Can anybody please tell who the manufacturer is for prototype 2 bay centreflow hopper MTH offers is and what year were they built from?

Also can you buy change out 2 rail wheel sets for MTH 3 rail trucks and if so from who?

Thanks Daryl

Original Post

These cars were built by ACF (American Car & Foundry) and have been around since the late 1960's. These cars are still widely in use today, along with several variations of the 3-bay and 4-bay hoppers they also have built.

Do yourself a huge favor and replace the MTH trucks with Atlas O 100T trucks- they are by far the best trucks on the market and will make this car look so much better than with the MTH trucks. 

Jeff Sohn

Daryl, As Matt indicated, Atlas trucks come with an insert that you can use to convert MTH cars.  Once you remove the 4 screws on the bottom of the car to separate the underframe from the car body, you can then remove the MTH trucks.  Then pop in the black inserts (plug) and screw in the trucks that's all there is to it.  Often you need to use a screwdriver to hold the plug in place while tightening down screw that holds the trucks.   Use the Atlas provided screws from the same package the inserts came in. 

I'm waiting on Kadee's for this car, which I use #740's but looks like it will be fairly easy just drill and tap for the screw size of your choice.. Mine is 2-56 for couplers, others like 1-72.  If anything might require minimal shim to keep the Kadee gearbox level.   

Often MTH updates their tooling to include screw pockets for Kadee's.  I don't have many of these 2-Bay ACF Covered Hoppers from MTH, so I'm not sure if any of the newer runs of these cars include any of these enhancements?  Perhaps others know? 


Thank you,



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The last few runs have Kadee compatible coupler mounting holes. I have 2 Chessie System hoppers that I converted to 2-rail using Atlas 100T RB trucks and Kadee 745's.

On the newer models there is more detail on the brake end of the car which makes separating the body from the frame very difficult. 

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

30683335-2FBA-4D34-83C0-8F67E0C1D405F25F7A5B-42E0-41AF-AA84-B78255CC41E2Thanks for all the info guys.

Do Atlas 2 rail trucks always come with the MTH 3 rail plugs conversion in the packaging or do you have to request them?

Do these same plugs allow you to convert Atlas 3 rail cars to 2 rail cars?

Can anyone tell me if the car posted above is a later MTH model with more detail and Kadee coupler pads?

Thanks Daryl



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Daryl,  This car looks to be not from the latest runs, shows 2012 v2 catalog.  From the MTH website it shows the Kadee Mounting Pads, doesn't look like it has all the details of the later runs. 

In terms of your other questions 

Do Atlas 2 rail trucks always come with the MTH 3 rail plugs conversion in the packaging or do you have to request them?  Always in the box.

Do these same plugs allow you to convert Atlas 3 rail cars to 2 rail cars? Inserts not necessary for converting Atlas 3R cars.  


Thank you,



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emdalco01 posted:

Hi Mike,

Thanks again.

So Atlas 3 rail to 2 rail trucks is just a straight swap?

Regards Daryl

Daryl,  As Jeff states in most cases to convert Atlas 3R to 2R is a direct swap at least for trucks.  Sometimes a 3R car could require some work when it comes to adding Kadee couplers, such as drilling/tapping mounting holes, shimming the coupler gear box, filling in the end of the car.  Those things are dependent on the Atlas 3R car in question.  Nothing too difficult, but something to consider. 

Thank you,


The newer-issue MTH freight cars come with mounting locations for Kadee coupler boxes. I normally use 2mmx8mm metric screws (same ones for locomotives), but on the Gunderson cars, the holes were set up for 2-56 screws. Some of the first Kadee-compatible MTH cars came with shims so you could use the hi-rail wheels and the couplers would be at the proper height. On MOST of the older cars, you can drill holes to mount Kadees, but in some cases you may need to add shims, or in the case of the lumber cars, you need to notch the end sill.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating over 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"

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Daryl, Atlas trucks come with the 2 black inserts and 2 screws to secure them.  In certain cases, say with some Lionel cars, I've used 4-40 screws but with 3R MTH where you use the provided inserts or 3R Atlas cars the screws provided work just great! 

Thank you,


So I learned more about the newer/latest runs of these cars....   As previously mentioned, they have more detail, wire grabs and kadee mounting pads.   Also, there was some question as to the having the added detail on the B end causing some issues with truck conversion.    The triple valve is designed to separate so it's really super simple to get the underframe separated from the rest of the car body without any damage.  You can see the upper portion attached to the slope sheet, just sits on top the lower portion attached to the car underframe.  Check out the two photos of the mineral red BNSF car.  The rest is like the older versions.   

I've included some photos of the 4 conversions I performed tonight, less Kadee's still waiting for my bulk order.  

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Thank you,



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