To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #2 - Parts & Trucks

Modeling Hints –
  • When you take your models apart, place all the parts in separate labeled containers with lids. Used plastic prescription vials are good for this.
  • When using ACC, the parts will stay together almost immediately. However, up to 12 hours may be required for the adhesive to completely cure giving the best results.
  • What’s great about working with styrene with either liquid adhesive from a bottle or out of a tube the parts are stuck together. More parts can be added immediately and work progresses rapidly. However, for the parts to be completely bound to one another up to 24 hours may be required.

A partial parts list includes the following Bronze Key items:
  • NSB-13 Roof Mats, 2/car for a total of 6
  • NSB-14 Roof Junction Box, 1/car for a total of 3
  • ELB-11 Peter Smith Stove Vent, 1 for 415
  • Number for Silverliner 1 package is sufficient (You will need at least 2 sets of numbers for the number board area in back of the motorman's cab for each car.)

You'll have to contact Eric Bronsky directly via email. Eric has made this comment regarding the ordering of parts. He has in stock some of the parts required to upgrade your models. However, if he runs out, you may have to wait for a long time until sufficient orders are received before he can have more casted.

From other sources you will need -
  • Globe Vent 12", 1 for 415
  • Utility Exhaust Vent, 1 for 415
  • Streamline Exhaust Vent, 2 for each coach and 3 for 415 for a total of 7 (These are more like the vents found on the roofs of streamline passenger cars. The NSL used them exclusively on the Silverliners and the Liner. I call them "Darth Vader" vents due to their looking like the helments worn by Darth Vader and his henchmen.)

Before anything was taken apart one of the coaches was placed on the layout. The car ran very well and smoothly with the power and trail trucks supplied by Sunset. Do the same with your coaches. Next take a look at how each car sits either on your track or a flat surface. The car sits up higher at the power truck end than the trail truck end. This is true for both powered coaches.

Start taking your coaches apart. Taking the floor out of the coach requires the removal of a few screws. You'll be taking out a separate interior floor along with the floor the power truck is mounted on. I noticed the outer floor (let's call it the power truck floor) the trucks are mounted on is a tight fit into the body. Some of the cross bracing extends out beyond the sides of the power truck floor. Both sides of the power truck floor were filed flat to remove the excess material.

There's a lot of wiring inside of each car. I removed all the wiring. We'll get into wiring the models when the models are re-assembled. Interior lighting will also be covered in the future.

The Sunset Baldwin trucks were designed for the 3-rail market and are over size. Also, some parts are missing like the leaf springs and the top cross piece of the end frame. Here are 2 photos for comparison between a Sunset trail truck on the left and a Q-Car truck on the right. Since my Silverliners will not be operated as a 2-rail model, the Sunset truck has been modified for all rail pick-up. When you compare the 2 trucks; the Sunset truck is at least a scale 6" wider than the Q-Car truck.

The other "problem" is the wheel width of the Sunset wheels. They are 0.172" - the old standard O scale wheel. Today most O scale models have a 0.145" wide wheel. Interurbans and streetcars utilize a 0.135" wheel. The new fellas on the block, the Proto 48 modelers use a 0.115" wide wheel.

To up-date old Wagner trucks with 0.172” wide wheels I have either narrowed the width of the wheels down to about 0.140” wide in a lathe or replaced the wheels with NWSL 0.0135” wheels. Neither of these processes do I like to do. A minor slip-up can ruin the power truck.

All of the above got me into a tizzy! I wanted to replace all the trucks on the models! Talking to Greg King calmed me down. Since it would cost more than $300.00 to purchase either Q-Car or Current Lines replacement trucks, Greg convinced me to replace only the trucks under 415, the tavern-lounge car. The trucks under 415 were chosen due to the lack of 3rd rail beams. The 3rd rail beams on the trucks under the coaches help to hide the absence of the leaf springs. This is a major decision you have to make.

Back to the rebuilding - part of the wiring includes a slide switch to change between trolley and 2-rail operation. Since my Silverliners will be a trolley only operation, the switch was removed and the power trucks revamped for trolley only operation. Since the wires attached to can motors have a tendency to work their way loose, they were secured to the frame of the power truck. Notice the excess thread still attached. Besides tying a surgeons knot in the thread a drop of ACC helps. Holding the red and black wires together is a short piece of heat shrink tubing. The wires are short, but a connector will be added later as part of the rewiring of the models. Save all the connectors you come across in taking your models apart. You might need them later.

To level out the power truck floor, the washer between the power truck and its floor was removed. When the power truck is re-assembled to the floor, the floor should be level.

The next task is to remove one of the tanks on the underbody. It is the tank in the middle of the underbody close to the trail truck. This tank blocks the swing of the trail truck. The white end of the pointer is at the location of where the tank was. The other task is to file the hole where the switch for changing between trolley and 2-rail was into an oval. It's through this oval hole the wires from the power truck will pass during re-construction and re-assembly.

Some of you may have seen the old movie “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Form”. Something did happen to me during this part of upgrading the models but not like in the movie. While getting some tools and parts out, I uncovered 2 new, unused, old Wagner power and trail trucks hidden away for future use. A little voice in the back of my brain asked, "What are you saving these old Wagner trucks for?" I could not recall; so guess what?

They are of the DC-70 LL design. Rich Wagner's etched building date on the truck bolster read "5/78". They are 33 years old. These have 0.172" wide wheels. I thought about cutting them down but with so many things to do to the models the answer was, "No!"

Digging into my parts bin produced the 3rd rail beams and the wheel guards. Q-Car dummy traction motors were added to the trail trucks. The dummy motors add weight to the trail truck. This helps to balance the weight of the car helping the model to track better. The dummy motors/axels were lubed with Neolube. Look at the rust on the thread of the wheels on the trail truck! This will wear off with running.

As you look at the power truck you may notice the wiring. Wagner built the power truck with the truck grounded. I altered the wiring so all of it was to one side of the motor for clearance purposes. You’ll see more regarding the wiring when the models are assembled.

With the old open frame Pitman motor and the power truck floor held at the same distance from the top of the rail, the power truck will protrude into the car about 0.100". The models came with 0.075" spacers between the power truck floor and the interior floor. This means my interior floor will be 0.025" higher (scale 1 19/64").

Before the 3rd rail beams and wheel guards were installed, the gear boxes were packed with Graphogen. This is a graphite paste. The power trucks were then run for an hour, 30 minutes in each direction. The graphite lubes the gears and has a property of adhering to the metal(s) of the gear box. Graphite cannot be completely cleaned out and provides lifelong lubrication.

Other materials can be used to lap and break in the gears. If you decide to use auto body rubbing compound, be sure to clean all of it out of the gear box afterwards. After the hour run time, the gear boxes were cleaned with lacquer thinner. Labelle 106 plastic compatible lubricating Grease with PTFE (a Teflon powder) was used to re-grease the gear boxes.

I like to install power and trail trucks in a model to be operated with another model in a way so each model is insulated from any electrical charge. In other words, the models are electrically neutral. This prevents electrical problems in the future. To accomplish this, the power truck will be held away from the model's frame using styrene blocks. Nylon 2-56 screws will be used in the final assembly. (In any photos you see now, brass screws are used.)

For the trail trucks a styrene insert is used. An 1/8" styrene tubing was glued to a 0.125" thick round styrene spacer. The styrene insert was glued into the frame where the original truck screw was located using ACC. If you use this method allow 24 hours to pass after gluing before attempting to make 3-48 threads inside the tubing. You want all the adhesive material to cure before any stress is placed on the assembly.

Newer power trucks using can motors should be easier to install. That is, you should not have to cut into the 0.040" thick brass floor. Here is a photo of one of the floors awaiting repainting with Floquil' s Grimy Black paint. The model comes with the under frame painted a dark brown with a hint of red color. The off black color is preferred by me.

The assembled power truck floors with both trucks were placed on my special small radius test layout to test radius clearance. Both assemblies went around 12" radius curves without problems.

Finally the assembled floor with trucks was placed in the body and placed on a test track. The body is level. For the prototype the distance from the top of the rail to the top of the metal anticlimber (not the wooden piece attached where individuals would walk between cars) is about 3' 10" or so. My model is 3' 11".

Check you trucks for truck swing. Mine were a little tight so the brass end cross pieces were files down at about a 45 degree angle.

Set you power truck floor aside, the next posting will be an lighting.


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