In this flag story, we take on an in-depth journey into installing a 20 ft. commercial aluminum flagpole with upgrades. From part 1 to part 7, we will remove an existing flagpole and check up on the flagpole after 21 months of flying the same flag!
We have covered most of the various topics regarding flagpole installation. If you have been following you are now ready to assembly the flagpole. If you are doing research, this part of the tutorial will help you understand various options for pulley assembly and ornament for top of the external halyard flagpole.
"It's a process." That sentence seems to be the one we keep coming back to on the phone when we help people with their flagpole questions. And most flag flyers feel comforted in getting the job right the first time. Even if it means taking a little extra time. You'll find the flagpole truck is a decision based on location, flagpole specifications and other technical information. The flagpole ornament is selected almost purely on aesthetics and beauty, it can be a personal choice. Some people love the ball ornament, while others want a natural or golden eagle in flight.
The Flagpole Pulley System a.k.a. Flagpole Truck
What is the heart of your flag display? You may think it is the flag, but in fact it is the flagpole truck. The flagpole truck is what keeps the whole system working. This is why it is so important to pick the right type of flagpole truck for your situation. When it comes to the flagpole truck, you are weighing technical benefits vs. economical solutions.
Flagpole trucks for external halyard flagpole systems are divided into two categories, fouling and non-fouling. What this basically indicates is whether the flagpole truck rotates. Both of the trucks shown above rotate. Rotation allows the flag to track down wind with the constant change in wind direction. While a stationary truck (fixed or non rotting) the wind is working against the flag in the constantly changing wind direction. In general you will not find a stationary (or fouling) flagpole truck on a flagpole above 25 ft. This is because at 30 ft. and above, flags greatly benefit from the stress relief of the rotating (non-fouling) truck.
The second aspect of a flagpole truck has to do with how the truck is secured or mounted to the flagpole. Most flagpoles have a female threaded opening built right into the top of the flagpole. All commercial size external halyard threaded trucks are rotating (non-fouling) or threaded.
RTC-1 Rotating Cap Style Truck
How to Install the Flagpole Truck
For a cap style truck, fit the cap over the top of the flagpole shaft. Evenly tighten the set screw one at a time, a few turns at a time, make sure there is even spacing all the way around or, when the flagpole is raised, the flagpole ornament could look cocked! Once the set screws are set to the flagpole wall, tighten down on each one until you feel a bite.
If you have a threaded truck, you will need channel locks or a plumber's wrench. Hand tighten the truck into the female end of the threading on the top of the flagpole shaft. Once the truck is hard to turn, use the channel locks to really clamp the truck down and tighten the truck into the flagpole fitting.
*HINT: Have someone hold the flagpole snug from the cleat to create leverage to tighten.
The threading on the truck is graduated so you will not need tighten the truck to the point where no threads are showing. You want there to be a secure snug fit. Using a cloth will prevent the channel locks from marking the hardware up.
On 25' and shorter height flagpoles a cap-style stationary fixed flagpole truck is often substituted that slips over the top of the flagpole shaft and is secured with set screws. In the video (above) we are installing a cap-style rotating flagpole truck known as an RTC-1. Normally, this flagpole would come with a stationary (fouling) truck, an OT truck but this application we chose an upgraded cap style rotating. Very economical, functional and attractive.
If you are making a flagpole out of a light pole, you may have to go with a heavy-duty truck where the pulley clears the top diameter of the flagpole so the rope can freely cast its line to the cleat. This will mean needing a pole top adapter (PTA). Often we see an inadequate eye-bolt pulley mounted in one fashion or another to the top of a light pole or wood pole application. Which ever system you choose, make sure you understand the benefits and the drawbacks. For example, you might find a very inexpensive rotating flagpole truck, but that truck may have a open bearing system rather than a sealed bearing system. This will greatly reduce the life of that hardware. It is something you may not hear over the phone or find displayed on a website. Halyard clearance at the top, sealed bearings, possibly using a (PTA) pole top adapter can mean durability and avoiding costly future bucket truck expense.