Loading Car Dolly

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Skipper

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Joined
Mar 15, 2021
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27
Location
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
New to using a tow dolly. My driveway has a slight slope to street. Concerned that the car rear end might drag exiting driveway; also a tight turn too. Seems the car might have to be loaded with MH is on the street. That seems a bit unsafe. Want to hear from tow dolly users regarding your loading experiences
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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Feb 15, 2021
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267
Location
Bad Water Texas
I had a dolly and used it for approx 6000 miles on various excursions. I would choose the safe area to load, and I would personally do it on a Flat surface.

I will give you a Free $0.00 tip to make sure the front wheel nets stay tight. I tested this on a 70 mile stretch of Oklahoma Super rough roads. I read it somewhere from a Guy that used Tow Dolly along time.

Here it is. Be as square to the frame positioning the car on the ramp. When the wheel are about 1/2" from the Front Wheel stop, Get back in the car. Set Emergency Brake, and place the nets over the wheels and snug them down.

When you have them just snug to prevent rolling, get back in the car, remove emergency Brake, Place car in neutral. Now get back to the dolly and Put the Torque on each side until the car will roll against the stop. Keep cranking until you dimple the wheels against the front wheel block and they will stay TIGHT!

Reality is even if the wheel nets got loose the car would stay on top of the dolly. Once I started rolling the car that last 1/2" against the tire stops it never came loose. This method works. I wanted to see SNUG, TIGHT when I checked the Rig at a Gas Station doing the walk around the RV during fill up.

Bring some Card board Boxes to get down on the ground if it rains while you are camping.

Embrace the Suck of a owning a Tow Dolly!

JD
 
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Henry J Fate

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Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Posts
1,355
Alwsys evaluate and pick your place to load and unload the vehicle.

If you have a co-pilot, have them follow the rv and dolly to a suitable loading spot. If your going it alone, options become a little thin but should not force a bad decision.

Always wide turns with the dolly. Look way ahead when turning off main roadways to fuel etc. If you have a swivel platform, an easy way to tell if you have cornered to tightly is to look at the tires of the vehicle on the swivel platform. If the tires have twisted on the platform, you have cornered too tight.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,525
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
You are right to be concerned about that, but finding and using a safe place is part of the normal routine when using a dolly. Or even 4-down towing, for that matter. Flat terrain is always much safer to load/unload. And you always need to be aware of tight turns, sharp dips in the road, etc. 99.9% of the time the dolly follows along nicely, but you want to keep an eye out for the other 0.1%.
 

RRR

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Joined
May 20, 2018
Posts
177
I had a dolly and used it for approx 6000 miles on various excursions. I would choose the safe area to load, and I would personally do it on a Flat surface.

I will give you a Free $0.00 tip to make sure the front wheel nets stay tight. I tested this on a 70 mile stretch of Oklahoma Super rough roads. I read it somewhere from a Guy that used Tow Dolly along time.

Here it is. Be as square to the frame positioning the car on the ramp. When the wheel are about 1/2" from the Front Wheel stop, Get back in the car. Set Emergency Brake, and place the nets over the wheels and snug them down.

When you have them just snug to prevent rolling, get back in the car, remove emergency Brake, Place car in neutral. Now get back to the dolly and Put the Torque on each side until the car will roll against the stop. Keep cranking until you dimple the wheels against the front wheel block and they will stay TIGHT!

Reality is even if the wheel nets got loose the car would stay on top of the dolly. Once I started rolling the car that last 1/2" against the tire stops it never came loose. This method works. I wanted to see SNUG, TIGHT when I checked the Rig at a Gas Station doing the walk around the RV during fill up.

Bring some Card board Boxes to get down on the ground if it rains while you are camping.

Embrace the Suck of a owning a Tow Dolly!

JD
Exactly how I used to do it. I would try to stop in ten miles or so to check and they would never loosen off.
 

Skipper

Active member
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Posts
27
Location
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Thanks, great advice. Driveway loading would be flat. It's going down the end sloping somewhat to street and then turning that concerns me. The MH with dolly tongue will easily clear the driveway dip to street. It's the rear of my car bumper possibly dragging that concerns me. Then the turn may be too tight with attached dolly/car. Street is about 24-28 feet wide. Motorhome alone is no problem. Thinking street loading will be better way to load car.
 

SpencerPJ

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Joined
Nov 1, 2017
Posts
3,292
Location
Midwest
Do you ever envision being in that much slope and turn in real life towing the car? If yes, try it, if not load it on the street (y). I have zero experience with car trailers but I do like experimenting under my own terms and conditions ;)
 

Skipper

Active member
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Posts
27
Location
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
I probably have read too much about tight turns doing damage to dolly/motorhome/car. It's about 42-45 feet total length making that turn. Pretty certain street loading is best way to go.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,525
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At our Silver Springs FL home
I probably have read too much about tight turns doing damage to dolly/motorhome/car.
Yeah, the problem with perusing too many internet blogs. With so many people giving reports, you get the impression that rare occurrences are everyday events. And seldom do you get the full picture of what happened and how, so that you can evaluate whether the experience applies to your situation. OTOH, you get a sampling of what conceivably can happen in the worse case. Forewarned, as it were.

It's a fact that many newer vehicles have a very low departure angle, exacerbated by the tilt of the car on the dolly. It's is probably going to drag at some time or another, but shouldn't be a routine thing.
 

Larry N.

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Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
7,731
Location
Westminster, Colorado
Street is about 24-28 feet wide.

It's about 42-45 feet total length making that turn.
That can be a concern, having enough room in the street to complete the turn from the driveway without the trailer running over or hitting something.

When I bought a 45 ft. motorhome a number of years back, I first test drove it home (with the agent, of course) and tried backing it in to the driveway. I succeeded, though it was snug, so I bought it (my street is wider than yours, about 35 feet, plus a 5 foot sidewalk on each side), and it worked OK for 4 years. Now I have a 38 footer and it's easier, though still requires a bit of care.

And I hook up my Jeep toad after getting the MH on the street next to the curb.
 

RVRAC

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Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Posts
1,483
I have pulled my dolly for four years from WI to south TX with no problems. I have gone from TX to FL, and then to WI, with no problems. My class C is 32' and in the back I pull an American dolly with a Jeep Patriot. No problem. Always find a safe place to load and unload. I can do it with my DW help in less than 15 minutes. No big deal. The biggest concern is to know how are you going to get out of a gas station or any other place as you cannot back up, this applies to a dolly or 4 down.
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Posts
267
Location
Bad Water Texas
I am going to have to agree with RV's with Biggest concern. I am on the look out for DO-ability when it comes to Gas stations. When It comes to RV Fuel fill up when towing any type of configuration, I am not trying to save a few pennies, but it would be nice if I luck out.

I avoid the pumps that run parallel with the customer parking lot where the pumps and the store fronts are close to each other. You just never know who is going to come in, park and block you from exit. Looking for outside lanes where you can circle the store if I use those type.

JD
 
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X-Roughneck Strike 3

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Posts
267
Location
Bad Water Texas
Not sure what type of tire cradle nets that came with your dolly. I purchased a Stehl Tow dolly with surge brake Sep 2019. It had tire straps that was a single strap that ran down the center of the tire. I did not like it. I purchased straps on amazon (Check your Tire Size) that cradled each side of the tire and gave me more confidence banging down the highway of life. I can't remember, as I sold the dolly, paperwork and all, but I think the supplied straps were for 17 inch tires and I had 19" on my Mazda?

Buy a couple 5 Buck tyvex suits on Amazon as it seems like you always get some tire black on your arms, no matter how careful you intend to be. Tyvex allows you to get in there like NASCAR Wheel and Tire Crew. Fast and Dirty.

I always looked for the Pull thru and did not disconnect Dolly everytime I booked a site.

Get some bungee straps to creatively harness the slack, visualize how the trailer will react on the turns.

Also if you have a big parking lot...you and a person call each other on the phone and make some test turns. I read it is possible for the wheel covers on the Dolly to dent your tow door if you crank the wheel too tight. I am going to guess you would have to have a pretty big car to do that?

I bought cable and clamps and made me some 3 ft cables where I could loop them thru the A-Arms and then I would loop the safety chain back to itself.

Final Tip...When I moved my dolly, I would tie a rope around my waist, squat down and tie on to the hitch. then I would just drag it around walking and lifting with my legs and back, as they are around 650 LB curb weight. I would have to get my dolly around the leg of my RV Port tight manuevering and get it out to the alley to connect to the ball on my RV. It was wrestle-mania, but pretty easy that way. My hands are shot.

JD
 

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RVRAC

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Jun 11, 2012
Posts
1,483
I agree basket straps is the way to go. I also bought them from Amazon.

You are correct about gas stations, before going in stop and think how are you going to go out. I use stations with pumps close to the store, but I do not stop until my unit is facing to the access road, not the store. Never had to unhook in five years.
 

Loose Nut

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Joined
May 4, 2021
Posts
78
Location
Cochise Stronghold... or damned near it.
Loading or unloading a dolly under adverse circumstances can be a PITA, but that's not why I'm replying to this thread. I'm replying to address the issue of fueling while dragging the tow dolly & vehicle around... my suggestion would be to fuel at larger truck stops or "travel plazas" (as they call 'em now, since they also cater to the RV crowd, four-wheelers, et al). The lots are generally larger to accommodate trucks, and there are separate fuel islands for four-wheelers & RVs, though a diesel RV can always go through the truck islands to refuel, UNLESS you see a sign to the contrary. Those truck stops or travel plazas want your money, so usually it's no big deal.

When I drove my 26' rental truck with tow dolly & four-wheeler behind, I almost always used truck stops or travel plazas to refuel, unless I had no choice. They're larger, they're usually better lit, the big ones have security, there's more stuff to buy in the store (including spare parts and bulbs and whatnot), more food choices in store & restaurant, more urinals and stalls in the bathrooms, the whole nine yards. Why frequent small service stations with limited room to maneuver? I don't see the sense in it... the larger truck stops or travel plazas have the room and can't be beat when it comes to fuel prices, they're big enough to lowball the competition. Meh, why make things harder and pay more?

Yeah, there are some older truck stops that are tight in the maneuvering sense, generally back East, but the new modern travel plazas are nice, and they start by building on huge lots, compared to small service stations. Even the separate fuel islands for four-wheelers & RVs generally have more room, which is nice when you're swinging wide because you're pulling a dolly & vehicle behind you. I've seen some service stations so tight that getting a single four-wheeler in & out of there was difficult, I certainly wouldn't wanna get stuck in some hole like that and have to go to a bunch of trouble to extricate myself and my rig. Just my $.02 on this subject... KISS principle works for me, lol. Cheers!!!
 

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