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Old 01-23-2012, 08:35 PM   #1
madpogue
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Default Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

'96 SW2 112,000 miles. Rear brake line has rusted out. With just a snow-and-ice-covered gravel driveway to work on, and a pesky day job, I'm not gonna try it myself in January. Found a place recommended by a trusted source, appointment is Wed AM. We just had a tow with one of the trucks, so I'm reluctant to call AAA. I actually drove the car home like this, but the roads were dry then. Anybody in shouting distance of Madison have a tow dolly I could rent? Either of my wife's trucks would be able to tow it without even sniffling. I could pick it up Tues. PM and hopefully have it back on Wed.

TIA
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
We just had a tow with one of the trucks, so I'm reluctant to call AAA.

TIA
I would just call them again - you're allowed 4 per year. I called them twice in one day when my spare tire gave out on me this past summer.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

The front brakes do 80% of the work. The other 20% you could do with the hand brake. You got seat belts and insurance don't you? Go for it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Have you tried U-Haul? They've usually got them to rent.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

They won't rent you the dolly unless you also rent the truck.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Quote:
They won't rent you the dolly unless you also rent the truck.
I guess I don't know, I've only checked into using them before. According to their website they only check what you're towing and what you're towing it with. It doesn't appear using their vehicle is a prerequisite.

Regardless, they would be my first call.

Edit - Had to check a Madison U-Haul website. My SUV and Saturn returned a dolly for 44.95 a day with this:


This towing combination will work with your setup.

Towing vehicle requirements:
All towing is subject to inspection. You will need to contact a U-Haul location to schedule a vehicle pre-tow inspection prior to the rental.
U-Haul policy prohibits sport utility vehicles from towing U-Haul equipment if top, or any portion of the top, is removed. A full hard top must be in place. A canvas or cloth top or even a partial canvas or cloth top is not allowable. This policy does not apply to convertible sedans. If your towing vehicle fits this profile then it cannot pull U-Haul equipment.
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Last edited by blizzard; 01-23-2012 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

I had to baby a dodge van home when a brake line busted. Even if the rear line broke, the whole system will be affected, so its very unsafe to drive. What happens when someone cuts in front of you or stops quickly? Yikes madpogue was on the right track initially...
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Well yes you have to be extra carefull and aware of traffic around you. I drove a Corvette for a month with no rear brakes but left extra space between cars in front and kept an eye out on those at the side.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

It's been a few years but I have rented from Uhaul and provided my own truck. They just check to make sure you don't try and hook it up to a Festiva. I'd go AAA. You pay them for something? Time for them to start earning their keep.

Otherwise, if it isn't far, crush and clamp the line shut assuming you can get at the break. Otherwise, I'd say show your card and save.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Oh, AAA's earned their keep with us! We've had BOTH trucks towed all the way back from the cabin, almost exactly 100 miles. Both times dispatched from a service in La Crosse; I'm sure they charged AAA $300-400 for each of those. One of them was just about a year ago, but the other was just last month. Hmmm....

I came up with the $44.95 on U-Haul as well. You key in what you're towing, and what you're towing it with, and it tells you what your options are (just for S%G, I reversed the two vehicles, and indeed it told me I was insane). So yeah, as long as they know your tow vehicle is sufficient (and both trucks have a hitch and a light connector), they'll rent you either a dolly or a flatbed trailer.

I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about hobbling it there. But in fact, I don't really have front brakes. I have ONE front brake. The brakes are diagonal; one circuit for LF+RR and the other for RF+LR. I was hoping that with ABS, somehow the ABS would separate the circuits further, but they don't. It's the right rear line that's blown, and sure enough, the left front rotor is rusty but the RF is not, indicating that I was not braking with the LF after the failure. Confirmed by a noticeable right pull after the failure. Further confirmed by chalk-marking the rotors and doing a little test braking in the driveway.

And yeah v-guy, great (or twisted) minds must think alike; I actually thought about snipping off the line and folding it shut right out of the ABS box. Then I'd at least have pressure to run both front brakes, and could get some help from the parking brake.

The other hitch with AAA is that you're at their mercy, time-wise. Appointment is at 8:00AM. I'd probably have to get it towed there tomorrow night and drop the key.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Quote:
Originally Posted by atikovi View Post
They won't rent you the dolly unless you also rent the truck.
Where did you get that info from? I have rented a tow dolly 3 times and never once did they say I needed to use their trucks. Its 44.95 if you bring it back to the same place you rented it, else its about $80 one-way.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Quote:
They won't rent you the dolly unless you also rent the truck.
Perhaps the vehicle he was using wasn't able to tow the dolly and vehicle?

I've rented from U-Haul as well. Pretty slick actually.

The same as the OP happened to me with an old Fairmont wagon about 15 years ago. Brake lines rusted through while driving in the city. It was complete and utter terror getting it somewhere even during the middle of the night.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Last I checked was maybe 10 years ago so the policy may have changed since then.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

Well I called AAA. As said, that's what they're there for. Hopefully we won't need them more than two more times between now and November (knock wood).
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Madison WI area - anyone have a tow dolly

I hear that. I've used up my 4 service calls until the June renewal. Makes me a little nervous driving any unknown or questionable vehicle. Will have to look into upgrading to the Premier membership for the 5 free calls.
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