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Thread: Caster issues

  1. #1

    Caster issues

    Howdy folks,

    So I just got my new TRA and I am working on getting it set up right. I was hoping to lower the front end a tad, so I dropped the casters to their lowest position, and in doing so I came across a couple issues I was hoping some of y'all with more experience and mechanical inclination could help me with.

    First off, I got the wider front casters, and as I was going to adjust them, I realized they don't spin very easily at all. On my previous chair I ended up putting rollerblade wheels on and they will spin for 10 or 15 seconds freely if I give them a good spin. The casters on my new chair spin about a half turn before stopping and there is significant resistance when turning them. Even if I completely remove the axel, but leave the little plastic sleeves wedged in between the caster forks it doesn't spin freely, so I'm not overtightening anything.

    This isn't the hugest deal for the moment, maybe it will loosen up once it gets some wear in, but if it doesn't... this is going to put significant strain on my shoulders from having to push harder. It is definitely noticeable when pushing.



    A picture will help with the second issue I'm having:


    You can see that the caster fork has very, very little clearance from the ground (Less than 1/8" by my guesstimation). A bit of uneven ground and this will certainly snag, possibly flipping the chair. And even if i run over perfectly smooth surfaces, once I lose that first 1/8" of wear on the casters I'm going to literally grind to a halt. Plus those metal nubs are going to be dragging through any kind of carpet I try to roll across, making life quite difficult.


    I can't (and wouldn't want to even if I could) go with a taller caster.

    The issue I'm running into with this chair as with my last one is that I must have been off on the front height again (despite the fact that I lowered it a couple inches), so I can return the caster to the middle or maybe even tallest position to get the clearance from the forks dragging on the ground, but that will require me cutting away half of the front height of my cushion... which is really going to annoy me, I hate cutting up a perfectly good cushion, and I often (as I am at this moment) lean back in my chair with my ischiums on the very front of the cushion, so I'd rather have as much cushion there as possible.

    anyone have a better solution?
    I suppose I could cut away the excess front fork that sticks out, but I'd have to find someone to do that for me because I don't have the tools or physical workspace to do it for myself in my studio apartment.
    Anyone know if tilite or anyone else makes a lower profile caster fork that I could swap out without having to cut or grind something on my brand new chair?

  2. #2
    This might be a good thing. If the tightness is not affecting push, I would leave it alone and see how your chair performs. Think back about the number of threads of members attempting to solve caster wobble. Push fine and no wobble at speed would be great.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by nonoise View Post
    This might be a good thing. If the tightness is not affecting push, I would leave it alone and see how your chair performs. Think back about the number of threads of members attempting to solve caster wobble. Push fine and no wobble at speed would be great.
    It's probably 20% harder to push. When on smooth concrete surfaces it feels like I'm pushing on carpet. This is unacceptable to me.

    It's not because of tightness or looseness of the bolts going through the axle though, as I said above, I completely took the axle out and it still wouldn't spin freely. My best guess at this time is that the plastic axle sleeves (not sure if this is the right word, they go between the caster forks and the caster itself and the axle slides through them) are causing excessive friction against the bearing or the caster itself, they are a new design I haven't seen before that slot into the caster.

  4. #4
    As for your excess caster fork length, you cannot successfully use it like that very long. Cutting them off is simple with an inexpensive Dremel tool which you can use in your apt. Home Depot and others have them. https://www.dremel.com/en_US/
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    It's probably 20% harder to push. When on smooth concrete surfaces it feels like I'm pushing on carpet. This is unacceptable to me.

    It's not because of tightness or looseness of the bolts going through the axle though, as I said above, I completely took the axle out and it still wouldn't spin freely. My best guess at this time is that the plastic axle sleeves (not sure if this is the right word, they go between the caster forks and the caster itself and the axle slides through them) are causing excessive friction against the bearing or the caster itself, they are a new design I haven't seen before that slot into the caster.
    Not good. So if you stick your finger in the bearings are they themselves sticky? (hard to turn)
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  6. #6
    Might need a picture of "plastic axle sleeves". packing? hair guards?
    Last edited by nonoise; 09-07-2019 at 06:15 PM.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    I'd cut that excess fork off with a Dremel cutting wheel, file the ends clean, and move on. As for the caster spin, not unheard of for casters that sit on a shelf for a while to develop bearing issues. Can you spin them holding the center of the bearing with your finger tips? When off the chair, of course, do they still have resistance to rotation?

    edit: why the need to cut the cushion? Seat to footrest won't change raising the front .5" at the fork.
    Last edited by Oddity; 09-07-2019 at 04:58 PM.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

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  8. #8
    Holding the inner race and spinning the out race the bearing should spin freely, should be no resistance. There should be a sleeve between the two bearings, if that's missing, or too short the bearing will bind.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    but that will require me cutting away half of the front height of my cushion... which is really going to annoy me, I hate cutting up a perfectly good cushion, and I often (as I am at this moment) lean back in my chair with my ischiums on the very front of the cushion, so I'd rather have as much cushion there as possible.

    anyone have a better solution?...
    I'm beginning to think you are trying to reduce dump. Cutting a wedge out of a Supracor cushion is no easy task. You do have another choice with the rear axle height if it is not maxed out or bottomed out since the TRA has adjustable dump.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  10. #10
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    If it is a brand new chair you should be able to demand replacement castor wheels or bearings. It should have arrived in good shape!

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