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KGB, I can't answer any of your questions. I've been going through some of the same stuff with trying to redirect some old Tyco cars for my son that are missing trucks (replacements are evading me). Where did you find those plugs?

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Discussion Starter #122
vette-kid,

 

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Sprung trucks: Go here for a good conversation on them... Nostalgia to now... a brief timeline

While I do like them they can cause wobble in places where the track isn't perfect. Believe me, all my track isn't perfect and it is noticeable.

I believe elsewhere in this thread it was recommended to stick with 33" wheels. I agree.

Ribbed or not ribbed wheels? Whatever, you can't see 'em. But if you're a stickler for period correct... http://sld-nmra.ca/freight_car/ref_material/freight_car_trucks_long.pdf

Here's a god thread on replacing Tyco trucks... replacing "pop out" trucks on old tyco cars --...

Once you start swapping out trucks and wheels a coupler height gauge is a must... Kadee - The Coupler People

... and some washers... Kadee - The Coupler People

You can also get those missing brake wheels and ladders at Kadee... Kadee - The Coupler People
 

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My personal opinion on spring trucks is that they are a marketing gimmick. Our little models do not require them by any means, and performance does not noticeably benefit from using them. In fact, it may degrade by using them (see the previous post).

Still, it's your money and your railroad.

Either Kadee or Walthers is good quality. And yes, 33" wheels only for those cars. Using a 36" wheel would change the couple height just enough to cause potential problems. And you will probably emd up mounting new couplers to the body of the car.

For filling the holes, you can use those adapters, or just fill it with epoxy, JB weld, a sleeve of styrene tube, any gunk of old styrene, melted in place with styrene cement. The possibilities are endless.
 

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Speaking of trucks,

While looking at metal wheels, and remembering the suggestion of (Tracion Fan if correct) to look at trucks we came across these. Once dad saw the work "sprung" and realized they had working suspension...it was all over then as he is a suspension guru. The we realized they can go from 7.00 all the way up to 40-50 or even higher, we kinda settled on these to consider.

The first car will me the Marklin and then the Tyco cars are in the worst as far as wheels and axles...yes we know most of you hardcore guys are probably shaking your heads about now with the notion of seeing money to upgrade a tyco...they will them as they are our sons favorite cars as.

Now we know we are not the sticklers for perfection as many of you, nonetheless, if we are going to upgrade something we would like to be somewhat close.

Any recommendations of what work be period and style correct? Or others in the same price range you might suggest?

First three are walthers, last one is Kadee. alos how do you remove the Marklin and tyco trucks. Also saw these "plugs" do they fill in the hole left behind for screws to tap into? (of course the computer had to put last picture first just to screw things up) View attachment 543540

View attachment 543536 View attachment 543537 View attachment 543538 View attachment 543539
KGB Railways;

You asked about truck types. First of all, one of the main reasons I suggested replacing truck assemblies vs. wheelsets at all, was to replace your trucks with couplers mounted on them (called "talgo" trucks) with new Kadee trucks with their excellent couplers already factory-mounted to them. This saves the work of body-mounting couplers.
If you are , at least for now, sticking with the horn/hook couplers you have the most of, then you might prefer to replace just the wheelsets, rather than the entire truck assemblies. This would mean finding wheelsets that fit your present (Tyco, Model Power, Roco, whatever) trucks. That's probably possible, but might require buying several different axle-length replacement wheelsets, to try fitting them to your various brands of trucks. So that's another possible advantage to replacing the entire truck, it comes with wheels that fit. You would have to weigh the conveinence against the higher cost.

I have not used Walthers trucks, so I won't comment on them except to say that Walthers products are generally very good quality. So are Kadee products. I'm familiar with Kadee trucks (Actually the N-scale versions are sold under the name "Micro Trains" but, apart from the obvious scale/size difference, they are the same trucks.) The three common types of four-wheel freight truck offered by Kadee/ MT are "Arch bar" (used in the civil war/"wild west" era) "Bettendorf" ( Early 20th century up to 1960s) and "roller bearing" (1960s to the present) The only difference between the three types is external looks. Mechanically all three are identical internally. The appearance differences are also minor except for the arch bar design, which would be way to early for your cars anyway. Even in HO-scale, you would need to look somewhat carefully to tell a "Bettendorf" from a "roller bearing." I would simply use Bettendorf trucks, with 33" wheels, on all your cars.

My N-scale, Micro Trains, trucks come with plastic wheels. They are excellent quality, very free-rolling, plastic wheels, but still plastic, not metal. I buy metal wheels separately, and replace the plastic originals.
With Kadee HO-scale trucks, you may have the option of metal wheels from the factory. If so, I would recommend metal over plastic. In fact, I've heard that Kadee offers all-metal trucks with both the wheels, and the truck frame assembly, made of metal. If so, use them. The more weight you can get low down in a car, the better that car will stay on the track. Also the all-metal construction may make them a little bit more child resistant, but I don't know. I only wish that Micro Trains offered all-metal trucks in N-scale. :(

As for sprung trucks, I say no. Those little springs come out, and get lost, easily enough in adult hands. They are even more likely to do so when a four-year old handles them. Also, as CTValley said, they don't really help the ride any, and may even be detrimental in some circumstances. The only reason I would even consider sprung trucks would be if that were the only way I could get all-metal trucks. Even then, in your situation, I would not recommend them. Kadee trucks come with a set of adapters, slightly similar to the Walthers "plugs" in your photo. They also come with directions on using the adapters to fit their trucks to different brands of cars.

How to remove the old trucks will vary with the mounting system used by the particular car's manufacturer. Screws are obvious, and an excellent way of keeping trucks attached to the car. Other manufacturers, including Kadee, use some form of push-in pin that fits tightly into the car. Trucks fastened this way can usually be pried off the car with a small screwdriver. Stil other manufacturers use a sort of "expansion bolt" type of mechanism, where two plastic hooks just barely fit through the hole in the car floor, and then spread apart a little to hold the truck on. These can be tough to remove, and often break. The best way to remove these intact is to work a tiny jeweler's type screwdriver tip into the hole, and push one of the hooks inward. Since you won't be reusing this truck's fastener, you can just pry them out, and let them break.

Finally, reading this thread, and answering your questions, has given me some insight into what you're doing. I get it. You are trying to build a simple, reasonably rugged, layout to share with your little boy and your wife. That's great!
No one here is going to be sweating bullets over how "unrealistic" or "toy like" your cars, locomotives, layout, or other choices are. We are simply not that kind of nit picky forum. (as I've heard some other forums, sadly, are)
Also, no matter how long any of us have been model railroaders, most all of us have built similar layouts, owned a glowing red Tyco caboose, and used horn/hook couplers attached to trucks with bad plastic wheels in them. Also, speaking for myself at least, I'm not all that much of a stickler for accuracy, or expert.
I know Dave from MD. meant no harm whatever when he called some of us "Serious Model Railroaders", but that term is something of an oxymoron. The only reason to be in model railroading, or any hobby, is to have fun. If you're having fun; 1) That's all that matters. and 2) You can't be all that serious!
The only "Serious Model Railroaders I've ever encountered were some yahoos who visited my old N-scale club years ago. They came as part of an NMRA tour. They were old codgers, dressed up in their silly little "railroad engineer" costumes, and trashing every scale, era, modeling philosophy, etc. that was the least bit different from their own choice of HO-scale , steam, local pedler freight, switching. That was the only way to go for "Serious Model Railroaders" to hear these bozos tell it. I now am an old codger myself, but may I never become like those narrow minded morons. No, I'm just a guy who likes trains a lot, and isn't particularly serious. 😁

Regards;
Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #128
CTValleyRR,

Yes we knew about the 33" wheels, you had mentioned that before if memory is correct and we made sure of that when looking at them all.

We remember you making suggestions previously on the holes, when we saw these plugs we just thought it might be another option for our skill set. Not that we can't figure it out, but hate to ruin a couple of cars learning. Not only filling them but then making sure to drill perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #129
Traction Fan,

We must have missed the part about "talgo" trucks. That seems like a very good option for us. we'll look into them. We did order 4 sets of wheelsets only to try on one car before we went the whole truck replacement route. we'll see how that goes when we get them. Thank you for the explanation of different trucks and era's. We were looking for Kadee trucks with metal wheels but did not see them on site, but there was a LOT of options for truck too so we may have missed them.

Thank you for the explanation on removing trucks. It will help us not to destroy anything lol


You are trying to build a simple, reasonably rugged, layout to share with your little boy and your wife. That's great!
That's it right there in a nutshell.

Although as stated if parts do get replaced, why not be accurate or period correct of it's not a big problem.

We know what you mean about some taking things to different levels. Nothing wrong with that if it's your passion. But yeah when you get to judging people over it....well that can open a can a worms. We are certainly guilty of that in our chosen profession. But that is a whole other story not related to model trains. But good thing we didn't order those hats yet lol.

Now, to both you and CTValleyRR and sprung trucks....Thanks for killing the dreams of a 53 year old man who was as excited as a kid on christmas morning we he saw those trucks. lol. Performance issue aside, The thought of those springs popping out...we can easily see happening now you two have mentioned it...and that is a big turnoff for us. We are still looking for that darn 10mm socket. lol. The thought of looking for those tiny springs sends shivers down our spine...and we know our shop gremlin was loving that idea and we still can't find that little demon. No, that is not a reference to our son....we have a legit shop gremlin who will takes things you just laid down and runs off with it, only for it to appear the next day right near where you left it.
 

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....we have a legit shop gremlin who will takes things you just laid down and runs off with it, only for it to appear the next day right near where you left it.
I'll trade you shop gremlins. Mine only brings things back after I've bought a replacement.
 

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and we know our shop gremlin was loving that idea and we still can't find that little demon. No, that is not a reference to our son....we have a legit shop gremlin who will takes things you just laid down and runs off with it, only for it to appear the next day right near where you left it.
You've been infested by the Borrowers. Don't feel bad, they live in my house, too.
 

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I'll trade you shop gremlins. Mine only brings things back after I've bought a replacement.
I've got that one too. Sometimes, just for fun... He takes the replacement too. Then after I have the third he returns one of the others!

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I hope he does not take exception, but, the implied disclaimers not withstanding, Traction Fan is what I think of as a Serious Model Railroader!
He is quite serious about helping other mrr's, about correct terminology, about trackwork, wheels, couplers and reliable running, etc., etc.
And he seems to enjoy every minute!! And I appreciate his efforts! So, that term is not necessarily about Rivet Counting!!! 😂 😂 😂
 

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Traction Fan,

We must have missed the part about "talgo" trucks. That seems like a very good option for us. we'll look into them. We did order 4 sets of wheelsets only to try on one car before we went the whole truck replacement route. we'll see how that goes when we get them. Thank you for the explanation of different trucks and era's. We were looking for Kadee trucks with metal wheels but did not see them on site, but there was a LOT of options for truck too so we may have missed them.

Thank you for the explanation on removing trucks. It will help us not to destroy anything lol




That's it right there in a nutshell.

Although as stated if parts do get replaced, why not be accurate or period correct of it's not a big problem.

We know what you mean about some taking things to different levels. Nothing wrong with that if it's your passion. But yeah when you get to judging people over it....well that can open a can a worms. We are certainly guilty of that in our chosen profession. But that is a whole other story not related to model trains. But good thing we didn't order those hats yet lol.

Now, to both you and CTValleyRR and sprung trucks....Thanks for killing the dreams of a 53 year old man who was as excited as a kid on christmas morning we he saw those trucks. lol. Performance issue aside, The thought of those springs popping out...we can easily see happening now you two have mentioned it...and that is a big turnoff for us. We are still looking for that darn 10mm socket. lol. The thought of looking for those tiny springs sends shivers down our spine...and we know our shop gremlin was loving that idea and we still can't find that little demon. No, that is not a reference to our son....we have a legit shop gremlin who will takes things you just laid down and runs off with it, only for it to appear the next day right near where you left it.
KGB Railways;

The talgo trucks, with couplers attached, are an easy way to convert to Kadee couplers, since the Kadee couplers come already attached to these Kadee trucks. Note: you can buy Kadee trucks with, or without, couplers attached to them. However, there are other important decisions for you to make, before spending a good deal of your money on a bunch of Kadee trucks.

1) Do you want to convert all, or most, of your cars and locomotives to Kadee couplers now, or in the near future?
If not, and you intend to keep using horn-hook couplers for the immediate future, then there's not much point in buying & changing trucks now. Instead, you could just continue replacing any problem wheelsets to "get things rolling." (😊sorry, I love awful puns!)

2) If you decide you do want to replace some trucks, there are other factors that may affect what kind of trucks you might choose to buy. Most important, in my opinion, would be to get metal wheels in whatever brand of trucks you buy. So if Kadee does not offer trucks with metal wheels, and Walthers does, then I would buy the Walthers trucks. Walthers may, or may not, offer talgo trucks with couplers. They almost certainly don't offer talgo trucks with Kadee couplers, but they may have Protomax, or some other decent coupler-equipped trucks available. Being an N-scaler, I don't know. One of our HO members can probably clear that up. I would also ask them to confirm or deny the Kadee all-metal truck rumor.

3) Assuming your son, your wife, or you yourself, maintain a long-term interest in model railroading, (A safe bet!) you might want to read the attached file "A lot about couplers."
"Talgo"trucks, with couplers mounted, have some advantages, primarily when you have tight (18"r) curves as I think you do.
However, as several people have advised, body-mounted couplers also have their own advantages. They would be better when pushing cars into a siding, for example, especially if you choose to use Atlas Snap Switch turnouts.
As a likely near future example, related to your present layout, if you add a single crossover, made with two Atlas Snap Switches, to get between your two loops, at some point you will need to back the train through the reverse curve contained in those Atlas turnouts. Doing that with (talgo) truck-mounted couplers is basically, just asking for a derailment.
Note: Performing the same maneuver with body-mounted couplers will be more reliable. It will be even more so if you use Peco turnouts, or modify the Atlas ones.
So, a lot of things are interrelated here, and you may want to think a little about the future,
or not, as you choose. Maybe you just want to try a few trucks as a learning exercise.
One other thing about this body-mount vs truck-mounted coupler issue is that it is something of an all or none decision. The worst case is to have a mix of some body-mounted, and some truck-mounted couplers. This is covered in the file.

You have mentioned your shop, and that you and your wife are professionals at making/selling some product. Just curious, can you share what it is that you both do?

Yes, hunting for small parts is part of this hobby! If you think dealing with HO-sale truck springs would be daunting, wait till you encounter Kadee coupler springs, or In my case, assembling Z-scale couplers, or scratch-building N-scale catenary, and turnouts. Yup, "Been there, done all that" o_O
Of course, it's better not to lose those &^%$# tiny parts in the first place. The second file has some suggestions.

Keep Having Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #135
Traction Fan,

As usual some great information we will be referencing in future.

The plan right now is to just set up a couple of cars to help transition from one style to other style of couplers. IE ROCO car with Kadee couplers will have a car in front of it with Kadee on one end and the other end will be what we mostly have (can't remember what you call them at this time.) The ROCO car will have a car behind it with Kadee in front and the other style in back. Hope that makes sense. Someone suggested this...maybe even you, and it sounded like a good idea for the time being.

We sent you a PM for other questions you asked.
 

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...or scratch-building N-scale catenary, and turnouts...
Building or installing HO scale catenary is delicate enough, I can't imagine doing that in N or Z scale. Even TT.
 

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I hope he does not take exception, but, the implied disclaimers not withstanding, Traction Fan is what I think of as a Serious Model Railroader!
He is quite serious about helping other mrr's, about correct terminology, about trackwork, wheels, couplers and reliable running, etc., etc.
And he seems to enjoy every minute!! And I appreciate his efforts! So, that term is not necessarily about Rivet Counting!!! 😂 😂 😂

Thank You cid, KGB, & MichaelE

I was somewhat kidding, but the term "Serious Model Railroader" has been used in vain. One total nut job wrote in to Model Railroader Magazine years ago, that he no longer felt their publication deserved to be displayed on his coffee table. His reason? The magazine had "wasted" space by printing articles about N-scale and Z-scale layouts that he felt should have been used for more (only) HO-scale coverage! That's the kind of "serious" (as in serious mental issues:eek:) model railroader" I was poking fun at.

Traction Fan :)
 

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Building or installing HO scale catenary is delicate enough, I can't imagine doing that in N or Z scale. Even TT.
MichaelE;

Actually, Making N-scale catenary isn't all that hard. I use a jig consisting of a plank with Atlas track nails driven part way into a diagram of the contact wire and its supporting wire. I use 0.013" Dia. phosphor/bronze "artistic" wire, from Amazon. (see photo) I stretch this wire around the nails, and solder it together. One panel is about 4' long, which matches the length of one of my layout sections.
Milwaukee Road's support poles were simple wooden telephone style with a pretty basic metal arm attached. Nothing as elaborate as your European poles.
I also settle for "good enough" in over-scale size & simplified design of even the Milwaukee Road's simple catenary. Your German & Swiss railroads would be appalled at the Milwaukee's wire. The MILW. used pantographs with extra long reach to compensate for lots of differences in contact wire height. Verbotten in Germany. Still, in it's day, it was the longest mainline electrification in the world.
I have never made Z-scale catenary. The Z-scale reference was to assembling Micro-Trains couplers. The Z-scale couplers are actually closer to N-scale size than the ones sold as N-scale. I don't use the Z-scale ones on everything, (I'm not that serious :D) But they do fit better in restricted spaces, like the pilot of a steam locomotive for example.

regards;

Traction Fan :)
 

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Discussion Starter #139
Dad here....

I now remember why I got away from this stuff in the 70’s. Way to much hassle for very little reward. It is sad when you spend 8 hrs to get something to work reliable for your boy....then when it’s time to play it all goes to hell. Nothing changed from the time it was working fine and shut off....till an hour later and you turn it on and nothing but problems for two hours.

I’ve found that despite some good advice on here brand means very little to how things work and brands comes down to cosmetics.

the most reliable and usable is the model power. Works fine for most part but two cars will do 100 laps fine then all of a sudden one can’t stay coupled and the other can’t stay on track.

tyco....yes wheel sets are rough, but transformer will work sometimes and sometimes not. Kinda funny to have it turned off and all of a sudden runs by itself. The track itself seems to be the best though.

Bachmann.....what a joke....works one minute than next out of nowhere just stops. Locomotive works fine on model power and tyco track though. Just Bachmann track is garbage

AHM....stupid car can’t stay on track to save its life

Roundhouse....can’t stay hooked up on one end to save its life

ROCO....we know the story with the silver car and its Kadee couplers....but the other car and its “standard” couplers....lmao can’t stay hooked up on one end to save its life.

arthrearn or however you spell it, cant stay hooked up on one end to save its life.

Got some life like stuff and still seeing if that’s worth a crap....not to confident....not do I feel like messing with


we are pretty much at the stage that the amount of work needed to keep these things working on a consistent basis is nowhere near the small reward you get.

I can build a high performance two stroke engine in a couple of hours and get a years worth of fun out if it in the nastiest conditions known to man. This crap can’t run straight for 10 minutes in a perfectly controlled environment.

Yes I am ranting. Very frustrated and if this stuff was not my sons.....there would be a terrible drone attack dropping bombs on it like a WW2 battle field
 

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I hate to say it, but that is the difference between buying second hand, questionable and cheap quality items and spending more for quality locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories.

With the former, the frustration that problems cause make many leave the hobby before they even get a circle of track to run reliably.

While the latter, with serious time and more money spent on installing track correctly and buying reputable equipment can reap hours of fun and enjoyment.

You don't have to spend a fortune to enter the hobby with reliable equipment and sound track. But you do have to spend some money to get that quality and reliability. All you get for spending the least amount you possibly can results in your last post.
 
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