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MTH VO-1000 and Broken Pilots

Almost every used Baldwin VO-1000 I've seen on e-bay has a broken pilot front step ( or the pilot casting is missing completely ) due mostly to poor casting design ( they should have changed the profile to a "T" shape where the two bars meet the main body since this is where the maximum stress is if the foot plate gets bumped )


Since replacement VO-1000 pilots seem to be unobtainable ( and would probably break again in regular use ) I looked for a reasonable replacement. Of the three engines I have with the front pivoting  ( the motor is closest to the end of the frame, the pilot casting is short ) switcher truck (EMD SW-8/9,  FM H10-44, VO-1000 )  The EMD pilot ( PN DG-2150017 ) was the closest to the VO in shape, width, height, and profile


By milling ( using a hobbyist micro vertical mill like the Shop Fox ) the hose and lift bar detail from the front face, reshaping the side profile to better match the VO's, and adding a .050 in thick brass spacer between the back of the pilot face and the mounting bosses for the snow plow to reinforce the front face, I've created something reasonably close to the original, or at least close to what the pilot of a Baldwin S12 ( next generation ) switcher looked like.


Note: To anyone attempting to modify a DG-2150017 pilot like this, hold the mounting tongue in the milling machine's vise, use the snow plow mounting bosses as a level reference ( let them sit on the top of the vise jaw ) and then use a dial indicator to see if the pilot face is level end to end. Use shims between the vise and plow mounting boss to get it as level as possible before machining the front face.


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  • Baldwin_S12: Baldwin Builders photo
Last edited by JET
Original Post
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