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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

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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.


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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:
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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?
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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.

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Old 04-23-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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Perhaps there's a cottage industry here in building these for trailer owners! At least a set of plans you could sell! Nice job.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:09 PM   #12
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ron- I'd like to make one too. could you take close up photos of how the sprockets are attached? also, where did you get the sprocket setup?
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:34 PM   #13
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In Canada we have stores called "Princess Auto" that have sprockets etc. Probably places like Harbor Freight would have the same stuff.

For the axle, decide on the diameter of shaft that you want. I used 1" which is probably overkill but the bearings were on sale and besides, I'd rather have it too strong than too weak My previous version had about a 5/8" axle and I almost twisted it off.

The drive is in two pieces. A piece called a "weld on hub" with a hole the same size as the axle is required. It has a keyway. I have a milling machine and could machine a keyway but if you don't have one you can substitute grub screws.

Sprockets are available in different diameters. The sprocket has a hole in it that matches the flange on the hub. It has to be welded to the hub.

Hope that helps.

Ron
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:00 AM   #14
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i was referring to the first dolly you made, not the 2nd more heavy duty model. apologies for not being specific, thanks for replying...
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:18 PM   #15
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No problem. The first one was only a one-wheel drive. Don't have any close up photos but basically I just bolted the sprocket to the side of the wheel.

The drive unit from the first one was used on the second one. It did require machining the cable drum to hold a drive sprocket.

Someone else did a similar thing and if you search some more you might find his photos which showed how he attached his drive sprocket.

Ron
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:35 AM   #16
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How great! I don't need one but I may not be able to resist trying to do this project.
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:41 PM   #17
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I like it,doing it that way has some advantages to the one I made.How about some pictures of how you mounted the motor and axles and things.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:31 PM   #18
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Good work Ron

I also needed a power dolly, I use one 40' RV stall for both my trailers parked nose to tail. If I want to take the back trailer it involved a series of hook-up/pull out/disconnect/hook-up/pull out...... basically a real pain.

My design is very similar to Ron's, using the Pricess Auto ATV winch, the tires I use are small 8" with 5x4 1/2" bolt pattern that I install on my Boler when I need to fit it into my garage, (thought multipurposing those would work). Power comes through the trailer wiring harness but I also have built adapters so I can use the vehicle battery along with a 10/3 extension cord. I installed a momentary rocker switch that does apply the trailer brakes but as Ron said the winch provides excellent braking and I have not needed to use it (yet). I used an quick release ball that allows changing between a 1 7/8" and 2" ball

The frame is built from some scrap 3″x4″x 3/8″ thick aluminum angle and some 1.5″x3″x1/8″ aluminum channel and simply bolted together.

More pictures on my Blog









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Old 08-22-2014, 02:24 PM   #19
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Looks great, Ian.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
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My design is very similar to Ron's, using the Pricess Auto ATV winch, the tires I use are small 8" with 5x4 1/2" bolt pattern that I install on my Boler when I need to fit it into my garage, (thought multipurposing those would work). Power comes through the trailer wiring harness but I also have built adapters so I can use the vehicle battery along with a 10/3 extension cord. I installed a momentary rocker switch that does apply the trailer brakes but as Ron said the winch provides excellent braking and I have not needed to use it (yet). I used an quick release ball that allows changing between a 1 7/8" and 2" ball

The frame is built from some scrap 3″x4″x 3/8″ thick aluminum angle and some 1.5″x3″x1/8″ aluminum channel and simply bolted together.
I highlighted some features which I think are particularly slick - nice work! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given what Ian did with his Boler...
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