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Old 05-03-2016, 11:03 PM   #1
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Tow Dolly: Kar Kaddy VS Acme VS Master Tow and others

I am looking for real answers concerning these various dollies. The ACME claims their fenders cannot damage your car but your steering MUST remain unlocked on their dolly. We have a 2010 VW New Beetle and the steering locks. I am not sure if you insert the key, turn it on (unlocking the steering) and then off again will work, and I am not sure it will not drain the battery. The ACME cost less, and weighs less but I suspect the tires wear out quickly as they do not swivel. Also you must remove the ramps ....I am not sure that is a big deal or not.

The Kar Kaddy SS looks great, but costs a lot more. The wheels do swivel, but some claim this can cause damage to the sides of your auto.

I know nothing about the Master Tow and other brands. If I buy a dolly, surge brakes are a must. If you have had good experience with other brands, please tell me about it.

Also, would I be able to load the VW Beetle easily with its low ground clearance.

The more I think about it, the more unsure I am about which I should buy so I welcome all thoughts about this.

Thanking all of you in advance.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:13 PM   #2
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Bob,

I have a 2014 Master Tow 80THDSB with surge brakes. I have put about 5000 miles on it towing a 2008 Ford Fusion.

With the Master Tow, steering wheel is locked and transmission in Park. I am able to lock the car while it is on the dolly and do not have to worry about battery drain.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:23 PM   #3
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I have an Acme tow dolly and have towed a Ford Escape with it for about 3000 miles now.

Our Escape has push-button start so the steering doesn't lock. You do have to leave the car in neutral for the Acme dolly. We've had the battery in the Escape die once. I've been rigging up a cable from the charge line at the 7-wire plug to keep the Escape's battery charged (its not finished yet). In the meantime we picked up one of those spare battery jumper units (also good for the RV batteries). When we're on the road I toss the ramps in the back of the toad (instead of putting them on the dolly's tongue).

So far I like the Acme dolly; it does what its supposed to do. I really doubt those tires will wear much--there are too many plies to them and there really is no side load on them. We barely notice the toad back there (many times when turning I mistake it for someone following too close! LOL).
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:59 PM   #4
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I have the Acme and I tow a Chrysler 200 with front wheel drive so I can leave the transmission in park. It has push start so the steering doesn't lock. I bought the surge brakes so you can't back up unless you lock it out. The only issue that I have come up with is making u-turns. Sometimes if I make a sweeping U-turn the strap slips to the side of the wheel. (they do in their instructional video advise you not to make u-turns). I have towed my car around 7000 miles in the past 8 months and I haven't noticed any wear on the tires. The ramps load back on the unit easily. It takes us about 8-10 minutes to load up.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesessek
I have the Acme and I tow a Chrysler 200 with front wheel drive so I can leave the transmission in park.
At one point I scoured the Acme website and found a note indicating that the car should be left in neutral (our Escape is also FWD).

If you think about it; it makes sense. When you go over hills or other sharp inclines or declines the angle of the car to the dolly will change. If the car is in Park the front wheels will want to turn with the angle of the car and spin within the straps which will unnecessarily wear on the straps (and/or stretch them).
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:44 AM   #6
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Fender damage to dingy?

Anyone have the fenders of the dolly do damage to their car? Thanks
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:57 AM   #7
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Not I. I forgot to mention the Master Tow has a swivel/rotating bed. Even with full rotation the fenders have never been closer than 3 inches from the car.

Now I will tell you that Master Tow makes two different width dollies. They have the 77 and the 80. The 80 can handle a vehicle up to 78 inches from door to door (outside passenger to outside drivers) while the 77 can only handle up to 75 inches.
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:03 AM   #8
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No damage here. The Acme dolly is a good 4" - 6" wider than the car on either side. Nonetheless the dolly fenders are aligned with the front wheels of the car, and unless you make a VERY sharp turn they won't come in contact with the car.
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:18 AM   #9
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Good thread as I now have a 2015 Jeep Renegade FWD with push button start and am looking for a dolly to tow it with as well. Keep the knowledge coming!
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:22 AM   #10
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Anyone tow a VW New Beetle? What did you do about the steering lock?
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:34 AM   #11
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Just came up this morning. Seems to summarize many of the points being made above.

Key Tips to Buying a Tow Dolly - RV Life
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Just came up this morning. Seems to summarize many of the points being made above.

Key Tips to Buying a Tow Dolly - RV Life
Wow! And the picture on that article shows exactly what Bob wants to do...how perfect. LOL

Referring to that picture (its a VW Bug on a Acme Tow Dolly) look how far the wheel is from the fender..there is no way a turn can damage the car.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Just came up this morning. Seems to summarize many of the points being made above.

Key Tips to Buying a Tow Dolly - RV Life
Very subjective and slanted more towards an advertising pitch for Acme than an objective article on dollies. Doesn't mention other features such as fenders, fixed or removable ramps, tire size and type, spare tire and wheel etc...
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
Very subjective and slanted more towards an advertising pitch for Acme than an objective article on dollies. Doesn't mention other features such as fenders, fixed or removable ramps, tire size and type, spare tire and wheel etc...
Dave, I was just passing the information along. I know very little about dollies other than I don't like their concept -- also a very subjective opinion that is not based on facts. If I was going to buy one I would do my own research and then rent if possible.

Some points like surge with disc brakes sound good to me. Beyond that I'd want the simplest dolly that could get the job done. I like simple with fewest moving parts.
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Old 05-04-2016, 02:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Dave, I was just passing the information along. I know very little about dollies other than I don't like their concept -- also a very subjective opinion that is not based on facts. If I was going to buy one I would do my own research and then rent if possible.

Some points like surge with disc brakes sound good to me. Beyond that I'd want the simplest dolly that could get the job done. I like simple with fewest moving parts.
Chance,

My comment was not against you but rather the article. For instance they talk about the fender issue but fail to mention the cause of the fender hitting the car. Did it occur because someone used a dolly too narrow for the car being towed, did the take a corner that was too sharp, or did the operator load the vehicle off center on the dolly. Also, there is the absence of the benefits of fenders such as the reduction in road debris and dirt on the side of the car and the addition of lights on the fenders.

My objective comment is that one must select the equipment that is right for them. The Master Tow was right for my Fusion and my Flex. It is not the best dolly for my Lincoln MKZ which has no steering wheel lock and must be towed in the "Neutral Tow" mode.

Unlike the article I am not promoting one brand over another but rather answering a question. That answer is the fenders on my Master Tow have never come into contact with the sides of either my Flex or my Fusion resulting in any vehicle damage.

Also, before the question gets asked the positioning of the spare tire and wheel for my dolly has never impeded the loading or operation of the dolly.

Two pics attached. The first is the dolly itself. My fusion uses the center of the ramps so make you own judgement as to distance between the cars tires and the fender. The second is the car on the dolly (prior coach) and showing the fenders are in line with the cars front wheels.

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Old 05-04-2016, 08:01 PM   #16
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It looks like the ACME is the best value for me.... there is no dealer within 100 miles that has a dolly at an attractive price....
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:04 PM   #17
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Put it in neutral?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I have an Acme tow dolly and have towed a Ford Escape with it for about 3000 miles now.

Our Escape has push-button start so the steering doesn't lock. You do have to leave the car in neutral for the Acme dolly. We've had the battery in the Escape die once. I've been rigging up a cable from the charge line at the 7-wire plug to keep the Escape's battery charged (its not finished yet). In the meantime we picked up one of those spare battery jumper units (also good for the RV batteries). When we're on the road I toss the ramps in the back of the toad (instead of putting them on the dolly's tongue).

So far I like the Acme dolly; it does what its supposed to do. I really doubt those tires will wear much--there are too many plies to them and there really is no side load on them. We barely notice the toad back there (many times when turning I mistake it for someone following too close! LOL).
I just watched the "demo" video on the ACME home page and they to put the car in park.... I am wondering which is better, park or neutral
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Montgomery View Post
I just watched the "demo" video on the ACME home page and they to put the car in park.... I am wondering which is better, park or neutral
It would seem to me that for front wheel drive vehicles, putting the transmission in park is better then neutral. Park engages the transmission to prevent free rolling where neutral will allow the vehicle to roll without the emergency brakes applied (which can't be, or you would be dragging the rear tires when towing on a dolly.)

My Jeep Renegade Owner's Manual specifically states to put the vehicle on the dolly, apply the parking brake, put the transmission into Park, secure the front wheels to the dolly according to the dolly manufacturer's instructions, and then disengage the parking brake.
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