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Old 06-18-2018, 09:24 PM   #1
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

We just took possession of a 2016 Via on June 8th and have decided to have a TOAD. We are planning on pulling a Minnie Cooper on a tow dolly. The next purchase is the tow dolly and we need to decide if we get one with electric or surge brakes.

Your feedback, opinions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:56 PM   #2
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We have chimed in on this question before. Be prepared for lots of differing opinions.😆

We flat tow our Ranger, and dolly tow our Camry. Depends on where we are going, etc. We wouldn't go to the mat for either system being superior.

Our dolly is an EZ-TOW with surge brakes. we prefer them to electric. One less connection to worry about. One less wire to develop shorts. And it has its own LED tail/brake lights.

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Old 06-18-2018, 10:06 PM   #3
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I have done all three methods: Flat, dolly, and trailer. I like trailer best because I can back up with it connected. The problem is often weight. My next choice is a dolly. I have used several brands and I own a Kar Kaddy with surge brakes. I realy love how it folds up in a camp site. No brake controller on the dash. Kar Kaddy is expensive but worth it. Find a good used one for under $2,000. The Via is a lot like my View and have no problems with my Prius on a dolly.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:24 PM   #4
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The feds have allowed surge brakes since 2007 on small and medium size trailers. See New federal surge brake rules to be effective on April 5
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:29 AM   #5
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

Thanks for the information. Surge brakes it is...
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:41 AM   #6
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

I found this comparison furnished by Acme. It looks accurate. I'll be looking for reviews of each.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:36 AM   #7
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Used a Demco for almost twenty years. Well made.

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/...addyss_94-6008

This is the deluxe model. they have cheaper ones. PPL drop ships them in a crate to your address. Some assembly requited. exp. fenders, wheels, ect.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:52 AM   #8
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

Thanks!

Here is the PDF. I used the 'Add Video' link by mistake...rookie mistake.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Detailed-comparison-Tow Dolly.pdf (269.2 KB, 104 views)
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:56 PM   #9
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But backing up a hill will be difficult, correct? I've never had surge brakes.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryW View Post
But backing up a hill will be difficult, correct? I've never had surge brakes.
most have a pin that you insert when backing to disconnect the surge brake function. These were developed more for the trailers with surge brakes but are pretty standard on all (incl. dollys) nowadays.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:52 PM   #11
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Thanks, work. Learning every day.
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
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But backing up a hill will be difficult, correct? I've never had surge brakes.
I carried a 2x4 wrapped in an old flannel shirt that I could wedge into the gap in front of the surge brake cylinder. That prevented the surge brakes from engaging when backing up and when I pulled forward it fell out on its own.

You really can't back up a loaded dolly very far because there is no way to control which the wheels will turn, but a few feet is possible. Mostly where I used the 2x4 was when backing the empty dolly into our storage shed which is slightly up hill.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:01 AM   #13
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Thank you, Jim.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:00 PM   #14
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First see if your state allows surge brakes. Our first dolly was electric because NY outlawed surge brakes.

2nd, do you know how to adjust drum brakes? If not look for surge brake brake dolly with disc brakes.

Our tow dolly is Okay, but backing up is an issue and turning radius is an issue.

If we stay with a dolly, then our next one will be a Demco with steerable axle, so it tracks behind the motorhome.

Surge brakes “CAN” seem to be less work, but really they are not.

I just had to replace the master cyclinder on out tow dolly, because it wasn’t working 100%

You have to check to see if surge brakes are working and it’s a pain. ELectric brakes are easily adjustable by the controller. Surge brakes are not unless you have discs, which we do not. But with surge you have no real idea if the brakes are being applied. Electric is checkable is seconds while driving.

TO use surge vs electric is a toss up. You can more finely turn electric brakes.

To us the more important thing is the steerable axle. Because I can get in many gas stations with the motorhome, but if the car is on the dolly I can not get into the same places. WIth most dollies if you go more then 85 degrees the dolly hits the stops and then you’re dragging the dolly sideways.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:15 PM   #15
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Surge brakes tow dolley

We have a Acme tow dolly surge brakes , we have not had any problems with it up and down hills, etc. But I must it's a pain in the you know what, hooking it up and down. The plus is you can change autos without a problem. Crawing under the car doing the chain thing is a pain. Sometimes we do wish we did 4 down towing. We tow 2009 Ford focus, manual transmission. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:22 PM   #16
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Wish I would have bought the less expensive electric brake dolly.

If you live on the east coast and tow on mainly flat terrain, then a surge brake dolly is fine. With surge brakes you do not need a brake controller in your motor home.

We have a Master Tow dolly with surge brakes and on our trip down into Death Valley the dolly brakes over heated because I used the Jake brake on the motorhome most of the 17 mile descent into the valley.
Wish I would have bought the less expensive electric brake dolly.

Also, I would recommend a dolly that has built in ramps. This Master Tow is so much better than our last dolly.
Do not try to back up when the dolly is connected.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:02 PM   #17
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

Based on the posts here and on other forums we decided that the only choices for us were Demco, Master Tow and ACME EZE-Tow dollies. After viewing the Master Tow in person at the Mesa dealer and evaluating all three we decided on the ACME because of the hydraulic disc brakes, 5 year warranty (limited) and cost. It seems like these three are the most popular and you can't go wrong picking one of these. When I talked with the dealer in Mesa, he indicated that I may need to build up the ramps with wood to put my Mini on the dolly - not a good thing to hear. Anyway, I think that either product will work and be a good choice.

Also-the ACME is giving a free spare tire with new orders...a nice to have.

Thanks to all who replied.

Cheers,
Bob
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:39 PM   #18
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Since you are buying new, do not lose that original certificate. Arizona does not require a title and a plate but many do. You could buy a permanent plate for $125 and be done with it. I have a plate on mine.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:49 PM   #19
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Electric or Surge Brakes on Tow Dolly

Good point...ACME's site provides these with the purchase. Having a plate would probably prevent being stopped in other states.

Bill of sale
Bill of lading
Certificate of origin (original title)
RIV recall disclosure letter
USA federal highway compliance certification
Attached VIN
Federal compliance decal printed in French and English (Canadian customs requirement)
Our product is NAFTA-certified and duty free. You will never find a documentation fee like other companies might charge.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:41 AM   #20
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I live in Canada and our tow dolly does not require a plate in the province I live in.

I have the Acme tow dolly. How and where would you mount a plate on it in case I wanted to get a plate so I am not pulled over when traveling in the States.
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