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Discussion Starter #1
Some time in the past, I purchased some covered hoppers from Menard's. I forgot about them until they popped out from under the layout. I originally purchased them beccause they are so colorful.

I decided to set up a small freight train featuring these new cars. So, about four hours later, I got them to point where they would actually roll along the track without derailing on every turn.

Many of the trucks were not properly seated on the cars and the axles often did not line up with the axle holes. Some of the couplers did not align, or close or open. This was random, and each had to be investigated and fiddled with.

Then came the weight, or lack of weight for these cars. Simply put they were far too light to remain on the track around curves without derailing. So, I added two ounces of weight over each axle inside the car body.

They now run pretty well with only an occasional derailment. I am pleased.

081E0A2E-5F1F-4A12-B641-0052A69BFC2F_1_201_a.jpg
 

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Yup. Menards cars are great for the money if you don’t mind a little fiddling. Some people can run them as delivered without problems, but not on my layout. There is a process I go through with Menards box cars and hoppers before I even run them. I’ve posted about it a few times here, but to summarize, I adjust the gauge (distance between wheel flanges), apply Noelube to blacken the shiny wheels, install shims at the truck mount to fix the wobble, add weight to hoppers and file the brake assemble on box cars for clearance.
 

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One issue I found with the covered hoppers is the truck doesn't clear the bottom steps on the side of the hopper. Okay on a larger turn, but on a tight radius the truck will hang up and possibly derail.
 

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I never had any derailing issues with Menards freight cars but all my curves are either 072 or 081. Have had some sparking issues with Gargraves 105 switches but some black paint usually cures that problem.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Clearly, the curve diameter has much to do with derailing problems. I have two curves of O-27, several of O-31 and O-42. My layouts small, so Have to make alterations to many things in order to negotiate around the track system.
 

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One issue I found with the covered hoppers is the truck doesn't clear the bottom steps on the side of the hopper. Okay on a larger turn, but on a tight radius the truck will hang up and possibly derail.
You need to carefully bend the steps out a bit so the truck clears. If you aren't careful, you can break off the step like I did on one.
 
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