Lionel 2 Rail conversion kits question

Will the conversion kits work on their existing trucks?  I have a dozen of their auto racks that I was going to convert with Atlas 70 ton trucks but now I'm thinking I will just do the Lionel conversion kit.

 

Thanks Erik

Original Post

Lionel has a conversion kit?

I have found with a number of Lionel cars, I can just replace the wheelsets with IM or Athearn wheelsets and use the existing trucks.    this works great because the bolsters on the Lionel car are undersized and if you try to put 2 rail scale trucks on, you also have to rebuild the the bolster and parts of the underside.

I don't know the answer to your question but I do know the Lionel conversion kits are not out yet. I found the whole thing that Mine Reagan was trying to explain confusing. I hope to get more information from Lionel at York. I have some Lionel PS1 boxcars I would like to convert. 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Note that that "Lionel Scale" is based on the WEaver Tooling for the cars they produced in the US.    These were scale cars and had NMRA recommended floor heights and bolster heights.    I don't know what trucks they are using or what they may have done to change things.    But the weaver trucks set the cars at the NMRA recommended floor height and worked with the bolsters.    All these measurements were compatible with all other 2 rail mfg products.

Of course Lionel may have changed the underbodies to match their toy train line.

So the conversion kits AREN'T like the conversion trucks sold by MTH,rather Lionel sells 2 rail wheels on axles that work in the 3rail wheelsets? I'm assuming screws have to be removed to swap out the axles.(?) I have new Lionel mill gons that I put Atlas trucks on,but they only turn slightly before they run into the car sides. I plan on using 60" curves but am still not sure they'll negotiate all switches and curves.

All help here will be MUCH APPRECIATED and I thank all in advance. 

As always,Al Hummel

 

Because of the unique bolster thickness on the cars and trucks that Lionel uses, it takes some effort to replace their trucks with "scale" trucks.   I have found that Atlas O trucks worked on a couple of cars with some shimming for the coupers.    

I just replace the wheelsets with Intermountain or Athearn wheelsets and reuse the lionel trucks.     It does involve disassembling the trucks and cutting off the tab for the large lionel coupler.     I have done well over a dozen cars this way.    The older trucks with the stamped bolsters are better in my opinion because y ou can bend the bolsters slightly to tighten up the space between journals if the wheels are too loose.

Doing this the wheels tned to be a little sloppy, but I have had no derailments or problems with this.

I tried my Lionel mill gon with Atlas 100 ton roller bearing trucks on my 60" curve and had derailments as the truck hits the side of the car&won't let it turn as needed. I don't know how the 3 rail trucks work on 3 rail track as the trucks don't have much more swing than my 2 rail trucks do.

I don't care about having things down to "scale" I just want to get the car around curves & through switches without derailing. Lol.

Thanks for the input gentlemen.

Al Hummel

I converted a Lionel mill gondola to 2-rail using the Lionel conversion kit. I reused the 3-rail bolster to mount the trucks and my gondola negotiates 49.5" radii with no issues.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

The Lionel 2-rail wheels are for a 70 ton truck (33" diameter). Although not correct for a 66' mill gondola they work fine. Perhaps your issue is with the slightly larger, but correct, 36" wheels on the Atlas 100 ton trucks.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

Alan Hummel posted:

CATNAP:So you used the conversion kit with the 2 rail wheels mounted on the axles and put those axles inside the 3rail sideframes?

Yes, and I reused the bolsters that came with the 3-rail wheels. The bolsters that came with the kit didn't work.

On an aside, I converted a Lionel NE caboose using Lionel's 2-rail caboose trucks and I also had to reuse the 3-rail bolsters.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

Alan Hummel posted:

Catnap, The Atlas whels are hitting the sideframes on the car. I have HO Kadee spacers I could try to raise the car.

Al 

 

I suppose you could do that but it's much easier to use the Lionel 2-rail wheels. The Kadee couplers (745's) are at the correct height with the Lionel 2-rail wheels.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

You're welcome, Al. Sometimes you have to shim the coupler gear box, other times you may have to shim the bolster like I did with an 86' boxcar that I recently converted and there are times when no shimming is required at all. The Atlas 70 ton trucks that I used for the 86' boxcar kept hitting the sides of the boxcar so I had to shim the bolsters with washers to get the proper clearance, ride height.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

Biggs767 posted:

Will the conversion kits work on their existing trucks?  I have a dozen of their auto racks that I was going to convert with Atlas 70 ton trucks but now I'm thinking I will just do the Lionel conversion kit.

 

Thanks Erik

Erik,

The answer isn’t clear, but I doubt it. It looks like the conversion kit was designed for use with a new truck that appears on cars like the 65 ft Mill gondola. In the thread Joe links Mike Reagan, then with Lionel, explained: “These conversion kits are only applicable to the new scale trucks (the ones with the thumbtack in the images).”  I’ve seen two different truck types used on the auto racks, but not those new trucks for which the conversion kit was designed. Your Atlas plan will work and will lower the cars a little. 

RM

 

 

Al

That is a wide curve in my experience.   most freight cars go around that with ease, but this is a long car.   

However, Atlas trucks are often wider than most others - too wide compared to scale.   Putting wheelsets in the lionel trucks might work better.   

Most of the original Atlas trucks up until the X29 boxcars were over wide compared to an Athearn or Weaver scale truck.

Progress Report:

I tried  my Lionel 65' mill gon again today thinking it had passed the wheel clearance test when I got it a couple months ago. This time I didn't tighten the screw on the truck quite as much not seeing how this would help much as I didn't tighten it to the last turn the 1st time I installed the Atlas trucks. I put it on my 60" radius curve&no problems! I tried it again and it cleared fine again. So I gave it the final test-I joined 2 #5 turnouts in an "S" crossover and it cleared them with flying colors! Maybe it was The Great Pumpkin that charmed it? Lol. If I ever get the money for conversion kits I think I will still do that. I'll wait 'till I get couplers on them. Again,I have to wait 'till I can put Protocraft type shelf couplers from Glacier Park Models which requires more greenbacks.

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