I just notice that in my Lionel 773 38015 same as the Centry Clubs 18058  .the  owners manual mentioned that they included a set of  non traction  Center wheels .... Why...?  I do not plan on pulling 20 cars I have a L shape  layout that uses 042 curves.. Only thing I notice is when running slow on the curves its sort of choppy . ( I thought because of tall it is) .. but after reading  Lionel made a set I was wondering if anybody indeed changed over to non-traction wheels in their   773 or other steamers  and maybe that choppyness will be eliminated......thanks for the info...daniel

Original Post

usually on curves the light weight cars tend to pull inward on the curves, that why the newer cars are weighted to prevent that. I'm sure if you try tried heavier weight cars they won't pull inward! usually on the post war small engines the small tenders are very light and when pulling a lot of cars the tender will pull inward and derail! 

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Thanks for the reply .. But I have no problem with the tender or cars just the choppiness on curves with the loco only and only at slow speeds ...  faster I do not see a problem.. too me it seems to grab the curves and just wondering if anyone removed them and notice a smoother  Loco going around the curves..  

Short update I finally found the correct center wheels with out traction tire.. If you have a L shape layout like I do YOU need them! if you run a plain oval  you probably be fine  ,but with my right hand turns to make the L I can see how (but do not know why) the  center wheel shifts  off center evan though nothing derails or comes off..  Plus I notice start up is not jerky and stopping is not like a newbie driver hitting the brakes.. Also because of this I can run at supper slow speeds before it  slowed down on curves and had to make it run faster than it does now..daniel

"usually on curves the light weight cars tend to pull inward on the curves"

It's called "stringlining" or "string lining", and can happen (very rarely does) on real railroads for the same reason. A real train is usually not assembled with a lot of light or empty cars toward the front; we see this issue in model trains, too. It's realistic to keep these car weights in mind.

You're not imagining it, yes they do run smoother!  Back in Postwar days when operation on O31 was the norm, locos had at most ONE traction tire.  MPC-era diesels had two traction tires on the same side of the truck, which was still ok (see analysis in the next paragraph.)  But putting tires on opposite sides of the same axle is a modern-era thing.  You might get away with it on O72, but for sharp curves it's a devil's bargain to increase pulling power at the expense of smoothness and realism. 

On sharp curves such as O42 and below, the curved path traced by the outside rail is noticeably longer than that of the inside rail.  Each set of wheels on the locomotive is rigidly connected to the axle.  So when the loco enters a curve, to accommodate this difference in length, one or both wheels have to skid.  Rubber tires on both sides of the same axle inhibit this from happening.  So momentarily, perhaps a couple of times per second while the loco is navigating a sharp curve, there's a sudden increase in friction.  This can cause the loco to slow down or stall.  As you've already surmised, this is most noticeable when you're running the loco by itself.  When you're pulling a train, the sudden increase in friction is masked by the drag and momentum of the train.  But when you're pulling the loco out of the engine house and it suddenly enters a sharp curve, it will lurch and hesitate, destroying any illusion of realism.

I'm not sure why your center wheel shifts more in one direction than the other.  That's the axle with the main drive gear.  You might check the side-to-side play, and the free play in the driving rods.  You're fortunate that  your Hudson is designed to be "convertible."  Another benefit of using the non-tired wheel is better ground electrical pickup.  I despise rubber tires.  For the reasons above and others not mentioned here, I would remove them from every loco I own, if it were easy to do so!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

What @Ted S wrote above is right on the mark, at least by my experience.

I have 027 curves and over time noticed my MPC era Lionel engines seemed to run more smoothly through curves than did many of my K-Line engines. The S-2, Alco FA, RDC and MP-15 for the most part all have 4 traction tires mounted diagonally (one on the left of one axle, and the other on the right side of the second axle) on each truck. There were some made that had the traction tires on the same side and a few that had them on each side on the same axle.

So I started experimenting, removing all the traction tires save for one or maybe two. I have found that the engines run better and "growl" less on tight curves on my layout. It also bears considering that the Mabuchi motors used in these lower end locomotives are not as nice as a larger vertically mounted motor. And I'm sure MDK was using the cheapest motors he could find. The Lionel engines with the same type of truck mounted motors do run better without as much tinkering.

Still, reducing the number of traction tires has helped with their running on tight 027 curves. I may not be a "scale guy" who tries to run my trains at a scale one mile per hour, but I don't run them at racing car speed either. But I do like to run them more slowly and steady - albeit in a more non-scale "toyish" environment - and doing this has absolutely helped to this aim.

DanssuperO posted:

Hey TED S... you got me thinking why didn't Lionel or any other train manufacture use what we have in our cars (rear end)  a differential to help ?I know cost but would it help? ...daniel

Cost would likely be prohibitive for something that was reasonably reliable.

I've raised the question about traction tires in the past.  If post-war Lionel didn't have them, why then are they so prevelant on modern locos ?   Why wasn't Magne-Traction used on new production ? 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Because a lot of track is nonferrous, and not magnetic.  Think Atlas, and the several manufacturer's stainless track.  Also, Magne-Traction isn't a panacea, it adds drag.  When you're going around curves, you don't really want additional drag.  Another issue with Magne-Traction is it picks up magnetic junk around the track and nicely delivers it to gears.

Finally, Magne-Traction is expensive to implement, much more so than traction tires.  That's probably one primary reason.

Lionel didn't have Magne-traction... at least until 1950.  Many high-quality trains were made from 1938-1949 and run just fine without it.  It's a gimmick that American Flyer couldn't easily match, and it helped sell toys to kids.  It might help a little to keep locos hold the curves at insane speeds.  And as GRJ said, it's great for finding screws and metallic debris that fall near the track.

How steep are your grades?  How big is your layout, and how many cars are you trying to pull?  MPC and newer cars roll freely.  If you're using postwar cars, first consider MPC, and then have you tried oiling the axles?  Most of us would be better off without rubber tires OR Magne-traction.  If your layout is really that big, maybe you could adopt me!?

Sparky I'm not advocating that you should remove the tire from a grooved wheel.  If you're an expert machinist or train repair person, you might be able to replace the grooved wheel with a smooth one.  Unfortunately I'm neither, and except for a few locos like the original poster's Hudson, the manufacturers don't give us a choice.    Oh that's right... in HO scale MTH does include two wheelsets in the box.  But us O-gaugers don't know better, and will buy the product anyway!   

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

OK. Can you run a loco without the rubber (traction) tires, just on the grooved metal rims? Will this cause irreparable damage to the wheels? 

I have also found a couple of my more modern Lionel steam loco's with multiple drive wheels (Boy Scouts Of America 0-8-0 & Santa Fe 0-8-0) have a hard time getting around the top end curve (O31) of my "L" shaped layout. Is this due to the number of traction tyres on these multiple wheeled loco's?

Can I remove the traction tyres and run the loco's without causing any damage to the wheels? I use "Buco" 3 rail brass track and switches exclusively on my layout - cause it looks sooooo good!!!!

Peter (Buco tragic) on the fabulous Gold Coast in sunny Queensland, Australia.  

This traction tire thing seems to be an ongoing and never ending thing to the likes of what track brand to use or which smoke fluid, you get the idea.
I read so much on here when I was new about how bad or frustrating it was to change these things. Granted my first time around wasn’t exactly fun but I actually don’t mind changing them and find it quite easy, just takes some patience.
Ive been going through a big career change recently and train time has fallen off sharply. With that said there should be a big change around soon for more free time.
 Long story short, I’ll have to make a video of my method for replacing traction tires and hopefully it helps people out there. 


Rob (Sparky)

Peter you could sacrifice a couple of tires and try it for a little while.  I know nothing about Buco track.  It's possible that the railhead will "stick" in the groove, causing derailments or worse operation than you have now.  For certain the loco will not sit level on the track.  If the rail is harder than the wheel, running it this way could eventually mess up the groove, making it difficult to install a tire in the future.

Your loco struggles because the rigid wheelbase of four driving axles is long relative to the diameter of the curve.  This causes some binding and a lot of skidding.  Rubber tires inhibit skidding.  The torque of that tiny motor at typical RPMs isn't sufficient to overcome the added drag, so it struggles.  On O31, I would stick to an 0-6-0 or 0-4-0.  The new LionChief Plus A5 is geared pretty well.  With its shorter wheelbase, it might negotiate O31 smoothly without slowing or lurching.  An MTH Docksider (with NO rubber tires) should run great up there!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Thanks Ted S:

I'll do a little experimenting, but you had a good point that the brass "bullhead" rail profile of my track may very well get jammed in the traction tyre grooves, and this may cause the loco to derail on curves and turnouts.

Watch this space.

Peter (Buco tragic) 

GRJ's reply to my question about why Magne-Traction isn't used more extensively make alot of sense.  

TED S posted the fact that trains ran just fine before Magne-Traction.

I know from experience that my oldest Lionel locos, the ones made between the end of the war up to just before Magne-Traction was implemented, do not pull as well as the identical locomotive equipped with M-T.

So the next step, in my mind, would be to add weight at the factory.  Isn't that what gives locomotives in the real world the power pull heavy trains ?

 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:

GRJ's reply to my question about why Magne-Traction isn't used more extensively make alot of sense.  

TED S posted the fact that trains ran just fine before Magne-Traction.

I know from experience that my oldest Lionel locos, the ones made between the end of the war up to just before Magne-Traction was implemented, do not pull as well as the identical locomotive equipped with M-T.

So the next step, in my mind, would be to add weight at the factory.  Isn't that what gives locomotives in the real world the power pull heavy trains ?

 

Dan, you might be on to something mentioning how real locomotives do it....here’s the next evolution for Vision Line....operating sand tubes!!!...that’ll gum up the works!........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Dan you didn't say which locos they are, or how many cars you're trying to pull.  If the loco is a 1655, 1666, or 2026, some of the difference could be due to the greater friction from sliding shoes vs. roller pickups.  If the tension isn't correct the shoes can actually lift the driving wheels off the track!!  Another possibility is the tender.  Just like a real railroad, you have to think in terms of NET pulling power at the tender coupler.  A lot of post-1950 tenders were lighter than their 1940s counterparts, leaving less reserve pulling power for the train. 

Adding weight will help.  Lionel did exactly that with 726 Berkshire beginning with the 1948 model.  The prewar 763E had a hefty weight above the gearbox.  The 773 got Magne-traction instead.  Don't overdo it.  Weight adds wear to the bearings, and you still want the driving wheels to spin.  A little wheelspin when starting is prototypical, and if the loco stalls when overloaded you can burn out the motor.

I believe that sintered iron wheels get a better grip on the track than the steel tires used on 1940s locos.  If the wheels aren't worn smooth, a non-magnetized loco from the 1950s may still pull more than its 1940s counterpart.  A much fairer test would be a 2037 vs. a 2018, or a 2046 vs. a 2056 with identical tenders in each case.  I would bet the added pull from Magne-traction is at most one or two freight cars.  It mostly depends on how clean the wheels are, and how worn they are too.

I'm a big fan of MPC and newer cars with fast angle wheels.  I had an O27 layout for years.  Pretty much any die-cast, 6-drivered loco I tested could pull enough MPC cars to chase its own tail around the 4x8.  What are you trying to pull?  When was the last time you lubricated your car axles?  And if you have a 110 trestle set, all bets are off.  Nothing realistic about it, that's roller-coaster territory!!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Dan Padova posted:
So the next step, in my mind, would be to add weight at the factory.  Isn't that what gives locomotives in the real world the power pull heavy trains ?

This is a picture I've posted before, though I've actually added weight to a bunch of different locomotives.  The before and after for this unit was like night and day.  I added a bit over a pound of weight near the trucks, and this went from an anemic puller to a robust locomotive.  It was having trouble pulling five 18" cars on a 2% grade, after adding weight it was hauling a dozen cars the same grade without any issue.

BTW, it already does have traction tires, so weight is certainly a major factor.

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gunrunnerjohn posted:
Dan Padova posted:
So the next step, in my mind, would be to add weight at the factory.  Isn't that what gives locomotives in the real world the power pull heavy trains ?

This is a picture I've posted before, though I've actually added weight to a bunch of different locomotives.  The before and after for this unit was like night and day.  I added a bit over a pound of weight near the trucks, and this went from an anemic puller to a robust locomotive.  It was having trouble pulling five 18" cars on a 2% grade, after adding weight it was hauling a dozen cars the same grade without any issue.

BTW, it already does have traction tires, so weight is certainly a major factor.

GunrunnerJohn, where did you get those weights, and how much does each one weigh?

Your weights look like they are the ideal shape and size for installing them inside a locomotive. I imagine you used double stick tape to affix them. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Those are 230 grain .45ACP Lead bullets.  I didn't like them for their intended purpose, but they work great as weights for trains.  Those are around 18 oz of weight.

FWIW:

Think of traction tires as the model equivalent of the real thing having sanders on permanently.' If the real thing was running on our grades I expect that would be the condition.
I suspect that if the driver rims are steel and the track is brass/nickel silver, running w/o traction tires *should* not cause significant wear.
On occasion when a traction tire has expired inconveniently (no replacement at hand)  I've filled the groove with rubber sealant. Works, but you have to be careful not to leave lumps...ask me how I know.
I have a Lionel Reading T-1 sans tires. Runs fine with the sort of train I can run at our club. Requires a little throttle jockeying when starting, which adds to the fun.

I would settle for any reduction in tractive force due to elimination of traction tires. They leave residue on the tracks, I don't enjoy changing them, and I don't like the grooved wheels. However, I have never noticed adverse effects on operation due to traction tires.

MELGAR

Okay, how about we throw in another wrench to the gears of our minds.  So we add weight to our toy trains to make them better pullers.  Does the added weight, which was no intended for by the designer, place the motor and gears in any more danger of wearing prematurely ?

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:

Okay, how about we throw in another wrench to the gears of our minds.  So we add weight to our toy trains to make them better pullers.  Does the added weight, which was no intended for by the designer, place the motor and gears in any more danger of wearing prematurely ?

Of course it does if you add more cars to the train because the weight and traction tires enable them to be pulled. The extra weight, cars and tires increase the tractive force which increases the torque required to turn the driving wheels. This requires the motor to produce additional torque and increases the current (amperage) draw. The extra torque will also result in larger contact and friction forces in the motor and drive gears - and thus more rapid wear. The difference in wear may not be a problem but it will occur. No different than on a full-sized engine and train.

MELGAR

DanssuperO posted:

Hey TED S... you got me thinking why didn't Lionel or any other train manufacture use what we have in our cars (rear end)  a differential to help ?I know cost but would it help? ...daniel

Just trying to envision "Limited slip side rods" on a steam loco.

It would be possible in a diesel at some complexity.  "COST"  This problem is what prompted MPC to develop the fast angle wheel for rolling stock.  Even real railroads use a tapered tread on car wheels and the head of the rail is not perfectly flat so the truck rides to the outside of the curve putting the fat larger diameter inside section of the tread on the outside rail and the smaller diameter outside of the tread aligns for the inner rail.

          I could see a fast spinning axle with magnets spinning on each end inside a cup behind each wheel.  The wheels would spin free on the axle propelled by the eddy currents of the spinning magnets "eddy current clutch". Allowing differential between the inside and outside wheel.    WHEW !  You would need a 48 month loan the pay for your next Plymouth switcher.  

    Kidding aside,  Eddy Current Clutches are quite effective in model train drives allowing for very smooth low speed operation.          j

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