Author Topic: Metal wheelsets full circle or?  (Read 1025 times)

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JoeW

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Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« on: June 28, 2013, 08:46:45 PM »
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It was originally brought to my attention by a fine O scale enthusiast that the advantage of a metal wheel sets is that it does not leave a corrosive film behind.  Thus to keep the track clean and reduce layout maintenance he recommended using steel wheels.  Although this makes sense I still can't help but to laugh.  It seems  today most of the rolling stock producers are offering metal wheel replacements for 33 dia and 36 dia.  What is funnier yet is that many of us were standing in line to get the trucks with plastic wheels when Micro trains began offering them quite a while back.  The real kicker is that most of the models we were buying then (with the exception Of Kadee MT) came with metal wheelsets.

Now about these new generation of wheel sets, that glimmering almost mirror finish does not look anything like the prototype.

OK now that I have said that. :D

What say you?   

Is this a long term permanent transition?

What do you do to improve the realism of your steel wheels?

Has anyone performed a scientific corrosion comparison, plastic wheel sets vs. metal wheels. 

Or are we just rolling back and forth and then again full circle?

I look forward to your comments and opinions

JoeW.

Kisatchie

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 08:58:07 PM »
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I was thinking about going with metal wheels about 10 years ago, but they didn't look good, and I had too many cars to convert.


Hmm... give me that
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peteski

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 09:35:41 PM »
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I favor metal wheel-sets. I still have plenty of the older Atlas boxcars which came with wheels which had metal tires with plastic centers (and also had huge flanges). Back in the 80s I noticed that Con-Cor metal wheel-sets looked very realistic (thin wheel profile with relatively small flange). I bought bunch of them and converted some cars.  I like the way the metal wheels sound on the track and I like the look of the shiny metallic wheel thread.

Fast forward to today: The profile of the N scale metal wheels from many manufacturers is more true to scale than ever before, and many are sold in large quantities and various axle lengths for easy conversion. Except for cost, there is nothing stopping anybody from converting their wheels from plastic to metal.

As far as the other part of your statement goes, I've heard lots of theories about pros of metal wheel-sets but I have never heard about any corrosive film!  That just sounds plain weird to me.  Why wouldn't the metal track itself ooze its own corrosive film, even if it was unused?  Maybe you have it confused with the "gunk" which builds up on the rails.   I think that corrosion would be the least of the worries of using metal wheels.
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ljudice

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 10:07:36 PM »
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I used to be skeptical, but after using them more and more I like them...

mplsjct

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 10:16:31 PM »
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I prefer metal wheels, they add weight close to the rails, something some older cars need, and I have noticed my track needs cleaning less often since I switched over - on the other hand, they are an unrealistic color, and can be expensive if your freight car fleet is of a substantial number of cars.

The clickety clack on the rails is a plus, also.
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Loren Perry

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 10:30:10 PM »
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I prefer metal wheels, they add weight close to the rails, something some older cars need, and I have noticed my track needs cleaning less often since I switched over - on the other hand, they are an unrealistic color, and can be expensive if your freight car fleet is of a substantial number of cars.


I hear this "lower the weight" business quite a bit. Does this imply that a number of modelers are having issues with their cars tipping over a lot?

robert3985

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 01:30:58 AM »
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Frankly y'all, ALL of the wheelsets, plastic or metal, need to be painted to look "realistic".  They're all the wrong color in my book.

However, the metal wheels really look good painted with that shiny metal tire left bare...mmmmmmm...love it!! And, I also love the more prototypical wheel profiles too.  Very nice.

I also love the "clickety-clack" the metal wheels produce, and I've been toying with the idea of cutting slots alternately in my railheads every 2.925" (39 scale feet)  to give it even a more realistic sound since the 50's is my era.

I must live in a different world than a lot of people, because dirty track has never been a big problem with me over the last 35 or so years of being in N-scale...I mean, it's not a problem at all, even at shows and continuous running during the public hours.  Everybody who runs on the portable layout has "Masonite cars" which lightly buff the railheads as various trains are running, and they do the trick very well.

I've been installing metal, low-pro wheelsets in my prize cars since the early 80's when the only place you could get 'em was NWSL...then painting them and leaving the bright tire showing.  I still have some of those early wheelsets which were bright nickel plated brass...very bright and shiny, with steel, needle-point axles.  They rolled great and looked exponentially better than the plastic or metal pizza cutters.

Here's a couple of photos of the NWSL "2mm" wheelset compared to the original MTL low-pro in brown, and the IMR stock lo-pro wheelset available for their trucks on the first kits.
 

There was "good stuff" back in the day, but it was expensive and you had to know where to look to find it.

The heartbreaker is the rail shown in the reefer photos...Railcraft code 40 flex.  ME made new dies and they aren't nearly as finely detailed as the old stuff  :(  I'm happy I've got a little stockpile of it.  :)
« Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 01:35:24 AM by robert3985 »

mplsjct

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 10:24:49 AM »
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Re: Lower the weight - I have a lot of the old Atlas Ore cars that I run the metal wheels on, my opinion is they need a little extra weight, and the metal wheels take care of that. Atlas has modified the weight in these cars, and the newer ones track better than the older runs.

My preference is to run cars that are heavier than recommended, I'm not a "by the book" NMRA guy.

As far as tipping over, no, I don't have any issues with that.
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tehachapifan

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Re: Metal wheelsets full circle or?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2013, 12:28:14 PM »
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I prefer metal the wheelsets too but seem to have bad luck with maybe about about a third being a little wobbly.