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Atlas HO Master Line trucks

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  • Member since
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  • From: Harrisburg, PA
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Atlas HO Master Line trucks
Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 2:24 PM

It had been a few years since I bought some of these freight cars. My impression was that they were decent cars. 

I just got one of the Evans 53' cars. When I put it on the track it wanted to wobble side to side for a bit before stopping. I took it off to tighten the trucks and was surprised to find that the trucks were a press fit without screws. I looked at some of the other Master Line cars that I have and found that some are made the same way while others have screws.  None of those cars wobble so I hadn't noticed this before. 

That leads to two questions:

- how do you stop the wobble with the press fit?

- how can you tell which method is used before buying them?

Rick

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 3:30 PM

Worse than the pins on the trucks are the glued-shut draft gear boxes.

hbgatsf
- how do you stop the wobble with the press fit?

Leave the trucks, change the wheels.

hbgatsf
- how can you tell which method is used before buying them?

I anticipate the fact that the cars will require some work before they can be "layout-worthy". That means removing the molded Atlas draft gear and truck king pins.  Pry off the existing draft gear and replace with a Kadee snap-fit draft gear.  I plug the oversized hole with styrene, file it flat and tap it for a 2-56 screw.

I recall buying a bunch of the Atlas wood reefers and was sorely disappointed with their use of toy-like trucks under an otherwise nice model.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 3:33 PM

I guess I am dense.  If there is too much play in the truck how does changing the wheels help?

Rick

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 4:28 PM

hbgatsf

I guess I am dense.  If there is too much play in the truck how does changing the wheels help?

Beats me...but I'd simply replace the press-in plastic pins with suitably-sized screws...applied carefully, the screws will cut their own threads in the car's underbody, allowing you to tighten or loosen them as needed.

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 4:40 PM

hbgatsf
I guess I am dense.  If there is too much play in the truck how does changing the wheels help?

I was going by your statement that the car wobbles.

hbgatsf
  — it wanted to wobble side to side for a bit before stopping.

Anytime I've had a wobbling car the cause was a wheelset with either an out-of-round wheel, poorly formed axle insulator or, rarely, a bent axle.

My response to that is that you can remove the existing wheelsets, perhaps spin a "truck tuner" in the recess for the axle ends and fit replacement wheelsets WITHOUT removing the trucks themselves from the car, assuming you didn't want to break the pins (some are glued in on Atlas cars) by removing the trucks.

If you mean the car doesn't sit firmly on the bolsters then you should remove the trucks and look for flash on the seat of the car bolster. Many manufacturers provide a nib or post on either side of the bolster pin on one end of the car and sometimes a way for the truck to pivot axially on the other end.

Pictures would help.

Guess I'm the one who is dense.

Thanks,

Good Luck, Ed

 

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Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:59 PM

I guess wobble is the wrong word.  While it is not moving the car rocks from side to side before settling down.  

As to replacing the pin with a screw, I don't have a problem with that as long as I don't do damage removing the truck.  Do they just pull off the pin/post?

Rick

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 8:00 PM

Turn car upside down and check how much the truck flops from side to side.

Sometimes the post is too long and the pin/screw head bottoms on the end of the post before contacting the truck bolster.  If this is the case you may need to file down the end of the post a bit.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 9:06 PM

maxman

Turn car upside down and check how much the truck flops from side to side.

Sometimes the post is too long and the pin/screw head bottoms on the end of the post before contacting the truck bolster.  If this is the case you may need to file down the end of the post a bit.

 

I am not following you. In this design there is no screw to tighten.  Are you saying that there's a pin instead of a screw that pushes into the post?

Rick

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, December 1, 2022 12:38 AM

Well,you said there was a pin.  I said pin/screw.  Maybe I should have said pin OR screw.  Regardless, the principal is the same.  The head of the screw keeps the truck from falling off the car.  The head of the pin does the same thing.

In either case when you remove the pin or screw, and with the truck still on the car, see if the post on the car sticks up above the surface of the hole in the truck bolster.  If it does, then if you tighten the screw all the way, or push the pin down into the post hole until the pin head contacts the top of the post, you will end up with slop between the truck and the car.  And this slop can result in the car flopping to one or the other side.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:02 AM

gmpullman

Pictures would help.

This is a picture of how the trucks are pinned in place.

Here is a closeup:

What I am hoping to get from the group is guidance on how the truck is pinned.  Is this a press fit or is it glued in?  I don't want to damage it by not knowing what I am dealing with.

Rick

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Posted by wrench567 on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:22 AM

  Rick.

 It's been over a decade but I believe the pins are split on the other side of the underframe. A wiggle and gentle pull should release it. You could also remove the floor and push the pins out from the top side.

   Pete.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:36 AM

wrench567

  Rick.

 It's been over a decade but I believe the pins are split on the other side of the underframe. A wiggle and gentle pull should release it. You could also remove the floor and push the pins out from the top side.

   Pete.

 

Thank you.  That is what I needed to know.

Now the question is how hard is it to remove the floor?

Rick

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:50 AM

Hi Rick,

I suspect that the pins are just a press fit. If so, the trucks should pop off without too much effort. If they won't pop off, try using a small flat bladed screwdriver to gently pry them off. If that doesn't work, then you could try drilling the pins out making sure to start the drill exactly on the center of the pin. I would start with a small pilot drill.

Once the trucks are off you can replace the pins with 2-56 screws. Depending on the size of the pin shank, you might have to fill the hole in the bolster with styrene tube and then drill/tap a suitably sized hole in the styrene tube.

As was mentioned, the height of the screw post above the bolster is important. If the post is too tall, the screw will hit the top of the post before coming in contact with the truck and the truck will likely still wobble. If that happens, gently file down the post a bit at a time until the truck can be screwed down until it doesn't move. Then back the screw off just enough so that the truck can rotate smoothly without wobbling.

Some people, myself included, suggest that one truck should not wobble but that the other truck should have a bit of wobble in it. The theory is that the trucks/car can follow slightly uneven track without lifting a wheel off and possibly derailing.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, December 1, 2022 7:20 AM

Good morning Rick

Maybe take the correct size nylon washer or two and cut a slit similar to a lock washer.  Then work it around the head of the press pin to take up the slack, of course not to tight.

 

.....Nevermind, after seeing the picture late, that obviously won't work.

  Rick's Pic

 

Hard to tell what your situation is with those press pins from a picture but had an N scale car where the trucks would not come off.  They had glued or permanent pressed pins that looked almost exactly like that.

If they don't come out, start with a micro drill bit dead center and graduate up bits carfully drilling shallow, (piece of tape wrapped several times around the drill bit as a stop) until the truck is free.  Then carefully file the shank of the press pin flush to the collar it's in.  Then graduate bits up again, (ending at the correct size hole for the ideal sized screw), adjusted well like Wayne suggested.

Certainly works as I've done the procedure with great success.

 

Good luck.

 

 

TF

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, December 1, 2022 7:38 AM

hbgatsf

It had been a few years since I bought some of these freight cars. My impression was that they were decent cars. 

I just got one of the Evans 53' cars. When I put it on the track it wanted to wobble side to side for a bit before stopping. I took it off to tighten the trucks and was surprised to find that the trucks were a press fit without screws. I looked at some of the other Master Line cars that I have and found that some are made the same way while others have screws.  None of those cars wobble so I hadn't noticed this before. 

That leads to two questions:

- how do you stop the wobble with the press fit?

- how can you tell which method is used before buying them?

 

The Atlas Evans boxcar was probably the first Master Line series cars tooled for China production.  Its decades old.  I have several of these and the newer runs also have the pin. 

I don't think any other Atlas Master car has them.  The old Kaolin tank cars do but they are even older than the Evans boxcar and I don't think Atlas makes them anymore.

I have several of these boxcars with the pin and none of mine wobble on the track.  They are very stable on the trucks.  

Is the pin pushed in far enough?

Have you tried the Kadee red fiber washer on the truck mount?  If the hole is too smal ream it out with a small file.  Those fiber washers always solved truck wobble for me.

If not, screw might work, but generally wobble is due to too much space in between the truck bolster and the truck mount, so screwing it down tighter isn't going to close up that space.  Its why I find that a Kadee washer usually works.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, December 1, 2022 7:42 AM

Everything Atlas makes is press fit.  Its meant to be taken out and put back in.  I've never removed the trucks on my Atlas Evans boxcars, but I assume they are designed to just come out when you pull the trucks away from the car.  Thats what I would try.  Being careful to position your fingers and support the car floor correctly of course.

You should not have to disassemble the car.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, December 1, 2022 8:24 AM

Doughless

Everything Atlas makes is press fit.  Its meant to be taken out and put back in.  I've never removed the trucks on my Atlas Evans boxcars, but I assume they are designed to just come out when you pull the trucks away from the car.  Thats what I would try.  Being careful to position your fingers and support the car floor correctly of course.

You should not have to disassemble the car.

 

Everything Atlas I have has a screw in HO.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, December 1, 2022 10:29 AM

rrebell

 

 
Doughless

Everything Atlas makes is press fit.  Its meant to be taken out and put back in.  I've never removed the trucks on my Atlas Evans boxcars, but I assume they are designed to just come out when you pull the trucks away from the car.  Thats what I would try.  Being careful to position your fingers and support the car floor correctly of course.

You should not have to disassemble the car.

 

 

 

Everything Atlas I have has a screw in HO.

 

 

Yeah the trucks (except for the Evans) and other parts use screws. 

The detail parts are press fit as are these pins.   

I meant that Atlas, to my knowledge, never uses glue to assemble parts and I would be surprised if OPs truck pins are glued to the truck mount/floor. 

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, December 1, 2022 10:42 AM

hbgatsf

 

 
gmpullman

Pictures would help.

 

 

This is a picture of how the trucks are pinned in place.

Here is a closeup:

What I am hoping to get from the group is guidance on how the truck is pinned.  Is this a press fit or is it glued in?  I don't want to damage it by not knowing what I am dealing with.

 

Ok, I just flipped one of mine over and removed the pins.  When I pulled one truck, the entire underframe including coupler boxes separated from the black floor.  The underframe is one press-fit piece containing all of the brake rigging, the top of the coupler boxes, and the truck mounts. (The two big beams running along the center of the car containing the truck mounts and the perpendicular ribs extending to the car sides) 

I flipped the underframe and remove the pins by pulling on the truck (Could have done this before if I had better secured the frame to the bottom of the car).  Careful, the first one I removed went flying because its a tight press-fit, but I found it.  So be prepared.

Then I just reassembled by replacing the trucks and inserting the pin, pressing it into the truck mounts from the bottom with a small screwdriver, and re-press fitting the long underframe back into the bottom of the car.

No glue anywhere.  Its a legacy design, but it works fine, IMO.

- Douglas

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Posted by hbgatsf on Thursday, December 1, 2022 7:27 PM

Thanks for all of the help.  

Rick

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, December 2, 2022 7:47 AM

hbgatsf

Thanks for all of the help.  

 

After examining all of my Atlas Evans boxcars, I can see where there could be a slight wobble.  The trucks seem excessively sloppy.  The pin is prohibited from traveling as far as it needs to secure the truck like it should, because the truck mounting tower that is on the bottom of the car and accomodates the pin is too tall.

I removed the trucks by covering the pin with my index finger as I rocked the truck slightly and pulled up.   I filed off about 25% of the tower height and that allowed the pin to slide in farther and secure the truck better.  One truck so much that it restricted turning, so I had to back the pin off a little.

The trucks are much less sloppy now. 

- Douglas

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Friday, December 2, 2022 9:10 AM

If you wish to remove the entire floor to access the inside of the boxcar, the retaining pins are on located the A&B ends, in the box walls, and are very tight. (Back into place is tight too.)

But careful spreading/prying combo on the box & floor can remove it.

I have two, both were undecorated and the boxes themselves are currently in my spraybooth. 

Carefully adding weight, centered over the bolsters, helped a bit on my two in testing. (I used 1/4oz stick on wheel weights, easily purchased from any autoparts store or garage. One placed centered width wise directly over each bolster, and two centered in the exact center of the car, both length/width. It brings it to a little over RP weight, but it helped it track a bit better on my test track on the workbench.)

If it still gives issues, my next step would have been screws instead of pins. I might still do that, but will require further testing first.

While I'm not sure why these cars are different from all my other Atlas cars with the pins, I do not feel it is a major issue. The pins used are very similar to ones found on Accurail cars. (I do replace the "split pins" on Walthers cars so equipped however.)

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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