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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
AMS make quality freight cars, but I would like them to roll a bit better. I know installing bearings into side frames is nothing new but can someone suggest a bearing and where I can purchase it (on-line would be preferred).

I have tried sourcing bearings locally but all have an overall diameter larger then the hole in the side frame with original bearing removed. I did pick up four of the slightly too big ones and plan to drill out the side frames, but I really don’t to do this if I can avoid it.

I’m 99.99% sure I will need to turn down the axle ends, but that’s no big deal.
 

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Posted By steam5 on 01/13/2009 9:40 PM
AMS make quality freight cars, but I would like them to roll a bit better. I know installing bearings into side frames is nothing new but can someone suggest a bearing and where I can purchase it (on-line would be preferred).

I have tried sourcing bearings locally but all have an overall diameter larger then the hole in the side frame with original bearing removed. I did pick up four of the slightly too big ones and plan to drill out the side frames, but I really don’t to do this if I can avoid it.

I’m 99.99% sure I will need to turn down the axle ends, but that’s no big deal.



I know a lot of people think installing bearings is the only fix but the problem is caused by the truck springs being to stiff, which causes the sideframes to lean in binding the axcles, AMS offered a solution in the form of a bracket that prevented the sideframe from tilting in....however the solution that really works is to clip 1 to 1 /12 coils off the truck springs it not only eliminates the binding (mine will roll down less than a 1/2% grade), it allows the truck flex and stay on less then perfect track....
 

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Did you say that right...."1 to 1/12 coils"??? I mean, 1/12th of a coil is hardly anything at all.

Second question...do the brackets work as well as the spring fix? I mean, if you put the brackets on, does the truck achieve the same performance as the spring shortening?
 

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I haqve converted a lot of ams cars. The bearings I use are ones from Aristocraft. I use a tap to extrack the AMS brass bearing and grind down the flange on the sideframs so they are flat. I often replace the springs as well depending on the age of the car.

I then replace the AMS wheel with another metal wheel that has an axle the diameter of the bearing (1/8")

It is amazing how well the cars work after conversion.

Stan
 

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I recently had an AMS gondola through here which was to be for trail car battery R/C.
Having heard alll the stories about stiff bearings I was pleasantly surprised by how freely this particular item rolled.
A little graphite powder lubricant in the axle ends and it was very free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ha ha Greg, yes using Aristo may give me an urge to commit suicide, but hey if they work why not!

I did notice PNG offered that service, but I would like to use is as a last resort.

Dean, mine do have a small bracket behind the side frame. I will give the spring clipping a go. An even better solution would be to source a softer spring? Have you investigated that avenue?

Stan what brand wheel do you use?

Chuck surely I will be able to find a bearing on http://vxb.com/, top tip. As I’m not home (working outside of town through the week, based at a power station for a stint) I can’t measure up the side frame, and I can’t remember what the exact size is. But when I get home in the weekend I’ll have to get out the callipers.

Tony, you right, they don’t roll to bad. It will be a test to see how much better I can make it, and then I will have a think, is it worth doing?
 

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I have been using a variety of wheels. I had been using Bachmann wheels but reciently have been using Gary Raymound wheels since I had a lot around. The key for me are wheels with larger flanges and better profiles.

Accucraft has a variety of wheels. The old ones with small flanges and no profile look great but, in my opinion, are not suitable for outdoor use as they tend to derail a lot. Part of the problem is that our rails do not haved the profile that a prototype rail has so prototype wheels tend to press on the edge of the rail. The new Acccraft wheels with the large filet track much better. For freight cars with the new wheels (and also the better springs) I likely would not do the modification.

The passenger cars are another matter. The bearings press the axles and using ball bearings are at this point the only option I know of. I also replace the couplers with Kaydee 830s on the passenger cars because the Accucraft couplers do not like tight curves and also break off.

Hope that helps

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Stan you make a great point regarding the small flanges on Accucraft/AMS equipment.

Before starting to purchase 1:20.3 equipment I had Big Hauler and LGB rolling stock. I had made a couple of points all which work well with the pizza cutter flanges on LGB, Big Hauler and also finer flanges on Spectrum locos, but the AMS gear was not happy. I managed to fix this by modifying the point.

I hope to keep the finer flanges, so when I get round to laying track outside I can accommodated a variety of equipment, especially when I know someone who primarily runs Accucraft brass.
 

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Posted By Mike Reilley on 01/14/2009 11:16 AM
Did you say that right...."1 to 1/12 coils"??? I mean, 1/12th of a coil is hardly anything at all.

Second question...do the brackets work as well as the spring fix? I mean, if you put the brackets on, does the truck achieve the same performance as the spring shortening?


Ooops....I should have checked the post better, I meant 1 to 1 1/2 coils....

I'm in Houston, TX for a couple more weeks, but I've got pictures at home of a AMS car rolling over a pencil abit very slowly and not derailing....and I started doing this fix before they came up with the brackets so I never bothered installing any of the brackets....
This is based on a post back on Apr. 27, 2003 by Richard Schmitt click here to see the tread[/b].....he did recomend spacer bars but I didn't find them to be needed...
 

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If you are able to turn down the axles, then the Aristo bearings will work and you can use the AMS wheelsets. Install the bearings as Stan said.
I think I turned my axles ends to .118
I have done about 10 AMS freight and 3 AMS passenger cars this way.
I also installed lighter springs, and the angle brass pieces on all the trucks. I used springs from a spring kit from Harbor Freight.
This make these cars roll super easy.
Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Now I have a couple of different options to where I can get bearings and some other great tips to make the cars even better. I will hopefully get a chance soon to give it a shot, and let everyone know how I got on.

Thanks
 
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