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Old 06-18-2015, 09:22 AM   #1
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Towing Dolly Recommendations

Getting ready to purchase our first MH and need to decide on vehicle towing. We have a 16 month old Jeep Cherokee that is not 4 down towable. Any dolly towing recommendations and/or information would be appreciated. Is dolly towing a bigger pain then 4 down, etc, etc...........

This has been a great place for us Newbies - thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:29 PM   #2
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I started off towing my Tacoma on a nice car hauler (Featherlite aluminum) and was fairly happy with it. Heard a lot of bad stories about the dollies, though I never used one. I did research them and learned a lot though. When we got the new RV, I was tired of dragging the trailer around, pulling ramps in and out, crawling under to strap it down, blown trailer tires, etc., so I traded the Tacoma for a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and got set up to goat tow. Got all Blue Ox equipment and an Invisibrake.....absolutely tickled pink on our first trip. It worked GREAT! You say your Cherokee can't be flat towed? Are you sure? I thought all the 4WD models could be, just put the transfer case in neutral and the transmission in Park. Don't trust what the dealer tells you - they don't have a clue. What year, model, etc. is your Cherokee?
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
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Our Cherokee is a FWD and according to the drivers manual is not 4 down towable. You are correct that dealerships don't know - we have been to two Jeep dealers and almost purchased a new Cherokee at each. When we told them we wanted them to put in writing that the Cherokee was 4 down towable - they discovered that they weren't.

We really like our Cherokee. Just wondering if dolly towing was a pain?
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:25 PM   #4
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We looked at the Cherokee a couple of years ago and decided to buy my wife an Explorer 2WD. It's flat towable, but after I started digging more, I found they remove the "crush zone" from the front bumper when they install the base plate. I could just see an insurance adjuster claiming we altered the vehicle and what should have been $1,200 worth of damage was now $5,000 worth of damage. After finding out that, we never flat towed it. Glad we didn't now as the other things involved (which I now know about) would have been a royal pain. The Wrangler is like it was built to tow. The newer ones don't even have a steering wheel lock, so they can be towed with the key off. No fuses to pull or anything.

On the dolly, I never tried it but read about troubles from a lot of folks. Before I purchased a dolly, I think I might go rent one from U-Haul and see how much of a pain it really is. You can typically find them used for good prices as a lot of people seem to get rid of them fairly quickly. Here's what I did learn when I was researching them:

1. They are NOT designed to be towed empty (without a vehicle on them) for more than 200 miles MAX. Apparently, since they don't really have any suspension on them, they tend to beat themselves to death.

2. Trailer tires (whether on a car hauler or a dolly - personal experience here) are only expected to last about 5,000 - 8,000 miles. They're not terribly expensive, but they just don't last long at all. You have to use the ST trailer tires, too, as they are designed for the added sidewall loading that comes with a trailer.

3. You cannot back a dolly more than a couple of feet (if that, very carefully). You have to unload the car, then back up. Same with flat towing but for a slightly different reason. In flat towing, you're loading the tow bar the wrong direction. On a dolly, the wheels caster independently - real problem.

4. Most dollies out there have fenders that are attached to the wheels and therefore turn when the wheels turn. Depending on how your vehicle fits, you can wind up jamming a fender into the side of your car - not good for either. There is one make of dolly (don't remember the name but they're made up north) that you hardly ever see anyone selling used. It has fenders that are fixed and the wheels turn separately. No crashing into the side of the car with that one. The shipping to get one down to Florida, however, was about $1,200 for a $3,500 dolly. You could go pick it up, but you can't tow it that far empty. Also, you need a forklift to unload it when it comes in as there is some minor assembly required.

5. Even though the tow dolly has lights on it, most states require you to still have lights on the vehicle, also. The tow dollies I looked at had a trailer plug on the back end of them to connect lights for the vehicle but you still had to either figure out how to wire the lights on the car or get something you could mount on the car. Some folks were selling a light bar that mounted to the tow vehicle's receiver and that seemed the easiest way to go, though you still had to run some wire to reach the tow dolly.

Hope this helps some. Good luck, which ever way you decide to go. Just yell if you have any other questions and I'll try to answer if I know anything.
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:42 PM   #5
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Please check out this website: www.cartowdolly.com It should start playing an instructional video without prompting. Got the hydraulic brake model and spare tire which qualified us for the LED light kit. Prefer stowing the ramps in the toad trunk. Have not had the pleasure of laying in a mud puddle to load or unload yet and that is biggest selling point to all wheel down towing. This type of dolly does not require any modification to the toad. Learned that I must disconnect negative battery post in toad or it will be dead after a full day on the road.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:38 AM   #6
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Appreciate all the input - learning as much as we can so we can make a good decision! See you all on the road soon!
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:29 PM   #7
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We bought a Master Tow dolly from a local dealer when I found that I couldn't flat tow our 2012 Impala LTZ. At the end of this trip Sunday we will have put about 4500 miles on it. I got the one with electric brakes. Have used it for 4 other vehicles. Once had to go 150 miles empty to pick up my daughters Jeep that broke down. Let set the air pressure at 15 like the book said. No problem. Rigid fenders, haven't hit them yet. NY has lots and lots of rules and regulations to keep us safe, but I've heard nothing about needing lights on the car. Tires still look good. Should plan ahead so there is no need to back up. With practice you can a little. Not nearly as bad as most of these people are saying. I won't put it up for sale after we get a 4 down towable car.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:18 PM   #8
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Follow-up questions? When not out on a trip where do you store the dolly, they are substantial in size?
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Old 06-28-2015, 04:07 PM   #9
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Built a wooden frame so I can lift the tongue up and attached to a heavy duty hook on garage wall. The frame lifts the dolly up enough to keep lights and finder off the floor.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:51 PM   #10
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I like the unit that BobHankey has. Mine is a Master tow and the ramps are not removable so storage, both at home and on the road, is a real problem.
I would like to know what the reason is that you can't dolly tow your Impala. Seems to me that a fwd car shouldn't have a problem. Does GM give a reason or do they just say you can't?
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:36 PM   #11
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I don't have a Chevy unpalatable, that was someone else
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:36 AM   #12
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I have the impala. I called Chevy, the tranny doesn't disengage so no flat tow. I live in the country so I park it amongst my other 2 trailers. While camping I have left it hooked up or slid most of it under the camper with it tilted down so the ramps aren't shin bangers.
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Old 07-02-2015, 01:26 PM   #13
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We have a 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 that we flat tow. You have to have active drive 2 for flat towing.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jbronner View Post
We have a 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 that we flat tow. You have to have active drive 2 for flat towing.
X2... We have the Jeep Cherokee Latitude with Active II.Tows like it isnt there keep the rear camera on it to remind me. Salesman had actually ordered this particular model because it was 4 down towable.Sweet ride!
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:58 PM   #15
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X2... We have the Jeep Cherokee Latitude with Active II.Tows like it isnt there keep the rear camera on it to remind me. Salesman had actually ordered this particular model because it was 4 down towable.Sweet ride!

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I agree with you that you don't know it's there. We told our salesman when we arrived that we were looking for a vehicle to tow 4 down/flat/recreational tow. He was on it and told us we needed the active drive 2. Bad news they did not have one in stock, they could order but it would be a new model year. He took it upon himself to check inventory of dealers within a certain mileage of our location. Found one 200 miles away, we agreed on, it is also a Latitude and is a nice ride.
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:08 PM   #16
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I like the unit that BobHankey has. Mine is a Master tow and the ramps are not removable so storage, both at home and on the road, is a real problem.
I would like to know what the reason is that you can't dolly tow your Impala. Seems to me that a fwd car shouldn't have a problem. Does GM give a reason or do they just say you can't?
Please ignore the question. Major brain fart. I thought he said he couldn't dolly tow. DUH
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:22 AM   #17
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Please check out this website: www.cartowdolly.com It should start playing an instructional video without prompting. Got the hydraulic brake model and spare tire which qualified us for the LED light kit. Prefer stowing the ramps in the toad trunk. Have not had the pleasure of laying in a mud puddle to load or unload yet and that is biggest selling point to all wheel down towing. This type of dolly does not require any modification to the toad. Learned that I must disconnect negative battery post in toad or it will be dead after a full day on the road.
What causes the battery to go dead in your toad?
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Old 07-04-2015, 01:51 PM   #18
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What causes the battery to go dead in your toad?
Our toad is a 2008 Nissan....the last year most cars had steering post locks. Therefore we must turn on ignition fully when towing and battery will be dead after a day's driving. Easy solution is to disconnect the negative battery cable. Must reset some things after reconnecting but battery remains fully charged. Will probably get the $5.00 connection device at Walmart soon.
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Old 07-04-2015, 02:38 PM   #19
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Our toad is a 2008 Nissan....the last year most cars had steering post locks. Therefore we must turn on ignition fully when towing and battery will be dead after a day's driving. Easy solution is to disconnect the negative battery cable. Must reset some things after reconnecting but battery remains fully charged. Will probably get the $5.00 connection device at Walmart soon.
Bob, the connection device you refer to....is that just a quick disconnect switch that is placed on the negative battery cable?
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:40 PM   #20
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Bob, the connection device you refer to....is that just a quick disconnect switch that is placed on the negative battery cable?
Yes. Seems to be made of brass. Clamps to the battery post. Large wheel screw to hold the two parts together and a post on the other end to hold the original clamp. See picture below.

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