Trains.com

Question about metal wheels

7744 views
6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Question about metal wheels
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 3, 2003 1:39 PM
I have acquired a number of coaches and freight cars that have plastic wheels. I think I need to replace the plastic wheels with metal wheels to use outdoors. I bought some Bachmann metal wheels for $2 per axle that seem to fit my LGB coaches and freight cars just fine. The Bachmann wheels were a lot less expensive than the LGB brand although they appear to be the same size etc. What are the differences between LGB and Bachmann metal wheels?

Thanks
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Question about metal wheels
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 3, 2003 1:39 PM
I have acquired a number of coaches and freight cars that have plastic wheels. I think I need to replace the plastic wheels with metal wheels to use outdoors. I bought some Bachmann metal wheels for $2 per axle that seem to fit my LGB coaches and freight cars just fine. The Bachmann wheels were a lot less expensive than the LGB brand although they appear to be the same size etc. What are the differences between LGB and Bachmann metal wheels?

Thanks
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 3, 2003 11:47 PM
I can't speak for all metal wheels, but I will warn you about a problem I had with replacement metal wheels. All my equipment is LGB "field ry" cars that use the smallest wheels. when I bought replacement wheels, the flanges were shorter. this small a wheel actually uses the bottom of a switch frog to traverse the gap, and the replacement wheels would fall in. on a four wheeled car, this almost allways caused derailment. I went back to stock wheels, and have had no problems.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 3, 2003 11:47 PM
I can't speak for all metal wheels, but I will warn you about a problem I had with replacement metal wheels. All my equipment is LGB "field ry" cars that use the smallest wheels. when I bought replacement wheels, the flanges were shorter. this small a wheel actually uses the bottom of a switch frog to traverse the gap, and the replacement wheels would fall in. on a four wheeled car, this almost allways caused derailment. I went back to stock wheels, and have had no problems.
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: AU
  • 77 posts
Posted by DannyS on Monday, August 11, 2003 1:35 AM

Plastic wheels are a disaster on Garden Railroads, I have converted all my plastic wheeled stock (Aristocraft, Delton, USA Trains and LGB) using Bachmann wheel sets. No problem to change wheels from brand to brand, Bachmann wheels are cheaper than LGB or Aristo metal wheels, and fit perfectly.
Results: Better rolling, no plastic gunk left behind on rails on hot days, and better sound when passing over track joints etc.
Danny Sheehan, C.E.O. Rookwood Central Railway.
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: AU
  • 77 posts
Posted by DannyS on Monday, August 11, 2003 1:35 AM

Plastic wheels are a disaster on Garden Railroads, I have converted all my plastic wheeled stock (Aristocraft, Delton, USA Trains and LGB) using Bachmann wheel sets. No problem to change wheels from brand to brand, Bachmann wheels are cheaper than LGB or Aristo metal wheels, and fit perfectly.
Results: Better rolling, no plastic gunk left behind on rails on hot days, and better sound when passing over track joints etc.
Danny Sheehan, C.E.O. Rookwood Central Railway.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 4:16 PM
We always switch our plastic wheels to metal. We mostly run LGB and when the track is hot, metal is better. My husband makes the wheels himself since he is a machinist and they work great on outdoor track.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 4:16 PM
We always switch our plastic wheels to metal. We mostly run LGB and when the track is hot, metal is better. My husband makes the wheels himself since he is a machinist and they work great on outdoor track.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 3:18 PM
An interesting item in the October 2003 issue of Garden Railways Magazine alludes to the fact that plastic wheels were actually melting on the hot rail in Phoenix, Arizona. With summertime temperatures approaching 120-130 degrees because of all the asphalt and concrete, and average summer temperatures rising at the rate of 2 or 3 degrees a year in Phoenix as more and more ground is covered with asphalt and concrete, I can certainly see how this could happen. Plastic vs. metal wheels has been a hot topic (no pun intended) among HO modelers for years, but for different reasons than wheels melting. A lot of people claim that plastic wheels tend to gather up and then spread dirt on your track due to static electricity buildup, and metal does not. Plastic wheels are quieter as they cross over rail joints and go through turnouts but, in my opinion, metal wheels sound better overall, so I use them for that reason more than for the dirt problem. I don't own any G-scale rolling stock yet because I'm still trying to find track without having to drive 250 miles to Phoenix and face that blistering heat. If I ever get something rolling, I'll probably switch to metal wheels just for the improved sound.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 3:18 PM
An interesting item in the October 2003 issue of Garden Railways Magazine alludes to the fact that plastic wheels were actually melting on the hot rail in Phoenix, Arizona. With summertime temperatures approaching 120-130 degrees because of all the asphalt and concrete, and average summer temperatures rising at the rate of 2 or 3 degrees a year in Phoenix as more and more ground is covered with asphalt and concrete, I can certainly see how this could happen. Plastic vs. metal wheels has been a hot topic (no pun intended) among HO modelers for years, but for different reasons than wheels melting. A lot of people claim that plastic wheels tend to gather up and then spread dirt on your track due to static electricity buildup, and metal does not. Plastic wheels are quieter as they cross over rail joints and go through turnouts but, in my opinion, metal wheels sound better overall, so I use them for that reason more than for the dirt problem. I don't own any G-scale rolling stock yet because I'm still trying to find track without having to drive 250 miles to Phoenix and face that blistering heat. If I ever get something rolling, I'll probably switch to metal wheels just for the improved sound.
  • Member since
    August 2003
  • 12 posts
Posted by fredj11 on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 3:41 PM
The Bachmann wheels seem to work well in the short term. Other, more expensive wheels may be rounder, more accurately and consistently sized (both diameter and flange), and may show less wobble.
You know the story, you get what you pay for. You must decide how good is "good enough."
  • Member since
    August 2003
  • 12 posts
Posted by fredj11 on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 3:41 PM
The Bachmann wheels seem to work well in the short term. Other, more expensive wheels may be rounder, more accurately and consistently sized (both diameter and flange), and may show less wobble.
You know the story, you get what you pay for. You must decide how good is "good enough."
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 7, 2003 10:03 PM
The question on metal wheels was not an issue here in Phoenix it was manditory.You could not operate plastic wheels outdoors without getting flat spots or keep the trains moving constantly.
As to the difference, The manafacutures saw the light and are now going to metal wheels. I started converting with sets from San-val, Gary Raymond, Aristo, and LGB. There is a size differencl in the diameter of the wheel for the various manafactures of equipment. And in the early days a weight difference as well. Putting a plastic wheel, one axle, on a scale recorded 1/2 oz, the same from San-Val , 2 1/2 oz. By changing wheels on a typical box car added 8 oz to the car nice and low improving operation of car. I n a long train that is a lot of weight to get moving, but does not seem to affect it in motion except for sudden stops. With all of the time running trains I find that metal wheels do roll better than the plastic. Just remember to sound deaden track install indoors on overhead track or fun them slow to avoid the deafining roar of metal wheels on the track.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 7, 2003 10:03 PM
The question on metal wheels was not an issue here in Phoenix it was manditory.You could not operate plastic wheels outdoors without getting flat spots or keep the trains moving constantly.
As to the difference, The manafacutures saw the light and are now going to metal wheels. I started converting with sets from San-val, Gary Raymond, Aristo, and LGB. There is a size differencl in the diameter of the wheel for the various manafactures of equipment. And in the early days a weight difference as well. Putting a plastic wheel, one axle, on a scale recorded 1/2 oz, the same from San-Val , 2 1/2 oz. By changing wheels on a typical box car added 8 oz to the car nice and low improving operation of car. I n a long train that is a lot of weight to get moving, but does not seem to affect it in motion except for sudden stops. With all of the time running trains I find that metal wheels do roll better than the plastic. Just remember to sound deaden track install indoors on overhead track or fun them slow to avoid the deafining roar of metal wheels on the track.

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy