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Author Topic: Dolly vs. Flat tow  (Read 9004 times)

dave95.1

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Dolly vs. Flat tow
« on: August 20, 2006, 10:22:24 AM »
I've read what's in the library on the Dolly vs. Flat tow subject, looking for some more opinions.  I'm leaning toward dolly because of initial cost and less wear and tear on drivetrain of the toad.  What are you guys using and why did you choose that over the other?

Thanks


Dave

Tom

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 10:32:34 AM »
Dave

Watching folks having to deal with a tow dolly at numerous campgrounds was all it took to convince us to flat tow.  Additionally, we tow a Suburban and didn't want/need the additional weight of a dolly. Our prior experience flat towing cars were added confirmation that this was the way to go for us. Other folks may have different experiences and different preferences.
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Ray D

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2006, 10:48:20 AM »
Excuse me for butting in, but I am interested in this, as well.

It is my understanding that you can only tow a front wheel drive car, on a dolly, as the rear wheels would still be on the ground.  If so, then might as well tow a rear wheel drive vehicle, four down. Do I have this right?

Ray D
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.F. Vet. Damon Challenger, Workhorse/Vortec, 2005 towing a Suzuki XL-7, 2003.

Ned

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2006, 11:10:01 AM »
You can tow a rear drive car on a dolly by loading it backwards.  If you meant you can't tow a front wheel drive car four down, that is absolutely false.  We've towed our Honda Accord for over 70,000 miles four down.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Wendy

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2006, 11:16:21 AM »
We have a 93 Ford Explorer that can't be towed four-down. But, like Tom, having seen people trying to deal with their dollies in campgrounds, we decided to forget about dollies and go toadless until we get something that can be towed four-down.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
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Houseofarticcats

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2006, 11:52:16 AM »
I can only speak about a dolly.. We have towed coast to coast and had no problems.. Yes you do have to plan your stops.. But.. It worked well for us.. We pulled a ford windstar van.. We got good at loading and unloading in record time..heheheh ;D Long story about this but a good one...  8) I would not hesitate to get one...

Ray D

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2006, 12:04:51 PM »
I said, "can only tow a front wheel drive car, on a dolly,"

Badly stated. I should have said, "using a dolly, can only tow a front wheel drive?"

Backward, on rear wheel drive?  Is that done? Bet that looks funny! Steering/tracking problems?

Ray D
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.F. Vet. Damon Challenger, Workhorse/Vortec, 2005 towing a Suzuki XL-7, 2003.

Ned

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2006, 12:26:20 PM »
To me, any dolly looks funny, but yes, I have seen cars and vans towed backwards on dollies.  I was just glad it wasn't me that had to load and unload them.  With so many towable vehicles to choose from, I can't see the need to ever use a dolly.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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2007 GMC Canyon

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dave95.1

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2006, 12:49:10 PM »
What is it that people are struggling with at the campgrounds?  Is it just backing into the site with the dolly back there?  To me that isn't a big deal for no more places than we plan to take a toad right now.  Maybe later in life we will be taking one more often but for right now we'd only be pulling into campgrounds with a toad 3-4 times a year.  I can get a dolly for $500 and need nothing else, but to flat tow I'm looking at $2000 and a bunch of work to get it set up.

ChinMusic

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2006, 03:01:59 PM »
I called Honda regarding my 2000 Honda Accord and my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.  I was told that the Accord could be towed 4-down but the 2003 could not.  I asked if any modifications could be made to the Hybrid regarding a "pump" but was told, "no".

What would be the reason the Hybrid could not be towed 4-down?  I had read that the addition of a (transmission???) pump solved some problems.  I am very weak in this regard.
Live Fast, Cy Young

Shayne

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2006, 03:23:45 PM »
We haven't driven anything but Lincoln Town Cars  for many years and have probably towed one backwards fornearly 100000 miles over the last 30yrs or so.  Still have a dolly but load them in a 24 enclosed trailer now.  Tight fit but it does work. ONly problem I found bad about a dolly is tight turns and backing up. Both NO NOs.   Other than that  You don't even know it's back there.  Lots of remarks on the CB tho.  Look at the Lincoln going backwards down the highway and pushing that MH.  Heck after those remarks, I've even had police get on a ramp to see what was going on and then raise heck with the truckers for steering up their curiosity.  Just do what you got to do to get er done and let everyone else do it their way until you find a way to satisfy you.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

Ned

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2006, 03:40:01 PM »
Does the Hybrid use regenerative braking?  That could prevent it from being towed 4 down.  When in doubt, the authority is Remco.  They will tell you if a vehicle can be towed 4 down and if it needs any modifications.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Tom

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2006, 04:07:34 PM »
What is it that people are struggling with at the campgrounds?  Is it just backing into the site with the dolly back there?

Dave, on arrival at a campground the car is unloaded, the dolly unhitched, then the dolly is manhandled to whatever space is available. So many times I've seen folks struggling to manhandle the dolly to some space that's a long way from their coach. In some campgrounds there just isn't space for the dolly at all. If that's not a problem, go for it. It's just not for us.
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Wendy

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2006, 04:18:23 PM »
Sometimes you see people trying to shove part of the dolly under the coach whilst leaving room for the toad to park. Or they park it on the grass until the cg management tells them to move it. Of course, sometimes the space is big and everything works out just fine.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2004 Winnebago Sightseer
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

ChinMusic

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2006, 04:18:48 PM »
Does the Hybrid use regenerative braking?  That could prevent it from being towed 4 down.  When in doubt, the authority is Remco.  They will tell you if a vehicle can be towed 4 down and if it needs any modifications.
  Thanks, I will check out Remco after this posting.  Yes, the Hybrid uses regenerative braking, as I believe all hybrids do (I'm guessing on this).  With the trend toward more and more hybrids this "problem" will increase in numbers.
Live Fast, Cy Young

ChinMusic

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2006, 04:30:07 PM »
  When in doubt, the authority is Remco.  They will tell you if a vehicle can be towed 4 down and if it needs any modifications.
  I looked at the Remco sight but couldn't find a list that gave me information on a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.   It's probably there, I just failed in my effort.
Live Fast, Cy Young

dave95.1

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2006, 04:45:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  Hopefully my last question didn't come across as argumentative(sp?) because that was not the intent.  I agree that long term we will probably look into flat towing, but we're just getting started in this game and if the main issue is at the campground then the dolly seems to be the way to go for us right now.  I have the NASCAR race on DVR and am going to go watch it now, so you all have a good what's left of the weekend.

Wendy

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2006, 05:18:57 PM »
Didn't see it as argumentative, just questioning, which is a good thing.

Enjoy the Nascar race...just ended.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2004 Winnebago Sightseer
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Tom

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2006, 06:32:11 PM »
Hopefully my last question didn't come across as argumentative

Not at all Dave. I saw it as you intended. But you did ask for opinions  ;D
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2006, 08:05:57 PM »
I believe the Honda Hybrid has a Continuously Variable Transmission rather than the usual Honda automatic that is known to be towable.  I don't know that there is any major technical reason it could not be towed but Honda has never Okayed like they did the other transmission.  And Remco probably doesn't see enough marke demand to do the engineering and testing needed to develop a solution.

Honda has changed policy and no longer sanctions towing 4 down on its newest vehicles, so they aren't likely to volunteer any information about how to do so.
Gary
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2006, 08:11:28 PM »
Quote
What is it that people are struggling with at the campgrounds?  Is it just backing into the site with the dolly back there?

Wait til you try backing that short-tongue trailer behind a long wheelbase vehicle with poor rearward vision - it takes some finely honed skills!  Most people simply drive the car off and disconnect the dolly before parking. Then move the dolly by hand to wherever they will leave it. Your site may not be long enough to leave the dolly hitched or to park it behind the rig - you may have to stick it in a corner or even in a parking lot somewhere. Upscale campgrounds sometimes frown on having extraneous trailers around the site - whether dolly, boat or utility trailer.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

ChinMusic

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2006, 09:05:15 PM »
I believe the Honda Hybrid has a Continuously Variable Transmission rather than the usual Honda automatic that is known to be towable.  I don't know that there is any major technical reason it could not be towed but Honda has never Okayed like they did the other transmission.  And Remco probably doesn't see enough marke demand to do the engineering and testing needed to develop a solution.

Honda has changed policy and no longer sanctions towing 4 down on its newest vehicles, so they aren't likely to volunteer any information about how to do so.

Once I get a MH, if none of my current autos are towable 4-down, I will buy one that CAN be towed 4-down.  As it is now, I'm starting to plan a trip tp AZ where I would drive to AZ and rent an RV once I get there.  It would be nice to be able to use my 2000 Accord as a toad.  It would kinda blow the experience to leave it somewhere or to have DW drive it behind me.
Live Fast, Cy Young

John From Detroit

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2006, 09:40:25 PM »
Let me describe dolly towing. First hook up dolly to MH Now line car up with dolly and drive on, hook up safety chains, hook on wheel straps and cinch down, hook up tow lights.  Drive to next stop, note you can not back up with most dollies (Well , not more than a few feet) or you may damage towed and dolly.  Note two, I forgot to make sure you stop a mile or two down the road to insure the tires are still properly strapped down.

Now, at new stop unhook and drive off towed, unhook and find a place for the dolly (not always easy, though simple with my rig) You may back up dolly w/o car attached (Well, I can, don't know if you can)

Now let me describe 4-down towing.  Pull MH out of campsite (unless a pull through) pull towed up close, unlatch tow bars (easy, simple latch) and extend one arm toward towed, hook up, now do the other arm, hook up, If you are using any of the Motor Home mounted tow bars like the Blue OX or Roadmasters, you just have to be close, not dead on with your approach.  Hook up safety chains, brake solution and lights (Often just a safety cable and a light cable, I have a total of 3 cables myself)  In my case I then start towed, turn wheel hard right, leave in nuteral, twist collar behind right wheel, turn wheels to center, verify I'm going nowhere fast (Speedometer shows about 10mph in Nuteral) shut off engine but do not lock, move shifter to park, remove key (if not already removedl, I have a "Salesman type" ignition lock, I can remove key in any position with the possible exception of ACC) close and lock doors (NOTE: I carry spare car key in MH)

Both sytems,  Now check lights all the way around and brake system

Unhooking at next stop,  Fire up towed and turn to right (Leave in park) Twist collar,  Unhook 2 safety cables, both tow bar ends and all 3 cables (Lights, Brakes and safety break) Fold up the tow bar and latch in the stowed position, Job done

I have had one camper tell me it's more work 4-down.. I have towed with dollies and seriously do not believe him

in addition towing 4-down adds at least 1,000 to your tow rating (you don't have a 1,000 lb dolly to tow you see) and/or takes 1,000 off the total weight of your rig, this translates into better gas maillage.

Now, wear on the drive train:

With the axel lock I use the transmission is in PARK when I tow  There is some where on the differential and axels and CV joints, but these devices routinely go well over 100Kmiles (200k in my case) without replacement being indicated (And at that it was accident damage that took out one CV joint)  Differential is oem, car has over 200K miles driveing, plus another 5k or so towed.
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Shayne

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2006, 10:36:07 PM »
I'd sure like to see him backing a dolly into an RV space.    Yep it can be done but takes longer than it would to unload, and drag it behind the RV.  Guaranteed. Most I've ever backed up was 96'  took me 35 minutes and a lot of swearing.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

John From Detroit

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2006, 08:39:30 AM »
Shayne, I said I could, did not say I cared to (In fact strongly implied I don't care to)  You are right about it being easier to drag it

I do back a short toung trailer into my drive regularry but with the Lumina APV, not the Motor Home, and the gate on the drive is not much wider than the trailer (If the trailer is in the gate, to get around it you have to go through the house, there is not enough clearance for a normal size human on either side, even if I "Hug" one side)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Ron

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2006, 10:43:19 AM »
We started out using a tow dolly when we got our first Bounder.  From that experience I very strongly recommend not even consider using a tow dolly.  Too many negatives vs the one or to positives.  As far as we are concerned 4 down towing is the only way to go and one would be a much happy camper.  IMHO it would be very much worthwhile to purchase a vehicle that can be towed 4 down than it would be to buy a tow dolly.  Remco is a very good source for 4 down towing solutions.

OH did I mention Don't even consider a tow dolly if you wish to be a happy camper.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Shayne

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2006, 01:37:36 PM »
Sorry  John  I wasn't refering to your statement.  I was refering to Dave's statement dof not being a big deal, backing a tow dolly.   I 've certrainly done it many times   NO PICNIC>  Sorry I shuld have stated  that in the message.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

Houseofarticcats

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2006, 04:33:53 PM »
WOW..  :o   I must be the only one that was not bothered by using a tow dolly. I am not saying 4 down is not better but.. You do what you got to do...  JMOP  8)

Shayne

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2006, 11:16:44 PM »
Nope   Dolly is fine with me   But if you had attended Quartsite last Jan you would understand why I now use a trailer.  I tow a 24' enclosed carhauler witha Lincoln Town Car inside, but then I carry many tools inside just incase someone needs help.  I used to restore lots of old trucks and cars(autique and classics) and have to have my tools  It's just me no other reason.  Heck If I could get away with it I'd be driving a 45'er with a 30' enclosed trailer.  OH but would the wife scream then.  She thinks camping should be in a 4 to 5 bedroom house with 2 kitchens and about 6000' for 2 people.  I had no problems with the dolly except too comfining and it wooled stupid towing Lincolns backward.  Was the brunt of many comments over the CB.  But I joined right in with them.  Didn't bother me.  They are just difficult to back up with an RV attached and a toad hooked up. In fact  still have the dolly at a friends house in IL and sometimes use it for brief trips when back there.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 11:19:03 PM by Shayne »
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John From Detroit

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Re: Dolly vs. Flat tow
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2006, 09:03:31 AM »
Sorry  John  I wasn't refering to your statement.  I was refering to Dave's statement dof not being a big deal, backing a tow dolly.   I 've certrainly done it many times   NO PICNIC>  Sorry I shuld have stated  that in the message.

That's ok, as I said, I can do it, I don't particularry want to. 
One of the big issues with a dolly is "Where do I put the dang thing" when parked.  My damon has lots of rear end ground clearance, One could most likely shove most dollies right under the back end  Though for some reason where I have it parked now the hitch is darn near on the ground.  (I tow 4=down)

As for the trailer with the Town Car inside.... This I can understand. but alas, my rig does not have the two ratings for that so FOR ME it is not an option... If it was an option I would very likely do it that way
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.