Homemade power dolly - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-22-2014, 11:12 PM   #1
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Homemade power dolly

The place where I put my trailers is a little uphill, bumpy and involves a slight "jog" making backing the trailer completely into place difficult.

With my Scamp 13 I took a basic manual trailer dolly and motorized it with a cheap truck winch. I machined the drum so I could fit a sprocket to it and chain drive one wheel. It worked, sort of, but was so flimsy it was just blind luck that I didn't twist the small diameter axle off.

I knew the Escape was far too heavy to even bother trying to use the dolly as is. So I went with a 1" diameter axle and two wheel drive. The wheels are larger turf type and the power unit is the one from the Scamp version.

This started as a mock-up with the intention of then welding up a finished version but it worked so well the way it is I might just paint it and call it a day. I do have a few other mods to do before heading to Moab.

Ron
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:37 PM   #2
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Ron, how is it that you live in North Van and have a flat driveway
When I first started reading your post I imagined you backing up this steep driveway with a dolly and experiencing a power failure or some other epic failure, and then chasing your Escape all the way down to the waterfront The pictures helped clear that up. Cool dolly by the way. I've thought of doing something similar but if it ever got away on me I'd be pulling it out of my neighbour's living room. Still considering a winch mounted in my garage though. I'd like to pull it nose forward up the driveway to the garage door.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:56 PM   #3
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Hi Ron,
Nice job on your power dolly ! I spent a lot time on the internet looking on YouTube and things to come up with a homemade power dolly design . It is alway good to see when some one can come up with a good working system and save a lot of money. For myself just by blind luck I was able to purchased a used Power Caster trailer mover for $75 dollars off craigslist and it was only 8 miles from home .It is the the PC -1 model so that put a end to the making my own power caster.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:52 AM   #4
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Anyone considering this type of dolly who is concerned about the trailer rolling away out of control can apdd a switch for the trailer's brakes... it can even be arranged as a "dead man" safety so that the brakes are applied if the handle is released, or with a tethered safety like a personal watercraft.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:54 AM   #5
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In the case of a runaway trailer, could the break-a-way be pulled and have the brakes come on useing the on board trailer batteries.?
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:04 AM   #6
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Functional and effective... I like that.

Ron, the wheels are solidly connected - is it difficult to turn as the tires fight each other, or is the handle leverage high enough that this isn't a difficulty?

Did you consider powering from the trailer battery, by plugging in the cable that normally goes to the tug? The wiring might be too small for that - do you know how much current the winch motor draws?
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davescape View Post
Still considering a winch mounted in my garage though. I'd like to pull it nose forward up the driveway to the garage door.
Actually a cable winch was Version 1, then the previous dolly. Didn't work well for me because I had to keep changing the anchor points to make it work but for a straight line pull it would have been fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Ron, the wheels are solidly connected - is it difficult to turn as the tires fight each other, or is the handle leverage high enough that this isn't a difficulty?

That's why I kept the wheel track relatively narrow and the handle angle relatively low. There is enough leverage to easily overcome the scrub factor

Did you consider powering from the trailer battery, by plugging in the cable that normally goes to the tug? The wiring might be too small for that - do you know how much current the winch motor draws?
Powering from the trailer battery was done in the Scamp version. It worked fine but I had this old car battery and it fit, making the unit self contained, so it got used. The winch comes with the cables so either way works. Don't know the draw.

Braking: The planetary gears seem to act as an engine brake and it's very low geared. No problem though to pull the breakaway cable for a quick stop.


Ron
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:52 AM   #8
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Thanks Ron!

In case anyone missed the answer to my first question, which was buried in the quote of my post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Ron, the wheels are solidly connected - is it difficult to turn as the tires fight each other, or is the handle leverage high enough that this isn't a difficulty?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
That's why I kept the wheel track relatively narrow and the handle angle relatively low. There is enough leverage to easily overcome the scrub factor
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:15 AM   #9
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Nice looking solution. Love to see self made solutions like this.

Would a single large caster work too, or is the double for tipping stability?
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Thanks Brian, I didn't quite get a multi-quote reply done correctly

Yes, Jim, I went for a little extra stability knowing that on uneven ground it might want to "tip" to one side.

My challenge was that I built it without having a 19 handy to measure etc. You might notice that the axle is on the front side of the vertical 2x4 and the ball is centered on it. That was my best guess on a position that would put some, but not too much weight on the castors. Must have got lucky because I wouldn't change anything if I was to fabricate a steel frame.

Ron
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