EPDM Coatings
RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems rvupgradestore.com Composet Products EVDO

Author Topic: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly  (Read 5107 times)

conradps

  • ---
  • Posts: 52
Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« on: August 13, 2009, 07:11:26 PM »
Being new to using a tow dolly,  I learned the hard way that you can't make a very tight turn without damaging your car.  I live on a street with a cul de sac where I can turn my 34' Class A Itasca Suncruiser around.  The first time I tried this, I had my wife's 2008 New Beetle convertible on a tow dolly behind the motorhome.  What happened was the housing assembly for the tow dolly's left fender dug into the car's rocker panel as I had the motorhome wheels cranked all the way to get through the tightest part of the cul-de-sac. 

Has this ever happened to you--or do you know a good rule of thumb to make sure this never happens again?  Or better yet, is there something I could do to avoid this problem altogether in tight turns?  One thing I thought of was to figure out a way to raise the car on the trailer by 4 inches-this would then allow the housing to pass "under the car" rather than hit it. 
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks!!

007

  • ---
  • Posts: 69
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 10:09:31 PM »
I would hook up tow dolly in front of house so you can just pull out to main street and avoid the tight turn.
I would not place blocks under wheels on tow dolly because while traveling they may bounce loose and free up your tie down straps making them useless.
When pulling your tow you will have to take wide turns and cut back sharply so your tow is going to clear curbs, trees, sign and even other cars.
Newmar KS-3740 W-22 03------- 99 MA ---98 KS
96 Bounder 34J FORD V-10 - 88 GB FORD-460

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 42766
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2009, 08:15:00 AM »
Was the car steering wheel unlocked?  If the steering wheel can turn, the car will tend to pivot on the dolly in a turn, allowing it to rub against the inside of the dolly fenders. If the non-locking type of steering, use a bungy cord or other means of tying the wheel in place.

I've seen other reports of this problem. Too many dollies are too narrow, with only an inch or two clearance between car and fenders. Some movement is inevitable, even if just the car rocking on its springs.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4905
  • Central IL
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2009, 05:16:36 PM »
Has this ever happened to you--or do you know a good rule of thumb to make sure this never happens again?

Unfortunately this is one of those "too many factors at play" to have one single answer.  The main factors are the model/clearance of your tow dolly, and the width of the vehicle that's on the dolly.  My Master Tow dolly says right in the manual to take wide turns or risk damage to the vehicle and/or dolly... I assume the damage you described is what they're talking about.  I've come within millimeters (both did THAT open my eyes  :o) of the same thing while turned into a gas station pump, and luck was the only thing that kept my car's fender from being "creased". 

Best thing to do is run some "tests" with your particular dolly and car you will be towing.  Get it hooked up out in a large, open, EMPTY ;) parking lot and practice making turns.  Start real wide in both directions, and stop mid-turn to get out and see how much clearance your car still has on the dolly.  You could even measure it with a ruler or tape measure.  Keep on making turns a little sharper each time, until you know it's getting too close.  Pay attention to where your MH steering wheel location at that "sharpest turn you can make" point, and don't go beyond it when driving.  :)

Keep in mind that the issue with that technique would be that it's unlikely you car's tires will ever end up EXACTLY in the same spot on the dolly ramps, every time you load it.  That will change your clearance results each time... but if you leave yourself a margin or error then you'd probably be okay.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4905
  • Central IL
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 05:17:30 PM »
P.S. Might want to have a Moderator/Administrator move this thread to "Towing and Towables" for more suggestions from experienced folks in that arena.  ;)
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

kevin

  • ---
  • Posts: 750
  • North West Arkansas..Go Hogs!!!!
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 07:14:29 PM »
as stated before it will depend on a number of things, width of dolly, width of car being towed, does you dolly have a swivel deck or a sationary one? and last but not least how did you load the car on the dolly? I use my cell phone as a measuring tool when loading mine, that way I get it the same every time., I have the wide unit from master tow? with a swivel deck, so far no problems.
2006 Tour
2011 Buick Enclave

gave up on that winning lotto ticket!

hpykmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 377
Re: Damage to tow car when using tow dolly
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2009, 06:57:25 PM »
Being new to using a tow dolly,  I learned the hard way that you can't make a very tight turn without damaging your car.  I live on a street with a cul de sac where I can turn my 34' Class A Itasca Suncruiser around.  The first time I tried this, I had my wife's 2008 New Beetle convertible on a tow dolly behind the motorhome.  What happened was the housing assembly for the tow dolly's left fender dug into the car's rocker panel as I had the motorhome wheels cranked all the way to get through the tightest part of the cul-de-sac. 

Has this ever happened to you--or do you know a good rule of thumb to make sure this never happens again?  Or better yet, is there something I could do to avoid this problem altogether in tight turns?  One thing I thought of was to figure out a way to raise the car on the trailer by 4 inches-this would then allow the housing to pass "under the car" rather than hit it. 
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks!!

We just got back from towing a super beetle almost 5000 miles with out a problem but I suspect that you have a dolly with fixed ramps and the beetle is short and low . Our dolly has removable ramps which I think would solve your problem