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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a wonderful wife and for Christmas she gifted me with two Accucraft J&S coaches for my 1:20.3 D&RG that I'm just starting into.

I only have a Stock Ruby so far for tractive effort. With glee I set my two coaches behind it and it just couldn't start the consist moving. I gave it a helping hand so it could make sure it was warm through. After that my Ruby was slipping.
I dropped some 3in1 oil on the bearings for the coaches, now I can pull one coach reliably. But two is just too much.

I was hoping to use my Ruby as a switcher to assemble the consist for the primary mover I'll someday get. Is that not a realistic expectation?

What do other more experienced modelers do with new rolling stock right out of the box?

I will say I don't plan on using track power so the power pick ups will be removed shortly. Replaced with a battery.

Any advice would be great. I did search the forum before posting but if the advice already exists I missed it and would appreciate the direction to find it.

Thanks, Tyler.
 

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I purchase both new and used engines and rolling stock and re-due to my own personal railroad. I would rather have it used just because usually it can be purchased for less money and if something is wrong with it I get it at a better price. I only buy LGB engines and rolling stock, so I'm pretty much committed to 1:20.5 scale. I'm a modeler first and a train runner second. All my loco's have RailPro installed and battery power, one great system. All my stuff is American models, no foreign equipment for me. I would say that, most G scalers do not modify there loco's and rolling stock, I'm probably the exception to the rule. I also have an HOn3 layout and it's modeled after the D&RGW narrow gauge, so as you can see I'm a modeler. Here a two LGB Moguls totally re-done with RailPro and battery powered, I think these Moguls would look and handle your new passenger coaches just fine. You should be able to fine one on eBay in the $400.00 range.

trainman
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I understood the question: how can I pull the 2 coaches with my Ruby, not how to buy a larger electric loco.

of course the first thing is to get the trucks on the coaches as free-running as you can... when placed on their backs, and you spin the wheels, do they keep spinning? look for something wrong in the journals, etc, just adding oil might not do it.

If you get them pretty free-rolling, then perhaps the ruby is at it's limit... you could consider putting ball bearing wheelsets in the coaches, that would probably do the trick.

On the Ruby side, I believe there are larger cylinder kits to be had, which supposedly increase pulling power.

Greg
 

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Replace any plastic wheels with metal wheels. Replace couplers with Kadees. Weathering and further modification may or may not happen.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I understood the question: how can I pull the 2 coaches with my Ruby, not how to buy a larger electric loco.

of course the first thing is to get the trucks on the coaches as free-running as you can... when placed on their backs, and you spin the wheels, do they keep spinning? look for something wrong in the journals, etc, just adding oil might not do it.

If you get them pretty free-rolling, then perhaps the ruby is at it's limit... you could consider putting ball bearing wheelsets in the coaches, that would probably do the trick.

On the Ruby side, I believe there are larger cylinder kits to be had, which supposedly increase pulling power.

Greg
Greg, the Ruby I have is of the latest version, acquired this last spring new directly from Accucraft. If current production are still small bored, I shall have to investigate the upgrade. Other modifications I plan for are to increase the safety pressure to 60psi, I have Kadee couplers on the way
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Must run immediately :D
Oh, I did! I only hesitated hoping my 2 year old son who is as train crazy as I would join in. But he got back from Grandma's and went straight to bed.

Is your comment to mean that running the coaches will make them more freely rolling? Or simply more encouragement to run trains for the sake of it?
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I purchase both new and used engines and rolling stock and re-due to my own personal railroad. I would rather have it used just because usually it can be purchased for less money and if something is wrong with it I get it at a better price. I only buy LGB engines and rolling stock, so I'm pretty much committed to 1:20.5 scale. I'm a modeler first and a train runner second. All my loco's have RailPro installed and battery power, one great system. All my stuff is American models, no foreign equipment for me. I would say that, most G scalers do not modify there loco's and rolling stock, I'm probably the exception to the rule. I also have an HOn3 layout and it's modeled after the D&RGW narrow gauge, so as you can see I'm a modeler. Here a two LGB Moguls totally re-done with RailPro and battery powered, I think these Moguls would look and handle your new passenger coaches just fine. You should be able to fine one on eBay in the $400.00 range.

trainman View attachment 60728 View attachment 60729 View attachment 60730
Trainman, I do appreciate the advice. I considered electric steam locos, but when I have it was due to the expense of the equivalent live steam. The reason I started into G gauge trains was the desire for live steam in a scale I could run at home.
The electrified diesel model I would consider is that of the D&RG #50. And I would battery power it and rc it with RCS controls from RCS-RC. I have their system in my Ruby and enjoy it greatly.
 

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Way back when Accucraft first released the J&S Coaches, they were very stiff rolling - like trying to pull a brick. It turned out the truck side frames were angled inwards from the bolster, putting pressure on the bearings and causing poor rolling. Accucraft's solution was to provide free metal angle brackets, two per truck, that bolted to both the side frames and each end of the bolster. These angle brackets pushed the bottom of the side frames out and held then in a 90* alignment with the bolster, easing the pressure on the bearings, and improving the running of the coaches.

I'm unsure if Accucraft incorporated the angle brackets in future production runs, so the first thing I would do is visually inspect the underside of the trucks to determine if yours have these angle brackets. Also sight down each truck from one end and see if the side frames look pretty close to 90* to the bolster.

If they don't have the angle brackets and it appears not to be 90* side frames to bolster, contact Accucraft to see about receiving a set of angle brackets for each truck. If they appear okay and the brackets are present, this isn't your answer, and probably your only alternative is, as Greg suggested, replacing the wheel sets with a roller bearing type.
 

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It was the original freight cars that had the truck problem. I did not hear about it with the J&S coaches.

The coaches do, however, pick up power from the track. This is done with wipers on the wheels. Since you are running a steam engine, these are useless to you. Look under the trucks and notice the brass rubbing against the wheel. Bend these away so they do not make contact and see if that makes a difference. Just a suggestion.
 

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While you are working on the various suggestions to improve the rolling of the coaches, are you pondering what larger live steam locomotive you might set your sights on? I would be interested to hear that. While I am not familiar with the power pickups on those coaches, many pickup arrangements had a lot of added friction. Their removal may help.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Way back when Accucraft first released the J&S Coaches, they were very stiff rolling - like trying to pull a brick. It turned out the truck side frames were angled inwards from the bolster, putting pressure on the bearings and causing poor rolling. Accucraft's solution was to provide free metal angle brackets, two per truck, that bolted to both the side frames and each end of the bolster. These angle brackets pushed the bottom of the side frames out and held then in a 90* alignment with the bolster, easing the pressure on the bearings, and improving the running of the coaches.

I'm unsure if Accucraft incorporated the angle brackets in future production runs, so the first thing I would do is visually inspect the underside of the trucks to determine if yours have these angle brackets. Also sight down each truck from one end and see if the side frames look pretty close to 90* to the bolster.

If they don't have the angle brackets and it appears not to be 90* side frames to bolster, contact Accucraft to see about receiving a set of angle brackets for each truck. If they appear okay and the brackets are present, this isn't your answer, and probably your only alternative is, as Greg suggested, replacing the wheel sets with a roller bearing type.
The journals ( I believe that's the right term) are spring, the are in slots on the trucks and free to align themselves to the axels, there is 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap if I slide them full out. That allowed the axels to slide side to side while lubricating. The wheel flanges would then be able to contact the brakes. I set the journals to center the axels with "just enough" slop.
 

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Trainman, I do appreciate the advice. I considered electric steam locos, but when I have it was due to the expense of the equivalent live steam. The reason I started into G gauge trains was the desire for live steam in a scale I could run at home.
The electrified diesel model I would consider is that of the D&RG #50. And I would battery power it and rc it with RCS controls from RCS-RC. I have their system in my Ruby and enjoy it greatly.
Well your in luck, I'm in the process of installing RailPro into a LGB #50 2063 diesel. These are very good runners and are good pullers, well there LGB they should pull. I own two of them, one for 25 plus years and one I just purchased on eBay, both were new. Here are some pics of a #50 apart and waiting for my RailPro order to arrive from RCS of New England next week. Do note I have re-lettered the engine and changing up somethings to make it for my railroad.
trainman
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The coaches do, however, pick up power from the track. This is done with wipers on the wheels.
Yes, remove the wipers. They make a lot of difference. You can fit a 9V battery underneath to power the lights.

Ball bearings will help, but they are tricky to fit.
You can add weight to the Ruby until it refuses to spin its wheels (which Is what I imagine it does when attached to these 2 heavy coaches.) Unlike an electric loco, steam engines can tolerate being 'stalled'.
Finally, there is a flat metal plate under the floor which adds a lot of weight to the coaches. I removed them from mine and replaced it with aluminum from the hardware store. You do need something as the truck pivots are attached to the metal plate. [Interestingly, I never had any problems with the lack of the heavy plate, even in trains of 4 or 5 coaches. Instructions for removing the floor are here: ContructionNotesforGALCoaches-generalinfo-c.pdf]
 

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Although I am a "sparky" guy, I would say if you can use your Ruby for switching, stay with live steam for your mainline, an easier task, and more power to you!

I thought Accucraft eventually offered a larger cylinder option, I am far from the expert in this area, perhaps asking the question about improving the Ruby on the Live Steam forum would be more useful (or even searching the forums for discussions)

Greg
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
While you are working on the various suggestions to improve the rolling of the coaches, are you pondering what larger live steam locomotive you might set your sights on? I would be interested to hear that. While I am not familiar with the power pickups on those coaches, many pickup arrangements had a lot of added friction. Their removal may help.
That is the key to why I put off any other purchases and why my wife gifted me the coaches. I put my name on the list back in May for the pre-order of the Accucraft C-18.
When I signed up they expected to deliver in late August. Multiple setbacks later and the website claims March deliveries.
Since I'm still new to the hobby and don't know reputations, is it common for Accucraft to continuously delay dates? Or is it just a symptom of the Global pandemic and effects on supply lines?
I have been keeping my eyes open for the rare opportunity of a K-37. I noticed one sold on one of the forums just months before I got into it.
Whatever I get is going to have to navigate a 4 foot radius oval on my layout in the garage. At least until I can put aside the funds for my track expansion into the yard behind the garage. I have 10 acres, I figure my wife should allow me at least a 1/4 acre.
 

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Greg,

You are correct about the cylinders on the Ruby. Newer ones are fitted with 1/2 inch cylinders, the original ones were fitted with smaller bore cylinders. If you have one of the old ones you can buy new ones from Accucraft, but there are two flavors. Read their documentation.
 

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don't know reputations, is it common for Accucraft to continuously delay dates?
Yes. They are known for slipping the dates, sometimes for years. This C-18 delay might be covid and other random issues, but often they wait for 25 orders to trickle in before they start production. They haven't even posted a photo of that loco, so I would suspect it may slip again.

I have been keeping my eyes open for the rare opportunity of a K-37. I noticed one sold on one of the forums just months before I got into it.
Whatever I get is going to have to navigate a 4 foot radius oval on my layout in the garage.
Don't even think of it. I know the specs say 4ft minimum, but that is a huge locomotive and will look very strange negotiating your curves. Buy one when you have a track big enough for it. (You might have to wait until then anyway. On the other hand, John Sutton in the UK is selling one, for an enormous price.)
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes. They are known for slipping the dates, sometimes for years. This C-18 delay might be covid and other random issues, but often they wait for 25 orders to trickle in before they start production. They haven't even posted a photo of that loco, so I would suspect it may slip again.


Don't even think of it. I know the specs say 4ft minimum, but that is a huge locomotive and will look very strange negotiating your curves. Buy one when you have a track big enough for it. (You might have to wait until then anyway. On the other hand, John Sutton in the UK is selling one, for an enormous price.)
I wonder if I should enquire with them their progress on their pre-orders. I've considered getting a C-25 that's already available but haven't because pushing $9k in engines in 12 months is a hard sell with the Misses when we already decided to delay a newer vehicle for her until the family gains a member. If they are only half way on their pre order needs, I may have the time to spread it out.

On the layout side, need motivates development. I don't "need" the bigger track for my Ruby, but I plan to expand someday. If a K-37 is sitting idle on a siding, the I definitely need to expand....
 
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