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Replacing Plastic Wheel Sets With Non-Magnetic

Online Train Club member Byran asks readers for opinions on replacing wheel sets and truck:

“Is it worth replacing plastic wheel sets (axle with two wheels attached) with the non-magnetic ones? I heard replacing wheelsets is difficult and wondered if replacing entire trucks might be a better option? I’ve also been told that metal wheels roll smoother and stay on the track better… is that true?”

3 Responses to Replacing Plastic Wheel Sets With Non-Magnetic

  • W Rusty Lanesays:

    Yes. It is definitely worth it to change out plastic wheel sets with metal wheel sets. Many clubs won´t allow plastic wheel sets and they also recommend the use of Kadee couplers before they will let you run on their layouts. I just changed all my rolling stock to metal wheel sets and got rid of all the plastic ones. The main reason for doing this is that plastic wheels´ movement over the metal trackage causes the plastic wheels to attract dust, dirt and grime from a static charge. This does not happen with metal wheel sets. A lot of my modeler friends use Intermountain metal wheel sets, but I prefer the Walthers Proto 2000 turned metal wheel sets. I also changed out all of my truck mounted couplers to body mounted Kadee couplers. I think I have over 50 pieces of rolling stock and the cost was incredible to change over. I spent well over $200.00 in the initial outlay to do the change over. Now when I purchase rolling stock, I make sure that I get those with metal wheel sets and body mounted Kadee couplers. If you try to replace the trucks and wheel sets you´re gonna spend some $$ to do this. Just changing the wheel sets was costly enough not to mention the cost of the Kadee couplers as well. By using body mounted Kadee couplers and metal wheel sets you can make up some very long trains and they will stay on the tracks without derailments. Hope this will help. Happy railroading!

  • Kevinsays:

    Hi Byran,
    I always change the plastic wheel sets for steel ones the increase in cost is well worth the effort. You can get replacement steel wheels to suit most trucks other wise you can change the trucks as well but this is an added cost. I am not sure what the hobby shops sell them for in your area but here in New Zealand they cost around $12.00-$16.00 per set of of 12 wheels or about $18.00 per set of two trucks trucks with couplers attached are more expensive

  • Billsays:

    Bryan,
    I will only run one manufacturer of trucks(Tichy) with one manufacturer of wheels (Intermountain). The Intermountain are metal and they fit snugly in the Tichy trucks. Cost is a touch over $3.00 per car. I buy very few ready made cars but even those I change out. I also keep a “truck tuner” (from Micro-Mark) handy if the wheels don’t turn for a minimum of 10 seconds when flicked by a finger when in the trucks. Use what ever combination works for you but buy in bulk if you want to minimize costs. Stick with one piece trucks, no sprung tucks, models don’t have the weight to get any benefit from sprung trucks.

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