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Discussion Starter #1
I have some 20 year old Athearn BB Locos and dummies that I am refurbishing and running on top of my ping pong table for the Holidays. I have two dummy locos: GE U30B and a GP38-2. As a kid with no money the idea of buying dummy locos seemed like a brilliant idea. Today I have realised that the cheap plastic wheel sets on these cause a terrible drag on the powered locos.

Athearn uses a regular powered truck assembly without gears and a plastic wheels set with no real bearing which casues the terrible drag. Since I had all my locos apart for axle gear replacements, I dropped in my F7 metal wheels into the GE 30B trucks. This made the GE 30B dummy run real smooth on the tracks, but I got a nasty suprise when I tried to power the layout with a dead short. It seems that Athearn made Dummies with two front trucks instead of one front and one rear. This worked fine as long as you used plastic wheels but will not work with real metal wheels as both inner ond outer wheels are now grounding to the frame..

I was planning on getting some NWSL nickel silver wheels for my GP50 and using the original Athearn wheels in the dummy with some old plastic axle gears to connect the two wheel halves, but now I would need some rear trucks.

I don't think it's cost effective to buy new Athearn replacement trucks or even to try and convert them to powered units unless I find a deal on ebay for old Athearn frames and parts.



If anybody has any thoughts on putting better wheels on Athearn dummy units let me know.
 

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I have never known plastic to drag. It has always been light.:confused:
Neither have I... Unless Jerry means that the wheels are locking up all together, but that would still not create a lot of drag... Jerry, did you try adding some lube to the ends of the axles with the plastic wheels on them?
 

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Yard Master & Research
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I have never needed to oil plastic. Then again I don't run a lot of plastic wheels. I thinking in terms of a mechanical bind. Pull the axle off and check for hair or dirt or too much sticky stuff. Replacing the truck with a metal one will improve appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well the plastic wheels always seemed to have a lot of friction to them, I'll clean them up and see if it helps. I would still like to have metal wheels though. Here are a few pictures of the trucks off of the two dummy locos. As you can see in the last picture all four trucks are the same. Once you rotate the frame to mount onto the loco frame, both the left hand side and right hand side wheels will both be going to ground the frame causing a short. Maybe the hobby store I purchased them from had switched trucks before I bought, or it was standard Athearn practice to use whatever truck they had handy. In either case I can't just add standard Athearn metal wheels to these dummy locos.


 

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Yard Master & Research
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10,647 Posts
Insulate the plate with scotch tape or a plastic film?
You have some kind of wrap around the axle. This maybe your drag.
Can you replace it with a plastic straw that has a slit or a coffee stirer for a smaller diameter?
 
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