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Author Topic: Weights for Flat Cars  (Read 5931 times)
Yampa Bob


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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2008, 02:10:00 AM »

I just bought another locomotive, my wife won't give me any more pennies.

If you want to save money, here's a hint.  Visit your local tire dealer.  Mine gave me a bucket full of old weights removed from wheels.  Hammer them out thin, form to the space available and epoxy them in. 


I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.

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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2008, 05:48:33 AM »

Found a way to make pulverized lead:  grind it off of a bar (junk batteries make the best material source) using a sanding disc with the coarsest grit you can find.  If you can, try to use a variable speed tool and put it on the slowest speed.  Let the chips fall into a container.  When done, mix the chips with an epoxy compound so that it is just binding-not too much epoxy; it would defeat the purpose,  and install it wherever you want the weight to be.  This way, you can use a couple of 5/8ths nuts in a boxcar, etc,, put this compound into the bores, and you have some pretty good weight over the axles, which is where you would probably want it anyway.
I have used this idea with the nuts and lead shot, but am going to do the powdered version, as it is denser.  Polycarbonate resin cars like F&C products might be a great recipient.



Atlantic Central

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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2008, 09:08:27 AM »

I replace almost all freight car trucks with metal ones from Kadee, and I replace the Kadee wheel sets with metal axle ones from Intermountain.

The added weight of these trucks is almost always enough for any cars that are a little light. The weght is added where it is most effective, down low. Plus, this combination produces an extremely free rolling car that increases the pulling capacity of all my locos.

I also have found over the years that sprung, equalized trucks track much better with fewer derailments and are just plain smoother running through trunouts and crossings. So if the correct trucks for the piece of equipment are available sprung, and roll well or will do so with different wheel sets, I will be spending the money for the conversion.

My one exception to this is six wheel trucks. I have found sprung six wheel trucks do not proform noticably better than their rigid counterparts, so while I will retrofit wheelsets for better rolling quaility, i seldom replace the trucks - example, my large fleet of Athearn heavyweight passenger cars.

The self centering version of the Kadee trucks lends itself to easy retro fit onto most rolling stock on the market these days and has the added benifit of making the equipment easier to place on the track.

I also install genuine Kadee couplers on ALL equipment.

On the rare occasion that a car is too light, I use the stick on weights or moldable lead from A-Line. since its a rare occasion, I don't worry about the cost of those somewhat pricey items from A-line, they work nice and are convenient.

No bird shot, condoms, lead weights, glue, rolled solder, smashed up wheel weights, spent 50 cal. mini balls, pennys, or other unprototypical stuff clinging to the bottom or inside my rolling stock if I cad help it.

Simple, straight forward, killing three birds with one stone. Not the cheapest solution but easy and effective. I my humble opinion, in most cases, you do get what you pay for.

Woody Elmore

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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2008, 09:53:22 AM »

Sheldon, I agree. When I belonged to an HO club in the 70s and 80s they required metal trucks and Kadee couplers. I had a fondness for Tru-scale metal trucks (long out of production). The cars generally didn't require added weight after truck replacement.

By the way, if you look at the center sill casting for a lot of HO cars, they are actually a channel so you could put in bird shot or solder and it wouldn't be visible once attached to the underframe.

Maybe if they brought back the old MDC and Ulrich line of white metal cars, weight wouldn't be an issue. If you haver ever had one of these cars you know why they sold Hobbytown engines. That was about all that was available to pull them.

I think that the people messing with lead should be careful; it is dangerous stuff, especially if children should be around. Leave it to plumbers.
Larry Green

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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2008, 10:35:58 AM »

To add to Woody's comment about the trailing truck, the idea of wrapping solder around the axle was passed on to me, also. For G1 cars, I use 1/8" dia. solid solder; 1/32" or so would be good for HO. A drop or two of CA adhesive holds the coil in place. Something very important--do not let the coil of solder contact the back of the wheels and bridge the wheel insulation, like I did once. Instant short!
Placing the weight on the axle, instead of the car body, eliminates any extra load on the truck bearings and lowers the center of gravity for better tracking, what I was able to accomplish with a string of 4-wheel dump cars


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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2008, 01:49:38 PM »

Dear Rich,

I am very impressed with the quality of your posts.  IMHO I would suggest being very careful with grinding Pb and possible ingestion or inhalation and lead poisoning. Very nasty stuff. (I quit casting bullets for that reason and buy them in bulk.) It killed our good friend Beethoven.

Dear Bob,

I used to get wheel weights and cast them into ingots to mix for casting lead bullets. Their Zn and Ab content makes them pretty hard. Neat idea to pound them out.

Of all the ideas, I really like the lead solder wound around the axles.

Best Wishes,


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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2008, 01:57:32 PM »

I have been using some sheet lead I bought from a scrap yard years ago.  I replace the lighter metal weight with one or two layers of the 1/8 thick lead depending on space and weight needed.  Plumbers used to use lead for vent stacks and surrounding flashing on older homes.

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