Model Train Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a number of Mendards boxcars and coal cars and I love them. They are not without their flaws though and one of the things that's been bothering me lately is the boxcar wobble. If you have never seen it this is what it is...


I have at least 20 boxcars and, while a good number of them are fine right out of the box, I've got about 6 of them that wobble like this. I also have another 4 that have trucks that are really stiff so the opposite problem. I decided to pull a few apart and take a look.

The first one I took apart was wobbling like the video. I pulled the c clips and measured the washer. This is the size I saw

IMG_20170216_212754226.jpg

Then I took one of the ones where the trucks were tight and measured that one

IMG_20170216_212809218.jpg

I pretty big difference in sizes there. Enough to cause the wobble for sure. I then took apart one that I would say is perfect and the size of the washer was the same at 1.25mm as the one that was too tight. In fact the vast majority of the washers on the cars as I've found are 1.25mm. I've only seen 2 cars so far with the smaller washers. I'm still working through my collection though.

What I've found is that there is some variance in the stem on the trucks and it's pretty important to match the washer to the truck. For some of the more wobbly ones I've found that a washer 1.30mm is perfect but for others the perfect size is 1.15mm or less sometimes. Never under 1mm though.

So with this knowledge I could go to the hardware store or find another way to resolve it. I took the other measurements for the washer which came to 12mm outside and 6mm inside and created my own washers using my 3D printer. I set a number of thicknesses from 1.0 - 1.3mm and printed out a bunch in pairs. I have attached the models that can be printed here and it costs pennies to print them

View attachment Menards_Boxcar_washers.zip

I fitted the northwestern boxcar in the video with the new washers and you can see how well it worked out. This car required the 1.3mm washer to resolve the wobble as it had the same wobble as the one in the video. It originally had the 1.25mm washers in it which in this case was too loose.

IMG_20170216_213718600.jpg
IMG_20170216_213724474.jpg

I'm ready to fix the rest now which is what I'll be doing tonight...

IMG_20170216_214009591.jpg

Attached are the 3d models that I printed. I printed them solid with 100% infill at 0.1mm resolution. Now my printer can't quite do 0.1mm resolution but it's pretty close. I took the results and rounded them into the correct baggie. I have lots of options for the perfect fit...:smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Of course right after saying I've only found two sizes I found a third as I took apart the car in the video. That one had a pair of washers at 1.15mm. This car really needed a washer about 1.3mm. I put a set about 1.25mm in it and it's a lot better but still has a tiny wobble. Not something I would likely notice as it's going around the track though so I'll leave this one as is as I didn't print a lot of 1.3mm washers. Maybe I need to redo that :)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,109 Posts
THANK YOU! This is a great post and very useful. I have about 20 of more of them, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,353 Posts
WOW! What a great post! You certainly did your diligence on this problem and ultimate fix. Kudos, and thanks so much for passing this along. Are you planning to sell packages of washers for those folks who don't have 3d printers?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Just yesterday I had to replace a washer on one of the new Menards NYC boxcars that I picked up this week. Really didn't notice that the truck was too tight until there was a derailment. Will have to get a few washers with varied thicknesses for future adjustments...if needed. Great information piece and video...Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,083 Posts
Way to get at a problem. I have 8 menard's cars and have not noticed a wobble or
too tight of a truck. But if I do thanks to you I will have a fix. That wobble in your first video, that would bother me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,058 Posts
Very cool. I think most of us has had to deal with that at some point with Menards cars. For the price I can live with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys. Sounds like a bunch of you have already done this fix as well. The real trick is to find some washers in the 1.0, 1.15, 1.25, 1.3mm thicknesses or close to it. I've used all of those sizes to fix my cars. I'm now at the point where I've got a number of metal ones I've pulled and replaced and can reuse those where they work best as well. It only takes a minute or two to pull these apart and the C-Clips aren't to bad if you use a small flat head screwdriver on the inside lip.

WOW! What a great post! You certainly did your diligence on this problem and ultimate fix. Kudos, and thanks so much for passing this along. Are you planning to sell packages of washers for those folks who don't have 3d printers?
Thanks, I'm not planning on selling them but you should be able to find some metal options at your local hardware store. It would cost more to ship them than material to print.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,331 Posts
The folks at Kadee have made life easier for the HO scale modelers by offering itsy-bitsy little red (.015) and gray (.010) paper washers to slip between the bottom of the car and the trucks.
This helps eliminate wobble and puts the coupler at the correct height. :thumbsup:
I've used them on about 25% of my rolling stock. They're dirt cheap and readily available at your LHS or online.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,292 Posts
Several years ago, I had a set of K Line F3's, and the powered engine would jump the track on a curve. After careful examination, I determined that there was too much play, and did the same fix. A good source for washers of varying thickness would be left over plastic sheet stock from building projects. No one said the washers have to be round!
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,353 Posts
This thread is very apropos, and the timing is good. I just bought a bunch of Menards box and hopper cars. I haven't checked them yet for rocking. Last fall, I bought an S*** load of washers. I had run low and decided to buy several sets of various sizes in metal, rubber, and nylon. So, I think I may be ready for what may come.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top