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Greetings all,

Im in the process of repainting and detailing a pair of Williams Dash 9 diesels, one power , one dummy. I am also planning to convert the powered unit to Bluetooth control. While my original plan was to paint and keep the pair the same, I got to thinking about taking one power truck and swapping to the dummy unit and just installing another Bluetooth board so I’d have two powered units. This would allow me to detail the interiors of both which is currently limited by the motor in the powered unit.

The simplicity of the Williams design really makes me want to do this. My layout in construction isn’t huge so I can’t see having more than 10-15 cars behind a single unit anyways, and if I run them as a pair I’d have the same pulling power.


Last edited by Sullyman626
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I personally think this is not going to be great. Here is why. Williams motors chosen, and truck gearing is made for speed. The motors draw high amperage and the truck gearing is such they fly at low voltage while drawing huge amperage. The "fix" or workaround was to wire 2 motors in series, thus reducing the amperage, and splitting the voltage.

What you want to do is put one motor and one controller per unit negating any chance of serial wiring. Finding a BT decoder that can handle that amperage and not fail with heat and time- let alone less than ideal slow speed operation would be the setbacks IMO.

Did you know that MTH trucks and motor mounts fit great into a Williams frame and would be a better driveline- but then you might as well just use an MTH PS1 as a source engine for modifications IMO.

When were the engines made? The ones made after 2000 have a pair of RS385 Mabuchis, much like most of the other diesels made by everyone else. Some earlier Williams had larger motors which can be current hogs. I have pulled 32 scale freight cars with ease with a single FM Trainmaster. I don’t think it matters if you have two motors in one or one in each.


@Sullyman626 posted:

My layout in construction isn’t huge so I can’t see having more than 10-15 cars behind a single unit anyways, and if I run them as a pair I’d have the same pulling power.



I’m with Vernon. Are your motors in the powered unit wired in series? If your layout only allows for 15 cars or less (just like the freight side on my layout), then what would be the advantage of two single-motored units over your current 2-motored unit? As you stated, the pulling power would be the same.

I’d keep the twin-motored powered unit as is, just for simplicity’s sake and easier handling for shorter freight trains.

Last edited by Yellowstone Special


Well, out of curiosity, I Googled your Williams Dash 9 engine and an Amtrak one came up on eBay with some pretty good photos. That's a pretty big engine with pretty big motors. Looking at the cab photo, the visible forward motor looks like it almost reaches all the way over to the cab windows without much wiggle room to shoe-horn in an engineer figure. Pretty tight. So, I can understand your reasoning if you want to install a cab interior.

I'm sure you'll use your best judgment with your decision and good luck. 😉

Last edited by Yellowstone Special

Forget the naysayers, I don't see any reason you can't do what you are thinking about.  Just add a tether between the two units so that you have a single Reverse Board driving both and then bring the motor leads through the tether.  You can also bring the lighting leads back so you can have directional lighting, a nice touch.  With the single reverse board, they also never get out of sync and have one going in the wrong direction.  Finally, you can also bring the pickup rollers over to the other unit, that will increase reliability on switches, etc.

Go for it. Can't find any photos, but I took a pair of the little Wms "027"-PW-clone Erie FA2's and swapped a power truck from the powered unit to the dummy. Installed ERR Cruise Commander, Alco sound and E'couplers, directional headlights. No smoke. Used a tether, of course. They are arguably the smoothest-running locos that I have, and not a dummy between them.

They will creep.

I use them as a switcher. The official story is that they were small meter-gauge streamlined Alco S-4's for export to an Unnamed Balkan Country, and the deal fell through. Kind of a Russian Decapod situation. So Alco re-gauged them to Standard, replaced the buffers with knuckles and sold them to US railroads. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


3/20:  Found the photos:


My "tether" is actually permanent. I didn't have one that was workable at the time, so I just hard-wired it. Not a problem with these small FA's - I just handle them as one unit, kind of like an articulated. I haven't had any need to fix anything in them, ever. All you would meed to do is remove the body, anyway. But, a tether would be better.

Note the homemade drawbar rather than a pair of couplers. Choose your separation. They could even be closer.



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Last edited by D500

Sure, spend twice the money, it's not your money.

His fun factor increases.  He has two independent units.  He can run them together.  He can run a push pull and when parking for the day, he does not need a long area.  He can separate and park them in smaller spaces.

He did ask for thoughts.  If I was spending his money I'd tell him to convert them to battery power too.

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