Metal Wheels

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Most of you know I ended up with an Athearn Satna Fe passenger set recently. More specificly this one:

    I want to replace the plastic wheels on the trucks with metal ones. I don't like plastic wheels and I think it makes these otherwise excellent passenger cars look cheap.

    Can anyone tell me how I find out what size I need to replace them? I've seen 33" wheels, 36" wheels, normal profile, low profile.... It's getting confusing. I figured wheels would be simple but I'm finding out otherwise.
  2. jesso

    jesso Member

    Went to look on Micro-trains web site for the conversion pieces, but they don't have Athearn listed. Hopefully someone knows.
  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I would think that any needle-point wheelsets should work. You could always get one pack of MT wheels, and if they don't work on these cars, use them on some others that you're bound to pick up.
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Well, my big concern is matching the diameter of the wheels so it doesn't raise or lower the cars to the point where the couplers don't line up with the engine.
  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    One of the most useful tools you're going to find is an inexpensive digital caliper. With this you can measure the size of the wheels on the car you have, and eliminate the guesswork in finding the right sized wheelsets.

    You'll find once you've got one you'll wonder how you did without it as you find it so handy for measuring so many different things.

    Chances are the wheels are either 28" or 33". NWSL sells 4-packs of needle-point wheelsets for about $5. If you don't want to measure, just get one of each and see what works. If you have an LHS, you could take the cars in to see what size the wheels actually are, and then just get the right size off the shelf, or at least ordered.
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I've always wanted to get one of those just never had a need before.
    Looks like I've got an excuse to buy another tool now! :D
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Wow those are cheap! Lowest I've seen them is $50 bucks...or maybe I haven't been looking in the right place or hard enough. ;-)
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Canadian Tire had their Mastercraft digital caliper on sale a few weeks back for $18, regular ~$36.

    Goes on sale from time to time, so keep an eye out for it again... ;) :)

  9. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks Andrew. I'll keep my eyes open.

  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Princess Auto and surplus stores are also a good source of cheap digital calipers. PA has them on for ~$15-$25 from time to time.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Forgot about Princess Auto. But the reminder also triggers "Busy Bee" if you happen to have one of those near you.


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