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Author Topic: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?  (Read 3621 times)

fred1845

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Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:54:36 PM »
Hi.Trying to decide which method is better .We have a 2006 Mustang which Ford says cant be flat towed,and A 2015 Traverse .If we flat tow Traverse it will put miles on it,which I don't really want to do if I'm not driving it.That eliminates the tow bar which everyone says is easier to hitch and unhitch.If I go with the dolly do they all come with brakes?Do I need additional safety straps in addition to wheel straps?Or just wheel strap?What do you guys do with the dolly after you are in the camp site?Some of the campsites don't look like there big enough for a car +  dolly .We tried renting a car last time,but that wound up being expensive.Would use car for eating out,shopping,sightseeing,etc .Thanks for any suggestion you may have.

LarsMac

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 12:25:18 AM »
Dollies can be bought with, or without brakes, but most states require some braking mechanism, so if you get a dolly, probably should go with one with brakes.

Dollies also can add significant weight load to your towing package. And, as you mentioned, they do create some adventures with some campgrounds.

From all of my research, I plan to stay with vehicles that can be flat-towed.

This site has a lot of good info on Dollies.
https://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com/rv-tow-dolly/




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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 03:17:17 AM »
I don't know of any vehicle putting miles on the odometer while being towed on 4 wheels. Is the Traverse different?
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
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2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2016, 07:26:38 AM »
Your Traverse is 4-down towable as is, and your Mustang could be towed 4-down with a drive shaft disconnect installed. As said, most modern vehicles do not add mileage to the odometer when in tow.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

fred1845

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2016, 09:22:28 AM »
As far as I know it is a stock Traverse.I haven't done anything to it.I'm 73 so disconnecting the drive shaft isn't a option for me .Do I need to do anything special to Traverse to not add miles on  it?I said adding miles because thats what 'people' told us about flat towing.I have no idea about it .

rockman

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2016, 10:07:59 AM »
You definitely want brakes on any dolly. Many states require them and just for stopping safety and potential liability. We have an Acme EZ Tow dolly that came with surge disc brakes.  You will have the tire straps and safety chains to hook from the car to the dolly.  In addition, in most states, you will need another set of brake lights to put on the back of your car unless the ones on the cars activate with your dolly brakes.  We bought a set of magnetic lights for the toad which are amber on the front and red on the back. This allows me to verify they are working because I can see the amber in my backup camera.  Towing 4 down is more convenient and quicker to hook/unhook, but more expensive than a dolly and with a dolly you aren't stuck with only one car that you take.  If you decide on the dolly route, check the length of the ramps that you load with.  Some that have attached ramps have a very steep angle of attack making loading impossible for a low profile car.  Our EZ Tow has removable ramps that are fairly long so we can load our PT Cruiser.  The air dam does scrape though . . .  Our dolly is light enough I could roll it around by hand and pretty much stash it under the back of the MH.  We only boondock on land we own so not a problem.  They come with a brake lockout so after you unload, you can back up with it attached.  It is pretty twitchy but you can do it.  With the toad on it you can back up a little if you are in a straight line and watch the camera like a hawk!
Nick, Marian & our 3 fur babies
(make that 5, now have 2 kitties that go with us)
1995 Thor Residency 36M
460 Ford w/Banks Exhaust System
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 12:28:19 PM »
As far as I know it is a stock Traverse.I haven't done anything to it.I'm 73 so disconnecting the drive shaft isn't a option for me .Do I need to do anything special to Traverse to not add miles on  it?I said adding miles because thats what 'people' told us about flat towing.I have no idea about it .

There are mechanical drive shaft disconnects that can be operated from the driver's seat that could be fitted to your Mustang. The Traverse needs nothing added to keep the odometer from recording mileage. Since the advent of all the electronic sensors in cars, the old mechanical cable driven speed/odometers have been extremely rare. Modern setups need the ignition on before the computer can add mileage. Oh, and I'm 73 as well, and while I'm still capable of disconnecting a drive shaft, I'd much prefer to just sit in the driver's sear and operate a cable release if the Mustang was my choice of toad. ;)
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 02:27:57 PM »
Quote
If we flat tow Traverse it will put miles on it,which I don't really want to do if I'm not driving it.

Don't know where you got that info, but it is incorrect. The Traverse doesn't accrue miles, at least not if you follow the tow instruction in the owner manual. And if you don't follow the instructions, mileage is the least of your concerns, since you will soon need a new transmission as well.

We have towed An Acadia, a sister to the Traverse, for over 50k miles without a blip.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

grashley

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 06:44:06 PM »
SUMMARY:

You can tow the Traverse 4 down.   You will need a base plate to connect to your tow bar.  You will need brakes.  You will need lights on the tow.  Ready Brute is a tow bar AND brake system in one package and is fairly simple to connect.

The Mustang can not be towed either 4 down or on a dolly unless it has a drive shaft disconnect.

Neither car will accumulate mileage while being towed.  Both would accumulate tire wear.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
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It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2016, 07:37:18 PM »
As far as I know it is a stock Traverse.I haven't done anything to it.I'm 73 so disconnecting the drive shaft isn't a option for me .Do I need to do anything special to Traverse to not add miles on  it?I said adding miles because thats what 'people' told us about flat towing.I have no idea about it .
Fred, Stop listening to people who don't know what they are talking about.
The Traverse WILL NOT ADD MILES WHEN FLAT TOWED. ;)
Flat towing is much easier on a 73 year old than loading and unloading a dolly.
Happy New Year.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

fred1845

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 08:02:38 AM »
Like I said,I was asking questions since I am new at this.Disconnecting drive shaft make sense since Mustang in a rear wheel drive. I'm assuming installation for tow bar needs to be done by a professional .How do you hook up lights on tow vehicle?This is a tougher decision then I thought .

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2017, 08:53:10 AM »
Fred, I use Blue Ox towbar and baseplate and I installed their led bulbs so I had a separate system not tied into my Honda wiring. I didn't want any questions if a warranty issue came up.The common practise is to tie into the car's wiring for the brake and tail lights.
 http://blueox.com/products/
Just so you know, you don't need to crawl under your Mustang everytime you want to conect or disconect the driveshaft.
http://www.remcodsc.com/driveShaft.php
Yes if you arn't mechanically inclined  and in shape to do the work you will need to take it to someone to install the baseplate and the wiring harness. You don't need extra lights on the back of your car, use the stock lights or add bulbs to the existing lights.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2017, 09:06:15 AM »
Adding a driveshaft disconnect will cost well over $1000 and you still need all the other stuff (base plates, tow bar, braking and lighting).

There are several alternative for stop/turn/tail lights and the details can vary depending on how the car itself is wired. The three basic chocies are:
1. Splice wires from the coach system to existing car bulb fixtures
2. Add additional & independent bulbs to the existing fixtures and wire to them to the coach system
3. Externally mount independent, portable lights, e.g. magnetic base light fixtures

#1 can be complex on newer vehicles with digital-control multiplex lighting systems. Have to make sure the wires from the coach are spliced into the actual bulb power feeds and not the control lines. Diodes are also usually needed to prevent current backflow. There are kits available for this that include instructions, though, and a handyman type can do it himself.
There may also be a requirement to mate incompatible light systems, i.e. either coach or car may have  separate stop & turn signals or integrated ones. There are adapter kits available to handle the various combinations of that as well, so the only complexity is identifying what you have.

A handy person can mount the base plates too. It's just basic wrench-work, but on most newer cars involves removing a lot of fascia to get at the vehicle frame. Most people hire a hitch shop, though.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2017, 06:08:52 PM »
I suggest you go to a place that sells Tow Dolly's and ask them if you can push one around their parking lot three times. Do that while it is dark and raining. If they have some crushed gravel road surface push it over that too while you are at it.

Then go and find a place that will install all the necessary equipment to flat tow your Traverse. Have it all installed and be on your way.

I'm 72...you couldn't pay me to use a dolly. 
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2017, 09:46:26 AM »
Arch is right - moving an empty dolly around is a PITA (I'm a reasonably fit 72 as well). We used one last year to move our car just twice, to our summer campsite and then back home again. Had to get help to move the empty dolly on anything other than level pavement. It's awkward for one person, even with a wheel added to the tongue. No comparison to the insignificant physical effort for a 4-down tow rig.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2017, 02:51:08 PM »
Look around you can probbabley find a used "brake buddy" of similar devise and a used towbar. I would use a new baseplate.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

scottydl

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2017, 02:57:38 PM »
Make sure your RV is capable of towing the Traverse, weight wise... it's a pretty heavy SUV (I have a new-to-me 2013).  Also I am wondering if the AWD version has any additional limitation for 4-down towing, so check into that as well if yours is AWD over the stock FWD.

I always like the versatility and portability of using a tow dolly (when we had our motorhome), and getting down on the ground for strapping/connecting didn't bother me.  Plus I did not want to spend the additional money on setting up a single vehicle for 4-down towing.  But I was in my early 30's when I was using our dolly, which I'm guessing is a little different than doing the same in your early 70's.  ;) 
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 03:43:35 PM »
I'll say the same thing about a brake buddy.  Go get one, get on your hands and knees and attach it to the brake pedal and then plug it in. Do that at night while it is raining. 

What happens is you tend to not hook it up because of the hassle.

So go buy a good  brake system that is permanently installed and out of sight.

2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

NY_Dutch

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 04:39:05 PM »
Make sure your RV is capable of towing the Traverse, weight wise... it's a pretty heavy SUV (I have a new-to-me 2013).  Also I am wondering if the AWD version has any additional limitation for 4-down towing, so check into that as well if yours is AWD over the stock FWD.

Both versions of the Traverse are 4-down towable as is according to the Remco towing site.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

gwcowgill

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 04:57:20 PM »
You can get magnetic lights that use the trailor plug on the rear of your motor home for your lights if you don't want to do a permanent install at a fairly reasonable cost. BTW, I am 75 and have towed with a dolly and 4 down and would never go back to a dolly.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 04:59:10 PM by gwcowgill »
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
2014 Honda CRV Toad,
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Toad

Sailorkane

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2017, 08:22:59 AM »
I don't see the 2015 Traverse on the Ford official guide to flat towing.  I would trust the Ford guide before the Remco.  I also don't see it on the FMHC guide for 2015.  But I may have missed it.  Check out the Ford guide:  http://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/.
If you are 73, do not dolly tow.  Its a pain. 
2003 Winnebago Journey DL 39WD, Freightliner, Cat 3126E 330HP.  Diesel Pusher.

scottydl

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2017, 08:24:57 AM »
I don't see the 2015 Traverse on the Ford official guide to flat towing.

That's because the Traverse is a Chevrolet.  ;)

Ford's equivalent is the new Explorer.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

John From Detroit

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2017, 08:58:40 AM »
Without discussing specific models I will tell of the 4 ways to tow

1: Unmodified (Save for brakes and tow bar) 4-down
2: Modified 4 down
3: Dolly
4: Full auto trailer, open or enclosed

Advantages and disadvantages
1: Cheapest way to tow, also the easiest, however limited towed vehicle selection
2: More expensive but a greater selection of vehicles to tow.
Remco Towing USA sells the hardware needed to modify, so their web site is rather good at advising.. My current towed has a lube pump to circulate transmission fluid even when Engine is not running, my old towed had an "Axle Lock" Some take a "Drive Shaft Disconnect" the last two items disconnect the drive wheels from the tranny, only the differnetial still operates.. This is also an anti-theft device cause without power to the wheels the car thief is going to have a bit of trouble with his get-away.

Dolly: About the same as "Modified" price wise, longer list of towable vehicles. since all the above cars can be dollied for the msot part (Some have to be towed backwards)

Disadvantages: Stowing it when parked,  Added weight.. harder to load than a simple tow bar hookup.

Full trailer.. Some cars need special prep for trailering (Usually turning a switch off and on depending on if it's on the trailer or the road) but that's about all.

Disadvantages: Same as dolly but bigger. (Harder to stow, more weight)

Have towed by all the above.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

fred1845

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2017, 10:51:37 PM »
Hi all.Thanks for your input.Decided to go with a tow bar.Got a manual shift Saturn(cheap one) to tow.since 'people'said it was best way to tow.Went to U-Haul and got them to install everything.Now just waiting for parts to  come in.Has anyone towed a Saturn,if so is it good car to tow?Not that it matters now .Looking on internet connecting tow bar looked pretty easy .Do I need a brake   in addition to other stuff?Thanaaks .

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2017, 11:16:11 PM »
Thanks for updating us. Saturn is a great car to tow.

Yes, you need to add a brake system to the Saturn.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

Sailorkane

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2017, 03:44:08 PM »
Kewl.  We have been towing a Saturn for a while.  Which model did you get?  We have an '03 L300 automatic and its excellent.  It is too heavy to tow without a brake of some kind.  We use an invisibrake and love it.
2003 Winnebago Journey DL 39WD, Freightliner, Cat 3126E 330HP.  Diesel Pusher.

fred1845

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2017, 07:59:37 AM »
it a Saturn 2007 Ion.So I do need a brake system with it.what if I didn't have one on it?Bad to tow w/0 it?Are they expensive?Hard to install,or need professional installation?Great,another expense.Thinking I should have gone with wifes idea of just getting bigger trailer to tow,we had a 16 foot but I thought was to small.To late now.

John From Detroit

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2017, 08:58:10 AM »
Do you need a brake system.. Three answers:

Many people tow without,,, Most police won't check.  However "Most" =not= ALL.

Second: laws vary from state to state, in one state the law saysd 1500 pounds and up, another says 4,000 pounds and up need brakes... Even if you never develop a sudden radiator leak (Rear end someone) they say you need brakes... YOUR State rules in this, even if you are in a lower weight state.. BUT read on

US Gear says that a proper aux brake system such as their Unified Brake Decelerator (WHich by the way is one of the best) can reduce your panic stop distance as much as 30%.. Personally I think that is a bit...er.. Optimistic .. but even if it's 10%

On clear dry Reference pavement at 60 MPH you skid about 198 feet.. with all wheels locked, sure how ABS affects this (it does but I'm not sure which way)

10 percent is 19.8 feet.. Might as well call it 20...   One full car length.

The proper distance to follow the car in front of you is the distance you travel in.. Depending on who you ask,, on dry pavement, 2,3, or 4 seconds. (I usually say 2, but practice 3 or try to or more) you travel about 1.1 foot for every MPH before you hit the brakes. (if you are an average person) Bit less if you are a teen or a coffee-holic, bit more if an alcoholic.

So if you rear end me while towing... I AM going to check for an aux brake system,,, and given US-Gear's 30% comment. I will do my very best to confince a judge that by not having aux brakes you were reckless.   And I will mention a number.. A very LARGE number. and ask for compensation.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

NY_Dutch

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2017, 12:22:07 PM »
John left out the most important law that supports the need for an auxiliary brake activation system. The laws of physics tell us that extra 3-4,000 lbs pushing on the back of your RV will cause it to take longer to stop than without it. A properly adjust auxiliary brake system reduces that push to a few hundred lbs at most, restoring normal stopping distances. The extra distance needed without such a system may only increase your stopping distance a small amount, but if that distance is the difference between hitting someone/something or not...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

irishtom29

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Re: Tow Dolly or towed vehicle ?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2017, 03:04:46 PM »
Theoretically if the combined weight of the tow vehicle and towed vehicle don't exceed the tow vehicle's GVWR then the tow vehicle's brakes alone should give adequate braking performence. This situation could exist with a big diesel coach with lots of payload---some claim over 10,000 pounds of payload. Were I towing something like a Smart Car, Ford Fiesta or Fiat 500 behind such a coach I wouldn't worry about braking performence.

 

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