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  #1  
Old 03-06-2006, 10:29 AM
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Towing with a tow dolly

Bought a new (to me) motorhome over the weekend--82 Bluebird Wanderlodge. Plan to tow a car on some trips. Since neither MB is towable with 4 wheels down without some modification, I'm considering towing rear wheels up on a tow dolly. Anyone have any experience with this? Are tow dollys too much of a headache? Would it be better to buy an older manual tranny vehicle and tow with a tow bar?

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  #2  
Old 03-06-2006, 10:33 AM
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Tow your MB backwards


.
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:39 PM
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I tried to dolly a W114 sedan backward behind a 2006 Dodge quad cab 1500 short bed 2wd and scared the s**t out of myself...the tail kept trying to wag the dog. Now, with a larger tow vehicle, I suspect you wouldn't notice the sensation as much, but the car being pulled may still get squirrely.
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:04 PM
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Do you think it was a result of more weight on the front wheels of the car than weight on the dolly, or just the relative weights of the vehicles involved? I know things get squirrely if a traditional trailer gets tail heavy but I don't know if the same thing happens with a dolly.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
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1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:15 PM
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I suspect that it wouldn't have been so bad if the weight had been over the dolly wheels. It was a really strange effect though, because the back of the truck was moving around, like its butt was wiggling. I guy I work with dollied a Suburban backward behind a fullsize GMC truck, and said that every time the Suburban started moving around, he just stood on the gas and accelerated out of the wiggling motion. He's a braver soul than I. I would just let the thing coast down to a speed that it stopped wiggling around.
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:36 AM
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Weight has little to do with it. An automobile's steering geometry is all wrong to be pulled backwards with the front wheels on the ground. The caster angle and amount of steering 'trail' that makes the steering natually want to center while rolling forward causes it to become intrinsically unstable moving in reverse.

Think about how responsive your steering is when attempting to back up at high speed. Now imagine doing it at 70mph.

All about caster from Wikipedia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The interaction between caster angle and trail is complex, but roughly speaking they both aid steering, caster tends to add damping, while trail adds 'feel', and returnability.
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Last edited by R Leo; 03-07-2006 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 03-07-2006, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry edwards
Bought a new (to me) motorhome over the weekend--82 Bluebird Wanderlodge. Plan to tow a car on some trips. Since neither MB is towable with 4 wheels down without some modification, I'm considering towing rear wheels up on a tow dolly. Anyone have any experience with this? Are tow dollys too much of a headache? Would it be better to buy an older manual tranny vehicle and tow with a tow bar?
i thought about doing that when i moved last year. i was trying to avoid d/c ing the driveshaft in order to tow the sd (w/ a suburban). i was told not to tow a car that way for the reasons already described. i d/c'ed the driveshaft and found that driving while towing w/ the tow dolly was o.k. i drive cross country alot and notice way more motorhomes towing with tow bars, though.
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  #8  
Old 03-07-2006, 05:18 PM
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It doesn't sound like a wise idea. I thought the responsiveness of the steering when reversing was a result of having the turning wheels in the back instead of the front.
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1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
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1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
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  #9  
Old 03-07-2006, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Leo
Weight has little to do with it. An automobile's steering geometry is all wrong to be pulled backwards with the front wheels on the ground. The caster angle and amount of steering 'trail' that makes the steering natually want to center while rolling forward causes it to become intrinsically unstable moving in reverse.
........and because of this, you would need to lock the steering in some fashion to prevent the front end of the vehicle from swinging all over the road.

If the steering was properly locked with the wheels pointing dead ahead, you might be fine with it..........but you might also eat some tires if the front wheels were at a slight angle to the direction of travel.
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  #10  
Old 03-07-2006, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
........and because of this, you would need to lock the steering in some fashion to prevent the front end of the vehicle from swinging all over the road.

If the steering was properly locked with the wheels pointing dead ahead, you might be fine with it..........but you might also eat some tires if the front wheels were at a slight angle to the direction of travel.
With a dolly, I think it would just 'crab' down the road and not damage the tires. However, towing four wheels down and forgetting to unlock the steering wheel with the wheels turned does result in some unpleasant consequences. Someone posted on here a while back a picture of a rear wheel and rim, worn in half from someone who forgot to take it out of Park.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #11  
Old 03-07-2006, 07:45 PM
MedMech
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http://experts.about.com/q/Towing-Issues-1411/RV-towing-dinghy-dollie.htm
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2006, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry edwards
With a dolly, I think it would just 'crab' down the road and not damage the tires.
Well, the very act of crabbing is causing wear to the tires. The vehicle is forced to follow the trailer while the tires want to go off at a slight angle to the trailer. This will scuff the tires along the pavement. It would probably take quite a few miles to see the wear, however.
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2006, 01:03 PM
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Tow a trailer instead of a dolly. It is not easy to back the trailer but it can be done. Backing a short trailer behind a long vehicle is especially tricky. Backing the dolly is by chance only and when you make a mistake, things break.

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