Wheels: metal or plastic

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by csxnscale, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    I'm a bit confused, I have about 100 pieces of rolling stock, about 80% is Microtrains or has Microtrains trucks installed. The rest is the newer Atlas.
    I know I can order 33" or 36" metal wheels from Atlas, I also know Microtrains sells the brown lo-profile wheels in plastic.
    Why should I change the wheels at all and if so with what brand, advantages and disavantages.
    A confused N-scale modeller,
    Paul
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Paul,changing your wheels is really a matter of modeler's choice.I prefer the metal wheels because they seem to stay cleaner longer.

    If you are using or plan to use ATLAS's fine code 55 track you will need to change out the MT pizza cutter wheels for a low profile wheel.

    Another reason for using low profile wheels is if you have rolling stock where the wheels are quite visable they just plain flat out look better.
  3. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

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    I prefer metal wheels for no other reason than I enjoy the clickety-clackety sound they make as the train runs along. I won't go out of my way to change existing wheelsets though. It's really up to you if you choose to do so.
  4. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

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    This is your choice here, although metal wheels work better for me.
  5. CSX6638

    CSX6638 Member

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    I change all my wheels to metal, I have a box full of MT and Atlas plastic wheels, I think the metal wheels sound better, roll better and the track and wheels stay cleaner.
  6. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Thank you all for reply but,
    still not convinced yet.
    If I would choose the metal wheels, which can I buy that fit the MT trucks and the latest Atlas trucks ?

    Paul
  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

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    My experience is the Kadee nylon wheels can't be beat. I have taken off all my metal wheels and have them on a wheel track in the maintenace yard. They are all rusty now.
  8. Blake

    Blake Member

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    I want to go all metal wheels and body mounted couplers. Every time I visit the hobby shop I buy a pack or two of the Atlas metal wheelsets. The standard ones fit the Atlas and the Intermountain trucks and track well. All of my MT trucks are equipped with the MT low profile wheelsets. I will begin to change these out as well now that Atlas has metal wheelsets that fit MT trucks. My problem with the body mounted couplers it this. Do I just snip off the truck mounted coupler and discard it? I hate wasting them. I have tried to body mount them but it just doesn't work. The 1015 10 pack kits are about $10. Sure would be easier than getting all new trucks too.
  9. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Thank you all for help.
    I'll stay with my original plastic wheels for now and if one of the Atlas, MTL or IM will supply metal wheels for Atlas and MTL trucks on a fair price with good quality I can change later.
    Thanks again for help.
    Paul
  10. Zug

    Zug Member

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    I kind of like plastic myself. Mainly because they are less likely to short going through switches. I've got a few cars with metal wheels that short once in a while and bring everything to a stop when the command station cuts power.
  11. txcavgr

    txcavgr Member

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    Are metal wheel shorts that common?

    When I was in HO I had switched to all metal wheels and my track cleaning was cut by about 2/3! I too like the clickety clack, and they always seemed cleaner (when the tread was polished shiny, for me anyway. seemed like some of the metal wheels that had blackened surfaces picked up more crud.).

    So I am looking at metal wheels and I also use DCC. MRC for now but by winter will be either digitrax or lenz.
  12. Night Hawk

    Night Hawk New Member

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    Info for Blake

    Hi, Blake,

    I am responding to what you asked: "My problem with the body mounted couplers it this. Do I just snip off the truck mounted coupler and discard it? I hate wasting them. I have tried to body mount them but it just doesn't work. The 1015 10 pack kits are about $10. Sure would be easier than getting all new trucks too."

    I assume you are talking about Micro-Trains truck mounted couplers? If so, then you can body mount the couplers IF:

    1) you carefully cut the coupler pocket off without damaging it.

    2) you put a shim (usually .020 thick Evergreen sheet styrene) between the coupler pocket and the car underframe.

    3) you do not run the cars on very sharp radius track. I tested a Micro-Trains coupler pocket that had been cut off the truck then body mounted on an Atlas FGE boxcar. On an 11" radius curve, the clearance between the Micro-Trains coupler pocket and the original Atlas truck 's wheels is about the thickness of a sheet of decal paper.

    I would avoid using the #1015 trucks on freight cars. The coupler pocket allows the coupler to swing too far from side to side (since the sides of the coupler pocket do not extend out as far as the top and bottom). Because of this, if you back up a train on sharp curves, the couplers will "jackknife" and possibly derail the cars.

    If you have any more questions, just ask.
  13. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

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    I have heard that metal wheels have a bit more weight too, so cars won't derail as much. I haven't switched any of mine yet, but I may in the future.

    Mike.