August 2018

Product Review

Force 5K Power Dolly

by Al and June Dettenrieder

The dolly offers both a good view of the trailer and the precise maneuverability that Al requires to get his trailer through the tight squeeze of his garage opening.photographs by the authors

The dolly offers both a good view of the trailer and the precise maneuverability that Al requires to get his trailer through the tight squeeze of his garage opening.

To get my 20′ West Coast dory out of the garage I had solve two problems: the trailer fenders have only about 2″ of clearance between the sides of the garage opening, and about 15′ from the garage the driveway makes a sharp turn up a slight incline. It’s impossible to make this maneuver with a vehicle, and the trailer is too heavy for me to move by hand. I was able to pull the boat out of the garage with a garden tractor, but its wheels usually got wedged against the curb when I tryied to start the 120-degree turn up the rest of the driveway. I’d have to get off the tractor to disconnect it from the trailer, reposition the tractor, and connect it again, repeatedly, to make the turn.

The Force dollies can be plugged into a trailer's 12-v, electrical system is it's a camper trailer. Adding a battery box, as seen here, makes the unit self-contained.

The Force power dollies can be plugged into a trailer’s 12-volt electrical system if it’s a camper trailer. Adding a battery box and a deep-cycle battery, as seen here, makes the unit self-contained.

When I read about Parkit360° Force 5K Power Dolly it gave me hope that it might be the solution to my problems. It would be easily maneuvered and compact enough to make turn and more than powerful enough to move my trailer. I called the Parkit360° factory and was assured that I would have 30 days to return it if it didn’t do the job; I’d only have to pay the return shipping. I thought that was fair so, I ordered the Force 5K B3. This little wonder maneuvers the trailer through the tight clearance and around the turn with ease! It also has plenty of power to pull the trailer up the plywood wheel ramps I placed over the sill at the garage opening.

A display on the base keeps track of the battery's level of charge.

A display on the base keeps track of the battery’s level of charge.

The Force 5K Power Dolly is 55″ long, including the handle, and 30″ high. It weighs 70 lbs, not including the weight of the Series 24, deep-cycle battery that powers it. On the handle for steering there is a conveniently located rocker switch for forward and reverse.The dolly’s 12V, 1.5-hp electric motor is rated for grades up to 6 percent. My boat, outboard, and trailer weigh 2,280 lbs total, and the Force 5K can move up to 5,000 lbs. Larger versions are available for weights up to 15,000 lbs. Some models connect to the electric brakes on a trailer.

The trailer ball is set in a post with a ring that keeps the dolly properly situated under the trailer tongue.

The trailer ball is set in a post with a ring that keeps the dolly properly situated under the trailer tongue.

TheForce 5K B3 dolly requires a 12V deep-cycle RV/marine type battery (not included with the purchase). I chose to order my dolly with an optional onboard battery charger so I could plug the unit directly into a wall outlet for charging. A digital voltage indicator indicates the level of charge. After each trip in and out I push the dolly into my shop and plug it in. The battery is not fully discharged at this point, and could do a few more moves, but I like to keep it topped off. A full charge with the recommended 70- to 90-Ah battery should provide 1-1/2 to 2 hours of run time.

After I have pulled the trailer out of the garage and through the turn, it’s ready to be hitched to the truck. The driveway has a slight incline, but the dolly holds the trailer in place. (The tractor used to slide backward when I got off, so I had to chock it.) I then put chocks behind both trailer wheels and disconnect the dolly. I pull out the free-wheeling knob, putting the dolly in neutral, and push it into the garage. I then connect the trailer hitch to the truck, and I’m ready to head to the launch ramp.

The Force 5K B3 costs $1,670, and for me it has been well worth it. The Force 5K has made my job so much easier, and I highly recommend it for boats and campers that have to be maneuvered in tight places.End of article

June and Al Dettenrieder of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, have been messing around in boats all 58 years of their married life. They started with a rowboat with a lawnmower engine and a washing-machine transmission that Al rigged up. There were many boats after that, even a 38′ sailboat. Now they enjoy puttering and picnicking in local lakes and rivers in the outboard dory Al built at 79 years of age. His dory won Best Power Boat in the “I Built It Myself” event at the 2018 WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, Connecticut.

The Force 5K B3 and the other models are available from Parkit360°. Prices start at $1,200.

Is there a product that might be useful for boatbuilding, cruising or shore-side camping that you’d like us to review? Please email your suggestions.

Comments:

We welcome your comments about this article. If you’d like to include a photo or a video with your comment, please email the file or link.

3 Comments

  • kent lewis says:

    I’m sure Skipper has a birthday coming up….great solution to a common challenge at our place. The dolly costs less than what was paid to repair the door on my SUV after a tree jumped out at me while backing a trailer around the casa.

    Beautiful dory!

    Cheers,
    Skipper and Kent

    • Dan Weeks says:

      Before spending big bucks for one of these, try an unpowered dolly. For 65 bucks at Northern Tool I got one rated for up to 600# tongue weight. For many small boats, it’s all you need. And yes, powered or unpowered they’re great for your back and maneuverability. Wish I’d gotten one sooner.

  • Elliot Spurway says:

    Looks impressive. Also used to move small aircraft. The Northern Tool dolly is another good solution. Personally, I use my X300 John Deere lawn tractor fitted with hitch balls on custom brackets front and rear. Just be aware of the tongue load.

    Sail on,
    Jack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *