Rolling stock trucks Discussion

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by YmeBP, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I wasn't sure which forum this belonged in so i decided here ;), if it the wrong one let me know so i know better next time.

    I would like to read opinion on rolling stock trucks. I don't think a "question" perse would be appropriate as there are a bazillion differnet types of trucks and i'm sure they all have their merits.

    So far in my collection i have:
    1) all plastic w/ a cone end in plastic holders (<== wrong term i know but i'm still a pup in model rr'sing terminiology hahaha),
    2) metal axles w/ plastic wheels w/ cone ends in plastic holders
    3) metal axles, plastic wheels and metal holders w/ cone ends
    4) i think i have one car that has metal wheels and holders

    My layout lacks diversity in rolling stock and i've been trolling ebay picking up what i can on the cheap to see how they all work. I've noticed that the metal alxle and metal wheel cars (both by athearn) are almost frictionless vs the all plastic jobbers that i think have little brakes on them that are always on :) haha.

    I'm going to slip a question in:
    Is there a way to rehab the plastic crappy ones? And can somone point me to a cheap place to purchase better trucks (insert correct term in place of trucks)?

    I noticed there are a couple other new folsk joined in so maybe we can osmosis some wisdom from the old timers.
  2. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Personaly I prefer Proto 2000, & Athearn Genesis metal wheeled trucks, for full trucks. Kadee follows in a close 3rd.

    When "retrofitting" I like Accurail trucks, then Athearn... With Proto 2000 metal wheels (on plastic axles). I tried Intermountain, but they're smaller pinned, and didn't fit, need some Intermountain trucks. The Accurail plastic trucks are cheep, easy to get, and well molded. I have some other one off's but those are my "main" choices.

    I prefer metal wheels, with plastic axles. The metal wheels stay cleener & roll free, and the plastic axle is insulated way better then a metal axle!

    The all plastic wheels are allways iffy, they like to wobble! If you're replacing, I'd just but some Athearn & Accurail trucks, and some Proto 2000 wheels.
  3. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    Josh, the Intermountain trucks, for all practical purposes, are Accurail trucks. Before Intermountain started making thier own HO trucks, they bought and used Accurail trucks by the bulk. When they started making thier own, they pretty much copied the Accurails. The IM brass wheelsets are arguably the best on the market. I use them on my home layout exclusively, but I use Proto 2000 on my cars on the club layout. The only problem I've found with the Proto's is that every once in a while you find a bad one and have to toss it.
    Haven't found a bad IM yet.:thumb:

    Texas Chief
  4. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Spounds good Dick! My only issue is I had picked up $.88 IM wheels, with the small pin, whereas I needed a large pin. I still have the wheels, waiting on trucks.
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Could you post some pix or a link to some of the items you mention. There is a hobby shop about 20 miles form my house that has a ton of stuff and i'd like to see if i can find what you are describing.

    My plan is to take off half a day on friday buy about 50$ worth of spare parts and get my rolling stock up to snuff. If i can get some good to great quality wheels and trucks at this hobby shop that would satisfy my obsessive compulsive itch to get my cars running perfectly ahhahaa.

    I plan to get some lead weights too because some of the flat cars keep getting dragged off the track around 18" radius curves.

    What is a pin in this context?
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I like the Proto2000 ribbed-back 33" wheels. They are metal on plastic axels. I have not had a problem with them yet, and I have used them on Athearn, Accurail, and other miscellaneous rolling stock.

    I have a few "all-metal" spring trucks with insulated brass wheels, and they run fine as well, although you risk a short if you have a derailment...! ;)

    Performanace of both metal and plastic wheels can be improved. I use a Reboxx "Tool" to turn the insides of the plastic truck frames so that the needle end of the plastic axels turn freely. The tool seems expensive for what you get, but it is worth it. I have rolling stock that runs freely for more than 10 or twelve feet with only a slight nudge... :D You can find it at MicroMart or other places. If you keep your platic wheels, make sure that they are clean, and keep your track clean too. They seem to attract dirt and dust quicker than the metal wheels.

    You can use the hobby shop weights, but for rolling stock like box cars where there's more room, you can ask your local garage for the discarded wheel balancing weights. Much cheaper :thumb:

    Intermountain replacement wheels come in a variety of sizes, so make sur you get the right ones.

  7. KCS

    KCS Member

    I dunno. I like Proto 2000 wheels but then Kato came out with their roller bearing rucks with the spinning end caps. Nice. Yes. But as I venture father into prototype modeling I'm thinking seriously about changing out to Proto87 true scale wheels and sprung trucks. I have one pair and I like them but they aren't the best thing when ran on a club layout. Of course their wheels were meant for Proto87 track so the wheels are very sensitive to track changes.
  8. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Nice .. drool worthy nice.. but is the bearing worth the 10$ per car?

    I've also noticed tha their regular trucksa re 4$ each. Not much cheaper than the roller bearing.

    These wheels look like all metal, but i can't seem to find anythign about them on the internet.
  9. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    Seriously. Thats bad @&#!!! But I can't see spending that much.

    Ok question... What determines the wheel radius thats right? I mean, is it prference or??? I was thinking about picking up a few packages of 36" wheels, but I want to make sure thats what I need before I do. My rolling stock is Athearn, Mc Kean, Accurail, and Walthers.
  10. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    On the outside of the wheels, the part that hols itslef into the sideframes.
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    What the real car had... not all cars have the same wheel size.
  12. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Is figuring it out as simple as dividing 36"/87 i have a bunch of different types of rolling stock and i want to replace osme of teh cheapy wheels and trucks but i don't want to spend the cash unless i know it's going to fit.
  13. CRed

    CRed Member

    I picked up some Model Power "All Metal" cars on the cheap and they have metal wheels and axels but the trucks are plastic,am I to believe that this is not such a bad thing?

    I was going to replace the trucks with metal ones,but maybe not now.

  14. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    Most modern manufacturers such as Athearn, Accurail, Walthers, etc..., metal wheels from Intermountain, P2K, or Kadee should pop right in.

    Regarding ribbed back wheels, note that ribbed wheels represent wheels that were made of cast iron, which would only be seen on an older car. Some people might not care, but those who are sticklers for accuracy should keep it in mind.

    Regarding wheel size, generally (non-intermodal) cars built after 1970 -- Hi-Cube boxes, three-bay covered hoppers, etc -- will have 36" wheels, while cars before will have 33" wheels. Passenger cars should almost always have 36" wheels.
  15. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    That is great info!! I can now shop w/ confidence. I have mainly current looking cars in my layout.
  16. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    If you're modeling the modern era, most of those (non-intermodal) cars will have 36" smooth back wheels, but a few will have 33". For example, centerbeams tend to have 33" wheels, as will chip gondolas and most gons in general. 50' standard height boxcars will also likely have 33" wheels, as well as flatcars and cabooses.
  17. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    If you are prototype conscious, the roller bearing trucks are for more recent cars
  18. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    Yes, an obvious point I forgot to mention. Again, for rule of thumb, if the car has a roofwalk, it'll probably have friction bearing trucks, while if a can has no roofwalk or is built after about 1960, it will likely have roller bearing trucks.
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    To add to that... the ribbed back, cast iron wheels were banned from interchange service sometime before WWII I believe. It may not have necessarily been the ribs that were banned, but rather the cast iron wheels that were more brittle and susceptible to heat damage.

    There are apparently two reasons for the ribs, both of which may be true - 1) strength during manufacture and/or use, and 2) heat dissipation during braking.

    Kadee offers a neat overview of the various kinds of wheels and trucks here:


Share This Page