FAQ: What Do I need for a complete tailwheel setup?

The first thing to do when considering a tailwheel upgrade is to make sure you know what parts you’ve got. There are a few different tailwheel models that we might find on your plane, especially if it’s an older model. 

– If your kit was ordered before 1997, you may have the old-style bent spring tailwheel assembly that was stock Van’s parts at the time. This is easily recognizable because the tailwheel is limited in its swiveling travel to about 60 degrees either way (newer models will unlock and swivel all the way around)

– Though not particularly common, you may find that you have an aftermarket tailwheel assembly from a company called Aviation products. This is recognizable because the socket that the tailwheel slides into is made from machined aluminum rather than welded steel, the axle bolt will be a 1/2″ or 5/8″ bolt (whereas the stock Van’s parts use a 3/8″ bolt), and the vertical shaft of the tailwheel will be 3/4″ diameter (Van’s parts use a 7/8″ diameter)

– Post-1997 Vans tailwheel is the standard and most common tailwheel. 

See the image below for a comparison. 

If you already have the Van’s Standard Assembly, you do NOT need the tailwheel mounting kit. Just use the Van’s parts that you have, as our parts are designed to retrofit to the Van’s stock.

If you have the Aviation Products tailwheel, please see our article on upgrading from the API Tailwheel by clicking here. If you have the older bent-style tail spring, see our article on upgrading this assembly here.


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