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N Scale Atlas, Life-Like, Graham Farish, Micro-Trains, Minitrix and other N scale discussion.


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Old 09-21-2019, 10:08 AM   #1
BikerDS
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Metal wheels?

I'm getting back into N-Scale. I've been running HO for about 15 years, but have to move into a small apartment with insufficient room for HO. I have been storing a collection of N-Scale rolling stock, and am in the process of putting a Carolina Central II together.

I saw a YouTube video where the modeler was changing out the MT plastic wheels for metal ones. I just finished converting the old "pizza-cutter" wheels for low profile plastic ones, so I'm wondering if metal wheels would be worth the cost and effort of conversion?
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Old 09-21-2019, 12:33 PM   #2
Fire21
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I've had very little experience in this, but to me it would depend a lot on what your layout is. If it's flat, I'd think your plastic wheels would work fine. But if you're running long trains, the enhanced rolling of metal wheels might help. Even on an uneven layout, short trains should do well with plastic. Not being a detail maniac, I have both types of wheels in my collection, and they seem to all do well.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:34 PM   #3
CTValleyRR
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Metal wheels tend to be free rolling and pick up / deposit less crud on the rails, but if you have rolling stock that runs well, I'd say it isn't really worth the time and effort.

I have a supply of metal wheels, and if / when it becomes necessary to change them out, that's what I use, but I don't change a wheel set just because it's plastic.
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:41 PM   #4
traction fan
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West Micro-Trains metal wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerDS View Post
I'm getting back into N-Scale. I've been running HO for about 15 years, but have to move into a small apartment with insufficient room for HO. I have been storing a collection of N-Scale rolling stock, and am in the process of putting a Carolina Central II together.

I saw a YouTube video where the modeler was changing out the MT plastic wheels for metal ones. I just finished converting the old "pizza-cutter" wheels for low profile plastic ones, so I'm wondering if metal wheels would be worth the cost and effort of conversion?
BikerDS;

I'd say yes, unless you have hundreds of cars to convert. The Micro-Trains low-profile plastic wheels are a quality product, and generally they are quite free-rolling.
Metal wheels, available from Micro-Trains, Fox Valley Models, and Intermountain, add a little bit of much-needed weight where it does the most good, at the bottom of the car. (Note: I also add weight to the center sill, and anywhere else I can hide it down low.) Our N-scale cars are awfully light, and this doesn't help their tracking any. Metal wheels also pick up, and re-deposit back on the rails, less dirt than plastic wheels do. If Micro-Trains offered all-metal trucks, and metal couplers,in N-scale, like Kadee does in HO-scale, I'd be first in line to buy them.
However, they may not be worth it to you. I ordered a bulk pack of M-T metal wheels from www.modeltrainstuff.com I don't remember them being all that expensive, about 70 cents per wheelset/axle retail, and I got them on sale for a bit less.They were also easy to change.
If the plastic wheels you have now work well, and your trains stay on the track, then maybe you would not want to spend any time, or money. I did, and I feel it was worth it, but maybe that's just me. You might try buying a pack of a dozen wheelsets and trying them on a few cars. That way you could run your own tests, and see if you felt that they were worth it to you.

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Old 09-22-2019, 03:48 AM   #5
rrjim1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerDS View Post
I'm getting back into N-Scale. I've been running HO for about 15 years, but have to move into a small apartment with insufficient room for HO. I have been storing a collection of N-Scale rolling stock, and am in the process of putting a Carolina Central II together.

I saw a YouTube video where the modeler was changing out the MT plastic wheels for metal ones. I just finished converting the old "pizza-cutter" wheels for low profile plastic ones, so I'm wondering if metal wheels would be worth the cost and effort of conversion?
I converted all my 500+ cars to FVM metal wheel sets and never looked back. They roll better, pickup less dust, and sound more like a real train.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:41 AM   #6
BikerDS
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Thank you all for the information. Since my total rolling stock roster is about 20 cars, and since nobody really had any negatives except the cost of converting a large fleet, I'm going to go ahead and convert. Thanks once again.
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:00 PM   #7
Severn
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Ok again maybe not specific but I replaced the plastic wheels in an old set of tyco cars with all plastic pop out trucks...and I thought it was a big improvement...and so I'm doing another lot of them. I kept the plastic trucks but imagine the full replacement would be even better. However it doesn't quite séem worth the effort to go all the way and just replacing the wheels was a big jump.
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