Kadee Ribbed Back Wheels Help Needed?

Pete Steinmetz Mar 23, 2015

  1. Pete Steinmetz

    Pete Steinmetz TrainBoard Member

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    I am selling some N Scale for a friend who passed away. Money is going to his widow. He had a lot of old N Scale. there are some Kadee and Micro Trains cars from the early years.

    As I was researching some of the cars on E bay, I ran into a seller that sells at collectable prices (or tries to). They mentioned Kadee ribbed back wheels being included. I looked at the cars I had, and none of them had ribbed back wheels.

    When did Kadee include Ribbed back wheels in N Scale?
    Did all Kadee come with ribbed back wheels?
    What about early Micro Trains, did they have ribbed back wheels?
    When did MT change to flat back wheels?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Argh. Memory fade. It was later 1970's, when they switched from ribbed to smooth backs. I want to say c.1978-1979?

    There is an all time production list on the M-T web site, so you can identify when the cars you have were made.
     
  3. Jay Gould

    Jay Gould TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure of the date either, but it was a long time ago. The really old, original Kadee cars had those wheels, which were kind of
    an impressive detail (if you gave the car a real close look). The later wheels don't have the ribbing, but they do roll a lot smoother---that
    is something I've noticed, although I never saw it actually discussed anywhere. But anyway, if the car is an old one "suitable to collect"
    then the original ribbed wheels are of course a must.
     
  4. Larry E Shankles

    Larry E Shankles TrainBoard Member

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    Cars issued thru August 1987 had ribbed wheels (molds for the wheels were then damaged). From September 1987 to 1990 cars could be issued with either ribbed or smooth backed wheels as the existing stock of ribbed wheels was used up.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. I didn't recall them being used that late. Even so, it's now almost thirty years ago... Time flies...
     
  6. locomcf

    locomcf TrainBoard Member

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    IIRC, there were two versions of axles with ribbed wheels. One had metal wheels and plastic axles, and the other was plastic wheels with metal axles. I don't know which came first. I'm almost certain that I found examples of both when I replaced all my wheelsets with low-profile wheels several years back.

    They're the sort of thing that only a collector would pay extra to obtain. From an operating perspective, both suffered from two problems:
    (i) the sharp pizza-cutter flanges were prone to catching on turnout points, especially in reverse moves; and
    (ii) their three-piece construction allows the wheels to easily get out of gauge.

    There was a lengthy discussion about MT wheelsets on the old Atlas forums at:
    http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=68789

    (Sadly, the link to the photo in my post is dead.)

    Regards,
    Ron
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2015
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Maybe it has been way too long for me. I began collecting Kadee with the original GTW box car. I don't remember anything but plastic axles and wheels.
     
  8. nickelplate759

    nickelplate759 TrainBoard Member

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    I have exactly one Kadee wheelset with ribbed METAL wheels. As I recall this was a special for their 0-8-0 to 2-8-0 conversion kit, the logic being that the metal wheelset would be heavier and track better on the pilot truck.
     
  9. Backshop

    Backshop TrainBoard Member

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    One thing about MTL/Kadee cars bought in the '60s/'70's ... unless you leave N scale entirely, you no doubt kept some of those old cars for running no matter how many times you changed layouts or railroad modeled. I have both types of the ribbed wheels -- I believe the metal ribbed back ones were the first, then changed to plastic. Not only was the wheel back ribbed, the axles were also tapered in the center to match prototype versions. The metal wheels have more rounded flange edges, yet still are pizza cutter sized.
     
  10. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I have some of the original releases of the cars when they used the original catalog numbers and they all have the plastic, ribbed wheels on metal axles. The axle point, however, is built into the plastic wheel, not the metal axle.

    I have one truck or wheelset, someplace, with metal wheels and plastic axles. I think Ron may be correct about those being for the Rivarossi 0-8-0 to 2-8-0 conversion but I also seem to remember they are the very earliest style and Kadee changed them for the plastic wheels on metal axles very early on.

    Actually, they can't go out of gauge because the axle has steps on each end and the wheels butt against these steps and are kept in gauge.

    Doug
     
  11. locomcf

    locomcf TrainBoard Member

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    No - that was Nickleplate759. But I remember those conversions, and thought they were a great idea. Back in those days there weren't too many good running locos and anything that added variety was very welcome.


    The step stopped the wheels from getting too close but didn't stop them from moving apart. For the most part I had few problems, but some of mine started to give a little trouble, albeit after a decade or more of operation. (I should not have said 'easily'.)

    I think I still have samples of both of the ribbed wheelsets, but I won't be able to get at them until our new house is built and all my stuff comes out of storage. I never got the very first Kadee boxcar, like BoxcabE50 did, but my first Kadee car was the ATSF "Grand Canyon" car from the same first group of 10 cars from Kadee (The "Class of '72", as Irwin describes it.).

    For those who are not familiar with the ribbed backed wheels, here's an old Atlas Forum discussion which contains some photos of the plastic wheelsets on metal axles (thanks to Peteski and Lee (wm3798)):
    http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=56946

    Regards,
    Ron
     
  12. TetsuUma

    TetsuUma TrainBoard Member

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    I have some new-in-box 1973/1974 MT cars and they all have plastic wheels on metal axles.

    Also, you might want to clean any gunked-up wheels before selling them.

    Andy
    Tetsu Uma
     
  13. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I think I have precisely ONE truck set of metal wheels on plastic axles, and it is old, very old, because I actually used them in HO on a failed attempt to make a powered railbus front truck (think like a Mack lead truck), I'll guess maybe 1970-71. But yeah, to confirm it, I've got one set of metal ones in the remnants of that HO railbus front truck. It wasn't brass, it was some kind of zinc alloy. I remember the futility of trying to set up contacts on those metal wheels.

    I didn't get the first Kadee N 40' boxcar made, but I think I got the second one - the SP double-door 40' box, probably....1973 I'll guess. It had delrin wheels on metal axles, and I've still got quite a few of those around, and in fact, just cleaned a few up and put them into Rivarossi passenger car trucks.
     
  14. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I remember those wheel sets being phased out in the mid 1980's... a hobby shop owner suggested I buy the spare wheel sets he had in stock because they would become collectable. I remember making a comment like... the wheels are collectable too?? I didn't buy them because of my skepticism towards model train ' wheel ' collecting. Hard to believe but true though... if those blister-packs are auctioned... they will fetch a high price.

    Sent from my ALCATEL ONE TOUCH Fierce using Tapatalk
     
  15. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I just wish I could find mine. They aren't in any of the usual places I stash things so that means I put them in a place where I would be able to find them.

    :oops:

    Doug
     
  16. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    OK, well, needle in a haystack, but I found ONE, repeat ONE of the original metal-wheel wheelsets in my junk wheelset drawer.

    Left to right - metal ribbed back wheel on plastic axle; plastic ribbed wheel on metal axle, and our newest entry in 'extinct' wheel sets, the brown lo-pro.

    [​IMG]

    I did find that railbus front truck, one of the last projects I ever tried in HO using N wheelsets, and they are metal MT wheels that I jammed on a steel axle, and tried to insulate by coating the treads. Hey, I was 13!
     
  17. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Haaa... haaa... I'm right there with you on that issue. What ever extra ribbed-back Kadee/Micro-trains wheel sets I may have accidentally acquired over the years are so well stashed away... I can't find them without a time consuming hunt.
     
  18. fifer

    fifer TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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  19. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I finally, accidently found my two trucks with metal, ribbed back/plastic axle wheelsets. They were in the silliest place - mounted on one of my Atlas Penn Central boxcars.

    :teeth:

    The trucks have the screws in them too. I think those are the only two I have but you never know now.

    Doug
     

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