Author Topic: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets  (Read 1672 times)

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JoeW

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Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« on: January 31, 2014, 12:06:37 PM »
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Hi Gang
I am looking for experience with the varying flange depth-ed wheels.  I want to change over some of my Micro Trains rolling stock but the wheel flanges are interfering with the spikes and tie-plates of my code 55 Atlas track.  I have seen previous threads on this subject but it did not address a medium flange wheel it was low profile flange. For clarity is the low profile most ideal for code 40 track or will the medium flanged wheels also work with code 40. Is medium a result of trying to hit the happy medium between string lining on curves to just missing the spike heads.  Or is there more to it than that?
Thanks

wcfn100

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 12:31:58 PM »
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Hi Gang
I am looking for experience with the varying flange depth-ed wheels.  I want to change over some of my Micro Trains rolling stock but the wheel flanges are interfering with the spikes and tie-plates of my code 55 Atlas track.  I have seen previous threads on this subject but it did not address a medium flange wheel it was low profile flange. For clarity is the low profile most ideal for code 40 track or will the medium flanged wheels also work with code 40. Is medium a result of trying to hit the happy medium between string lining on curves to just missing the spike heads.  Or is there more to it than that?
Thanks

Between the low and medium flange from MTL, you want the medium.  Not really for the depth but the contour.  MTL had a really nice low profile wheel and then changed the contour to a sharp edge like the regular wheels.

Code 40 (43 in reality) will actually run larger flanges than Atlas c55 due to the lack of spike detail.

Jason

ryan_wilkerson

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 01:39:59 PM »
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Hi Joe,
I didn't remember that MTL had a medium flange, interesting. Most of my MTL cars (10+ years old) have the full sized flange so I've converted most of my plastic wheels to low profile metal wheels. I have some BLMA and mostly FVM and they both roll fine on Atlas code 55 and ME code 40 track. I have both types of track here...do all MTL cars now come with medium flanges? I have one of the log spines, a recent design, and could try it out.

bbussey

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 01:50:00 PM »
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The medium flange (MTL "standard profile") is the current standard on MTL cars and should work with all code 40 and 55 track.  The original large-flange "pizza-cutters" are now called "high profile" wheels.  The original MTL "low profile" wheels with the more-prototypical flange contour have a slightly longer axle length (as do all of the original tooled MTL wheels from the late 20th century) and are tight in the current MTL truck frames.  The last version of the MTL "low profile" wheels have a "pizza-cutter" edge.  I believe they remain available, although they are no longer listed on the MTL website.
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VonRyan

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 05:33:52 PM »
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I personally don't trust low-pros. I made the mistake of putting FVM low-profile wheelsets on part of my PRR H31 fleet and they weren't worth it.

If you want to go with metal wheelsets, use:

" FVM3310 12Axles
  N33" Std Wheel w/.540" Axle
  Fits MT, ATH, FVM, BLMA "

The UPC is 15083 01015

Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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railnerd

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 05:46:32 PM »
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I personally don't trust low-pros. I made the mistake of putting FVM low-profile wheelsets on part of my PRR H31 fleet and they weren't worth it.

I have a couple cars with the original FVM low-profile wheels and I haven't seen an issue on our Free-moN modules.

Did you just see lots of derailments with the lower-flanged wheels?

-Dave

VonRyan

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 06:01:59 PM »
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I have a couple cars with the original FVM low-profile wheels and I haven't seen an issue on our Free-moN modules.

Did you just see lots of derailments with the lower-flanged wheels?

-Dave

The FVM low-pros were prone to climbing Peco frogs, even on turnouts that have their guardrails shimmed. There was also a strange side-play in every single wheelset, as though they were too narrow of gauge. NMRA gauge said good on the wheelsets and the track.

So, I took the low-pros out and sold them.

All my H31 hoppers now have Kadee/MT pizza-cutters.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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ednadolski

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 06:03:25 PM »
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I personally don't trust low-pros. I made the mistake of putting FVM low-profile wheelsets on part of my PRR H31 fleet and they weren't worth it.

Every car in this train that came with plastic wheels has been upgraded to low-profile metal wheels (mostly FVM, some BLMA):


I've found that metal plus low profile means I can pull 10%-20% more cars with the same motive power.


Ed

VonRyan

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 06:06:36 PM »
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I agree that metal wheelsets can decrease the friction in an un-tuned MT truck.
I have yet to tune the trucks on my H31 hopper fleet, so it will probably come down to either time to tune them all and keep the pizza-cutters or money to buy enough of the FVM Standard wheelsets.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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railnerd

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 06:11:26 PM »
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The FVM low-pros were prone to climbing Peco frogs, even on turnouts that have their guardrails shimmed. There was also a strange side-play in every single wheelset, as though they were too narrow of gauge. NMRA gauge said good on the wheelsets and the track.

Thanks for info.  Most of our modules only have Atlas Code 55 or hand laid turnouts; but another friend laid his entire staging yard using Peco #1796 turnouts.


ednadolski

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 06:12:05 PM »
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The FVM low-pros were prone to climbing Peco frogs, even on turnouts that have their guardrails shimmed. There was also a strange side-play in every single wheelset, as though they were too narrow of gauge. NMRA gauge said good on the wheelsets and the track.

So, I took the low-pros out and sold them.

All my H31 hoppers now have Kadee/MT pizza-cutters.

The wheel treads should never lose contact with the rail heads.   I'm not quite clear by what you mean by the sideplay, but if wheelsets are too narrowly gauged then that is not an issue that would be fixed by increasing the flange size.  This sounds to me like the oversized flanges are just masking the problem(s), not fixing the real cause of the issue(s).

Ed

VonRyan

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 07:17:53 PM »
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The wheel treads should never lose contact with the rail heads.   I'm not quite clear by what you mean by the sideplay, but if wheelsets are too narrowly gauged then that is not an issue that would be fixed by increasing the flange size.  This sounds to me like the oversized flanges are just masking the problem(s), not fixing the real cause of the issue(s).

Ed

The phyiscal tread never really left the rail. but only the flanges on one side were making contact.
The sideplay is the ability for the wheelset to be moved perpendicular to the parallel rails. No other wheelset I own does that, or if they actually do then it isn't noticeable like it was with the FVM low-pros.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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robert3985

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2014, 01:56:19 AM »
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I personally don't trust pizza cutter or medium flanged wheelsets.  I started changing all my pizza cutters out 30 years ago by turning down Kadee N-scale wheelsets when they were three-piece (two plastic wheels, a metal axle).  I built my own set of collets for my lathe to do this along with my own tool which cut them to what I thought a scaled-down HO RP25 flange should look like. 

I also replaced whatever I could with Northwest Short Line low-flanged wheelsets when I wanted a metal tread as on my cabooses, steam tenders or contest entries.

One thing I was doing was hand-laying all of my turnouts in code 55 and code 40, and I was part of a Ntrak club when I first started doing it (in code 70 however).  It was interesting that several of the Atlas/Peco/Shinohara turnouts on the rest of the modular layout would sometimes be problematic with the low flanges, but my strict NMRA standard hand-laid turnouts NEVER have had problems with low-pro wheelsets or narrow tired wheelsets.

I suppose it was about a decade ago or slightly more that I came to the realization that I didn't have any pizza cutters anymore.  Other members of the now non-Ntrak club were hand-laying their turnouts and using ME#6's and Atlas 55's and most of the guys had also converted their rolling stock over to low-pros.  We NEVER had any problems associated with either the low-pro flange size or shape.

However, there were some track problems with some of the modules (as there always are) and the vast majority of times, it didn't make any difference if the flanges were low or pizza...the track didn't work.  Each problem was taken care of before the next show, and low-pros were used on trains of over 100 cars without any problems.

My problem with pizza cutters is that a lot of old pizza-cutters were out of gauge, which don't work too well when attempting to roll through strict NMRA spec turnouts.  The more modern low-pros seemed to me to be of higher quality.

Unfortunately MT has decided to change their flanges to a sharper flange with hardly any fillet at the junction of the flange and tire, which is poor mechanical practice in my opinion in both medium and low-pro.

Luckily, Fox Valley and BLMA have their lovely and excellent looking wheelsets available and I am slowly getting rid of all my plastic ones, replacing them with these great looking and performing wheelsets.

By the way, I've NEVER had a single problem running any of Fox Valley's or BLMA's metal wheelsets.

The trick is to make sure your trackwork (and the components) are NMRA compliant.  If a low-pro wheelset won't run through a Peco turnout, it's not the low-pro's fault...it's the crappy design and/or bad quality control of the RTR turnout.


If I had NMRA compliant wheelsets that wouldn't run through a particular brand of turnout reliably, but ran through NMRA hand-laid or another turnouts of another brand just fine, I'd say I didn't trust that brand of turnout, not that I don't trust the NMRA compliant wheelset.

robert3985

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 02:05:46 AM »
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Code 40 (43 in reality) will actually run larger flanges than Atlas c55 due to the lack of spike detail.

Jason

Only if it's hand-laid code 40 (43).  Micro Engineering code 40(43) flex track has newer, bigger spikehead details and medium flanged engines such as Kato E's and F's, Atlas Geeps won't run on it unless the spikeheads on the inside of the rails are sanded down. 

There are probably a lot more engines that won't run on it either, but my test Atlas GP-9 just bounced a few ties into the center siding and stopped...as did my Kato F3...so that was enough for me.  Out comes the teeny sanding block and the problem is fixed for that 3' section of code 40 center siding.

Just be careful not to sand them completely off as they are really small.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 02:42:47 AM by robert3985 »

bbussey

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Re: Making distinctions, Medium or Low Profile Wheel Sets
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 02:14:28 AM »
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The phyiscal tread never really left the rail. but only the flanges on one side were making contact.
The sideplay is the ability for the wheelset to be moved perpendicular to the parallel rails. No other wheelset I own does that, or if they actually do then it isn't noticeable like it was with the FVM low-pros.

I've never had an issue with FVM wheels, both the fine-tread (which I buy) and the wide-tread (which comes on FVM products).  You stated that you verified that both the wheels and the track are in gauge, but it sure sounds as if one of them is not.  Most likely the wheels if your side-to-side tolerance is excessive.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 02:17:29 AM by bbussey »
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