I know a number of us have the Phantom set, I happen to have the first version. It's a cool set and an eye turner with visitors, but it's frustrating that it can barely drag it's four passenger cars on level track, much less on grades. I have Fastrack, so the magnatraction helps, but on the club layout with Atlas track, even on level track is sometimes struggles to get the consist moving, the locomotive just spins it's wheels. I'm sure traction tires would help, but I don't have them. Of course, if the motor was in the rear, it would make a HUGE difference I'd imagine, but in the front it has no traction at all. I even put about 12oz of weight in the front to help, no joy, it didn't seem to change anything.
I finally have had enough, so the Phantom improvement project has been launched!
I got an old GP-9 stripped chassis with just the motor and power truck and set out to improve my locomotive. Since I've had several AC powered dual motored locomotives that have been pretty strong pullers, I figured that was a place to start. Here in pictures is my progress report.
First step is to remove the old sideframes from the GP-9 truck. I ground the tops so as not to damage the square holes that I'll need later, they match up perfectly with the Phantom sideframes.
The "new" motor and truck, cleaned up and ready to install.
For the motor mount, I drilled out the welds on the old motor mounting plate. I drilled smaller holes from this side, then on the drill press, slowly partially drilled through to release the plate.
Next, I cut a hole in the chassis and drilled out the holes for the mounting screws. Conveniently, the old swivel mount exactly lined up with the keystone hole for correct alignment, making it easy to locate my cutout correctly.
The next two pictures are the motor mounting plate in place with flathead screws, looks like it belongs there!
Here's the chassis with the motors mounted and also the sideframes. they look to be in the right position.
After a couple minor alterations, the fuel tank with the speaker and controls is mounted.
A test fit of the shell, perfect fit, looks just like it did before the surgery. Plenty of clearance for the new motor.
The old electronics package isn't going to fit, so I'm going to use an ERR AC Commander and a RailSounds 4 board set. Some time back I ordered the RS4 Phantom sound board in case I ever got to this point. I rummaged around in my parts box for a RS motherboard that would hold the cars oriented so they would fit. It's a tight fit, but it looks like standing the RS boards and MB on their sides will get it all in.
That's as far as I got today, but more to come.