|Shoulda built an 0-4-0...
A friend of mine (Pete) once suggested that I take the
frame/driver/truck assembly (without the boiler) to the club tracks and
make sure everything works right without binding before permanently
mounting the boiler. That way, if you need to make any changes, it
would be much easier. So... I brought the frame assembly to the club
and hitched her up to my switcher. I pulled her around the track
several times and had no problems on the mainline. The yard was another
matter as it has a very tight turn. Not sure what the radius is but I
figured that if I was going to run at this and other clubs, I wanted to
make the 4-8-4 to be as flexible as possible.
We'll, MAJOR work needed to be done. First, I
disassembled nearly everything. Off went the side rods, drivers,
trucks... I re-machined the driver journals to increase the lateral
movement. I then decided to remake all the brass bushings for the side
rods as thin as possible to give the rods more room to move. Here are
the new ones I made.
The heart rockers in the front
truck were rubbing on tight corners so I disassembled the front truck
and did some liposuction on the heart rockers. The rockers on top are
before modifications, the ones on the bottom are after.
Now this part is where things get
a bit radical. My rear truck wheels were scraping in the frame during
turns. I had no alternative except to start cutting away. You can see
in the picture below the steel bars that were bolted on the the frame to
compensate for the cutouts.. It gave me another 5/8" in each direction
for the rear wheels to swing. I know this looks like crap but after the
boiler is put back on, it will hardly be notice. I felt operation was
more important than looks.
Rock and Roll...
You know the saying, fix one thing and
something else breaks. Well... the rear rockers couldn't swing as far
as the truck could now move. So, I made new ones out of brass and
installed a roller bearing. I installed a plate on the bottom of the
frame which rides on top of this "rigid" rocker. The old rocker is in
After I made all these modifications, I took
her back out to the club to see if all my work paid off. I have to say,
for a Northern, this thing takes pretty tight turns now. I know I could
have used blind drivers, but I just couldn't bring myself to cutting off