I'm looking to upgrade an MPC-era Train Master with traction tires but need help deciding how to do it. I'd prefer to just buy Lionel NOS trucks with traction tires already installed. Thing is, the axle configuration on these newer trucks is different (see pics below), and my hunch is it may have had to do with varying successes in traction. Naturally I'd only want to move forward if there is a notable traction improvement.

 

In the postwar/MPC trains, all four powered wheels had flanges and no traction tires:

 

old

 

 

In the TMCC/Pullmor trains (the trucks I'd buy from Lionel), only the outer two powered wheels had flanges and traction tires yet the inner driven wheels have neither - to me they don't even look like the inner powered wheels contact the rail, and if so, to me it says traction might not be better than a postwar/MPC era truck with MagneTraction:

 

tmcc

 

 

The Legacy/DC motor trucks reverted back to postwar/MPC configuration with all four powered wheels with flanges (and traction tires on the inner wheels). This kinda makes me think Lionel discovered that the TMCC/Pullmor trucks with just one flanged set of powered wheels even with traction tires wasn't a traction improvement over the postwar/MPC configuration:

 

legacy

 

 

So those with the TMCC/Pullmor Train Master, do you feel those trucks will provide a traction improvement over the postwar/MPC trucks?

 

In answer to the rhetorical, in the past I've tried twice in upgrading only traction tire wheels on postwar/MPC trucks. I was successful but it was a slow expensive slog in finding the right axles, in addition to damaging a fair number of axles and wheels.

 

Thanks all!

 

 

 

 

 

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I have all the MPC and Lionel TMCC Postwar Remakes along with the Conventional Classic FM's and I have not noticed any difference in pulling power with any of them.

They all seem to run and pull about the same

Mark

TCA, LCCA,

All Lionel!!

Postwar, MPC, LTI Standard O, PWC, CC, Plasticville..All the way!!!!

 

I suspect the traction tires will make a significant difference, you'll have to determine if it's worth the effort to install them. 

pull the wheel off and insert the axle into a drill press with the other wheel still attached. I used a small file held against the wheel to cut the groove. When that wheel is finished pull it off the axle and reinstall the other wheel and cut the groove. When finished put back into truck and reinstall the wheel. Add tires and your are finished. I did this with with F3's and it improved traction.
Romiller

Rod Miller

Originally Posted by romiller49:
pull the wheel off and insert the axle into a drill press with the other wheel still attached. I used a small file held against the wheel to cut the groove. When that wheel is finished pull it off the axle and reinstall the other wheel and cut the groove. When finished put back into truck and reinstall the wheel. Add tires and your are finished. I did this with with F3's and it improved traction.
Romiller

 

Great idea, thanks. I just tried it and each of my three files made absolutely no headway on the wheel. Will try to pick up a more aggressive file tomorrow.

I used a file that was about 1/8th inch thick. The edge needs to be placed with the teeth cutting at the most aggressive direction. Make sure the axle is placed all the way into the spindle so the wheel is all that is showing. Now you can use a lot of file pressure to cut into the wheel. I would say each wheel took about 10 minutes to complete the cut.
Romiller

Rod Miller

Does this engine have two powered trucks or just one?  If it has two powered trucks, you should be able to add some weight and pull quite a few cars, even without traction tires. 

I currently have ~40 postwar cars on my tube track run (and the first 15 have 1/2 lb of ballast each), and I'd like to pull that with ease with a single conventional loco. I also like tinkering.

 

The loco has two powered trucks. I did add ~3 lbs of steel weight, and it helped some, but not enough - the loco can get things moving on the straight with a fair amount of wheel spin but can never quite hook up and then will spin out in the curves.

 

I upgraded a conventional GG1 to traction tire wheels and a bit of weight and it pulls those same ~40 cars with ease, and could probably pull 50-55+ before it starts drawing excess current. I couldn't find drop-in traction tire trucks so it was a brutal slog finding the right combo of axles and wheels that would fit, plus I had to shim and fine tune the fit. Would like to avoid that if possible. I will give the file/drill press method a go.

 

 

This all reminds me of the long ago days of Custom Trains.  Their first FM was set up in the PW traditional style with regards to trucks and axles.  Tires were installed on both geared axles.  There were also slots for external mounted wheel magnets - not supplied. The motors used in these things was a pair of non flywheel Mabuchi cans.  And they were huge!  Pulling power was off the chart. So, unfortunately, was the control of these motors with the old Lionel power supplies.  Newer versions featured smaller can motors with flywheels, and better control.  These were stealth imports by Mike Wolf, done while he was still working with Lionel.  I would think that the original Lionel FM set up with tires on the geared axles would be a fearsome puller.

Originally Posted by jaygee:

This all reminds me of the long ago days of Custom Trains.  Their first FM was set up in the PW traditional style with regards to trucks and axles.  Tires were installed on both geared axles.  There were also slots for external mounted wheel magnets - not supplied. The motors used in these things was a pair of non flywheel Mabuchi cans.  And they were huge!  Pulling power was off the chart. So, unfortunately, was the control of these motors with the old Lionel power supplies.  Newer versions featured smaller can motors with flywheels, and better control.  These were stealth imports by Mike Wolf, done while he was still working with Lionel.  I would think that the original Lionel FM set up with tires on the geared axles would be a fearsome puller.

 

There are always a few of those Custom Trains units listed for sale on various sites, and almost always for great prices ($150 or less).

 

I've also experimented with DC motors and conventional control. The issue I found is the electronic reversing units do okay with light loads but with heavy loads they jerk too much on starup, which will pop couplers or lifts cars off the track, causing a mess.

Originally Posted by Jim 1939:

Well it is your engine but I think you are overloading it. For me 40 cars would be a 2 engine train.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing .

 

I currently have 3 first gen postwar NW2 switchers pulling it now. I do however have a (single) conventional GG1 that pulls it fine, and it draws 4.5A at ~40 scale mph. By my research the Pullmor motor is good for 2.5A each and I figure that the Train Master should be about the same, so it (and the GG1) shouldn't be overloaded.

So I bought the NOS traction tire trucks as shown in pic #2 above. Sure enough, the middle wheels do not contact the rail, yielding only 4 drive wheels. However, luckily, pulling power has increased by ~20% on tube track and ~100% on non-magnetic track.

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