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Old 10-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #1
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Replacing skid plates with skid wheels?

We talked about this issue several years back, but (a) nobody identified a definite solution at the time, and (b) we have a bunch of new people on the forum now, several of whom are compulsive DIYers like LB_3 and me, so the fresh blood may be able to accomplish more on this question (heh heh).

I had a total *MY BAD* moment last Friday when I jumped a concrete curb abutment (finger structure) that protruded into a parking lot lane of travel.

In hot, humid Houston, concrete gets darkly mildewed, and if curb fingers are not edged in yellow paint for visibility (or red if fire lane) or sodded with grass in the middle of the structure, it can very difficult to spot them - they are camouflaged, blending in with the surrounding equally-mottled concrete pavement. Add an unfavorable sun angle and drivers will smash into them all day long.

Believe me, you don't want to hit a curb in an eight thousand pound vehicle - it's an acutely unsettling experience. It does not appear that I did any serious damage to upfit components, but I did shear off one of the two strike plates intended to protect the rear end (specifically the Onan generator).

Several years back, someone noted that we'd be doing our chassis a favor if we replaced those simple Airstream-installed plates with the kind that have heavy metal wheels at the bottom. That way, instead of scraping over obstructions and shearing when necessary, the Interstate could roll over stuff (presumably still snapping off when tolerance was exceeded).

It sounded good, but at the time, nobody identified a suitable upgrade product. Has anyone successfully done this kind of mod? If so, what did you use, and how did you determine that it was suitable for use on your chassis?

Sheared skid plate, offending parking lot in the background:

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Old 10-29-2018, 09:12 AM   #2
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No...why would you want the rear to hit prematurely?
It could cause more damage than just scraping...plus with wheels you may not even notice that the rear end is dragging.
The stress could get really bad up an incline.👎

The skid plates are there for a reason...to skid, loudly. 🤣

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Old 10-29-2018, 10:21 AM   #3
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I have a steep driveway that rises from a crowned road. When entering, I nearly always slightly scrape the passenger side skid plate and leave a 6" mark on the concrete. I can leave without touching, but it is very difficult to try to back up the steep slope. A wheel going off either side is not a nice option.

When I had my 22' International trailer, I had the same situation. I found some skid wheels that only reduced clearance by about 3/8" and mounted in the triangular opening. They were quite stout. I haven't been able to find those wheels for the AI. They would be very nice for my situation.
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Old 10-29-2018, 11:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
No...why would you want the rear to hit prematurely?
It could cause more damage than just scraping...plus with wheels you may not even notice that the rear end is dragging.
The stress could get really bad up an incline.��

The skid plates are there for a reason...to skid, loudly. ��

Bob
����
When ANY metal part of an Interstate impacts the pavement, trust me - it will announce itself loud and clear. There will be no mistaking that event.

Also, I cannot parse these two sentences consecutively: "...you may not even notice that the rear end is dragging. The stress could get really bad up an incline."

May not notice it AND the stress could get really bad? I suspect that, if I didn't notice it, it's because the wheels would be rolling smoothly in a way that RELIEVES some of the stress.

The present skid plates are attached to the hitch infrastructure. One of the historical questions was, how much force should that area bear? What are the limits and how do we determine them conclusively? Then, how do we add something that conforms to that physical reality?

Check out this 30-second Class A vid. My question is, what are the working limits of those casters (as they are called)? It appears that they are taking some load off what I assume are leaf springs? They are not taking the whole vehicle load - they are just serving to keep it a bit higher than it would be without them (correct me if I'm wrong). But how much is safe in terms of exerting force where they are mounted? This was an unresolved issue from several years ago IIRC.

Edit: Maybe they ARE accepting what is effectively the whole load. The poster described them as 16,000 lb. casters. Expensive little suckers, too.

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Old 10-29-2018, 11:20 AM   #5
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😂 I'm Parsing harder...granted it will roll easier, I'm not sure how much vertical stress is relieved.
But IS's are different than trlr's, so do what you feel is best.👍

WOW...i just checked $$$$ you were't fib'n. 😳


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Old 10-29-2018, 12:25 PM   #6
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On my 2014.5 EXT they are just round metal loops and they are freaking loud when scraping, to protect the pretty fiberglass cladding cover the rear bumper, I was able to back out both times without further damage. They sure serve the purpose so I won’t do it again!
PS, you could reinforce the frame where a mounted set of 10k lbs casters could roll and help protect the rear end, enabling you to climb a little higher, until your driven wheels get airborne then you are truly stuck.
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:37 PM   #7
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Just put mine in storage for the winter so I can't do an eyeball analysis, but I suspect the hitch assembly cannot support the rear of the vehicle even if you could find casters that would fit.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:01 AM   #8
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INTERBLOG - I do not have skid plates. Mine came with skid loops. I am planning to upgrade to rollers when I find a set I really like that doesn't decrease the clearance any more. The loops are pretty flush to tow hitch structure. Any roller would at least double the protrusion, so I am debating if it would be a good idea to lower the clearance more.

FWIW - In situation where I can anticipate the clearance need (obviously does not help in an accidental finger curb incursion), I stop & raise the rear VB Air to max height (gives me 3-4" extra clearance)
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:29 AM   #9
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Thank you for the photo Alex. Same setup I have. Had not noticed that those are just bolted in place. So technically we should be able to replacement with casters...once we find a set that can take the beating.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post

I had a total *MY BAD* moment last Friday when I jumped a concrete curb abutment (finger structure) that protruded into a parking lot lane of travel.
Those parking lot protrusions irritate me to no end. They serve no purpose that a paint-stripe wouldn't serve just as well. All they do is endanger tires, rims, and understructure. I don't care whether it's a car, truck, suv, or motor home. The person who decided these were a good idea should be tarred & feathered!
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:52 AM   #11
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Casters are not solving the right problem. Sliding or rolling friction is not the issue. It's the vertical jacking forces. In the, the roller does not much help unless it can be mounted in such a way that it creates more clearance before it engages.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:19 PM   #12
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In the, the roller does not much help unless it can be mounted in such a way that it creates more clearance before it engages.
PTECK - Yeah, this is the issue why I have not removed the fixed loops to replace with casters. The casters actually REDUCE the already limited clearance. From a design engineering standpoint, the ideal design would be a caster system that is fully retracted but with a plunger pre-set at the max clearance desired. Once the plunger scrapes pavement, it drops caster. Of course, it is easier said than done, because a non-fixed caster would have to be engineered even more beefier than a fixed one, thus reducing clearance further. And hench the vicious cycle repeats. Ughh! I may just have to live with the fixed loops. I have been judicious & careful with driveways when I have a choice. I try always approaching at an angle instead of perpendicular. So far, I have only very barely scraped one of the loops
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
Those parking lot protrusions irritate me to no end. They serve no purpose that a paint-stripe wouldn't serve just as well. All they do is endanger tires, rims, and understructure. I don't care whether it's a car, truck, suv, or motor home. The person who decided these were a good idea should be tarred & feathered!
ROWIEBOWIE - Yeah, I agree. And if they really wanted to have those protrusion/curbs, why cant they use the now very common recycled rubber stuff. Lots of parking lot tire stops are made of them. All new playgrounds have them. Much cheaper than concrete and easier to relocate if need be
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:09 PM   #14
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ROWIEBOWIE - Yeah, I agree. And if they really wanted to have those protrusion/curbs, why cant they use the now very common recycled rubber stuff. Lots of parking lot tire stops are made of them. All new playgrounds have them. Much cheaper than concrete and easier to relocate if need be

Does that mean we can't tar & feather them?
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