Changing Peco arch bar trucks to HOn30

One of the things about Colorado narrow gauge freight cars is that nearly all of them had coiled sprung, arch-bar trucks. Since I was stuck with Peco's rather weird leaf sprung offerings, something had to be done to bring them more in line with Colorado freight car trucks. I've dumped HOn30 and thought I'd keep this article for those of you who model the scale outside North America, it may be of help.
psp0.jpg
An unfinished flat car, but the trucks look a lot better.

In the above image you will notice the trucks have coil instead of leaf springs. To do this is a slightly long winded affair. The method is not cheap, so if you're reading this and are thinking dozens of cars, then you're best trying another less expensive way—like making a mould and doing loads at once. I used Ratio Arch Bar trucks (now Parkside Dundas diamond frame bogies) and removed only the springs, the rest got trashed.

Doing the stuff

There is a sequence to achieving it all and, once done, you have trucks which are more in line with Colorado narrow gauge.
    A — First the leaf springs have to be removed from the Peco trucks. I used a flat edged snipper then a small, fine, file to get the solid parts flat and even with frame of the truck.
psp1.jpg
    B — Remove the Ratio frames from the sprues, don't worry about bits sticking out after removal.
psp2.jpg
    C — There are 4 steps here and it will take some time. You will need: a very fine Xacto razor saw, fine sandpaper on a block and I used a single edged razor blade for the other cuts.

    1. Snip or cut off one side of the truck frame.
      psp3-1.jpg
    2. Using the razor saw, very gently saw off the entire spring portion. If you use hands, be careful and don't cut yourself. I used a small Vise Grip when cutting. You could use a small vise.
      psp3-2.jpg
    3. You need to end up with this.
      psp3-3.jpg
    4. I cut off the top part with the razor blade, to have it looking as you see.
      psp3-1.jpg
      Using the fine sandpaper block, make sure the back side is flat and even so that it sits right on the Peco truck. You could do the sanding before removal of the top bit if you want. You want it as thin as possible without wrecking the springs.
    5. I did all four sets of springs for the one car.

    D — Finishing it off.
psp4.jpg
    Using Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK), I applied some to the 2 flat center parts of the truck. Put the MEK on and then gently place the spring set on top. Align it so that it is in the middle, centered, and looks like the above image. Repeat for the other side of the truck.

The trucks now look more in line with North American narrow gauge, they are a bit longer, but work.
Feb 06, 2021


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