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HOn30 trucks

From Bob Hayden
Tue, 24 Sep 1996

Hi Guys!

I’ve been watching the HOn30 truck discussion with interest, and I’ll throw my two cents worth in now. Here goes.

Last night, after reading all the posts, I dug out two sets of Grandt Line sideframes and eight NWSL wheelsets, the ones with the stub axles. In 30 minutes (and I was watching the football game, too), I had two pair of great-rolling HOn30 trucks, ready for the new Train & Trooper tank car kits that arrived today!

The Grandt sideframes, molded in Delrin, work fine and look great. (The wheels are junk. Let’s not discuss them any more.) I prepare them by donning my highest-powered Opti-Visor and trimming away any bits of thin flash around the backs of the journal boxes with a brand-new razor blade or X-Acto #11 blade. It’s got to be brand new for this. The mold is getting old, and the most recent castings do have flash on at least one of the journals.

I’ve never encountered sideframes that wouldn’t retain the axles, so I can’t comment on that problem. Gentle heating MIGHT help.

The NWSL wheelsets require just a touch of preparation, too. First check that the insulated wheel is fully seated on its plastic bushing, and that the wheels are perfectly in gauge for your track. I use the NMRA N gauge standards gauge or the Kadee N coupler-height gauge; those of you who use N gauge track and turnouts may want to space the wheels slightly closer back-to-back.

The NWSL blunt-end axles have a little nubbin on the axle end left by the parting-off tool on the screw machine that makes them. You can remove this with a couple of swipes from a very fine needle file. I use a multi-grit polishing stick with extra-fine wet-or-dry sandpaper for this, and I also relieve (or champfer) the corners of the axle stub to get rid of any microscopic burrs that might be there. Then I pop the wheelsets into the sideframes, roll them across the workbench, and test them through a turnout or two on my layout. I must have a dozen of the blunt-axle versions running in regular service on the C&DR, and they work great. They also sound great, which is the reason I contracted with NWSL to produce them in the first place.

Hope this helps. — Bob Hayden

P.S.: For rock-solid running, the best trucks on my railroad are still the Grandt sideframes with Sango 20″ wheelsets. Although I’m gradually converting these to the NWSL pointed-end wheelsets that I had made for the purpose, the Sango wheels are absolutely concentric, which means cars equipped with them run absolutely steady. The Sango sets do have two disadvantages: (1) steel axles, which means they’ll get pulled into permanent-magnet uncoupling ramps — not a big deal for me as I don’t use many of same, and (2) the wheels are plastic, which means they don’t make any click-clack noise when they run over rail joints and crossings. Number (2) is the reason I’m converting another 80 cars to the NWSL replacement wheels: I love the noise!

A step-by-step conversion procedure for mating the Sango wheelsets (available from Flying Zoo????) to the Grandt sideframes is available on the HOn30 page formerly maintained by Dave Frary and now maintained by Jorgen.

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