How to quarter drivers on captive axles

I'm converting a 3 rail Lionel 4-8-2 to 2 rail.  I had the wheels turned down and insulated.

The 4-8-2 I'm using has captive axles.  The axles can be removed, but you can't install and quarter both wheels prior to installing, just  one of the wheels.

I have the wheels pressed on.  How do you press the wheels on and keep them quartered?  Do you just do them individually or do you make some type of jig and try to hold all 4 wheels on one side in a set position them press the others on at a set position?

Any help would be appreciated.

Original Post

In theory, you could do each axle individually.      If all 4 axles are quartered, then they should work together just fine.

When pressing them on the axle, you need to do it carefully so they remain quartered.    Micromark sells a tool/jig for quartering HO scale drivers, but I don't think they have one for O Size drivers.

I don't know what kind of mech this loco has.   If all the axles are geared like old Lionel, then the quartering can be pretty loose since the gears transfer power, and you can set the side rods loose enough to make up for errors.

If the loco has a single gearbox on one axle, and then the side rods transfer power to the other axles the quartering has to be pretty accurate.  

There is a custom builder in Calif that took over the Jerry White business, that might do this for you.   I can't find his name now, but I will continue looking.

Thanks for the reply.  It is a gearbox on one axle.

I think you mean Rod Miller who took over for Jerry White.  I sent him a couple emails, never heard back.  I'd like to try it first though.

I'll have to press one at a time.  I was hoping someone that had done this could tell me what they did.  I think I will put the side rod on the one side and try to hold it in place then press the wheels on at 90 degrees rotated.


I have not done it, but I have seen guys do it in HO.   they do one axle at a time.   

When you have them done and the side rods installed, test roll the chassis without gearbox and motor installed to see if it rolls freely.   If so, you have it.    If there is a bind, back to the work bench.

Yes it was Rod Miller I was thinking of.   I did see him at the last O scale show in chicago area, but did not talk to him.    I don't know whether he is is still in business or not.

Here is how I did it:

First, center-drill all axles.  After all, real locomotives are usually drilled, often all the way through.  Choose a drill size that matches the diameter of some wire you have.  For instance, .040 wire is the same size as a #60 drill.

Then lay out two aluminum plates - each will have the same size holes as your axles, spaced exactly as your axles.  A trial fit with wire is next - make sure little pieces of your wire will go through the holes in the aluminum plate and into the holes in the axles.

Next step depends on the type of crankpins you have.  Actually, once you have center-popped the plates for the axle holes you might want to draw partial circles around those punch marks at exactly the crankpin throw.  Just think about that for a minute.

What you want is holes matching your crankpin diameter adjacent to those axle center holes - one plate will be drilled exactly in line with your center holes; the other will be drilled at right angles to that line.

press one side on the axles. Then pin the 90 degree plate with wire in the center holes and the crankpins in the larger holes.  Secure the assembly so the pins won't drop out and place it on a flat steel plate with opposite axles up.

gently place the remaining drivers on the axles with crankpins lined up.  Put the in- line plate on the drivers, insert the wires, and once all is set, press slowly, doing each driver a little at a time, pressing right at the axle pin on the aluminum plate.

A picture is worth a thousand words - let me know if that doesn't make sense.  I think I published this in a Myron Biggar OGR.

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Ted S
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