Bachmann Amtrak Amfleet Passenger cars won't roll!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Herc Driver, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Maybe someone out there can help me out on this one...

    I bought three Nscale Amfleet passenger cars and a Amtrak HHP-8 all made by Bachmann. Sure they look great - but they won't run! Actually, the engine runs well and can pull one car, but that's it. Two Amfleet cars - and there's some wheel slippage, three cars can't be done...too much engine wheel slippage. (My layout is level with no grade.)

    Here's the question/problem...I checked the wheelsets, and they're set correctly (compared to an NMRA standards gauge). The track is clean and correctly gauged. The wheel sets of the cars themselves do not allow the car to roll freely - or another way to say it is that there is too much friction within the axle housing. These cars have metal encasing the wheel axles to allow for electrical pickup to power the car's interior lighting (if I understand the electrical pickup and construction of these cars). Unlike every other passenger car I have, these really require a lot off tractive effort to overcome the wheel axle friction. I don't want to add a lubrication and possibly mess up the electrical pickup, and possibly introduce problems. Has anyone else seen this problem? Does anyone else have these cars and already figured out the fix? I've gotta ask for help on this one - I can't figure out why they won't roll as effortlessly as they, I've got a really expensive set here that I can't enjoy because the engine can't pull its cars.

  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    What I did with mine was remove the lighting and the wipers (this will help some) remove the wheelsets from the cars and lightly ream out the axle openings in the trucks.(this will help even more)

    None of this will make the cars roll like they have Micro-Trains trucks but it will help quite abit by removing a lot of the wheel drag.

    The biggest problem is the fact that the trucks do not have the normal needlepoint bearing surface that most freight and passenger cars have.What they have is an inside bearing system that just naturally causes wheel drag.The really neat way to solve the problem would be to install rollerbearings on the axles.While they are made small enough I doubt if the is enough material in the truck to hold them.
  3. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thanks for the quick reply - I really appreciate it.

    I took apart one of the wheels at the axle and put it all back together but doubt it did any good. I'm going to try your idea and ream out the axle opening, because I'd really like to keep the lighting kit working since the kids like the entire train running in low light conditions. I even added a shim to the layout table just to make sure I was running absolutely level - and that allowed the HHP-8 to pull all three cars with less hesitation. I guess I'd need to add another HHP-8 to pull three or more of these cars since running a more prototypical 5 or 6 car consist was what I had in mind when I started buying the engine and cars. Of course running two engines wouldn't be too prototypical - but oh well. I'm wondering if graphite sprayed into the axle housing might help?

    It's a shame Bachmann didn't figure this out before hand, obviously people are having problems running these cars right out of the box...and they're not exactly inexpensive to buy.
  4. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I took your suggestion Catt and removed each wheel set and carefully filed material away from where the axle is positioned - taking care not to remove the material that closes over the axle to keep it in place. They seem to run better - certainly not great - but better. At least the engine can pull all three cars now without too much hesitation or wheel slippage and at lower speeds. After taking some time looking under a magnifying glass, it seems there's a lot to this design that causes drag and friction. The metal pickup for the light kit pushes against the axles and the whole car rests its weight on the axle. I've already weighed the cars and found them .5 oz more than Kato or Concor passenger cars, so that doesn't help either. I still wonder if adding a touch of graphite to the axle might help slightly. I've got to find a tube with an applicator tip small enough - I don't want graphite flying everywhere in the truck assembly. But I'm wondering if the graphite might help the axle slide with less friction under the weight of the truck assembly. I'll let you know.........

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