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Old 03-01-2018, 08:16 AM   #1
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First trip with tow dolly and Prius next week

So my retirement adventure continues I purchased a used Demco tow dolly about a month ago from a facebook site. I picked it up for 1200 which I though was a steal. The gentleman sold his RV. Took it to a trailer place to check the surge brakes. They called yesterday, $900 later to replace the hitch coupler/brake actuator, a brake line that leaked and both wheel cylinders. That seemed high but it's already done so I move one. Anyways.....next week we will be taking a 100 mile adventure to a state park using the dolly with my Georgetown 31B3 and towing a 2012 Prius. I'm a little apprehensive but I was also apprehensive driving the Motorhome home

Any tips as I get mentally prepared for this adventure? I have not loaded the Prius and am concerned about the hitch angle and the ramps of the Demco coming close to the pavement. Anyone on the site that tows a Prius? If so, any issues?
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:08 AM   #2
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Be careful where you drive into backing up can be next to impossible with that setup.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:21 AM   #3
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Be careful where you drive into backing up can be next to impossible with that setup.
Ya, I have been thinking about that. My main concern was gas stations and picking them wisely
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:33 AM   #4
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I test towed the dolly behind a pickup truck and test loaded the car in the driveway some for practice. Our Honda accord clears the Master Tow dolly with minimal clearance so I am going to stick to loading it on hard surfaces only. This will prevent the ramps from sinking into the ground and increasing the angle more. Having a spotter is nice the first few times.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:35 AM   #5
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I test towed the dolly behind a pickup truck and test loaded the car in the driveway some for practice. Our Honda accord clears the Master Tow dolly with minimal clearance so I am going to stick to loading it on hard surfaces only. This will prevent the ramps from sinking into the ground and increasing the angle more. Having a spotter is nice the first few times.
I will do that. I have pulled the dolly behind my truck several times. I towed a 30 foot camper for 20 years a while ago but there is something about not being able to see the tow dolly behind the motorhome that has me anxious.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:43 AM   #6
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Back-up camera/rear view cameras are inexpensive and easy to install. Should easy your mind.
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Old 03-02-2018, 01:38 PM   #7
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Smile Tow Dolly

Okay, the fun begins. Some things I have learned using mine.
1. Check about 100 miles down the road that the tie-downs are tight. They tend to loosen off a bit.
2. Be SURE you follow the instructions on loading and securing the vehicle. The instructions are clear enough but be sure you read them. It will make your journey so much more pleasant.
3. Backing up is dicey to to say the least even with a back-up camera etc etc. Avoid backing up if possible. Short tongue and wheels that track make for some interesting results if you aren't careful.

Good luck and safe travel.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:39 PM   #8
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I have been using a Demco Karkaddy for 5 years, it tows very easy. Just make sure you follow the loading instructions and check your straps at every stop. I check my straps after the first couple of blocks of travel, the car settles in right away and usually can take a little more tightening.
Good luck and safe travels.

One more thing, keep your tires inflated to the recommended 50 lbs.
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:16 PM   #9
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We pulled a Chevy Spark on a Demco dolly behind a coachmen leprachaun for a couple of years with no issues; not the same as a Primus but pretty low to the ground and not much clearence. No issues loading or pulling at all. Couple of points:
1. I would stop and check the tie downs at about 25 miles or so. The dealer recommended that distance. Most times I would end up tightening them a little bit and then not again during the drive. I was also paranoid about checking them at every stop for gas, etc.
2. Only once did I have a gas station problem early on in pulling thr car in for gas - took the wrong angle, ended up unloading the spark. Good thing we were close to that night stay. We got to be real picky about where to get gas. Learned a lot about just how tightly I could turn while pulling a car.
3.we have a back up camera that we could turn on while driving which was comforting about how things we going.
4. We were advised not track up with the car loaded at the dealership. Never really did beyond a foot or two for positioning.

Have fun. We enjoyed being able to pull a car and have with us. In the end, once used time it, was easy
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by IMSMan View Post
I have been using a Demco Karkaddy for 5 years, it tows very easy. Just make sure you follow the loading instructions and check your straps at every stop. I check my straps after the first couple of blocks of travel, the car settles in right away and usually can take a little more tightening.
Good luck and safe travels.

One more thing, keep your tires inflated to the recommended 50 lbs.
Thanks. One thing I did learn from a youtube video was the ball height needs to be about 18". I checked mine and it was at close to 24 inches. It's about 18-19 now after a 5.5 hitch mount drop. I imagine my ramps would have got chewed to pieces with the higher hitch.
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:26 PM   #11
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4. We were advised not track up with the car loaded at the dealership. Never really did beyond a foot or two for positioning.
Thanks. Can you elaborate on 4? Not sure what that means.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:27 PM   #12
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I'd check the tire straps about 30 minutes out. My first trip, I was honked at because a strap had come off (about 15 minutes from home). I rigorously checked them after that and always was able to further tighten them 30 minutes down the road, no matter how tight I thought I had them when leaving.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:44 PM   #13
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Thanks. Can you elaborate on 4? Not sure what that means.
Track up=Back up. Looks like a typo.

We were advised not to back up with the car loaded...
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:48 PM   #14
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Track up=Back up. Looks like a typo.

We were advised not to back up with the car loaded...
I can't imagine trying to back up. All the different pivot points on top of not being able to see things
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:52 PM   #15
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Just so I have a plan, what should I do if I get in a bad spot where I should back up? Unload the car than remove dolly from the RV?
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:59 PM   #16
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I got a lot of good advice when I asked that question here:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ad-153734.html

I just bought a Acme EZE tow dolly and will be taking my first trip later this month. I just got the dolly delivered this week so I plan on getting it set up and doing some practice towing this weekend!
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:01 PM   #17
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Check the straps mounting on the inside of the tires

Another thing to check is before you do your first tow is that the straps holding the front tires on the dolly are not rubbing on any part of the cars suspension.
On our Kia Soul, the tires are relatively small that allows the tie down straps to sit lower on the sides of the tires. With the straps centered on the tires the inside strap rubs on the suspension(cut part way thru the strap on a long tow). From then on I mounted the straps to the outside of the tire, raising the inside of the strap.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Old_hippies View Post
We pulled a Chevy Spark on a Demco dolly behind a coachmen leprachaun for a couple of years with no issues; not the same as a Primus but pretty low to the ground and not much clearence. No issues loading or pulling at all. Couple of points:
1. I would stop and check the tie downs at about 25 miles or so. The dealer recommended that distance. Most times I would end up tightening them a little bit and then not again during the drive. I was also paranoid about checking them at every stop for gas, etc.
2. Only once did I have a gas station problem early on in pulling thr car in for gas - took the wrong angle, ended up unloading the spark. Good thing we were close to that night stay. We got to be real picky about where to get gas. Learned a lot about just how tightly I could turn while pulling a car.
3.we have a back up camera that we could turn on while driving which was comforting about how things we going.
4. We were advised not track up with the car loaded at the dealership. Never really did beyond a foot or two for positioning.

Have fun. We enjoyed being able to pull a car and have with us. In the end, once used time it, was easy
On #4, a typo. The dealer recommended not to back up at all - I had said track up. Of course, we stopped at another location with the car loaded and the service rep proceeded to back up about 10 feet.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:57 PM   #19
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One thing I did add to the Prius was a class 1 hitch. I can use the Prius to tow the dolly if needed. For instance unhooking early on if the campground seems tight and crowded.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by George-B View Post
Another thing to check is before you do your first tow is that the straps holding the front tires on the dolly are not rubbing on any part of the cars suspension.
On our Kia Soul, the tires are relatively small that allows the tie down straps to sit lower on the sides of the tires. With the straps centered on the tires the inside strap rubs on the suspension(cut part way thru the strap on a long tow). From then on I mounted the straps to the outside of the tire, raising the inside of the strap.
Can you include a pic of the tire straps when done this way . I also have this happen with a Buick Verano . I intend to try this on my next trip soon.
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