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Posted: 12/29/2005 9:46:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2005 9:47:44 AM EDT by pv74]
I am going back to the States in April.

I have to move my wife's car (an '05 Ford Focus) from NJ to Mountain Home, ID, a distance of aprox 2400 miles.

I have an '03 F-150 with a tow package...

I could:

Rent a U-haul tow dolly for aprox $400...

Rent a U-haul auto trailer for aprox $850...

Say the hell with it and hire an auto transport service for aprox $1300 on up...


The tow dolly is starting to look attractive... but can I damage my car by using it?
I see RV's towing FWD cars using dollies all the time...

The non-drive wheels would be on the ground, so I dont see how towing it with the front drive wheels off the ground would kill it...

What are the disadvantages of using a dolly?

All the U-haul stuff has stickers syaing do not exceed 45MPH... This does not seem very practical.. In reality, I can do like 65 with it, I hope?

Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:51:28 AM EDT
Are you certain the military will not move her car to your next duty station (assuming here you are under pcs orders)? Would they not let you move it to Korea or was that by choice?

Anyway to answer your question, I would go with the auto trailer and save all wear and tear on the car. Your pcs orders I think, would cover most, if not all the cost....
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:53:44 AM EDT
If you have to get the F150 their too, then I would tow the Focus and skip the auto transport. I have towed long distances twice. Once with the uhaul dolly and once with the trailer. I did not like the dolly because my car bottomed out a few times getting gas and dips in the road. I also noticed a lot more swaying with the dolly then the trailer. If I had to do it again, I would go with the trailer.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:54:10 AM EDT
A tow dolly won't hurt that car.



Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:56:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2005 9:57:16 AM EDT by MC_Man]
I bought a tow dolly from a neighbor for $100, repacked the bearings, installed new seals, and replaced the fenders and lights. I towed my sister-in-law's car from Tampa to New York behind an RV, traveling about 65 mph. Never had a problem. The only trick is to learn how to back up, as it is not a conventional trailer. Dollies have a pivot that helps in turns which makes backing up a bitch.
The only thing I had to watch out for was opening the doors while on the dolly as they tended to hit the fenders.
Oh yeah, make sure you lock the steering wheel good.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:59:40 AM EDT
buy the tow dolly, then tow the car. when you get home sell the dolly for a total loss of about 100 bucks.

as for locking the steering wheel, also run the seat belt through the wheel
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:00:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2005 10:08:21 AM EDT by pv74]

Originally Posted By Bubblehead597:
Are you certain the military will not move her car to your next duty station (assuming here you are under pcs orders)? Would they not let you move it to Korea or was that by choice?

Anyway to answer your question, I would go with the auto trailer and save all wear and tear on the car. Your pcs orders I think, would cover most, if not all the cost....



Nope...they will not...

They will only cover the cost of my household goods from Omaha, NE, my last duty station.
I moved my wife to NJ at my own expense. Uncle sam is paying me full BAH for NJ though...
(Disadvantage of a guaranteed follow on assignment)

I dont have a car here in Korea...

Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:04:31 AM EDT
Cross country with a tow dolly doesn't sound like too much fun.

For the cost of the trailer rental or transport service, you could hire a buddy to drive the car, and buy him a one way ticket back home.

Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:06:57 AM EDT
So I take it the disadvantage of a dolly is lower ground clearance and a tendancy to sway?
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:08:26 AM EDT

repacked the bearings

That's a good idea with any trailer.

I used to work as an electrician and regularly tow a ditch witch 200 miles or more some weeks. Between all of the guys I worked with during the 18 months I was there, we probably had (wild-guess) three dozen trailer failures over the 18 months and ~30,000 miles. About every other week we had a problem. The bearings were the most common problem. I never understood why you could get bearings to easily last 100k miles on a car, but the trailer ones were always such junk. Next was tires blowing-out. Again, I don't understand why the smaller tires are such crap when the car ones are so much better. Admittedly we were driving on construction sites so we ran over a lot of metal, screws, and nails, but our truck tires fared better. All three of them we had had these problems. If I was driving a trailer that far, I would be very careful on the one you select. Look it over very well. Try to get the newest one they have. If they have one that takes real car tires, get that one.

I'd try finding someone to drive the car there. Got any friends that want to see Idaho?z
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:12:56 AM EDT
I'd buy a dolly before I rented one, but I'd rent the trailer instead of both. your f150 will pull both no problem.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:13:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2005 10:19:21 AM EDT by pv74]

Originally Posted By zoom:

repacked the bearings

That's a good idea with any trailer.

I used to work as an electrician and regularly tow a ditch witch 200 miles or more some weeks. Between all of the guys I worked with during the 18 months I was there, we probably had (wild-guess) three dozen trailer failures over the 18 months and ~30,000 miles. About every other week we had a problem. The bearings were the most common problem. I never understood why you could get bearings to easily last 100k miles on a car, but the trailer ones were always such junk. Next was tires blowing-out. Again, I don't understand why the smaller tires are such crap when the car ones are so much better. Admittedly we were driving on construction sites so we ran over a lot of metal, screws, and nails, but our truck tires fared better. All three of them we had had these problems. If I was driving a trailer that far, I would be very careful on the one you select. Look it over very well. Try to get the newest one they have. If they have one that takes real car tires, get that one.

I'd try finding someone to drive the car there. Got any friends that want to see Idaho?z



It would be easier to drive it, but my wife is a very timid driver....
That little focus probably has less than 3,000 miles on it now and it was bought last year...
She drives it a few miles to work and thats it...

Probably cost about $225 in gasoline or less to drive it their

But then again...if I could get a family memeber to come out for a visit...

Hmm..that might be a good way to do it...

I dont need the car right away...
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:21:58 AM EDT
There is actually a difference in the tire used by tow dollies. They used old-fashoined bias-ply tires because of the sidewall strength. Since the car I was towing failry light, I used regular car tires, and I'm sure the little Focus would be just fine as well.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:27:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:

Originally Posted By Bubblehead597:
Are you certain the military will not move her car to your next duty station (assuming here you are under pcs orders)? Would they not let you move it to Korea or was that by choice?

Anyway to answer your question, I would go with the auto trailer and save all wear and tear on the car. Your pcs orders I think, would cover most, if not all the cost....



Nope...they will not...

They will only cover the cost of my household goods from Omaha, NE, my last duty station.
I moved my wife to NJ at my own expense. Uncle sam is paying me full BAH for NJ though...
(Disadvantage of a guaranteed follow on assignment)

I dont have a car here in Korea...




Oh, sorry to hear that. That is one of the gouges I remember about overseas moves. I still vote on the trailer.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:29:32 AM EDT
Tow dolleys seem to run $1500 on up...

Seems like a good thing to have in the garage...

Do they need to be registered like a trailer?
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 10:35:42 AM EDT
As was suggested, buy a tow dolly. Check with larger RV dealers. Typically they have several used ones in good condition. Often they'll let them go pretty reasonable.

Sell it when you arrive in ID for a price that is too low for someone to resist. Even if you buy one for $400 & sell it for $250 you are money ahead.

Ebay usually has several listed as well.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 11:31:18 AM EDT

Probably cost about $225 in gasoline or less to drive it there

That's almost a nonissue since it will probably cost you almost that much more in gas to tow it with the pick-up. With the old work trucks I drove, the mileage was less than half after adding the ladder rack and the trailer.

MC_Man, good point about the bias-ply tires. We just had terrible luck with the trailer tires.z
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 2:07:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:
Tow dolleys seem to run $1500 on up...

Seems like a good thing to have in the garage...

Do they need to be registered like a trailer?



No, they do not need to be registered. At least not in FL.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 2:08:37 PM EDT
I dont know the best way but I bet that is the farthest ANY Focus has ever traveled without a breakdown.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 2:11:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:
So I take it the disadvantage of a dolly is lower ground clearance and a tendancy to sway?

That and backing up will be a problem, and tight turns will also be a problem. I would get a trailer if I was to tow a car again
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 2:41:15 PM EDT
Need more info

Is your wife with you or is she in NJ?
Where is your truck?
Where are your household goods?
Are you doing a DITY move, mil move or a combo of both?
Do you plan to haul ass across the countyr or are you making it a vacation?

FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL
FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL
FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL
FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL
FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL FUCK U-HAUL

Fuck a bunch of tow dolly noise for 2400 miles.
I did 3 cross PCS country moves after I was married, drove my vehicle to the new duty station, then took a hop or comair back to wife, then rented a truck and did a partial DITY move (guns, tools, motorcycles, HAZMAT, pets).

Used a tow trailer, way more secure, handles better, no wear and tear on the vehicle.
Was worth it in my opinion, and after DITY pay and milage I still made money.

I recommend Penske over any other rental service.


Originally Posted By pv74:
I am going back to the States in April.

I have to move my wife's car (an '05 Ford Focus) from NJ to Mountain Home, ID, a distance of aprox 2400 miles.

I have an '03 F-150 with a tow package...

I could:

Rent a U-haul tow dolly for aprox $400...

Rent a U-haul auto trailer for aprox $850...

Say the hell with it and hire an auto transport service for aprox $1300 on up...


The tow dolly is starting to look attractive... but can I damage my car by using it?
I see RV's towing FWD cars using dollies all the time...

The non-drive wheels would be on the ground, so I dont see how towing it with the front drive wheels off the ground would kill it...

What are the disadvantages of using a dolly?

All the U-haul stuff has stickers syaing do not exceed 45MPH... This does not seem very practical.. In reality, I can do like 65 with it, I hope?


Link Posted: 12/29/2005 3:34:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2005 3:36:16 PM EDT by DanishM1Garand]
I tow dollyed an Acura Integra with a Jeep Cherokee from Oklahoma to Ohio. The cruise was set at 65 at 70 it swayed a little. It tracked straight and was not even noticable. Buy a dolly on Ebay or one of the RV Forums and repack the bearings. Tow it across the country and resell it for nearly what you paid.

Less than renting a trailer
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 3:40:09 PM EDT
I despise tow dollies. I f I could manage a way to do it, I'd outlaw them. I tow every day, and find them to be unsafe. Many people will disagree, but if you need it towed any kind of distance, trailer it.


Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:45:44 PM EDT
Trailer would be the safest, but a dolly will work if you keep some things in mind. The biggest thing is that it doesn't have brakes. The only thing stopping or slowing you are the brakes on your truck, they are stopping the motion of two vehicles. That's probably the reason for the speed warning. You will need a lot more stopping distance. Also if you turn to quickly, it's possible that the car can start to skid.
I've towed a Tarus cross country on a dolly, but that was behind a 14' Ryder that. Behind a pickup, I'd much prefer a trailer that has it's own braking system.
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