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New To Tow Dollies, Don't Understand?


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#1 Ultratravler

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:57 AM

Forgive my ignorance, but I don't understand why some would say you can pull a vehicle 4 down, but can't be pulled on a tow dolly.

I am looking at pulling my 07 4by4 chevy pickup on a tow dolly.

Anyone know why it shouldn't work?

Thanks
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#2 Guest_BillAdams_*

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:40 AM

While it should work, the question would be "why on Earth"? The dolly adds unnecessary weight and complication. Could you clarify why you would want to do this?

#3 lmsooter

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

I am not sure I have seen this scenario but I have seen statements about not being able to tow 4 down but towing on a dolly. My question would be why you would want to use a dolly. Most states require licensing of dollys, you have an extra axle with associated tires to maintain, you have to find somewhere to store it when you are not using it either at home or a campground. Regardless, I don't know of any reason why you could not do it with your Chevy.
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#4 gmoreno

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 02:16 PM

I would tow 4 down. Check the link below to see if your 4x4 can in fact be towed 4 down. Also, consult your vehicle owners manual.

http://www.fmca.com/...home/towing/204 -- must sign in as an FMCA member.
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#5 mikerogan

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:43 PM

I have a 2008 Ford Edge Limited AWD, It has to be towed all 4 down or all 4 up. The reason being is because of the transmission and gear box would be damaged with just 2 wheels turning while being towed.
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#6 hermanmullins

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:21 PM

Ultartravler.

Welcome to the Forum.

Some time I agree with Bill, (Not often but sometimes) This time I agree whith Bill. With a 2007 Chevrolet 4X4 pickup you have the idea vehicle. You have 4 wheel drive, which means all you have to do is hook you truck to your M/H and put your truck in 4wheel drive neutral. To do this you set your parking brake, turn on the key but do not start your engine. Put your gear shift lever into neutral, put you foot and hold down the brake pedal. At the same time hold down the 2Hi and I beleive its the 4 Hi (Bottom Button). When your truck goes into 4 wheel neutral a Red light will come on. Put you shifter in Park, turn off the key and remove it and release the Parking Brake. As far as your truck is concerned you are ready to go. 5 minutes tops. Your truck doesn't have a locking pin in the steering wheel so you don't need to leave the key on.

You will still have to put your truck into 4 wheel neutral to pull it on a dolly.

Tow Bar $600.00. Base plates $400.00 (if you install them yourself) Secure connection to your coach. Tow Dolly $1,500.00 Min. Tow dolly extra weight. When your park you have to have a place to store the Dolly. Tires have to be strapped down on Dolly. My bet is for 4 wheels down, No Dolly.
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#7 Koliver

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:37 PM

Should work just fine. And you won't need to buy a brakng system for the PU, as the dolly brakes will suffice.
I had the same issue, and needed to get one vehicle home (1500 miles) never to tow it again, so didn't want the expense of the gear for flat towing, or the rental of a dolly or trailer, only to have to spend for the other vihicle.
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#8 Ultratravler

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:57 PM

The reason for the tow dolly option is because we have a trike and want to load that on the front of the dolly. Thanks for all the info.
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#9 vtbigdog

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:52 PM

Herman,

You are forgetting the cost of the supplemental braking system. This puts the cost over the cost of a tow dolly. And with the tow dolly you can tow different vehicles.
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#10 Guest_BillAdams_*

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:15 PM

Ah, now a dual towing dolly is very different than just wanting to tow a car/truck. You might want to clarify what you what/need to do so you could get some more accurate feedback. Would the trike fit in the bed of the P/U? If so, this is still likely a better solution. If not, then you may have no choice and others opinions will likely have no bearing.

#11 akadeadeye

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:32 PM

While it should work, the question would be "why on Earth"? The dolly adds unnecessary weight and complication. Could you clarify why you would want to do this?

Hello Bill,

Are you saying a dolly is unnecessary under any condittions?

Don
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#12 redbeelips

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 06:56 PM

One thing that many people don't take into consideration when flat-towing is whether or not the frame of the car is constructed to withstand the constant pull and push (as the car pushes against the tow bar when braking). I towed my 2000 VW for more than 50,000 miles without incident until I had two incidents within a few months of each other. The frame pulled apart and away from the car. The first time it happened I thought that it was due to someone leaving off a bolt during a scheduled maintenance earlier that same month. I was alerted to a near tragedy by a passing motorist as we traveled along I-70 in Lincoln, NE. With the help of a couple of bungie cords holding up the front end, I drove to a nearby mechanic who replaced the missing bolts that held on the front of the car to the frame. Then the unthinkable happened again a few months later. The front end of the car frame pulled away from the rest of the car and was dragging the ground. There was only one bolt holding the corner of the driver's side front end to the frame. This time it happened on I-95 in Laurel, MD. The car was totaled by the insurance company after they examined the damage. They told me that the car was not meant to be flat towed because the frame of the car was not rated for towing. Many people feel that if they have a car with manual transmission or if Blue Ox has a tow bar for their car (Blue Ox assured me that my VW could be safely towed), then they can tow it. Check the tow rating for your frame. I will no longer flat tow our vehicle. It is just too risky. I am getting a tow dolly that stores underneath the rear of the mortorhome when we park.

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#13 gwa1225

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:31 PM

Here's my two cents on dolly-towing. FWiW, I have about 50k miles of dolly-towing behind two Tiffin pushers since 2006, most on a Stehl and more recently on an Acme w/surge brakes. I also have several hundred miles (only) of towing 4-down.

Which is easier? Four-down, hands down. Quicker to hook and unhook, no strapping down, etc etc. So why isn't that the end of the story? For most, it is; for me, it's not, for the following reasons:

1) Expense: first, you have to own or get a vehicle that can be flat-towed, and then spend $1.5-2.5k for tow gear, braking and lighting. You then can tow that vehicle, period. When you want or need to change or add tow'ds, you get to spend those equipments costs (or most of them) again. Dolly: $1500 for an Acme (the best, in my opinion, but that's another subject) with lifetime sealed hubs and disc surge brakes that work very well indeed, plus $30-50 for regular or LED magnetic lights.

2) Flexibility: now that you have a dolly, what can you tow? Any front-wheel-drive car, minivan or small SUV and most stick-shift RWD vehicles (plus many of the same pickups or SUVs you could flat-tow). I have four cars at the moment: an Avalon, a Solara convertible, a Chevy Venture minivan, and a '72 BMW Bavaria. I can -- and have - towed each of them, depending on the mission profile of the trip. Whatever vehicle I may buy next, my cost to adapt it for towing will be zero.

3) Resale: there will be no "de-equipping" of any vehicle I want to sell. Nor has there been any wear & tear on the towd powertrain.

But, you say, loading/strapping/unstrapping is a hassle and a dirty job. Generally it is, though you get better at it. The dolly is hard to store, you say. I've never had a problem with that, especially not with the Acme, which uses removable ramps and thus is very short; I shove it in under the rear of the coach up to its fenders when needed and it adds exactly two feet to my 40ft coach thus stowed. I do the same thing in the storage yard; I just back right over it.

I'm not saying dolly-towing is right for you; it may not be. But many of those who dismiss it out of hand haven't thought it thru, let alone tried it. I have done both, and have no plans to switch to flat towing. YMMV.
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#14 tombrendafalls

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

I agree, sometimes people think that 4 down is the only way. That's good but not the only way, for some a dolly is better. The best thing I see about a dolly is that you are not tied to one vehicle, it gives you other options. Even though 4 down is certainly easier in most cases.
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#15 45acp

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:34 PM

I have used a Roadmaster 2000 behind different MH's and pulled a Honda CRV, Toyota Prius and a 1980 full sized Blazer with large tires. I think that reason enough but it is not that difficult to load and unload. Also it does not need to be registered with the state. No license or title. It has its own brakes and the wheels turn/pivot to provide the correct tuning radius to follow the MH. We got off the beaten path in Vermont and had to turn around in a very tight barn yard. I don't know the turning radius but I had the Prius at a 90 degree angle to the MH and managed not to unhook. Just my 2 cents. Bill
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#16 Koliver

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:01 PM

Some states and provinces require registration and licensing of a tow dolly. I had to license in BC when I got my tow dolly (Roadmaster 2000) home from CA, where it had no license. No big deal, just one more to keep track of.
As for maneuverability, I have only once been stuck where I had to unhook. That was "pilot error" and easily corrected. Like towing 4 down, when you back up, the dolly wheels will turn the way that is most inconvenient, after about 4 feet. If you can do a number of short back and forth, before the dolly wheels get sideways on you, you can get out of most situations without unhooking.
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#17 Dublinvet

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:46 AM

Early on in my travels with motorhome I decided that the best for towing is a tow dolly. We have brakes on the Tow Master Dolly, no need to license the dolly, and no expense to add brackets, brakes etc to tow vehicle. We also can change tow vehicles without any additional cost. The weight of the dolly is really minimal and with our 2400# car we don't even know the dolly is behind us. We can hook up and strap down our car 2 minutes slower than our friends with 4 down equipment so it really isn't much less convenient. This is ideal for us.


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#18 Ultratravler

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for all the replys guy's. I picked up a used tandem tow dolly. We plan on towing our trike and either a pickup or jeep. It may be a little more work, but for what we plan on doing it seems to be the best way to go. Thanks again.
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#19 Tireman9

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Interesting reading.
We have a small Class-C and get 10.5 mpg on gas. We do not full time. My car is a 2010 Hyundai Elantra auto so it is not good for 4 down and I only have 15k on it so selling really isn't an option. I have no space problems at home so storage of the dolly is no issue. In the past I raced a Camaro and had a 26' enclosed trailer so tying down a car to a dolly should be a non-issue for me. I think a dolly is the right choice for my situation. -


Questions:
Surge brakes or electric on the dolly. My experience is with electric and I like being able to apply trailer brakes manually in certain situations.
I am guessing a 1 or 2 mpg hit on overall fuel economy. Does this sound reasonable?
I note the brands mentioned - Tow Master, Roadmaster and Acme and have heard of Remco will Google them to see what my options are. Other brands you might recommend?

Thanks in advance for your comments and ideas.
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#20 desertdeals69

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 01:50 PM

I believe that with a tow dolly you will still have to toad brakes because I think in Canada and maybe some states all axles have to have brakes.
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