View Full Version : Tips on selecting Nn3 loco wheels/wheelsets?

13th Aug 2021, 04:42 PM
Hey all,

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to select wheels/wheelsets for an Nn3 loco?

I'm just starting out and yes, possibly jumping in the deep end, but I'm keen to model some of our local diesel locomotives from the late 70's early 80's and they seem to commonly use 40" wheels. We have narrow gauge railways, so Nn3 is the best scale option.

Anyway, the one thing I'm having trouble with in all my research is how to find out the diameter of the various locomotive wheels/wheelsets out there? I'm assuming the best bet is just to order Atlas, Tomix, or other manufacturer wheels as spare parts and re-gauge to suit the Z scale track.

I'm more than happy just to start emailing them to ask if that's the best way but I figured it was worth asking if anyone has been down this path already and may have info.

Cheers, Pete

el Gato Gordo
13th Aug 2021, 05:40 PM
I can't help with your question, but I'll follow this thread to see where it goes. I wouldn't mind converting a BR 82 tank lok to one of the BR 99 versions in Nn3. I wouldn't have a clue about how to start.

14th Aug 2021, 05:42 AM
All good Gordon, the more the merrier!

14th Aug 2021, 05:43 AM
Are you looking for rollingstock wheels or diesel bogies/trucks or steam loco wheels?

14th Aug 2021, 05:45 AM
Hey Russ, this will be for diesel bogies/trucks. I've discovered Intermountain and other places have plenty of options for rolling stock by the looks, it's the loco side of things I'm lost on at the moment.

Jugtown Modeler
14th Aug 2021, 12:33 PM
Much of the Nn3 work that I have seen/read about involves using Z scale / gauge mechanisms and chassis.

There is a RS-1 standard to narrow conversion thread here: https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?35961-Nn3-Diesel-Project
I have worked on re-gauging some N standard trucks. It is not too difficult but the project is still languishing on the bench...

Most narrow gauge modeling in the U.S. tends to focus on older steam railroads but there are Nn3 folks around the world. The "N-Scale Narrow Gauge" special interest group, https://groups.io/g/Nn3, has quite a few of the pioneers in Nn3 among their ranks and fairly helpful - when you do your homework first. Lots of resources at https://www.republiclocomotiveworks.com/

As much as I would like to get more narrow gauged N folks to post here at Nscale.net, it is a narrow subset within the N community and doesn't attract a wide audience.

A book by NTrak, the Nn3 Manual, can be a helpful book but does focus on steam as well. https://www.ebay.com/itm/274857340340?hash=item3ffec62db4:g:lNcAAOSwikBg41M M

Good luck. Welcome to the site!!

14th Aug 2021, 03:19 PM
Cheers Steve, I had come across and read through the diesel project which was very enlightening and helpful, thanks!

I hadn't come across that Nn3 group in my searching though so I will check that out for sure.

I've had a look through the Republic Loco Works site a couple of times but find it a bit hard to navigate, I should probably persevere a bit more and look further on that one :)

Appreciate the eBay link too! I've seen the Nn3 handbook mentioned before but must have missed the Manual, I'll endeavour to get my hands on one or both also.

14th Aug 2021, 04:15 PM
Republic Locomotive Works has the following :

The first may be this:

14th Aug 2021, 05:22 PM
Thank you kindly! I certainly hadn't seen that diesel kit on the RLW site. I've seen the power truck although the diesel I'm interested in modeling has two three axle bogies. I might have to contact RLW and find the axle spacing and wheel diameter of the one you first linked.

Jugtown Modeler
14th Aug 2021, 07:52 PM
Marshall Thompson, owner of Republic Loco Works, is a member of the https://groups.io/g/Nn3 group. FWIW

The RLW White Pass & Yukon diesel kit is based on the Marklin 8854 Z scale loco: https://www.ebay.com/sch/19116/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=marklin+8854&LH_TitleDesc=0

15th Aug 2021, 06:23 AM
diesel bogies/trucks
Hey Pete.
Are you looking for QR looking locos?
Perhaps this Z scale diesel is worth a look...
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/184992040385?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2b126285c1:g:znoAAOSw1OphEtKY&amdata=enc%3AAQAGAAACkPYe5NmHp%252B2JMhMi7yxGiTJkP rKr5t53CooMSQt2orsS7UXID%252BRPOSNsnm8kYPghtKzoJ1g tR%252B43Pgjg2O2xzRDN040t4CPRjZaoW3dPre21%252FzuHx vKnMdgfnEnEydViJU%252BaFXDkLttuqSkXFlpOjjuuq4h9NTy a5CxwqGTCutRGaBsseXcup%252B1DFD2o7ccDRc36JfVCKMwkn LG%252F0tF4RgGDr6ZATjdN3g0vnogwsqaPbirMaLK93E8APtH hegMEHUoPzLY8i%252Bw4X4cFvhuz52TSPFPgxd0kqtG3UMarn 4eC4IRdt0W35r3OQpGiBIm70AO1HIpt4Nl%252BgEd334B4kQL PtkpssGHdu0iGh%252BO8zksAT1hY3%252BwTw6g%252BkcY6q A10f1%252Bt5gDyS88de2o56UCEdD7n0cyriYSm8c%252F0E6t QX%252Fj6Cknn1PtBA6gjudhhZZKtHtnXpC1454FwXs9TRl7c% 252BWWXXteLobc5leu7E2wnxPhnQrVC9HvS74ZGKoHbl0us3k7 UJtchvder%252BySy8v5dMbsNAIFBMhdpU1Tb2oUlBm9xARy9Y ARAbqD1Adq%252F3ea303AYHo%252Fn69KHJ4qx2L2cIpoaeMw NwGnjV0cqPhGMVnCKx0Vk8Otft%252BhA2IDre5DE3HM2Vkxgm xQN2ovhZBNMjk7j3dMhjutfmUoGqeJLDJZqGU%252BkOJ7DGUO klZZ9Qzy0X0D2YbYvZoSndX9RD0r0tj0Pjzb27ZKgTD%252B2J rPuuYPu5r6gTgM6RQWt3IO2W%252Bo6%252BGeLCAfXbUygUzG qKSD11%252B1Wm%252BQlRzFq1dMpfEdu%252F0yd6g4DRUJ7A yz66hEpPPm%252FRIWF0r4e7xy%252F57cor0B%252FbrcFVAm uL5L%252FSQjQ3PSvVD81%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A233 4524

With this sort of body...
Shapeways has a few bodies that would be ideal for narrow gauge locos, if a Z scale mech can be found to fit...

17th Aug 2021, 07:55 PM
Cheers Steve and Russ, apologies, haven't logged on for a couple of days.

Thanks for the info and links!

Good to know on Marshall and RLW, that's very handy! I've joined the group but haven't posted as yet.

I've had a look around eBay, Shapeways, Thingiverse, etc. and there are definitely some potential options there.

I'm planning on getting my own 3D printer later this year so hope to get some designs done in Fusion 360 and print my own. Ambitious, but fun!

I also just grabbed an inexpensive Life-Like N scale loco off eBay so I can at least have a look at the drive mechanisms, bogie setup, etc. as a starting point. My Rokuhan power chassis also arrived this week (wow it's tiny!) and while that's handy to get a starting point, the scale is definitely too small for any proper Nn3 stuff based on local locos.

With any luck my Micro-Trains Z track will arrive this week and I can start having a bit of fun on the weekend too.

8th Sep 2021, 05:18 AM
Well I've ended up doing some eBay purchasing of locos in various stages of (dis)repair and as it happens I acquired two Atlas Santa Fe locos marked 2121 FM "C" AT & SF.

Upon close inspection, these use wheels measuring 6.35mm which is spot on for 40" scale wheels. Eureka!

I'll have to start a thread soon on my plans and progress.