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Thread: No chain springs?

  1. #1
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    No chain springs?

    New tailwheel Pilot here... So Iíve heard that some people run chainless on the tailwheel, but Iím curious about running springless. Pros and cons? I just bought my first tailwheel aircraft, and the ferry pilot that delivered it said the springs were stupid soft and made it very difficult to steer without differential braking, so he removed the springs and went with a more direct steering. There is still some slack in the chains, but I did not dislike the ground handling during my five hours of patterns when the aircraft was delivered. Iím a cherokee pilot, so very responsive direct steering is something Iím used to. That being said, Iím sure the springs also serve to protect the chains from breakage, so is running springless a bad idea?


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  2. #2
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I would think you will end up bending the steering arm. Call Univair and get the steering springs shown in the PA18 parts manual for the 3200 tailwheel. I fly a lot of different Super Cubs and it is nice to hi the rudder pedal on the grond and the tailwheel move without having to apply brake. I find lots of different springs installed but the Piper springs work the best in my opinion.
    Steve Pierce

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  3. #3
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I would think you will end up bending the steering arm. Call Univair and get the steering springs shown in the PA18 parts manual for the 3200 tailwheel. I fly a lot of different Super Cubs and it is nice to hi the rudder pedal on the grond and the tailwheel move without having to apply brake. I find lots of different springs installed but the Piper springs work the best in my opinion.
    Isnít the Univair springs slightly bigger than the piper ones? That would help with the bigger tail wheels like the baby bush


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  4. #4
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I had some NOS piper springs and they matched. Airframes/Bushwheel sells some as well which I have used and they worked the same from my experience.
    Steve Pierce

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -AV8R- View Post
    New tailwheel Pilot here... So I’ve heard that some people run chainless on the tailwheel, but I’m curious about running springless. Pros and cons? I just bought my first tailwheel aircraft, and the ferry pilot that delivered it said the springs were stupid soft and made it very difficult to steer without differential braking, so he removed the springs and went with a more direct steering. There is still some slack in the chains, but I did not dislike the ground handling during my five hours of patterns when the aircraft was delivered. I’m a cherokee pilot, so very responsive direct steering is something I’m used to. That being said, I’m sure the springs also serve to protect the chains from breakage, so is running springless a bad idea?


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    For clarification, are you saying the ferry pilot removed the steering springs and reconnected with a solid cable? That’s a uniquely bad idea if so. As Steve says, get a set of decent springs.

    Afew folks completly disconnect the tailwheel steering, whic isn’t legal and generally done off airport.

    you might also try a 3214 T steering arm, especially if your steering arms are bent. That improves steering geometry a bit, and provides much stronger steering arms.

    MTV

  6. #6

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    Go back to the stock setup as soon as possible!! No downside to how it came from the factory. I am not sure where the free caster/chainless tailwheel fad came from. It provides less control, improper alignment of the tailwheel when landing, and makes a cub useless on skis. DENNY
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  7. #7
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    A question for those who run chainless....
    I'm curious if you remove the spring (p/n 3222) to make the t/w free-castoring?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  8. #8
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I have had full caster baby bushwheel for at least 15 years now, most the time I love it. long taxi's on big airports with crosswind not so much. Would I ever go back, nope! I don't normally use skis so that is not an issue and when I have I just put a stock 3200 back on. For off airport on gravel bars it is better IMHO, no feedback through the pedals as you taxi. Not much to ever go wrong with it either.

  9. #9
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    A question for those who run chainless....
    I'm curious if you remove the spring (p/n 3222) to make the t/w free-castoring?
    Yes, just cut it, or grind it off is the easiest
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  10. #10

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    Unless this is an experimental, there might be insurance implications of modifying the tailwheel setup. I'd get new springs on ASAP.

  11. #11
    Dave Barras's Avatar
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    And if not the proper length (read too short) your tail wheel will not break free like it’s supposed to.
    Dave


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  12. #12
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Barras View Post
    And if not the proper length (read too short) your tail wheel will not break free like itís supposed to.
    Forgive me, but I don't understand that, please explain why? Or maybe a typo, and should have read too long???
    Gordon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Forgive me, but I don't understand that, please explain why? Or maybe a typo, and should have read too long???
    Tight chains bind up the works, I can't explain it properly but, ya, tight chains will make it hard to break.
    DENNY

  14. #14

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    If chains are too tight, rudder hits stops before tailwheel has reached the angle required to break free of the steering arm, which means you have to further stretch the already tight spring to get it there. Thereís a happy medium for the spring tension- just a bit tighter than slack is my preference.
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  15. #15
    Dave Barras's Avatar
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    I think the tail wheel steering arm has to Be able to reach its stop for the tail wheel to break free. Chains too tight
    make this a problem. I had this problem and thought the tail wheel had a problem, was about to take the tail wheel apart. One chain had a little more slack and that side worked fine. Thats when I realized the opposite chain was causing the problem. If you jack up the tail and turn the rudder all the way to one side, if the tail reaches its stop, it will break free easily.
    Dave


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  16. #16
    cgoldy's Avatar
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    I threw away my chain and springs 4 years ago. Now I know why some women don’t wear bras!
    Javron O-375 wide body extended wing cub
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  17. #17
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    So, I swapped them back to what was on there before my ferry pilot changed it. That being said, it seems the springs take up almost all the distance between the rudder steering arms and the tailwheel arms. There are only about three or four links of chain. the tail wheel seems to operate and break free normally, but I haven't had a chance to actually taxi it and feel it out.
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  18. #18
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    For clarification, are you saying the ferry pilot removed the steering springs and reconnected with a solid cable? That’s a uniquely bad idea if so. As Steve says, get a set of decent springs.

    Afew folks completly disconnect the tailwheel steering, whic isn’t legal and generally done off airport.

    you might also try a 3214 T steering arm, especially if your steering arms are bent. That improves steering geometry a bit, and provides much stronger steering arms.


    MTV

    Yes, He removed the springs and just used longer chains without the springs. there was still the right amount of slack and the tailwheel broke free when it was supposed to, I was worried though, that with no dampening in the system eventually the chain or the control arms might break..
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  19. #19

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    You worry correctly- use springs, and the correct springs.
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  20. #20

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    Why is a ferry pilot modifying your new airplane?
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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  21. #21
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Why is a ferry pilot modifying your new airplane?
    Believe me, I thought the same thing when he told me. He noted that the springs that were on when he picked it up were so soft that he could not steer while taxiing without differential braking. After re-installing the springs, I could see why. Moving the rudder does nothing until you get to full deflection, then steers the tail wheel 3į to 5į at the most. I just ordered some better springs from Aircraft Spruce. (Compression spring 06-15700) theyíre stiffer and a little shorter, so they should provide adequate dampening and steering control.

  22. #22
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Steve Pierce

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  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -AV8R- View Post
    Believe me, I thought the same thing when he told me. He noted that the springs that were on when he picked it up were so soft that he could not steer while taxiing without differential braking. After re-installing the springs, I could see why. Moving the rudder does nothing until you get to full deflection, then steers the tail wheel 3į to 5į at the most. I just ordered some better springs from Aircraft Spruce. (Compression spring 06-15700) they’re stiffer and a little shorter, so they should provide adequate dampening and steering control.
    As Steve advised: Use the correct springs. I would NOT use compression springs....period. Stiffer isn’t the whole story. Those springs can do some damage.

    And, don’t ever use that dumb a$& ferry pilot again.

    MTV
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    Quote Originally Posted by -AV8R- View Post
    Believe me, I thought the same thing when he told me. He noted that the springs that were on when he picked it up were so soft that he could not steer while taxiing without differential braking. After re-installing the springs, I could see why. Moving the rudder does nothing until you get to full deflection, then steers the tail wheel 3į to 5į at the most. I just ordered some better springs from Aircraft Spruce. (Compression spring 06-15700) they’re stiffer and a little shorter, so they should provide adequate dampening and steering control.
    Disassemble, inspect and lube your tailwheel, I know of several airplanes that are in the 200#+ range and they use springs and works as advertised when lubed and clean. Tim
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  25. #25
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    No chain springs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    As Steve advised: Use the correct springs. I would NOT use compression springs....period. Stiffer isnít the whole story. Those springs can do some damage.

    And, donít ever use that dumb a$& ferry pilot again.

    MTV
    Hahaha! Ok. He was actually recommended by and had built, tested, and delivered quite a lot of the cubs for Legend. Has something like 18,000 hours or something crazy like that. The springs that were on it were compression springs already, but they were really soft. I donít know if they were original or not, but I will try the Piper springs linked above. Iím curious, what is so bad about compression springs? Iíve seen them on a bunch of different tail wheel systems. Iím still learning here, so help me understand. How is it they can cause lots of damage?


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    Last edited by -AV8R-; 10-29-2020 at 02:37 PM.

  26. #26
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Thanks! Iíll give these a try!!!


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    If I remember correctly, Maule Tailwheels use compression springs and Scott/ABW use tension springs.


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  28. #28
    Rob's Avatar
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    Fascinating....

    Just some observations,

    Anyone who hasn't yet mastered turning a tailwheel aircraft with either rudder or brake alone, isn't quite ready for prime time. Regardless of chronological time in aircraft.
    Having said that, I can't imagine someone needing to modify your aircraft for a simple ferry.... heck, by my math, he's modifying an aircraft he's not even familiar with.

    Chains? I have them because I'm too lazy to nix them. I own and fly several heavy tailwheel aircraft that free caster, and have yet to experience a negative. Ok, skiis I get, but you still have a rudder. Legalities and proper geometry aside, I can't imagine a good reason to over think them one way or the other. Most guys that are reasonably cub proficient can put their tailwheel exactly where they want it during ground ops regardless of what kind it is, or how it is attached. And I have seen some pretty funky attach methods
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  29. #29

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    My Stinson has a Scott with compression springs. Can’t say I can tell any difference with the Piper springs in the North Star. As mentioned, they both do the job.

  30. #30
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I fly a lot of different Super Cubs. I am use to the Piper springs and I can taxi the airplane in most conditions with the rudder pedals, not having to use brakes. When I taxi a Cub with some cheap, soft springs I have to tap brake and it feels un-natural to me. I like the positive authority of pushing the rudder pedal and the tailwheel following my command. I have become accustomed to a norm that work for Piper and works for me. I am sure there are many other ways, springs etc. but this is what I like.
    Steve Pierce

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  31. #31
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    ........ I own and fly several heavy tailwheel aircraft that free caster, and have yet to experience a negative. .....
    I assume you're talking about turbine ag-planes.
    I'm curious if they have locking tailwheels-
    lock for takeoff/landing, unlock for taxiing?
    Or free-castoring 100% of the time?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  32. #32
    -AV8R-'s Avatar
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    I used the Piper springs. According to the instructions there should be no slack if anything very slight tension on the springs. So I installed it exactly that way. Took six links per side, and it taxis really nice! Thanks for the input everyone! Click image for larger version. 

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  33. #33
    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    Steve P has a video on setting them up. I did mine his way. Love it!
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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  34. #34
    Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I assume you're talking about turbine ag-planes.
    I'm curious if they have locking tailwheels-
    lock for takeoff/landing, unlock for taxiing?
    Or free-castoring 100% of the time?
    You assume correctly

    Mine are Turbine Thrush to be specific, but I have flown most of the current ag type's and plenty of not so current.

    These are equipped with locking tailwheels, but my experience with S2R's of multiple flavors, is not much different than the average cub, in that if the tailwheel, tail spring, and tailwheel tire are all in good order, the wheel will behave on landing, taxi, and take off, with or without the lock. I never use the tailwheel lock in an S2R for any of the above.

    The same cannot be said about other ag aircraft, which I assume is due to the large change in tailwheel weight, and consequently geometry of the head.
    Some models will shimmy violently on landing if you got away with taking off unlocked, but that is a very different issue than steering it with or without physical rudder attachment (the topic at hand). FWIW even the heaviest shimmie ing models are free castering. Locking?... yes, centering springs to aid in line up?... yes, unbridled connection to the rudder?... you bet.

    And also FWIW, I am not opposed to springs, cables, or exp tailwheel arrangements. I just happen to be of the belief that much like the 'new to cub's' pilot trying to pin gear leg failure blame on antiquated gear leg design, another 'new to cub's' guy would be better served by burning gas, than over thinking what flavor of chain attachment he has on his cub. There is certainly nothing wrong with building a better mousetrap, but if you don't know how to use it you're not going to catch many meese...

    Take care, Rob
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