Tow dolly questions

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-01-18, 07:33 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Tow dolly questions

I bought a used tow dolly. It has no lights. 1) Do the tail lights I can buy at eBay or Amazon have dual bulbs just like a car? 2) Does anyone store a tow dolly vertically in a garage? Please advise how to. Thank you.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-02-18, 02:59 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,392
I don't know what lights you are looking at but you can buy lights that take a one filament bulb or two. You'd want one that takes the double filament. The item discription should say what it is.
 
  #3  
Old 05-02-18, 03:16 AM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5,767
2) Does anyone store a tow dolly vertically in a garage? Please advise how to.
Depends on size. If you can lift it to a vertical position and secure it to the wall, I guess it's OK.
 
  #4  
Old 05-02-18, 05:26 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
If you're talking about the magnetic tow lights with cables, yes they are commonly double filament [1157] bulbs (in sealed plastic housing).

These are the ones I use, high quality:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CMH37O...525263945&sr=1

I've only ever dealt with the U Haul dollies [generally when someone gets in over their head with hookup & use]. They are way too heavy to try to get vertical.
 
  #5  
Old 05-02-18, 01:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
So one bulb serves as tail light, stop light, and turn signal? Cool. Thanks.

I was going to remove the ramps and store the rest in the upright position. But I found it weighs 500 pounds without the ramps. Thank you moderator for convincing me it's a bad idea.

Another question. There is a slight wheel movement, both sides to the same degree. No grinding noise. Should a tow dolly wheel be as tight as a car wheel?
 
  #6  
Old 05-02-18, 02:24 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
You're talking about movement of the wheel on its axle? Yes, should be fairly wiggle-free, depends on the definite of "slight".

As to the lights, one possible issue you could have would be the hookup on your tow vehicle. If you already have a light hookup, should be no problem. A snag that can come up is if the tow vehicle has different rear lighting configuration. For instance if your tow vehicle has separate bulbs for turn signals [usually seen as an separate amber lens] then you can have wiring issues. Gets a little complicated.

Make sure you have good, serviceable straps. I've had to winch/hoist cars off dollies that weren't secured; sudden stop and the towed vehicle goes over the front of the dolly. Ugly.

Also be aware you can't back up with a vehicle on the dolly, it's forward movement only. If you're parked in a straight line and go straight back, might be okay for a few feet, other than that don't try it. My last dolly episode was a guy who backed and jackknifed dolly and towed vehicle so bad it was all jammed up. Also had the UHaul box truck rental stuck in soft sand. Lots of fun.
 
  #7  
Old 05-02-18, 09:33 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
It wiggles. If my car wheel wiggled to the same extent, I would replace the hub or repack the bearings. I suppose there is no difference between car wheels and tow dolly wheels?

Tow vehicle doesn't have amber lens. This is a good tip. Thank you.

Tire straps look decent overall but have some cuts and puffy spots. I am going to be on the safer side and buy new one. Thanks for the advice.
 
  #8  
Old 05-03-18, 03:33 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,392
Trailer bearings are basically the same as car/truck bearings, I'd expect the same on a tow dolly. You'll know more once you take them out to pack them with grease.
 
  #9  
Old 05-04-18, 08:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Thank you. I will replace the wheel hub.
 
  #10  
Old 05-08-18, 09:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
New wheel hubs and a light kit were ordered. Now I have a different issue. Which should I lock, steering wheel or wheel pan?

I bought the tow dolly to transport 2008 Chevy Impala. But I found the car has no lockable steering. Gear in park, removed key. Steering wheel turned, though stiff. It is not just my car. Someone with the same car found wild swaying of his car on tow dolly as soon as he left the house. Later, GM confirmed his finding, 2008 Impala does not have lockable steering.

I have to choose either of the following:
1. Lock steering wheel somehow
I read somewhere the steering wheel can be kept from rotating by seat belt wrapped around the wheel. I tried this, but wrapping wheel with seat belt is different from locked wheel. There is still some limited rotation. I could not find a youtube video on this subject.

2. Lock spinning wheel pan
The wheel pan has a locking bolt. Tighten this and the wheel pan gets fixed to the frame underneath. Since there is a polyethylene plate between wheel pan and the frame, I will have to use 2 or 3 additional C-clamps.

Which is the preferred method?
Thank you.
 
  #11  
Old 05-08-18, 11:51 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
That's front wheel drive, the front wheels go on the dolly, whether or not the steering locks should be academic. The carrier has to pivot on the dolly axle, otherwise when you make a turn the trailing wheels on the towed vehicle will get dragged sideways.

Can you post a few pics so we know what you're dealing with?

FYI, I use the seat-belt method all the time when towing a rear wheel drive vehicle from the rear. There are ways to take the slack out of the belt, but as I said should be no need to do this.
 
  #12  
Old 05-08-18, 03:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
I took pictures of the dolly and 2 bolts. Let me know if I need to take a different photo.
 
Attached Images   
  #13  
Old 05-08-18, 07:21 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
Well, now I'm really confused. From what I see it almost looks like the pivoting portion of the dolly (part with the wheel tubs) has been welded into a fixed position. Maybe just the way it looks in the pic. I confess I've never had to work closely on a dolly other than the rescues I've made when people got into trouble, BUT, they work essentially just like the wheel lift on my wrecker. That upper portion with the wheel tubs HAS to pivot on the axle/lower assembly.
 
  #14  
Old 05-08-18, 07:28 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
Okay, looked at the pic for a long time. Maybe not welded in place, just can't see the dark underside where it's in shadows.

Best guess is that the rear bolt is the pivot point and the front one (that is in an elongated hole) allows for the pivot up to the extent of the slot to either direction as a limit to rotation.

Next time I see a dolly sitting somewhere going to have to take a close look to refresh my mind.
 
  #15  
Old 05-08-18, 07:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Exactly. The rear bolt is the hinge about which the wheel tub rotates. The front bolt limits excessive rotation. Otherwise vehicle fenders could get crushed. The front bolt has a large diameter washer-like pad. Also, each wheel pan also has a plastic sheet underneath. I will take a picture of the underside tomorrow. Another picture with the wheel tub rotated.

I haven't tried it yet, but if I tighten the front bolt, the wheel tub will not rotate. Assuming it will prevent rotation, which would you prefer, allow wheel tub to rotate and lock steering wheel with seat belt, or lock wheel tub and keep the steering wheel loose?

I found a better picture on internet. https://www.google.com/search?q=tow+...d-EA1mZ295CmM:
 

Last edited by paker; 05-08-18 at 08:07 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-09-18, 05:45 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
Okay, think I covered it already, but to summarize:

1. Should be no need to immobilize the steering. When the front wheels are sitting in the tubs and strapped down tightly, they're not going anywhere. There is no reason for these wheels to rotate during towing. This is exactly how a vehicle sits on a wheel lift tow truck like mine, the towed vehicle's wheels sitting on the wheel lift always stay in a fixed position. The pivot point in my case is where the crossbar attaches to the extendable beam. I don't need a pivot limiter because the wheel lift will extend far enough to permit a 90 degree hookup; I can hook up and pull out a parallel-parked car.

Look through the picture sequence starting here: Self-Loading Wheel Lift

Now picture instead of a connecting piece to the tow truck, an axle and wheels sitting on a pivot underneath the crossbar.

Here's an easier analogy maybe: Take a kid's wagon - "Radio Flyer" - notice the front wheels pivot. Same theory. Now, block the front wheel pivot to make it stay in a fixed position and pull the wagon through a turn. You'll notice the rear wheels not really following the fronts through the turn but trying to go sideways.

2. Do not tighten the hardware to a point where the assembly will not rotate. It MUST rotate, that's the reason there are pads between the sections.

NOW, having said that, it MIGHT be possible to accomplish the required pivoting by locking the dolly pivot in place and allowing the vehicle to pivot on it's steering linkage. The wheels would remain strapped in a fixed position in the tubs and, when turning, the rear of the vehicle could make the proper turning radius arc by forcing the vehicle steering to turn. I think this would be a very bad idea as it could unnecessarily stress the various steering gear components by forcing them to move against the static power steering; you know how hard it is to crank a steering wheel with the engine off.
 
  #17  
Old 05-09-18, 06:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 83
The link clearly explains what you wrote about Method 1. Method 2 is out of consideration. Thank you.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'