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Opinions for dolly towing my Sonoma 4x4

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by derekbroerse, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    In the near future I need to take a solo drive about 4 hrs away to bring home another truck, solo because no one seems to want to drive all that way and back again even on my dime! The plan is for me to drive my Sonoma 4x4 out there pulling a tow dolly, then hook the dolly to the bigger truck and put the Sonoma ON the dolly.... then drive home the whole shebang.

    Now, I know with automatic transmissions you shouldn't really do this without taking out the rear driveshaft, but its cold and crappy laying under a vehicle and I'm a little on the lazy side after this brutal winter we've had. So I am looking at alternatives.

    1) Can I simply shift the transfer case to NEUTREL? I don't see why not, it would just be the output shaft spinning then, and with the slope of the truck on the dolly all the oil would tend to submerge that bearing anyways.

    2) What about towing with the rear end on the dolly and front wheels on the ground? Since the front hubs wouldn't be locked, why would it be any different than driving the truck in reverse in 2wd? Or are you not supposed to dolley a vehicle facing the opposite way?

    Any help from people who have towed this way before would be appreciated... or from someone who understands the inner workings of a transfer case and tranny... but I think I'm on the right track...
  2. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Not a big fan of the 2nd option. The RV community seems to frown on this for high speed stability reasons. Would rather do option 1 if possible.
  3. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    Front wheels on dolly, transfer case in neutral. Thats what the manufacturer advises in owners manuals.
  4. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I would just rent a hauling trailer from a Penske dealer which you can just rent/return to any Home Depot. I hauled a car across country a couple of years ago doing this and I was really impressed with the quality of the trailer. Pretty sure it could have handled a Sonoma. Might even save a few bucks if you can get it near your destination and just paying for one day/one way.
  5. DareDog

    DareDog PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,438

    or a uhaul car trailer towed one a few years back double axle towed great.
  6. aczlan

    aczlan Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I towed a RWD Volvo from CT to near Rochester with the back wheels on a dolly a few years back. Left the steering wheel unlocked, used 2 1000# WLL 1" ratchet straps (going to the seat brackets) to hold it centered. Tracked straight and wandering wasn't a problem.
    As for option 1, here is what I found:
    So, IF you have 4 buttons, it should be doable per "bowtiebill"

    Aaron Z
  7. speedy1wrc

    speedy1wrc Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Never a fan of towing any sort of fwd/awd on a dolly. But #1 would work. That said my in-laws flat tow their Jeep to Fla from NY every year. A UHaul trailer would work better? Assuming the Sonoma could haul it empty, then the bigger truck could pull it back..
  8. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,337

    you picking it up in the states or Ontario?
  9. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    The Sonoma would have no problems towing an empty car trailer (I have two to choose from) but I'm trying to keep a little more low profile, since I have to pass a few weigh scales/inspection sites and since the trip is long enough already, I really don't want to get pulled in to sit around all day while they go over everything with a fine toothed comb. No, I think the tow dolly is a lot more discreet, and civillianish lolol.

    My owners manual says nothing about towing it, other than to pull the driveshaft for long distances (of course, it fails to specify what they would consider long distances... is cross country long distance? Or across town?)

    While my truck is older than bowtiebill's I don't think they are that much different--my transfer case is manually shifted and has a neutrel position, I don't see a problem there. Tcases dont rely on oil pressure for lubrication.

    I think either option would work fine, but I do like option #1 better... plus I don't need my mag lights on the hood!

    Thanks for the replies... if anyone has a strong objection though now is the time to speak up!
  10. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    For a change, within Ontario...

    There is a nice 3/4 ton candidate on Craigslist but I think a shorter K5 will be a better idea for my application, even if I have to swap in 3/4 ton axles eventually. NOT that I have a shortage of 1/2 ton stuff laying around, I have at least 5 pairs of half ton axles hanging around, so even if I break it the parts are already here.... 10 bolts, 12 bolts, and Dana 44s.
  11. OldSchoolPSD

    OldSchoolPSD Senior Member
    Messages: 242

  12. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Good website. Doesn't seem entirely accurate on older stuff (that info probably isn't readily available) but anything from the 90s on seems good.

    Good find!
  13. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    take a bus to the destination, then drive new truck back. no dolly, no trailer, no sonoma, and will keep the lowest profile of all across any weight/inspection stations.
  14. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    While I like that you think outside the box, this also has its own set of hangups.

    For one, there is no direct bus route to where I have to go, further, I cannot even get on a bus locally, I would still have to get myself to the next city over just to start out, and have to get a ride from the bus stop to the guy's place. The bus schedule and wait time would also likely make this from a day trip into a two day trip. Furthermore, I have only seen pictures of this truck so far, so if I get there and its a pile of crap (or worse, not safe to drive home even tho the current owner claims it is), then I have no ride home either.

    I think the biggest joy of the tow dolly is that 1)dirt cheap to rent, and 2)so light weight that the little truck would barely notice it, so fuel consumption would be still close to what an empty truck would use to just drive out and view it only, except then I am prepared to take it home in one trip if I like what I see.

    I will admit tho, I hadn't even considered a bus trip... living out in the sticks, you just don't travel that way because it isn't available to you, so honestly it never even occurred to me! :D For all its troubles it would probably be the way to go if the purchase was already a done deal, and just needed to be picked up.

  15. Grassman09

    Grassman09 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,806

    Just make sure the truck is not covered in snow and that its daylight and that it has a muffler and the quarter panels are not rusted and that the plow is not in the box of the truck.... Already have one thread on that topic here.

    You don't think you could catch a ride on of of the many safeway tours bus's that go to the casino like every 10mins out of Toronto.
  16. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    agreed - the bus does present its own set of obstacles. i thought the sale was a done deal, but if this is just an inspection with the possibility of a sale, then thats a different situation.

    but that leads me to my next point. say you inspect the truck and all looks to be in good order, so you make the sale. but even then aren't you a bit worried about the truck making the drive home - let alone making the drive home with another truck in tow?

    i know whenever i buy any used vehicle i'm always nervous driving it home, and i'd be especially nervous driving it home while towing anything - you just don't have the history with it to be confident it'll make the trip.

    so if a bus is out of the question, the next best option in my opinion would be getting a buddy to burn a day and ride along with you. he drives the sonoma back, you drive the purchased truck back. or its a total bust and you both ride back together (i know you said no one wants to make the trip, but dig a little deeper in the friend bucket...) option 3 would then be the dolly idea. thats my take on it at least.

    if you go the dolly route, front tires on the dolly, transfer case in nuetral, and transmission in nuetral. that should be fine, however i would take it one step further... disconnect rear drive shaft at axle and tie it up securely under the truck while leaving it attached at the transfer case. easier than removing it entirely and will accomplish the same objective. and if you do that, transmission and transfer case can remain in park/gear.
  17. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Maybe I can stowaway in the luggage compartment? lol Agreed, clear all snow. Nope, not rotten, that's why I'm interested in this (these rather, there are two I am looking at picking up for a nice price... both with excellent looking bodies, my vintage!)

    Very nervous, but balls of steel... lmao All I have is the word of the sellers, but a specific question I have asked is if they feel it is roadworthy enough to make it home for me towing my truck behind, and both sellers seem very, very confident in their answers. I mean, no one has a crystal ball, right? But if I can give it a quickie mechanical inspection and a test drive, and it all passes, I think I can take it easy on it til I get home. You know, drive the limit only, don't drive the living zhit out of it... Bonus to my vintage of truck: No computer, no bs. Can usually make it if it starts out sound.

    One is a K5 with a newer 350, the other is a small Grumman van with low mileage, with a 6.2/th400 combo. Usually very reliable combos, and of course there's always my CAA membership if I get in real trouble....! :D
  18. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,401

    Like said I would try to rent the dolly or trailer at your destination
  19. jstevens66

    jstevens66 Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    Just tow it on the dolly. I know with the company I worked for before, when one of our trucks would break down, (truck was an Isuzu box truck, suicide cab), instead of disconnecting the driveshaft we would just put it in neutral and actually leave it running while being towed. We never had a problem with the tranny or rear end.
  20. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,401

    So what happens when for some reason it got bumped into drive or reverse?