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Demco Kar Kaddy X Tow Dolly with Disc Brakes Review

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Review of the Demco Kar Kaddy X Tow Dolly with Disc Brakes


Hey, everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today, we're gonna be checking out the Demco KarKaddy X tow dolly trailer with disc brakes. What the KarKaddy is going to allow us to do is pull a vehicle behind the vehicle that we're using to tow it down the road. And that can be really convenient, especially for those of you that are pulling the vehicle behind the motorhome. One thing I did wanna touch base on is a lot of people use these KarKaddies to pull their vehicle behind their motorhome just like our setup here today.

And so, you wanna kind of ask yourself, you know, do I wanna use a dolly like this, or go with the traditional flat tow type setup where you have all four wheels on the ground, and a tow bar, and all of those other components. And first thing you need to make sure of is can your vehicle, that you're wanting to tow, even be towed like that Can you have all four wheels on the ground If it can't, then you really don't have a choice. That's kind of out of the window, right So, like this particular vehicle today, you can't tow it like that with all four wheels on the ground. So, this is really the best option. If you can tow it with all four wheels on the ground using the tow bar and everything else, you wanna make sure that you, you're gonna pick the right setup.

And a KarKaddy like this has some advantages, but honestly, some disadvantages too. One of the big disadvantages is you're gonna have to store this. So, if you're tight on storage, it's something you need to think about. All right. Not a huge trailer but relatively big.

If you got a bunch of space, probably not a huge deal, but just something to keep in the back of your head. There's always gonna be a little bit of maintenance involved. You got two extra tires and some breaks, so if you put a lot of miles on this thing, you are gonna have to service those items from time to time, kind of keep up on it. And that's really not the case with a, what we call flat tow setup, when you have all four wheels on the ground. Really no ton of maintenance there, hardly any at all.

But this does have some advantages as well. It's not invasive. You're not putting anything on the vehicle. You're not modifying your vehicle at all. And, and honestly, it's pretty much just as easy to set up. So, if you had a vehicle right next to this that is a flat tow setup, and you had a little bit of practice with this, kind of knowing what you're doing here, I really don't see an advantage. Maybe a minute or two within each other. It's not really a game changer there. So, this definitely has some perks and some setbacks. But at the end of the day, it's all gonna be what's gonna work for your, best for your situation and really what you're looking for out of a product like this. So, there are several of these dollies on the market and so, I figured it would be useful just to kind of compare this one to another one. And the one that we're gonna be talking about is the Roadmaster dolly. Great product. It's been used for a long time. It'll get the job done. But with that said, I do think this one has a slight advantage. It's got a little more weight capacity. It just seems a little bit more heavy-duty, which is never a bad thing. And the Roadmaster one also uses electric brakes. All right. As compared to our KarKaddy here, this has surge type brakes. And with this one, there's not gonna be anything additional or extra that you're gonna need for your brakes to work. With the Roadmaster dolly, with it using those electric brakes, you are going to need a brake controller. So, if your vehicle that you're using to tow this doesn't have an electric brake controller, you're gonna have to equip it with one in order to use that Roadmaster dolly. So, couple more components that you'd have to use with the Roadmaster. And so, with this setup here, our KarKaddy, I feel like it's just a little more simple. So, now that we have the vehicle off of the KarKaddy, why don't we go ahead and take a better look at it. We'll go ahead and just start from the front and work our way towards the back. So, I went ahead and just hooked up to a pickup truck here just for demonstration purposes. It's a little easier to see. A little more manageable to kind of see what's going on. But first thing I wanna talk about is the coupler. So, this coupler is gonna work with those two inch balls and really common size, so you should be covered there. And we've had pretty good luck with these couplers actually. These are the easy latch and it makes it super simple. Essentially, you just drop the trailer right on and that's about it. This thing kind of self-locks and everything else, so it's pretty cool. My concern in the past was this latch here is kind of a plastic type feeling material. And we're a little worried about that, how it's gonna hold up. But we've actually put these through some torture test, and beat on them with a hammer and everything else and it did not break. These things are really tough. So, a nice touch that I think is beneficial on this KarKaddy. Just makes everything a little bit easier. If we start to move down here, so it's gonna have these pre-attached safety cables, which are gonna go around your safety chain openings there. And these things are stout. Very heavy-duty, so in the event of an unlikely disconnect, you know you're gonna be able to rely on these things. Something I do wanna mention is the fact that the wiring is gonna be a four-way flat type connector. And generally speaking, a lot of motorhomes or big tow vehicles are going to have a seven-way type connector, one of the round connector. So, chances are pretty good you're gonna have to use an adapter. That way, you're able to plug your wiring in correctly and all your signals will work. There's gonna be one more cable as well that gets connected to the safety chain openings on your hitch, and it's gonna come up to our brake mechanism here. That way, if you do come disconnected, it'll pull and apply the brakes on your KarKaddy. That way, you'll help get things back under control and bring it to a safe stop. And that kind of leads me to my next point. Something that I really like about this setup is the fact that it uses what's called surge brakes. Okay so, it's not a like electric brakes. You do not need a brake controller to pull this trailer and apply the brakes, so really convenient. This works very similar to most boat trailers, if you guys are familiar with those at all by chance. And the way it works is whenever you apply the brakes in your vehicle that you're using to tow, what's gonna happen is you're gonna have forward momentum. So, when you're stopping up here, this is gonna wanna push forward. And when that pushes forward, that's going to direct hydraulic fluid or brake fluid to the brakes, and that's what's going to apply the brakes on your KarKaddy. Whenever you have a surge brake setup like this, there is going to be a reservoir where you keep your brake fluid and it's this right here. So, something to kind of keep an eye on. You are going to have to fill this up with brake fluid and bleed the brakes. That way, they will function correctly. So, definitely check your manual for that. If it's not something you're comfortable with, definitely take it to a technician who can get that done for you. The KarKaddy is also gonna have this wheel jack here and this makes it really convenient for disconnecting the trailer from your tow vehicle. Of course, once it's unloaded is when you're gonna wanna do this. But this thing pivots, so you can rotate it either way, whichever best suits your needs. And then we'll be able to jack it down. What I like to do here is kind of just get the wheel to touch the ground. And then you can open up your easy latch and continue to rotate it. And it feels good. The operation of this jack is nice and smooth. I feel like you can have some confidence in it. It's well-built. Right here on top of our frame, there's gonna be two holes that are drilled. And this is something you can pick up separately but something I wanna mention. And this will allow you to put a winch up here, and that can be really useful. A lot of times, if you're by yourself maybe, and you don't have a spotter to kind of help keep an eye on things, or sometimes driving your car up onto these ramps can be a little nerve-racking. I definitely get it. And so, if you have a winch right here, you can simply line the vehicle up, pull it and get it close, take your winch, come back here and slowly winch the vehicle into position. So, gives you a couple options there. And if you're a little reluctant to wanna drive up here, definitely something to check out. This mechanism right here will be the latch setup, and this is what controls the tilting action of the KarKaddy. So, whenever you're ready to drive up onto it, this will tilt down. And whenever you're towing down the road, this will be locked into position. So, everything here is reinforced. Everything's really solid fixed steel. And the way this mechanism works is really simple actually. So, there's gonna be a rod here that acts as a keeper to prevent this from coming up and moving. It's gonna be driven by a spring, and a steel cable, and the handle. So, whenever you're ready to pull up onto this, simply just gonna grab that handle and pull it back. It's really smooth. Doesn't take a bunch of effort. And now, this is unlocked. Okay. So, what I'm gonna do is just put a little bit of weight back here. Don't take much. And you can see that tilted back. All right. The mechanism allowed this to come up into this position. And this bar right here is stopping it from going any higher. As well as the ground, if you're on level ground, the ramps will hit as well. But with that said, you'll have it in that position. And I'm just gonna act like I'm a car driving up here once the weight gets over the axles. It'll come back and lock itself back into position there. This portion of the KarKaddy here where your tires would sit under the trays and this connecting frame portion of it, what this actually does is pivots. Okay so, it can go like this and like this. And the reason for that is to help the vehicle being towed kind of track better with the towed vehicle. So, whenever you have this strapped on here and you're going around turns and things like that, you will get some pivoting action happening and what that's gonna do is really help the vehicle track better. So, it's going to be more responsive and a little more predictable whenever you're towing down the road. The trays here where your vehicle's tires are gonna sit, these things are thick steel, and that holds true with pretty much the whole KarKaddy. Honestly, taking a look at everything, super thick, really well-built. Everything has a really nice powder coated finish on it too. But with that said, these trays are relatively large here. And they're gonna have angles here at the front and the back, and that's gonna make everything a little bit easier, particularly when you're loading it up. When you drive here, these up top are gonna prevent you from overshooting. And once you get up here, when you hit the brakes, a lot of times you get a little bit of rolling action. And the ones back here are gonna prevent that tire from coming back off and making you redo everything again. So, pretty convenient there. These are the chains on each side. So, each one of these wheel tray is gonna have a chain, and this is just an additional safety measure. So, once your vehicle's up here, you can wrap these around the frame or the appropriate attachment point. And it's just another device that, to ensure everything will stay safe in the event of something happening. So, a good thought there. And what I find, when you're not using these, instead of having them bounce all over, these little openings here underneath the angle, simply just kind of slide those in there. That way, they're out of the way. So, if you take a look right here, you can actually see are disc brake caliper. And I'm sure many of you are familiar with the performance and reliability benefits of a disc brake setup compared to that of a drum brake setup. Definitely more modern and much more advanced as far as safety goes, and performance, and things like that. A disc brake is gonna be more responsive more or less, and provide us with greater braking power. That way, it will shorten our overall stopping distance as compared to a drum brake design. And these are very easily serviced as well. So, if you get to the point where you put a lot of miles on this thing and wanna redo the brake pads, not a huge deal. You know what I mean It's, it's not a somewhat complicated design like a drum break setup. Much less moving parts and a lot more straightforward. The ramps here where you're going to line your vehicle up with, that way, you could actually drive it up, the ends are gonna have a slight angle to them. And that's beneficial, especially for cars that are a little bit lower. Kind of gives you a smoother transition up onto the KarKaddy. And there's gonna be some raised bumps as well, and those are there just to help give you a little bit of traction. I know a lot of times, especially in wet conditions and things like that, when you're pulling onto metal, it can get a little slick. So, a simple touch like this does go a long way. As far as the fenders are concerned, they are made from plastic. It's relatively thick and it's somewhat malleable too. So, it's gonna help kind of keep the overall weight of the trailer down a little bit as opposed to metal ones. With that said though, do I have an opinion on them, one way or the other, from plastic and metal Not really. One good thing, they're not gonna rust. However, I could see, maybe if you're always maneuvering in a tight spot or something like that with the trailer disconnected, if you do hit something, I feel like the plastic will bend. But with that said, it's plastic, so it could potentially crack or something like that. But the good news is if it we're me and I was trying to go into somewhere tight with the trailer unloaded, this thing is so light and can be, it's really manageable. I'd probably do it just by hand and wheel this thing around. So, when you're doing that and you're a lot more deliberate, and I'd really have a hard time seeing that happen. As far as the KarKaddy's lighting goes, you're gonna have a big round light on each fender, so you can easily see it. And they're actually LED, so they're with the times here. Much more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. Much brighter, you get a lot more visibility out of them. And not to mention too, these things just last a lot longer. As far as the tires go, they are gonna be a radial type tire. So, you should get some good life expectancy out of them and they should perform well in just about all those types of conditions, whether it be dry or wet. And it's a relatively common size here, we have a 205 75 14, so we have a nice thick sidewall. And that'll help provide us a little more cushion, a little more stability whenever we do have weight on our trailer. And if you ever get to the point where you wear these down, or you get a flat or something like that, we actually do carry replacements right here at etrailer. And for those of you that are wondering about storage and where you're gonna keep this and everything else, I figured I'd share a few measurements. That way, you can kind of get a better idea. As far as the overall length of the trailer, it's gonna be 147 inches. And as far as the overall width of the trailer, at the widest point, it's gonna be 102 inches. So, a pretty manageable actually for what you're trying to use it for. As far as the overall weight of the trailer, as it sits right now, that's gonna be 510 pounds. And just like any setup, you want everything to be simple. And there's really only a few steps to get our vehicle on the KarKaddy and ready to go. Let's go ahead and do it together now. So, first things first, we just wanna make sure our trailer is safely connected to the vehicle that we're gonna be using to tow. So, pretty straightforward, we'll connect the trailer to your ball mount. You want the ball to be approximately 18 inches off the ground, that's what they recommend. And then everything's pretty simple. Hook up your safety cables, the breakaway switch wire here, and simply plug in your wiring. And once we have this all squared away, we're ready to get our car loaded up. Then you just wanna make sure this part is nice and straight since it pivots. Just gonna make sure it's square. Then we'll come here to our handle and open that up. Just gonna come back to the ramp, put a little pressure on it. That's gonna lower it down and make it easier for us to drive off. Probably not a bad idea either just to make sure that the wheels are chocked and make sure the parking brake in the vehicle that you're using to tow is set. That way, everything will be secure while we're driving up on our ramps. So now, we can get the vehicle on the KarKaddy. It's a good idea to have a spotter. That way, he can help line everything up and just kind of keep an eye on things. So, got a friend of mine pulling the car up. I'll keep an eye on it. And we're just gonna drive up until we get loaded on the wheel trays. Now that our vehicle is up on the KarKaddy, we can strap it down, so we're gonna take the included wheel straps. These ends will simply just loop through these round pieces of steel, one on each side. And then we can continue to route this up towards the front and over our tire. So, we're routing it up and towards the front here. It's gonna wrap around. Wanna make sure that these portions here, that actually go across the top of our tire, are about centered. So, you can kind of reach back in there and feel. Everything feels good and centered, so we know we're gonna have the best holding capacity with our strap. But it's just gonna continue on and down along the front. The winch here, this is just gonna slide in the tracks here at the front of our KarKaddy. And you wanna make sure it's centered with our tire. And then you're simply just gonna operate this like any other winch. We'll run it down. Get it nice and tight. We can take this retaining pin and we're gonna slide this through. If your handle's in the way, you can lift up on the handle a little bit. We'll put this through just like that. Then you're just gonna repeat the same process over for the other front tire. Once you have the other side winched down, we then need to go to each side again, take the safety chains and make sure to wrap them around our frame. And one more thing, if your steering wheel doesn't lock whenever the key's out of the ignition, you can use the strap that they give you to help prevent it from moving around. I just wrapped it around our steering wheel and at the other end of it, simply just wrapped the other end of the strap around the seat tracks. Good solid base. Snug it up and that's really all there is to that. But other than that, probably not a bad idea to check the lights on your trailer and kind of just do a walk around and make sure everything looks good. And also, not a bad idea to check your particular vehicle's owner's manual. That way, if there's any special circumstances, or anything like that that you need to follow, you'll know about them. So, as you can see, pretty straightforward as far as getting this thing all set up. Only really takes a few minutes, especially after you do it a few times. Kind of find your routine and know exactly what's going on. You'll have this thing off and on of here in no time. But that said, I do wanna address the main questions that we get asked in regards to a KarKaddy like this, and that is, is it gonna work for my vehicle And generally speaking, this is gonna work with most vehicles. All right. It is designed to work for vehicles that have a tire tread width of 42 to 78 inches. So, that's a pretty big range and is pretty generic in those terms. Most vehicles are gonna fall within that range. With that said, this is primarily designed for front-wheel drive vehicles, but that doesn't mean a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive won't work. You just gonna wanna reference your vehicle's owner's manual and look into it. I can't speak for every single vehicle, but that information will be in your manual. And there may be a couple extra steps that you need to do to tow your vehicle like that. And that kind of holds true with any vehicle, for that matter, even those front-wheel drives. Before you kind of get in too deep, definitely not a bad idea, grab that manual, go to the section where it refers to towing, and just read up on it. That's going to let you know if you can use this or not. And that'll finish up our look at of the Demco KarKaddy X tow dolly trailer with disc brakes..


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