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Friday, July 3, 2009

Thoughts on tuning up Graceline trucks

Following up on the post on tuning up Nason trucks, one type of early Graceline truck is very similar to the Nason “square bolster” type. Can it benefit also from new wheelsets?

In an estate purchase years ago now I purchased quite a number of Graceline cars. Of them, several were quite interesting to me but one in particular with cardboard sides had been built nicely with decals; this one, in the photo. I had already spent some time working on it to get it running among the vintage cars I run, which is why it has Kadee couplers.

Graceline made several styles of trucks including sprung trucks but the early “square bolster” type is probably the best. They seem to have used two different types of wheelsets in these trucks, one type that are not workable with my track, and another type that seem to run fine. The ones that are bad on the older cars have a rather square flange that is wider than that seen in other brands and the other type has a flange that is very similar to Scale Craft.

This particular car had at some point picked up a pair of the trucks with the not OK wheelsets. I tried to change them out with S-C wheelsets and made a discovery, the axles are smaller on Graceline trucks and SC wheelsets won’t fit.

Rather than drilling them out and getting into yet another involved project, I decided to switch out the trucks on this car for the trucks of the same design from another car (that had the better wheelsets), and again, it seems to be running OK on those. Before the car would derail almost every time it went around the layout.

One note on this boxcar, I did not “do the deed,” but this was actually built originally as a reefer. Someone removed the hatches and added the Scale-Craft doors before repainting it as you see it now.

While I am glad to see this car back in service I must admit that I don’t think Graceline freight trucks of this era look all that great. While “scale looking,” they are clearly over scale in length and probably very close to S scale overall. Quite a contrast to Scale-Craft trucks, which while well designed for operation are somewhat toy-like in look.

[One other footnote, I do have a diner with six wheel Graceline passenger trucks that I have tested, it runs fine, also has the better style wheelsets.]

UPDATE: Ultimately I put S-C trucks on this car. Some Graceline trucks can be rebuilt (one car in this post for example) but Graceline wheel sets are variable and some have tread width issues that are the deal killer for me. More in this article.

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