Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: Caster wheels under the rear of the trailer.

Posted By: K3WE on 11/25/12 07:25am

Our 27 ft TT rides low (springs under the axle). While it's never been a significant problem, the "tail skids" get "used" quite often at entrance curbs, etc, and have about ground through.

Consequently I'm looking for some specific information.

Who has installed castor wheels?

What make/model?

What worked, what didn't, what would you do different?

Where'd you get them (yeah, I'll be glad to search the internet, but so far- I get all sorts of little ones to make a cart for a house plant.

...and yeah, as an alternative, I wonder about "flipping the axles"- will it be a royal pain to get the bolts out from the spring hangers? (rubber bushing)- I don't have any special tools.

Thanks for comments from folks who have installed them.


Posted By: Mark Heisler on 11/25/12 07:42am

Ya I have seen castor wheels on the back of TT but there always get bent or full of dirt and grass from draging or diggin in.Flipping axles is you best way to go.Just go and but new bolt and bushing kits for you axles.If your trailer is older it is proble time to replace them any way.Here in canada are local RV shop chages about 150.00 bucks per axles plus parts if need.A buddy of mine got it done and it was about 400.00 bucks with tax.


2003 dodge 2wheel drive diesel 375hp 750torque
2007 citation fifth wheel model 29bhs
to see pictures of my truck and fifth-wheel click on view profile


Posted By: RoyB on 11/25/12 08:18am

I had never really noticed casters on the rear of the trailers... I can see where that would be a good thing to have especially when around big inclines like shown in the photo here...

[image]

[image]
sample photos from google images

I could see where they would pick up alot of trash haha... Certainly would keep rear end of trailer getting all damaged up from scraping the ground.

Roy Ken


My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - Words in CAPS does not mean I am shouting
Roy - Carolyn
RETIRED DOAF/DON/DOD/CONTR RADIO TECH (42yrs)
K9PHT (Since 1957) 146.52M
2010 F150, 5.4,3:73 Gears,SCab
2008 Starcraft 14RT EU2000i GEN
2005 Flagstaff 8528RESS



Posted By: Nomadac on 11/25/12 08:21am

I installed Extra Heavy-duty RV Skid Wheels 6 inch years ago on our 1989 Avion 32' TT. They are still on the unit and I never had any problems with them digging in, as when they were needed most when coming out is driveway's with a deep incline from the road, i.e. gas stations, etc. You would have to come out at an angle so as not to hang the axles in the air with the skid wheels on the driveway. I did suspend my rear dual axle one time when exiting with the weight on the skid wheels.
Here is a sample of the wheels I have on my Avion.
http://www.rvpartscenter.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=28605&SID=25&DID=109&CID=257
I bought mine back in the early 90's so don't have a clue what I paid for them. They sure saved the back bumper on the Avion from dragging on driveways.


Arnie
2003 Travel Supreme MH
38KSO1 Cummins ISC 350HP
2004 Honda Pilot w/SMI Air Force One Brake Sys.
1963 Pontiac Grand Prix 20' Enclosed Car Trailer


Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 11/25/12 09:09am

It can be comical to see swivel tail wheels when the driveway is on a hill. Picture this, the RV rear tires are in the air about 3" and the skid wheels go sideways, the rear of the RV starts going down the hill sideways!

Best to always have forward facing only tires on the skid wheels.

Mine where about 2" OD and mounted to my frame, as high as possible while still protecting the tanks and valves under my class C.

With the Bounder, the tail end is up so high, it has not scraped.

Fred.


Posted By: john b on 11/25/12 09:35am

Golden_HVAC wrote:

It can be comical to see swivel tail wheels when the driveway is on a hill. Picture this, the RV rear tires are in the air about 3" and the skid wheels go sideways, the rear of the RV starts going down the hill sideways!

Best to always have forward facing only tires on the skid wheels.

Mine where about 2" OD and mounted to my frame, as high as possible while still protecting the tanks and valves under my class C.

With the Bounder, the tail end is up so high, it has not scraped.

Fred.







I never had good luck with casters but I did when I built a roller across the whole rear end of the TT.It had bearing blocks on each end secured to the bottom of the frame to allow it to roll plus I felt it did less twisting if the frame as it kept the rails in alignment. Worked great for several years..Jmho jb


2001 F 350 CC PSD 373 rear,auto
RBW X16 slider,Bedsaver,Prodigy,Fold A Cover,Pressure Pro!
2011 Crossroads Cruiser cf32mk Patriot edit. 5th wheel Fibreglass and all the goodies necessary,Dish,comfy loungers,and a nickel to spend,
Mr & Mrs and the PUP.


Posted By: jbarry on 11/25/12 09:57am

There was an interesting blurb about these on the latest issue of the RV Travel Newsletter.

Here's a link to the latest issue:

RV Travel Newsletter


Posted By: Bill & Kate on 11/25/12 12:22pm

Our previous trailer was a Jayco JayFeather LGT 29N which had 14" wheels on torsion axles and was very low to the ground. We installed these on the existing skids, and they seemed to work fine.

Skid Wheels


Bill & Kate - Stone Harbor, NJ
w/ Bailey (standard poodle) and Zeke (partipoodle)- both rescues
2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab w/ 6.2L gasser
2014 Forest River Wildcat 272RLX fifth wheel


Posted By: skipnchar on 11/25/12 01:42pm

I'd leave it alone since you say the skids are doing their job. Adding casters will just make it drag that much more often as it will lower the clearance by another three or four inches.


2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles)
2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer

US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population



Posted By: Raymon on 11/25/12 02:15pm

Remove the skids and replace with industrial style steel wheels that do not swivel. I put some on my TT back in 1976. The wheels were about 6 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches wide. I think they hung down about 10 inches. They were welded to the frame just in front of where the bumper was welded to the tubular frame. Sure saved my bumper.

Ray


Posted By: Turtle n Peeps on 11/25/12 04:51pm

I would just leave it.

Wheels are a double edge sword. If you use castor wheels you can get into a deal like Fred was talking about.

If you use inline wheels you can really put them into a bind when you get tail swing when coming out of a driveway and this is most of the time when you need them.

I would let the skid bars do their job and forget about it.


~ Too many freaks & not enough circuses ~


"Life is not tried ~ it is merely survived ~ if you're standing
outside the fire"

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."- Abraham Lincoln



Posted By: R12RTee on 11/25/12 07:24pm

Golden_HVAC wrote:

It can be comical to see swivel tail wheels when the driveway is on a hill. Picture this, the RV rear tires are in the air about 3" and the skid wheels go sideways, the rear of the RV starts going down the hill sideways!

Best to always have forward facing only tires on the skid wheels.

Fred.

Have you seen this yourself? My caster wheels do not get any where near lifting the trailer wheels off the ground but they do keep the bumper from dragging. I ran a straight edge from the bottom of the rear wheels to the bottom of the bumper and had the casters mounted so they were a couple inches below the straight line. I suppose that if the casters were mounted so they were well below the bumper there could be a problem.


2021 DRV Mobile Suites 38RSSA
2021 Ram 6.7 HO


Posted By: K3WE on 11/25/12 07:34pm

Skip & Turtle- with reference to your suggestion that I keep using the skids see the bold below added to my original post:

K3WE wrote:

Our 27 ft TT rides low (springs under the axle). While it's never been a significant problem, the "tail skids" get "used" quite often at entrance curbs, etc, and have about ground through.


In fact, there's a neat little pinch where the thinest metal has folded upward.

and we don't really camp all that much- which is why if I bolt something new on, I'd like it to maybe roll a bit and consequently last a little longer.


Posted By: JJBIRISH on 11/25/12 09:24pm

If you have a clearance problem, I doubt reducing clearance is a reasonable solution nor one I would choose to save the bumper that way…

The metal skids that are there are not there to protect the trailer from damage…

they are there to protect the trailer form YOU CAUSING DAMAGE to it, by making horrible noises and stopping you from continuing on the path you are on, and to cause you change your approach and avoid the damage… if you can’t do this another way you need to raise the trailer for the clearance you need… the metal skids should collapse or bend before lifting the rear of the trailer and damaging the frame… it is far better to have to repair the plumbing or bumper than having to replace a frame rail

The metal skids are the sacrificial lamb so to speak… they are not intended for lifting the trailer just as the jacks are not intended for lifting the trailer… actually the frame isn’t intended to be lifted by the rear corner(s) by any means…

When you hear that sound the skids have done their job, now its your turn to do your job, stop, back up, change angles to avoid the dragging…


Love my mass produced, entry level, built by Lazy American Workers, Hornet



Posted By: Turtle n Peeps on 11/25/12 11:41pm

R12RTee wrote:

Golden_HVAC wrote:

It can be comical to see swivel tail wheels when the driveway is on a hill. Picture this, the RV rear tires are in the air about 3" and the skid wheels go sideways, the rear of the RV starts going down the hill sideways!

Best to always have forward facing only tires on the skid wheels.

Fred.

Have you seen this yourself? My caster wheels do not get any where near lifting the trailer wheels off the ground but they do keep the bumper from dragging. I ran a straight edge from the bottom of the rear wheels to the bottom of the bumper and had the casters mounted so they were a couple inches below the straight line. I suppose that if the casters were mounted so they were well below the bumper there could be a problem.


I have once. It was kinda funny. The only moved about 2' before it stopped but it did go sideways.


Posted By: Turtle n Peeps on 11/25/12 11:54pm

Quote:

the metal skids should collapse or bend before lifting the rear of the trailer and damaging the frame… it is far better to have to repair the plumbing or bumper than having to replace a frame rail

That may be true for some of the trailers now days but not for mine. Mine has HEAVY skids and a HEAVY frame on my trailer. The skids have a 1" x 2" rub block in the bottom.

It is not like the tin foil frames of nowdays. The frame on mine is a 3/8 x 4" channel. It just does not bend. My trailer is very low and I love it. It handles like a Vett in back of my pickup. I bet the CG of my trailer is at least 1' lower than most TT made nowdays and maybe closer to 2'. [emoticon]

IMHO raising a TT up in the air is like the pickups of today. It's a mistake to raise them up. Lots of issues can be solved if they made things lower.....both pickups and TT's.


Posted By: jetboater454 on 11/26/12 07:27am

Mine just drags the frame,makes a lot of noise.No biggie but it does leave grooves in the road coming & going out of the driveway. Price I pay for the low ramp height to load stuff in the garage.


2011 Toyota Tundra DC Long Bed
2001 Harley Dyna Lowrider


Posted By: RockyMt on 11/26/12 11:34am

I had rubber/steel wheels on my '98 Hitchhiker-it was low to the ground and dragged the driveway.What happened is what was stated above,the tires would be airborne and the drag wheels would head down hill.Trailer hit my fence.Took them off replaced with smaller wheels and drove out of the drive faster.New RV sets much higher so do not need them.EEK!


Posted By: DR Buck on 11/26/12 01:46pm

Skid wheels are a must for me. The end of my driveway crosses a railroad and although the slope on my side of the tracks is gentle it is very steep on the roadside I haul a number of farm related trailers and equipment that scrape on the road when entering or leaving the driveway. None of these use skid wheels. My first need was when we replaced our shorter TT with a 29' Fleetwood bumper pull we purchased from a relative. We could get in and out OK with scraping but I was afraid I would eventually pull the rear bumper off. I welded Paktron 5" wheels under the frame forward of the rear bumper just enough to let it clear the road by about 2 inches. This worked very well and we never had a problem.

A few years ago we upgraded to our first 5th wheel, a 29' Arctic Fox. This sat much higher and cleared the road with inches to spare and did not need skid wheels.

Fast forward to today .... Two weeks ago we traded our Arctic Fox in for a new Dutchman Voltage toyhauler. Because of my fear of dragging on the road while coming in and out of the driveway we decided on the model 3200, which is the shortest one Dutchman makes. Although it sits slightly higher than the Arctic Fox, I was concerned the additional length could be an issue. So before we made the purchase I took measurements of the Voltage and my driveway slope and ran calculations that indicated that it "should" be OK.

Well, math has not always been my best subject. While entering my driveway bringing the new $70,000 Voltage home from the dealer I heard this horrifying scraping and dragging sound. My wife heard it too. I thought she was going to have a coronary! I thought we pulled the whole backend off. As it turned out all we did was scrape the paint off of the bottom of the cross support under the rear ramp/door. As far as I'm concerned, it's still too much scraping for me. So I ordered a set of Paktron 6" 2500# rated skid wheels that will be installed BEFORE we go on out maiden trip.

Our Voltage has the factory installed "Level-Up" hydraulic leveling system so there are no rear stabilizer jacks. This turned out to be a good thing because there is extra reinforcement under the I-beam frame where the jacks would normally be that is perfect for mounting the skid wheels. There is also enough space to adjust them front-to-back so that I can limit the maximum amount of lift that will be applied to the minimum needed to prevent scraping. If I don't scrap in my driveway, I won't scrape anywhere else I would be pulling the Voltage.

If you are ever in a situation where skid wheels are going to lift your trailer tires off the ground you most likely would have also lifted them off the ground even if you didn't have skid wheels. The difference is without skid wheels, you would be stuck!

Bottom line is .... Skid wheels are good if you want to prevent damage and have peace of mind. Just mount them properly and use a size and mounting location to give the minimum lift needed for your bumper to clear the ground.


2003 Ford F350 SRW 7.3L Diesel
Sumo Springs
Bilstein Shocks
2013 Dutchman Voltage 3200
2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited



Posted By: Tinyandthegang on 11/26/12 03:06pm

I live on a corner that has a rather large dip for water drainage, over the years I have picked rather large number of damaged and broken skid wheels.






Posted By: Finally Time on 11/26/12 05:24pm

My trailer sits low. The skids dragged on my driveway pulling out and backing in. I telephoned the factory and they said they routinely cut off the skids, weld on a mounting plate and bolt on heavy duty casters. The distance from the bottom of the caster to the ground would be the same as it was for the skid. They said if I would bring the trailer in they would do it for only the cost of the pats, labor free. I was across the country from the factory so I had them ship me the plates and casters and had a local welder do the work. Never have had a problem in 18,000 miles of towing, never have bent the frame, never had the back of the trailer swing around when the casters were on the ground.


'17 Tiffin Breeze 31BR, '13 Honda CR-V
Ready Brute Elite Tow Bar & Brake System



Print  |  Close