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I'm a 3 railer and want to buy a 2 rail box car.  I've never converted a 2 rail to 3 rail and just want to know whether it is difficult or fairly easy.  I can only guess it's a matter of switching out the trucks.  I'm looking at an Atlas 53' Evans boxcar. Any advice would be helpful.  I have looked for this car in 3 rail and haven't found it (it's from around 2009), so that is why I am considering the 2 rail purchase.

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Since it is a Atlas car it should be easy especially if you are keeping the 2 rail/KD couplers.  If you are keeping the "KD clone" couplers, all you will probably have to do is swap the 2 rail wheels for a set of Atlas 3 rail wheels.  If you want to change the couplers too, the easiest way would be to buy the appropriate Atlas 3 rail wheel/coupler truck assembly.  Taking off the Atlas couplers will likely be the hardest part.  You have to pry off the top of the Atlas coupler box to get to the screws.  Other than that, it is likely just taking of the 2 rail stuff and replacing with the 3 rail stuff.

you may find that simply swapping 3 rail wheelsets into the 2 rail truck will not provide enough height for the larger wheel flanges to clear the body. on many of the Atlas products, the truck bolster on 3 rail trucks is thicker than that of their 2 rail truck. it raises the car to clear those flanges.

keep in mind that not all Atlas cars are this way. but some are.

Basil posted:

Excellent! Thank you for the quick reply.  If I go through with it, I'll contact you first.  Today is decision day, so it won't be a long wait.

If Clem doesn't have a pair to match, I probably do. By the way, to remove the Atlas scale couplers, there's a tab at the back of the coupler box. Gently bend that back with pliers and pry the cover plate loose. That will reveal the coupler, centering spring, and the 2mm mounting screws. Bag those with the trucks and you're all set.

I've switched out quite a few Atlas O two rail for three rail trucks. The bolster screws should be the same for both trucks. Just make sure the coupler shank is the right length on the three rail truck you are using. If it is a standard boxcar, not a hi cube or auto parts boxcar, a regular Atlas O 100 ton roller bearing truck will do. You can always sell or trade the two rail trucks and scale couplers to a two railer modeler. 

Thank you all for the input!  I bought the car--a 53' Wisconsin & Southern Sargento Cheese boxcar.  I work a stone's throw from Sargento, so I'm pretty excited to add it to my Wis & So. roster. The car is Atlas 7526-4, for those of you curious enough to see what it looks like.  I see Sargento's trucks in the cheese paint scheme every day.  I want to use Atlas trucks for sure, that would make it the equivalent of 6526-4.

Basil posted:

Thank you all for the input!  I bought the car--a 53' Wisconsin & Southern Sargento Cheese boxcar.  I work a stone's throw from Sargento, so I'm pretty excited to add it to my Wis & So. roster. The car is Atlas 7526-4, for those of you curious enough to see what it looks like.  I see Sargento's trucks in the cheese paint scheme every day.  I want to use Atlas trucks for sure, that would make it the equivalent of 6526-4.

Saw that car when offered. It's nice when you can get a car for industry you have some personal connection to. The 53-footers use 70-ton roller bearing trucks. The truck screws are the same in both the 2-rail and 3-rail Atlas offerings. As I recall, that particular car used standard-shank couplers so finding equivalent 3-rail trucks shouldn't be a problem.

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