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Old 02-01-2016, 03:18 AM   #1
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Dolly brakes

Having been convinced that I ought to use a dolly, I've been shopping. Obviously, I need brakes. Which system? Surge or electric? The control of a proportional electric gives sounds nice. But would a surge brake give similar satisfaction, possibly cheaper? Which would be safer in a panic situation? Does the weight of the toad influence the choice more or less than the inexperience of the driver? If the dolly has brakes, does the toad still need a brake system?
Will appreciate some experienced wisdom here.
Chuck in the CasaLoca
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:59 AM   #2
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The dolly must have brakes and no you will not need a braking system for your toad when using a dolly.

Surge brakes would be the simplest solution.

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Old 02-01-2016, 09:55 AM   #3
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I would go with surge brakes as they are a simple self contained system. They are relatively adjustment free, and are proportional by nature.

However, some states, surge brakes may not be allowed; at least not for boat trailers. Whether or not this parlays into other trailers or not is something you may want to check for your state.

Many, if not all states only require one set of trailered wheels to have brakes, so brakes on the dolly should be sufficient.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:21 PM   #4
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My dolly has surge brakes and they function without flaw. On thing I notice is when connected to the hitch, even the slightest movement rearward will activate the surge brakes. Absolutely no backing a dolly with surge brakes.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:27 PM   #5
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Some surge brakes can be locked out so you can back up, even up a hill. Since a dolly can't be backed up very far, those may not include the feature.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chance
Some surge brakes can be locked out so you can back up, even up a hill. Since a dolly can't be backed up very far, those may not include the feature.
Our Acme dolly has a lockout feature on the surge brakes--you still may want to back up the RV + Dolly when no car is attached (even though that is a very rare circumstance).

In my case its easier to unhitch the dolly and walk it around than backup the unit (which of course doesn't engage the brakes).
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:14 AM   #7
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Here's a blog about towing with a dolly.

FAQ on the Pros and Cons of Using a Tow Dolly | RV Love

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Old 02-02-2016, 11:13 AM   #8
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You can backup with a dolly with surge brakes providing the vehicle is not attached (say you want to store the dolly somewhere and want to back it in), and if the trailer has a steering mechanism, preferably it is locked.

If the vehicle is attached to the the dolly, you cannot backup as it could damage the steering system of the vehicle or other components. If the vehicle wants to turn left and the dolly wants to turn right when you backing up, something is gonna break.

This is the same reason you cannot backup a flat towed vehicle.

When I owned surge-brake equipped boat trailers, they didn't have a brake cylinder lockout, and I backed them down ramps many times. You just have to take it slow.

However, you typically cannot back a surge-brake equipped trailer up hill as the brakes will surely engage, unless you have a brake cylinder lockout.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:49 PM   #9
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....cut.....

This is the same reason you cannot backup a flat towed vehicle.

....cut....
Years ago I saw a guy at a campground back up with toad connected. He was trying to get out with big rig and ran out of space, so he backed up a little distance forcing the toad's front wheels to pivot and then slide across the dirt and gravel. It was hard to watch.
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