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Old 06-13-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Skid Wheels to help with Dragging

I think I posted this before as a reply to a different topic, but I thought I would post it as a topic if anyone is interested and to make it a little easier to find.

Our previous Sunline was a T-2670, which sat low. I never flipped the axles, but took the drag bars off and installed skid wheels. It was dragging so much that the drag bars were bending. The skid wheels saved the trailer from a lot of damage.

We now have a T-280SR which sits higher, but I still installed drag wheels as added protection. Figured itís better to be more protected, just in case.

I mounted the skids wheels on the frame just before the bumper.


Our T-280SR has an I-Beam frame, so I had to drill 4 holes through the beam to attach the side wheels.


Our 1999 Sunline T-2670 had a C-Channel frame and I believe the non-slide trailers still have the C-Channel frames. On the T-2670 I only had to drill 2 holes to attach the mounting bracket for the skid wheels. I centered the mounting bracket on the C-Frame, and the bolts for the skids wheels were spaced enough that they could be installed without interference from the C-Frame.

Note: On the T-2670 I had to cut off the angle iron that was installed at the facture as drag bars. These were actually starting to bend on me because the trailer was dragging so much. I mounted the skid wheels in the same spot where the drag bars were located.
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Hutch nice job.

I have been thinking of these myself. But I have only drug my low slung axle T2499 once. It was coming out of a gas station high up off the road.

I do have to go slow and watch it or else.

In the event I get to this, where did you get the swivel casters?

John
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:52 AM   #3
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John,

I got the Skid Wheels at Camping World. I was lucky, one day at the Hamburg Camping World store I say a set on the clearance rack for $20. I grabbed them up in an instant. I donít think Camping World is carrying them any more. But RV Toy Outlet still has them for ~$95.

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Old 06-14-2007, 07:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTHutch
John,

I was lucky, one day at the Hamburg Camping World store I say a set on the clearance rack for $20. I grabbed them up in an instant. I donít think Camping World is carrying them any more.
Hutch
WOW...


Talk about luck...

I know the Hamburg store and visit most times I'm back in Buffalo at the DW's parents. But, my luck has never been that good...

The reason I have not gone there just yet is the $100 bucks and I only drug the back once. I actually have more issues with the hitch hitting (DC) if I forget and bounce the truck over a RR track. It's me that did it as I "forgot" and ding, it reminds me. Now done that 3 times.... I have actually thought of adding a roller to them, but have not made it to that just yet.

Glad for your good fortune.

John
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:38 AM   #5
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Good! We were thinking the same thing

Hutch,

I was about to ask this.

We have a very steep angle at the street to the beginning of our drive.

DH was thinking of cutting and then welding caster "helper" wheels. Glad yours didn't need the flip kit. That sounded like a PIA.

I noticed you bolted.

Are the bolts doing their job over the x mount of years you installed them?

What size bolt?

What do you think of using a heavy carriage bolt?
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTHutch
John,

I got the Skid Wheels at Camping World. I was lucky, one day at the Hamburg Camping World store I say a set on the clearance rack for $20. I grabbed them up in an instant. I donít think Camping World is carrying them any more. But RV Toy Outlet still has them for ~$95.

Hutch
Hutch, I am wondering if those casters of yours have a weight rating stamped on them. It occurs to me that Home Depot and Lowes carry large swivel casters, and maybe, just maybe, they'd work just as well, and for a lot less money. The only thing I'm worried about is the weight rating. If what I can buy over the counter at Home Depot/Lowes is even close to what is sold as "RV Skid Wheels", I'd go that route.

Anybody have any thoughts on swivel vs. fixed wheels? (Swivels are more expensive.)

My triangular metal skids scrape in my driveway every time I back in, plus the odd entry/exit from a gas station that's too steep. The skid is getting worn to the point where it's going to break, and I best get thinking about fixing it.

Luckily, my '99 has the C channel for main frame so it's just be a matter of drilling the holes. I can fabricate the mounting plates in my shop so no biggie there.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:06 AM   #7
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Steve,

My dad had straight casters on the back of his car hauler for the longest time. When coming out of the garage, it went down an incline and then had to turn 90 degrees. The straight casters got chewed up in a couple times because it was dragging them sideways. With some minor modification, there's now swivel casters on there and they work great. In this particular case, it's well worth the extra money, but on a TT, it may not be as necessary. If you plan on a lot of hilly travel, such as in Steubenville, OH, swivel casters are a must, no matter what type of trailer you have. We had the car hauler down there for a car show and it hit on every single driveway! BTW, that was before any casters.

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Old 06-30-2007, 09:26 AM   #8
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swivel vs.

>>Anybody have any thoughts on swivel vs. fixed wheels? (Swivels are more expensive.) <<

I asked that on RV.forum and a guy really cool PM'd me. ( He thot I wa a male too LOL) He said he tried the fixed first and had to sweat them off and weld on swivels. The angle you take on a turn up into a steep incline just bends the fixed and they go caterwonger.

That would be a no go on that one. Spend a bit more vs. a do over.

No sense patchin ceement and having to reweld. No that really adds up. Diff in price of a caster vs. a straight would be nominal in comparison.

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Old 06-30-2007, 06:46 PM   #9
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Try looking on http://www.northerntool.com they hav...<br /> <br />http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_14014_14014

these have a 2500 pound rating for $37.00
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...7561_200337561
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPierce
Try looking on www.northerntool.com they have heavy duty swivel casters for around $21.00 each. They have a 1200 pound rating.
I bet the 1200 pounders will do the job just fine. Guess I gotta make sure my Northern Products account is still active...

Hey, Potsdam! I'm a Clarkson guy... Would have been class of '70 if I'd gone all the way.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:17 PM   #11
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I have thought about the swivel skid wheels, but not taken that step yet. My main concern "IS" what happens to the frame when you drag? Your now putting a lot of pressure on the frame, or am I'm not thinking right

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Old 06-30-2007, 08:21 PM   #12
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Steve

If you are upgrading, go for the swivels. The side loading in turns can create as many issues as the V bars.

From a loading point of view, if you want I can estimate how much weight the rear skid bar is taking in a pure static condition if you tried to lift the camper by say 1"

If you want this, I would need these numbers.

1. GVWR on the TT
2. Dry tongue weight
3. Dry GVW
4. Distance from TT ball to end of TT frame where the wheel will mount.
5. Distance from TT ball to center of first axle
6. Distance from center of first axle to center of rear axle.

If by any chance you have loaded scaled tongue weights and TT axle weights I'll take them too.

This number I'll give you would not take into account side loads, shock impact loads or trying to lift the rear of the TT many inches. The further you lift, the higher the load goes up.

BUT it would give you starting place. If it can't take this static load, it will never take the rest. Each TT setup would be different so what works on one, may not on the other. A 30 foot 7,000# GVWR camper would have less load on the skid bars then a 7,000# 25 foot camper.

Good luck and let me know if you need know. Glad to help if I can.

John
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty
I have thought about the swivel skid wheels, but not taken that step yet. My main concern "IS" what happens to the frame when you drag? Your now putting a lot of pressure on the frame, or am I'm not thinking right

Kitty
Kitty

Your point is very valid. Here are some things to think on.

- When you drag on a V skid bar, the TT frame takes a very directed point load.
- Before the V bar crushes, the frame is taking the same load on a wheel as a skid bar.
- Once the V bar crushes and gives way, then an immediate unloading occurs. The V bar sort of actís like a shear pin overload device. It takes so much load, then breaks off and you gain approx 6Ē more clearance before you drag the frame.
- If you drag bad enough, when the V bar breaks off and you hit the frame, the frame pressure is still there.

So is a wheel better or worse? Depends.

If you have a light drag that does not crush a V bar, then wheel or V bar will not matter. The frame is taking the same loading.

EDIT: 7-1-07 After thinking on this, if you add a wheel, make sure it is equal to or less than the hang down height of the V bar. If not the wheel will hit before the V bar would of.

If you drag like say, 3 or 4 inches worth that would mostly likely break off a V bar, then the wheel will exert more pressure and ďmayĒ damage parts of the TT. Depending on the TT layout this may or may not be as severe.

In summary, when you drag,

- Drag slow.
- Stop when you hear a bad crash. Get out and look. Backing up may be a better option.
- A heavy drag of many inches by a wheel could create a problem faster than a V bar setup. How much depends on how hard the drag is.
- A V bar set up that has crushed and then drags on the frame, can create the same heavy loading as a wheel setup.

So what does one do?

1. Donít dragÖ
2. If you use wheels, keep an eye on it and if the drag is too much. Stop.
3. If you have V bars, keep and eye on it and if the drag is too much. Stop.

4. EDIT 7-1-07 Thinking more on this, ideally adding a wheel of ample loading that has a shorter over all height than a V bar, could offer benefits. The wheel would not touch as soon a V bar would of and give rolling friction verses a drag bar. This ideal wheel would be a swivel caster, heavy axle pin and caster fork for the load and short in over all height.

5. When the TT hitch is setup, TT being level is best but if your hitch shank will not allow this, slight nose down, ~ 1/2 to 1" max. Being nose up on some TTís allows sway to occur sooner and creates the drag on the V bars faster since the TT is tipped down in the back.


The wheel will approach the point of problem potentially quicker then a V bar.

I wish we had Sunline still here to ask them. I know they would give us an answer that helped us sort this out and made sense.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:20 AM   #14
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I read on RV Forum that some had to remove their skids before weldng casters.

Do you have to Hutch?
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:15 AM   #15
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Can't add much more technical info than what JohnB as already included.
But hereís a little more on my specific usage, experience, and reasoning.

I didnít weld the base on either Sunline. Bolted both on to the frame using the bolts that came with the skid wheels. What was included in the packages was 2- bases w/ 2 bolts/nuts each to bolt to frame, and 2 skid wheels / casters with 4 bolts/nuts each to bolt to base.

If youíre going to weld the base to the frame, I would recommend NOT having the skid wheel/caster attached to the base during the welding process.

The placement process they recommended was to take a long board (I used a string) from the base/ground of the rear tire and angle the board up to where it touches the bumper. This establishes the potential drag/clearance line. Position the skid wheels on the frame such that the wheel extends below this line.

I donít drag with our T-280SR, but I installed the drag wheels after determining that if I did drag, the bottom of the spare tire would hit/drag, not the bumper. Knowing this at a minimum would damage the spare tire cover, and possibly damage the tire and/or rip the spare tire off depending on the severity of the drag I decided to add the skid wheels as a safety measure. Plus when I found a pair for $20, it was a no brainer.

Wrt weight rating, the manufacture does not assign a weight rating to their skid wheels, but has recommended usage based on their impact rating / testing (though they donít list their impact rating either). But they do have a valid point, the impact rating is more important than the weight rating, since there is no constant weight on the skid wheels.

On our previous T-2670 I tried their wheels mounted on the skid bar first.


These didnít work too well and the skid bar eventually bent. Thatís when I cut off the skid bars and installed the skid wheels.
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Old 07-04-2007, 06:11 PM   #16
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I have been following this thread with great interest. It contains a lot of very valuable information. Now I figure one day I am going to have to replace my skid bars with skid wheels. My original thought was to buy a pair of swivel caster wheels that are rated for 900 lbs weight and make up my own mounting plate to mount on the trailer when the time comes to remove my skid bars. Now PThutch has brought up an interesting point about the impact rating of the wheels and it is something I hadn't thought of in the past. So now I have to ask if the 900 lb rated skid wheels will handle the impact or am I better buy the ones actually sold as skid wheels.

Just to add to the conversation about an axle flip vs skid wheels, when I did the factory tour last fall I talk to Carl the design engineer at the factory and he said to me that when the Skid bars wear out I should add 6 inch skid wheels instead of doing the axle flip. He also said that Sunline sold a skid wheel kit for the trailer. A search in the FAQ section of the sunline website suggest skid wheels along with the axle flip if you experience dragging during travel. I would think that if Sunline felt the skid wheels would do any damage to the frame or the trailer, they would not suggest the adding of skid wheels to the trailer.
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Old 07-04-2007, 06:34 PM   #17
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Trailblazer,

You bring up some good points. I wasnít aware that Sunline had a skid wheel kit nor did I know that they recommended skid wheels over flipping the axles. Thanks for sharing.

With our T-2670 I had always wanted to flip the axles, not due to dragging but so I could raise the sewer drain pipe. That was my biggest issue with the low profile of the T-2670, at a lot of full hook-up sites, the sewer hose was draining up hill because the camp siteís sewer pipe was at the same level or higher than the trailerís sewer drain.

Hutch
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Old 07-04-2007, 06:54 PM   #18
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PTHutch

Don't get me wrong, Sunline did not recommend one solution over another it was Carl who recommended it to me while at the factory tour. I believe Sunline's official position was that it was an alternative to an axle flip. Here is the link to the Sunline website where they answer the question about what to do if your trailer drags a lot during travel:

http://www.sunlinerv.com/index.php/s...do_about_this/
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:43 PM   #19
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Thanks for the clarification and the link.

I guess our soluation was, in stead of flipping the axles, we just bought a new Sunline Not sure if that was really cost affective, but it worked for us and we're happy we did it.
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Old 07-05-2007, 02:01 AM   #20
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IMHO Casters are not optional

Hutch,

Even flatlanders can benefit having casters. One never knows.

>>I donít drag with our T-280SR, but I installed the drag wheels after determining that if I did drag, the bottom of the spare tire would hit/drag, not the bumper. Knowing this at a minimum would damage the spare tire cover, and possibly damage the tire and/or rip the spare tire off depending on the severity of the drag I decided to add the skid wheels as a safety measure. Plus when I found a pair for $20, it was a no brainer.
<<

Say, someone was asking (believe it or not, not me) about "load rating" of the casters. Not a tire for sure. These are meant for momentary touching of ground slope only. Just enough to keep the rear end from scraping.

So where did you find your 20 buck no brainers?

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