With all this time at home I finally got around to fixing the pilots on this SD40-2.  I always buy the fixed pilot versions and avoid all this work, but in this case, I really like this engine and the sounds.  I know its flawed and not 100% accurate, but now that its done it looks great and I'll just pretend it matches the prototype.  

The pilots are from the newer Lionel SD40.  The height was perfect but the stairs were a little too narrow but once the full length handrails where installed its hard to notice.  This was a much better option than filling gaps with the MTH pilot that came with it, and much less work.  Also, the Lionel snow plow and hoses are much better.  Another option would have been to use the fixed pilot from an MTH 2-rail Chessie GP40-2.  I have the engine and removed the pilot to test fit.  It fit perfectly and looked great, but unfortunately they are not available from MTH.  

To mount I had to cut some braces and use spacers to mount to the steel frame plate.  The spacers where some extra Kadee mount spacers.  The also filled the air gaps left by the more narrow pilot.  Another spacer was cut and used to get the Kadee to the correct height.  I used the existing mounting rings on the Lionel pilot to attach the other ends.  The photos are attached.

In addition, I did my usual mods including moving in the trucks.  Not easy on this model because I had to build a brace on one mount.  I also added plastic strips to fill the gaps above the wheels.  And of course I had to add the full length handrails.  Finally, I weathered it using Joes weathering dyes and powders.

I very happy with it.  It runs and sounds great and is ready for my future 2-rail layout!

Rich

www.toytrainsontracks.com

MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_14

MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_2MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_4MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_5MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_6MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_7MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_8MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_9MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_12MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_13

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Last edited by Rich Battista
Original Post

Rich,

Super job.  Your work is always amazing.  I know you must have also put a lot of work into that video because the sounds are perfect and seamless on your camera transitions.

Thanks for sharing.

Ron

 

Ron...thanks! 

The video was much easier.  I've gotten very proficient after making so many videos.   The quality of the video was not that good however, because I shot it with my phone.  My phone takes excellent pictures and video but not in the low light as I later found out.   After thinking about it, I realized the lower quality video was appropriate for an  80's era engine.

Rich,

Great work on the diesel. So did you just "sacrifice" the pilot from the Lionel unit? Can you purchase the part from Lionel? I have all of your videos and like how you go in depth with your diesel transformations. With that being said this option seems a little closer to my skill level. 

Dave

Great job Rich, the engine looks great. Will you build your two rail layout in the space of your three rail layout? Or somewhere else?

Dave

Thanks everyone!

Luvin,

  I did not sacrifice a engine, I bought the pilots directly from the Lionels replacement parts website.   Click here to see page.  I ordered parts number 22 and 23 which are the front and rear pilots you can see from the exploded parts picture.  This one is from a Burlington Northern SD40 but others like Conrail or Chessie would have worked as well.  I'm very impressed with their parts website.

David1,

I will be tearing down the Black Diamond Railway within a year or two and rebuilding from scratch.  I will try to extract the urban elevated trestle section and make and sell a small layout with it.  Otherwise everything will be scrapped for parts.  I'm going to open up the wall to expand and gain viewing access from the other side.  

Joe,

I know, its wrong, but I had no choice.

Rich

I’m a confused 2 rail guy!  

That locomotive is really first class and very good looking. Excellent job.  What I’m confused about is the scale wheels running on 3 rail track. How does that work out?  I know nothing about 3 rail except my old Lionel set back when I was 10 years old and my track was huge and tubular!

Peter

Peter,

   First, I use MTH Scaletrax which is a low profile T rail so the scale wheels have no problem running on them or through the switches.

 The 2nd thing is that this engine and many others I have are MTH Proto 3/2 engines which means they can run on both 3 rail and 2-rail track.   To run on 3 rail all you need to do is install the center rollers and flip a switch to 3-rail.   If I remove the rollers and flip the switch to 2-rail the wheels then take power from one side and ground from the other so I can run on 2-rail track.   The power can be either DC like you're used to or AC like I am running on my 3 rail layout.   There is another switch that allows you to switch between DCC or DCS control system.   You are limited to running on minimum 072 track because of the scale couplers and the wheels in some cases.

 To see another one of these proto 3/2 engines running on 2 rail track using AC power click here:   https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...e-f7-s-modifications

 

 

 

Last edited by Rich Battista

Rich,

Very nice work. Unfortunately there’s no ideal solution for fixing pilots on the MTH SD40-2. The body tooling has the wrong step well contour. The factory pilots are quite crude, especially in the steps. After fixing those on a couple of models, I more recently tried repurposing an Atlas SD40 pilot leftover from a conversion, adding a spacer:

90C6BF67-858C-45C9-BAB2-3870CA08A2A4

Not only is the step well contour wrong, but the dimensions too. Better than nothing I guess. The steps on a more scale pilot won’t align with the body. Too bad the GP40 part isn’t available. I find it frustrating MTH won’t stock two-rail pilot parts. Of course I also find frustrating that the 3rd Rail-Sunset SD40-2 project never got the orders needed for a go....

Best,

RM

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Rich,

Very nice work. Unfortunately there’s no ideal solution for fixing pilots on the MTH SD40-2. The body tooling has the wrong step well contour. The factory pilots are quite crude, especially in the steps. After fixing those on a couple of models, I more recently tried repurposing an Atlas SD40 pilot leftover from a conversion, adding a spacer:

90C6BF67-858C-45C9-BAB2-3870CA08A2A4

Not only is the step well contour wrong, but the dimensions too. Better than nothing I guess. The steps on a more scale pilot won’t align with the body. Too bad the GP40 part isn’t available. I find it frustrating MTH won’t stock two-rail pilot parts. Of course I also find frustrating that the 3rd Rail-Sunset SD40-2 project never got the orders needed for a go....

Best,

RM

 

Rich,

Very nice work. Unfortunately there’s no ideal solution for fixing pilots on the MTH SD40-2. The body tooling has the wrong step well contour. The factory pilots are quite crude, especially in the steps. After fixing those on a couple of models, I more recently tried repurposing an Atlas SD40 pilot leftover from a conversion, adding a spacer:

90C6BF67-858C-45C9-BAB2-3870CA08A2A4

Not only is the step well contour wrong, but the dimensions too. Better than nothing I guess. The steps on a more scale pilot won’t align with the body. Too bad the GP40 part isn’t available. I find it frustrating MTH won’t stock two-rail pilot parts. Of course I also find frustrating that the 3rd Rail-Sunset SD40-2 project never got the orders needed for a go....

Best,

RM

Really nice looking work. Perhaps You need to address MTH parts when another “run” of a model whose parts you Want are being manufactured. The should be available then. I don’t have skills or space to do these great pilot conversions. I Have been able to pick up a couple of MTH models with scale pilots though. (Get em when offered - scarce a hens teeth later). Nice though a bit “tall”. I then swapped in “hi-rail” wheels to best navigate Ross turnouts. Nice if u can find. Really though I’ve gravitated to 3rd Rail as they have the fixed pilots I want. Scotts SD40-2 Offering has languished. Give it another look. If I remember, a few more roads are possible. I have 2 MTH 40-2s and when they are Coupled together, they are sooo far apart - looks horrible. Would love to see Scott’s 40-2 offering get traction. 
TrainBub

Santiago, you'd better stop trying to bring these guys into modern diesels too fast, all at once. Let them run first second, and then maybe third gen diesels.

Baby steps!

@@Rich. Thanks for the reply. I was totally unaware of Most of what you wrote!!  I didn’t get out much even before Covid 19!!  LOL.

I do remember Gargraves track being so much better looking but way too expensive for a pre teenage Kid!  

I knew that MTH had both 2 and 3 rail like Atlas but didn’t realize it was that easy to change things around.

I started O scale 2 rail with an Atlas SW 1 with a single horizontal motor about 10 years ago.  It ran like a fine watch but drew about 5 amps making it a problem for DCC which I wanted to get into. I sold it and bought an old Custom Brass RS1 as I liked RS1's. This one had an old gigantic open frame motor that drew about 7 amps!  So started my hobby within a hobby of remotoring and drive line work to get crawling speed and less that 1 amp draw so I could use HO decoders. It’s been a fun but time consuming journey. 

BTW your layout is a wonderful thing to look at. 

Peter

Just for others to read here....

When you test motors with lower voltage DC, the amp draws maybe higher. That's one reason I run my outdoor G scale where the engines get 21 volts at the boards. The transformers are set to around 26 volts and there is power loss for all kinds of reasons.

 When I first looked at USA Trains engines, the amp draws made it seem impossible to run on available decoders. The fact is that those engine like much higher track voltage which reduces the amp draws. I run my USA Trains engine with DCS decoders that handle them perfectly.

 All this is just my opinion, and I'm sure others will post as well. Just don't test a 12, 18 or 24 volt motor with a weak 12 volt (HO) supply and wonder why the amp draw is so high!!!! You give the decoder what voltage it can handle and that decoder will handle the motors. Most every motor I've tested draws much less when in command mode. The output to the motor is pulsed to prevent damage I believe?

 So I'd have to ask Peter, what exact power supply he tested with? I would state that a modern O scale decoder should handle a single motor Atlas switcher without any issue! I'd recommend at least using the 4 amp NCE decoder that I've used in dual motor USA Trains G scale. It has been out for many years. Right now, there's many choices available from others. If you are trying to run on HO power using HO decoders, you maybe walking a very thin line. Make sure you have the voltage up higher as the decoder will allow.

 

….

I started O scale 2 rail with an Atlas SW 1 with a single horizontal motor about 10 years ago.  It ran like a fine watch but drew about 5 amps making it a problem for DCC which I wanted to get into. I sold it and bought an old Custom Brass RS1 as I liked RS1's. This one had an old gigantic open frame motor that drew about 7 amps!  So started my hobby within a hobby of remotoring and drive line work to get crawling speed and less that 1 amp draw so I could use HO decoders. It’s been a fun but time consuming journey. 

BTW your layout is a wonderful thing to look at. 

Peter

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

With all this time at home I finally got around to fixing the pilots on this SD40-2.  I always buy the fixed pilot versions and avoid all this work, but in this case, I really like this engine and the sounds.  I know its flawed and not 100% accurate, but now that its done it looks great and I'll just pretend it matches the prototype.  

The pilots are from the newer Lionel SD40.  The height was perfect but the stairs were a little too narrow but once the full length handrails where installed its hard to notice.  This was a much better option than filling gaps with the MTH pilot that came with it, and much less work.  Also, the Lionel snow plow and hoses are much better.  Another option would have been to use the fixed pilot from an MTH 2-rail Chessie GP40-2.  I have the engine and removed the pilot to test fit.  It fit perfectly and looked great, but unfortunately they are not available from MTH.  

To mount I had to cut some braces and use spacers to mount to the steel frame plate.  The spacers where some extra Kadee mount spacers.  The also filled the air gaps left by the more narrow pilot.  Another spacer was cut and used to get the Kadee to the correct height.  I used the existing mounting rings on the Lionel pilot to attach the other ends.  The photos are attached.

In addition, I did my usual mods including moving in the trucks.  Not easy on this model because I had to build a brace on one mount.  I also added plastic strips to fill the gaps above the wheels.  And of course I had to add the full length handrails.  Finally, I weathered it using Joes weathering dyes and powders.

I very happy with it.  It runs and sounds great and is ready for my future 2-rail layout!

MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_4MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_8MTH_CSX_SD40_2_Cab_8249_13

 

Rich, Just incredible work as always! 

I was thinking about those Lionel pilots too.  Really like what Lionel has done on their kinematic pilots SD38, SD40's.  Their fuel tanks look really nice too!  I think the side view of your upgraded loco looks great, but still the whole proportions are off, can't quite put my finger on it.   

I need to measure the truck centers, looks like to me the trucks need to moved out a bit more, correct end step wells and a more accurate 4,000 gallon fuel tank.  Curious on your take? 

Last edited by Mike DeBerg

Hmm.. Edited my original post as the SD38's and SD40's I have from Lionel with these pilots definitely are awesome!  Not as sure with the SD40-2 and SD45? 

@Mike DeBerg posted:

I think the side view of your upgraded loco looks great, but still the whole proportions are off, can't quite put my finger on it.   

I need to measure the truck centers, looks like to me the trucks need to moved out a bit more, correct end step wells and a more accurate 4,000 gallon fuel tank.  Curious on your take? 

The trucks need to be pushed out closer to the pilots which would allow for a scale size 4K gallon fuel tank. MTH is using Weaver tooling that is over 25 years old, thus the toy-like appearance.

Midwestern Model Works is the only option for a truly correct SD40-2 since 3rd Rail failed to receive sufficient reservations.

Sorry for the late response

Santiago, thanks. Your engine looks great.  I have not bought any Atlas diesels mainly because if I'm buying 3-rail I'd rather Lionel with Legacy.  Having said that, I don't have many Lionel diesels and mostly have MTH proto 3/2 so I can use them on both 3-rail and 2-rail.   Maybe once I have a 2-rail layout I will consider Atlas 2-rail.  What I would really would have liked is for 3rail to do the SD40-2 but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Thanks Max, Peter!

Mike, thanks.  My first paragraph conceded these units are not accurate.  I wish MTH had moved the front trucks forward, used a larger fuel tank, and made them in 2-rail, but they didn't.  If they did, I would own a lot more of them.  Knowing that I decided to put the time into improving it anyway because I like many other things about the engine.  If you didn't know what was correct, you would say this engine looks real.  Having the front truck back too far does not make it look like a toy.  What makes engines look like toys are low detail, big coupler, thick wheels, bright colors (no weathering), thick handrails, etc.  This engines has none of that, just not accurate.  

Funny thing, I was out with the wife yesterday enjoying a walk along the river at Point of Rocks and wouldn't you know a CSX SD40-2 came rolling through with a maintenance train loaded with new rails.  

CSXSD40-2_PointOfRocks

MTH_CSXSD40_2_diesel_engine-1

MTH_CSXSD40_2_diesel_engine

Rich

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Last edited by Rich Battista

 Especially after building a few of my own diesels now, I think the MTH model has captured the spirit of the model. It could be much better, I agree. I just find myself looking for the major details covered. If I wanted a very accurate model, I'd order those brass high end models which are pretty much perfect to my eyes. I admire anyone who can afford them, and chose to buy them. I find most inaccuracies when I study real pictures while building my own. I have to make concessions with the materials and money that I have.

 I could buy one high end model, and that would be my buy for the decade. I prefer to capture the look of large trains with multiple consist diesels working the train around the layout. I enjoy sound and smoke. If I did buy the high end, I'd still upgrade them to full command with sound and smoke.

 I don't stare at any model that closely once it's working on my RR. Occasionally, I'll take a better looking diesel and put it next to me on my desk. It reminds me that I like them, I have plenty, and I'm happy so far. I want to focus on scenery now. I feel Rich's MTH model, is close enough even though it's not perfect.

 I think I would cut the shell area around the steps to make the pilot look stock. I have skipped many such hacks myself and left them alone.

Sorry for the late response

Santiago, thanks. Your engine looks great.  I have not bought any Atlas diesels mainly because if I'm buying 3-rail I'd rather Lionel with Legacy.  Having said that, I don't have many Lionel diesels and mostly have MTH proto 3/2 so I can use them on both 3-rail and 2-rail.   Maybe once I have a 2-rail layout I will consider Atlas 2-rail.  What I would really would have liked is for 3rail to do the SD40-2 but it doesn't look like that will happen.

 

Thanks Max, Peter!

Mike, thanks.  My first paragraph conceded these units are not accurate.  I wish MTH had moved the front trucks forward, used a larger fuel tank, and made them in 2-rail, but they didn't.  If they did, I would own a lot more of them.  Knowing that I decided to put the time into improving it anyway because I like many other things about the engine.  If you didn't know what was correct, you would say this engine looks real.  Having the front truck back too far does not make it look like a toy.  What makes engines look like toys are low detail, big coupler, thick wheels, bright colors (no weathering), thick handrails, etc.  This engines has none of that, just not accurate.  

 

Rich,  Yes, I do hope 3rd Rail will come out with the SD40-2 as it's a much needed model for many of us...   As mentioned your work on this model is outstanding and certainly raises the bar on what I would say is a model that needs help as far as today's standards go.  Certainly not up to the standards of the more recently tooled locomotives.

I've been tempted a couple times to purchase an MTH SD40-2, may do so after getting some additional ideas from your work.

 Especially after building a few of my own diesels now, I think the MTH model has captured the spirit of the model. It could be much better, I agree. I just find myself looking for the major details covered. If I wanted a very accurate model, I'd order those brass high end models which are pretty much perfect to my eyes. I admire anyone who can afford them, and chose to buy them. I find most inaccuracies when I study real pictures while building my own. I have to make concessions with the materials and money that I have.

 I could buy one high end model, and that would be my buy for the decade. I prefer to capture the look of large trains with multiple consist diesels working the train around the layout. I enjoy sound and smoke. If I did buy the high end, I'd still upgrade them to full command with sound and smoke.

 I don't stare at any model that closely once it's working on my RR. Occasionally, I'll take a better looking diesel and put it next to me on my desk. It reminds me that I like them, I have plenty, and I'm happy so far. I want to focus on scenery now. I feel Rich's MTH model, is close enough even though it's not perfect.

 I think I would cut the shell area around the steps to make the pilot look stock. I have skipped many such hacks myself and left them alone.

Joe, I agree.. I certainly don't want a fleet of $2500+ brass models, otherwise I would likely not have anything else.  However, by today's tooling standards these SD40-2 models from MTH are one model that I would say is in need of some updating to improve their accuracy, compared to many other excellent MTH, Lionel and Atlas models. 

Perhaps Scott offering an expanded List of roads Would be helpful. There are more that could be added to the choices. Limiting the road names undoubtedly limits participation/reservations. And I think dropping the price to $700 would provide a helpful nudge.  All Scott’s Of Scott’s offerings adds competition For my dollars. So many choices to make. 

MTH retooled their SD45's about 15 years ago and retired the older tooling to the RailKing line. The Premier SD45's are nicely done. If they did the same thing with their SD40-2, which is far more popular than the SD45, I'd be in for quite a few, probably at least 6 depending on what roads were offered.

The fact that it is not offered in a 2-rail fixed pilot version but is 3-rail-2-rail convertible with the option of being run on DCC is perplexing.

@catnap posted:

MTH retooled their SD45's about 15 years ago and retired the older tooling to the RailKing line. The Premier SD45's are nicely done. If they did the same thing with their SD40-2, which is far more popular than the SD45, I'd be in for quite a few, probably at least 6 depending on what roads were offered.

The fact that it is not offered in a 2-rail fixed pilot version but is 3-rail-2-rail convertible with the option of being run on DCC is perplexing.

This is a nice upgrade with an interesting technique. It's too bad it didn't come this way.

I doubt they will retool in this economy, but if they do, I'd support them and buy 4 in Southern in 2R. Same for if they decided to tool the high-hood for the GP38, GP38-2, and U30C scale wheels models. 

Preach Brother Rich:

"If you didn't know what was correct, you would say this engine looks real.  Having the front truck back too far does not make it look like a toy.  What makes engines look like toys are low detail, big coupler, thick wheels, bright colors (no weathering), thick handrails, etc.  This engines has none of that, just not accurate."  

I totally agree. Your work has always been nothing short of amazing to me. You always transform an ok/good model into something special. The end result is always more convincing than the original. 

Thanks for sharing.

Dave

@DaveJfr0 posted:

This is a nice upgrade with an interesting technique. It's too bad it didn't come this way.

I doubt they will retool in this economy, but if they do, I'd support them and buy 4 in Southern in 2R. Same for if they decided to tool the high-hood for the GP38, GP38-2, and U30C scale wheels models. 

No doubt guys would be one of the more popular locomotives to invest in as it's usage transcends many decades of railroading.   As mentioned besides the trucks, underframe and fuel tank, I would tool this up for fixed pilots with deck mounted or pilot mounted ditchlights for those railroads/eras that they would be appropriate. 

Last edited by Mike DeBerg

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