Trucks and Wheelsets

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Distant signal

New Member
Hi all,
(HO Scale)
It has came to my attention that Atlas wheelsets do not fit into Accurail, Athearn, or Bowser trucks.
Has anyone else had this issue with Atlas wheelsets?
Do they have a proprietary system which isn’t compatible with other manufacturers equipment?

has anyone replaced trucks on Atlas freight cars with Proto, Kadee or others?
Joe.
 

wvg_ca

Well-Known Member
there is mainly just one length fr HO wheelsets, not like N ...I used Intermountain wheelsets to replace many of the ones I already have [plastic], but don't recall if I specifically changed any Atlas ones ??
 

Distant signal

New Member
Yeah, I thought the axel lengths were all standard. However Atlas wheelsets are too loose and don’t fit in Accurail/Athearn trucks.
I’ve since decided to use Walthers Proto wheelsets for those cars.
That said. Has anyone ever replaced an Atlas truck set with trucks of another manufacturer?
 

2Tracks

Ol' School
There are a lot of different axle lengths out there. Here are some that I've accumulated over time.
IMG_20200811_013110294.jpg

I like metal wheel sets over plastic. Then there is wheel tread width, code 88 & code 110, 88 being narrower. I like the 88. And there is wheel diameter, 33" & 36". Get yourself a set of digital calipers, (there are thousands of them on evil-bay,) measure the length of axle you want to replace and do some research. There are several manufactures of wheel sets and find the one that best suits your needs. I got kind of lucky, when I started doing wheel sets, a company called REBOXX made wheel sets in about any configuration one needed. They are no more, so now I'm hoarding what I have....lol
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
My observations are that most wheelsets will work in most rigid sideframe trucks. That being said, they are not all equal in length though. I re-measured these this morning because I misplaced my original list.
Atlas = 1.030"
Athearn = 1.025"
Kadee = 1.005"
Walther's = 1.005"
Intermountain = 1.015"

These only apply to metal wheelsets because that's all that I currently have anymore. The difference between Atlas and Kadee of .025" is the thickness of about 4 or 5 pieces of copy machine paper. Negligible in many cases.
Contrary to what people think, the axles do not ride on the points, the top of the axle point cone rides on the inside top of the truck journal cone. Very minimal contact. While a truck tuner can deepen the journal cone, its primary function is to smooth out the inside of the cone itself.
I use mainly Kadee or Intermountain now that the original P2K ones were discontinued by Walther's. I do not like Walther's "Proto" brand because they are not blackened like most others and those bright shiny wheels really stand out unless you go through the trouble of weathering them.
That's my .02¢.
I believe that Reboxx is no longer in business.
 

Distant signal

New Member
Hey Willie, thanks for that detailed response, it’s what I was looking for.
I didn’t know that there was actually different axle lengths.
I don’t mind weathering my wheelsets. I’ll paint them up and call it a day though it is a bit tedious.
I do have a hand full of the P2K sets which rolled nicely in my Accurail and Athearn trucks

Bowsers wheelsets are also very free rolling and not as shiny as the Proto ones.
But the largest pack I’ve seen for them was 20. Haven’t been able to find them in bulk.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
That said. Has anyone ever replaced an Atlas truck set with trucks of another manufacturer?
I missed answering that question. I do not normally replace trucks unless I break one or it is warped. Very rare indeed. I have only had one set of warped trucks in 35 years on almost 800 freight cars. To me they are all almost equal, but for detail, you cannot beat Accurail with Athearn coming in a close second. From what I have observed, most trucks are interchangeable with other manufacturers with the exception of some very old ConCor cars. While I have never had occasion to try or to use sprung trucks, I have read here and elsewhere that they are problematic. That is other modelers opinions, not mine.
 

Distant signal

New Member
Thanks again for you reply.
That’s some collection of cars ya got. I have 3 pairs of sprung trucks in service and haven’t had an issue but I’ll probably leave them alone unless something happens.
I’m In the process of building some Accurail kits and also was handed a box of older blue box equipment that I’m sprucing up with Kadee’s and metal wheel.
Similarly to many others model railroaders Plastic couplers and wheels are automatically going to bad order a car for me.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Depending on the car, changing out the trucks on an HO scale Atlas model can be a bit more involved than simply swapping trucks. I had to sand off most of the circular boss on an Atlas 23,000 gallon tank to get Athearn Genesis trucks to fit. But on an Atlas cylindrical hopper a pair of ExactRail 70-ton trucks dropped right on. When I changed out the Atlas trucks for Kato 70-ton trucks on an Atlas Centerflow hopper (both of these were kitbashed into carbon black cars) I had so sand off the circular boss to get the car to sit properly on the trucks. Sometimes there's enough material on the truck bolster to enlarge the hole, but not in this case.

I really like the Accurail PS 4750 covered hopper kit and I've built many of them. I've replaced the trucks on some of them, but most of the time I just replace the plastic wheels. Tangent offers some really nice metal wheelsets and those are my go-to for these cars. I used to use Intermountain wheels but once the Tangent wheels came available I switched over. It doesn't hurt that you can get them in bulk, so for someone like me who's got a lot of kits they're a great help.
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top