Installing MEW Wheels on American Flyer Wide Gauge Engine

524 views
9 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: St Charles, Mo
  • 74 posts
Installing MEW Wheels on American Flyer Wide Gauge Engine
Posted by JonEddy on Thursday, January 23, 2020 4:14 PM

What is the best way to install the drive wheels to the axle without bending or damaging the axle/wheel? I looked it up online but I only saw a couple of ideas. The first way I saw used a c-clamp and another said to use a vice. Any tricks to keep from damaging an axle or wheel is greatly apprecciated.

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • 199 posts
Posted by rrlineman on Friday, January 24, 2020 8:39 AM

not really, if this is a 1 off time. A vice works to a point but you have to make sure you press them on straight. It's pretty hard to bend a axle if you take your time. If you pplan on doing more then 1 engine then I suggest you contact HobbyHorse Products and get a set of their wheel cups. they run about $60+ a set.

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: North Texas
  • 5,327 posts
Posted by wrmcclellan on Friday, January 24, 2020 9:28 AM

A vice will work, but it is hard to hold/support the pieces (axle, wheel, and 'stop' for the axle). A drill press (bench or floor) also works well. It is critical that you support the hub of the wheel. Do not use the rims. These are zinc (soft) castings and the pressure of the press operation axle-to-hub using only the rims for support will distort or break the spokes. I have done hundreds of these and use the wheel cups and a 1 ton bench press (press ram is drilled/modified for the top piece of the hub press set - mainly for quartering steamer drivers).

You can fabricate a hub support using some hard material in a diameter that supports the hub and not the outer rim (most wheels, the hub extends slightly out from the rims - but check to make sure). A piece of scrap steel, aluminum, and even oak or MDF. I have all of these from some special applications where the wheel cup did not work for what I was doing.

Before starting. You need to measure the gauge of the flanges on the existing wheel sets. This varies all over the place. You need to carefully observe where the existing axles 'end' in the existing hubs. Sometimes the axles protrude a bit and sometimes they are slightly recessed in the hub. Sometimes they are flush. Again, all over the place. The axle lengths were not made consistently. Knowing where the axles end (protrude or recess) let you know where to stop pressing.

Before pressing the axle onto the new wheel, check that the old axle does not easily slip into the wheel. If it slips part way in easily it may not press securely. You can use Loctite (red, blue, green - does not really matter) but only as a last resort. you may not be able to remove the axle (particularly red or green) without destroying the wheel and/or axle. Note many modern reproduction axles are not the same diameter as the original. Test first.

This is a 'one performance only' operation. If you have to reverse as you pressed too far, the risk is high the wheel will loosen. The zinc is soft and distorts once the axle is pressed in. You also have to be very slow and controlled (this is where a vice can work well as it uses a screw, so will not 'jump' if the axle binds slightly and then slips). To reverse you will need an old axle ground down slightly so it slips into the hole in the hub. A steel punch of appropriate size also works well.

Good luck!

Regards, Roy

            

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: St Charles, Mo
  • 74 posts
Posted by JonEddy on Friday, January 24, 2020 11:43 AM

Unfortunately for me the wheels on the engine I am working with disentegrated off the axles and I can't take any exact measurements. Sad

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: St Charles, Mo
  • 74 posts
Posted by JonEddy on Friday, January 24, 2020 4:42 PM

rrlineman
HobbyHorse Products and get a set of their wheel cups. they run about $60+ a set.

I went to their website and the catalog is from 2015, does anyone know if they're still in business? I sent them an email and am awaiting their response.

     Jon

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Austin, TX
  • 9,945 posts
Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, January 24, 2020 5:51 PM

I use a bench vise for pressing wheels onto axles.  I remove the jaw faces and put into each jaw one screw matching the threads of the M6x1 screws that I removed.  One of the replacement screws has an 11-millimeter-square head, with which I push on the wheel hub, with suitable washers between the screw head and the hub if I expect that the axle may protrude from the hub.  The other screw has no head, but its end is turned down to a diameter slightly smaller than the axle.

It is important always to push on a hub and an axle, not on two hubs, so as not to lose control of where the axle ends up when you reach the correct gauge. 

Bob Nelson

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: St Charles, Mo
  • 74 posts
Posted by JonEddy on Friday, January 24, 2020 6:18 PM

lionelsoni

I use a bench vise for pressing wheels onto axles.  I remove the jaw faces and put into each jaw one screw matching the threads of the M6x1 screws that I removed.  One of the replacement screws has an 11-millimeter-square head, with which I push on the wheel hub, with suitable washers between the screw head and the hub if I expect that the axle may protrude from the hub.  The other screw has no head, but its end is turned down to a diameter slightly smaller than the axle.

It is important always to push on a hub and an axle, not on two hubs, so as not to lose control of where the axle ends up when you reach the correct gauge. 

 

I think I understand what your saying, can you post a pic or two so I can visualize what you mean?

   Thanks,

       Jon

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • 199 posts
Posted by rrlineman on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 7:58 AM

yes they are still in business . call the Ph #'s. one is Carl's and the other is his son's.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Austin, TX
  • 9,945 posts
Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:48 PM

Sorry, I don't have any way to take or post pictures.  If you can post a question about a specific point that is unclear, I'll try to answer.

Bob Nelson

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: St Charles, Mo
  • 74 posts
Posted by JonEddy on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 3:10 PM

lionelsoni

Sorry, I don't have any way to take or post pictures.  If you can post a question about a specific point that is unclear, I'll try to answer.

 

Thanks, I think I figured it out without messing anything up. i did go really slow and checked myself several times while pressing on the axles with the drive wheels. I am in the process of trying to order a universal standard gauge cup set from Hobby Horse btw. I posted a link to testing the new wheels and my rebuilt motor in another thread but here it is again. 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month