Plastic vs Metal axles

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Hey everyone,

Looking to purchase some 36" metal wheel sets to replace plastic wheels on rolling stock. I see that you have the option of plastic or metal axles. Any input is appreciated on which is preferred, or if it matters?.......

Thanks,

Will
Bend, Oregon
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Most freight wheels are 33" on older rolling stock , 36" on passenger and I believe some newer freight . I use both metal and plastic axle , usually the metal axles have less friction , The plastic ones do ok in plastic non sprung trucks . In metal trucks the metal axles can have substantially less friction especially if you "tune" the truck .

Some cars will say what wheel size on the side , pre 1960 I think 33" was standard on freight. ribbed wheels were phased out ~'57 - '70 .

Most of my plastic axle wheels are legacy , anything new I purchase metal axle code 110.

Most people go for Intermountain , you want the smallest diameter axel cone to get the least friction , I have use Bowser with good success .
 
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CambriaArea51

Well-Known Member
The metal wheels have a plastic insert on one or both sides so they don't short. I think you just have to buy some small packs to try on different cars to see what you like before buying a bulk pack. Tuning the trucks is important no matter what, the cars roll so much better. I run 60 - 100 cars at the club and would not be able to do so if I didn't tune them.
As for wheel I use Jay Bee 33" for the older cars that I have for the Chessie train the rest are Atlas 36" but the older style. The new ones are different and don't care for them. I'll try Proto or Exactrail when I run out.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
I use both Kadee with plastic axles and Intermountain with metal axles. It doesn't make any difference in the running of my cars that I can tell. The Intermountains have very slightly shorter axles; the Kadees work better in older Athearn and Roundhouse cars. All of my trucks are plastic and I use the truck tuner on all cars before they hit the layout. I have read elsewhere that cars roll better (less friction) if the axle ends and trucks are different materials, ie metal axle ends in plastic trucks and plastic in metal trucks, but because all of my trucks are plastic, I cannot comment there. As far as rollability, it is has less to do with the materials of either the axles, wheels or trucks as it has to do with using the truck tuner.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
In metal trucks the metal axles can have substantially less friction especially if you "tune" the truck .

Just for anyone following, be careful with metal axles in metal trucks, as often the metal axle and wheel(s) are only insulated on one side - so often the second wheel is not insulated from the axle. So if using a metal frame, just make sure you have all the axles oriented the same way with the insulated wheels on the same side.

Some cars will say what wheel size on the side , pre 1960 I think 33" was standard on freight. ribbed wheels were phased out ~'57 - '70 .

Ribbed wheels are cast iron.

As of January 1st, 1958 cast iron wheels were banned from new and rebuilt cars, From January 1st, 1964 no new cast iron cars were allowed on existing cars, and from January 1st, 1968 all cast iron wheels were banned from interchange.

Wheel size is related to weight capacity. 33" for < 100 ton capacity, 36" for 100 ton capacity cars. Some low deck autorack flatcars had 28" wheels. "125 ton" trucks between adjoining units of articulated double stack container cars have 38" wheels.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
Only if there ferrous and I don't know of anybody using steel axles anymore.

True...but I do have some older ferrous axle wheel-sets on rolling stock that I've forgotten to change out. Older Roundhouse if I remember correctly.
 




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