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Braking with a tow dolly


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A friend just gave me a tow dolly. The money that saves us is a greatly needed break. The dolly has no braking system, and we'll be hauling our 2wd Ford Ranger. I know absolutely nothing about remote braking systems. I do know I don't want to come down a grade of any sort, without one on that extra 3,000 pounds.

Anyone care to educate me?

 

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"Will something along the lines of a Brake Buddy, inside my Ranger do the trick?"

 

I would NOT use a brake buddy on a vehicle that sits on a Tow Dolly!!!!!!!!!! I don't like the idea of TWO of the toads brakes going on !!! Its secured on the dolly (other two wheels) with tie down straps or chains etc.!!!!!

 

I tow all four down on my Colorado 4x4 Pickup and I use a Brake buddy in the truck, works fine and I feel reasonably safe

 

If you can tow the Ranger 4 down and NOT use a dolly then fine use a brake buddy, but unless its a 4x4 (which its not) or a manual tranny or you have a driveline disconnect (or remove driveshaft) I don't think its towable 4 down BIT LOOK AT THE MANUAL.

 

OPTION I had a car dolly with no brakes but I converted it to electric brakes which wasnt too hard or expensive. I bought some Dexter 3500 lb elec brakes with hubs and drums and all in an assembly which I mounted on y old dolly WORKED GREAT.

 

OPTION get a new dolly with either surge brakes or electric brakes BUT I WOULDNT TOW A TOAD (or toad on a dolly) UNLESS IT HAD AUXILIARY BRAKING

 

See what other gents have to say, this is just one mans opinion

 

John T

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"Why is that? The brakes would still be functional on the rear tires"

 

Think about it, if two wheels are attached to the dolly with hold down straps or whatever, sure you want to be applying brakes to the other two wheels?????????? If things arent even or in sync, there could be forces that may tend to hold/pull the truck back off the dolly!!!!!!!!!!! If the back truck brakes aren't the same as the RV brakes and are really trying to hold you back, that would try to hold the truck backwards and pull it out or off of the hold downs.

 

DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ANYONE ELSE or am I just silly????? Regardless, ITS NOT ANYTHING ID TRY

 

John T

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DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ANYONE ELSE or am I just silly????? Regardless, ITS NOT ANYTHING ID TRY

John makes a very good point. I think that you might be able to get by to some degree by using a device like the Brake Buddy in the truck, but you would need to be careful in the setup to prevent any possible dragging of the truck off of the dolly. I think that I'd add a strong chain between the truck front chassis and the dolly just of insurance. Then set up the BB so that it does not come on except in a very hard braking situation and even then at a somewhat reduced pressure application to supply only limited braking on the truck.

 

I used a BB when towing our CR-V and always kept it set to only apply in a hard brake situation, but did have a lot of brake applied when it did apply. In this case you don't want to put too much extra drag on those straps.

 

I do think that brakes are very important. Just today we were on I-10 eastbound not far from Indio, CA when we topped a hill to see two cars stopped in the center lane while the drivers assisted a third driver in pushing his care across to the shoulder at about a 45° angle to traffic. There were 5 lanes and three were blocked, and another partially so. I now know that I have my trailer brakes set up pretty well as everything stayed in a straight line while braking hard enough that the tow vehicle ABS was doing its thing. :rolleyes:

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With the truck anchored on the dolly straps and you apply the truck brakes with the rear braking on the pavement, you will need to make sure that the dolly tire straps will not shift. It basically is not engineered to be used as you want.

 

Ken

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"Back to square one then"

 

I hear that. Again, I had a tow dolly with no brakes but it want difficult or too expensive to buy a set of Dexter Elec Brakes complete with hubs and the entire assembly which mounted with four bolts right onto the dolly where the stub axle protruded. HOWEVER my dolly had that four bolt square flange already in place where the Dexter assembly mounted. I did have another trailer that did NOT have the 4 bolt square flange but I bought a new flange, mounted the hub assembly to get things centered and welded the flange to my trailer outer axle and then I had elec brakes.

 

Of course you asked for advice and we gave our best opinions but now its up to you.

 

John T

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When I started towing we also purchased a used tow dolly but didn't think about it not having brakes. We made 2 trips from the Midwest to Az. without any problems. Then I learned that as a towed vehicle it should have brakes & many states require brakes. Since that I never felt good towing it any longer. I was always worried about an accident where I would be held responsible due to no brakes on the dolly. So, I sold the dolly & went 4-down with a CRV.(it was time for a different car anyhow & I made sure I got one that could be towed 4-down.) Now we have the Patriot brake system (similar to the Brake Buddy) & tow with peace of mind. If your like me, once you know you're not towing safely, it's just not smart or comfortable. Best to you whatever you decide, Dave.

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