Author Topic: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars  (Read 1134 times)

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craigolio1

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adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« on: July 09, 2016, 09:45:28 AM »
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Hey all,

This was discussed in this thread about the number of Amfleet cars that can be pulled by one locomotive.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=39504.0

The idea that was well illustrated was to modify the Kato truck to accept a 1mmx3mm bearing with a 1mm hole.  Conveniently the Kato wheel sets have a 1mm axle. 

I didn't want to hijack the thread so I thought I should start a new one about the Bombardier cars.  I did a search and found various complaints and solutions but none using bearings.

The Athearn cars have a 1.2mm diameter axle so I don't think those bearings with the 1mm hole would work.  I'm wondering if anyone has successfully done this with the Athearn cars?  I can't find bearings that accept a 1.2mm shaft.  Is it feasible to have the Athearn axles turned down to 1mm? Could I simply chuck the wheel in a drill and file the shaft a little?

Thanks

Craig

peteski

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2016, 12:00:19 PM »
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How about replacing the Athearn wheels with Kato Amfleet wheels (like Ron did on his balll-bearing upgrade)?  Kato wheels has removable centers, so you might be able to use the brake discs which are on those cars. For the remainign wheels either leave the Kato inserts or make your own.
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jagged ben

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2016, 01:58:24 PM »
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Anybody got a picture of what the Kato wheels look like with the inserts removed?

mmagliaro

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016, 05:20:10 PM »
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I would not attempt to turn down axles by just chucking them in a drill or Dremel and having at it with files.
The level of precision required for an axle is far higher than something like grinding down wheel flanges to they clear code 55 track.  With flanges, even you are uneven around the rim, even 5 thou or more off, nobody is going to notice.  And nothing rolls on the flange.

But for an axle going through a bearing, unless that thing is dead-true, it will be a floppy, clanky disaster.

Can you fit a conventional friction bearing in there, rather than try for the ball bearings?

You can get lots of bronze clock bearings with a 1.2mm bore, like this:

http://timesavers.com/i-9605160-bronze-bergeon-style-bushing20-pack-3-5mm-od-x-3-0mm-h-x-1-2mm-bore.html

ryan_wilkerson

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016, 05:33:07 PM »
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I'm interested in this topic since my son's 4 Athearn cars are a chore for a single locomotive.

peteski

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 08:47:25 PM »
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Anybody got a picture of what the Kato wheels look like with the inserts removed?

Sure do - here ya go!

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craigolio1

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2016, 09:21:21 PM »
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I would not attempt to turn down axles by just chucking them in a drill or Dremel and having at it with files.
The level of precision required for an axle is far higher than something like grinding down wheel flanges to they clear code 55 track.  With flanges, even you are uneven around the rim, even 5 thou or more off, nobody is going to notice.  And nothing rolls on the flange.

But for an axle going through a bearing, unless that thing is dead-true, it will be a floppy, clanky disaster.

Can you fit a conventional friction bearing in there, rather than try for the ball bearings?

You can get lots of bronze clock bearings with a 1.2mm bore, like this:

http://timesavers.com/i-9605160-bronze-bergeon-style-bushing20-pack-3-5mm-od-x-3-0mm-h-x-1-2mm-bore.html

I agree about turning down the axles.

Would the friction bearing not need an inside diameter of slightly larger than 1.2mm for the Athearn axle to turn?

I didn't realize the Kato wheel had a plastic center.  With the center removed it looks like one could fit the Athearn brake disc, or something made up to replace it, on there.

Craig

peteski

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 10:04:36 PM »
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I didn't realize the Kato wheel had a plastic center.  With the center removed it looks like one could fit the Athearn brake disc, or something made up to replace it, on there.

That's why I mentioned it.  :)
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C855B

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2016, 10:10:59 PM »
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...mike

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jagged ben

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2016, 10:25:50 PM »
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Thanks for the picture Pete.  So how to the Amfleet trucks roll anyway, compared to the Athearn trucks?  My interest here is actually to do with electrical pickup for cab-car lighting, and I might consider replacing side frames on the Amfleet trucks as a way to that goal. 

craigolio1

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2016, 10:42:32 PM »
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http://www.vxb.com/MR41X-1-2mm-x-4mm-x-1-8mm-Miniature-Ball-Bearing-p/mr41x.htm

Will the 4mm outer dimension be a problem?

Not sure.  There isn't much to the Athearn trucks.  I'm not even sure a 3mm bearing could be made to fit.

Craig

peteski

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2016, 12:52:56 AM »
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Thanks for the picture Pete.  So how to the Amfleet trucks roll anyway, compared to the Athearn trucks?  My interest here is actually to do with electrical pickup for cab-car lighting, and I might consider replacing side frames on the Amfleet trucks as a way to that goal.

I haven't really compared Athearn, new Bachmann Amfleet and the Kato Amfleet trucks.  I would venture a guess that Athearn trucks roll as well as well (or slightly better) than the New Bachmann trucks.

Kato trucks are much more precisely constructed than the other trucks. They have precisely-made bearings (which are factory lubricated with thin-viscosity yelowish grease. The overall fit of all their parts is also really good.  Here are some photos of Kato trucks.

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While not as free rolling at the modified roller-bearing Bachmann trucks, they are acceptable - see the Kato/Bachmann truck thread mentioned in the initial post.

This also brings me to another thought. I'm suspect that the bearings Ron uses are dry. They roll very freely but their wear will be accelerated without lube.  And any lube more viscous then let's say WD40, will greatly increase the bearing's rolling resistance, not even mention intermittent electrical pickup.
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jagged ben

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2016, 01:34:10 PM »
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Thanks for the additional pictures of the Kato truck.  It's nice to see that the side frames are a separate piece.  Next question is whether the axle-spacing is the same or close enough.  Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread, but as long the rolling is the same or better than Athearn I'm good.  My Caltrain MP36 (once the gears were repaired by Kato) pulls five Athearn cars just fine.

peteski

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Re: adding bearings to Athearn Bombardier bi-level cars
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2016, 04:07:56 PM »
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Thanks for the additional pictures of the Kato truck.  It's nice to see that the side frames are a separate piece.  Next question is whether the axle-spacing is the same or close enough.  Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread, but as long the rolling is the same or better than Athearn I'm good.  My Caltrain MP36 (once the gears were repaired by Kato) pulls five Athearn cars just fine.

The wheelbase (axle spacing) is about 0.636".  The side "bits" are part of the bottom tuck cover (similar to the way locomotive trucks are built).

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