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Getting ready for open house this Thursday, I was cleaning the wheels on my USA 44-Tonner that I had been using to drag around my latest track cleaning car concoction (actually drags around a drywall sander head rather than me doing it on a pole..., and works extremely well).
Anyway, I noted that on one axle when a cotton swab was held against the wheels, they stopped turning, indicating to me that the gear shaft had cracked. This is quite common on USA engines and going to my drawer, I came up with about 10 USA axles (from GPs and NWs) in similar condition.
Not wanting to order a set of new axles and waiting for them to arrive (typically back ordered too), I decided to try a fix.
In the past, some had talked of wrapping the axle with fishing line and coating it with CA, and I was about to do that but decided to see what was available in the workroom/garage first. I came across a piece of 3/8" brass tube and determined that the ID was identical to the axle shaft OD.
Aha!!! All I had to do was cut a piece of the brass about 1/4" long and press it on the shaft.
OK...., I could press it on in the vice, but getting it started is the problem. If you just try to press it on, it will just dig into the plastic and cut up the shaft. Somehow, I needed to expand the end of the brass s oit could self-center. I pulled out my flare tool (used for flaring brake lines, gas lines, etc.), expanded the end a little and the brass was able to center on the plastic shaft so I could press it on. Cool!!! I did both sides as both sides were cracked.
Then came time to press the wheels back on to the gear. But now the gear shaft was very tight. I used a T" nut with the "flat" against the wheel and the center protecting the outter axle and was easily able to press on the first wheel. When I tried to do the second wheel, it would seem that the first wheel would rather press further on (too far) than get the second wheel started. Finally, I was able to get the second wheel on and started, but at that point, the first side was in so far that the wheels were under-gauge and the gear was in the wrong position relative to the worm gear on the motor. :mad:"
I was able to place the wheels back in the vise, and using a wrench on the wheel, whack it (the wrench) with a hammer to spread the wheels and get them back into gauge. Great! Reassemble the trucks and back to cleaning.
OK..., now I find that the other wheel on this truck suffered the same malady with both sides also cracked on the gear shafts. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif" Disassemble, make and flare two more brass sleeves, press them on the gear shaft and press the first wheel on just to start it. Not wanting to press the first one on too far this time, I took some 16 gauge wire and placed two wraps around the axle between the brass collar and the gear that had just started on. These would serve as a spacer too keep the axle from going under-gauge. I was able to get the second wheel on and the wire served it purpose perfectly, easily unwrapped once the wheel was in place, and this set came out in gauge the first time. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif"
 

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Posted By altterrain on 04/22/2008 3:05 PM
http://www.largescalecentral.com/LSCForums/viewtopic.php?id=6305




Well I guess I re-invented the wheel. Well, you know what they say, GMTA!:D

On the other hand, he noted the use of custom made turned brass sleeves, and I've found that commonly available brass tubing works well (easy to get and much cheaper). I also noted that they tapered the end of the axle whereas I tapered the end of the sleeve to get the sleeve started. Finally, they use a drill press, and we use a vise as a press. But all and all, pretty much the same thing./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif
 

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RE: The "Fix" for Cracked USA Axle Gears!

Hard to find the ID that matches really well. I bought all the rest of those sleeves from Tony, I have a bag of them.

When you press the axles in, I use an inexpensive press I got from harbor freight, so I press one wheel/axle on in relation to the gear, not the other wheel. The press can be used to also move them out, to get the back to back gauge just right.

When I run out of bushings, I guess I'll have to have some turned. Tony went to some lengths to get them sized really right.

Regards, Greg
 

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All of this discussion really begs the question ... why doesn't USAT fix the problem??

By that I mean ... this weakness of cracked axle gears has been around for many years. Why hasn't USAT reengineered this gear to make it strong enough that it does not routinely crack.

I model narrow gauge but have a few diesels for use on our club diesel ps days. Each axle on each of my USAT diesels (GP38-2, F3A-B) has had to be reworked to either replace traction tires or to repair/replace cracked axle gears. And my experience echos that of everyone I know who has USAT diesels.

As a matter of fact, getting USAT to acknowledge the problem and replace a gear or wheelset free is almost impossible (at least for those of us outside the USA)

Regards ... Doug
 

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RE: The "Fix" for Cracked USA Axle Gears!

Hard to tell from the NWSL catalog, but seems it's now $24.95 for 4 axles, vs USAT $9.95 for 2 axles, so it's $35 for something that's probably indestructable, vs $20 for the same design that will break eventually.

So $15 per loco more... I guess I will see what I can get for free from USAT, since about 25% of my new locos were split out of the box. (mostly NOS).

Regards, Greg
 

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I believe NWSL has closed down their operation, haven't they ?? Their
prices were way out of line anyway.. Myself and several others have
posted "treatises" on dealing with this problem over the years, U may
want to root around in the archives for further info.. The easiest
way to solve the problem on the 44 tonner is to put an Aristo FA gear
in it, same gear, but theirs don't split, they R identical however..
Must be a better grade of plastic.. The NW-2s don't seem to split their
gears for some reason, at least I've never seen one that did, the
F-3s, GP-38s, etc is a different story, they split like crazy, I had
so many to do I went into production on making sleeves for the gears
there for awhile... Heres a pic of my solution to the problem, cheap,
permanent, and reusable... This problem was supposed to be corrected
in later production, but I've been told that they still split, so it
might behoove one to work out a solution for himself...
Paul R...
 

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Posted By W3NZL on 04/24/2008 4:01 AM
I believe NWSL has closed down their operation, haven't they ??





NO! It only takes a few seconds to check on Google and go to their site. You might consider doing that before posting your beliefs.

Mark
 

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RE: The "Fix" for Cracked USA Axle Gears!

Well, I sent them an email with a few general questions yesterday, so we will see what is up. They did not respond today.

Regards, Greg
 

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NWSL is in business..just call them at 206-932-1087. A few weeks back I ordered some Great Trains F40PH EMD truck sideframes and received them in about 3 days.

The latest NWSL flyer is dated 3/1/08 with plenty of new stuff but it does show that after 50 years of business NWSL is up for sale...hmmm, I wonder how many $$$ it would take to purchase it?? :)
 

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My fix was with brass tube. I found one that was very close to the same size. I took the wheels and axles off the gear. Put the gear in my drill press, turned it on and sanded the gear down a little bit, where the axles press in. I then cut a peice of tubing a little shorter then the gear shaft. Pressed the tube on the gear with a vice, did both sides, then pressed the axles and wheels back on. Works very good. :D:D:D
 

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I think figuring out "FIXES" like this is some of the fun of Model Railroading. I not saying it's right but it is fun. It spurs you on to do other things you might not attempt other wise.
 
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