Car Tow Dolly Brakes Explained….

Post Date: June 22nd, 2011

Car Tow Dolly Brake Explained…
The most common question I am asked is, “ how do Car Tow Dolly hydraulic brakes work?” . So today we will explain Car Tow Dolly brakes. First, understand that to be 50 state legal you must have brakes of some kind on your Car Tow Dolly. In addition to that if you ever want to sell your tow dolly the first question a potential buyer will ask is if it has brakes or not. 8 out of 10 tow dollies sold have brakes.

An Idler tow dolly simply means it has no brakes at all. Idler dollies are most commonly used around town for short shuttling trips of lighter weight cars.

Electric brakes require a brake control device inside your RV or truck. These units have internal sensors that are dependent on the settings from 2 exterior adjusting knobs. If you do not precisely adjust these knobs then you will probably not even have brakes at all. Also, if a malfunction occurs one must trouble shoot the brake controller, the wiring from the controller to the dolly and then the dolly. A quality digital controller will cost between $450.00 and $600.00 installed into a typical RV.

The most superior and trouble free braking system is a Hydraulic Surge Disc Brake System. Not to be confused with a surge Drum brake system. Surge Disc brakes never need adjusting, cool off much faster and resists brake fade. A disc brake design is 4 times more efficient than a drum design. The pads are in clear sight and can be easily changed by a novice.

So, how does a Surge Disc Brake system work? A surge disc brake system is self contained and self actuating. If you imagine that the coupler housing that goes over your hitch ball is actually a piston that extends back into the actuator on the dolly tongue. When you apply your brakes the weight of what you are towing surges forward slightly and pressurizes the brake line. The harder you brake the harder the tow dolly will brake. The Surge Disc Brake design is very sensitive and precise from slight to hard braking. It never chucks or hits hard. It is very smooth and precise braking. Because tow dollies are so light weight the brake system will not activate on an unloaded dolly, thus saving the tires from locking and dragging while unloaded. A surge brake system should be towed as close to level as possible. The more level the more precise and efficient the brakes will be. The Disc Brake design incorporates a clever but simple emergency brake away system. Should the dolly separate from the ball for any reason the brakes on the dolly instantly go to full lock up helping to bring everything to quick and certain stop.

So, in closing, understand that electric brake and surge drum brake systems are functional but old technology. The most current generation braking system is the Hydraulic Surge Disc Brake design.

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A customers true story…

Post Date: June 22nd, 2011


Hi Richard,

This is my Acme Dolly story:

I had spent hour on the internet surfing sites that offered tow dollies. Each site had the benefits of what they had to offer. Since I had never purchased a tow dolly before, I thought I would get on the phone and talk to the sales department of a few manufactures.  You were certainly on the list. Your web  site just kept popping up! When I called you, you answered all of my questions. You also offered advice on what to look for when purchasing a dolly. You were thorough and sounded very sincere.

Based on our conversation and after reading every detail on your site, I decided to purchase an Acme dolly. The woman that answered the phone in your office was very helpful. She even suggested different ways to have the dolly shipped to save money as I live in Calgary, Alberta.  

The dolly arrived at my door within the allotted ship time. Included were all documents needed to import, license and register it. It was a very simple process.

My car has a low front end and it was painless driving onto the lower profile dolly. No issues at all.

Now the rest of the story………

This was my first time pulling a vehicle behind my motorhome (31 ft class A). My wife, father and I headed to Waterton Lakes, approximately 3 ½ hours south of Calgary. Within the first hour, we encountered hail. The roads were a little slushy. My concern was the performance of the dolly. It performed beautifully. We had no issues in the slush and hail. Believe it or not, one hour later we encountered another hail storm. This one was more sever. The roads become quite slushy and some cars headed into the ditch. I didn’t have a safe place to pull over so I kept on driving. The dolly pulled perfectly through the second storm. It must have been my lucky day because 40 minutes later we encountered a 3rd hail storm and once again, no issues.  July 19th 2010 (check it out on the weather sites) was not a good day to be on the road in these parts of Alberta. Needless to say, the dolly proved itself on the first day. After 2 days in Waterton, we headed into the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This would be another test for the Acme trailer.  There were many of changes in elevation. Pulling up was easy, my concern was how well the dolly brakes would perform when really needed……going downhill with 7-8% grades. I was pleasantly surprised that the dolly was not pushing the motorhome down the hills. It pulled beautifully both going both uphill and downhill.

For those people that are looking for a tow dolly, I can tell you that my Acme trailer did a fantastic job on that first trip, and every trip since. I ever need another dolly I’m buying an Acme dolly!

On a side note, I just happened to be in a town close to Kernersville on business. I needed some straps (my car chewed up the first set) and a reflector (I damaged the original). I had met Richard and picked up the parts needed. He is a gentleman and a very fair business man. I gave me what I needed and then some……..he was kind enough to throw in a few extra parts for good measure.

I am a very satisfied customer!      Regards,    Brent Doherty




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A customers 5400 mile review…

Post Date: June 22nd, 2011


5400 Miles Later


My relationship with Acme Trailers began after a Google Search for a Tow Dolly.  The price of the tow dolly caught my eye but there was more research to do and questions to have answered.  Calling Richard, the President, yielded the answers to my questions.  He always responded by e-mail or on the phone in a timely manner often times the same day.  He helped me immensely in deciding to purchase his dolly.


I was amazed at the quick delivery time.  The freight company called to arrange delivery only a few days after I ordered it.  I was expecting a couple of weeks before it would be delivered.


The dolly arrived in its temporary housing in excellent shape.  The instructions for assembly were simple and it went together well with several “on lookers” from the neighborhood asking so many questions.


I tried out the dolly behind my van without a vehicle on it for the purpose of wearing off the protective coating on the brake system as mentioned in the instructions.  Only about 75% of the coating was worn off, probably because of the lack of weight on the dolly.  I called my good friend Richard and he said that it would be okay to store the dolly with it in that condition.  The wheels spun freely.


The Acme website has photos provided by a customer who stored his dolly “right side up” to save space.  I constructed my 14” x 14” dollies for the tow dolly, so that it could be moved around in my garage and clear the lights from the floor.  The Dolly found a home chained up against a support post in my garage.  I can easily lift the tongue up and down to secure it to the post.

 I purchased the dolly in September of 2010 and could not use it until February of 2011 when we traveled with our RV to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.  I waited to write this summary until after we had put numerous miles on the dolly.  Having completed 5,400 miles on the dolly and an additional 2,000 miles on the car we towed, I can report an excellent experience.  It tows behind the RV (31’ Class C) without even noticing it.  The wheels of the dolly extend about 1 ½ inch on each side beyond the width of the RV allowing me to see the wheels all the time I am driving.

 The only thing I would do differently is to order a spare wheel and tire with the Dolly.  I was trying to save money and knew the tire would certainly not wear out with 5,000 miles of travel.  I did not consider a blow out from hitting something on the road, and as a result, held my breadth that did not happen.  I would have rested more securely had I had a tire with me in the event of a blow out.  I will have one from now on.

 You will not be disappointed with the Acme Dolly.  People are amazed when I move the Dolly by myself to temporarily store it when we stay at an RV park.



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Don Kain on towing a Prius.

Post Date: June 22nd, 2011


Hi Richard

I know I promised you a blog and picture of my rig and the tow Dolly hauling a Prius but I had a big trip planned using it so I thought it would be better writing a review afterwards.

First I rate quality, construction and value a 5 out of 5 on the acme tow Dolly and second after my 7450 mile trip I can report only one issue which was fraying of the large strap due to rubbing on the inside wheel/axle which you gave me instruction on how to better locate the straps by pulling the large strap outward in the back and inward in the front. In addition you sent me,at no charge, a replacement strap even though it was my fault. Despite all the Toyota literature that says only to tow a 2005 Prius with all 4 wheels off the ground it towed flawless on the Dolly. Only one small comment I have is that the led lights hookup instructions were not perfectly clear but I did figure it out no problem.

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Steve Davidson’s review…

Post Date: June 22nd, 2011


We recently ordered a trailer tow dolly for our RV.  The shipping was coordinated as to arrive two days prior to our departure on a camping trip, this was very help and the staff at ACME called to verify the shipment was on its way.  I was able to assemble the dolly in less than ½ hour and have it prepared for loading.  The day we were leaving for our trip, I loaded the dolly and in less than 40 minutes had the tow vehicle tied down and ready to go.  I had never used or loaded a tow dolly before and this was extremely easy to load.  I was completely impressed with how easy it was to tow behind our RV and couldn’t be happier with our purchase.  The second time I loaded the dolly, it only took 20 minutes so the process is not time consuming in the least.


Thanks again for making such an affordable and easy to use tow dolly!


Steve Davidson-Carmel Indiana

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Eze Tow tow dolly review… the truth.

Post Date: February 27th, 2011

So, In my down time I surf the net looking for comments about our   product. For 6 years now I have found nothing but positive comments 99   percent of the time or more. Occasionally I will read a comment from a   customer that is less than stellar. There is currently a review, or   comment from a customers son who states that his parents are unhappy   with their Eze-Tow tow dolly. The first thing that always strikes me is   the fact that these people never contacted me about their issues or   concerns. I understand that no one can make everyone happy all the time.   Although we strive to make a perfect trouble free product we are   subject to the same constraints as everyone else. IE; the design and   integrity of the sub components we buy from others. Sometimes they ( the   lights in this case ) are substandard for the task. A fact we do not   realize until we have sent several dozen units into the field. However   we are always concerned and diligent. If people contact us and let us   know they are having a problem then we quickly realize that something is   wrong and we can do something about it. Unfortunately that is not   always the case. If you happen to see or read a poor review please be   circumspect, call me, ask me about it, I will tell you the truth.   Understand that sometimes bad reviews are just competitors taking a   cheap shot at us and in the same review pushing another product. The   internet can be used in anyway that the user sees fit to use it. Just   know, we are very serious about building a high quality safe tow dolly.   It wounds me deeply to read a bad review online, especially when the   customer never even allowed me the opportunity to resolve their concern.   In the beginning of our company we were buying an axle and brake   assembly from a 75 million dollar a year  company in Atlanta Ga. It   turned out that the axle assembly they were supplying us with had a   concealed defect that did present until the dolly had around 700 miles   on it. The brake system would malfunction and rendered the dolly   unusable. Turns out this 75 million dollar a year company would not do   anything about their defective product. It was left to us to resolve the   matter. Understand, we were then, and still are now, a very small   company. We did not have millions in the bank to absorb this kind of set   back with. We had to make a choice, go out of business and leave   everyone hanging in the lurch, or do the right thing and fix the issue.   Well, it took 9 weeks and $300,000.00 in cash to resolve the matter and   make things right. It was a real blow to our companies resources. It   left us broke and on the edge of going out of business. But we did the   right thing. We stepped up and fixed someone else’s problem with our   money. An interesting point to be made here… each “problem” we have ever   had has resulted in a better product. For instance, the problem we had   with our first axle/brake supplier resulted in a far superior DISC brake   design. Very well vetted and tested. To date we have thousands and   thousands of our disc brake dollies on the road trouble free. We were   using a low cost incandescent light. We decided to upgade to a LED   lighting system. Unfortunatly it took three different products before we   found an LED light that could stand the rigors of tow dolly use.  We   are always looking for ways to improve our products. I tell you this   story because I want you to know that we care.   Your purchase from us   helps support 15 families on this end, be assured we are all very   serious about Design and Quality control. We know that Safe Trailers   Save Lives and we do care about our product and our customers.   Sincerely, Richard Brown, President, Acme Trailer LLc

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A customers 15K review of the EZE-TOW Tow Dolly

Post Date: January 18th, 2011

When my RV co-owner and I decided we needed a tow dolly a few years ago for our respective tow’ds, we considered the Acme but wound up buying one of the major brands (Stehl) because of price and easy local availability. I then personally logged about 40,000 miles of towing with the Stehl Tow dolly. When my wife and I bought our own motorhome a year ago, I knew I wanted to try something different. While the earlier Stehl Tow dolly’s service had been satisfactory overall, the number of component failures of every kind and several designed-in annoying features led me to take the plunge, especially since the Acme had surge disc brakes and a simpler, more thoughtful overall design.
Delivery & set-up: uneventful, but getting the bolts onto the tail lights made the whole process a bit more time-consuming than advertised. I also had to figure out how to secure the extra tail light wiring (which I didn’t want to shorten lest someday I need some of it) and there were no suggestions in the instructions on that. Overall, as a fairly experienced shade-tree wrench twister I’d agree the set-up isn’t complicated but with one thing and another it took me over an hour. Your mileage may vary.
General impressions: the Acme is sturdy and its surge disc brakes are an especially elegant and effective feature. Having towed a 4200lb minivan for many miles with largely-ineffective electric brakes, I was very interested to see if I would feel a difference with this new brake system and boy, did I ever. You often hear RVers saying about their tow’ds “I can’t even tell its back there,” but in this case (stopping), it’s true. Five stars.
The removable ramps work well and stowing them or lashing them down isn’t much of a bother. Not having to straighten out a pivoting dolly pan is a big relief too.
The primary feature that concerns me on the Acme is the fact that the backside of the platform on which the tow’d’s front tires rest is basically flat, with no depression or restraining bar of any kind to keep the tires from rolling back off the dolly. (The Stehl not only had a depressed pan for the tires, but the raised ramps were there as a last-ditch “save” if the tire wiggled its way out of the straps and off the pan – ask me how I know.) I know the four-point straps and safety chains are supposed to serve this purpose and so far for me they have. I’d sure feel a lot better if there were SOMEthing like some channel iron or something to provide some minimal restraint to the rear. My tow’ds are all front-wheel drive and obviously that’s a help; I’d be even more concerned if I couldn’t lock up the front wheels. { ACME: While this would provide some degree of comfort to the user it would actually only be a false sense of security. If the straps fail and safety chains have not been used, then the car will escape regardless of any barrier that may be present at the aft of the dolly. In addition, a drop design hinders the easy on and off loading of many smaller cars. Our 4 Point harness and safety chains properly installed are quite secure.)
The four-point straps took me some getting used to, initially taking me 10-15 minutes a side to attach. I do better now but they’re more complicated than the system with fixed ratchets on my previous dolly. On the other hand, I had two of those Stehl Tow fixed ratchets fall apart on me while under way. I do now have a bent ratchet on the Acme because the tire squirmed around so that it bent the ratchet handle about ten degrees to one side and I’ll have to replace it. (I know, it’s a “consumable” on any dolly.) (ACME; A replacement ratchet is underway to you no charge. )
Acme is justifiably proud of the lighter weight of its dolly. Oddly, though, I find it harder to maneuver by hand than my old one because 1) the lift handle is too far back on the tongue, and 2) there are no “counterweight” ramps behind the axle, both of which make the tongue/handle a good bit heavier to lift. My work-around is to lift it by grabbing the very front of the hitch ball socket, but that means heavy gloves for hand comfort.
I wonder about the integrity of the safety chain and hooks because both are a lighter grade than my previous dolly; when my partner had the Stehl pop off the ball coming thru a deep driveway cut at a Cracker Barrel, the S-hooks (which were a heavier grade than the Acme’s) straightened out and so the car and dolly wound up in the bushes. I put the hooks on the chains now and intend to upgrade the chains and add screw-down links. I do find the breakaway brake system on the Acme to be a very valuable safety feature. (ACME: We have since upgraded our safety chains to much more heavy duty chains. A free set is in the box with your replacement ratchet.)
Experience to date: I’ve put about 15k miles towing with the Acme so far. Other than some surface rust and a couple of bulb replacements (both of which were addressed by subsequent company updates), the dolly has performed well. I very much enjoy the freedom provided by the sealed-hub system; no more fussing around with grease guns and having grease slung over the wheels and fenders. The low-profile tires mean a lower carrying height and I no longer have the lower valances of my tow’ds snagging on the dolly structure because of this less-severe approach/departure angle. (The spare is also easier to store.) The lower tire profile also allows me to back my Phaeton over the dolly right up to (and over, if I line things up right) the fenders, which helps in the storage lot and at campsites.( ACME: We have since dramatically improved our paint process. A new set of LED lights will be included in the box with the other things. If you are ever near us and have an hour to spare we will gladly strip and repaint your dolly with our new paint process no charge while you go have lunch. )
Summary: it’s a quality product and I’m a satisfied customer who recommends it to anyone who wants to dolly-tow.
 Gary Allen Williamsburg VA
 ACME: Thank you.

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