View Full Version : Thinking outloud, trailer or tow-dolly

09-26-2017, 06:10 PM
I am making plans to drive 2400 miles round trip to take possession of a Studebaker in mid October. There will be mountains passes. So I have access to a trailer, which I will tow there and back. I can rent a tow-dolly there; disconnect the driveline and drag the car back. I've used a tow-dolly for thousands of miles when we lived in a motorhome for 7+ years but I didn't think about the vehicle (which I still drive) the same way as an old Studebaker.
What are your thoughts on the ease of the tow-dolly with the increased wear and tear on the car (1200mi) compared to the hassle dragging the trailer both ways while pampering the car? I have about a week to figure out what I am going to do.

09-26-2017, 06:16 PM
If it were me, I would certainly use the trailer. My biggest concern would be that the Studebaker you are towing will have its rear wheels on the road and turning at highway speeds. That means that the tires, rear axle bearings and the differential need to be in good shape so nothing fails while you are towing. I would also think that the trailer probably tows better than a dolly with a car on it.

09-26-2017, 06:19 PM
Trailer for sure for peace of mind.

09-26-2017, 06:19 PM
Can you rent a trailer at the car's location, so you only have to tow it in one direction?

09-26-2017, 06:20 PM
Unless the car to be put on the tow dolly has had a recent rear axle service and checkout, and new or near new tires, no way would I even think about it if I had the choice. I used a dolly a number of times to move cars around before I got a 18' trailer and would not go back.

Rented dolly not sure I would trust their maintenance.... I rented one once to get a parts car 50 miles away and it had a bent hitch and would fishtail when empty.

09-26-2017, 06:27 PM
My choice would definitely be a trailer.
Heard of axle bearings failing and causing all sorts of problems.

09-26-2017, 07:00 PM
Uhaul rents car trailers one way or round trip. I have towed several cars using these with my pickup and they pull great, they use surge brakes. Very reasonable.

09-26-2017, 07:01 PM
yep, definitely a trailer!!! and as Roy said, rent it when you get there.:!: take the vehicle home, unload, then take the trailer to the designated drop off location. a U Haul lot shouldn't be that far away.:)

09-26-2017, 07:05 PM
I own both, a tow dolly and a trailer. Before I owned either, I was always kinda envious of those who did. My thinking...it must be a great thing to sit in the comfort of my modern vehicle, tow my vintage vehicle to a far away event, drive it around a parking lot, and then enjoy a worry free ride back home in air conditioned comfort. Yeah right!:yeahright:

My 18 foot long trailer is great for hauling tractors, and other big loads. But, the first time I contemplated hauling a car, it struck me that I needed some appropriate tie down equipment, along with figuring out how to safely attach them on the vehicle, and not damage the car in the process. Like anything you lack experience in, this is a daunting task. I have used the tow dolly for rescuing family members locally, even my own vehicles a time or two, but loaned it out more than I used it myself. I acquired the dolly by bartering consulting services to a Dolly Manufacturing customer of mine. I solved some process problems they were having and received two dollies in return. I sold one, and kept one.

My take is for light weight travel, simplicity of operation, the tow dolly is convenient. But, as has been mentioned, you will not only have to have confidence in the mechanical condition of the dolly, but the towed vehicle will need to be up to the task. Regardless of your choice, your towing vehicle will need to be sufficient.

Only you know the capacity/condition of your towing rig. A trailer should have brakes, and in the towing vehicle, an adjustable brake controller. You will need to make frequent stops. Not only for your comfort, but to check the rig, hitch, and tie-downs. I also carry a hand held infrared thermometer, and check wheel bearing temperatures. I have used my trailer for a couple of long multi-state trips. I believe if, given your situation, if it is possible to rent an insured, well maintained "one way" U-Haul rig, I would be awfully tempted to go that route. At least, worth looking into.

But...if I was twenty, or so years younger...I'd probably hit the road with what I have.;)

09-26-2017, 07:08 PM
What would you tow the trailer with? That many miles I prefer a trailer being pulled by a full size truck.
You can use a dolly with the front wheels on the ground. You would need to service the bearings. Remove the brake shoes and put good tires on.

09-26-2017, 07:11 PM
I own tow dolly. However, when picking up a car of unknown condition , I always rent from uhaul.

09-26-2017, 09:46 PM
Check the additional cost of dropping a U-Haul off at a different location then picked up. If you have access to a good trailer, you will be money ahead to tow it both ways. I have seen more U-Haul trailers and trucks stranded beside the road, mostly with tire issues, so don't think they are invincible.

09-26-2017, 09:47 PM
I'll be towing with my 2008 Chevrolet 3500HD 4x4 Durmax crew cab dually. The U-Haul rate for the trailer is $502 one way and the dolly is $215. I have a free trailer that I can take round trip. Thanks for all your comments. I am going to take the trailer (round trip).

09-26-2017, 10:22 PM
So now we know how you're doing it. What we really want to know is "Whatcha gettin?'"

09-26-2017, 11:31 PM
KURTRUK, let's let the conclusion wait for the conclusion. But it is fair to say it won't be a big surprise.

09-26-2017, 11:49 PM
I'll be towing with my 2008 Chevrolet 3500HD 4x4 Durmax crew cab dually. The U-Haul rate for the trailer is $502 one way and the dolly is $215. I have a free trailer that I can take round trip. Thanks for all your comments. I am going to take the trailer (round trip).

Good call!

Wow! $500 one way! My car trailer only cost $1100 including tax and license. Yea, it was a few years ago, but even in Obama dollars it would only cost $3500 or so now, that's only 7 uses. Mine has payed for itself hundreds of times over now. Heck, I hauled 2.7 tons of fallen tree to the dump this morning; and another 18+ tons over the last few months. Only 4 to 5 tons more to go. Not to mention the thousands of miles hauling cars, and several household moves. It's the single best purchase I ever made!

09-27-2017, 08:01 AM
I'll be towing with my 2008 Chevrolet 3500HD 4x4 Durmax crew cab dually. The U-Haul rate for the trailer is $502 one way and the dolly is $215. I have a free trailer that I can take round trip. Thanks for all your comments. I am going to take the trailer (round trip).

Good Grief! I hope you don't think my previous post was condescending.:o(post #9) Your equipment (Truck) has a much higher capacity than any personal truck I have ever had!:rolleyes: If the rest of your equipment matches the truck...I should be asking you for advice.:whome:;)

Have a great trip. I hope you have a terrific adventure, and come back to share it with the rest of us.:!:

09-27-2017, 08:21 AM
Borrowed my son's HD2500 to trailer the Avanti home from Vermont. 502 CI gas engine and Allison trans. Hardly knew it was back there. The Uhaul trailers are great for hauling, heavy as heck but well built with great tires. You HD3500 should make it an easy tow although I know you are using a different trailer.

Your biggest problem will be the folks at the rest stops wanting to know about your car. I had a car follow me for a few miles on I-90. He followed me into a rest stop and just couldn't quit admiring the Avanti. It seems his father, a minister, owned one for a number of years and he remembers both of them fondly.:) Have a great trip and post when you return.

Cost wise, it was much less expensive to pickup the trailer locally and make a round trip with it but that was a three day trip, FYI.


09-27-2017, 10:15 AM
Make sure that the tires on the trailer are properly inflated. I didn't check the tire pressure on a friends trailer and they were low. It wasn't fun changing a blown tire on the side of an interstate in 95 degree weather when everyone was whizzing by at speed.

09-27-2017, 12:05 PM
A free trailer beats a one way or round trip rental of either a dolly or trailer every time. A "no brainer".
Over the last 3 summers we have towed a car behind our motorhome on a dolly for nearly 10,000 miles. Only bad experience was a tire separation that destroyed a plastic dolly fender. That was with the tires that were on the dolly when I bought it used. Two new trailer tires in the next town and all has been well ever since.
The first 2 years we towed the 66 Daytona, using the car as a daily driver when the RV was parked and allowing us to join in local car shows wherever we were. The only drawback was disconnecting the rear U-Joint and securing the driveshaft under the car for towing, something I got pretty good at and could do in a short amount of time.
The dolly is convenient because it takes a lot less space at an RV park then a 16 foot or longer trailer. Sometimes RV spaces will not accommodate 40 feet of coach plus 20+ feet of trailer plus another 14 feet of car.
What's bad about a dolly? Well, mine actually has steering built into it, not a swivel deck, but actual tie rods with spindles and surge brakes. IF YOU NEED TO BACK UP, that whole thing sometimes starts to work in a reverse manor and will jack-knife. If you're backing up an incline, the surge brakes want to apply.
I'd tow a dolly without a worry as long as the car was serviced to be towed and the tires on the ground were in good condition and properly inflated.

10-15-2017, 10:14 PM
Loaded and on my way home.

10-16-2017, 01:57 AM
Whoa! A '52 COMMANDER Starliner Hardtop with all of it's trim and Korean Chrome in place!! Nice! :!:

Glad you didn't put THAT on the ground, with a Tow Dolly! :ohmy:

41 Frank
10-16-2017, 08:39 AM
Whoa! A '52 COMMANDER Starliner Hardtop with all of it's trim and Korean Chrome in place!! Nice! :!:

Glad you didn't put THAT on the ground, with a Tow Dolly! :ohmy:

It is a Champion.

10-16-2017, 09:19 AM
Ever have a poorly maintained tow dolly blow out a tire and tear off the cheesy plastic fender and tear up the door of your car and then they had to find another tow dolly and bring it out to you 14 hours later and then they fought you every step of the way to reimburse you for your added expense?
(Worst sentence in the history of the forum)

You can keep your tow dollies.
I'll use a well prepared and serviced trailer (with trailer brakes) any old day.

10-16-2017, 11:58 AM
I figured it would be another hardtop you were going after.... Looks great.

10-18-2017, 04:07 PM
Loaded and on my way home.

‚ÄčAh, the only '52 model worth looking at. Love the car!

10-18-2017, 04:45 PM
Definitely use a trailer vs. a tow-dolly.
Then you only have to worry about trailer blow outs. :eek:

It happened to me, but the Stude was fine. Limped back home on 3 tires.

A blowout on a car can cause fender damage.

It's all about protecting the Stude.

Atlanta GA