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Author Topic: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly  (Read 605 times)

OhioBill

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Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« on: January 23, 2018, 05:51:59 PM »
I have a 1993 Winnebago 35 ft Vectra diesel pusher with a engine retarder so supplement the braking ability. The RV has a 3500 lb trailer hitch and I plan to use a tow dolly to pull my 2015 Honda Civic. I know that the tow dolly should have brakes but I find most used tow dollies for sale do not have them. I have used a tow dolly with my Honda Odyssey to pull another car and found it very manageable without tow dolly brakes. Given my configuration, are brakes necessary on the tow dolly that I plan to use with the RV? I do understand it is desirable but 2 to 3 K for a tow dolly seems outline for what the item is.

Sun2Retire

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 06:30:05 PM »
Whether it is manageable or not, here is a chart which will tell you if you're legal without dolly brakes
Scott
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indiana journey

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 07:02:28 PM »
The "chart" is for trailers, not towed vehicles. Another way to sell something that is not required.
Most states have a regulation that states that your vehicle must be able to stop in a certain amount of feet when a vehicle is hitched to your motorhome, truck, whatever. Check with the State Police in the states that you plan to tow in.
Good Luck,
Indiana Journey

jubileee

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 01:42:57 AM »
  I have a tow dolly without brakes. I use a Brake Buddy when towing with it. I think the rear wheel braking of the towed vehicle is comparable to the surge brakes on the tow dolly I previously owned. ( it was stolen). I do have a modified ratcheting safety chain setup on the dolly so I can run the chains as tight as the straps, but thatís just me. Has nothing to do with braking.   
  Iíve pulled a car from Colorado to California and from Colorado to Houston behind a 1 ton pickup with my brakeless dolly and Brake Buddy with no problems. We usually 4 down behind MH, but occasionally will use tow dolly. Brake Buddy goes in towed vehicle either way.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 01:44:15 PM »
It's true that some states have different regs for a car-in-tow than a trailer. I'll not argue the wisdom of that, but it's a fact.

Furthermore, the chassis has a tow rating that usually specifies that whatever is towed have its own braking if above some minimal weight. The motorhome brakes are designed to stop the motorhome alone, i.e. the GVWR weight. A typical chassis spec will be anything towed in excess of 1500 lbs requires brakes.

Even simpler are the laws of physics. More weight means more momentum, and the greater the momentum, the longer the stopping distance will be unless the braking capacity is also increased. So, how much do you value the ability to stop maybe 20 or 30 feet sooner?   It's not valuable at all until the day when somebody stops quickly in front of you, or a deer jumps in front of you. Then it's nearly priceless.
Gary
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OhioBill

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 09:37:46 PM »
Thanks for the advice and replies. No one addressed the added braking capacity of the engine retarder, doesn't that help significantly?


RVRAC

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 10:07:50 PM »
From my personal experience, I would not want a dolly without some brakes.  If you look for a used one, you would not need to spend 2k or 3k.  Not even for a new one.
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 07:22:55 AM »
Thanks for the advice and replies. No one addressed the added braking capacity of the engine retarder, doesn't that help significantly?


That wonít do a thing for you in a panic stop
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, 970W Solar, Tri-Metric Battery monitor
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster toad braking system

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2018, 07:49:12 AM »
Quote
No one addressed the added braking capacity of the engine retarder, doesn't that help significantly?

No, not at all.  :(

The retarder is primarily a alternate or substitute for the coach service brakes rather than extra braking.  Basically it saves wear & tear on the brake shoes.  Yeah, they can both be used simultaneously, but if you push the service brakes hard, the wheels will already be slowing faster than the moderate slowing force supplied by the retarder can achieve.   Further, the total braking effect is limited by the traction of the coach tires on the road.  At some point, harder coach braking just produces a skid.   Brakes on the towed vehicle and or dolly wheels, on the other hand, provide additional braking force and additional tires in contact with the road.

The net is that the minimum distance to stop the coach isn't any less when you add a retarder or exhaust brake to a coach that was born without one.  Even if it did, that distance would still increase if you added more unbraked weight.  Brakes on a towed vehicle or trailer will always result in a shorter stopping distance.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 07:52:25 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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John From Detroit

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Re: Reality check for towing with a tow dolly
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 08:11:58 AM »
Regarding the engine retarder. NO, it makes no difference when you are deciding on brakes for the dolly.

When US-Gear says proper brakes on a towed (4 down) can shorten your stopping distance by XX% they are talking all wheel skid distance and in that condition the ENgine Retarder makes NO difference.

Michigan law. when last I read it, ahd to do with locked wheel stopping distances.
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