Kadee wheelsets

Discussion in 'HO Scale' started by skyraider, Jul 3, 2024.

  1. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    You probably already know this, but just in case...Kadee wheels aren't turned metal wheels. They're what's called sintered metal--tiny ground up bits of left over metal scraps that are forged into a shape with heat and pressure. Many firearms now have sintered metal triggers and hammers.

    The blackening comes off on the rails on the layout. To keep the rails clean, I clean the wheels. It's not hard with a dremel tool and wire brush attachment.I take the blackening off of the wheels on the Kadee cars, paint the wheel centers and they're ready for service.

    The photo of the wheelsets on the work bench is the before and after of blackening removal. It's just a cell phone photo but shows the before and after difference.

    geep07 likes this.
  2. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    I do this to all of my wheelsets. It not only keeps the rail clean, but the wheels look spectacularly more prototypical.

    Ken McElreath
    geep07 likes this.
  3. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Thanks, Ken. That was one of the benefits I forgot to mention.
  4. Friscotony

    Friscotony Member

    Does the blackening return after being operated.

    Tony LaLumia
  5. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    No, they stay shiny permanently. However, they will over time pick up spots of corroded nickel silver from the rails, to the extent of causing a derailment. If that happens, remove the crud using an Exacto knife to scrape it off.

    Ken McElreath
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    After reading through this thread thus far, it emphasizes the reason that I switched all my wheelsets to Intermountain; no sintered metal. Any wheelset that promotes build-up is not desirable.
  7. geep07

    geep07 Member

    I have replaced some of my cars with Kadee wheels and they perform flawlessly in the wheel trucks and on the layout. Of course, good trackwork and tuned wheel trucks comes into play here also. I have not noticed any build up of substance on the wheels.
    I clean my track once once a year or whenever needed. This helps from getting wheel crud build up. I notice crud build up on plastic wheels in which I have some cars with them. I will eventually replace those.
    I also want to emphasize that Kadee products are made in "good ole USA"
    gjslsffan, mike_newton and skyraider like this.
  8. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Agree 100%. Due to being made in America, I try to buy Kadee before anything else. They are assembled without any adhesive. The tiny detail parts are acetal resin, so they are much less fragile than styrene.

    The wheels have worked well for me, as well. There's been no buildup at all. They work and roll well, look great, and are American made.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  9. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Single biggest plus for reduced track/wheel cleaning = All track to be nickle silver plated, and all wheels metal. (Do NOT use brass wheel sets or track. Brass oxidizes quickly, and the oxidation is non-conductive and can be spread to the ball of the rail.)

    My fleet of rolling stock is just a tick over 300 pieces in service, all metal wheel sets. (No brass.)

    I haven't cleaned track or wheels* in over a year, and everything runs fine. Even after weeks of inactivity, when I fire up the layout, it runs fine.

    * I do have a pair of nigh 40-year old Atlas/Kato RS-3's that have literally run the plating off their wheels. Those worn wheels w/brass showing oxidize much quicker than the other pieces of motive power, so those engines need their wheels cleaned every few months.

    Plastic wheels are an enemy. In due time, they have an almost felt-like build up around the tread of the wheel. This non-conductive felt build up also ends up on the track. This tendency is essentially non-existent on metal wheels.

    FWW: I use Kadee's, Intermountain, and Walther's wheel sets.

    Of course, your mileage may vary, and that's fine. There is no need to make any attempt to convince I'm "wrong", because the proof is in the results. Compared to my previous layouts that comprised predominantly of plastic wheels... the track/wheel maintenance with this layout/rolling stock fleet makes for NO COMPARISON.
    skyraider likes this.
  10. TenWheeler

    TenWheeler Member

    I also use Kadee wheel sets and have not seen any residue left behind. All my wheel sets have replaced with metal sets excepted the plastic wheels on my IHC Frisco corrugated passenger cars (Can not seem to find a set of metal wheels that fit properly in the trucks).

    My track only gets cleaned when a where a loco stutterers and after adding or repairing scenery. The only build up I have seen is on plastic wheels on that one passenger set.

    I use Kadee, Intermountain, Athearns/Roundhouse and Walther's metal wheel sets and all roll excellently. I would even go as far to say some of the stock Athearns/Roundhouse roll a bit to well. (when the AC comes on and moves a car out on position).

    Besides being made in the USA the other thing I like about the Kabee wheel sets is the detail level (Rib details and markings.)
    skyraider likes this.
  11. geep07

    geep07 Member

    I had the same issue with IHC passenger cars in finding replacement wheels.
    I did replaced them from a company called Reboxx. I don't know if they are still in business or if some other company absorbed them under a different name.
  12. geep07

    geep07 Member

    In addition to Reboxx comment: What I liked about their wheel set replacement for the IHC passenger cars was that you can get the same axle length and wheel diameter that the plastic wheels that came on them. I also applied body mounted couplers to them. These cars roll freely through crossovers without any problems.
  13. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I hardly operate enough to notice plastic wheels doing anything on my layout. I still build a few car kits now and then and get a car once in a while off of eBay. The eBay cars often come with metal wheels, but if they come with plastic I’ll leave them on for the time being and build the car kits using the plastic wheels come with them. I’m on a pension so I can’t throw my money around too much, but when I have a little bit to throw I’ll buy a 100 pack of intermountain metal wheels and replace the plastic ones as I go.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2024
  14. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Reboxx is no longer in business. The guy who owned it--Mr J.P Barger-- died last year. He was an entrepeneur who also loved model railroading and started up Reboxx for that reason. He actually closed Reboxx a couple of years before his death.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  15. TenWheeler

    TenWheeler Member

    Thank you for the replay. One of my search turned up that the IHC Light weight trucks used a shorter axle and to check with NWSL.
  16. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    KD wheels go under some cabooses and some MW cars, but virtually no other rolling stock. I have found over the years that their free rolling qualities are lacking. With the weights of these cars and train lengths on my outfit its even worse. I have found the best free rolling combo is Walthers trucks and Reboxx wheels. I was lucky in that I was able to buy 100's of packages of his wheel 33" and 36" sets of different lengths. I guess I still have 60 or more packages. I was able to go thru a dealer and got a pretty good discount.You gotta be very careful not to bugger up the axle points as that will hurt free rolling qualities too.
  17. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Do you know what number NWSL wheel sets your looking for? I got a few packages of NWSL sets for HW cars, that I will never use. Did the HW cars use 30" wheels on their 6 axle trucks? I dont know much about passenger equipment.
  18. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    This has been an interesting read so far.

    One the subject of wheel replacements and maintenance, does anyone add a small drop of oil or grease of some sort to the little pit in the truck where the axle turns? Is this a bad idea?
  19. dwoomer

    dwoomer Member

    I use a small amount of powdered graphite.
    klrwhizkid likes this.
  20. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Many plastics are self lubricating. They don't really need oil. If the trucks have plastic or acetal resin sideframes, they probably don't need lubrication. I don't know what's the best thing to do with metal truck sideframes.

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