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Replacement tail rod...?
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nickc(at)mtaonline.net
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:30 am    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Kolbers,

A while back we had a discusion about replacing the aluminum tail rod with a stiffer piece of steel tube. I thought I had ordered a piece of the steel, but can’t seem to find it. I someone on the list could post the specifications again, I would be most grateful.

Thanks,

Nick Cassara
Palmer, AK

Kolb Kolbra 607AK


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John Hauck



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 4599
Location: Titus, Alabama (hauck's holler)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:26 am    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Greetings to Palmer, Alaska!

Tail wheel strut I use is 3/4" X .120" 4130 heat treat to 48 RC.

I'll see if I can find a couple photos to attach. I use mine with Maul 6" and 8" tail wheels. Can't remember the length, but think about 6" protruding from the tail post lower tube.

These are photos of an old strut I replaced some years ago.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Too much weight that far back, you’ll feel it. 7075 3/4 I think

Sent from my iPhone

Quote:
On Feb 17, 2018, at 1:30 PM, Nick Cassara <nickc(at)mtaonline.net> wrote:



Kolbers,

A while back we had a discusion about replacing the aluminum tail rod with a stiffer piece of steel tube. I thought I had ordered a piece of the steel, but can’t seem to find it. I someone on the list could post the specifications again, I would be most grateful.

Thanks,

Nick Cassara
Palmer, AK

Kolb Kolbra 607AK






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Rex Rodebush



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 185
Location: Branson West area, Missouri

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

I replaced my aluminum rod which kept bending with 3/4" OD X .12" wall 4140 tubing from Aircraft Spruce. I used this with a 6" Matco pneumatic tailwheel. Has been working well. See attached pix's.

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John Hauck



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
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Location: Titus, Alabama (hauck's holler)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:01 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

I can only speak from personal experience with steel tail wheel strut. Heat treated to 48 RC, the steel strut has performed much better than the aluminum or fiberglass struts.

Steel probably weighs about the same as the standard length 3/4" 7075 solid rod.

Difference in weight:

Steel tube: 3/4X.120X12" 4130 .807 lbs

Aluminum rod: 3/4X12" 2024T3 .529 lbs (Aircraft Spruce didn't list 7075 3/4" rod)

Steel 1.8 oz per foot heavier.

My tail wheel strut is less than a foot. Don't remember the exact length. The little plate and bushing increase weight. I don't know how much, but not much.

I have a Maule 8" Tundra Tail Wheel that I flew with for a period of years. Can't remember how much that weighed. Tail wheel and aircraft performed well. I took it off last time I flew to Alaska thinking I would get a little more speed with the smaller 6" Maule solid rubber tail wheel. Couldn't tell any difference. On one flight to Alaska I swapped my 8x6 tires for 6x6 to see if I could get a little more speed. No difference that I could tell.

I am not recommending anyone else use my tail wheel strut or any other changes I have made to my MKIII. However, sure has worked well for me and my style flying. I went to steel gear legs and tail wheel struts 32 years ago.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:49 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Hey John,

Curious about the steel vs. aluminum gear legs. I have read lots about them on this list and elsewhere.

I know that the aluminum will give some then bend if you don't kiss the ground properly. So far I have only hit hard enough to bounce the Firefly, but not hard enough to bend anything. (knock wood).

Anyway, do you know if any instances where a landing caused the steel gear to bend? If so , was there damage to the airframe or did the gear take all the abuse, thus saving the fuselage?

Stuart

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John Hauck



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 4599
Location: Titus, Alabama (hauck's holler)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:20 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

If you hit hard enough aluminum or steel may take out the gear leg socket and cluster.

Never done nor know of a side by side comparison of crashes with alum and steel.

4130 if heat treated to 48 RC will give you a good spring, but is not hard enough to break. It will bend 90 deg and not brake. If bent during operation they can be straightened in a press.

7075 alum bends and will break if bent far enough.

I used 1.25X1.20 wall 4130 heat treated to 48RC on my original Firestar and my MKIII. James Tripp used my Firestar 4130 legs to fabricate legs for his MKIII with same landing gear as mine. Getting a lot of miles out of those legs.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:21 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Wow! I had no idea it would bend that far.

Any idea how far it will flex before it won't spring back all the way? I know there is an engineering term for that but can't remember it at the moment.

Stuart

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John Hauck



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
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Location: Titus, Alabama (hauck's holler)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:07 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Yes, the bend test has been conducted a couple times. Early on in my MKIII's life the 582 failed climbing out of the local airport. Made a good forced landing in a confined field. Checked it out on the ground, ran it up, and took off. Engine seized about 30 feet off the ground. I wasn't flying when I made contact. Then again in 2004, Muncho Lake, BC. Axle fitting failed during landing on a rough strip next to the Alaska Highway. Both times I got close to 90 degree bends without breaking.

The steel legs will take a lot of abuse before the take a set. I don't know how many times you can straighten them. I think I have straighten my current legs 4 times.

The longer the leg, the more spring travel and forgiving the legs will be.

How far will they bent before they take a set? I really don't know. I think you'll get your money's worth though.

Total length of the legs on my Firestar were 35.5". The heat treater at the time had a 36" oven. Here is a photo of them.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama


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lcottrell



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Location: Jordan Valley, Or

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:07 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

I have some hardened steel legs, and when I put on my tundra tires, I
decided to land off the strip in my field. I intended to skim the ground
and touch down "like a feather". The only problem was I was a bit previous
and hit a fairly large roll in the ground at about 50 MPH. I hit hard
enough to launch me quite high in the air, and hard enough to flex the cage
on my firestar enough for the center post on my windshield to come out of
the socket at the top of the enclosure. I had difficulty in putting enough
pressure on the cage to reinsert it back in the socket. I checked the legs
and could see no sign that they had bent at all. If I had had alum, I would
have been sitting on the ground with the bottom of the cage.
Larry

[quote]

If you hit hard enough aluminum or steel may take out the gear leg socket
and cluster.

Never done nor know of a side by side comparison of crashes with alum and
steel.

4130 if heat treated to 48 RC will give you a good spring, but is not hard
enough to break. It will bend 90 deg and not brake. If bent during
operation they can be straightened in a press.

7075 alum bends and will break if bent far enough.

I used 1.25X1.20 wall 4130 heat treated to 48RC on my original Firestar
and my MKIII. James Tripp used my Firestar 4130 legs to fabricate legs for
his MKIII with same landing gear as mine. Getting a lot of miles out of
those legs.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:22 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

I have a question on this subject. I have just replaced the standard (early) Firestar tailwheel ass'y with the new heavy duty swiveling ass'y offered by Kolb.

I have an aluminum tail spr ing rod, and I cannot see any fasteners, rivets, bolts, clevis pins, etc AT ALL that secure the front of 5the aluminum rod into the bottom of the tail weldment.

So I could not remove/inspect/replace this tail spring, and I also could not remove the tailwheel assembly from the back of the rod. I literally had to cut the spring rod just forward of the old tailwheel, and then I slid the new tailwheel onto the rod. I drilled, reamed, and bolted the new tailwheel.

What I am wondeering about is... did the Firestars have the aluminum tail spring GLUED into the steel weldment? I can't see any other way. They wouldn't have welded aluminum to steel. They would not have used flush countersunk bolts and nuts to bolt it in.

So absent seeing any fasteners holding the tail spring into the fuselage weldment... how are these springs attached? How are you supposed to remove and replace them? I would have been very happy to machine a new tail spring, because I have the material ( 7075 aluminum main gear legs form the Firestar).

Bill Berle
www.ezflaphandle.com  - safety & performance upgrade for light aircraft
www.grantstar.net           - winning proposals for non-profit and for-profit entities

--------------------------------------------
On Sat, 2/17/18, John Hauck <jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com> wrote:

Subject: RE: Replacement tail rod...?
To: kolb-list(at)matronics.com
Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 8:07 PM

Yes, the bend test has been conducted a
couple times.  Early on in my MKIII's life the 582
failed climbing out of the local airport.  Made a good
forced landing in a confined field.  Checked it out on
the ground, ran it up, and took off.  Engine seized
about 30 feet off the ground.  I wasn't flying when I
made contact.  Then again in 2004, Muncho Lake,
BC.  Axle fitting failed during landing on a rough
strip next to the Alaska Highway.  Both times I got
close to 90 degree bends without breaking.

The steel legs will take a lot of abuse
before the take a set.  I don't know how many times you
can straighten them.  I think I have straighten my
current legs 4 times.

The longer the leg, the more spring
travel and forgiving the legs will be.

How far will they bent before they take
a set?  I really don't know.  I think you'll get
your money's worth though.

Total length of the legs on my Firestar
were 35.5".  The heat treater at the time had a 36"
oven.  Here is a photo of them.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama




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John Hauck



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 4599
Location: Titus, Alabama (hauck's holler)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:40 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Bill B, you could have saved all that typing by asking how to secure the tail wheel strut to the tail post.

I attached mine by drilling and attaching with two 3/16, maybe 1/4 bolts.

john h
mkIII
Titus, Alabama

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lcottrell



Joined: 29 May 2006
Posts: 1392
Location: Jordan Valley, Or

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:41 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Just a heads up about the swivel tail wheel. I bought mine quite a long time ago, so things may now be different.

I found that the one I had tended to break away much too soon. The only real problem occurred when landing with a cross wind. The necessity of crabbing caused enough deflection of the rudder that the tail wheel would break away well before I was ready. I once landed at an airport coming back from the Alvord, and there was about a 15 MPH cross wind. I had no problem until the speed dropped off, the wind then kicked me 90 degrees and out into the sage before I could react.
I took the thing apart and used a router to extend the detent on both sides, until I had to input full rudder before it would break loose. Use your own judgement however. 
Larry
On Sat, Feb 17, 2018 at 9:22 PM, Bill Berle <victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net (victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net)> wrote:
[quote]--> Kolb-List message posted by: Bill Berle <victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net (victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net)>

I have a question on this subject. I have just replaced the standard (early) Firestar tailwheel ass'y with the new heavy duty swiveling ass'y offered by Kolb.

I have an aluminum tail spr ing rod, and I cannot see any fasteners, rivets, bolts, clevis pins, etc AT ALL that secure the front of 5the aluminum rod into the bottom of the tail weldment.

So I could not remove/inspect/replace this tail spring, and I also could not remove the tailwheel assembly from the back of the rod. I literally had to cut the spring rod just forward of the old tailwheel, and then I slid the new tailwheel onto the rod. I drilled, reamed, and bolted the new tailwheel.

What I am wondeering about is... did the Firestars have the aluminum tail spring GLUED into the steel weldment? I can't see any other way. They wouldn't have welded aluminum to steel. They would not have used flush countersunk bolts and nuts to bolt it in.

So absent seeing any fasteners holding the tail spring into the fuselage weldment... how are these springs attached? How are you supposed to remove and replace them?  I would have been very happy to machine a new tail spring, because I have the material ( 7075 aluminum main gear legs form the Firestar).

Bill Berle
www.ezflaphandle.com  - safety & performance upgrade for light aircraft
www.grantstar.net           - winning proposals for non-profit and for-profit entities

--------------------------------------------
On Sat, 2/17/18, John Hauck <jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com (jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com)> wrote:

 Subject: RE: Replacement tail rod...?
 To: kolb-list(at)matronics.com (kolb-list(at)matronics.com)
 Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 8:07 PM

 Yes, the bend test has been conducted a
 couple times.  Early on in my MKIII's life the 582
 failed climbing out of the local airport.  Made a good
 forced landing in a confined field.  Checked it out on
 the ground, ran it up, and took off.  Engine seized
 about 30 feet off the ground.  I wasn't flying when I
 made contact.  Then again in 2004, Muncho Lake,
 BC.  Axle fitting failed during landing on a rough
 strip next to the Alaska Highway.  Both times I got
 close to 90 degree bends without breaking.

 The steel legs will take a lot of abuse
 before the take a set.  I don't know how many times you
 can straighten them.  I think I have straighten my
 current legs 4 times.

 The longer the leg, the more spring
 travel and forgiving the legs will be.

 How far will they bent before they take
 a set?  I really don't know.  I think you'll get
 your money's worth though.

 Total length of the legs on my Firestar
 were 35.5".  The heat treater at the time had a 36"
 oven.  Here is a photo of them.

 john h
 mkIII
 Titus, Alabama




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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:51 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

My plans show a 1/4 inch bolt  4 inches in from the end of the tail post.   See pic.

Boyd Young
On Feb 17, 2018 9:24 PM, "Bill Berle" <victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net (victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net)> wrote:[quote]--> Kolb-List message posted by: Bill Berle <victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net (victorbravo(at)sbcglobal.net)>

I have a question on this subject. I have just replaced the standard (early) Firestar tailwheel ass'y with the new heavy duty swiveling ass'y offered by Kolb.

I have an aluminum tail spr ing rod, and I cannot see any fasteners, rivets, bolts, clevis pins, etc AT ALL that secure the front of 5the aluminum rod into the bottom of the tail weldment.

So I could not remove/inspect/replace this tail spring, and I also could not remove the tailwheel assembly from the back of the rod. I literally had to cut the spring rod just forward of the old tailwheel, and then I slid the new tailwheel onto the rod. I drilled, reamed, and bolted the new tailwheel.

What I am wondeering about is... did the Firestars have the aluminum tail spring GLUED into the steel weldment? I can't see any other way. They wouldn't have welded aluminum to steel. They would not have used flush countersunk bolts and nuts to bolt it in.

So absent seeing any fasteners holding the tail spring into the fuselage weldment... how are these springs attached? How are you supposed to remove and replace them?  I would have been very happy to machine a new tail spring, because I have the material ( 7075 aluminum main gear legs form the Firestar).

Bill Berle
www.ezflaphandle.com  - safety & performance upgrade for light aircraft
www.grantstar.net           - winning proposals for non-profit and for-profit entities

--------------------------------------------
On Sat, 2/17/18, John Hauck <jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com (jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com)> wrote:

 Subject: RE: Replacement tail rod...?
 To: kolb-list(at)matronics.com (kolb-list(at)matronics.com)
 Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 8:07 PM

 Yes, the bend test has been conducted a
 couple times.  Early on in my MKIII's life the 582
 failed climbing out of the local airport.  Made a good
 forced landing in a confined field.  Checked it out on
 the ground, ran it up, and took off.  Engine seized
 about 30 feet off the ground.  I wasn't flying when I
 made contact.  Then again in 2004, Muncho Lake,
 BC.  Axle fitting failed during landing on a rough
 strip next to the Alaska Highway.  Both times I got
 close to 90 degree bends without breaking.

 The steel legs will take a lot of abuse
 before the take a set.  I don't know how many times you
 can straighten them.  I think I have straighten my
 current legs 4 times.

 The longer the leg, the more spring
 travel and forgiving the legs will be.

 How far will they bent before they take
 a set?  I really don't know.  I think you'll get
 your money's worth though.

 Total length of the legs on my Firestar
 were 35.5".  The heat treater at the time had a 36"
 oven.  Here is a photo of them.

 john h
 mkIII
 Titus, Alabama




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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:32 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

posted by: "John Hauck" <jhauck(at)elmore.rr.com>

Bill B, you could have saved all that typing by asking how to secure the tail wheel strut to the tail post.

Well. my real question is whether it is acceptable to have it glued in, because this one sure looks like it is glued in. I can easily drill through it and put in a bolt, no biggie.

But since many people here have far more experience with these airplanes, I figured maybe I would like to know what the advantage/disadvantage is of glue versus bolt. Aluminum sure does NOT like to be glued.

In order to get the glued one out it appears that I would have to put a torch on it to heat it and melt the glue, which would melt the fabric off, etc. If it is acceptable to leave it glued then that is the easiest way. But maybe not the safest or lowest risk.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:59 pm    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

On Sat, 2/17/18, B Young <byoungplumbing(at)gmail.com> wrote:

My plans show a 1/4 inch bolt  4 inches in from the end of the tail post.   
------------------
Thank you Boyd, I appreciate the clarification.

I have a set of plans where the tailwheel aluminum rod is shown as being epoxied into the fuselage. It is Sheet #4, dated 1985. I would not be surprised if the later versions of the plans were upgraded to show the bolt that Boyd posted.

My aircraft appears to be epoxied. I may put a bolt in it anyway to have a more secure attachment.


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Location: Blountville, Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

On our Firefly, the original owner of the tailboom/tail assy slathered the tailwheel rod with epoxy before inserting it.
Removed the now bent aluminum rod by cutting away the ventral fabric and then a liberal application of the heat gun.


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Richard Pike
Kolb MKIII N420P (420ldPoops)
Kolb Firefly Part 103 legal (Repairing the fiberglass nose bowl. Ugh.)
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Rex Rodebush



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 185
Location: Branson West area, Missouri

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

When I used the aluminum tail wheel rod I had a problem with the rod twisting and deforming at the bolt. So much so that the tailwheel became uncontrolable because of the angle. When I replaced it with a steel tube I added another bolt and a spring pin just to make sure. See the pictures from my previous post.

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Dan Breitigam



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Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Regarding the gear leg comments; has anyone tried bracing aluminum gear legs with cables? Would it be worth trying?

Thanks.


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Kolb Mk III Xtra
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject: Replacement tail rod...? Reply with quote

The duty of both steel and aluminum gear legs is to absorb landing stresses by flexing. Aluminum legs flex which is good but don't flex as far before they stay flexed. Restricting the flexing will transfer the landing loads to the plane where other not so evident damage might occur on a hard landing. I don't think you would want brace any Kolb gear leg. There might a benefit to dampen the spring back on some of the more springy steel gear legs.
Rick Neilsen
Redrive VW PoweredMKIIIC
On Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 12:32 PM, Dan Breitigam <dbrtgm(at)me.com (dbrtgm(at)me.com)> wrote:
Quote:
--> Kolb-List message posted by: "Dan Breitigam" <dbrtgm(at)me.com (dbrtgm(at)me.com)>

Hi guys,

Regarding the gear leg comments; has anyone tried bracing aluminum gear legs with cables?  Would it be worth trying?

Thanks.

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Kolb Mk III
Geo Metro 1.3L
Chattanooga




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