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Old 09-28-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
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Recommended rear casters

Looking for rear/skid casters recommendations for my 1988 Excella 1000 32'. Or, other suggestions on how to raise the overall height. As most of you have surely experienced issues with dragging due to the general low profile of Airstreams.

Paktron (Paktron Products Home) makes a weld on mini steel roller that I am considering... Also, should I first consider skid bars and then casters?
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:42 AM   #2
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How is your axles? If the rubber has taken a set it has lowered the trailer a couple inches to start off, that is the first place to investigate.

I've read here years ago that casters are to be avoided - For one if you don't compensate by changing the mounting steel so caster faces are at or above the original 'contact' spot you are increasing the likelihood of contact - plus knowing they are there increases willingness to drag...

I'm interested in this too - I am closing up the rear of my '73 and now would be the time...
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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Wabbiteer, dont know much about the axles since the Excella is a recent purchase. The rollers from Paktron are only 2.5 " in height. Also, in the process of replacing the Atwood hot water heater and wondering what brand of sealer is recommended upon reinstallation?
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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Hello redwinefarms - welcome to the forums!

Do you see a welded foot long section of C-channel the factory puts on the aft port & starboard frame members just in front of the rear bumpers? These are intended to take punishment and deform when you drag your rear end. It's easy to go slow or at an angle across deep street gutters to prevent this.

The frame of an Airstream is not engineered to take significant load behind the axles. Thus the recommendation not to put a spare tire, bicycles or storage box on the rear bumper. Likewise, a caster would cause a majority of the trailer weight to be focused on the rear frame. Regardless of the inexpensive price you've found for casters, the potential for significant structural damage is not trivial. Don't use 'em.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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The casters when they hit take some load off the wheels and reverse the stress on the frame but that is not that bad. My 31 foot 77 came with a skid rails just below the bumper. It worked well when I was going forward but dug in big time when I backed into my uphill driveway the first time. I put casters on within a month. I also lowered my hitch ball and take the W/D bars off whenever I back in now. Have not had a problem in years now.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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Karma Dwight. redwinefarms, you hear both recommendations. I remember Pahaska once having a challenging driveway. He'd pull a bit up the street and take off his weight distribution spring bars to lower the nose of his Airstream before backing in.
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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Casters

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ID:	87875Hi Redwinefarms,
Are you from Georgia? We had a severe scraping issue trying to get our Avion up our steep driveway. After trying several forum suggestion without success, out of desperation we inquired at several RV repair shops about the skids and casters. They wouldn't weld them on because they would be lifting all the weight in that area and could damage the frame. We were able to find more than adequate accomodations for our trailer down the street but at the time we were desperately trying everything to get her up our own driveway.
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:37 PM   #8
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Three years ago I watched a Class C get stuck going onto a small ferry in northern Canada. I didn't have a trailer then, but I'm sure if I did, an Airstream would have never made it on. The Class C eventually got on, but the stress to his bumper must have been drastic. If I go back with our Safari, I'm getting casters just for that eventuality.

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Old 09-29-2009, 06:05 AM   #9
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Rear Casters

Kristi F,

Yes, we live in Georgia... Newnan
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:45 AM   #10
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Caster pictures

Go to the old thread: Tire size question? It will be in the tire category. There are great pictures of casters and and a description of where they need to be placed. It also has pictures of a trailer going up a steep incline and how the casters helped.There are also other ideas for lifting the height. [Red Wine Road always gives us a chuckle because it comes out Wed Wine Woad]
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:12 AM   #11
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The thing about casters is that when they are being used (in contact with the ground) it is the same as jacking your trailer up by the frame at those points. That is certainly recommended against.

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Old 09-29-2009, 11:13 AM   #12
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Don't Do It

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmclemore View Post
the thing about casters is that when they are being used (in contact with the ground) it is the same as jacking your trailer up by the frame at those points. That is certainly recommended against.

Pat
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:31 AM   #13
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My question regarding the replies here is what do you recommend if not casters? Is it best to drag the rear frame rails and bumper on the ground, or roll it on casters. Are skid plates better or worse?
I'm sure many of us have had this happen before. It seems that if it's going to hit the ground it would be much better to have it roll as opposed to drag. The stress on the frame is not much different between the two options. I agree that neither is a good thing, but I would rather have it roll, myself.
Having the casters hanging down too far below the frame is going to cause it to hit the ground much more often, so that's another issue to consider. I removed the casters that were on my safari and I can now negotiate my driveway without hitting the ground, but I am considering replacing them with recessed casters that would only take about 1/2" off my rear ground clearance allowing me to get up my driveway without hitting, and giving me protection in case I do bottom out in some gas station driveway or such. This seems to me to be the best option available.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:23 PM   #14
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In general casters are a big mistake. When they are installed they tend to be mounted to the bottom of the frame and thus move the contact point much lower, of then several inches or the height of the caster.

If your axles are good and the trailer is riding at a normal height there will be very few times when you should contact the ground. These times tend to be rail road tracks, turning into steep drives, and all Canadian ferries. Airstream installs drag rails below the frame. If you are paying attention to where you are going you can slow down just before contact and drag the trailer over.

If you do install casters make sure you cut off the drag rails and mount the casters so there bottom of the wheel is no lower that the original drag rails. If no you have gained nothing.

Even with new axles my 34 drags in all of the above mentioned situations. In fact I advised one Canadian ferry to buy a gallon of paint because when I was going to come off Grand Manan Island I was going to remove all of the paint on the ramp. I tend to drive on and off the ferries at as steep an angle to the ramp as I can to reduce the drag.
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:26 PM   #15
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Howie, it sounds like you haven't gotten stuck getting onto Canadian ferries. The Class C I saw was trying to get on a ferry in the NWT to cross the MacKenzie R. The road was dirt and sloped downward and the ferry ramp sloped upward. The rear bumper dug into the dirt on the road as the Class C was driving upward on the ferry ramp. He couldn't move and then the ferry captain tried to bust him loose by rocking the ferry back forth. That finally worked and the Class C backed up a bit, gunned it and got on. The bumper made a loud noise when it hit the dirt. I don't know how long he was there, but when we got there it took 20 minutes before he got free.

Now that I've looked at the back of my Safari, I see catching the bumper is almost impossible and the skid plates are mounted below and just forward of it. Casters mounted on the side of the plates that are slightly below it could make it easier than simply dragging it.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:26 PM   #16
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casters, no plastique, si

aplogies to everyone on the title-a buddy of mine landed his twin engine aircraft with the wheels up one time...the plastic strips along the bottom of the fuselage saved the body of the airplane from any damage!! I know, I was there, and I still cannot believe it. now, the props were a different story...but if you do not know what I am referring to-check a teenager's skate board-they have hard/durable yet "grindable" plastic rails under them so the boarders can "grind." I'd put a 2 inch wide length of that stuff under whatever is dragging (1/4-3/8 inch thick) and let that stuff do the "grinding." this barely makes the contact points lower, certainly less than 2-1/2 inch casters and will distribute load axially-oh man, I'm sorry-along the length of the frame/plastic instead on wholly on the caster mount. PSI would be considerably less with the plastic grind strips than with the casters.
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:47 PM   #17
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Howie, it sounds like you haven't gotten stuck getting onto Canadian ferries.
The ferries I referred to are those in the maritime, NB, NS, Newfoundland Labrador, and the Queen Charlottes. They all have a very steep ramp angle that causes one to slide a 34 ft. trailer down the ramp.

Crossing the Yukon at Dawson City is the same dirt ramp that you describe. Sounds like I have to head to the NW territory.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:53 PM   #18
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I've been on the ferry at Dawson City, but not with trailer, and don't remember the ramp. If you go north to Inuvik, NWT, you'll run into a few more of those ferries with dirt ramps. And that road is great fun when it rains. You can wait 'til winter and become a ice road trailerite from Inuvik to Tuktoyatuk on the MacKenzie and maybe you'll get on a TV show.

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Old 09-30-2009, 11:33 AM   #19
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Rear end casters.

Rear end casters, of any kind, are great for body shops.

The first time you really elevate the rear of the trailer with the casters, you will also severely damage the rear quarter panels, especially from 1969 and up.

Wally said, "your Airstream can go any place your tow vehicle will go". NOT TRUE.

Your Airstream trailer will not go under 7 or 8 foot high bridges that allow a car to pass through, Some inclines like boarding a Ferry or the like, are way too steep sometimes for safe boarding.

Lifting the rear of the trailer, with casters, is an absolute no no. The longer the trailer, the worse the damage.

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Old 09-30-2009, 02:26 PM   #20
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Airstream installs skid plates—how can they be ok and casters are not?

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