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MikeMason

How To Select The Best Tow Dolly

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We're new motorhome owners....well, just starting our second year and we realize the need to tow a vehicle. We've just committed to a tow dolly as opposed to a tow bar because we traded a clunker in for a vehicle that can only be towed on a dolly. Therefore, we want to know if any of you can recommend the best brand/kind to purchase. We also appreciate any input on this topic.

Mike and Nancy

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We were much the same. Second year we began to tow and our car cannot be flat towed either. Having said that any car can be towed with modifications like a quik disconnect to the driveshaft,etc. But we went with a tow dolly as well made by Forest River. Cost is up aroud the $2500 mark. Comes with electric brakes and all lights. Of course then you need a brake controller installed on the motor home.

The tow dolly is easy to connect/disconnect and not heavy at all when moving by hand. Strapping the car onto the dolly is something that you have to gain some experience on. Keep the straps snug but not tight as the car does flex a bit on corners. Cornering is quite easy as the dolly follows directly behind in the same path as your motorhome.

P.S.

Should have mentioned that your car also has to be wired so that taillights work off the dolly-garage does that for you.

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We haven't been at it long either and started off towing with a dolly. I towed my 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan and never knew it was back there. My only problem, and I have never figured out why, when I unloaded the van to use it when we got to our destination or returned home, the power steering pump would make a noise for about 50 to 100 miles. Normally it was about to straighten out when I loaded it back up to bring it home. I've had it checked out and no one has been able to tell me why it did what it did. I towed it with the wheels locked by the key, I even tried towing it with the wheels unlocked trying to figure it out.

I tow a Jeep Liberty and have been for a couple of years. I enjoy flat towing much more than using a dolly but you have to do what's best for you.

I'm starting to explore upgrading the Liberty to something more comfortable for me to drive. Ethel loves it but I don't enjoy driving it to far. If someone needs a 2006 Liberty 4wh drive set up to tow with about 48,000 miles on it, let me know. It's nothing fancy. It has cloth seats, A/C, CD, P/W & locks, and all the other normal factory stuff. I'm a fanatic about maintenance and it's sitting on low mileage 30" tires. It's about a medium blue in color. I live in South Louisiana.

Good luck to you!

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Guest Wayne77590

Have you looked at the Remco product line for your "clunker?" They can provide drive shaft disconnects and lube pumps that just may fit your vehicle for four down. They will be able to tell you if it is capable of being towed with their equipment installed.

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When we first went full time we took Louise's car on a tow dolly from one end of the country to the other. After about 14 months of that, we bought a vehicle we could tow with four wheels on the road. If you watch the highways for toads, you'll see that there are very few tow dollies out there. Life is much simpler with a toad that rolls on all four.

Here are things I would recommend if you are going to tow with a dolly.

1) Try loading your car on a dolly before making a commitment to purchase. Our car couldn't be loaded because the front bumper was too close to the road and the ramps were too steep. Blue paint on the front bumper. We ended up carrying a number of blocks of wood to extend the ramps so we could get the car on the dolly.

2) Check the tire size and then go to Wal-Mart and other tire stores to find out how many carry that tire size. Trailer tires can be very difficult to find. We had to purchase a tire and wheel to get one when we had a flat tire. I never could find a tire company that stocked or could even order that size tire.

3) Install a tire pressure monitoring system on the tow dolly and your car so you can tell when you have a flat tire. We had a flat tire and didn't know it until a passing motorist flagged us down.

4) Look at the lights and wiring system. Are the lights sturdy? Is the wiring shielded from road debris and tires in the event of a flat tire? Are the lenses and bulbs easily replaceable?

5) How difficult will it be to get the braking system to work with your motor home? We had a surge brake on ours. It would compress the tongue of the tow dolly and apply the brakes. It required no additional wiring other than the lights. Unfortunately, the system proved to be quite fragile and broke several times. We finally took the tow dolly back to the factory. To their credit, they exchanged it for a new dolly which I immediately put up for sale. I recovered about 2/3 of the original purchase price.

6) We found the number of models available for examination very limited. Take your time shopping, try to see as many different dollies as you can before you decide. Search the RV magazines and the internet to find models and dealers.

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HI Mike;

I towed a 1993 Acura ( 3500#) for over 3.5K miles with a a Master T80 (850#) for a total of 4350# towing weight. I have since switched to a flat tow for a tracker using a blue ox.

You must remember your hitch need to be equal to or better in size to the total weight you are towing which includes the dolly and the toad. You will also need a brake system for the dolly and the sender for the RV.

I don't have a lot of experiences with other tow dollies. but the Master tow T80 with electric brakes did well for me.

what you need to look at is the weight of the toad (tow vechile) and what you are towing it with. but mostly the weight of the toad is very important in choosing a dolly.

You will also need a set of mag lights to put on the top/back of your toad. the lights on the dolly are not enough, you need a better lights for signaling and such. Also get a spare tire before you need one. and a tongue jack is helpful also in moving the dolly around.

Most RV parks don't like dollies because of the space for storing them is limited.

If you look on the internet you will find dealers for Master tow and other like road master.

If you are close to me i have my Master tow dolly up for sale. However, I do have several buyers looking .

Jim Moore

CAtawba, NC

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Please help us we purchased a used 2007 tow dolly that came from Northern Tool. We wanted to tow our new 2009 Toyota Matrix, but halfway up the the ramps the front end bottoms out. How can we overcome this problem? Is there an easy way out? The dolly is actually an acme eze tow dolly.

Gary

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Please help us we purchased a used 2007 tow dolly that came from Northern Tool. We wanted to tow our new 2009 Toyota Matrix, but halfway up the the ramps the front end bottoms out. How can we overcome this problem? Is there an easy way out? The dolly is actually an acme eze tow dolly.

Gary

Gary,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Have you tried putting 2"X6" boards over the lower part of the ramp (probably have to bolt them in place with wing nuts so they stay in place while you drive up)?

Depending on where you place them and how long they are, they will change your approach angle. And if 2" doesn't give you enough change, what about two of them?

Brett Wolfe

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Have used a Master Tow for a 2yrs. Have had good luck. Now I'm going to sell it and get a Demco Kar Kaddy SS. I have been using dollies for 20yrs and like the fact that I don't worry about trans coolers, brakes locking, and the Remco problems I have read on other forums. Have not had any problems with RV parks, however I like the Demco because of it's folding feature, no paint problems, surge brakes and it's simplicity.

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We use to use a Blue Ox tow bar but found that anytime we wanted to switch cars we had to buy different bracket which are car specific and very expensive. We switched to a Demco Car Dolly which is great. Very easy to load car on as they have built in ramps that tilt and it will accommodate almost any front wheel drive car without any modifications to your car. We have hauled everything from a Buick, Cadillac to a Saturn without any problems and these dollys are very lightweight so you can move them around by yourself. Things to know are to never try and back up with the car on the dolly, and buy a spare tire.

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Please help us we purchased a used 2007 tow dolly that came from Northern Tool. We wanted to tow our new 2009 Toyota Matrix, but halfway up the the ramps the front end bottoms out. How can we overcome this problem? Is there an easy way out? The dolly is actually an acme eze tow dolly.

Gary

Gary,

I missed your post. Brett has the solution. I can add that we did this for several years before giving up on it. We carried four 2 x 6 boards which we staggered so that the tires were going up 1.5" in steps to gain 3." For those who don't know, a 2 x 6 is actually 1.5" x 5.5." We would put two boards under each ramp and extending out far enough so nothing drags. We did not find it necessary to fasten the boards to the tow dolly, only to be sure everything was well lined up so we didn't run off the boards as we were pulling up onto the ramps. I'm glad I no longer have to drag around those dirty boards!

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Guest Wayne77590

I should have posted this with my original post.

Take a look at the Lynx Levelers that are plastic blocks that you can make a temporary ramp out of. Most RV stores carry them. I used them to ramp my MH up onto 2 x 10s in a my brother's driveway that had about an 8 inch drop. I carry two bags of them that I had left over from my 5er days. A lot lighter and less space than carrying boards around. Although I have some of those in the storage bin also (lol).

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If you have clearance issues loading a car on your dolly and dont have any blocks etc to adjust the angle, a temporary fix we used was to use the rear leveling jacks on the motorhome to raise the rear thus decreasing the angle of the dolly ramps allowing the car to clear while loading. For coaches without leveling jacks, you can put a bottle jack under the hitch to get the same results.

Hope this helps. Please note always check weight limits before using any jacks etc, and just plain common sense for safety.

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We haven't been at it long either and started off towing with a dolly. I towed my 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan and never knew it was back there. My only problem, and I have never figured out why, when I unloaded the van to use it when we got to our destination or returned home, the power steering pump would make a noise for about 50 to 100 miles. Normally it was about to straighten out when I loaded it back up to bring it home. I've had it checked out and no one has been able to tell me why it did what it did. I towed it with the wheels locked by the key, I even tried towing it with the wheels unlocked trying to figure it out.

I tow a Jeep Liberty and have been for a couple of years. I enjoy flat towing much more than using a dolly but you have to do what's best for you.

I'm starting to explore upgrading the Liberty to something more comfortable for me to drive. Ethel loves it but I don't enjoy driving it to far. If someone needs a 2006 Liberty 4wh drive set up to tow with about 48,000 miles on it, let me know. It's nothing fancy. It has cloth seats, A/C, CD, P/W & locks, and all the other normal factory stuff. I'm a fanatic about maintenance and it's sitting on low mileage 30" tires. It's about a medium blue in color. I live in South Louisiana.

Good luck to you!

I may have interest in your Jeep Liberty. What did you do for braking on the car, since brakes are required in most states and it reduces the stress on the RV brakes. We will be travelling from Indianapolis, IN to Austin, TX in late December. Not sure about your timing though.

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We have a 2010 Acura TSX and just bought a Kar Kaddy SS car dolly. It will not rust and has turning wheels. The dolly folds front and rear and takes up little space. The straps are fixed to the dolly so you can store them right on the dolly. It has surge brakes so the hook up is minimal. I do plan on getting a light bar for the trunk but it is not required. It does not weight much at all and is easy to move when empty. Google the Kar Kaddy SS and there are videos to show you the features. We look forward to many years of happy towing with this dolly.

I am even considering a lift on the back for a golf cart. No concerns on the angle of the ramps and they are auto locking!

Good luck in your decision! Travel safe!

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Please help us we purchased a used 2007 tow dolly that came from Northern Tool. We wanted to tow our new 2009 Toyota Matrix, but halfway up the the ramps the front end bottoms out. How can we overcome this problem? Is there an easy way out? The dolly is actually an acme eze tow dolly.

Gary

When I go only 150 miles from home I use my tow dolly with my Prius which gets me 47-55 mpg. I had the same problem so I made 2 x 6 ramps that extend the metal ramp by 26 inches and a 4x6 block where the two overlap. On longer trips I flat tow my Silverado 1500. I changed my surge brakes on the dolly to air over hydraulic for better control.

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I tow my Prius on a KarKaddy Car Dolly by Demco, I have had no problems with anything on it. I like the surge brakes for the simplicity of it (no hookup, just works). ;)

If something happens to the Prius I can get another car and tow it without modification if it is a "normal" front drive car or another Prius.

AND when I get where I am going I unload and I sight-see with the Prius that costs less to drive than my motorcycle!!

I have never had a problem from any RV Park concerning the Car Dolly, if I do I will just excuse myself and go elsewhere, in my MOTOR home, it moves!!

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Mike,

Did you ever decide on a dolly? Was wondering what you decided?

lgcallison,

Thanks for the post. Makes me feel good about our Kar Kaddy SS purchase. I have seen only good reviews. My wife and I have only used the Kar Kaddy SS to bring the car home from the dealer (2 hour drive). Covered it for the winter and remains covered with snow today. Hope to get a lot of use with it very soon.

Take care all and safe travels!

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