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Old 04-09-2021, 10:24 AM   #1
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Name: Mitzi
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Is there a device?

Sorry but I've been having a memory problem and apparently Google and I don't speak the same language.

Is there a device you can hitch up to the tongue and use to maneuver your trailer around? I thought I read about one called a "mule". Obviously I'm not speaking of an ATV but something smaller. Maybe hand guided? Any information would be appreciated.
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Old 04-09-2021, 10:55 AM   #2
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You are looking for a trailer dolly.

https://www.amazon.ca/Trailer-Dolly/s?k=Trailer+Dolly
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:11 PM   #3
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Called a trailer dolly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitzi Agnew-Giles View Post
Sorry but I've been having a memory problem and apparently Google and I don't speak the same language.

Is there a device you can hitch up to the tongue and use to maneuver your trailer around? I thought I read about one called a "mule". Obviously I'm not speaking of an ATV but something smaller. Maybe hand guided? Any information would be appreciated.
Yes.
Be wary of Harbor Freights trailer dolly. It was my first one and while I used it well with-in it's rated capacity, it suffered catastrophic failure about the 3rd time I used it. I do not recall where I bought my second trailer dolly but it keeps on doing what it was built to do.
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:22 PM   #4
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There are also trailer dollys that have electric motors to power them.
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:35 PM   #5
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bought this dolly: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

works great. allows us to turn our trillium sideways in some spots
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:47 PM   #6
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I personally can't imagine carrying one with me on a trip, but I have one at home. Very handy. Remember when you're pushing from the front you don't have visibility along the sides of the trailer to see what you're about to hit, so a spotter is a good idea. They can also lend a shoulder when you hit a small bump.

A manual dolly should not be used when there is any significant slope. You have no brakes but the Fred Flintstone kind, and even a small trailer can get away from you in a hurry.
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
..
A manual dolly should not be used when there is any significant slope. You have no brakes but the Fred Flintstone kind, and even a small trailer can get away from you in a hurry.
But you can, and on a slope likey should, connect the break-away switch cable to a secure location in the proper direction (generally uphill), using an appropriate extension cable, so that if the trailer gets away from you the switch gets pulled before the trailer goes too far.
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Old 04-09-2021, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
But you can, and on a slope likey should, connect the break-away switch cable to a secure location in the proper direction (generally uphill), using an appropriate extension cable, so that if the trailer gets away from you the switch gets pulled before the trailer goes too far.
Or, you could go whole hog and control the brakes, (on/off) with the dolly:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...rol-50954.html
This design is a, "dead man switch". That is, the brakes only go off when the button is pressed.

Also, I can't beleive the the prices on Amazon for a trailer dolly. Princess Auto is out of stock, but this seems like a reasonable cost:
https://www.princessauto.com/en/600-...t/PA0008683567

And that is Canadian. $38.50 US.
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Old 04-09-2021, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
But you can, and on a slope likey should, connect the break-away switch cable to a secure location in the proper direction (generally uphill), using an appropriate extension cable, so that if the trailer gets away from you the switch gets pulled before the trailer goes too far.
I'm going to have to (again) agree to disagree. That sounds like a bad idea to me. The breakaway switch is only on or off. It will accelerate until the breakaway engages and then all of a sudden you'll have locked brakes, with unpredictable and uncontrollable results.

The idea of a dead man's switch is better, but I still wouldn't use it on any slope where I could not control the trailer with muscle power alone. There's just too much that could go wrong.
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I'm going to have to (again) agree to disagree. That sounds like a bad idea to me. The breakaway switch is only on or off. It will accelerate until the breakaway engages and then all of a sudden you'll have locked brakes, with unpredictable and uncontrollable results.

The idea of a dead man's switch is better, but I still wouldn't use it on any slope where I could not control the trailer with muscle power alone. There's just too much that could go wrong.
I have used the dolly several times on a grassy slope that I definitely could not control the trailer on without it. The on/off nature is not quite correct. The brakes take about a foot of travel before they lock up. The arm in the brakes has to move to engage the brakes. In that foot the trailer doesn’t build up much speed. The brakes don’t just come on instantly locked. They ramp up as the arm moves. In practice, it is a very controllable process.

However, I may be more reckless than others. Jon, how would you move your trailer down a slope?
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
...The breakaway switch is only on or off. It will accelerate until the breakaway engages and then all of a sudden you'll have locked brakes, with unpredictable and uncontrollable results. ...
First one should never use a dolly when its likely the trailer will roll out of control. And the idea of using the break-away as a last ditch safety measure does not change that basic fact.

But a lanyard extension that is properly placed and of appropriate length can stop the trailer from rolling until it hits something, like your home or another person. Yes, the trailer might be damaged in the process but that might be the better alternative to having it careen uncontrolled until an impact occurs. You would likely need to reposition the extension cable a few times when moving the trailer (with the trailer chocked when changing the cable attachment location). And you would want to keep it short enough so that the trailer does not pick up much speed if it does get out of control. You might want to attach a ten foot cable to a riding lawnmower for example, and have someone drive the mower and follow as you move the trailer with the dolly on a slope, leaving just enough slack in the cable so that the trailer would only roll a few feet if it got away from you and the switch is activated stopping it from rolling.

The idea that you should not use the break-away switch because "all of a sudden you'll have locked brakes, with unpredictable and uncontrollable results" would apply to towing on the highway also. But, while the results might be bad, it will be better than having the trailer cross the center of the highway and hitting some vehicle head on.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
A manual dolly should not be used when there is any significant slope. You have no brakes but the Fred Flintstone kind, and even a small trailer can get away from you in a hurry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
First one should never use a dolly when its likely the trailer will roll out of control. And the idea of using the break-away as a last ditch safety measure does not change that basic fact.
I'm not sure what we're disagreeing about.

I have no problem with using the break-away switch as a back-up safety measure, but not to move a trailer using a manual dolly on a slope you could not manage safely without the brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Jon, how would you move your trailer down a slope?
My tow vehicle.

A tractor of some kind could be another safe way, but I've never had to move my trailer up or down a slope I couldn't access with my tow vehicle.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I'm not sure what we're disagreeing about.
..
Perhaps nothing. But you did say...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I'm going to have to (again) agree to disagree...
I think that when we consider the details, the limitations, the risks and physics, we can all agree that emergency braking system can be a useful albeit last ditch safety option when manually moving the trailer with a dolly.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:22 PM   #14
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Perhaps nothing. But you did say...
I was disagreeing with the notion that using the break-away might enable you to manage a slope you could not negotiate without it. Now that we've clarified that, I'll sleep well tonight!

I generally use a corollary of the trucker's principle (use the same gear to descend as to ascend a grade). I would not try to move my trailer with a dolly down a slope I could not also pull it up. Which for me isn't much of a slope!
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Old 04-10-2021, 11:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I personally can't imagine carrying one with me on a trip, but I have one at home. Very handy. Remember when you're pushing from the front you don't have visibility along the sides of the trailer to see what you're about to hit, so a spotter is a good idea. They can also lend a shoulder when you hit a small bump.

A manual dolly should not be used when there is any significant slope. You have no brakes but the Fred Flintstone kind, and even a small trailer can get away from you in a hurry.

Jon in AZ,



I bring my trailer dolly with me whenever I bring the tote tank. Since I can't lift the tote tank when full, the dolly provides a great lever to lift it off the ground and also a set of front wheels to tow it to the dump station. Mine is not a HF model, but something cheaper I picked up at Walmart.com. I would not even think of using it for my 29 ft TT, the tongue weight would crush it as I lower the trailer tongue jack.
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Old 04-10-2021, 07:08 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
Yes.
Be wary of Harbor Freights trailer dolly. It was my first one and while I used it well with-in it's rated capacity, it suffered catastrophic failure about the 3rd time I used it. I do not recall where I bought my second trailer dolly but it keeps on doing what it was built to do.
We bought our trailer dolly from Harbor Freight several years ago and so far it has done well. We have a 17 ft Casita. We've only used it on concrete not in the grass or dirt. We love it and it is so handy.
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:11 PM   #18
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Not 600 lb trailer

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Originally Posted by miarosa View Post
bought this dolly: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

works great. allows us to turn our trillium sideways in some spots
I believe there are few fiberglass units weighing 600 or less, so donít take their description literally. If they described it correctly, they would mention the unitís capacity for the tongue weight of the trailer. I am unsure who made the manual dolly that I bought used (actually traded a spinning rod and reel), but it looks like that and works fine on a hard level surface. My Casita is tongue-heavy (400 ?) with a gross weight of roughly 2300.
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