Model Power Derailments.......

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#1
I have a couple different manufacturers of rolling stock on my recently powered up DCC 4 X 8 layout. On my Atlas code 83 track with Atlas remote snap switches, the Athearns, Mantuas, and Walthers do fine. However, the Power Model rolling stock seems to want to derail at the remote snap switches. Not all the time.. but it seems like when I get a train of about 8 to 10 cars rolling at speed step 10 on my NCE system... boom...there goes one of the Power Model cars where the others roll through the same spot with no problems. This seems to be a problem with three of the seven Power Model cars that I have, the rest run just fine. The Mantuas caused a few fits with coupler height, but that was fixed with little trouble. The coupler height on all of the other rolling stock match up well with my Walthers locomotive.

I am seeing that the Athearns rolling stock with metal wheels seem to be the smoothest. Would the plastic wheels on the Power Model be the problem? The Mantuas with plastic wheels seem to be doing just fine. The reason for all the different manufacturers of rolling stock is that they were gifts from family as they were wanting to buy Dad something other than a tie for Christmas and Father's Day presents. I am not complaining mind you.. just explaining.

Would it be worth the time and expense to change out the plastic wheels on the Power Model rolling stock.? or just move on and replace the Power Model cars with Athearns. If I should replace the plastic wheels on the Power Model cars, is there a metal wheel manufacturer that you would recommend over another?
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
#2
I think it would be much more cost-effective to replace the wheels. Kaydee's would probably be the best choice. You might need to use a "truck tool" from Micro-Mart to true up the bearing holes in the sideframes. But I'd try the Kaydee wheels first.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#3
I have a couple different manufacturers of rolling stock ... On my Atlas code 83 track, the Athearns, Mantuas, and Walthers do fine. However, the Power Model rolling stock seems to want to derail at the snap switches. Not all the time.. but it seems like when I get a train of about 8 to 10 cars rolling at speed ... boom...there goes one of the Power Model cars where the others roll through the same spot with no problems....Would it be worth the time and expense to change out the plastic wheels on the Power Model rolling stock.? or just move on and replace the Power Model cars with Athearns.
The first thing I would check is the wheel gauge. If the gauge is ok, then I would ask you if the Model Power cars have the couplers mounted on the wheels rather than the body? That can cause many problems when coupled to cars that have body mounted coupler like the Athearn. These issues increase with speed and length of train. If they are truck mounted it becomes a time vs money issue of changing them to body mount vs just replacing with another brand.

is there a metal wheel manufacturer that you would recommend over another?
Funny you should mention that. There is another current thread running on that very topic.
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?38958-The-Best-Wheels-and-trucks
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
#4
Personally I'd replace the cars.
I have a nephew that received a model power train set for Christmas.
The universals kept popping off the loco, it had two speeds: fly and sputter, the wheels were all terrible and out of gauge, I found the rolling stock very substandard. Despite uncle ricks best efforts there was no fun to be had that day.
Having said that it may have been an older release, but it killed his ambition to get into the hobby that's for sure.
 
#5
Are your problem cars weighted to NMRA standards? This can effect operation greatly.
The next thing to check is the truck attachment to the car body. One truck should be fairly snug, just allowing the truck to swivel without binding. The second truck should be fairly loose allowing the truck to wobble up and down a bit. There is a name for this procedure but it slips my mind at the moment.
Check these two things first before spending a lot of money needlessly.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
#6
Replace the wheels with metal wheels just for cleaner track if no other reason. You will also see better performance from metal wheels than the plastic ones.

One other thing that no one has mentioned: Check the flange height of the Model Power cars that are giving you trouble. They may be tall enough not to want to play nicely with code 83 track - wanting code 100 instead.

I am in the slow process of converting all my rolling stock (A total mixed bag of manufacturers) from plastic to metal wheels and from truck mounted couplers to body mounted. I have some really nice rolling stock that is coupled to "Toy Train" rolling stock, but I'm okay with that. And some of those toys roll better than some of my nicer quality cars, too.
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#7
Replacing the wheels alone may not solve your problems. As Alex says, make sure your cars are the correct weight. Model Power cars always need additional weight to bring them up to standard. On enclosed cars, I just glue pennies inside with Walther's Goo. The flanges are probably not a problem but I would replace the wheels anyway. Truck mounted couplers can be a problem, but mostly when going backward. If the cars have sentimental value, cut off the couplers and body-mount some KD couplers. A little trial and error will be needed to get them at the correct height, but it can be done. Model Power cars, while on the lower end of model train offerings, can be made into good runners with a few small modifications. If you screw one up, you're not out of a lot of $$$'s.
Willie
 
#8
Update:

I appreciate all of the replies and I apologize for taking so long to update those giving advice and suggestions. So I was able to get in the basement this morning and work on this issue. I changed the plastic wheel sets to Kadee metal wheels. This helps with two of the three cars. The third one... 36' 2 bay closed hopper is still derailing at turnouts. In watching this car closely I am thinking it is an issue with the truck and/or truck mounted couplers. I am thinking of relegating this one car to the scrap/keep for parts yard.

Trail: I cannot find a truck tool at my LHS. I have ordered one on line.

Iron: Since I am looking at this as a learning experience, I would like to explore the aspect of changing the truck mounted couplers to body mounted. I have no idea where to even start in purchasing the tools and supplies needed to do this. It seems like it would not be to hard, if you have the right tools and such. If anyone knows of a good tutorial for a beginner at something like this, I would love to read it or if anyone knows of a good Youtube video.

Rico: I hear you. Good thing I am a patient man... but do not mention that to my wife.. she will laugh at you.

Alex: I am sure weight has something to do with this since it is still happening on one car out of three after changing to metal wheels on all of them. I am intrigued by your suggestion regarding trucks and how they should move.. I will look into this further on the internet.

KB: Yes I see what you are saying about the flange height. One thing I noticed on the Model Power cars is that the flange seemed a bit "sloppy" That is, it seemed as though it was a bit ragged.. which could have occurred when I kept running the car over the turnouts where it was derailing. Again, learning all that I can, I would like to see some material on the tools and methods folks use to change couplers to body mounted.

Willie: As usual, great thoughts on weighting down the car. And yes, this is a great car for me to try different things without the thought of wasting the big bucks. As I said earlier in this reply, I am intrigued and want to learn about changing couplers to body mounts. And this is a great opportunity to learn before spending the money on building rolling stock.

Thanks again everyone.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#9
... As I said earlier in this reply, I am intrigued and want to learn about changing couplers to body mounts. And this is a great opportunity to learn before spending the money on building rolling stock.
...
Knight, here is a link to the Kadee web page that lists some of the parts you can use for converting to body-mounted couplers. You'll need to scroll down ~1/4 down the page, then you'll see some of the different draft-gear boxes they have available:
[URL="http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/coupler.htm#HO-Scale[/URL]

Good luck with that!
 
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