MTH Proto-Scale 3-2 3-Rail/2-Rail Conversion

The first thing I would do is find out if this locomotive is a 3/2 convertible locomotive. The reason I say this is because MTH has labeled some locomotives 3/2 convertible but they actually weren’t. If it is all you have to do is remove the center rollers and flip the 3 rail/2 rail to 2 rail. Cost is nothing but doing it this way you will be using the typical 3 rail wheels with deep flanges which may not be compatible with some kinds of 2 rail track. If you want typical 2 rail wheels with the smaller flanges than you need a conversion kit which will cost $59.95 again assuming that this is a 3/2 locomotive that has the plastic cover on the bottom of trucks which makes changing wheel sets very easy. 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

This engine is definitely proto scale 3/2 convertible.  Why not buy the 2-rail version with fixed pilot?  It looks like there are still some available (  22-20593-2 , 22-20594-222-20595-222-20596-222-20597-2 .  You will not need to do anything except run it.   

Here is mine (2-20597-2).  I left the 2-rail wheels on and run it on my 3-rail track.  My latest video explains everything you need to know about MTH proto scale 3/2 engines.  Click here ->  MTH SD60e

Rich

 

Rich, Always amazed how each truck at MTH is different and the amount of work necessary to move the sideframes.  The HTC truck on the SD60E is a prime example, without some of your ideas, such as extending the existing arm on the side with gears, I would have spent hours looking for solutions.   The whole idea of having to drill and tap new holes in the truck block is ridiculous because you can see that MTH was thinking about this, at least partly just failed in the full execution.

Thank you,

Mike

I don’t know if this is still the case or not with MTH Hi-Rail locos, but the fixed pilots did not used to be included with their Hi-Rail model versions with part #'s 20-xxxxx-1 or 20-xxxxx-3, so one would either have to order from MTH or come up with a home grown solution.

John

As mentioned best to start with a scale wheel version of the loco, if you can't find that, or in your case a great deal on a 3R version, as long as the loco is a 3/2 conversion capable, which the SD60E's are... you can purchase the scale wheels from MTH or any MTH dealer.  From there it's a simple replacement of the wheelsets just paying attention to orientation of each wheelset.  Once that is done, you can switch the locomotive over to 2R and depending on your control system either DC, DCS or DCC you may end up throwing the control switch as well, for example to DCC if you use DCC like NCE or Digitrax or another DCC system.  At this point you should have a working locomotive with scale wheels that can run on 2R track and be controlled by DC, DCS, or DCC. 

The next thing you might want to consider is fixing the pilots and extending the handrails for a more prototypical look, which is one of the key benefits of purchasing the scale wheel version direct from MTH.  Neither of which is super difficult but does require some patience.  Many on the forum have performed these steps so lots of experience to draw upon to help get you going in the right direction if you decide to go down this path.   Rich's link above is awesome especially for the SD60E.  Rich goes to another level and moves the truck sideframes in closer to the wheels for an even better look, he often also fills in the gap above the trucks and the below the chassis underframe to make a great locomotive even better!   Really awesome low angle views of these locomotives often challenging you to determine if it's the prototype or a model. 

 

Thank you,

Mike

jgtrh62 posted:

I don’t know if this is still the case or not with MTH Hi-Rail locos, but the fixed pilots did not used to be included with their Hi-Rail model versions with part #'s 20-xxxxx-1 or 20-xxxxx-3, so one would either have to order from MTH or come up with a home grown solution.

Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t believe MTH has ever included fixed pilots with the -1 models. Not only that but I believe they are difficult to get from MTH parts. 

I agree with the above. If you can get the -2 model by all means get that version. I bought a -1 GP9 with the intention of fixing the pilots (the -2 pilot was not included) and it was a lot of work to fix. I think it only looks okay. Of course I didn’t have factory parts. If I thought I could have gotten the factory parts I would have went with them. It’s better than a swinging pilot but not as good as a factory -2 model or some of the work others on this forum do. D7932D43-E629-40C6-8F86-9C62A06F20F7

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

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I did the whole get a 3R and convert it.  You are better off finding a 2R version if you can, even if its at a premium. Not worth the hassle. 

You will have to buy the 2R wheels...retail is $60 on those.  There are no spacers.  You have to make your own gap-fixing item or luck out and get the 2R pilots from MTH parts if they have them.  Same story for the handrails as prying out the existing 3R-length handrails is near impossible.  The parts will eat up any cost savings you see in buying a 3R engine, plus your time.

2018 Scale O National Convention (SONC) Committee Member

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