AF Wheel Gauge and Coupler Adjustment/Repair

I just started checking my AF wheelset gauges using the dime trick, and all so far have come up about .010” too tight. I can’t spread the wheels with my fingers, they are so tight I’m afraid of damaging a sideframe if I should slip. Is there a special tool for doing this in a controlled manner? Also, is there a special tool for crimping/re-crimping the weight onto the “j” shaped pin on a knuckle coupler? I know I have seen the “j” pins for sale as repair parts, along with new knuckles, rivets and springs, but I don’t recall seeing the weights or a tool...

Original Post

Ditto what Carl said and I use them with a small block of basswood against the sheetmetal bolster to spread side frames without any pressure or stress on the sintered side frame panels themselves.  As far as KC weights go, I am not aware of a crimping tool, but loose ones can sometimes be addressed by closing the coupler, push the weight up into position, apply a tiny drop of CA at the point the pin goes into the weight, keep the coupler closed, apply a tiny drop of accelerator, hold closed a few more seconds, and release.  (Be careful not to get any CA up into the channel for the pin or it will get glued into position.)  Usually that holds pretty well.  Some you have to clean first if they're greasy/dirty.  

PS  Once you get wheel sets gauged correctly, I clean the point of axle entry into the backs of wheels with 91% isopropyl on a cotton swab.  Allow to dry, then work a small drop of CA around and into that union, sometimes followed by a tiny drop of accelerator.  Helps keep gauging intact.  They tend to creep in toward each other over time.  


S happens


x-Chief Wrench & Bottle-washer of Precision Flyer Repairs 

C W Burfle posted:

What is the dime trick?



Most guys have found out that a standard US (or Canadian) dime's diameter works for the back spacing of wheel sets on Flyer rolling stock.  You measure from the back surface of the wheels.  I also usually add a couple thousandths to make the dime fit with a bit more space.  I've done that for years and it works great.  Almost every piece of contemporary Flyonel rolling stock needs re-gauging in this manner.  BTW, I also use snap ring pliers for spreading the wheels on rolling stock.  But I've never had to worry about the Gilbert ones creeping back out of gauge.



For spreading the wheels in Flyer trucks I have used this tool from Port Lines Hobby Supply, it is sold to spread the side frames of the Flyer trucks. It has a thumb wheel and gives a fine adjustment that I find helpful to open the gauge of the wheels.


Similar uses to tool #1 above, but this version allows you to apply pressure slowly, and to "lock" the tips in place once you have spread the sides the desired amount.


katy409 posted:

Jerry,  great information . How did you make out with your U P. GP7 ?   Did you add weight ?    Does it pull any better ?    Thanks, Art



At the risk of hijacking this thread, yes.   I added some tire weights to the frame and it does much better, but not great.  Sufficient for my use.  It's one of my 6 year old grandson's favorite locomotives.  He's been running my FlyerChief items for two years now, and has it down pat!  The PE is his favorite.


Hope it works out with your gauging.  The tool from Port Lines is a good one if you want precision.  Especially on sintered iron side frames where you can snap them off it you lose control of spreading the wheels.  Stamped steel, not so much.  BTW, I've also used snap ring pliers with success.   


I've never replaced the little "J" bar on Flyer couplers.  I'd rather replace the whole thing.  However, I've had some weights fall off, and just CA's them back on. 



Thanks everyone! I found my pair of snap ring pliers in my toolbox and they seemed to get the job done. As for the coupler weight, I ended up putting a new operating coupler on the truck, after grinding the rivet and removing the truck in order to gain proper access (I really hate those riveted-on AF trucks). Rather than replace the old rivet, I used a button head Allen 6-32 bolt and a couple of SAE washers along with a stop nut to re-attach the truck. A 4-40 SAE washer fits the recessed hole in the car perfectly, but both the washer and the AF truck required a tiny bit of filing with a rat tail file to enlarge the hole just enough to fit the 6-32 bolt perfectly. The stop nut allowed perfect tightening adjustment of the bolt for proper truck pivoting. The car is a runner, not a collectible, so this repair works fine for that purpose. I suppose if the car were a collectible, I wouldn’t care if the wheels were in gauge or not...

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