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Considering a Dolly, Would Like Opinions/Experiences


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#1 DeWat

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:48 PM

Hello all. 

 

I am considering a dolly for my '13 Winnebago Vista 35B.  Please do not turn this into a dinghy -vs- dolly, because I am set on a dolly... at least for the next couple years.  The other thing that I am set on is that I want electric brakes because that is what is recommended by the manual (direct from the Vista 35B/F manual, "We do not recommend the usage of a “surgestyle” braking device"). 

 

So now with that out of the way... not trying to sound harsh, I'm just set on an electric brake dolly for now... here's where I'm soliciting opinions/experiences.  I have pretty much narrowed my search-research down to either a Master Tow 80THD-EB or a RoadMaster 2000-1.  The biggest differences that I see are that the Master Tow has a steering carrying pan, and that the RoadMaster has steerable wheels.  The only other known "big" difference is that the RoadMaster is twice the cost of the Master Tow.  The hardest part for me to understand is what makes the RoadMaster "worth" or should I say cost twice the price of the Master Tow? 

 

Can anyone comment on either of these models...  **or**... maybe another model electric brake tow dolly that I may have missed. 

 

Thanks to all.


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#2 Duanelin

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

I have towed a 2009 Impala over 5000 miles on my Master tow dolly with no problems. we have had it about 22 Months. It has electric brakes. I would reccomend it.

 

 

Duane

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#3 Xplorer

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

I Used the Master Tow 80 w/elect brakes for 3 years with 2 different vehicles. Replaced the tires once. Never used the spare that I bought for it.  Nary a problem.
 
Tires can last 7-10k miles.  I discussed w/ factory rep when I visited them in Fayetteville, normal to go through tires, no shocks, ect on the dolly.   They are very helpful.  I accidentally pulled wires out of plug, called them and they walked me through rewiring.  Excellent customer service.
 
If I ever went back to a Dolly, I would not hesitate going with a Master Tow.  At the time, best price available with electric brakes.
 
When I sold it, put a good price on it, and it went the first day.  Fellow drove 300 miles to pick it up.

I was able to load and unload the auto w/o any help or guidance. It worked for me at the time. Now it's 4 down, and as I got older, it is easier. But, when you're young and full of P&V, what the heck, a dolly of whatever mold will always work.


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#4 desertdeals69

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:21 PM

Hello all. 

 

I am considering a dolly for my '13 Winnebago Vista 35B.  Please do not turn this into a dinghy -vs- dolly, because I am set on a dolly... at least for the next couple years.  The other thing that I am set on is that I want electric brakes because that is what is recommended by the manual (direct from the Vista 35B/F manual, "We do not recommend the usage of a “surgestyle” braking device"). 

 

So now with that out of the way... not trying to sound harsh, I'm just set on an electric brake dolly for now... here's where I'm soliciting opinions/experiences.  I have pretty much narrowed my search-research down to either a Master Tow 80THD-EB or a RoadMaster 2000-1.  The biggest differences that I see are that the Master Tow has a steering carrying pan, and that the RoadMaster has steerable wheels.  The only other known "big" difference is that the RoadMaster is twice the cost of the Master Tow.  The hardest part for me to understand is what makes the RoadMaster "worth" or should I say cost twice the price of the Master Tow? 

 

Can anyone comment on either of these models...  **or**... maybe another model electric brake tow dolly that I may have missed. 

 

Thanks to all.

I was wondering why you are for a tow dolly.


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#5 DeWat

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:56 AM

Thanks to all thus far.  Does the Master Tow present any possible dolly to car contact on tight turns (never used a dolly before)?


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#6 AndyShane

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

We opted for the Roadmaster dolly, I've got mixed feelings.

 

After the first year of use, I've come to some conclusions.

 

Foremost, I feel that the OEM tires are dangerous, not appropriate to the dolly.

 

Carlisle has settled with me after two catastrophic failures that have destroyed fenders each time; the blowouts join thousands of others in online reports, I've debriefed the NHTSA.

 

To their credit, Carlisle paid me for the lost tires and damage to the dolly.

 

Honestly, I think the solution might lie in opting for a higher load range tire -- that is what the tire professionals seem to believe -- since the Load Range C is asked to support a considerable portion of its allowable load.   The tires are rated to carry 3,520 lbs and the dolly itself weighs 620 lbs, and you can haul a 4,380 lb vehicle on the dolly.  If 2/3 of the weight is focused on the front axle, as if the norm for front wheel drive, my math shows you've arrived within 10 lbs of the tires' load limit.  Legal, but not smart.  So far, my new Karrier Loadstars have stood up to the challenge, but it is my plan to put beefier tires on the dolly, for peace of mind.

 

Roadmaster said they were looking into the tire problem.  But, I believe they are still distributing dollies with the Carlisle tires, which reportedly (and by my experience) blow out before reaching 3,000 miles.  Google the topic for yourselves.  You'll be horrified.

 

There is too much play in the steering of the dolly as designed, making it impossible to precisely align.  After noting abnormal wear in my new Loadstars' tread, I added washers beneath the balljoint to stabilize the steering, allowing me to align to factory specs.  

 

Otherwise, it is an impressive and strong dolly.   I certainly prefer the flexibility of dolly use, and it is ultimately cheaper.

 

 

Hello all. 

 

I am considering a dolly for my '13 Winnebago Vista 35B.  Please do not turn this into a dinghy -vs- dolly, because I am set on a dolly...   


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Defected from iRV2 in March 2012 after that forum suffered an outbreak of political bullying; once again contributing there as RVNeophytes2 effective Feb 6, 2013.


#7 Xplorer

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

Thanks to all thus far.  Does the Master Tow present any possible dolly to car contact on tight turns (never used a dolly before)?

Mine didn't

 

I made some pretty tight turns, but carefully with DW watching closely.  And never back up. Although on one occasion I backed it up very, very carefully a few feet, on the straight and narrow, without ill effects.


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#8 DeWat

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

WOW!!!  So far, it sure doesn't look like there's reason to pay double for the RoadMaster when the Master Tow does not appear to lack anything functionally that the RoadMaster has.  However, as an FYI according to the two different manuals, the Master Tow only comes with ST205/75D 14 LRC or ST205/75R 15 LRC tires while the RoadMaster comes with a larger ST215/75R 14 tire.  With that in mind, I would think the tires of the RoadMaster should be better than the tires on the Master Tow unless you're experiencing some type of alignment issue(s).  But again, I really do not have ANY knowledge on dollies, and have truly appreciated ALL of the help!

 

 

We opted for the Roadmaster dolly, I've got mixed feelings.

 

After the first year of use, I've come to some conclusions.

 

Foremost, I feel that the OEM tires are dangerous, not appropriate to the dolly.

 

...

 

Honestly, I think the solution might lie in opting for a higher load range tire -- that is what the tire professionals seem to believe -- since the Load Range C is asked to support a considerable portion of its allowable load.  

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#9 akadeadeye

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:30 PM

Thanks to all thus far.  Does the Master Tow present any possible dolly to car contact on tight turns (never used a dolly before)?

That depends on how wide your toad vehicle is.  Our Master Tow 80HD has served us well.  We did replace tires with radials after about 10,000 miles.  We tow two different vehicles which is why we opted for a dolly.  One of the vehicles is wider than the other and on sharp turns there is tow dolly fender to car contact ever so slightly.  There are rub marks on the car and one of the tow dolly fenders has cracked but I don't know if that is due to contact or normal vibration wear and tear.

 

Don


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#10 DeWat

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:30 AM

Sorry for reviving an old thread, but this is completely related.  Well, I'm now settled and ready to get the Master Tow with electric brakes.  While I have driven motorhomes with toads attached, that was always for others and I was never involved in the prep.  So what will I need to go with the dolly for my very own dolly toad (the dolly is a given)? 

 

Here's what I know that I need:
- 2" ball to go into hitch (this might need to have a drop due to the height of my rear end)
- safety chains
- tire straps
- electric brake controller


My Vista already has the 5,000 pound rated hitch with a 500 pound rated tongue weight, and a 7-pin connector that came with the round large bullet looking thingy with the two ears to the side at the end (cable connector for 7-pin plug).  Am I missing anything else?  I'm hoping to pick this dolly up next week, and since I'll be bringing it back empty, I'm not too worried about learning on the run as I bring it back. 

 

As always, thanks to all.


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#11 desertdeals69

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:37 AM

Sorry for reviving an old thread, but this is completely related.  Well, I'm now settled and ready to get the Master Tow with electric brakes.  While I have driven motorhomes with toads attached, that was always for others and I was never involved in the prep.  So what will I need to go with the dolly for my very own dolly toad (the dolly is a given)? 

 

Here's what I know that I need:
- 2" ball to go into hitch (this might need to have a drop due to the height of my rear end)
- safety chains
- tire straps
- electric brake controller


My Vista already has the 5,000 pound rated hitch with a 500 pound rated tongue weight, and a 7-pin connector that came with the round large bullet looking thingy with the two ears to the side at the end (cable connector for 7-pin plug).  Am I missing anything else?  I'm hoping to pick this dolly up next week, and since I'll be bringing it back empty, I'm not too worried about learning on the run as I bring it back. 

 

As always, thanks to all.

I hope you don't have far to go because the dolly will jump like a jack rabbit because of no suspension and no weight on it.


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#12 Xplorer

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:53 PM

Sorry for reviving an old thread, but this is completely related.  Well, I'm now settled and ready to get the Master Tow with electric brakes.  While I have driven motorhomes with toads attached, that was always for others and I was never involved in the prep.  So what will I need to go with the dolly for my very own dolly toad (the dolly is a given)? 

 

Here's what I know that I need:
- 2" ball to go into hitch (this might need to have a drop due to the height of my rear end)
- safety chains
- tire straps
- electric brake controller


My Vista already has the 5,000 pound rated hitch with a 500 pound rated tongue weight, and a 7-pin connector that came with the round large bullet looking thingy with the two ears to the side at the end (cable connector for 7-pin plug).  Am I missing anything else?  I'm hoping to pick this dolly up next week, and since I'll be bringing it back empty, I'm not too worried about learning on the run as I bring it back. 

 

As always, thanks to all.

I would recommend spare tire strap(s).  They can and do wear.  

I felt comfortable having a spare tire and rim locked to the tongue of the Dolly.  Just for my own piece of mind.  The cost was negligible considering if I ever needed it.  I didn't, but it was there, and I knew it was there if I did.

 

Like a previous post, dollies tow better with weight on them.  Slow down and you should be ok, jmho.  

 

Good Luck.


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#13 DeWat

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:02 PM

Thanks again to all.  I knew about the bouncy bouncy issue of towing an empty dolly, and have heard about folk who drop their air pressure to try to absorb some of the bounce.  I just want to make sure that when I arrive to pick up the dolly, that I will at least have enough knowledge to bring it back home where I can learn more.  I did read on another forum about a caution that I had not thought about, but makes a whole lot of since.  Keep an eye on the ball hardware to ensure that it does not vibrate loose, and possibly off from the bouncing dolly while returning home!  Again, thanks to all.


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#14 rvman1677

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:14 PM

You should look at the EZE tow dolly. It is the only one with surge disk brakes. Only weights 400 lbs and cost only 1799.00 plus 250 shipping. The other ones will be a lot more. I have a 35 ft motor home and it stores complete under the back of the rig. Very easy load and unload. Check it out at http://cartowdolly.com/.


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#15 mvpmich

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 09:16 PM

Thanks again to all.  I knew about the bouncy bouncy issue of towing an empty dolly, and have heard about folk who drop their air pressure to try to absorb some of the bounce.  I just want to make sure that when I arrive to pick up the dolly, that I will at least have enough knowledge to bring it back home where I can learn more.  I did read on another forum about a caution that I had not thought about, but makes a whole lot of since.  Keep an eye on the ball hardware to ensure that it does not vibrate loose, and possibly off from the bouncing dolly while returning home!  Again, thanks to all.


I have a Master Tow and the owners manual states that the tire pressure should be reduced from 50 lbs to 10 lbs when there is no vehicle as the fenders could be damaged as a result of excessive bounce. As a side note I am totally pleased with my master tow which had upgraded tires, LED lighting, extra safety chains and a breakaway switch. I have surge brakes but I don't know why electric brakes wouldn't work like remote brakes on a toad and do the same job. I highly recommend the upgrades noted above.
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#16 Koliver

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

I know that I am entering this discussion late. but here are my 2 cents worth.  I bought a Roadmaster 2000-1 used.  I paid 1500 for it, including the new tires that it needed ( the tires were old and cracked, having been left out in the desert sun for its whole life of 9 years.  They looked like a blowout waiting for a lonely road).

I love it.  I sit and watch guys load their 4 down, dollies, trailers, and I know now that it takes no more effort to load than anything else, done properly.  I have two very different cars that I take along, a Volvo XC90 and a Volvo S70.  Very different weights, width, and drivelines.  The XC90 requires a power wire to the battery, as the transmission won't do neutral without the ignition on, so will take some power to avoid battery drain.  I added that wire to the hitch plug.  I did have a tire problem, set out in detail on another thread.  I blame the balancing shop, as I believe the weights came off, and led to loss of that tire after 10000 miles.  There wasn't much wear.

I have learned to back up.  It isn't pretty, but I can now back and get turned in a cul-de-sac that would have had me doing a disconnect last year.  You just have to grit your teeth and go for it.  I wouldn't dream of trying it with a car on 4 down, but the geometry of the dolly permits pushing it without anything coming in contact where it shouldn't.

As for the comparison with other dollys, I note that most others have a centre pivot and the one I have has steerable wheels.  There also seems to be a weight capacity difference between the two types, the center bolt style being lighter weight.  I don't know how the other kind steers, but I do know that mine steers perfectly well.  No contact between the fenders and the car, provided you pay attention when loading and get the car properly centred.  One feature I don't have but would like, is removable ramps, as I use the BC Ferries, where every foot of length costs, and when I have taken the dolly empty, I have had to pay for that extra ramp length.  Also for stowing under the overhanging end of the MH in some CGs, it would be nice to remove the protrusion.
The only downside that can't be reconciled is at certain CGs there are unbendable rules prohibiting stowing the dolly at your site, so a monthly charge for off site storage is levied.  I have been at two CGs so far that have done this, at one $100 a month, the other $45.  You guys that tow 4 down win on that point.
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