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Old 08-10-2008, 08:08 AM   #1
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Slimp Dolly

OK, I looked on here for a half hour and couldn't find much of anything on these.

My kids love "The Long Long Trailer" movie with Lucy and Desi. Anyway, Desi goes to the Excelsior Trailer shop to get a hitch mounted to his new car. There, they give him a "slip dolly". It's essentially a free castering set of wheels on a small axle that holds the tongue weight of the trailer. It's got a coupler that comes off it to hook to the ball on the back of your car. So you don't need load equalizer bars or any of that stuff; the car simply pulls the trailer, it doesn't bear any of its weight. The slip dolly carries the weight.

In several scenes in the movie you can see the dolly in action as the car pulls the trailer down the road.

Why don't they use these anymore? It's free castering, so backing up shouldn't be a problem. It seemed like a really good idea.

What's the scoop on these things? I saw one advertised they make for pulling a fifth wheel, but why don't they use them on travel trailers anymore?
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #2
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I think part of the reason was the extra running gear required. Another pair of tires, wheels, and bearings to maintain, plus you could pull something you really shouldn't be anywhere near with your car.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:06 AM   #3
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Jim,

There are a couple of threads about slimp wheels. Do a search on "slimp".
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:18 AM   #4
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I havn't seen the dollys for yrs. but someone does make a reciever mounted Dolly type 5th wheel for Shortbed and lite duty pickups. I have not personal experience with this equipment,I have just seen the ads, But they are out there
Roger
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:35 AM   #5
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Terry is correct. You could pull a larger rig without having to beef up the suspension and running gear. Passenger cars were more common as a TV than trucks.
Most of the old trailer publications I've seen from the 40s and 50s had a couple of ads for these things.

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Old 08-10-2008, 11:07 AM   #6
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My family, Mom, Dad, and brother, made our move to Calif. from Mich. in 1952 via Route 66. Our 'home' was a 1950 26 foot Pan American. The weight of the trailer and and packed with as much as we could take was finally taking it's toll on the car, a '48 Nash Ambassador, so dad bought our 'dolly' in Texas. Ours did not swivel. It was 2 wheels with an axel mounted to leaf springs much like that used with tandem frieght trailers. Of course our set up prevented backing up. At 14 I was appointed 'the hookup guy.' So most overnight stops I 'earned my keep'. You can just barely see the dolly in these pictures.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:12 AM   #7
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Great photos Neil! What an adventure and memory that trip must be.

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Old 08-10-2008, 12:08 PM   #8
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We love the movie too! The trailers were absolutely gorgeous back then! Whatever happened? Now most are really pretty boring... shoulda been an adult back in the 50's...
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:50 PM   #9
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.. shoulda been an adult back in the 50's...
Then you'd be old today............with lotsa great memories.
Neil
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:03 AM   #10
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If you recall from the movie... the salesman assumed the trailer would be delivered by a professional delivery driver with a big truck. He was surprised they intended to tow it themselves.

The tow dolly ("Slimp" was a popular brand) was invented to allow towing a heavy trailer with a car where the hitch weight was too much for the car to hold up.

They worked well up to a point. But towing speeds were usually 40 or 45 MPH back then. The small wheels might not stand up to today's highway speeds and 600 mile days.

When they invented the weight equalizing hitch, the tow dolly or Slimp wheel went to join the Dodo birds.

Recently I took another look at the concept. It may have possibilites yet.

How about a tow dolly with a long tongue that pivots up forward, by the rear axle? The dolly would attach to the trailer hitch so that it could hinge up and down but not sideways.

This would give the same effect as a Hemsley or Pullrite hitch, but at a fraction of the cost of the former, and could be applied to vehicles other than trucks.

12" wheels would support a heavy tongue weight and allow modern hiway speeds.
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:40 AM   #11
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If you recall from the movie... the salesman assumed the trailer would be delivered by a professional delivery driver with a big truck. He was surprised they intended to tow it themselves.

The tow dolly ("Slimp" was a popular brand) was invented to allow towing a heavy trailer with a car where the hitch weight was too much for the car to hold up.

They worked well up to a point. But towing speeds were usually 40 or 45 MPH back then. The small wheels might not stand up to today's highway speeds and 600 mile days.

When they invented the weight equalizing hitch, the tow dolly or Slimp wheel went to join the Dodo birds.

Recently I took another look at the concept. It may have possibilites yet.

How about a tow dolly with a long tongue that pivots up forward, by the rear axle? The dolly would attach to the trailer hitch so that it could hinge up and down but not sideways.

This would give the same effect as a Hemsley or Pullrite hitch, but at a fraction of the cost of the former, and could be applied to vehicles other than trucks.

12" wheels would support a heavy tongue weight and allow modern hiway speeds.
Yes, there was a lot of weight back on the rear of our '48 Nash. The Ambassador was a big (large 6 cylinder) car and we made it to Texas on Rte 66 before Dad went looking for a 'dolly' as we called it. Traveling at today's speeds was not an option, even if you could, on that narrow winding highway anyway. Across Kansas, Oaklahoma and the Texas panhandle there were a number of long flat straight stretches....which gave opportunity to those stuck behind us to pass. Dad was a courteous driver and would pull over when safe but regaining momentum wasn't easy. The trailer was a 26' Pan American and I understood was near 5000# dry. We were relocating to Ca. in 1952 so we were taking what we could. The movie's New Moon trailer was 40' and was a park model. Beautiful rig for it's day. And the '54 Mercury TV was hardly capable of towing it. Mom and Dad took my brother and I to see the movie (L L Trailer) when it came out. Dad, my brother and I laughed tears. Mom just cried.
Neil.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:59 PM   #12
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You are too right about the Mercury not towing the New Moon. Did you notice for the scenes in the mountains they used a Lincoln?
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:36 AM   #13
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You are too right about the Mercury not towing the New Moon. Did you notice for the scenes in the mountains they used a Lincoln?
No I didn't. I had not seen the movie in many years. Finally a few years ago I bought the VHS of it. Our daughter and family and our son on leave were at the house. I made them watch it with me. They 'said' they liked it but I know it wasn't up, or down to the entertainment standards they are used too. Anyway I will have to watch it again to pick out the Lincoln (I liked those early 50's Lincolns)....on our new 46" flat screen.
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:38 PM   #14
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That show is on TV right now and they have already bought the 'slip dolly' Now Ricky is going crazy thinking about the trailer brakes....
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