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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize that this post really should be in the rolling stock forum; but, the subject came up here first. Last week, I did a post on the Vermont Garden Railway Society steam subdivision and several readers took interest in Larry Green's combine which he had kit bashed from an AMS J&S coach. I promised to post some pictures which are below. I will leave it to Larry to follow up with a written description of how he did the bash.













Llyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I liked Larry's plan for installing Aristo-Craft #29411 ball bearings in AMS coach trucks and, since I'm in the process of painting and re-lettering a coach, decided to give the conversion a try.
It turns out that the O.D. of the ball bearings is the same as the brass bushings already in the journal boxes. It is a simple matter to pull the brass bushings out and insert the ball bearings. Because the fit was quite loose, I secured the bearing outer races to the journal boxes with Locktite.

The ball bearing inner race is designed to fit a 3mm diameter axel end and the AMS wheel set axel ends are 4mm diameter. So, something has to change. One possibility is to buy replacement wheels. The wheels which come with the coach are 1.280" diameter at the tread. Gary Raymond and Sierra Valley sell wheel sets of that diameter with 3mm axel ends. Since I have a lathe, I decided to save money by turning the axel ends down to 3mm. I gripped one axel end in the lathe chuck and supported the axel with a steady rest positioned adjacent to the wheel at the end to be turned down.

I took very shallow cuts and easily got the axel ends down to 3mm diameter.

When the wheel sets are installed in the truck, there is quite a bit of space between the wheel face and journal box. If the wheel set were to slide all of the way to one side, one axel end might slip out of its bearing. I dealt with this by turning brass spacers from 1/4" diameter stock. I drilled the center hole #31 and made them 0.100" thick (I believe that 0.090" would suffice).

You could also put several #4 washers on each end instead.

Here is a picture of the truck after conversion.


With the ball bearings installed, the trucks roll a lot better. When I lifted the end of a two foot long section of track 1/4" and placed converted and unconverted trucks on it, the ball bearing-equipped truck rolled right on down. The unconverted truck simply sat there and I had to push it down the grade.

Llyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Carl,

Without a doubt, a prepackaged kit is the easiest way to go and fairly reasonably priced. I just happened to have the bearings on hand left over from conversions to some 1:29 rolling stock. And, I was content to just go ahead and make the conversion without waiting to order parts.

The bottom line is that anything we can do to install ball bearings will make AMS J&S coaches decidedly better-rolling models than the factory configuration.

Llyn
 
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