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A summary of Heavyweight advice

4910 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  lownote
recently Kevin Strong (East Broad Top) kindly hipped me to a set of four aristo heavyweights that his father had for sale. So out to MD I went--kevin didn't tell me his Dad runs what must be one of the finest and most impressive garden railways in the US! a delightful man.

So I have the heavyweights which are all old style, three coaches and a Pullman. Two of them have had the interiors removed and plastic wheels added to decrease weight. Those two have also had the coupler tangs dramatically (and very effectively) shortened.

So they run around my layout, which has R3 (8 Ft. diameter) curves or larger, but as everyone notes they tend to derail a lot. The drag with the six wheel trucks is very high.

So I read through a lot of old threads on the aristo heavyweights and it looks like this is the consensus about how to make them less derailment prone, aside from lubing them well

1. Switch to the newer 2 wheel trucks
2. Shorten the space between the cars
3. Make the middle wheel flange-less

From what I've read, trying to run the three wheel trucks with two wheels does not work well. I'll try shortening the coupler tang, and I may replace the plastic wheels (Kevin's dad is a battery man) with aristo metal wheels

Anyone else have any suggestions/experiences?
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I've read through George's site many times--it's a great resource

I wish I could do wider turns but I'd have to buy the house next store to pull it off. My standards of protypicality are pretty loose--the cars don't have to touch. I just want them to track a little better
This is all very useful, thank you. These are very old cars--15 years, maybe--and two of them were simply stored in Jim Strong's basement in the original plastic. The other two Jim or Kevin mdafied ingeniously (see below). The problematic ones have the plastic axle metal wheels, which roll very badly. I just took the trucks apart and lubed them throughly and also filed a place on the trucks where the truck corner hit the truss rod bolster on the diner car. I did a very brief quick and dirty test (it's raining here) and they rolled much more freely. I;m planning to cut the tangs off and reinstall them shorter, but not prototypically short.

The other two car had their interiors removed, to lighten them, and had plastic wheels installed. They also had the coupler tangs replaced with dramatically shorter tangs, and they couple (aristo couplers) very very closely. One of them has an ingenious spring system, so that the coupler can be pulled out for coupling but then springs back to hold the cars close. These cars track well but come uncoupled. It may be because they couplers sat untended for fifteen years. I'm going to put metal wheels in them and replace the couplers with new aristo couplers, and then maybe try to get the lights working and fake up an interior
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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/06/2008 9:20 PM
The axles are plastic? Really?
Regards, Greg

The axles have the plastic center piece to insulate them
Yes--there's a thick piece of black plastic in the center of each axle. They aren't good wheels--very wobbly.
Well I should top off this thread by adding that I

lubed everything--the wheels, the point where the trucks bear on the plastic--with white grease with teflon
Changed out the plastic wheel that had been on two of the cars for metal wheels

Big difference--they roll easy and they stay on the track. Someday, in the future, I might try to switch to th new style trucks. But everything is working at the moment--thanks all

Now I wonder if I could find some interiors--two of the cars had the interiors pulled out by the previous owner to make them lighter...
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