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DonP

Towing Dollies

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What are the pros and cons of using a towing dolly? Thanks to a new ordinance my town passed I can no longer leave my car trailer on the public street so I am thinking of a tow dolly which I can store behind my garage. Any thoughts except moving to another town would be appreciated. I am towing a 28 Buick.

Don

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Depending on how often you need to tow the car, I would just rent a trailer from Uhaul when you need one. Last time I rented one, it was about $50 per day. Tow dollys scare me.

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Don,

Years ago, I used a tow dolly to tow my 31 Buick from S.W.Washington to central California. I blew a tire on the 31 before I got through Portland & had to swap the rear flat for a front tire on the Buick. After reducing the tire pressures a bit to allow for the high speed heat build up, I had no real problems. However, it does wear tires, bearings, etc on the old car being towed.

I now have both open and enclosed trailers. I store one at my daughter's house and one here in my side yard. You may get a car buddy to store yours & let him use your trailer once in awhile....

I agree with Steve that renting a trailer may prove to be your best option. After all, if you sell your trailer, the proceeds will probably pay for a lot of trailer rentals.

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The only time I used a tow dolly was to move an Alfa Romeo Spyder. I made the fatal error of trying to back up, which is a no no, and the car rolled off the front of the dolly. Fortunately, I had a few strong guys with me and we were able to pick the car up and roll it back onto the dolly. I saw some guy trying to the same thing this year at Rhinebeck with a mid-seventies Chrysler New Yorker. They were not as successful as I was. I'll never use a tow dolly again. You really don't want to drag a 20s car down the highway.

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Tow Dolly Folly

For the 1997 Glidden Tour I thought I'd just go 300 miles to

Thomasville GA from St. Pete, FL and why not try a tow dolly.

I was reluctant to tow my 1934 Ford on it's 17" rear wheels,

so I found some new van wheels & radial tires with the same old Ford 5 X 5 1/2 bolt pattern and put them on the rear of the car when towing. It worked fine.

The next year the Glidden Tour was in Bretten Woods NH, so I

did the same thing again. Worked fine going up and almost all the way back. I was towing with a motorhome, so the dolly was way behind me.

Thanks to a trucker with a CB, I averted disaster when one of the radial tires blew it's tread and the flapping pieces of the tire started to destroy my right rear fender!.

That was the last time I ever used a dolly.

A friend on the 1999 Glidden Tour had his Model A front wheels turn while towing on a dolly and made a mess out of his right front fender. He now has a trailer.

Rental is cheaper than owning and storing if you only use it once a year. If you own a trailer you have good grounds to be always looking for another car to put on it to justify the

ownership.

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Well I can/can't agree on everything being said. I have both and would not give up either. I use the tow dolly to tow my newer cars, 2003 Honda element, 2005 PT Cruiser Conv. when we go camping or perform in Renaissance faires. However if we are going to a car show/event we use the trailer. I also have a 1 ton dually if I need it. I made the mistake of trying to back up with a tow dolly even after being warned not to(I guess it is something you have to experience in order to know why not to). Depending on the need go either way, however 1 thing I would not recommend is relying on U-haul. Chances are likely they will not have one when you need it, and if they have one it will most likely not fit the car you want to tow. I tried to put a 1968 Chrysler 300 conv. on one a while back and could not go over 39 MPH without the whole thing fishtailing because to much of the car hung over the rear of the trailer, and the car was as far forward as it would go. It took me 5 1/2 hours to go from Utica NY to Rochester NY normally a 2 1/2 hour trip. Of course the good news was I used only 1/4 of a tank of gas loaded up while it took me 3/4 of a tank to get there empty. I would figure out a way to keep both. Is there no way to store the trailer behind or even in your garage. Can you appeal to the town or are their minds made up and they don't want to be confused by facts.

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>>Any thoughts except moving to another town would be appreciated.<<

Run for town council on a ticket of what is really important. Point out all the petty projects one after another. Get them to concentrate on fixing problems, not harassing people with a blizzard of laws and ordinances.

There is a huge gap of difference between pretty looking cookie cutter nighborhoods... versus "real neighbors" who are able to live together and respect each other. ( and respect their neighbor's hobbies and rights as land owners ).

I've been down this road before with my 1962 Shasta Tear Drop Camper when I lived in a older nieghborhood. New neighbors moved in and sneaked in new codes ( must of happend when I was out camping). I tried to get the new home owners to accept me and my vintage tastes. They had their plans and that was that. Glad that I sold and moved away. Their loss was my gain. I'm happy, and my vintage trailer is a few steps from my kitchen... I like to go out there in the camper, streatch out and look at the all natural wood ceiling and walls.... and just ponder. Oh the joy.

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I see this is an old topic but I thought I should share my experience with tow dollies. Unless you absolutely cannot find a truck and trailer, do not use a tow dolly. If you have to use one, keep to very moderate speeds.

Towing Your Car Home

Edited by fraso
Link Update (see edit history)

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I often see rented tow dollies going down the road with chains dragging, or even with the ramps dragging on the concrete and spewing sparks. Apparently the newbies renting them can't figure out how to hook everything up right. We used to have a tow dollie in the family, but didn't find it to be all that useful.

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What are the pros and cons of using a towing dolly? Thanks to a new ordinance my town passed I can no longer leave my car trailer on the public street so I am thinking of a tow dolly which I can store behind my garage. Any thoughts except moving to another town would be appreciated. I am towing a 28 Buick.

Don

If your property is large enough, would laying down a few tons of stone to make a trailer parking area on your property be an option??? I did that this past spring at my house. Worked out great for me and since I followed all the local ordanances, I had no problems.

Is there a local storage facility nearby where you could park the trailer for a monthly fee?

What about a local business that might be willing to let you park the trailer on their property for a few $$$?

Do you have a family member who has a property where you could park the trailer?

I agree with others that relying on U-Haul to have the equipment you need, when you need it, could be a gamble. Would you really want to miss out on an AACA Event like Fall Hershey because there was a mix-up with your equipment reservation or no equipment was available at the last minute?

Personally, I would only use the U-Haul option if my town had a number of locations where I could get equipment from and those multiple locations all had the equipment I needed.

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I would go the route of finding a place to store the trailer over renting a trailer or a dollie from U-Haul.

I reserved a trailer with a deposit from U-Haul, drove 750 mile to be told he did not have a trailer for me and none where available in the area. The closest trailer was 60 miles away and he would not go that far to pick up a trailer. Because of this breach of contract I was forced to drive 40 miles round trip out of my way to pick up a car dolly (trailer had already been rented) or give up the purchase of the truck that I had traveled for two days to buy. Because of the slower tow speed the return trip was much longer.

I expect the deposit on the trailer would be credited to my account. But instead they tried charging me a fee because I should have canceled the trailer. It some how never occurred to me to cancel a trailer that I wanted, that didn’t get delivered. After a nasty letter to U-Haul they did refund the deposit and the cost of renting the dollie but did not even say they were sorry for the inconvenience.

Needless to say I have not done business with them since. Penske has gotten my business since.

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I would say me too on purchasing a trailer. The two big expenses in my mind are the tires and keeping the wiring working. To help the tire issue, I try to take the tires off each winter and store inside. For the summer I put a cover over them to deflect the sunlight.

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Tow dollies are best used for newer vehicles with bearings, tires etc that can take the hwy speeds. Older cars should be on a trailer! You loose a bearing on your '34 Whatchamacallit Sedanette in the middle of Kansas, what are you gonna do for parts? Will your insurance even cover it on a dolly? Maybe not, may so. A dolly is not impossible to backup (I can do it) but not reccomended, dollies just are not a good option unless short distances or new cars are involved. Most never drop air pressure in the dolly when empty so they bounce all over the place.

I have a 18' w/dovetail open flatbed. It has a nice alum toolbox with a hidden #8k winch and battery inside. I also have LED deck lights that run off the battery too so you always have lighting even without a tow vehicle. My niece stores it at her house and most of my family uses it from time to time. They show appreciation for it by storing it, and when it needs maint. or repairs, somebody takes care of it or at least helps me do it. We just replaced all 4 electric brakes in 50 mins! Lots of hands and a lift makes it quick work.

I refuse to live anywhere with covenants or stupid invasive laws that won't let you use your own driveway or street for parking (that's a whole 'nuther topic!). What a waste of resourses it is to be concerned about a trailer instead of the speeders and stupid drivers.

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Another tow dolly catastrophy: Not many years ago a restored '36-'37 Cord sedan was being tow dollied. Due to some unspecified failure, the right rear wheel came loose. Instead of rolling free, it became entrapped in the fender, bearing full body weight. Major damage resulted to the entire r r body section. It was questionable at the time that the body could be saved.

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Neither a tow dolly or an open trailer is a substitute for secure storage

A secure storage facility with open storage & a custom fit car cover

should fit the bill

Several states I go thru require all tow dollies stop at the

weigh/inspection stations

Tow dollies are an easy target for vehicle enforcement

Jim

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