Car weight

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by KBailey252, May 8, 2002.

  1. KBailey252

    KBailey252 New Member

    I am refering to HO scale in this question.

    I know that model cars should have extra weight added so that they weigh at least a minimum number of ounces plus so much per inch of length.

    What is the least a model car should weigh and how do you determine the proper weight for a given car.

    Any suggestions for extra weight?:confused:
  2. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    NMRA standards say one ounce plus half an ounce per inch of the car.

    So, a 50' boxcar is just about 7 inches in length: therefore, it should weigh 1 + ( 7 * 0.5 ) = 4.5 ounces.

    My model shop carries half ounce weights with carpet tape on the back; these work best. You can also use pennies, I think six equals one ounce ?????

    As for weighing the puppies, my wife and I have a food scale that I use just by placing the car on the scale, and checking it out. Whatever it's missing in weight, I add.
  3. mrgooch

    mrgooch Member

    Why aren't all cars made by the better manufactures already ideal weight?
  4. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Your question is confusing. Manufacturers don't set the 'ideal' weight. Some produce cars with no weight at all that will barely stay on the tracks.

    The NMRA weight may not be the ideal for your railroad IF all of your trackwork is perfect with long sweeping curves and all of your wheels and trucks are of top rolling quality AND you never interchange cars with any other modeler of take you cars to another railroad.

    Most clubs and many, many individuals have found that weighing a car to the NMRA recommendation helps in keeping cars on the track and in backing those cars as well. A few manufacturers have begun to weight their cars from the factory at the recommendation. Most do not. They leave it to you, the modeler, to do that if you intend to run them. :)
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Ditto what Roger said. Most cars nowadays come with some weight (aka that flat metal piece that becomes part of the car's floor), which works fairly well in most cases. But if you want the car the car to run really well, then you should add weight to NMRA's specifications.

    For the manufacturer to do this, they'd just put in some extra weights, which is just as easy if not easier for the modeler to install themselves if they're interested.

    Same sorta thing with couplers. Manufacturers put cheap-a** couplers in their kits, but a good proportion of modelers install better ones themselves so the car performs better. Just as easy for the modeler to do, and eliminates one profit margin along the way.
  6. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    A word of caution: Don't be tempted to make cars too heavy, ie. over the NMRA recommendations. If you put a lot of mileage on your trains, the extra weight will wear out truck journals faster. Not to mention that you'll have to have shorter trains on grades.

    Rather than add pennies to cars, I've used nails, washers, and all sorts of metal scraps, cemented inside closed cars, and under the floors of open cars such as flats.

    An inexpensive postal scale works fine for checking car weights.

    Bill S.
  7. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I don't like pennies either. My hobby shop usually stocks half-ounce weights that are attached to what looks like really good double-sided carpet tape (i.e., weight on one side, you tear the other side off and fix it to the floor).

    And I do like making my cabooses slightly heavier than the standards (1.0-1.5oz only). Personal preference.

    And we have a plastic food scale at home that serves double purposes - both weighing food, and of course, weighing rail units.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Weighty matters

    Don't forget to weigh (and weight) your closed cars (reefers & tanks) before you glue them up completely.
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Just as a couple of additional sidenotes on this topic . . . .

    (1) The weights I was talking about are from A-Line. Fairly inexpensive, although I've also read that fishing weights work well (a little more complex, though, since they don't have easystick double-sided tape);

    (2) I was using a food weigh scale that was going to be sold at a garage sale, but have since decided to invest in a better scale, with digital read out to the nearest 1/10 of an ounce (yeh, okay, I'm a numbers freak). OF COURSE, living in Canada, all the mail scales are in *grams*, not *ounces*. So I'm ordering one from, just in case anyone is curious.

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