Athearn Spline Cars

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by frisco1519, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    I have about 40 Athearn Spline cars with trailers mounted on them. As suggested, I added about 1 1/2 ounces of weight to the floor of each trailer. The train turned out to be fairly heavy. The problem I am having is that these cars are still top heavy and occasionly they will tip over even on large raduis curves. I would like to add more weight to the cars to lower the center of gravity but am at a loss as to where to put it. There just is not any place to add weights that would not distract from the appearance of the car. If anyone has any suggestions I would certainly appreciate it.
    Thank you.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Are the splines hollow? If the splines are hollow, you could glue in some small lead shot in the spline. You might also change out the trucks for Kaddee metal trucks.
  3. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    Yes. If you remove the frame on the bottom it is hollow. I tired the smallest split shot I could find and it is to wide. I thought about trying buckshot used for loading shotgun shells but had not checked at a sporting goods store to see how small a shot they have. I may check into the Kadee trucks also.
    Thank you
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    you can get a size of shot called dust (or use to be you could before the big lead scare) if not then #9 is the small.
  5. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    Thanks very much. I will get by a sporting goods store tomorrow and pick some up. Looks like a full weekend project going through 40 cars but I have got to do something. I ahve been ready to throw the entire train in the trash at times.
    I will let you know how this works.
    Thanks again.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If you can't get shot small enough to fit in the splines, use solder. You can unroll a section of solder long enough to fit, and use as many lengths as it takes to fill the spline.
  7. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    I never even thought of that Russ. I have several large spools of solder in my garage. I also thought that once that weight was added to the car I could remove the weights from the trailers and lower the center of gravity. I think that has been the main problem all along in that the weights in the trailers made it top heavy and the car itself is not heavy enough. I really wish these had been metal like the Walthers cars.
    Thanks again
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I just thought of something else. Have you replaced your plastic Athearn wheel sets with metal? I don't think that will solve your problem. I think you are on the right track to weight the spline and remover weight from the trailers to lower the center of gravity, but I think the metal wheel sets will improve operation.
  9. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    I had a friend suggest replacing the trucks with Kadee metal wheel sets. They would add some weight and as you mentioned they do improve operation. I have been replacing wheels with Proto 200 wheels when I have the chance to do it. I have so much rolling stock that it takes a lot of time to change out. I also understand that Intermountain metal wheels are a good quality also. I will just keep plugging away at changing them out. There is a big train show in Oklahoma City December 3rd and maybe I can pick up some more then.
    Thank you.
  10. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

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    Bicycle bearings will work, too. They came is various sizes, down to 1/8 inch. pour them in, fix them with white glue, and you're done.
  11. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    I will check that out also this weekend. I am hoping to get started on them Friday night. It will take a while to go through 40 cars but it does keeep me off the street and out of trouble. Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I've used both the P2k and Intermountain wheel sets. I like the Intermountain set better because they have a metal axle as well as metal wheels with one wheel insulated.
  13. shortliner

    shortliner Member

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    You can get stuff called (I think) "liquid lead" or "fluid lead". This is TINY lead balls that you literally pour into empty spaces to add weight.
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  14. REflectiveMAN

    REflectiveMAN New Member

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    I used the Kadee all metal wheelsets on mine, this improved there tracking to some extent, The end sections would no longer derail on the slightest inperfection. That said, they still didnt like less then 25" radius, or being handled with wieght behind them.
  15. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    I plan to try and start on these over the weekend to see what I can do. I really appreciate everyones help and hopefully I can correct the problem. You are right that if I add more cars to this train and more weight it just makes it even worse. It may take me a few weekends to finish but matbe it will be a worthwhile effort.
    Thanks again everyone.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think that no matter what you do with the spline cars, they will have to be the last cars on any train you operate.
  17. frisco1519

    frisco1519 New Member

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    When I do run this train, I run all 40 of these cars first with 5 Acurail 89' flat cars and trailers bringing up the rear. I will have to fix these and then try them out to see if there is any difference in operation. I will let you know what happens. Thanks again for the help Russ, I appreciate it.