tow dolly

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tow dolly

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tow dolly

Postby m3a1 » March 14th, 2017, 10:03 am

Well, fellas, I was doing an inventory the other day and it appears that I might just have what I need to build myself a tow dolly. I'd love to have one of those pretty commercial jobs but can't justify laying out the money for an item that would see such infrequent use. But, before I start building, I would like to pose these few questions to the group. Perhaps a little dialogue will help me avoid some pitfalls.

First, has anyone ever actually built one?

Second, does anyone have one with a fixed (stationary) tray as opposed to the swivel tray. There appears to be several commercial styles out there with the stationary tray models being in the vast minority. If you have actual experience with a fixed tray model I'd like to hear about it.

Pics will follow later.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: tow dolly

Postby Mr. Recovery » March 14th, 2017, 10:52 am

From my experience you "can't" do any backing up with the type that swivels.

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Re: tow dolly

Postby m3a1 » March 14th, 2017, 6:48 pm

Yes, I agree that backing would be a problem but I suspect that having a tray that swivels probably really helps with maneuvering in tight places (which is purely conjecture on my part). In all the times I've used a tow dolly I've never had a reason to back one up. Any other thoughts?
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Re: tow dolly

Postby ndcctrucks » April 7th, 2017, 1:01 pm

I built one about eight years ago.

I never looked very closely at the commercial ones, but wonder how you can make any turn at all with a fixed tray? With the front axle strapped tightly-down, you would be towing a two-axle trailer with no ability to swivel the front axle, unless the tongue swivels. The front suspension won't allow much strain left or right, just the tires and straps stretching....

Mine works fine. Only thing I would change is making the top of the kingpin lower, as I have caught the bottom lip of a minivan's bottom air dam on it ((no damage to lip, was plastic and just popped over). I used a blueprint I bought from a publisher.

The one I built is extra-heavy and I have pulled a WWII Dodge dump truck with it a couple of times with no tire or bearing overheating. Used Jeep Grand Cherokee front bearing assemblies, lug nut pattern same as common large trailer tire/rim combos.

For backing, I would suggest making a drop-in lock pin through the tire tray to the frame, although if you REALLY screw up, you could bend the frame.

I always just park where backing will not be necessary, although most semi double-trailer drivers are able to back up at least a yew yards.

-Ken
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Re: tow dolly

Postby m3a1 » June 7th, 2017, 9:40 am

I have everything I need to make it swivel now! And the parts came free! Patience is a virtue.
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