straps and ratchet them down. Then take the car out of Park and/or release the parking brake. Ratchet the straps down tight. The wheels can turn now, and take up the slack in the back. Don't forget to re-set the brake and/or put it in Park.

The instructions could be better IMO.

HTH...
Great input, Thank you!!! This makes a lot of sense to me. I will try that when I load the car tomorrow.

I can't help questioning a previous statement about the straps loosening up after you make your first turn. If the straps are tight and the steering wheel is locked, the pan rotates in a turn not the wheels, so why would this have an effect on the straps loosening? Help me understand please.
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Motorhome View Post
Great input, Thank you!!! This makes a lot of sense to me. I will try that when I load the car tomorrow.

I can't help questioning a previous statement about the straps loosening up after you make your first turn. If the straps are tight and the steering wheel is locked, the pan rotates in a turn not the wheels, so why would this have an effect on the straps loosening? Help me understand please.
Everything "settles in" after a bit. We always stop after 15-30 minutes to retension them if necessary. Usually, one or both have lost some of their initial tension.

The important thing is now "why," but "what." They do loosen over the course of the first little while. My guess is that the straps slide over the rubber, the car shifts very slightly in the pan, the straps' weave rearranges itself a bit and they relax after their initial tensioning, and so on. The latter is more pronounced in the rain if the straps are dry when you put them on. I have rarely needed to do this more than once, but we check them at every stop.

Also, I no longer rely on the straps alone. After a bad experience, I added safety chains, which are (or were) optional on MT dollies.
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