Hi All,

 

I am a 3-rail person going to 2-rail and want to thank everyone for their posts and insights on converting 3-rail locos to 2-rail. I have learned a lot and was able to put this little search query together to help other newbies like me make the leap.  And going this conversion route seems pretty painless as you build your railroad. 

 

For those looking for locos from MTH that are designed to be convertible to 2-rail I was able to put together a search string that will bring up all of their available locos that are convertible to 2-rail with Protosound 3.0.  For me Protosound 3.0 is important because I run DCC. If it is not necessary for you, just remove that piece of it from the  search string and it will bring up an even larger list of convertible locos (most likely with PS 2.0 or earlier).

 

If you copy and insert this search string / address (below) in a new browser window, it will pull up all MTH 3-rail / 2-rail conversion capable locos with Protosound 3.0.

 

http://www.mthtrains.com/searc...r_search/Proto-Scale 3-2 3-Rail/2-Rail Conversion Capable Proto-Sound 3.0?

 

I hope you find this helpful.

 

Have a great holiday season.

 

Chris

Original Post

Ok, the board is still truncating the link, copy and paste the link in between the quotes and insert in a new browser window address bar and it will work. 

Sorry, don't know why it is cutting of the link.

 

Chris

It seemed that the first engine that came up is a personal favorite of mine: the GP30.

 

My recollection is that the MTH Proto Sound 3.0 GP30 was not offered in the "scale wheels" version with fixed pilot and, well, scale wheels.

 

I only have experience with one MTH diesel and that is a scale-wheel engine so it needed no conversion.

 

My understanding is that removing the 3rd rail electrical contact roller is easy. How about replacing those ginormous hi-rail wheels? Does MTH sell a fixed pilot as a part or would it be some surgery and removal of the lobster claw coupler and then attaching the pilot to the shell?

 

Thanks, Dave.

 

My one MTH diesel is a PS3 "-2" scale wheel version. I was just wondering if there might be an easy way to transform a "-1" MTH PS3 diesel into some semblance of a "-2."

 

@Bill, it is my understanding that there is a way to do it and I was pointed in the direction of Joe Foehrkolb at Baldwin Forge & Machine - RRJJF@aol.com , who does this for folks. Check out his web site. 

 

I want to convert some lionel and other basic types as well and have them lined up for him when I get to them on the project list. 

 

Chris

Bill and anyone else interested, just because a MTH locomotive is not offered in the scale wheels version does not automatically mean it is not 3/2 capable. There are some MTH locomotives that are 3/2 capable but do not come in a scale wheel version with the -2. This means that you don't have to send the locomotive to Baldwin Forge & Machine for conversion. You can convert it yourself by buying the scale wheels from MTH and installing them. Even if you sent it to Joe at Baldwin Forge & Machine he is not going to give you fixed pilots and full length hand rails unless you pay extra. I am not even sure if he does that kind of work. You have to check the description for each MTH locomotive in the catalog to know which locomotives are 3/2 and which aren't.

 

I ordered a GP7 out of the new catalog which was not offered with scale wheels. I plan to install scale wheels and to try to fix the pilot myself. Hopefully it will be a fun project.

@Hudson, great point!  I thought you could "re-tool" the standard MTH offerings for 2-rail but, don't know anyone who has done so successfully.  It makes good sense. 

 

The reason I reached out to Joe @ Baldwin is because I am getting the new MTH R-142 subway set which only comes in a 3-rail version but, obviously I would need to get it to 2-rail.  I have never attempted a conversion myself and am very hesitant to to start out on a brand new set with PS 3 in it.

 

I wonder how difficult it is.  If not too crazy it opens up a whole world of possibilities, though many of those vehicles are not "scale", I'd rather have them running than nothing at all.

 

Chris

Originally Posted by newtoO:

@Hudson, great point!  I thought you could "re-tool" the standard MTH offerings for 2-rail but, don't know anyone who has done so successfully.  It makes good sense. 

 

The reason I reached out to Joe @ Baldwin is because I am getting the new MTH R-142 subway set which only comes in a 3-rail version but, obviously I would need to get it to 2-rail.  I have never attempted a conversion myself and am very hesitant to to start out on a brand new set with PS 3 in it.

 

I wonder how difficult it is.  If not too crazy it opens up a whole world of possibilities, though many of those vehicles are not "scale", I'd rather have them running than nothing at all.

 

Chris

 Chris, yes you are correct, you can re-tool any of the standard MTH offerings and Joe at Baldwin is the guy to go to. He has done many of these. I didn't realize you wanted to 2 Rail a subway set. I just didn't want you to send out something you could do yourself. With the Subway set or any other standard 3 rail locomotive that has a standard diesel truck (excluding steam) if you don't want to send it out to Baldwin you could try to convert it yourself. In O Scale Trains issue #53 John Sethian wrote an excellent article on doing just that. I have read it twice and I believe I can do it but I haven't tried it yet. If that issue is no longer available as a back issue then you should be able to download it for free at the O Scale Trains website.

 

Another thing to consider is, like you I prefer DCC, not that I have anything against DCS but since I have other DCC locomotives I like to control all of my locomotives with one remote. It is true that any MTH item that is PS3 has a DCC decoder built in. However, I am told that locomotives such as Railking do not have a DCS/DCC switch on them. I don't know if the subway sets have the DCS/DCC switch. The good news is there is a way to add the DCS/DCC switch if the locomotive doesn't have one but the bad news is I do not know how to do it yet. I was told that I must contact MTH Tech support to find out how to do it.

 

If you find out how to add the DCS/DCC switch please let me know. From time to time I have seen a RailKing scale locomotive that I wouldn't mind owning.

Last edited by Hudson J1e

I just finished up my 23rd diesel loco conversion to fixed pilots and full length handrails that have the capability of having either 3-rail or 2-rail wheel sets. These are not easy to do. Most, if not all 6-axle diesels locos are going to require the use of a bench grinder to remove alot of the inner portion of the pilot as there is too much metal to allow the truck to swing.

 

However, I've figured it out and will post some "how-to" pics soon. I do 3 at a time to keep it rolling. Tichy train group sells the correct brass wiring to use as handrails (.025" brass) Also most of these diesels are 4mm between the top of the pilot to the bottom of the frame/shell so you can use 4mm plastruct strips ion various thicknesses, depending on the size needed. I made a jig to use for drilling holes in the pilots to attach the pilot to the pre-drilled holes MTH put in the shell. This makes it a perfect fit.

@Hudson, there is some good news on the DCS/DCC front.  All of the MTH locos with PS3 have DCC bult in already and they even automatically detect the the signal... AC/DC/DCS/DCC.  That is a major reason I am looking MTH PS3 locos. 

 

I am getting a subway but, I am working on a few parallel tracks at the same time.  I am trying to get out of 3-rail to simplify things here, so I need to 2-rail those vehicles and simultaneously I am working on building new modules for a layout.  I am a member of East Penn and run live overhead, so I am really interested in traction/subway/heavy electric and the more modern diesels.  I also have a Christmas themed layout for the holidays, that is what prompted my question earlier about steamers, which I have no real experience with.  There are some really beautiful ones out there though. 

 

I am trying to create scenes where at least 2 of these types of vehicles interact or cross paths and control them via DCC via ESU ECoS 50200 and eventually computer control.  Right now, I am in the beginning of consolidating everything to 2-rail and building the first new modern Light Rail cars and modules for them and their cousins.

 

Think Miniature Wunderland in O.  That is sort of my goal.  Obviously on a much smaller magnitude but, would like to have super details with lots of action, including Faller car adapted for O scale. THe tech is here and available, just need to figure out how to put it together.

 

Chris

@Jeff, wow, 23.  That's cool.  Can't wait to see the how to pics!  Thanks for sharing your experience, thsi is really helpful.

 

Chris

Originally Posted by newtoO:

@Hudson, there is some good news on the DCS/DCC front.  All of the MTH locos with PS3 have DCC bult in already and they even automatically detect the the signal... AC/DC/DCS/DCC.  That is a major reason I am looking MTH PS3 locos. 

 


Chris

Chris,

That is very good news about the DCS/DCC switch but are you sure? I have a PS3 locomotive, I admit it is one of the early ones, but it does have the DCS/DCC switch on the bottom of it. Hey, I really hope you are correct about that because that would simplify things greatly.

 

I look forward to seeing your layout. From your description it sounds like it will be really nice.

 

Jeff,

Wow 23! That's a lot of conversions. If you can, please post some pics of the finished product.

 

I know there were some threads about converting to fixed pilots on the 3RS forum but I am very interested in your way of doing it because you are working on MTH engines. That would be very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Looking forward to that How-To. I have about two dozen I'd like to switch over to fixed pilots even though most of them are 3-rail only.
 
Originally Posted by Jeff78rr:

I just finished up my 23rd diesel loco conversion to fixed pilots and full length handrails that have the capability of having either 3-rail or 2-rail wheel sets. These are not easy to do. Most, if not all 6-axle diesels locos are going to require the use of a bench grinder to remove alot of the inner portion of the pilot as there is too much metal to allow the truck to swing.

 

However, I've figured it out and will post some "how-to" pics soon. I do 3 at a time to keep it rolling. Tichy train group sells the correct brass wiring to use as handrails (.025" brass) Also most of these diesels are 4mm between the top of the pilot to the bottom of the frame/shell so you can use 4mm plastruct strips ion various thicknesses, depending on the size needed. I made a jig to use for drilling holes in the pilots to attach the pilot to the pre-drilled holes MTH put in the shell. This makes it a perfect fit.

 

Sounds good that there are those who want to do these conversions. It takes some time, but once you dive in, it really is straight forward. Will post pics on my next conversion which I will be starting tonight. So far I've done my SD70ACes, ES44's and AC4400's. Next up are the AC6000's, SD40-2's, and Dash-8 narrow nose engines. I use the new Kadee 745's on everything, which gives you the metal coupler (springs hidden) and plastic draft boxes. These are very nice couplers.

I think this is a difficult project.  I fixed the pilot on a MTH Premier sd70m non-powered, but I could figure out how to do the handrails.  

 

Also, I fixed the pilot to the frame.  Should I have instead fixed the pilot to the shell?  If you fix the pilot to the frame, you'll have to remove the handrails if you ever want to take the shell off in the future.

 

I have a powered ac4400cw I would like to fix the pilot on and put kadees.

I have not converted an MTH Diesel, and probably won't ever, but here is a hundred dollar K-Line.  All I did other than changing the wheels is screw the pilot to the metal part that holds the handrails in place.

 

 

This will offend a lot of folks, since the handrails do not go down and there is a double step at the interface.  On the other hand I have a hundred thirty dollar scale F-M.  I may leave it Lackawanna.

 

MTH has, since the very early 1990s, produced 2-rail O Scale, so there never has been a need around here to convert.  I love to tell folks how bulletproof the MTH Diesels are - we replacethe pickups with spring- loaded plungers.  We get about four years on each axle gear, and that is eight hours a day, five days a week, of nonstop operation.  We replace the worms about every second axle gear change, and after a decade the axle bearings are renewed.  We run about six of them, and in only one case hav I had to replace the axles.

 

I know you did not specifically ask about steam, but I have a J1e Hudson that ran on my 2- rail track right out of the box.  I was not happy with its appearance, so replaced drivers, cylinders, main frame, motor, gearbox, and all wheelsets.  All I have to do now is get a factory reset.  It is a very nice piece, rivalling the 700E.

Martin, the AC4400 is very difficult, but I've done my entire fleet of them. Will show you how in pics soon- I use screws for all my conversions so in the event I want to remove the shell for whatever reason, all you do is remove them, and the pilot will swin upwards out of the way with the handrails attached. I've done it like this for a reason for sure.

 

Bob, good job on the FM. One thing you can do is add a 4mm piece of Plastruct styrene on each side (front and back) of pilot and super glue to the pilot. Then screw the same screws into the same holes and attach the upgraded pilot and you've added the extra space nbeeded to give the "step" look.

 

The more I look at those handrails, the more I see how easy they would be to extend by removing them completely and replacing with brass wiring the proper length. The K-Line FM uses "loops" for the post ends so basically all you'd do is bend the wire a bvit straight and thread it out, then thread the new on in and shape to proper shape...

Last edited by Jeff78rr
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