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RVing message boards => Towing and towables => Topic started by: sharpe on April 13, 2017, 07:18:48 PM

Title: tow dolly
Post by: sharpe on April 13, 2017, 07:18:48 PM
I need to purchase a tow dolly and Iam trying to decide what braking type; surge or electric brakes . I'am looking for advice on which system is better. I'am towing a KIA Soul. My motorhome has a electric brake controller already installed. Thanks Greg 
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Hfx_Cdn on April 13, 2017, 08:02:28 PM
    Although the surge brake system would work well, if you have a brake controller there is no doubt it is a better system.

Ed
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on April 14, 2017, 09:09:08 AM
Agree with Ed.  Modern electric brake controllers control the brakes in a more sophisticated manner than a surge system. On the other hand, a dolly rarely requires much finesse in braking.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: malexander on April 14, 2017, 07:24:21 PM
I've using a tow dolly (Kar Kaddy SS) with surge brakes, for 20 years. Never had a problem. Never had to "adjust" it either. ;D We pull/tow a 2014 Honda CRV.

Matter of fact, my boat trailer has a surge brake on it. The only problem with this trailer, is I have to put a "block" in the master cylinder of the trailer if I need to push it uphill. There's actually a hole in the hitch mechanism to put a bar so you can push it.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: steve407 on April 14, 2017, 09:24:04 PM
Before I went flat tow with my GMC Terrain, I towed a Lincoln MKZ on an Acme EZtow dolly with surge. It worked great and I had no problems. It might depend on how heavy a toad you have, though.  Maybe something really heavy needs electric?

Steve

PS - My guesses generally have no merit, but i can't stop my fingers from typing!
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on April 15, 2017, 10:07:24 AM
There are a few situations where surge brakes can "surge" more than desired, usually involving long steep downhill runs. Backing up can occasionally give some behavior too, but backing a dolly is not something you are going to do much (if at all). Electric has more sophisticated braking control, plus the driver can adjust both the amount and aggressiveness of the braking if he wishes. Can also apply the brakes manually from the driver seat, something impossible with surge units. In practice none of these things are of much significance, but they often stimulate a lot of debate on RVing sites.

U-Haul trailers and tow dollies are all equipped with surge brakes, which I think shows they are at least adequate, even if not the most ideal.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Charlie 5320 on April 17, 2017, 01:13:59 PM
I had a situation 45 years or so ago with surge brakes on a car trailer. Pulling the trailer with a car, and a race car on the trailer, going down a hill, push the clutch in to shift and the trailer went in to full brake and locked up the trailer tires. Lucky we were on a four lane road because I was taking up three of them trying to get the thing back under control. The only thing that saved me was the trailer hit the curb as it was sliding and blew the right side tires right as we were near the bottom of the hill. We unloaded the car and my buddy drove it back home as we left the trailer in the parking lot of a tavern till the next day. I never used that trailer again, and the guy I sold it to cut the front off of it and used it brake less. After that experience, I would NEVER pull anything with surge brakes. I know there are millions of them out there, but you will never see me using one of them.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on April 18, 2017, 09:13:48 AM
I can see why putting in the clutch could maybe trigger braking as there is a momentary speed-up, but why did locking the trailer brakes cause loss of control? Maybe only one side locked up, throwing it sideways? That's would not be the fault of the surge unit.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Charlie 5320 on April 18, 2017, 10:19:49 AM
Well it probably didn't help that I was pulling more than the car weighed itself. I don't remember all the circumstances, but I do remember the trailer had the brakes on then off then on again several times in just a few seconds. While I was trying to get it to the curb the trailer started pushing the back of the tv  side ways. And I may have over corrected. One thing about it, my buddy will never forget it either, he still brings it up when we get reminiscing about the good old days. The TV was a 1968 Road Runner, and the car on the trailer was a 1969 Camaro SS. That Camaro just sold last fall for $50,000. Too bad I didn't own it when it sold.     
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: kdbgoat on April 18, 2017, 10:30:42 AM
A cherry '68 Roadrunner would fetch a pretty penny too. I wish I still had my'68 Charger, 383, 4 speed. Not all that quick by today's standards, but a barrel of fun to drive.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Charlie 5320 on April 18, 2017, 11:01:59 AM
Yea, I bought the RR brand new and the Camaro was 11 months old when I bought it. It only had 41,000 original miles as of last year. I had the chance to buy it back 3 years ago for $25,000 but I'm car poor. I still have a 77 Trans Am that I bought in 1980, it's got 59,000 on the clock, and a 99 Corvette Convertible, just didn't have the room for the Camaro. The 99 Corvette is a lot faster than the cars of old, and does 26 mpg on the road.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: sharpe on April 20, 2017, 06:18:34 PM
Thanks for all the help I think I am going electric  Greg
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Charlie 5320 on April 20, 2017, 11:17:20 PM
Thanks for all the help I think I am going electric  Greg
That's what I'm going to buy too.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: 2kGeorgieBoy on April 20, 2017, 11:38:05 PM
Gary....just to let you know, only the U-Haul RV (8x12 double axle) and the AT (double axle auto transport) units have surge brakes. None of their other trailers are so equipped.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on April 21, 2017, 07:49:56 AM
Are you saying the other U-Haul trailers that require brakes have electric rather than surge? I don't think so. If A U-Haul trailer is large enough to require brakes, it will be surge type brakes.  From a quick check of the U-Haul trailers available, that would appear to be all the tandem axle models.
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: 2kGeorgieBoy on April 21, 2017, 09:05:53 AM
Gary...you are right about that. I had tunnel vision and forgot about the other double axle trailers out there. Where I work, we have never seen one of the other double axle trailers trailers, so "out of sight, out of mind"  :D
Title: Re: tow dolly
Post by: jth on June 27, 2017, 08:14:59 PM
Sharpe: I have a 2017 Stehl Tow dolly w electric brakes, spare tire, tow wheel straps w wrenches, tongue lock, model ST80TD, blue w beige ramps. Used one trip' $1000. If you're close to N. Myrtle Beach, SC, and interested call me at 910-783-5772. John H