Gondola Truck Replacement Quandary

BNSF FAN Aug 22, 2021

  1. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Was doing to work on some freight cars this morning and had one set of M/T 1030 roller bearing trucks left so thought I would put them on this Athearn gondola. Well, I found that the screw from the original Athearn truck was just a tad smaller that the hole in the M/T truck. Anyone else run into an issue like this and have a suggestion for a fix? It's no big deal if they don't get upgraded as it has knucle couplers already. Thanks for any input.

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  2. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

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    MT trucks predate Athearn's entry into N, but they come with a couple of different sized pins. Do any of their pins fit?
     
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  3. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    I've run into the same issue with my Athearn RailGon gondola's. For the time being I just screwed the Athearn screws into the bolster and set the car on the trucks, just remember if you pick the car up the trucks will fall off.

    I have to be honest, I never though of NtheBasement idea. Now where's my Micro-Trains spare parts box to see if those pins will fit in the Athearn bolster.
     
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  4. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

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    I have used the washers supplied with Microtrains trucks for this. Put the washer on the screw, then those 2 into the truck and then install and tighten. It is possible to tighten the screw to where the truck doesn't pivot freely. And not tight enough and you get to much play. It takes a bit of trail and error to find the sweet spot. I need to do this to my Athearn coalporters as Microtrains trucks close up the big gap between the cars that the stock trucks leave. But 32 pair of trucks isn't in the budget yet.
     
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  5. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    As a follow up, the pins supplied with the Micro-Trains trucks and couplers are all too large in diameter and will not fit into the screw holes on the Athearn Gondola.
     
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  6. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    +1
     
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  7. RR Enthusiast

    RR Enthusiast TrainBoard Member

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    I used the Micro-Trains washer as described above on my fleet of Athearn Santa Fe 50' steel reefers. They work great and the train of 30+ cars operated flawlessly.
     
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  8. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    I drilled out the bolsters with a 5/64" drill bit and used an MT truck pin
     
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  9. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Bman for the suggestion, works like a charm and as you mentioned you have to find the "sweet spot". Too tight and it binds the truck. I've also converted my older Athearn SIECO 50' boxcars using this method as well. (y)
     
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  10. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

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    Seems odd that Athearn would design their products so that MT trucks won't fit. Why would they do that?
     
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  11. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    On all of my recent "special" trains such as fuselage train, generator blade train and others, I have done the following regardless of brand of car.

    I remove the pins and or screws from factory install and then I drill through the bolster and weight, what ever is in the car with a #50 drill. Then I tap that hole for 2-56 screw. I use 2-56 x 3/8" or 1/4" depending. The screws are flat head phillips machine screws with 82 degree slope. The truck settles in on the cone shape and runs very well. I do have to adjust tightness of screw in order to have enough play in all directions.

    I know, a lot of work, but well worth it IMHO. I do this when cars come home and usually, almost all cases, I replace the trucks with MT trucks.

    I know, clear as mud!

    Be well,
    Carl
     
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  12. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    It appears toy trains are doing the same as bicycles. :confused::mad:
     
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  13. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Member

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    The word "toy" with trains is almost blasphemous when discussing the equipment on our miniature rail transportation systems...
     
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  14. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    Their products already come with knuckle couplers, and seems most people who switched to MT trucks did it early on to get away from rapidos, where as many newer modelers are just sticking with whatever knuckles are on there
     
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  15. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    The issue I've had with many of Athearn's older rolling stock are the wheels, the cars wobble and sometimes the standard coupler has problems mating with the Micro-Trains couplers. So to solve both problems I just replace the coupler mounted trucks with Micro-Trains coupler mounted trucks. Since my layout is a branch line with sharp radius curves, body mounted couplers is not that important to me. The issue is not that the Micro-Trains trucks not fitting the Athearn cars, the issue is the Athearn screws are smaller than the hole in the Micro-Trains truck bolster, allowing the trucks to fall off the cars when the car is removed from the rails. So for now the above washer trick is a quick fix for these cars.

    So far I've not experienced any issues with the newer Athearn cars with the metal wheels.
     
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  16. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'll give the washers a try this weekend and see how it goes. Sounds easy enough. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions!
     
  17. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    The older plastic wheel sets could also be replaced with MT wheel sets, either plastic or metal aftermarket sets
     
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  18. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Since I was having an issue with both the plastic wheels and the couplers, I decided to replace the entire truck with a Micro-Trains truck. You are correct, a few manufacturers sell replacement wheel sets in both plastic and metal. The biggest thing to remember when replacing wheel set is there does not seem to be a standard when it comes to axle length. I believe the Athearn wheel sets have an axle length of .540 and will except Micro-Trains wheels, but having said that in the past I've run into another manufacturer that has a different axle length and the Micro-Trains wheel sets will not work.
     
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  19. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    Intermountain I know uses a slightly wider axle at .550". I've used in MT trucks without any tracking issues on not so perfect laid track.
     
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