DBenoit

Tow Dolly Brakes

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DBenoit   

I am looking for opinions on what brakes work best on a tow dolly. I see the options as: no brakes, electric brakes and surge brakes. No brakes in not one of my options.

I like the surge brakes because I wouldn't have to hook up a controller and I have it on my boat trailer.

Seems that the cost is a little higher for that option and is a little harder to come by locally.

Thoughts?

Thanks, David

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David,

Our Roadmaster tow dolly has electric brakes.  Although we haven't used it in years we never had problems with it and was simple to operate.

I've had surge brakes on other trailers and the only downfall I see with those is that when going downhill the brakes would sometimes engage when I didn't want them to.  During those times I could feel the trailer "tugging" me.

I agree:  no brakes is not an option!

Blake

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Acme tow dolly can be ordered with surge brakes. Also surge brakes are pretty easy to install, can be ordered at several ebay sites including Walmart. I use surge brakes because of the ease of hooking up to the dolly with them on it.

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To overcome the problems with surge brakes I removed the surge master cylinder and installed a solid coupler on the tongue.  I installed an air over hydraulic master cylinder, operated by the air brakes on the coach through the air relay.  They worked too good so I had to put a pressure regulator at the connector to reduce the braking force.

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DBenoit   

I just purchased a used "Stehl" (like new) with surge brakes, let's see how it goes. Thanks to all that replied.

David

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The only caution is to watch where you are in the lane as the dolly will track outside the track of the coach. You can be in the nice smooth lane and the dolly is running on the rumble strip. You also need to be aware when turning as the same applies. I saw a guy drag his car and dolly through a ditch because he turned to close to the edge.

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Bill

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rickkey2   

DBenoit

Unless something is bent or out of alignment your dolly should track straight. I have the Acme Tow Dolly with the surge disc brakes and have had no issues with tracking. I cannot see my toad in my mirrors so I keep my camera on full time to see what is going on back there while underway, I can see the fenders of the dolly in my mirrors and it stays right in the center behind the coach. As far as turning , yes the trailer ( dolly and toad ) will take a shorter path then the coach as with all things that are towed . You need to be aware of this and compensate for this by swinging wide and even into the oncoming lane if needed. We use a dolly because we lease our cars and cannot setup to tow four wheels down but most likely would because the dolly is a bit of a P.I.T.A. but once you get a routine down pat it's not that bad. Also I never noticed any break issues on downhill grades with exhaust break on and in the proper gear but my toads are small and light ( 2014 Chevy Equinox and 2017 Chevy Cruze ) but I can see it being a factor if more weight being towed. I think the Acme Tow Dolly is rated for max curb weight of under 5000 lbs and max front  axle weight of 3000 lbs. Good Luck be safeB)

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10 hours ago, rickkey2 said:

DBenoit

Unless something is bent or out of alignment your dolly should track straight. I have the Acme Tow Dolly with the surge disc brakes and have had no issues with tracking. I cannot see my toad in my mirrors so I keep my camera on full time to see what is going on back there while underway, I can see the fenders of the dolly in my mirrors and it stays right in the center behind the coach. As far as turning , yes the trailer ( dolly and toad ) will take a shorter path then the coach as with all things that are towed . You need to be aware of this and compensate for this by swinging wide and even into the oncoming lane if needed. We use a dolly because we lease our cars and cannot setup to tow four wheels down but most likely would because the dolly is a bit of a P.I.T.A. but once you get a routine down pat it's not that bad. Also I never noticed any break issues on downhill grades with exhaust break on and in the proper gear but my toads are small and light ( 2014 Chevy Equinox and 2017 Chevy Cruze ) but I can see it being a factor if more weight being towed. I think the Acme Tow Dolly is rated for max curb weight of under 5000 lbs and max front  axle weight of 3000 lbs. Good Luck be safeB)

What I was talking about is the wheel track of the dolly is wider than the wheel track of your coach. It will run on the edge of the road when the coach is in the travel lane.

Bill

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Bill, met another RV'er in one park that installed  the hitch 16 inches off center towards driver side just so he could see his tow in the left mirror. I would not recommend this to anyone, but he swore that he would not have any other way, also he said that it kept the dolly off the edge of the road, asked about traffic on drivers side, his answer was that was their problem.:ph34r:

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manholt   

Kay.  That's pathetic, one more that should not be allowed out to play! :angry:  Wonder how often he gets a Air Horn blast from a 18 wheeler? 

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I just  brought it up so the OP would at least be aware of the fact the dolly wheel track will be wider than the RV wheel track. You can see the dolly wheels in the back up camera and get a feel where you need to be in your lane. This gets especially important when going through construction where they use Jersey style barriers.

Bill

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rickkey2   

Bill I understand what you are saying and agree if the coach is less than 102 inches wide the dolly will have a wider track. On my Charleston the coach is 102 inches wide and my dolly is 102 inches wide and my hitch is in the middle at 51 inches. I think that the law is 102 inches wide and any wider needs oversize ( wide load ) permit. But as you said you need to be aware of where the dolly is in relation to the coach. Now the guy that offset his hitch 16 inches to the drivers side is ( NUTS ) first off why go through the BS of fabricating the hitch for an offset when all you need to do is get a rear camera? If I did that on my coach I would be 118 inches wide . Again ( NUTS ) When I tow my boat the trailer is 102 inches wide but my P/U is maybe 80 and I need to watch because sometimes my trailer wheels are very close to the curb or the center line.

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rickkey2   

Bill you are right the outside of the coach is 102 and the outside of the duells  is about 98 and that makes sense because when I deflate the air bags the tires go up inside the wheel well and you cannot put your hand up in between  the tire and the fender. So yes the dolly track is wider but it is not wider than the coach, so if the dolly is on the rumble strips the side of the coach is also. But as you said and I agree you need to be aware of where and what the dolly is doing at all times. 

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On 5/9/2017 at 4:44 AM, WILDEBILL308 said:

The only caution is to watch where you are in the lane as the dolly will track outside the track of the coach. You can be in the nice smooth lane and the dolly is running on the rumble strip. You also need to be aware when turning as the same applies. I saw a guy drag his car and dolly through a ditch because he turned to close to the edge.

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Bill

As far a turning it makes a difference how far the pivot point is from the rear axle.  The longer it is the wider the turning radius of the dolly.  I had to lengthen my pivot point to prevent the bumper of my Silverado from touching my bumper on the motorhome.  I found that the additional length made the truck have a wider radius.

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I have a Chrysler Sebring 2004 automatic trans, I need a tow dolly. I just don't know if I need brakes on the dolly. I need suggestions and advise as to what I need to buy to tow this car safely behind my RV. 2001 Fleetwood Storm class A

Sharon

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I would recommend brakes of your choosing, but never no brakes. Some states allow 3000 down, some 2000 down, and some 1500 down, Canada requires brakes on anything towed. Also safety demands that you need brakes on anything towed, this is the main reason for my recommendation. Welcome to the forum.

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wolfe10   

Sharon,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

There two answers:

Legal answer-- each state has its own requirements in terms of how much a toad can weigh before you have to have brakes on it.

The mechanical answer-- no coach was designed to stop itself AND a 3000+ toad.

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8 hours ago, SharonLinda said:

I have a Chrysler Sebring 2004 automatic trans, I need a tow dolly. I just don't know if I need brakes on the dolly. I need suggestions and advise as to what I need to buy to tow this car safely behind my RV. 2001 Fleetwood Storm class A

Sharon

Sharon, welcome to the forum. I used a Acme tow dolly for a couple of years to tow a Honda Civic. I had the disk brakes and was happy to have them several times. If you decide to use a dolly I can give you some tips.

https://cartowdolly.com/

Bill

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