Turnout and Track Questions from a newbie

DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
Nice page Greg, once again. Thanks (again). If you were a science fiction fan, I'd ask you if your last name was Long. Do you have a time machine? Where do you find the time to do all this figuring, web page creation, and forum posting? I'm assuming it comes from a couple years of obsession with this G scale animal.

So, I'll throw out another topic that sort of relates to track here. Wheels. What do you all favor. Most of the wheels I'm encountering are cheap looking plastic wheels that I assume could be improved. I don't know who has replaced, not replaced, stolen off of other equipment, etc. for these cars. What does LGB come with stock? Are metal wheels better for G as in the other scales I have worked in? Rolling stock I am encountering seems to be LGB and Aristocraft but, for a newbie like me, it isn't always easy to tell. Replace just the wheels or the whole truck? Gregs page also alluded to the fact that wheel flange depth is an important factor for frogs not derailing wheels.

Obviously, if the flange is deeper than 3mm, wheels will bump bump through an LGB frog that is only 3mm deep if that frog is designed to support the flange and keep the tread at rail height. Are other brands frogs fairly close or is it crazy wide variations between brands?
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
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Cambridgeshire
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I use both LGB and Bachmann/Lilliput metal wheels, the later being around half the cost of the other brand.

They all work well on LGB or Train-line points....
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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In the US, Bachmann wheels are inexpensive, but quality so so.

San Val wheels, on ebay from Ana Kramer (search) good price.

USAT freight wheels are on sale some times, very nice.

Check RLD Hobbies and Reindeer Pass for best prices.

Go all metal wheels, no question.

Greg
 
DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
Dunnyrail, These Massoth rail clamps you speak of look interesting in the fact that they screw from the top instead of the side like the ones I have. The ones i got are Split Jaw brand, I think, and could be had in over the rail or over the joiner (fishplate...right?). The Massoth might work better in tight locations where I found it hard to get at the set hex screw from the side, like the outside of the rail between the frog rails. The LBG graphite paste seems hard to find. Is the piko conductive paste the same stuff?
PIKO Conductive paste.JPG
 
DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
Greg, I saw somewhere that "conductive grease" was used in those F units to lube the gear trains in those bricks. Is that needed? or just some good old moly lube on the axles. What have you settled on after your years of experince with those motor bricks?
 
DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
The other thing I'm trying to locate is traction tires for an Aristocraft Alco FA-1 and FB-1. This units rubbers are just disintegrating on the wheels. Got my calipers out and wonder where to measure for replacements. Does anyone know what mm these wheels are? Silly thought probably but has anyone ever used O rings instead?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Just a lithium grease, with moly is preferred... "conductive grease" is normally not really conductive, like LGB "conductive" grease (which is not). There are actually conductive greases, with metal in them and they normally cause big trouble in our railroads when used... shorting wheels, motors, power pickups, etc.

You would have no reason to use conductive grease in a gearbox.

You need to get rid of the traction tires and get replacement "solid" wheels.... the traction tires cause more issues by concentrating force on the axles with traction tires and breaking the plastic axles... also there are issues with pickup and with tracking.

See if you can get replacement solid wheels.... someone on MLS or LSC will have them....

Greg
 
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DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
Do these Aristocraft Alco FA-1 locos have similar motor bricks to the USA Trains F units? Same kind of problems you detail on your website?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Nope, the Aristo blocks have more issues... the only really weak point in the USAT blocks is the cracked axle, which is cheap to repair or replace.

The Aristo blocks have 2 versions, go to my web site, under motive power, and read about them under Aristo Motive Power...

Greg
 
DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
38
2
58
Idaho
Got it. Ha ha should have known. It's on the website. So I'm gonna go read the website before I ask what "someone on MLS or LSC will have them...." refers to.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Dunnyrail, These Massoth rail clamps you speak of look interesting in the fact that they screw from the top instead of the side like the ones I have. The ones i got are Split Jaw brand, I think, and could be had in over the rail or over the joiner (fishplate...right?). The Massoth might work better in tight locations where I found it hard to get at the set hex screw from the side, like the outside of the rail between the frog rails. The LBG graphite paste seems hard to find. Is the piko conductive paste the same stuff?
View attachment 268870
I think that Piko Conductive will be similar. Note that the Massoth Clamps come it 2 lengths 20mm and 15mm, I only discovered this when I could not fit the 20’s to a point with non flex track. They also do Isolating ones and all come with tabs that are useful for soldering track feeds to. Though screw sized circle made in the wire tinned with solder works just as well.
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
578
364
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Surprised no one commented on the rail clamps yet! The Split-Jaw over-joiner clamps you have are very effective. There is no reason not to continue using them. You may want to get a few Massoth style clamps for use in certain situations (read turnouts) but they require that you remove the existing rail joiners. The Split-Jaw clamps can be installed with the screw heads on either the inside or outside of the joiner - it doesn't matter. Putting the clamp on with the screws heads on the opposite side of rail joiner in tight situations often solves the access problem. A ball head hex driver makes it easy to tighten them.
 
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J

John Le Forestier

Registered
15 Feb 2020
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23
72
Toronto
I'm still trying to figure out how running over the heads of one's customers enhances one's business.:rofl:
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,310
1,839
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I'm still trying to figure out how running over the heads of one's customers enhances one's business.:rofl:
I have seen a few High Lines in Business Premises and as someone who is into Model Railways I always enjoy watching them, I have also noticed that they also catch the eye of other possibly non odel Railway or Railway orientated Customers. So certainly not a negative effect.
 
Trains and More

Trains and More

Registered
11 Aug 2019
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33
85
B.C. Canada
Rail joiner as they come with the rails from the manufactures are good for about a year outdoors. After that the contact becomes questionable. Oxidization and dirt are making the contact resistive and eventually they become intermittent and fail completely. Conductive grease is not really very conductive, but it helps, not in making the contact, but by keeping the dust, dirt and soil out of the joint. Lets not forget that exposed to the weather the rails are in constant motion due to the thermal heating and cooling. It causes the dirt to enter deeper and deeper into the contact areas. On my fist layout I soldered jumper wires over each joint with good success, but the soldering was a main chore considering the many joints. A friend had an idea. He drilled a small hole at a 60 degree angle trough the rail joiner, the foot of the rail and out again through the bottom of the joiner. A small (#4, 3/8 inch long) stainless steel self-tapping screw is placed in this hole. Two for each joiner, four to each track joint. It seem a lot of work, but it is still less of an effort than to remove each joiner and replace it with a much costlier clamp. A little touch-up with paint makes the screw heads almost in visible.
My present extensive layout was build following my friends idea. It has close to 500 track joints (2000 screws) and not one has failed to conduct in 17 years !!!
Ride the rails in one of my videos and see if you can spot them:
 

Attachments

Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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San Diego
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I have to take a little exception about the general comment on stock joiners. The LGB joiners are made of very good metal, and if kept greased can last and function for a long time. Not at the level of rail clamps in my opinion.

The Aristo and USAT joiners are basically identical, and have a poor fit, are inconsistent, and really rely on the 2 small screws for conductivity, with very small contact points.

I am a firm believer in rail clamps, but if I was on a more strict (or any for that matter) budget and was using brass track, soldering or spot welding copper jumpers between sections would be my choice, best possible conductivity.

Greg
 
Trains and More

Trains and More

Registered
11 Aug 2019
29
33
85
B.C. Canada
I have to take a little exception about the general comment on stock joiners. The LGB joiners are made of very good metal, and if kept greased can last and function for a long time. Not at the level of rail clamps in my opinion.

The Aristo and USAT joiners are basically identical, and have a poor fit, are inconsistent, and really rely on the 2 small screws for conductivity, with very small contact points.

I am a firm believer in rail clamps, but if I was on a more strict (or any for that matter) budget and was using brass track, soldering or spot welding copper jumpers between sections would be my choice, best possible conductivity.

Greg
Greg you did not mention, that not all rail clamps are created equal. Some are clamping the foot of the rail with one side of a screw head. The thermal expansion and contraction of the rail can move the screw head and loosen it.
I am also not totally convinced about spot welds. Have you ever had a spot weld on the straps underneath a switch fail? I have, and it is not a rare occurrence.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I agree with you. I just did not want to force the discussion too far a stream. Your observation on the movement of the rail will loosen screws is very good, few people figure that out.

A good spot weld on the web of the rail will last a long time. A crappy one breaks, and again I agree with you on seeing them, although many times it is because there is no provision for the straps to "breath" in length. For spot welding rails together, you spot weld a wire or strap with an expansion loop between the welds to avoid this.

Most switches I have seen have a flat strap stretched with no give whatsoever to withstand expansion and contraction.

Greg