|Red Caboose HO Scale X29 with Red Caboose trucks|
It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That said, I owe all credit for getting me to ponder this solution to Dan Smith. Stepping back for a few moments, Red Caboose’s HO scale truck offerings deliver quite attractive sideframes that snap into bolsters. However, the entire assembly can be somewhat sloppy and prone to derailments. I found that by using long axle length Reboxx wheelsets, the “slop” is cleaned up dramatically. However, it is not a foolproof solution and is dependent upon ready availability of Reboxx wheelsets in a variety of applicable lengths.
Back to Dan Smith…. Recently, he shared with a few compatriots that he had developed a solution to solidify the trucks. He plunged a hot pin through the assembled bolsters and “pins” (or rods) on the back of the sideframes. This definitely tightened things up, but has a level of permanence that I usually prefer to avoid in things that operate and can potentially wear and/or fail, like trucks. That set me to thinking about a means to achieve similar results, but ones that could also be disassembled, if necessary.
|Red Caboose truck before drilling of screw holes|
In inspecting the trucks, my attention was drawn to the circle on the bottom of the bolsters. I envisioned drilling a hole through the bolsters and into the “pins” on the backs of the sideframes. Then screws could be used to tighten everything. The only issue is that even a 0-80 screw is too large. I set about searching for screws of a suitably small size. I found 000-120 x 1/8” screws on eBay. They're really small! One catch is that these screws use a Torx head (as opposed to Phillips or slotted). Fortunately, I also found a suitable Torx driver on eBay, as well, a Wiha no. 267 “T1” driver, which is the correct size for 000-120 screws.
|Red Caboose truck with screws in place|
I boldly tested my supposition on a set of assembled trucks. I used a bulletin board push pin to make divots in the centers of the circles to keep the drill bit from “wandering” while starting the holes. I used a 0.0275” drill bit (approximately a no. 70 bit) to create the holes. I carefully screwed in one of the 000-120 screws and was happy to find that everything was suitably tight. I repeated for the other sideframe and the result was the same. Solid Red Caboose trucks!
The wheelsets are Kadee 0.088" semi-scale tread width sets.
A note about the drilling process: the best way to drill the holes is to add the wheelsets into the assembled trucks. Then hold the trucks with wheelsets on a flat surface, applying light downward pressure, so that the truck and bolster are “straight”. Carefully drill the holes.