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Overland Limited Set - Wheels for 3-axle trucks?

Started by brandonbeckner, July 15, 2023, 09:43:48 AM

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Good day, everyone. I recently purchased the HO Scale Overland Limited set (#00614) and wasted little time trying to upgrade my wheels from plastic to metal. For eight of the cars, I decided to buy the "Barber-Bettendorf" trucks by Bachmann. Two components of the kit, however, specifically the UP#806 Tender, and the Great Northern #42764 Flat Log Car, have three-axle trucks. So, I bought a 12-pack of 36" wheel sets (p/n 42903) and proceeded to upgrade both cars' wheels. Only after I was done, I noticed the wheels might be different sizes, particularly that the original log-car wheels are smaller (maybe 33"?) and there seems to be slight friction in the running. Does anyone have experience in this regard, and does anyone know the proper original wheel sizes?  If my suspicion is correct, I might purchase another 12-pack of wheels, but in 33". Thank you!


36" wheels on freight cars is a fairly modern phenomenon, but really, if you paint them black, you'll never see the difference. Just paint them, use them, live life onward, and enjoy your Railroad.

Last count I had around 600 or 700 cars from all through the years, enough to give 50 of them away without feeling anything. Considering that my layout really only likes 30 cars at a time on it, I'd call myself an average model railroader that doesn't know when to quit.  I envy an acquaintance who sold a similar accumulation and has since held himself to 20 cars of outstanding high detail and quality, resin kits and laser cut kits all far beyond the universe of plastic RTR cars like the silver series.

 Most of my cars have 33 inch wheels.  A few came with 36 inch wheels but I just painted them out and any difference in appearance has vanished. Smaller wheels mean lower couplers and I didn't feel like fooling with any of that.


Someone might ask, why so many cars? Of course, the reason is that I like them. But in my case, I'm dedicated to specific period-accurate modeling. All my purchases have always been very carefully curated with time periods and route traffic in mind. I have several groups of cars dedicated to different periods, with some crossover between each. I can make a 1920 train, a 1930s train, a 1940s train or an up to 1960 train.

The cars specifically dedicated to the early 1920s are mostly 36 foot wood truss-rod boxcars and stock cars. But then I have a large collection of wood sided 40 foot box cars, both single sheathed and double sheathed.  I do also run 40 foot steel gondolas, and 36 foot tank cars in those trains too.  For the 1930s, I remove the the truss rod cars, leaving the rest on, and add the very early 40 foot steel short height AAR box cars, dating from before the times when railroads painted slogan on them. For the 1940s, the taller height AAR steel box cars appear, some with advertising slogans for the Railroad, like route of this or route of that.

I have not ever done the 1950s yet because I have to put diesels on the railroad and I don't want to do that. Since my road is set in the Southwest, I only have a very few cars from Northern roads, actually may be three New York Central cars and that's it.

I also chose my cars with the railroad's traffic in mind. I've always done a branchline, but sometimes I'll choose the setting of dominant oil traffic for a while. I have 30 tank cars or so for this.  I also have at least 30 covered hoppers that I don't ever use anymore. They were intended for either salt mine traffic or rice industry traffic, both of which I run at times. The trouble with the covered hoppers is that I found out later they really didn't run hauling either commodity until the 1950s, which I hardly ever replicate, even though I can.  I keep the cars for that day that I might put a GP7 on the layout to handle them.  But so far, in 15 years, not one diesel has polished a rail on my layout and I don't see it anytime in the future.  I also probably have 25 gondolas and 25 hoppers for gravel pit traffic which I'm running right now.  And I have at least 20 or 25 40 foot Refrigerator Cars that have no business on my Railroad, since priority refrigerated traffic rarely ran down branchlines, and I don't have an industry to support them. They did occasionally function as box cars when being returned otherwise-empty to produce growth regions , though, and I'll run a couple from time to time with that in mind.

The 50 cars I gave away were all from my earliest purchases where my appreciation for detail and accuracy wasn't refined very well yet, largely Athearn blue box kits.  They've all found their way onto the layout of a 12-year-old kid in upstate New York. I hope that kid appreciates all the custom stirrups, scale brakewheels, metal wheels, and Kadee couplers that they all got.


The 42764 Flat Log Car come with 33" wheels out of the box. I suspect your tender wheels are also 33".

If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.


Bachmann makes a lot better steam engines now than the Chattanooga choo-choo 0-6-0 you had.  I have had just about every Spectrum steam engine they've ever made besides the 0-6-0 and its variants, the articulated engines, the geared engines, and the 1800s 4-4-0.   They have all run remarkably well on DCC power, although some need decoder adjustments to really run slowly.

Talking about running slowly. If that's what you want out of your steam engines, you need to convert your layout to DCC power. They have motor control variables that will let you slow those engines down that you can hardly see them move at all.  If you think your engine runs slowly now, wait till you crawl a DCC one. You will be astounded like I was.

And, if you don't have a large layout, crawling your engines around is as satisfying, if not more, than trying to run a long train on a layout that's not really big enough for it...... like so many of them are.

Financially, DCC is initially stiff, but from what you said, once you try it, you'll never go back. The day I figured out how to slow my engines down on DCC was a landmark day in my long Model Railroad life.

Your 4-8-4 will need a decoder and speaker to run on DCC. If you go that route, I suggest you buy a ready to run DCC steam engine first to enjoy while you get the 4-8-4 converted.  Bachmann has a bunch of them. Any one of them you choose, i've had one, and I can provide a little introductory prep information for you.


Quote from: trainman203 on July 15, 2023, 04:12:00 PMBachmann makes a lot better steam engines now than the Chattanooga choo-choo 0-6-0 you had.

That is a Tyco CHattanooga set he had. The steam version was either a 2-8-0 or 0-8-0 with a power truck hidden in the tender. It was completely different than the Bachmann 0-6-0.

Quote from: trainman203 on July 15, 2023, 04:12:00 PMYour 4-8-4 will need a decoder and speaker to run on DCC. 

You are confusing DCC with DCC/Sound. They are NOT the same. A DCC conversion does not NEED a speaker, and is far easier and less expensive than a DCC/Sound conversion. You do not NEED sound to gain the benefits of DCC operation.
Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA

Terry Toenges

The Chattanooga loco was an 0-8-0. I had one of those sets a long time ago.
Feel like a Mogul.


Yes but the benefits of DCC with sound, to me, are inseparable. Some people don't need or like the sound. I can't live without it.


Am I imagining things? I was certain that Bachmann had a Chattanooga choo-choo 0-6-0.

If they had a Chattanooga 0-8-0, it must've been a conversion from the old pancake motor consolidation from way back.

Terry Toenges

Feel like a Mogul.


Oh.  That's why. Nevertheless, I still make the general statement that today's HO scale steam locomotives are astronomically improvements over models from earlier years. 

Mantua was tyco's predecessor. Back in the 1960s, I had two of their steam engines, the 2-8-2 and the 0-4-0 shifter. Even with open frame motors, they ran reasonably well for their time, especially compared to the beautiful brass engines with terrible operation quality. The problem with Mantua and later Tyco was that everything was overscaled 5 to 10%, especially the shifter, which was almost as big as today's Bachmann consolidation.

Nevertheless, I had as much or more fun with those hulking things as I do today with much more finely scaled engines.