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Technical Casters for tail draggers

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by straykatkustoms, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 12,774

    straykatkustoms
    Member

    Way past due but finally going to add casters to the rear of my Merc. Hopefully this will eliminate some of my dragging issues. Has any one used them before and what kind of casters worked best? starliner merc.jpg

    Happy Trails, Mick
     
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  2. Canada Jeff
    Joined: Jan 9, 2003
    Posts: 292

    Canada Jeff
    Member

    I think the Bettancourt Merc used them too, among others. I've read that non-rotating, metal wheeled casters are the ones to use.

    Any photos of how and where you mounted yours? I'm thinking about something similar if I extend my rear fenders and bumper mounts, reducing my ramp angle even further.




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  3. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,788

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    you don't have to be a taildragger to need casters. I twisted my bumper on my 61 Dodge coming out a driveway and only has 2" blocks in the back.
     
  4. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531

    aaggie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Try any camper supply places in your area. The large trailers have them mounted by the rear bumpers so they can go up steep driveways without ripping off the bumpers.
     
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  5. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,021

    51 mercules
    Member

    casters 003.jpg casters 002.jpg Here are a couple pics of the casters on my 51 merc built back in the mid 50's by Dean Jeffries. They're fixed casters mounted on the frame rail just behind the leaf spring shackle with 2 bolts, nuts and stacks of washers.
     
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  6. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,085

    olcurmdgeon
    Member

    I was in high school in the 50s, and lots of car shows were on high school playing fields, some of which had curbs to be navigated. Lots of shoeboxes and other customs that sat low in the rear had casters so the plating on the bumper went unscathed. Cool that people are resurrecting the use of them. Great photos, 51 Hercules, can't get better explanation than that!!
     
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  7. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,021

    51 mercules
    Member

    Thanks!
     
  8. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 12,774

    straykatkustoms
    Member

    I've not started putting them on yet. The end of next month we are going to start fixing the drag'n scares.
    I was thinking swivel casters would be what you needed. Kool to read the post to make sure we do it right
    the first time. Thanks for the help...


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  9. Great idea. Might add them to my 51 fleetline.
    -Pat
     
  10. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 726

    Ralphies54
    Member

    I wouldn't think swivel casters would work properly, chances are they would be in the wrong position when the car slammed down on them, they would then have to orient themselves before working and in doing that the extra stress on the wheel and mounting system would destroy them in short order. Fixed wheels would work well if they are far enough back to protect the bumper.
    Ralphie
     
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,241

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I remember couple of local customs having them in the 60's. A bit off a search says that the RV brigade calls them "skid wheels" that makes RV skid wheels worth throwing in a search.
     
  12. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,015

    Torchie
    Member

    If you look at old pics of the Hirohata Merc I believe that you can sometime see casters on that. They look to be "Fixed" positioned and are fairly close to the rear bumper. I tried to find the pic that I was thinking of but couldn't.
    This pic is of the restored car and clearly shows the caster and that they appear to be swivel, but you can see how far back from the rear spring shackle they are mounted.
    I am sure that when ever these customs went in and out of a driveway they more or less just creeped along till they got to level ground so as not to tear off the casters.
    Torchie.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. I was all excited and just knew I had pictures of what you were looking for. But, can you believe out of all the detail pics I have taken collected of the Hirohata over the years, I have not one single picture of the casters? Of course, fortunately, Torchie has one. Also, I just knew I had one of the Alcorn Merc. Turns out, I do have a shot of under the bumper, but there are no casters. LOL So, guess I can't help you after all.

    Although, I think I remember reading somewhere once to use the non-swivel as has been mentioned because the swivel style has a tendency to get sideways in the bottom of the dip or in a crack at the edge of the driveway and get torn off.
     
  14. Not traditional (that I know of) but I'm wondering about ball casters? I know various lead sleds have run steel wheel casters, but the idea of them sticking out below the bumper kinda bugs me. Something like this could get tucked out of sight, although it might be tricky to get them to a height that would be useful while staying mostly hidden.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 12,774

    straykatkustoms
    Member

    Thanks guys for all of the suggestions and it looks like the swivel is out. I like Big A's ball caster idea. Hhhummm.
    going to have to look into that one....I'm not worried about seeing the caster under the bumper because my Merc
    sits low enough it shouldn't be to noticeable.

    I didn't think about Dr. Dave's 1,00 plus Merc pics of the Hirohata.... I'm as shocked as you are that you didn't get
    a picture of it... LOL!!

    Please keep posting the suggestions I want to try to do it right the first time..

    Happy Trails, Mick
     
  16. That ball caster might would work decent if you could make a plate or bar across the corners of the bumper under your exhaust pipe. Trick would be welding to the bumper and not having to rechrome it. Maybe if the you made a piece that had the ends bent down however far would set the caster at the right height so you could weld it to the inside bottom edge of the bumper….? I'm thinking like a piece like 2-3 inches wide out of 1/4 material that spanned across the corner of the bumper and then the ends bent down (so the plate goes up however far you need it). Mounting it to the bumper, however, you gotta make sure the brackets can take the load to raise the car when the caster hits without bending. :(
     
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  17. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,124

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    air bags / hydraulics
     
  18. Porter 53
    Joined: Feb 12, 2010
    Posts: 19

    Porter 53
    Member

     
  19. Porter 53
    Joined: Feb 12, 2010
    Posts: 19

    Porter 53
    Member

    I had swivel casters on the 53 Chev with extended fenders. and they worked very well. It was my driver for about 3 years including a cross country trip from ca to Fl and back. never any trouble and saved us several times. Swivel or straight the casters are great.
     
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  20. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,183

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    WELL...
    1. Ball 'casters'...I had a customer give me 3, 1-1/2" dia. ball type. Used them on an IN-shop VW tri-caster engine stand. Rolled on smooooth finished concrete, never out of my unit room. Time conquered the balls and their sockets, dirt made rolling the stand a grating experience. Don't do it.:confused:

    2. 'Straight' casters... Fine, if you NEVER turn while casters are engaged with terra firma. (the ground)
    Most 'tail draggers' have a 30"+ overhang behind the rear axle centerline, so negotiating any semblance of a turn whilst 'castering' will scuff the caster tires, and bend the caster shears. How many driveways do you pull straight into? o_O

    3) Swivel casters...The zenith of castering, provided the weight of the vehicle is considered. Contact with runway when taxiing should be considered, then multiplied by a factor of .25. (even a swivel caster will be taxed on an uneven surface, 'jockeying' a tail-heavy Merc, Caddy, or Olds off asphalt to a concrete drive, and a slight difference in curb transition) :rolleyes:
    A good guess is a 600 lb. caster for each side, mounted on a shallow channel, (1/2" X 3") which is flanged on the ends and bolted up to the frame, ahead of the rear bumper.
    Casters mounted (welded?!?) to bumpers are akin to 'bumper jacks, bumper mount trailer hitches, etc.' :eek:
    I've dragged bumpers on 'customs' and scraped the bejesus out of Presto Plating's Premium Platitudes while procrastinating attaching those 'costly casters'!

    Please excuse the use of capital letters, my stupid PC won't do italics...and with this wonderful Scotch whiskey, I simply HAD to get my point across! :D
     
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  21. All this information is really helpful fellas! I was going to put casters on the Merc, but I wasn't going to say anything in case my memory regarding their use on customs back in the day was "off"... Of course I don't know when guys started using them, but I do recall seeing them from time to time in the little pages and thought "someday" - so now's the time.

    Dave
     
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  22. barfers
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Posts: 382

    barfers
    Member
    from Florida

    had no idea, so cool, thanks
     
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  23. This is a great thread. I have thought about this for years and I should of done something along time ago.I drag everywhere and my shackles are flattened out.
    I just bought a house with a decent approach (so I thought). I can hardly get my car in or out and that is hitting the driveway with a very sharp angle. What I didn't take into consideration is the slope of the street. It is pretty deep right before I enter the driveway. There were even houses that I refused to look at because I saw the driveways and said no way will my car make that.
    So the entrance to my driveway had an influence on purchasing a house,maybe I should of test drove my car up this driveway first:rolleyes:. So I have to do casters or do some wooden planks like Zaro had to. 1411059318944.jpg

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  24. skooch
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 153

    skooch
    Member

    Man, I guess you can still learn something new. I've never heard of this before and I own a Taildragger!


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  25. FAUST
    Joined: Feb 13, 2006
    Posts: 50

    FAUST
    Member

    [​IMG]Not traditional enough?
     
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  26. toucan
    Joined: Feb 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,083

    toucan
    Member
    from sc

    i like ! maybe my wife will quit yelling ooohhh!
     
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  27. can't remember what issue #, but the TRJ that details Spencer Murrays cross country in a custom story has a great low angle shot of the casters on his 1949 chevy.
     
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  28. barfers
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Posts: 382

    barfers
    Member
    from Florida

    hahaha yeah
     
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  29. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 12,774

    straykatkustoms
    Member

    Funny that we all are going through the same things.

    We were looking at buying a new house and we shot it down because there was no way my Merc or the Impala could
    get up the driveway. My wife hates it when the Merc drags, I thought by now she would get use to it. I'm
    hoping with the casters it will not be so bad...
     
  30. spinner
    Joined: Jan 19, 2006
    Posts: 225

    spinner
    Member

    I have 6 cars and only one that does not drag is my 96 impala. thanks to the Kansas city Kansas driveway laws. dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

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