Towing with a dolly

Merkur Scorpio / XR4Ti Technical Library - Check here for answers to common questions, problems and modifications.

Moderator: John Brennan

User avatar
Ray
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 am
Location: CT, USA

Towing with a dolly

Post by Ray » Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:50 am

Turns out i can get a tow dolly (where two wheels ride on the ground) for pretty cheap. needs some work but i have a sawzall and a welder.


Anyway, since the merkur is RWD, i tow the car with the rear on the dolly and have the front on the ground and just secure the steering wheel, right?

or can i tow with the car in neutral and the rear wheels on the ground?

:?:
-Ray
1985 Ford F150 - Tow Missile
1985 Merkur XR4Ti -#141 CP "Miss Daisy"
2005 Subaru LGT
http://www.cartct.com

User avatar
anglin
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 2443
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Hartford, CT
Contact:

Re: Towing with a dolly

Post by anglin » Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:45 am

demonfire wrote:or can i tow with the car in neutral and the rear wheels on the ground?
I used a tow dolly to and from Carlisle once. I had the front tires on it and the rear tires on the ground. The transmission seemed to make more noise when I got back from the trip, but I don't have any real proof of that. There's concern about the forward most bearings in the transmission not receiving any lubricant while the transmission is turning, since the nose is up in the air. I haven't put much thought into the theory, so I'm not saying I believe it, just regurgitating it.

I did break the lowest part of my bumper on the pivot of the tow dolly, but my car is lowered. If I had to do it again I'd tow with the back wheels on the dolly.

All in all, towing with a dolly is frickin' gravy compared to using a trailer. The truck/dolly combination is much more stable.

vcallaway
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2003 3:26 pm
Location: Lakebay, WA, USA
Contact:

Post by vcallaway » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:54 am

I've towed with a dolly several times.

Just remember that there are two types of dollies. One has the mounts pivot, the other does not. The type that does not you need to make sure you leave the steering wheel unlocked. The wheels will turn when you make turns.

The nice thing about a dolly is the lower weight. My 4.0 6cyl jeep can pull an XR on a dolly just fine.
Vince Callaway

User avatar
Ray
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 am
Location: CT, USA

Post by Ray » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:14 pm

so you think towing with the front in the air is okay then?
-Ray
1985 Ford F150 - Tow Missile
1985 Merkur XR4Ti -#141 CP "Miss Daisy"
2005 Subaru LGT
http://www.cartct.com

User avatar
anglin
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 2443
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Hartford, CT
Contact:

Post by anglin » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:43 am

demonfire wrote:so you think towing with the front in the air is okay then?
Towing 14 miles? Sure, probably not going to be an issue. Towing 830 miles through the mountains of Pennsylvania? You'll probably want to put the rear wheels on the dolly then.

User avatar
Ray
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 am
Location: CT, USA

Post by Ray » Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:43 am

heh, that's what i figured. my autoX track is about 40 miles one way, and lime rock park is close to a 2 hour drive.

i really just wanna get a trailer.
-Ray
1985 Ford F150 - Tow Missile
1985 Merkur XR4Ti -#141 CP "Miss Daisy"
2005 Subaru LGT
http://www.cartct.com

User avatar
DPDISXR4Ti
Site Admin
Posts: 13255
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 11:40 pm
Location: New York

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:11 pm

You didn't say (and I don't recall), but is this a 5-speed?

You can get away with towing a manual tranny car with the front wheels in the air, but not an automatic. Still, I'd be reluctant to do it for any significant distance.

The best way is to unbolt the driveshaft and tie it off, and then put the rear wheels on the ground. But if you don't want to do that, I'd toe it backwards. Put the key in to unlock the steering wheel, but tie it off to keep it reasonably straight.

User avatar
Ray
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 am
Location: CT, USA

Post by Ray » Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:23 am

5spd, yeah.

so i want to be able to let the front wheels move? that doesn't seem right... i dunno i'd have to give it a whirl.

as it stands now i have a few other things i need to do first, like replace the head gasket that blew last night.
-Ray
1985 Ford F150 - Tow Missile
1985 Merkur XR4Ti -#141 CP "Miss Daisy"
2005 Subaru LGT
http://www.cartct.com

User avatar
DPDISXR4Ti
Site Admin
Posts: 13255
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 11:40 pm
Location: New York

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:42 am

demonfire wrote:so i want to be able to let the front wheels move? that doesn't seem right... i dunno i'd have to give it a whirl.
Well, generally, you do want them to track straight. The concern is with having the steering wheel lock be the thing that keep the wheels straight. It's just not designed for that kind of force, although I know some people who have used it for that purpose and not killed it.

As VC mentioned, it depends somewhat on the type of dolly. If it's got a pivoting platform for the wheels, the stress would likely be a lot less. Still, for the sake of 3 minutes to tie the steering wheel straight, I'd do it that way regardless of the dolly type.

User avatar
anglin
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 2443
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Hartford, CT
Contact:

Post by anglin » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:00 am

DPDISXR4Ti wrote:The concern is with having the steering wheel lock be the thing that keep the wheels straight. It's just not designed for that kind of force, although I know some people who have used it for that purpose and not killed it.
The steering column itself is actually a little loose now in my racer after using the tow dolly (pivot type) with the steering wheel locked. It seems to be pivoting where the columin bolts to the brace under the dashboard. I've haven't taken a look at it, so I'm not sure what exactly is going on.
Still, for the sake of 3 minutes to tie the steering wheel straight, I'd do it that way regardless of the dolly type.
I recommend tying the steering wheel off to the map pockets on the door panel. They should do fine. (Um, maybe I shouldn't include such sarcasm/humor in this post, since it is probably FAQ-bound.)

User avatar
Boosted Power
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:45 am
Location: Canby, OR
Contact:

Post by Boosted Power » Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:59 pm

I took my 5spd XR home on a dolly with the rear wheels on the ground. It was no big deal. As an extra precaution, halfway through the 2 hour trip I pulled over and started it up to get all the fluids moving around. I have no idea if that actually did anything, but regardless the tranny was fine.
85 XR4Ti- T5, LA3, 3" Exhaust

User avatar
John Brennan
Level 8
Posts: 11400
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 4:19 pm
Location: Scottsdale, AZ "Summer Is Coming"

Post by John Brennan » Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:41 pm

Wow, I've got to say, I would just NEVER tow my XR by the back end with the front wheels on the ground and the steering wheel held by the lock-- if I were towing it by the front end, I'd take a few minutes to drop the prop shaft if I were going any distance.

When I moved up here, a journey of some 1,500 miles, I of course had the car on a trailer towed by the moving truck (boy, did I use that truck's turbo diesel hard!).
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST
2015 Edge

User avatar
Ray
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4332
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 am
Location: CT, USA

Post by Ray » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:24 am

Very well, what i will do if i end up getting this dolly is to put the rear wheels up, since the autoX course is a 50 minute drive, then have the key in for the wheel to be unlocked, and tie the steering wheel to the seat rail, since that is not going anywhere.

Is it better to tie it with something stretchy (ie, a bungy cord) that's really tight on there, or just some nylon rope? How much play do you want?
-Ray
1985 Ford F150 - Tow Missile
1985 Merkur XR4Ti -#141 CP "Miss Daisy"
2005 Subaru LGT
http://www.cartct.com

User avatar
DPDISXR4Ti
Site Admin
Posts: 13255
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 11:40 pm
Location: New York

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:33 am

demonfire wrote:Is it better to tie it with something stretchy (ie, a bungy cord) that's really tight on there, or just some nylon rope? How much play do you want?
You can tie it down reasonably tight w/ rope. The idea is that you DO want it to be held straight; you just don't want the steering wheel lock to be the thing that holds it there. FWIW, I towed last year's Carlisle give-away car like this for 340 miles. The XR is a pretty poor "aero package" going backwards (especially at 80MPH) :shock:, but I got it home with little drama.

User avatar
MerkXRTurbo
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 4612
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 11:08 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA
Contact:

Post by MerkXRTurbo » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:42 am

Or you can just rent a trailer that keeps all four wheels off the ground.
3" mandrel bent exhaust, Ported/Polished head, 1.89/1.57 valves, Gutted uppper/Knife edge lower intake, T3/T4, LA3, Big VAM, Cold air intake, 40bob header, Gillis valve, Forge BOV, Mustang SVO T5, Conquest intercooler, 20psi.

Post Reply