No I don't mean Dolly Pardon although I did work with her recently in my acting work.. I mean the Dolly that you use to tow your vehicle behind an RV. This is part of what I needed to make my solution complete when I decided to purchase the 2017 Thor 29.4 Motorhome. I, just as most you see on the road, needed a way to get around in a vehicle that was a little more manueverable than the bus. Especially since once you are plugged in with sewage, power and water with slides out it takes a little bit to get moving again... So, when I bought the RV I made two additional purchases. A motorcycle hauler (something I will review soon) and the Roadmaster RM3477 Tow Dolly..
The unit is pretty simple and requires very little configuration once initially put together.. There is a "wide" and a "narrow" configuration when you initially assembling the unit with regard to the width of the wheels of the tow vehicle. In addition, the tow straps can slide in and out further allowing for different sized vehicles to tow.
I went with this model rather than the more popular tow hook which tows vehicles with all 4 tires on the ground but provides a faster connect/disconnect option.. The dolly is a less expensive option for one but primarily because I have two vehicles I will tow depending on who is going with me on the trip. Installing the necessary braking solution in both vehicles seemed cost prohibitive.
The vehicle tracks very smooth behind the RV and to be honest I seldom noticed it was back there. That said, you are NOT able to backup while towing a vehicle primarily due to there being a swivel in the front of the unit between the skids holding the vehicle and the frame of the unit connected to the tires... So be warned you are forward motion only!
Clearance under the dolly especially when unloaded is very low... Every time I pulled into a gas station I rubbed at least a little. Primarily the skids I believe but the bolts underneath are probably 3-4" off the ground.. It's not a show stopper but definitely something to be aware of.
The straps can be a bit of a pain until you get used to installing them. I am getting faster at it and now have it down to about 15 minutes. You do get your hands dirty since you are dealing with tires and straps and things that are typically in the elements. Doing so in the rain or other weather has its disadvantages as well but overall it still isn't a big deal.
Finally the straps connect over the tires and lock behind with a hook and in front with a typical tie-down ratchet method.. (Check your tire size to insure the straps will accomadate) This works quite well once you get the hang of it. I highly recommend taking a sharpy to one of the straps so as not to always have to stare at them to determine which goes on which side. The straps seem to stay in place quite well and I did stop as directed after 5 miles and ever so on on my trip to insure it was still tight.. I have had to rachet a couple times but nothing that would have been an issue.
Another unknown that would have been useful knowledge. Or at least I didn't and apparently neither did some at Camping World where I purchased the unit with the RV. Just because the unit has integrated electric brakes you still need a brake controller installed on your rig in order to activate the brakes.. Granted this might be common knowledge except when I purchased the unit as part of the initial sale I had no idea and when they installed it they said they tested the brakes and heard them activate so it seemed to me that whatever was needed was installed. I later found out from someone at Camping World who apparently knew more than the person who assembled it (slight concern there) that it was impossible to activate the breaks because there was no brake controller sending any type of signal to say "how much" it should brake. Makes sense when you think about it seeing the dolly had no logic chip or computer in it to determine such but again, I accidentally assumed they knew.
So, the dealer also had to install a Primus IQ brake controller in order to finish the install to make it a complete working unit. Yes, regrettably that is after I took possession of the dolly and towed my Cherokee across the state and over the mountain WITHOUT a way to activate the trailer brakes... No damage thankfully but certainly could have been. hmmm.. My review of how that happened on a different post... Again, I never claimed to be a RV expert including towing vehicles behind it.. I simply wanted a solution that worked... Again, that story later..
Another fun fact that was apparently missed by the dealer who sold me the solution is the fact that although the trailer has lights it is required by law for the towed vehicle to have lights on the back of the vehicle when in tow. Therefore when you purchase the dolly you also need to purchase the accessory item
from RoadMaster part number 2000. That part number is the delux set and I recommend that due to the higher quality wiring that is provided with that set. This provides you with magnetic lights to attach to the back of the towed vehicle to properly light the tail of the tow. Without it you are technically not legal at night. This would have been great to let me know when I was purchasing the whole solution.
Be aware, the unit does have a limited tow capacity of 4250 pounds for the vehicle being towed but that is sufficient to tow most small SUV's and sedans making the tow options quite broad.
I do like the flexibility of having multiple vehicles and I don't see the time required to disconnect the vehicle being a major detractor. It also does simplify not having to deal with moving or having two brake controllers in the towed vehicles as well. The unit overall is well built and the price for a tow dolly is very reasonable and seems well made for the long haul. I highly recommend this product and feel comfortable towing my vehicles behind it over long distances.. Cheers!!
Adventurist at heart, David Mays looks to inspire others to live their life with focus and purpose. Experience and expansion is why we are here.