Truck question.

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Gregjl

Member
Hi Everybody, I'm having what I think is a problem with kadee trucks, I'm new and in the process of making my train set a little longer ( I'd like to see more than 2 cars) I picked up an athearn but it wouldn't couple to my bachmann's, that was no big deal except couplers don't all attach the same. So I got kadee couplers and had to figure a way to install them ( I know that's a different problem). The wheels on the stock trucks were plastic and I like the clickety flack of metal so I figured while I'm placing an Order.. and after putting them on the car wouldn't stay on the track so I put the plastic back on and all is good. The package said caboose but why would that matter?

Greg
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Greg,

Don't quote me on this but a couple of things come to mind:

1. Wrong trucks/coupling mount
2. Trucks out of gauge.

If the plastic trucks work okay then you might want to double check the Kadee Trucks/Couplings you bought for compatibility. Sorry I can't help more than that but I know someone will be able to tell you the problem for certain.
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
Trucks from different manufacturers may require wheels with different axle lengths. If the axles on the metal wheels are the wrong length for your trucks, that could lead to derailments.

- Jeff
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Unfortunately there is little (if any) compatibility between manufacturers, sometimes even between their own lines of product. Trucks and how they fit onto the rolling stocks pivot point would be one of the most frustrating. Axle lengths vary widely. One company, Reboxx, make metal wheelsets with metal axles in a large variety of axle lengths, But of course you need to be able to measure your axles from tip to tip to know what to order.

When it comes to couplers the industry/hobby standard is Kadee. In the past their #5 was the recommended replacement for the vast majority of factory fitted couplers. These are a "Knuckle" type, mimicking a prototype (i.e. real coupler) in appearance and operation. They consist of the coupler itself and a brass centering spring that fits into the coupler box on the car. They fit most model manufactures cars. Bachman, for reasons known to themselves, made their boxes a fraction (hairs-breadth) smaller, and won't take the spring. The new Kadee #148 (has the same size coupler head as the #5) or the #158 (smaller semi scale size head) have done away with the separate brass spring and incorporated it into the coupler itself. They are called a "whisker" coupler. Either of these will fit into Bachmann boxes as well as most others (don't know of any they won't) So, I would suggest standardising your fleet with either of the #148 or #158. The #148 is more tolerant of misalignments in coupler height or track bumps and dips because of it's overscale size and are a bit easier to uncouple manually using a pointed stick or Kadee's coupler tool. The #158's just look a bit nicer.
 

Y3a

Stuck in the 1930's
The axles may be too long, so get a reamer tool to tune in your wheels.

What diameter did you get?
33" for freight/older rolling stock, 36" for passenger.

I always used JayBee wheelsets for the weight, but I ran long coal drags with all the weight as close to the couplers and much lighter weight than NMRA standards, so they wouldn't tip going around curves with grades. I was using vacuuformed coal heaps with real coal held on by gloss black paint. The vacuuformed parts were made by a buddy who does sci-fi models and lots of scratch building. it's a nice illusion as one steam loco(Powerhouse Y3 2-8-8-2, weighted) could pull 50 Athearn 2 bay's up a 3.5% grade.
 

Gregjl

Member
Okay, I'll go Google reamer tool. I got the 33" and they are code 88, self centering or part number 1582 to shorten the description. They'll come in handy someday I'm sure. Thanks for the help, I really will Google that.
 

Gregjl

Member
Unfortunately there is little (if any) compatibility between manufacturers, sometimes even between their own lines of product. Trucks and how they fit onto the rolling stocks pivot point would be one of the most frustrating. Axle lengths vary widely. One company, Reboxx, make metal wheelsets with metal axles in a large variety of axle lengths, But of course you need to be able to measure your axles from tip to tip to know what to order.

When it comes to couplers the industry/hobby standard is Kadee. In the past their #5 was the recommended replacement for the vast majority of factory fitted couplers. These are a "Knuckle" type, mimicking a prototype (i.e. real coupler) in appearance and operation. They consist of the coupler itself and a brass centering spring that fits into the coupler box on the car. They fit most model manufactures cars. Bachman, for reasons known to themselves, made their boxes a fraction (hairs-breadth) smaller, and won't take the spring. The new Kadee #148 (has the same size coupler head as the #5) or the #158 (smaller semi scale size head) have done away with the separate brass spring and incorporated it into the coupler itself. They are called a "whisker" coupler. Either of these will fit into Bachmann boxes as well as most others (don't know of any they won't) So, I would suggest standardising your fleet with either of the #148 or #158. The #148 is more tolerant of misalignments in coupler height or track bumps and dips because of it's overscale size and are a bit easier to uncouple manually using a pointed stick or Kadee's coupler tool. The #158's just look a bit nicer.
That's exactly what it should say when shopping for couplers!
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Okay, I'll go Google reamer tool. I got the 33" and they are code 88, self centering or part number 1582 to shorten the description. They'll come in handy someday I'm sure. Thanks for the help, I really will Google that.

The code 88 wheel tread width could be your problem, those are narrower (.088") than the standard width (.110") wheels. They look much more like the prototype, but unless you have super-precise trackwork, they will be prone to derailments - especially in turnouts.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
The axles may be too long, so get a reamer tool to tune in your wheels.

What diameter did you get?
33" for freight/older rolling stock, 36" for passenger.

I always used JayBee wheelsets for the weight, but I ran long coal drags with all the weight as close to the couplers and much lighter weight than NMRA standards, so they wouldn't tip going around curves with grades. I was using vacuuformed coal heaps with real coal held on by gloss black paint. The vacuuformed parts were made by a buddy who does sci-fi models and lots of scratch building. it's a nice illusion as one steam loco(Powerhouse Y3 2-8-8-2, weighted) could pull 50 Athearn 2 bay's up a 3.5% grade.

Do you have a video of that Y3 pulling that string? Would sure like to see that.
 

Gregjl

Member
The code 88 wheel tread width could be your problem, those are narrower (.088") than the standard width (.110") wheels. They look much more like the prototype, but unless you have super-precise trackwork, they will be prone to derailments - especially in turnouts.
I'll remember to get standard width from now on, and this is the wheel width, the part hidden between the tracks and under the train? I think standard width looks great from where I'm sitting. And I have Bachmann ez track so I don't think there's anything I can do about it.

Thanks, Greg
 

Gregjl

Member
How about one more coupler question? For now I decided one limited operation I can do is alternating locos, and I saw the big square magnet that came with my set work once but you can't just put that anywhere because of the plastic track bed on ez track. And I already had some small powerful magnets, little round ones. I tried... one, two deep, two under each gear box, flipping them I've so they are reverse polarity, and now this morning the big square one again and no good. and you'd be surprised how hard it is to find a video about it. When I search for Bachmann uncoupling I get Kadee videos. I'm sure it's simple and just something I'm overlooking but. ( the little switchman is no help at all)
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The plastic track bed is probably not thick enough to drill and install those round magnets effectively, especially if you want to double up the magnets on top of each other. Maybe glue a piece of wood in under the track to help. Haven't seen them in use myself, but the y/tube vids of them seem to need 4 pairs of the magnets between the ties to get uncoupling to work. The Bachmann couplers of the Kadee design should work just the same.
 

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
I also think the code 88 wheels might be the problem. Another thing could be how loose or how tight the screws are that hold the trucks to the bottom of the car. A bit too snug and the trucks won't swing easily enough to follow the curves in the track. Too loose will make the cars rock and shake side to side. A tip I learned years ago is to run the screw of one truck in enough that the truck swings freely but won't rock side to side, then run the other truck screw in only enough that it will allow a slight side to side rock of that truck but not excessively. It doesn't matter which end rocks and which end doesn't. Set up this way the non rocking truck keeps the car stable and the looser truck gives enough movement to let the car run over minor track imperfections without derailing. Also any car whose weight is not at least at NMRA recommendations can add to bad tracking and derailment problems. All little things and simple to fix.
 
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