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How to Stop Wheel Flanges Catching

Raymond has OO gauge trains and has this question:

“With some of my older loco’s I have problems with the wheel flanges catching on the sleeper chairs. As some of the wheels are impossible to change, is there any safe way I can reduce the diameter of the wheel flanges without too much trouble?”

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3 Responses to How to Stop Wheel Flanges Catching

  • Bob Hsays:

    Old loco’s wheels were designed for the old track. Modern code 100 or code 75 uses much lower profile rails.
    The only options are to change the wheels or get them turned down. There is only half a mm or so and the flanges tend to be very hard. Some makers sell up to date wheels others don’t.
    I am going to try putting the axle set in a power drill and offering it up to a rotating grinder. Will see how it goes.
    My friend tried to turn the flanges down but only succeeded in breaking both the axle and his lathe tool.
    Best of luck.

  • Frank Bsays:

    The easiest option is to get a compatible modern wheelset that can be adapted to the loco.

    I have successfully turned down wheel flanges by removing the wheel set, running the axle in a (made) wire holder, flange against a grinding wheel, so it rotates and remains even. I did this in a mini lathe, so I could accurately control the amount removed.
    It is a long and troublesome process, but may be worthwhile if you are fond of the loco.

    If you try to do it in situ, powering the motor and holding the wheels against a file or rough abrasive surface, there will be a massive amount of metal filings that must be thoroughly cleaned away afterwards (possibly with high pressure air).

  • Bob Hsays:

    1 – I agree with Franks first remedy.
    2 – A dealer suggested putting the removed axle (assuming you have a big enough chuck) in a battery drill and using a v sharp craft knife to gradually turn down the flanges.
    There are two companies in the UK who might help.
    Ultrascale.uk can supply new wheels ( I have ordered a set of DMU wheels, for its power bogie so haven’t yet tried turning)
    another can re profile wheels. try searching on model train rewinds.
    There are tables of standard dimensions to help you.
    If you use HP air, PLEASE use eye protection!

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