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Author Topic: How to use tow dolly question?! plz help
sphinxica
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Year : 1991
Posts: 14
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Hello,

I finally got an SUV and bought a tow dolly recently. I have a Spec miata, and according to the manual for the 'master tow' dolly: cars should be towed with front wheels on the dolly and rear wheels on the ground (for rear wheel drive cars, the driveshaft must be disconnected). I've seen people tow cars with the rear wheels on the dolly and the front wheels on the ground. does this work? and how? I would prefer to not disconnect the driveshaft...

I'm towing for the first time to VIR from DC. I want to be safe, etc. Any thoughts?

-AK

cpdenis
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Region: 11
Car #: 09
Year : 99
Posts: 143
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I towed my street Miata rear wheels on the dolly from DC to MIA. Didn't do anything but lock the steering wheel. Obviously you can't do that with an SM because I'm sure you've disabled the steering lock. Other than that I think "the law" wants your brake lights out back. If I may ask what does a dolly go for.
CP

geneclev
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Region: wdc
Car #: ssm 24
Year : 95
Posts: 24
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I am starting my second year in MARRS SSM and tow my car with rear wheels on the dolly street tires up front, put a chin spoiler on this winter and towed to MARRS 1 and have had no issuses,down side you cant backup and not enough storage and i do rebuild my front hubs more frequently.Dont forget to tighten straps again after driving a mile or less

--------------------
coolman A/C&heating
windsorcustoms.com

amolaver Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: NASA MA
Car #: 50
Year : '96
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seriously? sell the dolly and get an open trailer. i borrowed a dolly once when my trailer was unavailable. they should be banned from the roads - they are a safety nightmare and tow like crap. i will rather not attend an event than try and use one of them in the future.

seriously. sell it / return it and buy a trailer via racingjunk or the classifieds here.

--------------------
ahm - http://www.awesom-oracing.com
2009 NASA MA SM Champion

spdmonkey Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Way back 20 years ago I towed with U-Haul tow dolly's and hated every second. I was racing a FWD car so it was easy, but you can't back up and the straps come loose. Just not fun. I have seen some trailers for sale for less than $1000 that were perfect for SM. I's sell the dolly and get an open trailer as suggested above.

db

Pat Newton Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: Northwest, Oregon
Car #: 79
Year : 90
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I towed an old junk BMW with a tow dolly one time. Scariest towing experience of my life. NEVER again.

Get a proper open trailer.

--------------------
Crew Chief, 3D Racing #64, aka Team Scrappy 2.0
3rd place E2, 2009 25 Hours of Thunderhill

Crew Chief, EGR/Miller Motorsports #64, aka Team Scrappy
E2 Champions, 2008 25 Hours of Thunderhill

Brandon F. Verified Driver
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Region: NNJR
Car #: 48
Year : 1996
Posts: 191
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Judging from the comments you may be lucky and/or living on borrowed time with the dolly idea...

I see you're in the DC area...not to pimp a vendor (if it's verboten here) but Econo Trailer in Claysburg, PA was good to deal with and reasonable for a brand new one.

They have 2 variants (single axle brakes vs. dual axle brakes) of their 15' & 18' open deck trailers available.

Now, reasonable for me may not be for you but when I was looking for a 15'-18' open trailer used it was anywhere from $1000-$2500 depending upon condition, age, & accessories (racks, storage...).

I figured for $2k I can get a brand new one and customize to what I want it to do and know what it's been through.

Best of luck,
Brandon

cintibob
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Region: cfr
Car #: 13
Year : 1990
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I bought a double axle open trailer 2 years ago that was unused for a year for $800.00 it had some rust but not bad. Just sold a small open car trailer I had for $500. that had no tire rack and single axle. Look around place and ad in the regions newsletter some racer will have something reasonable it may not have all the bells and whistles or need tires or something small.

tony senese Verified Driver
Phew, that was close!

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wow, nobody answered your question. I have towed with a dolly and like everyone else did not like it but.....

Yes towing rear wheels up is a bit of a pain, but you can "lock" your steering with a strap tied into the center hole in your racing seat.

I also towed with a dolly frontward with the driveshaft unhocked, this is much easier and it felt better to me. It's only 4 bolts to unhook. tie wrap the driveshaft to the powertunnel. (use heavy duty tie wraps)

--------------------
Tony Senese
SM#99
2008 NASA-NE SM Champion
NASA-NE SM Director
2008 PRO-IT SM 3rd place
http://www.nosenseyet.com/coppermine

oem steve
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Region: South East
Car #: #92
Year : 91
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as Tony said you want to leave the driveshaft in, as with the car tilted back the lube will run out of the tail end of the trans. I think front or back it is a matter of how the weight is distributed on the dolly. If you look at most people towing using a dolly they typically load the front end up first.

--------------------
email: standrewsexpress@bellsouth.net
visit us at http://www.standrewsexpress.com

Under powered and under driven

Brandon F. Verified Driver
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Region: NNJR
Car #: 48
Year : 1996
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Yes, as Tony alluded to - we suck. None of us answered your direct question and instead went off on the tangent of hollering about "Dollies are teh devilz! Avoid at all costs!"

Sorry 'bout that.

But Tony has solved your dilemma though: 4 bolts removed (from the differential end of the driveshaft) and a series of heavy duty zip ties.

Back to not being such a douche on the Internet,
Brandon

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Future Never Has Been

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don't lose the driveshaft flange bolts... they aren't standard hardware store issue!

--------------------
Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Car #: 20
Year : 92
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My vote is backwards, with the steering wheel tied down. The only thing turning are the front hubs. When the rear is on the ground, everything down stream of the drive shaft is turning.

Michael53
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Region: NEOKLA
Car #: 53
Year : 90
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I've done the backward tow; I thought it was a pain to get the steering wheel tied just right. For short distances I've just left the drive shaft connected and pulled it forward in neutral. And now that I've opened that can of worms; I looked at a used Miata recently that had over 150k miles of flat towing behind an RV. While not ideal does it really hurt anything? ('just to be clear I do have a small open trailer as my preferred transport method) ....and to Kent's comment: I just lost a race weekend to flange bolt failure. The previous owner of my new spec had substituted generic non-shouldered bolts for the special Mazda hardware. ...bad..bad..bad...

tony senese Verified Driver
Phew, that was close!

Car #: 99
Year : 1994
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flat towing is ok, from what I have been told, it is the angle of the dangle so to speak that creates the issue with the tranny.... but I could be wrong.... but I don't think I am.

--------------------
Tony Senese
SM#99
2008 NASA-NE SM Champion
NASA-NE SM Director
2008 PRO-IT SM 3rd place
http://www.nosenseyet.com/coppermine

Fastbenz
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Can't afford a decent trailer ? Don't race

GraemeD
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quote:
Originally posted by Fastbenz:
Can't afford a decent trailer ? Don't race

maybe it's not the cost,
Canít post an intelligent comment? donít post!

--------------------
Graeme
Golden, CO

geneclev
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Region: wdc
Car #: ssm 24
Year : 95
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ah dont listen to those trailer weenies just because they dont know how to drive doesnt mean you an i dont.i normally tow with an rv you dont even know its back there no really i mean you cant even see it,but i have towed it with a caravan and an astro van ,just keep a good stopping distance dont drive like an idiot.

--------------------
coolman A/C&heating
windsorcustoms.com

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Fastbenz:
Can't afford a decent trailer ? Don't race

My first two full race seasons I flat towed, with a tow bar behind a Mercury Capri. I towed on the race tires, with what tools I had piled in the race car. I couldn't afford any trailer, much less a decent one, but I raced. Longest tows were K.C. to LaJunta, Colorado and another to Pueblo, Co.
wheel

Vick Verified Driver
Do they sell spec training wheels?

Region: NYR
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Year : 1991
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Anyone ever read that Sam Moses book.....fast guys, rich guys, and idiots? The chapter about the hacker brothers is great.....They would get the old bilstein cup rabbits to the tracks that way....only it was a race car towing a race car with a tow bar. they usually won those races too from what I heard.

--------------------
http://www.volko.com

Tom Sager Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by sphinxica:
Hello,

I finally got an SUV and bought a tow dolly recently. I have a Spec miata, and according to the manual for the 'master tow' dolly: cars should be towed with front wheels on the dolly and rear wheels on the ground (for rear wheel drive cars, the driveshaft must be disconnected). I've seen people tow cars with the rear wheels on the dolly and the front wheels on the ground. does this work? and how? I would prefer to not disconnect the driveshaft...

I'm towing for the first time to VIR from DC. I want to be safe, etc. Any thoughts?

-AK

I used a tow dolly years ago. It'll throw a few curve balls at you. Don't get yourself in a situation where you have to back up very far or turn much while backing up. The dolly and the car may decide they don't want to go in the same direction. If you're fastening the car down by the front wheels with the typical dolly straps, you have to be sure you have the straps at the correct tension and in the correct position over the tires. If not, one or both sides can work their way off. Real bad if you lose both sides. Miata doesn't have much suspension travel. I'd suggest raising the rear ride height a bunch for towing. Also realize you're going to put wear and tear on rear suspension components and risk losing your alignment along the way. I don't know how far you're towing, but I'd suggest checking the car and dolly regularly along the way.

Overall you can make it work, but I'm with the other posters that think you should strongly consider an open trailer.

   

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