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Follow the Sakura Tram Alterations
Follow along here with the Sakura Tram Alterations

First Up...Discovery and Surprise
Discovery: Indeed the Old/New Plarail Chassis is perfectly swapable with this New/New Plarail Chassis which turns out to be a bonus for this Tram.

Surprise: Without battery's the Old/New Chassis weighs in at 2.5 ounces and the New/New Chassis weights in at 1.9 ounces. Quite a difference so I am anxious to see whats inside to see what may be the difference.
First alteration:
I had noticed in all the videos I had watched up until now is that this Sakura Tram leaned down in the front both physically and visually. This turns out to be caused by 2 different things in my opinion.
First is the obvious. The front wheels on this Tram are quite small measuring in at 21.92mm. Compare that to the rear wheel, that with the rubber traction tire measures 23.92mm. The front axle is a tad bit lower which I think was Plarails fix, sort of, but falls a little short.
Second is visually, possibly optical illusion. Looking from the side the front wheel looks a lot smaller compared to the rear wheel. The illusion is exacerbated by the large and light colored rubber tire dwarfing the front wheel in the minds eye.
Coming up...The remarkably easy fix and Bonus fix.

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[-] The following 3 users Like Super's post:
  • Muddy Poppins, chrisjo, Finno
put the rubber tires on the front tires too?
My Trackmaster/Tomy/Plarail Photo Gallery Page (over 600+ photos and still under construction)
[-] The following 1 user Likes leylandvictory2's post:
  • Finno
That was one of my self suggestions to check into while waiting for my Sakura Tram to arrive and watching the YouTube videos. But because they have designed these new/new chassis along with the new/old chassis with the front axle set a bit lower than the rear axle (look closely at picture in the first Post above) using the exact size wheel as the rears would have the opposite affect and raise the front of the engine higher than the rear.
The remarkably easy fix and Bonus fix.
Remarkably, I measured the the front wheel on an old/new chassis system for a Star Wars Black Nankai Rapit I have waiting for a complete customization and it came out slightly bigger than this Sakura Tram. 22.22mm compared to the 21.92 on the Tram. This, along with re-fitting the rear drive wheels with the lower profile gray traction rubbers from Thomas engines (now at 23.06mm from the Trams original 23.92mm) changed the profile from the dipped front end to almost perfectly level.....Eureka....the easy solution....since the new/new chassis are swap-able with the new/old chassis, I just used the Nankai Rapits chassis on the Sakura Tram and...problem solved. This is so much better and less time consuming than having to pull apart the front wheels and replace them with bigger ones which I thought I was going to have to do. Check out the before and after pictures below to compare.
Next up: Stay tuned for the fabulous Bonus Fix...
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 2 users Like Super's post:
  • Finno, Vio
Bonus Fix:
The surprise benefit of swapping out the new/new Chassis with the new/old chassis is that the later has Two Speeds. Not so much a surprise for the Fast speed but the Slow Speed just fixed what I consider to be the other problem with the Sakura Tram....its too fast out of the box for a Tram/Streetcar. The slower speed is probably also helped by the fact the the new/old chassis is a bit heavier than the new/new one. Bonus Fix: the slow speed on the new/old chassis works out much better than the original (see comparison video's below). And, as another bonus...the on/off switch travel for the two speed chassis is the same as the single speed travel of the new/new chassis so there is no need to modify the shell body.
So there you have it...quite surprised at how this all turned out with having to result to some major modifications. Why Plarail opted to use Shinkansen type speed I will never know but I am guessing that they mass produce these new/new chassis and when a new engine is created they just grab one of these chassis from a large been and place it in a new shell without much regard to the speed. I guess my question would be...why not make all the new/new chassis Two Speeds that way they can be generically used on Trams like this and Bullet Trains alike then let the buyer decide which speed works best.
Next Up: When I first opened this Tram and placed a battery in it and turned it on to make sure it worked in my hand...I said to myself “this has got to be the quietest motor I have ever heard”. Well, as you can hear from the video, when running the Tram on the tracks it turned into a popcorn popper. So next up is getting inside the new/new chassis to see how it works.

[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 3 users Like Super's post:
  • Muddy Poppins, Mister No, Finno
Super that is much better slow...
I will have to take a look to see if I am able to make the motor change, (if it ever arrives) but I think that I am going to try to use Leyland’s idea on mine, and put traction tires on the front end, to at least correct the front tilt.
Play nice & have fun!!Smile
[-] The following 1 user Likes Muddy Poppins's post:
  • Finno
Looks good, Super! It would be nice to see a longer video with the tram on your layout, don't you think? I'd like to see more!
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
[-] The following 1 user Likes Mister No's post:
  • Finno
Great mod Super. I laughed when I saw your first video at how fast the little guy was going. Definitely think it's better on slow - it's a tram car! And prefer the leveled look too.
(05-13-2020, 06:20 PM)Mister No Wrote: Looks good, Super! It would be nice to see a longer video with the tram on your layout, don't you think? I'd like to see more!

Agreed! Come on Super - put the little tram over the bridge and let him do a full circuit!  Wink
Was an idea of mine too but the way I see it, because of the center line of the front axle being lower than the rear, if you put the same diameter wheel on the front it will lift the engine higher in the front than the rear (opposite effect than what it is originally) at least that is what my mind is telling me. I must note that after looking at all, non-Thomas, Plarail trains (most all) both past and present, the front axles are all lower than the rears.

Putting rear traction wheels on the front may work if you remove the rubbers but may I suggest my original idea that I didn't have to do first. All the older style chassis had a larger wheel on the fronts and if you have some junkers around you could try them first. They measure in at 23.51mm compared to the ones that are on the Tram now at 21.92mm These larger front wheels are a closer match to that original drive wheel with rubber which measures in at 23.92mm. I am not for sure certain but it may be a perfect fit.

[Image: Axles.jpg]

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@Finno &Mr-No
I hear ya, yes I have been procrastinating for the last several months about getting to a new video. I like to use Themes for my videos and I have had the Theme for this one for quite a long time. Seems like I am always wanting to add or re-do something on the layout before doing a video but the fact is, as most of you know, a layout is never done so I should just make this one video now and show off any updates as future videos are made. Good news is...2 days ago I made the Thumbnail for the next video...I know...but at least its a start. Blush
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 3 users Like Super's post:
  • Mister No, Muddy Poppins, chrisjo
Don't mean to get off topic but you reminded me when you mentioned the thumbnail. I would be interested in a thread about video making. It would be interesting to collect the different ideas and tips from all the video makers here. For example what tools you use, any tricky angles you have discovered which work well for train videos etc. Or is there already a topic I've missed?
[-] The following 1 user Likes Finno's post:
  • Super
I do recall one short older Thread about Video making but it would be nice to resurrect it so that more members could help with more recent experience and ideas.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 1 user Likes Super's post:
  • Finno
Internal Inspection of the New/New Chassis, Motor & Gear Box.

My initial thought on this new/new version of the Plarail Chassis was that it would have a simpler gearing arrangement than the new/old version because the motor was directly over the drive wheels which would make repairs a lot easier...I was wrong.

These gears will be very hard to source for replacement if needed. Even if you could find a source for some of the gears the main shaft is not round...its a hexagonal shaft so good luck finding the gears with a hex hole in the middle. Even the gear on the motor and drive axle is very different would be hard to find imo.
It sure would be nice if Plarail would release Repair Kits for the different versions of their gear boxes. These kits could include replacement gears couplings and rubber tires. They could charge whatever as I believe they would be popular. But I am sure they would rather have people buy another whole new train than to repair broken ones so this is just my pipe dream.

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[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 2 users Like Super's post:
  • Finno, chrisjo
I have even better idea (and it's a dream too, I know): they should make entire chassis with motor and everything that we can replace if motor dies. You see, I'm no expert in motors (in fact, I do not know almost anything about motors), and what should I do if the motor stops working? In many cases I can't just buy another train, because it's not availible on the market at all. What then? The easiest way would be to buy a matching chassis with motor &tc, and put the shell body on it, no?
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
[-] The following 2 users Like Mister No's post:
  • Super, Finno
Thats a great dream Mr-No and with the ideas that most all new trains will be able to use either the new/new chassis or the new/old chassis (they are interchangeable) are universal, it would be easy to just offer a complete chassis for sale.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 2 users Like Super's post:
  • Finno, Mister No
I sometimes wonder why there are so many variations of chassis. Tomy prides themselves on a consistent track system for decades yet the engines are so varied and disparate.

It doesn't seem like a very efficient manufacturing strategy either. Wouldn't it be cheaper/easier to have a common, universal platform?
[-] The following 2 users Like Finno's post:
  • Mister No, Super
(05-17-2020, 03:04 PM)Finno Wrote: Wouldn't it be cheaper/easier to have a common, universal platform?
That's the direction they've taken with the Plarail Thomas range, with the result that the new engines (Edward, to pick just one glaring example) lack variety in the wheel department in the same way that the TM Revolution range does.
[-] The following 1 user Likes chrisjo's post:
  • Super

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