Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

What have you done to make Walthers passenger cars run reliably on 24" radii?

4184 views
73 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,692 posts
What have you done to make Walthers passenger cars run reliably on 24" radii?
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, November 30, 2020 10:35 PM

Hi Gang!!

This is related to a thread on the 'Layouts and layout building' forum which discusses using Walthers (or other makers') 85' passenger cars on a 4x8 layout.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/285265.aspx

I have the same question, but in this thread I would like to ask you specifically what modifications you have made to the Walthers cars to get them to run reliably on +- 24" radii.

In the other thread, a couple of people including Rich recommended using long shank couplers (Kadee's #146 for example). Rich also suggested reaming the truck axle holes, and maybe using a bit of lubrication.

What modifications have you tried and/or succeeded with?

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 10:58 PM

hon30critter

In the other thread, a couple of people including Rich recommended using long shank couplers (Kadee's #146 for example). Rich also suggested reaming the truck axle holes, and maybe using a bit of lubrication. 

Those actions have always been enough to fix any problems with Walthers 85' passenger cars.

There is an unfortunate perception out there that the Walthers cars are irrevocably flawed. They are not. They merely need some tweaking to perform flawlessly.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,239 posts
Posted by selector on Monday, November 30, 2020 11:03 PM

It has been a while, and I'm a bit fuzzy on the details.  I think...I seem to recall...removing the layered weights and lighting kit in mine, including the contacts above the bolsters.  The weights because I had steep grades and they're heavy enough to track well without them, and those screw-like contacts because they caused the trucks to bind when they swiveled in my 24-28" curves two layouts ago.

Lubing, yes, definitely, and I reamed several of my bearing cups, but I didn't think it was doing a lot of good.

Oh, and forget backing them on those 24" curves if they are coupled.  Maybe you'll get lucky, I didn't, and that backing in the one place was also up an approximately 1% grade didn't help. It's the diaphragms. 

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 11:14 PM

It's an investigative process. Gotta find the problems and fix them. No big deal. The Walthers 85' passenger cars are not unfixable. Blame Walthers, though, for not taking better care to do a little QC before shipping out those cars. If Walthers has the roadnames that you are looking for, by all means buy them.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Zagreb / Croatia /Europe
  • 246 posts
Posted by Spalato68 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 12:19 AM
Maybe an old discussion can help:
 
 
Trimming center sill helped with my cars. 
 
Hrvoje
 
P.S. Tried to make link clickable several times, no success. 
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,692 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 1:04 AM

Hi Hrvoje,

Maybe this will work:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/125277.aspx

Dave

P.S.

If you are interested, this how I make the link work in my own posts:

Once you submit the post and it shows your link in plain black print, hit the 'Edit' option. Then go to beginning of the link and type '[' followed by 'url' followed by ']'. No spaces and no quotation marks. Then go to the end of the link and type '[/' followed by 'url' and then ']', again no spaces or quotation marks. Then update your post and the link should work.

The reason for the drawn out typing instructions is that the '[url...' is actually a command that the system responds to. If I type it out directly it will try to execute the command and that will mess up the message.

Obviously this is far more complicated than need be. Others may have a quicker solution.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Zagreb / Croatia /Europe
  • 246 posts
Posted by Spalato68 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 1:18 AM

Thanks Dave. Usually I do not have problems, but from time to time I simply cannot create clickable link although I do as I always do. 

Hrvoje

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,580 posts
Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:48 AM

selector
It has been a while, and I'm a bit fuzzy on the details. I think...I seem to recall...removing the layered weights and lighting kit in mine, including the contacts above the bolsters. The weights because I had steep grades and they're heavy enough to track well without them, and those screw-like contacts because they caused the trucks to bind when they swiveled in my 24-28" curves two layouts ago.

I found that it's not so much the screw-like contacts per se as it is the slight burr that can be found often at the top of the screw where the Phillips head is cut into the top of the screw. The burrs cause the truck to catch on the contact, rather than allowing it to swivel easily. A few swipes with the right file and things run much better.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,692 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 3:57 AM

I just read through the 2008 thread that Hrjove posted the link to, and it has a lot of good suggestions. Here is a summary of the issues mentioned in that thread, some of which have already been noted above (thanks again for the link Hrvoje):

- loosen the truck screws,

- check wheel guage,

- check the screws on the truck frames for burrs (already suggested by Mike Lehman),

- lubricate the axles (already mentioned),

- put thin styrene on the diaphram striker plates,

- trucks hitting center sill,

- trucks hitting the coupler box,

- twisted trucks caused by overly tightened truck assembly screws,

- improperly seated contact strips.

It seems that the Walthers cars have a lot of potential problems, but several people on the 2008 thread and above have managed to get the cars to run properly so there is hope!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 6:03 AM

Hope springs eternal. 

Overall, the Walthers 85' passenger cars are very nice pieces of rolling stock. It is worth the effort to "tune" them up. There is really no good reason to avoid them.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,062 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 7:24 AM

richhotrain
They merely need some tweaking to perform flawlessly.

I'll have to try your method, from the other thread, on a couple of Walthers cars that I haven't attacked yet.

Previously, I had to cut away some under frame to get the trucks to swing enough for a 24" r.

Mike.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Morristown, NJ
  • 745 posts
Posted by nealknows on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 7:53 AM

This sounds great for the traditional 85' passenger cars, but what about the Amfleet and Horizon cars? They have a different type of truck. I've tried loosening the trucks, adjusting the bolsters, but to no avail. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Neal

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 9:38 AM

Although the use of longer couplers is often the answer, there is an unavoidable disadvantage associated with doing so. It becomes more difficult to backup the passenger cars.

When I am feeling lazy, I sometimes back a passenger train into one of the station's stub end tracks. But, as I noted, there is always a risk that a car will derail, leading to a chain reaction with the other cars in the consist, a form of stringlining if I am using the term correctly.

Rich

 

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
  • 2,867 posts
Posted by Paul3 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 9:40 AM

Or, you know, if people want to run 85' passenger cars reliably, they could try designing layouts with larger curves to accommodate them...or not run 85' long cars at all.  When I built my old layout, I specifically designed it for full-length passenger car operations and used nothing less than 30" radius curves and nothing less than a #6 switch.  That worked great with my fleet of passenger cars.

And no, I'm not boasting, just trying to get across the idea that we modelers should temper our wants with reality.  If you only have layout space for small curves, don't run 80'+ cars (freight or passenger).  If you want to run long cars, find a layout space that can handle that or change the layout design.  Maybe go point-to-point vs. a loop.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 9:45 AM

Paul3

Or, you know, if people want to run 85' passenger cars reliably, they could try designing layouts with larger curves to accommodate them...or not run 85' long cars at all.  When I built my old layout, I specifically designed it for full-length passenger car operations and used nothing less than 30" radius curves and nothing less than a #6 switch.  That worked great with my fleet of passenger cars.

And no, I'm not boasting, just trying to get across the idea that we modelers should temper our wants with reality.  If you only have layout space for small curves, don't run 80'+ cars (freight or passenger).  If you want to run long cars, find a layout space that can handle that or change the layout design.  Maybe go point-to-point vs. a loop. 

Yep, good points, Paul. Even though my own layout is fairly large and the curves are moderately broad at 32" radius, I use #6 turnouts. I would be better served using #8 turnouts, especially on the station ladder where derailments are most likely to occur.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,763 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 10:31 AM

Paul3

Or, you know, if people want to run 85' passenger cars reliably, they could try designing layouts with larger curves to accommodate them...or not run 85' long cars at all.  When I built my old layout, I specifically designed it for full-length passenger car operations and used nothing less than 30" radius curves and nothing less than a #6 switch.  That worked great with my fleet of passenger cars.

I agree with the above.  A 9 car passenger train of 85' cars on a 4x8 oval would be an exercise in frustration if they can even be made to run at all.

And no, I'm not boasting, just trying to get across the idea that we modelers should temper our wants with reality. 

Time for a father Ted meme.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 15,152 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 10:32 AM

richhotrain
Although the use of longer couplers is often the answer, there is an unavoidable disadvantage associated with doing so. It becomes more difficult to backup the passenger cars.

Longer shank couplers have been mentioned here but I would try these longer draft gear pieces first.

https://www.walthers.com/long-shank-extended-drawbar-20-pack

I noticed at about the time the B&O Capitol Limited cars were coming out, maybe four or five years ago, that Walthers was supplying these taped to the underside of the packaging.

 Proto_truck2 by Edmund, on Flickr

Also included was another "cover plate" but I don't know if changing this out is necessary or not. The "extended shank" is only about .085 longer but I presume the designers knew what they were doing.

Using the longer draft gear may help with the backing up issue?

Short of that Walthers offers a whole Talgo-style truck:

https://www.walthers.com/streamlined-passenger-trucks-w-talgo-couplers-pkg-2

I imagine to use these you would eliminate the draft gear box, or cover, which is held on by the two screws.

I'm blessed with wiide enough curves that I havent encountered any problems. I think I did have to do a little tune-up work on one of the huge "Super Dome" cars but I don't recall exactly what I did to improve those particular cars.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 1,135 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 10:41 AM

Hi! Good question!

I've had good success by trimming/removing the center frame of the trucks. These allow me to run them on my 22" radius. (I know, they look really bad on it, but you gotta do what you gotta do)

I dont like long shank couplers as that creates a gap between the diaphragms. 

I trim the center frame for lightweights, and remove on heavyweights. I obviously try to trim as little as possible:

Here's a video of them running at speed on my 22" radius oval without fault:

I also make sure the trucks arent too tight, coupler boxes swing freely enough, and make sure the cars are weighted enough. 

I have yet to come across a car that I couldnt make reliably travel across my curves, but if I do, I will have to resort to using long shank couplers (in addition). 

Cheers!

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

Instagram (where I share projects!): https://www.instagram.com/trainman440

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:25 AM

Trainman440

I dont like long shank couplers as that creates a gap between the diaphragms. 

Yep, that can be a problem. We need Sheldon to chime in here. He is a big advocate of flexible diaphragms, the brand name of which I do not recall. He claims that these flexible diaphragms look totally prototypical and that the cars don't snag on each other. Hmmm.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:29 AM

gmpullman

I'm blessed with wide enough curves that I havent encountered any problems. 

In my experience, that means 36" radius or broader. Anything less than 36" radius requires some compromises, like longer couplers, etc.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,062 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:33 AM

Trainman440
I've had good success by trimming/removing the center frame of the trucks

That what I did to make them work on 24" r.

Mike.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,580 posts
Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:43 AM

The finger-wagging over using 24" curves is warranted, but it is possible to make them run with enough effort and sometimes outright hacking.

The luxury of 30" would be nice, but often hard to justify for the space taken. Things designed to run on 24" R do tend to run OK straight out of the box on 30" R. That said, you can often gain much of what is achived with 30" R by going just a little wider than 24" R. I went with either 26" or 28" - right now my memory is rusty on that. After a little work, everything long runs reliably

Another thing about some of the fixes offered here for axhieving 24" R is that some issues can show up evern if you have the larger curves. The burrs on the screw heads is one of them, although as R increases, it becomes less of an issue. It's just random enough that it should be checked if you have issues, even if you're running larger than 24" min R.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,763 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:52 AM

richhotrain
 
gmpullman

I'm blessed with wide enough curves that I havent encountered any problems. 

 

Rich

You've had to replace couplers even on 32-inch curves?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 71 posts
Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:56 AM

Trainman440

Hi! Good question!

I've had good success by trimming/removing the center frame of the trucks. These allow me to run them on my 22" radius. (I know, they look really bad on it, but you gotta do what you gotta do)

I dont like long shank couplers as that creates a gap between the diaphragms. 

I trim the center frame for lightweights, and remove on heavyweights. I obviously try to trim as little as possible:

Here's a video of them running at speed on my 22" radius oval without fault:

I also make sure the trucks arent too tight, coupler boxes swing freely enough, and make sure the cars are weighted enough. 

I have yet to come across a car that I couldnt make reliably travel across my curves, but if I do, I will have to resort to using long shank couplers (in addition). 

Cheers!

Charles

 

That sounds interesting? What exactly do you do to the trucks, since I've never owned a Walthers streamlined passenger car other than the Superliners. Maybe a step-by-step guide or comparison picture before/after would help me see what you did better.

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 71 posts
Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 12:05 PM

I'm currrently going to get long shank replacement couplers to put on my upcoming passenger cars instead, but if this is an easier solution I'd like some information.

FYI the passenger cars I'm getting are from the earlier run of Empire Builder passenger cars in 2007, rather than the most recent 2014 run.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 16,875 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 12:10 PM

richhotrain
He is a big advocate of flexible diaphragms, the brand name of which I do not recall. He claims that these flexible diaphragms look totally prototypical and that the cars don't snag on each other. Hmmm.

I am also a big advocate of flexible diaphrams.

Mine do not look completely prototypical, and they do not allow operation...

My passenger trains are run as "units". They run through the scene only, no operations, and no changing cars.

So, I use drawbars to connect the passenger cars and a single flexible diaphram between the cars held in place by a pair of small rare earth magnets. The diaphram is permanenty fastened to one car and magnetized to the other. The wires for lighting pass through the diaphrams.

Coupling and uncoupling cars is a real pain.

I do not have any pictures, because I have not completed but a couple of test cars, but the system works. It looks ok on 30" curves, and will stay together on my 22" hidden curves.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 1,135 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 1:48 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Trainman440

I dont like long shank couplers as that creates a gap between the diaphragms. 

 

 

Yep, that can be a problem. We need Sheldon to chime in here. He is a big advocate of flexible diaphragms, the brand name of which I do not recall. He claims that these flexible diaphragms look totally prototypical and that the cars don't snag on each other. Hmmm.

 

Rich

 

Id assume its American Limited? That's like the one and only diaphragm company I know...and heard good things about. 

I think Walthers diaphragms are fine though, as long as they spring in and out theyre good enough for me. I need to buy some American Limited diaphragms to replace some branchline and Rivarossi cars though. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

Instagram (where I share projects!): https://www.instagram.com/trainman440

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,311 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:15 PM

Trainman440
 
richhotrain 
Trainman440

I dont like long shank couplers as that creates a gap between the diaphragms.  

Yep, that can be a problem. We need Sheldon to chime in here. He is a big advocate of flexible diaphragms, the brand name of which I do not recall. He claims that these flexible diaphragms look totally prototypical and that the cars don't snag on each other. Hmmm. 

Rich 

Id assume its American Limited? That's like the one and only diaphragm company I know...and heard good things about. 

That's it.   Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,580 posts
Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:41 PM

SeeYou190
So, I use drawbars to connect the passenger cars...SNIP...Coupling and uncoupling cars is a real pain. I do not have any pictures, because I have not completed but a couple of test cars, but the system works. It looks ok on 30" curves, and will stay together on my 22" hidden curves.

22" hidden curves!?! That's indeed tweaking the dragon's nose with anything long.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,239 posts
Posted by selector on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:47 PM

Paul3

Or, you know, if people want to run 85' passenger cars reliably, they could try designing layouts with larger curves to accommodate them...or not run 85' long cars at all.  When I built my old layout, I specifically designed it for full-length passenger car operations and used nothing less than 30" radius curves and nothing less than a #6 switch.  That worked great with my fleet of passenger cars.

And no, I'm not boasting, just trying to get across the idea that we modelers should temper our wants with reality...

I was foolish, uneducated, and naive.  I actually trusted Walthers' advertized specs for performance on their heavyweights.  Silly me.  Now that I have been fooled twice...(the second time was with their claimed inner radius for their #7 curved turnouts.  I think I can still hear them laughing if I try.)

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!