Need Help with N scale Wheel Gauging

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Gen, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Gen

    Gen New Member

    Well, I've suffered my first bad purchase, and it has prompted me to look into wheel gauging tools.

    I recently purchased a new Spectrum 2-8-0 Consolidation at the Chantilly show, and it seemed to be doing great...until I ran it through one of my newly built Fast Track turnouts. I was shocked to find all 5 axels gauged too small, thus causing it to derail at the wing or guard rails. :mad: This is basic stuff, I thought...just build it to specs, right?

    As it turns out, I have many locos Atlas, Kato, Lifelike, and Bachmann, both old and new, that have at least one axel improperly gauged. It appears if I've made the commitment to hand laying track, I've got to do some fine tuning on the trucks. It's interesting to note that the only Minitrix I own, a 2-10-0 Decapod, was gauged perfectly, and runs through the (#4) turnouts without a hitch.

    I've looked for tools, but I think some of you more experienced mechanics are better suited to point me in the right direction. I've found 2 websites so far, but I'd like to hear from those that have tools they're happy with. I also need some tutorial pages to guide me through the do's and don't's.

    Anyone have preferences, strong opinions?

    I'm not going to work on the Bachmann Consolidation, btw...I'm sending it back and letting them fix it.

    Lesson learned. Buy an extra NMRA Standards gauge and keep it in the wallet.wall1
  2. Boilerman

    Boilerman Member

    If your experience is the same as mine when I sent a Bachmann loco back to them with a wheel gauge issue, I was informed that it was within their tolerance.
    I learned to take my NMRA Gauge to check frequently as I worked in small increments using a small screwdriver to pry the wheels apart a little at a time until the wheel flanges fit the gauge.
    I have had to do this to almost each and every axle on every Bachmann steam loco that I have purchased.
    By the way I am running on Atlas Code 55 track.

    Some one else may chime in with a different way of doing it???
  3. Gen

    Gen New Member

    Thanks Bman. I never had to adjust them before, having been strictly on code 80. I was apprehensive sticking a screw driver in there. They do move, and much easier than rolling stock axels.

    Interesting comment by the Bachmann people, I guess their standard isn't the same as the NMRA...only that the wheel doesn't fall off before it's shipped.:java1:
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Many manufacturers deliberately gauge their locomotives and rolling stock slightly on the narrow side to better go around small radius curves. They count on flangeways in turnouts being slightly wide or at least at the wide end of the tolerance. The same thing happens in HO.

    While the sloppy craftsmanship on both turnouts and rolling stock may work, and may indeed do sharper curves than they otherwise would, it is the reason for the noise going through turnout frogs and the occasional picking of the frog point.

    A properly gauged hand-built turnout with a properly gauged wheel set will make just the slightest click going through the frog. Anything else is plain sloppy.

    my thoughts, your choices

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