Author Topic: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)  (Read 8948 times)

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tehachapifan

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #120 on: December 30, 2019, 04:47:13 PM »
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I'm just catching up on this.  This whole replacement of LL wheels with Kato/Atlas is a popular one.  ;)   

I recently replaced some LL SW wheels with kato, and had to adjust the point lengths for this to work, after the suggestion by @peteski. (https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=33107.msg379288#msg379288)   

The Atlas wheels you speak of, you didn't have to mess with the axle point length? Are these basically the same as kato wheelsets?

Actually, now that I think about it more, the wheelsets I tried might've come from an IM SD40T-2. However, I think those may be the same as Atlas wheels from, say, an SD60 but I'm not absolutely positive. I did notice that they were a snugger fit in the axle cups and the wheel gauge had to be set a bit narrower than the slots on my MT gauge for them to work . I had to do the same with the Kato wheels in the LL sleeve. I would say that, even set at a narrower gauge, both the Atlas (or IM) wheelset and the Kato wheels in the LL sleeve are still tighter in the axle cups than the original LL wheelsets. I have not yet attempted to adjust any wheels on the half axles as you mentioned and as others have done, but that might not be a bad idea in this application. However, I don't mind running wheels set a bit narrow, as they don't seem to cause problems on my layout (or at least my branchline). As I mentioned earlier, I only tried the Atlas (or IM) wheelset in a spare LL SW1200 truck that I pushed back and forth by hand. I have not yet tried it under loco power. I'm also not sure what, if any, problems may potentially arise over time from running wheelset that are tighter in the wheel cups, such as increased wear.


The whole idea of using the Kato's new low-profile flange replacement wheelsets is to eliminate the sub-par Atlas wheels.  Atlas wheels are made from plated brass. Plating wears off and the brass tread does not conduct electricity well (and gets gunked up fast).   Personally I don't think that replacing Life Like wheelsets with Atlas is a move in good direction.

I tend to agree. The idea I had was to try putting Kato wheels in the Atlas sleeves, hoping that this was a snugger fit than the LL sleeves and eliminated the need for adhesives and/or marring/flattening of the half axles.


diezmon

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #121 on: December 30, 2019, 04:58:37 PM »
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... I did notice that they were a snugger fit in the axle cups and the wheel gauge had to be set a bit narrower than the slots on my MT gauge for them to work ....

It was a very tight fit when I first tried, and I just couldn't get the gauge right.  It made a world of difference once i adjusted the point lengths. 

peteski

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #122 on: December 30, 2019, 05:18:11 PM »
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Actually, now that I think about it more, the wheelsets I tried might've come from an IM SD40T-2. However, I think those may be the same as Atlas wheels from, say, an SD60 but I'm not absolutely positive.


Atlas and IM wheels are the same.  Those companies either have a partnership, or their parts are manufactured by the same factory in China.  My friend noticed that they even use the same part numbers for some parts like truck assemblies.

As for the total axle length, I like mine to fit the axle ends in the bearing cups without much play (but not too snug).  If overall axle length is too shot, the ends ride in the top side of the cup, making the whole truck ride lower.  In that situation the wheels are not centered at the bearings molded in the sideframes, so they look funny.  The gear mesh is likely out of alignment too.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 05:23:44 PM by peteski »
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tehachapifan

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #123 on: December 30, 2019, 07:36:35 PM »
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OK, I did a little more experimenting. First though, I agree, about the IM SD40T-2 wheels being the same as Atlas SD50/60 wheels, but maybe not all of them(?). I have a box full of what I thought was just Atlas SD50/60 truck parts and wheels and I found a couple Atlas wheelsets in there that had clearly thinner axle gears. These might've possibly come from another Atlas loco, as a quick glance at the underside of my SD50/60 series locos appear to all have the slightly fatter axle gear. Why does this matter? Well, I don't think the Atlas wheelset with the thinner axle gear will work in the LL switcher truck as the (already-increased) offset with what I think is called the truck's idler(?) gear appears to be too much with the thinner axle gear and it might slip off the side (more on this below). The nice thing about all this is that the Kato wheels from the 932090 set fit perfectly and snugly in the Atlas SD50/60 axle sleeve! :D

So, here are some of my findings that may or may not have been mentioned earlier with regards to swapping out the LL wheels with Kato ones from the 932090 set....

1) Straight replacement of entire stock LL switcher wheelset with the entire Kato wheelset:

This simply won't work. The gear on the Kato axle sleeve must be slightly larger in diameter than the LL or Atlas axle gear, or the gear's teeth are slightly different and it binds.

2) Putting Kato wheels in the LL switcher axle sleeves:

As mentioned earlier in this thread, this works (and pretty darn well) but the wheels' half axles at least sometimes fit a little loose in the sleeves, potentially requiring adhesive and/or steps to flatten the ends of the half axles and/or roughing-up the surface of the half axles with pliers as has been suggested earlier. One (slight?) drawback with this wheel/axle sleeve combo is that, unless the wheels are adjusted on the half axles, the gauge has to be set narrower than that of an MT wheel gauge, as the distance from the wheel face to the axle tip is greater on the Kato wheels than on the LL wheels. Even with the narrower gauge, the axle tips seem to be more tight against the inside of the wheels cups that with the stock LL wheels. Not sure what this may or may not do in the long term. Also, at least when brand new, the Kato wheels don't appear to have as much traction as the stock LL wheels. This may improve over time as the wheels wear, but perhaps not.

3) Putting Kato wheels in Atlas SD50/60 wheelset axle sleeves (with the wider axle gear):

This seems to have potential. The Kato wheels' half axles fit perfectly in the Atlas sleeves, are nice and snug and seem to go in perfectly straight (so far). The Atlas axle gear is more offset than the LL axle gear and doesn't align with the idler(?) gear as well as the LL axle gear does, but it seems to align enough to not slip off or bind (time will tell for sure). Pushing a LL switcher truck back and forth by hand with the Kato wheels in Atlas axle sleeve combo installed appears to roll freely with no binding. It may not roll quite as freely as the stock arrangement does, but it's pretty darn close. I'm not sure if there's any actual resistance occurring or if the slipperier treads on the Kato wheels make it seem like there might be (make sense?). Also, the Atlas axle gear rides right next to one side of the gear opening in the bottom of the truck sideframe casting. It may even touch slightly which could potentially be a source of some resistance. I set this wheelset combo with the axle sleeve right up against the back of the wheel on the long sleeve side and with a slight gap on the short sleeve side to move the gear away from the opening edge as much as possible. If this isn't enough, I would imagine the gear opening in the sideframe casing could be widened a little in that area. Also, as with the Kato wheels in LL sleeves, this combo results in what seems to be a tighter fit in the axle cups, even with the gauge set narrower than the openings in an MT wheels gauge. I tested a truck outfitted with this combo in another LL switcher and it seems to be working well. No binding, resistance or noise detected (yet).

Your findings and mileage may vary. ;)

…Oh, one other thing worth mentioning that hasn't come up yet and that's regarding the newer MT version of this drive and the newer Walthers version. I have trucks off an MT SW1500 that are essentially the same as the LL trucks but have more silvery wheels with smaller flanges. I would assume these would be a drop-in fit in the LL trucks. Note, there appears to have been a slight modification with at least the MT truck since the LL version to make the loco perhaps ride a little lower(?). The rounded nubs that the frame sits on appear to have been lowered/flattened (unless mine became damaged somehow). Not sure if this can affect running smoothness at all if the whole truck is swapped.


« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 07:53:24 PM by tehachapifan »

peteski

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #124 on: December 30, 2019, 08:07:39 PM »
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OK, I did a little more experimenting. First though, I agree, about the IM SD40T-2 wheels being the same as Atlas SD50/60 wheels, but maybe not all of them(?). I have a box full of what I thought was just Atlas SD50/60 truck parts and wheels and I found a couple Atlas wheelsets in there that had clearly thinner axle gears. These might've possibly come from another Atlas loco, as a quick glance at the underside of my SD50/60 series locos appear to all have the slightly fatter axle gear. Why does this matter? Well, I don't think the Atlas wheelset with the thinner axle gear will work in the LL switcher truck as the (already-increased) offset with what I think is called the truck's idler(?) gear appears to be too much with the thinner axle gear and it might slip off the side (more on this below). The nice thing about all this is that the Kato wheels from the 932090 set fit perfectly and snugly in the Atlas SD50/60 axle sleeve! :D

There are 2 versions of Atlas 3-axle trucks. They looks similar but they are different. As you noticed the axle ends of the idler gears have different diameters (the newer version of the trucks has the smaller diameter axle idle gears). But I'm fairly sure that the metal halfaxle diameter is supposed to be the same on both truck versions. 1mm diameter.  I don't recall which models use which versions of the trucks, but the part numbers for each truck are different.  You would have to bring up the parts diagram PDFs on Atlas website to check the part numbers.

IMO, adjusting the amount the halfaxle protrudes from the wheel is not all that difficult or time consuming.   I think @woodone  recently came up with a very clever miniature press to do that (and for just few bucks).

Another idea I am thinking about is to trim the long end of the Kato axle tube (using a new single edge razor blade?) to better align the gear with the Life Like idler gear. Then on the short side either use the sliced off piece as a spacer, or make (or 3D print) a spacer on the other side. Even though the axle tube is now shorter, it will still have plenty of contact with the other halfaxle.
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #125 on: January 01, 2020, 02:14:53 AM »
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Another idea I am thinking about is to trim the long end of the Kato axle tube (using a new single edge razor blade?) to better align the gear with the Life Like idler gear. Then on the short side either use the sliced off piece as a spacer, or make (or 3D print) a spacer on the other side. Even though the axle tube is now shorter, it will still have plenty of contact with the other halfaxle.

I did the slice and dice on one of my LL SWs and it works fine. Kato wheels and spacer, spacer cut about 1mm on the "long side" and the axles reinserted with the gear being slightly more centered. They don't bind and run well.
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tehachapifan

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #126 on: January 01, 2020, 02:41:41 AM »
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I did the slice and dice on one of my LL SWs and it works fine. Kato wheels and spacer, spacer cut about 1mm on the "long side" and the axles reinserted with the gear being slightly more centered. They don't bind and run well.

Interesting that you got this to work. when I tried the whole Kato wheelset in a LL truck it was not happy at all. Seemed the Kato gear was either too large or the teeth didn't mesh correctly and was real tight and bind-prone.

craigolio1

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #127 on: September 07, 2020, 01:42:38 PM »
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Going back to the brass tubing for the motor and work shafts. Was there any thought about heating the tubing to expand it enough to slide it over the motor and worm shafts?

Craig

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #128 on: September 07, 2020, 02:18:39 PM »
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Craig,

On the original install I used a small tapered reamer in the brass tube until I got a slip fit between the tubing and shafts then put a small amount of red Loctite on the shaft and assembled it being very careful not to get any it the motor shaft bearing. It has held up just fine.
Subsequent builds have used stainless capillary tubing as recommended by Max M. It’s much more precise and works extremely well and gives a slip fit with very little cleanup after cutting the tubing with a Dremel cutoff wheel.

I didn’t try using heat to make the shaft connection. I don’t think my fit up was precise enough for that.
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