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Sprung Truck's?

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Sprung Truck's?
Posted by SCOTT VERWEY on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 4:37 PM

I've been changing out all my plastic wheel's changing to metel and also the truck's to sprung trucks. My issuse is I can only find 2 spring's only? Some car's have 3 spring's IE: gondolas, tanker's, 50' boxcar's. I'm trying to make it as realstic as I can. The car's seem to act more like real car's rolling down the track's, my era is 1965 to 1970 Dolton Junction which had 20 diamonds. So track was pretty sloppy. If non are made could you point me to who might be able to help?

    V/R

Scott Ver Wey

 

 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, December 1, 2023 1:59 AM
Gidday Scott, I would happily stand to be corrected but I’m sure that the only current manufacturers of sprung trucks are Kadee, and then only with two springs.
 
I’m not sure whether their “split bolster” trucks would have a similar effect? 
 
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, December 1, 2023 9:51 AM

I would happily stand to be corrected but I’m sure that the only current manufacturers of sprung trucks are Kadee, and then only with two springs.

Walthers still offers sprung trucks but they also only have two springs, regardless of how many springs the prototype might have had.  I am not aware of HO trucks that offered the same number of springs as the prototype.  I think there might have been some in larger scales such as O.  Truck springs are difficult enough to put in as it is!  If you ever tried to replace the wheelsets in sprung trucks and had a truck spring or two shoot out you know what I mean.  

As a rule the springs used in HO sprung trucks are sufficiently stiff that as a practical matter little to no actual benefit results.  Contast that with sprung and equalized trucks where the bolster into the trucks was more flexible.  There there was a visible and operational benefit when running over irregular track.  The old Auel trucks in O gauge had softer springs in their trucks and there actually was prototype looking movement over rough track.  They were impressive trucks in their day.

For years actually spring trucks were a sort of status symbol and were heavily advertised.  Solid casting trucks with only simulated springs were kind of looked down on as train set stuff.   A classic example were the Athearn trucks that used a nub of solid rubber for where the springs would have gone.  It was slightly flexible i suppose but looked pretty bad.   Oddly enough the cheapest HO freight cars of all, the old Crown series of Athearn knock-offs imported by Mantua, had sprung trucks.  

A few decades ago Tony Koester wrote one of this Trains of Thought columns that basically said he had decided solid trucks ran better on his track and thus he was eliminating sprung trucks from his layout.  I do not know whether that article turned the tide against sprung trucks or not but I do think it caused a lot of people to rethink.  My recollection is that Koester believed unsprung trucks with closer to scale width wheels had a better chance of making it across a turnout frog or a crossing without the wheel dipping down into the gap.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, December 1, 2023 12:34 PM

The only sprung trucks I am aware of are those coming with Kadee freightcars and many years ago Walthers offered them with some of their kits.

Personally, I"m not a big fan of sprung trucks.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by mobilman44 on Friday, December 1, 2023 1:09 PM

Are sprung trucks worthy?  I had a number of Ulrich kits I built that had sprung trucks - 2 springs.  I thought they were so cool, but realized they didn't do a thing performance wise, and may have been detrimental as they were (IMO) picky when going over less than perfect track.

This was all on a DC layout, and when I built the new layout with DCC, I found they contributed towards shorts.  There may have been other factors, but after removing those trucks the shorts disappeared.  

Oh, I forgot.....I had a number of older Athearn kits with sprung (2) trucks.  I got to be pretty good getting those springs in place.  But to be honest, they didn't enhance performance and certainly didn't look real. 

   

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, December 1, 2023 1:19 PM

It appears Kadee does make at least one type of truck with three springs (link below).

However, besides problems of running qualities, I don't see that using real springs actually makes the truck look more realistic? To make the truck springs work something like the real thing, the springs have to be a lot wimpier than the real springs. 

 

https://www.kadee.com/555-ho-scale-a-s-f-100-ton-roller-bearing-self-centering-trucks-with-36-smooth-back-wheels-metal-fully-sprung

 

Stix
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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, December 1, 2023 1:29 PM

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, December 2, 2023 7:13 AM

Sprung trucks are great for certain types of layouts and have to be heavier than standard to get the full effect and you can not be moving fast to see the effect. Did this for awhile as I did logging but once I got into freight, I swiched over as thigs were not always moving slow.

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Posted by IC_Tom on Saturday, December 2, 2023 1:32 PM

Back in the 70s-80s, I thought sprung trucks were the bomb.  So much so, that I just about converted everything to use them along with Kadee couplers.  I even had a pair of sprung caboose trucks on an Athearn caboose that used folded strips of copper for the leaf springs.  I've been trying to find sprung trucks like that now that I'm back in the hobby, but no luck.  I guess the popularity of all kinds of sprung trucks has fallen in the last couple of decades.

It sort of reminds me of the turning rolling bearing caps debate.  If I could've gotten turning rolling bearing caps back in the 70s-80s, I would converted every truck to use those, too.

Current trucks seem a little "dead" to me, but maybe it came about with code 83 rail.  I don't remember as many issues back then with the derailings that seem to happen more often today.  Pizza cutters with code 100 was pretty bullet-proof.  I'm not saying I want to go back, but I guess there are always trade-offs.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, December 4, 2023 10:30 PM

Nearly all my 1,000 or so freight cars have sprung trucks.

Dave Nelson is correct in that the springs are stiff enough as to not compress under the weight of the cars.

BUT, nearly EVERY HO two axle sprung truck I have ever seen in my 56 years of model railroading does EQUALIZE under the weight of even the lightest cars.

That is why I use them - equalization - keeping all four wheels on the rail ALL THE TIME.

As for what is currently being manufacturered, Kadee is the main thing out there.

I use mostly Kadee trucks but I replace the Kadee plastic axle wheelsets with Intermountain wheelsets.

This creates a heavy, equalizing, and extreamly free rolling truck - allowing my locos to pull about 10%-15% more tonnage than when pulling plastic rigid trucks with metal wheelsets.

The other advantage to my setup is the weight is down low, also helping to improve tracking.

As for the detail issue asked about by the OP, as noted wjstix above, Kadee #555 sprung trucks, which represent 100 ton roler bearing trucks do have three springs.

Prototype trucks of 50 ton or 70 ton ratings do not generally have three outward visable springs. 

Nearly every freight car line in the is hobby back in the 50's and 60's had sprung trucks - Athearn, Varney, Walthers, Roundhouse, Silver Streak, and many more, had sprung trucks and sold them separately as well.

And brands like Central Valley, Lindberg, Kadee and others also offered sprung trucks even if they were not in the freight car business, or only had a few freight car products. 

Central Valley had a very complete line of freight and passenger trucks - all metal - all sprung.

Take careful note of the unassembled truck parts in the box of this late 50's Athearn plastic kit.

Still doing it the old way here on the ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, December 4, 2023 10:54 PM

A note to some of the negative comments above about sprung trucks - not every brand was top notch or free rolling back in the day.

Kadee, Central Valley, some items from Wathers, Lindberg were/are clearly the best.

I have about 75 of these piggyback flats alone with Kadee trucks refitted with Intermountain metal wheelsets - no shorts, no derailments, 50 car trains move smoothly and effortlessly.

And I am not the only one using my sprung truck formula - On this forum, a decade ago talking about this same topic, a guy posted that he too was doing the same thing with great results.

I will not disagree about the appearance comments - they are not as "accurate looking".

Performance trumps appearance - I don't use code 88 wheels or semi scale couplers for the same reasons.

If this forum was easily searchable, I could link dozens of threads where I explaned and discussed this before - and in fact, the now retired "Sam the answer man" at Kadee confirmed to me personally that I am correct about my understanding and application of the physics of how trucks work. 

And I did a thread on this fairly recently - one of you guys can make this link live, I forgot how?

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/288283.aspx

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, December 4, 2023 10:59 PM

One last thought, the newest line of trucks from Kadee are not sprung - but they are EQUALIZED.

Using a two piece bolster, they flex to allow all four wheels to stay on the rails at all times.

Kadee understands the value of equalization - so did all the old timers in this hobby 60-70 years ago, Irv Athearn, Gordon Varney, etc, etc.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 7:02 AM

Like I said before, sprung trucks visually work but you have to overweight the cars and slow them down to see it. Very effective on a logging layout.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 7:54 AM

rrebell

Like I said before, sprung trucks visually work but you have to overweight the cars and slow them down to see it. Very effective on a logging layout.

 

Again, that is simply not the point. The reason they are sprung is for equalization. You do not have to overweight the cars to get the equalizing effect, which is the "flexing or twisting" of the truck to keep all four wheels on the rails all the time with a relatively equal weight distribution.

In fact, I have found with my setup the total car weight can be slightly on the light side because of the lowered center of gravity with heavier trucks.

The top of the truck bolster never looses contact with the sideframe, it simply twists slightly to let the truck flex. So the car weight is not compressing the springs like in real life.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 8:19 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

And I did a thread on this fairly recently - one of you guys can make this link live, I forgot how?

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/288283.aspx

Sheldon 

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/288283.aspx

Rich

Alton Junction

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