Thomas Fuschetti truck conversion service

Marc Horovitz
Truck conversion to rotating axle ends
3219 Fairfax Ave. NE,
Palm Bay FL 32905.
Phone: 321-369-8515
Price: See text
Website: None

Conversion service for adding rotating axle ends to commercially available trucks; new axles and modification to sideframes included

Pros: Variety of colors available; rotating ends add interest to rolling stock, modified trucks are free rolling

Cons: Back-to-back wheel spacing on modified axle varied as much as .050" from recommended dimension
Virtually all modern freight cars are equipped with roller-bearing trucks. These are easily identified by their rotating axle ends. Several companies provide the roller bearings for these trucks, including Timken, Hyatt, Nachi Fujikoshi, and others. To aid in identifying the type of bearing on any given car, the axle end is color coded—orange for Timken, Green for Brenco, etc.

Thomas Fuschetti offers a service to convert plastic-frame trucks from any manufacturer to simulated roller-bearing trucks, complete with rotating end caps. The conversion involves removing the wheelsets from the side frames, removing the wheels from their axles, redrilling the wheels’ center holes, then remounting the wheels on new axles made of brass tubing. The journal boxes on the side frames are also drilled to accept the new axles. The trucks are reassembled and self tapping, hex-head screws are inserted into the axle ends. These screws, which have their heads painted in one of eight available colors, rotate in a prototypical manner as the car moves down the track.

Sent for review were two trucks manufactured by USA Trains—a Bettendorf and a Gunderson. The wheels were neatly remounted on their new axles. In measuring the back-to-back spacing, I found that it varied from spot on (1.575") to about .050" under. This may or may not cause an operational problem on your line. The screw-head axle ends rotated as the truck traveled, in much the same way that prototype axle ends can be seen to rotate. The screws are applied finger-tight, and can be replaced with other colors of screws, as the owner wishes.

To have your trucks converted, they must be sent to Mr. Fuschetti. The owner pays postage both ways, plus $7.40 per pair of trucks for the conversion. If you’d like additional screws, eight each for all eight colors, the price is $10.20 per car (plus post). This conversion adds another small touch of realism to modern freight equipment.


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