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A few months ago I converted a K-Line Berkshire to PS3 for a friend. It ran ok but was jerky below 20 or so scale MPH.

The guy I converted it for was never totally satisfied with the performance. The basic problem is the small forward facing RS385 motor K-Line used. You can see it cogging in the above video. So several weeks ago I was discussing this with @harmonyards and apparently him and @Norton had been discussing swapping out the K-Line chassis for a Lionel chassis used when Lionel reissued these locomotives several years ago. So after talking with Pat I convinced the owner of the K-Line Berkshire to order a chassis and worm gear from Lionel for the Lima Berkshire. I got both the chassis and locomotive from the owner and a 9433 Pittman motor and flywheel from Pat. I set about combining the K-Line Berkshire with the Lionel chassis. 

The chassis needed a couple mods. A notch had to be cut in the rear for the PS3 tether connector and holes drilled to mount the connector. In addition a hole to mount the K-Line drawbar had to be drilled. After that a test to see how much the performance improved was in order. Below is the locomotive running at 1 scale MPH effortlessly. Don't worry I cleaned up the wiring and trimmed the tach tape on the flywheel before reassembly 😉.

I reassembled and tested it on a train of heavy scale cars. It runs as well as any PS3 or Legacy locomotive.  Nice and smooth. It's a night and day difference from the original K-Line motor and chassis. 

So if you've got a K-Line Berkshire this is a worthwhile modification. It vastly improves the locomotive.

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Last edited by Lou1985
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Nice job!!  I was never a fan of that K-Line arrangement.  I can't understand why they mounted the motor that way, what was the benefit?  There's definitely more "shoulder room" for a larger motor in the firebox area.  I always loved the looks of the Lima A-1 and its historical significance.  But I passed on the K-Line version because of the tiny backwards motor, and based on your video I was wise to wait; I wouldn't have been satisfied either.  I was so happy when Lionel did it "the right way" in their reissue.

I also like the looks of the USRA Heavy Mikado.  But all of Lionel's recent Mikado chassis were made from K-Line tooling, and inherited the same tiny, backwards motor arrangement.  I tested one and it runs ok under Legacy (better than the Berk in your first video.)  But you've got me curious... what are the chances of transplanting the Lionel Lima Berk chassis with a rear-mounted motor into a Heavy Mikado!?

Last edited by Ted S

I'm not sure if the Lima Berkshire chassis would fit under a heavy Mikado. It might but there would probably be a lot of cutting on the chassis involved. 

I should note that the K-Line lead and training trucks, steam chest, side rods, and pilot bolt to the Lionel chassis without modifications. The only modification Lionel made to the chassis was to redesign the gearbox and put a larger motor in the cab.

@scott.smith posted:

K-Line used small motors. In order to convert those to DCS you would need to download the Railking Proto 2/3 files.

Scott Smith

Motor size or a Railking/Premier sound file has nothing to do with it. It's all about driver size and gear ratio. After that you can modify the tach stripe count to get the scale MPH close.

In the case of the K-Line Berkshire the small motor combined with a so so gear ratio resulted in jerky running at very low speed. 

I’m no expert Pete, and thank you!..a lot of what I’ve done, and what’s been done on this very thread is thanks to your insight, so again, many thanks.....as far as the Kline Hudson, beautiful, if not the most stunning diecast model of a J1e.....not that it doesn’t have its flaws, obviously, but I’ve done some work on these models to improve their performance.....I have swapped the forward facing motor in one build with a small Pittman, and it did indeed improve its performance, but still lacked in overall pull of a heavy consist ( even on O81 ) ......so I took a second Kline Hudson, and looked at swapping in a MTH chassis....it took some fab work to make this happen, but the result was a lot more satisfying then the previous build....with the MTH chassis, I went full ERR, fan smoke, and GRJ’s super chuffer and chuff generator.....probably this build is my finest J1 class I’ve built, strong as a stump puller, 4 chuffs, fan smoke, and can easily handle 10-12 heavyweights with out peaking the CC.....on the other hand, the smaller front facing Pittman will now handle 5-6 heavyweights and does ok....so that one, and the stone stock Kline ( I have 3 altogether) just see commuter duty, or a second section without as many cars....

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Wow, Harmonyards, fantastic work, I’m so glad you chimed into this Question as I just received this K-Line hudson. Is there evidence that Lionel used this engine for the VL Hudson back in 2010? I like the the Stump Puller concept, I’ve not tried out my engine as of yet. This weekend I’ll put it through it’s paces. I would like to have mine set up that way, however I do not have the skills to accomplish that mission. I like the looks of this particular hudson very much, it’s a good looking hudson, probably would be worthy of the above mentioned enhancements. Mine is the 5343 version. Thank You very much for the theory of Stump Pulling.  Cool. Happy Railroading Everyone 

I have not sat down and examined the later Lionel’s from the VL 700 on up.....it wouldn’t surprise me none if Lionel utilized existing tooling on one, if not more of the later offerings.....I have a Legacy ESE, and it’s on the workbench, I’ll look and see if there’s any similarities between the Kline Hudson chassis, and this ESE chassis.....I’ve been wondering about the latest J3’s and if those chassis are derivatives of the old Kline tooling...as Lou ( Lou1985) shows in his Kline ( we call them Klegacy builds) Berk, the Legacy chassis is a bolt in swap, so clearly Lionel must have altered existing tooling to make the Legacy Berks .....again, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this happened on some of Lionel’s J class Hudsons......that’ll make for a simpler swap of a much better and bigger motored chassis than what the Kline has in it now, and open up a lot of possibilities to mod up older Kline’s .....I’ll let y’all know...again, thanks to Pete ( Norton ) who originally did the foot work and figured out these Kline/ Lionel oddities that’s making these swaps even feasible....

Pat

Pretty sure both the Vision J1 (700E) and Legacy ESE use different frames than K- Line. It wouldn't be a drop in replacement like the Berkshire, more like putting the K-Line shell on the MTH chassis.

Looks like its a moot point anyway. lionel has no post 2000 Hudson frames available, J1or  J3, except the legacy ESE and that has Scullin Disks.

 

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Ok, Question #2?, If Lionel used a different chassis that wouldn’t fit under the K-Line Hudson, where would one find the MTH chassis, keep the TMCC/Legacy commands and add 4 chuffs per revolution, and utilization of Gunrunner Johns supper chuffer fan driven smoke unit and it all work. Thus, becoming a real “Stump Puller”. Just wondering and who can do the surgery.... Thank you all very much. Happy Railroading Everyone 

 

@leapinlarry posted:

Ok, Question #2?, If Lionel used a different chassis that wouldn’t fit under the K-Line Hudson, where would one find the MTH chassis, keep the TMCC/Legacy commands and add 4 chuffs per revolution, and utilization of Gunrunner Johns supper chuffer fan driven smoke unit and it all work. Thus, becoming a real “Stump Puller”. Just wondering and who can do the surgery.... Thank you all very much. Happy Railroading Everyone 

 

We’re always on the search for upgrades to our models,......how can we make it run smoother, better, longer than the OE mfr. ever intended....if your Kline Hudson doesn’t satisfy what you want it to do, I stock all the parts to do this swap....you can hit me up....

Pat

Interesting.  I took the MTH J1e and yanked the mechanism and too small cylinders, sold that on eBay, and started over.  I did retain the MTH Proto 2, and adjusted the stripes on the flywheel for four chuffs with my new gearbox.  Let me see if a photo exists - drivers are cast iron, rim insulated.  Cylinder and main frame are brass.

MTH Hudson 4

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For "stump puller" you want a locomotive that'll move a heavy train like there is nothing behind it. Like my MTH Premier ATSF Hudson. It's powered by a 9434 Pittman and it pulling ten 16 inch aluminum passenger cars like nothing. I could tack 5 or 10 more on and it wouldn't break a sweat. 

The stock K-Line chassis/motor in your NYC Hudson wouldn't cut it in that situation. It would overheat with five 16 inch aluminum cars. With these forward facing RS385 motors the chassis swap is the way to go for reliable pulling power.

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@harmonyards posted:

We’re always on the search for upgrades to our models,......how can we make it run smoother, better, longer than the OE mfr. ever intended....if your Kline Hudson doesn’t satisfy what you want it to do, I stock all the parts to do this swap....you can hit me up....

Pat

The phrase you're looking for is "hot rodding". I "hot rod" virtually every mechanical thing I own, if it'll improve performance. But you're versed in that 😉.

@Norton posted:

Rather than trying to use the Lionel Berk chassis under a Lionel/K-Line Mikado, just buy a MTH Mikado or try and locate a MTH chassis.

Their Premier USRA Mikados come with rear facing Pittmans.

Thanks!  No doubt the MTH Premier Mikados have a solid mechanical pedigree.  I was trying to avoid all that custom work that you guys do!

I was hoping / guessing that K-Line might have used the same chassis for their A1 Berk and USRA Light Mike, or at least the same mounting points.  If true, then the improved Lionel A1 chassis should fit under ANY of the Mikados (K-Line or Lionel) with minimal fuss.  This would let me build a "super stock" version of Lionel's USRA Heavy with the motor in the rear (as it should have been!)  Also, I'm partial to Legacy and the back-drivable gears.  When Lionel reissued the A1 I snagged one, and it's sweet!

Last edited by Ted S
@Ted S posted:

Thanks!  No doubt the MTH Premier Mikados have a solid mechanical pedigree.  I was trying to avoid all that custom work that you guys do!

I was hoping / guessing that K-Line might have used the same chassis for their A1 Berk and USRA Light Mike, or at least the same mounting points.  If true, then the improved Lionel A1 chassis should fit under ANY of the Mikados (K-Line or Lionel) with minimal fuss.  This would let me build a "super stock" version of Lionel's USRA Heavy with the motor in the rear (as it should have been!)  Also, I'm partial to Legacy and the back-drivable gears.  When Lionel reissued the A1 I snagged one, and it's sweet!

As Pete pointed out, what you want to do is un achievable......I’ve got a Kline Mike boiler shell sitting here....it’s miles away from sitting on a Lionel Berk chassis...I’m actually in the process of doing the same swap Lou did on a B&A Berk, so to see if what you wanted to do would even work, I set the Mike shell on the Berk chassis......no bueno.....it’s a country mile away from fitting....that’d be one hacked up mess to make that work....sorry Ted,.....she’s a no-go..

Pat 

@harmonyards posted:

I bet your can opener will rip open a can of beans like nobodies business.....when you rev that thing up, half of Cicero goes dark for a moment.....🤣

Pat

I don't even own an electric can opener, just a manual one. My wife won't let me open up the KitchenAid stand mixer to see if I can make it work better 😄.

Back on topic. Would it be possible to swap a MTH Premier Mikado chassis under a K-Line heavy Mikado boiler?

@Lou1985 posted:

I don't even own an electric can opener, just a manual one. My wife won't let me open up the KitchenAid stand mixer to see if I can make it work better 😄.

Back on topic. Would it be possible to swap a MTH Premier Mikado chassis under a K-Line heavy Mikado boiler?

I’m sure it would, it’d be just like the Kline Hudson with the MTH chassis, heavy fab work, careful measurements, and some machined mounting points....both the MTH Mike and the TMCC  Lionel Mike have large Pittmans already in them.....as many Mikes are out on the market, it really wouldn’t make sense to dig that deep into a Mike...in the case of the Kline Hudson, it’s probably one of, if not the best diecast J1 made...so it’s worthy of some effort.....you’d need to be absolutely in love with a Kline Mike to do that kinda swap...or if you or someone got one so dirt cheap it doesn’t matter....

Pat

Last edited by harmonyards

Lou, K-Line never made a heavy Mikado.  Just the USRA Light, which MTH had already done better.  Lionel was the only one to tool up a proper USRA Heavy, and it has the backwards motor (because I presume it uses the same chassis as the K-Line Light.)  That's the one I would like to upgrade. 

The other Lionel Mikado isn't a USRA Light or Heavy.  It's based on the Southern 4501 prototype.  It's never been reissued with Legacy upgrades, and now that Lionel seems to have standardized on the ex-K-Line tooling, I doubt that it will be.

Lou 1985, I have a k-line atsf berk that is DOA. Its been a shelf queen waiting for an upgrade such as this. I checked on the lionel parts you mentioned. Would you also need the motor coupling drive shaft? Where do I get the motor you got for your conversion ? If I were to get the parts could you upgrade my berk? I was thinking of always adding ps3 to this engine,but with the tiny kline motor did not want to waist the money on it.  now it seams I can with a little money and the right parts. Thanks roger. 

Btw my email is glasgoreg@me.com if you wish to discuss converting my engine for me.

All of Lionel Mikados made since K-Line folded use the K-Line chassis with the small forward facing motor. That includes all the USRA Lights, Heavies, and the Hybrid. Chassis replacement options include MTH, Williams Brass, and the Lionel Southern type produced in the 1990s. None would be a drop in replacement and require considerable modification to accept the Lionel or K-Line shell. Its only because Lionel themselves made a new chassis for the B&A/B&M K-Line Berk that made Lou's and Pat's conversions doable with minimal modification.

Pete 

Pete is correct, I’ve got a Kline Mike shell here at the shop that I’ve been looking to add a chassis to....there’s no polite way to do it....the fab work would be just as much as putting the MTH chassis under the Kline Hudson....as I’ve said, you got to be absolutely in love with it, or have gotten a Kline Mike for peanuts .....the Kline Hudson is kinda a golden child .....sometimes they can be had on the cheap, so subsequently upgrading it is worth while....somebody correct me, but even those Kline Mikes still approach stupidville prices....no??....

Pat

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