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Looking at the NWSL website, there are several options in the lionel "spinner" section.

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Which are the ones that are equivalent to those in the Lionel 70 ton roller-bearing truck kit?

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In regard to the NWSL wheels, is it worth it to buy the assembled wheels? What is involved in assembling the unassembled wheels?

Also, I assume the different wheelsets are made because they model different prototypes. What resources do you use to research the prototype to determine what are the right wheels to use?

Can the Intermountain wheelsets be used in Lionel roller bearing trucks (and keep the rotating bearing cap feature)? (I don't think so, but I thought I'd ask.)


Finally, what is the difference between Atlas 70-ton roller bearing trucks and 100-ton roller bearing trucks? (It looks like thickness and maybe 33" vs 36", but I am unsure.)

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Thank you for all of your responses in advance! I am a 2-rail newbie and am slowly learning, and there is a lot to learn! 😅


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  • NWSL Lionel wheels
  • Lionel 70 ton roller bearing freight truck conversion kit
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  • Atlas O 70-ton roller bearing trucks
  • Atlas O 100-ton roller bearing trucks
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When Lionel came out with those kits I was and still am confused as to exactly which cars they will convert. The one thing I have found out is those kits will definitely work on the "LionScale" cars which are the tooling they got from Weaver.

Pretty sure those IM wheelsets will not retain the rotating cap feature if used in trucks with rotating bearing caps. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. I will be following this thread. Always willing to learn more about this stuff.

Buy the NWSL sets assembled.  I believe you need to press them together otherwise and keeping the insulator straight in the wheel can be a pain. 8293-4 is the 36” Lionel spinner with a .145 tread. You can use these axle specs and figure out which is the 70T (33”) wheel if you need it. A lot for Lionel cars can be direct swapped to atlas trucks which makes the car ride lower. The difference between atlas 70 and 100T trucks is the wheel diameter. The new design of atlas 2 rail trucks has a slimmer side frame that makes it look more scale. The slim side frames are only on the 2 rail trucks.


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IM wheelsets will definitely not work in Lionel roller bearing trucks.    IM makes only one style of wheelset that I know of.   It is 33 inch wheels and needle point axles.    I don't know the length without measuring, but they are an identical length to Athearn, Weaver, and of course the IM wheelsets that come in the kits with plastic axles.   They are very; nice and add a nice amount of weight.    The roller bearing trucks need blunt end axles.

A word advice, get a wheel gauge.    the most handy one is sold by the NMRA.    It can be use to check wheel gauge and coupler height and a few other things, and the ones I have even have some gauges for 3 rail stuff.

Since 2 rail is a little more precise than 3 rail in the wheel/track structure,  you need to make sure the wheels are in gauge and the track for that matter.    Sometimes brand new wheelsets come out of the box out of gauge.   About 10% seem to regardless of mfg.    So you should check them before installation.   

It is pretty; easy to adjust the gauge, especially if too wide.   the insulated wheel  usually slides on the axle fairly easily.     I put some protecton on the axle ends, and then put the set in my vise, and slowly tighten while holding the NMRA gauge on the wheels.

another thing to keep in mind.   The companies that make predominantly 3 rail product have a different business model than the typical 2 rail mfg.     The 2 rail mfg tends to make all product to work with other mfg products because they usually only make some of what is needed.   Some make trucks, some make couplers, some make freight cars and some make locos etc.     They generally follow the NMRA standards for heights and flanges and gauges etc.

The 3 rail mfg are generally much larger and they make a complete system including cars, locos, track, couplers etc.    they tend to make their stuff unique, ie incompatible with their competitors.    This is their business model and it is probably for two reasons.    First they may want to insure they avoid patent infringements and lawsuits and second, they want the customers to buy their entire system from them.

So finding Atlas wheelsets compatible with Lionel or MTH trucks is probably toss  up - maybe - my guess is probably not.

I bought a B&O M53 50 ton boxcar for a static display and didn't care that it was O Gauge. Now that I am setting up an operating 2 rail layout I want to convert the wheel sets. What do you guys think?  Can I just buy new axels or would I be better off to buy the complete trucks?

This was made in Korea by Dongjin and is brass. The axel is 1.89 inches and the wheel dia is .68


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The Lionel replacement wheel sets are .145 tread width. I have a preference for .172 as they're more tolerant of the "gauge drift" of Gargraves track being used at the club. If your track gauging is good, the .145's should be fine.

On the issue of trucks, MTH (Atlas Premier) and Lionel 3-rail rolling stock tend not to have bolsters. Instead, trucks are typically mounted through the top of the chassis detail (this varies on Lionel). When I converted MTH center beam cars (also applies to MTH auto racks), I made bolsters from strip wood to support Weaver trucks. The later ones I did, I simply made a plug for the mounting hole from 3/8" dowel and drilled a 1/16" hole to support a 2-56x3/8" screw to mount the Weaver truck. I used the "bolster" section from the chassis as I had to relocated the trucks inboard on these early-issue MTH cars. MTH 2-rail trucks (which are still out there "in the wild") mount directly and are the right height on the later MTH cars with the Kadee mounts.

If you're brave and want to disassemble the newer MTH 3-rail trucks, you can use Intermountain 20050 33" wheelsets. Make sure you keep track of the insulated sides of the axles as they're single-insulated. The Intermountain wheels also fit Weaver and Athearn plastic trucks. The Atlas axles are too long and don't fit (don't know about the new narrow-framed Atlas trucks/axles).

Last edited by AGHRMatt

Jim Stirniman,

Why do you think you have to change the trucks on the B&O car?   The wheelsets appear to have 2 rail flanges and the apparent age of the car implies that they would be insulated.        All the brass cars I am familiar with made from the early 60s on that came with trucks had 2-rail insulated wheelsets.   

I think unless you plan Proto-48, the trucks/wheelsets on the car should be fine.

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