The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Roller Bearing Trucks for OO by Johann

Trucks can be a problem for the modern OO operator. I have four cars equipped with a type of roller bearing truck that is one of the very best ever offered in OO, sold by William Johann in the mid-1990s.

This is a close up view of a pair, with the truck on the left upside down, click on the photo for a larger version. These trucks run GREAT! What they are exactly is a bit of a story. As near as I can tell Bill never divulged at least in print the secret of the maker of the side frames and bolster, probably because he was modifying them for use in another scale. He introduced the new trucks in the May, 1994 issue of The OO Road as follows. At the time he was editor of The OO Road and the article on the new trucks was right after an article on tweaking S-C trucks to run better.
Your Editor got tired of mooching, buying, or trading for freight trucks for the Watchung Valley. Not only that, I’m sort of fussy—Scale Craft (reworked extensively as shown above), Lionel, or Nason with the square bolsters only, if you please. By keeping my eyeballs peeled for an HO truck side with enough heft to pass for OO, I finally found one. With the trucks’ castings, NWSL wheels, a couple of shims and pins and then assembly, we have ourselves FREIGHT TRUCKS—the first manufactured ones in OO since the 1930’s. ‘EAR!, ‘EAR!, but before you cheer too loudly, I must remind you that they are ROLLER BEARING….

I am only interested in helping to eliminate this grave OO shortage, update my rolling stock and maybe make a couple bucks. We retired have to be careful, tho, a couple of bucks too many and we’re back to paying income taxes again!!!....

1. Trucks will be assembled
2. Wheels will be NWSL, insulated 1 side, RP25 flange, NWSL type 110; pointed axle ends and compatible in dia. with SC wheels at .414.
3. Trucksides and bolsters are of a tough black plastic and are in stock. They have pointed axle holes.
4. Mounting: #2 screw preferred--#1 will work.
5. Truck assembly is the same size as SC and is a direct replacement except for added spacer washers.
They actually became available in November of 1994, selling for $5.00 a pair with a minimum order of five pair. That must have been very close to actual cost for him. Exactly how he worked out the bolsters is not obvious looking at them but it involved the mounting of the original bolster to the sideframes with plastic shims between the bolster and side frames and pins to hold the assembly together. GREAT TRUCKS! Keep an eye out for these. To see how they look on a car, they are on the car in the post below.

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