Swapping trucks on AZL and Intermountain freight cars.

ddechamp71 Aug 29, 2020

  1. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    I’ve recently started a new project, that deals with what I had already undergone a while ago with my AZL locomotives.

    My goal is having all my rolling stock and motive power beeing Micro-Trains Magnematic coupler-equipped, which is not the case with these two brands both equiped with AZL trucks and Autolatch couplers.

    As AZL and Intermountain freight cars have truck-mounted couplers, I find easier to swap trucks with MTL samples. And keeping truck-mounted couplers, these last ones beeing now MTL brand. I would have preferred setting body-mounted couplers for realism (and which is almost mandatory when pushing long trains of more than 30 cars), but as my trains are due to remain in the 20-25-car size, it’s easier for me to swap trucks (even if it’s more expensive) rather than putting MTL #905 coupler boxes at carbody ends (I’ve messed a lot of these while putting them on the body of my AZL and MTL locomotives).

    So I ordered 5 packs of 20 Barber Roller Bearing trucks each, reference #004 10 071.

    On the other hand I ordered a while ago 4 boxes of Uncle Will’s 33’’ steel axles, whose a fair number are still available to me.

    Truck swapping is rather straightforward :

    -Remove original AZL axles from AZL or Intermountain car.
    -With a small flat watchmaker's screwdriver, remove the bolster pin that holds truck to carbody.
    -Remove axles from MTL truck to be installed.
    -Set MTL truck to place with car’s original bolster pin (very easy, all truck brands having the same diameter hole).
    -Set Uncle Will’s axles to place on truck (Or original plastic MTL samples. I don’t consider using AZL’s greater diameter wheel as thus truck and coupler will lie higher on track, maybe leading to coupler malfunction – anyway one has to try..).

    And that’s it.

    However, one has to consider that MTL’s coupler box is slightly thicker/higher than AZL’s. So if one considers doing so for AZL’s 23000-Gallon Funnel Flow Tank Car, he must first file car’s end cross beam that lies just above the coupler box. I don’t know yet whether I’ll do that using a small fingernail file or a Dremel..

    So, for the time beeing, I’ve modified following car brands :
    -Intermountain Cylindrical Covered Hoppers,
    -AZL 3-Bay ACF Hoppers.

    thumbnail (6).jpg

    Of course I will keep you advised of what’s going on in the future. However, I still have to find a solution for my AZL autoracks : as these cars have their trucks far towards carbody’s inner part, MTL’s trucks are obviously of no use for these. And although my current and future layouts are only made with broad curves, these are still too tight for having carbody mounted couplers on this car brand. So I’ll have to keep current trucks and coupler arms and find a way to put MTL #905 coupler boxes on. I don’t know yet how to.

    Dom
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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  3. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Very interresting link. ;) Thank you Robert, I will consider it. :D

    Dom
     
  4. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I modified several cars worth of these trucks, and placed the Centerbeams in service for 13 years so far, and they ran just fine. I have ran them for days on end at train shows, and they stay coupled OK, and the magna-matic coupling still works.
     
  5. ZFRANK

    ZFRANK TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Dom, Depending on the type of train, you can considder to change only first car behind the locomotive, so you can couple/uncouple the locomotive using magnematic uncoupling. For example for coal trains and passenger trains. You hardly do any switching on these trains.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn ANE-LX1 met Tapatalk
     
    bostonjim likes this.
  6. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    That is a great little tool to have. I have to pick one of them up. It looks useful for many things. One of my quirky hobbies as a kid was tying flies. I learned from Ted Williams at a sporting show as a kid. This was definitely not around then. It's been 50 years since I tied a fly. Excellent tip. Keep 'em coming. Jim.
     
  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have used my Power Zap to melt things, welds things, cut holes in things, tack parts together before gluing, etc. It was about $12, runs off 2 AA batteries, and is very handy.
     
  8. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    That is what I was thinking.. Very useful. I'm getting one. Thanks, Jim
     
  9. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Frank. Indeed you're right, but if I manage to modifiy one truck/coupler assembly on my autoracks, I'll be able to modify ALL. ;) And else than Robert's trick above, I've no plan for this. ;)

    Dom
     
  10. sumgai

    sumgai TrainBoard Member

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    are mtl 959 long nose trucks/couplers too short for the autoracks? I believe they come with 957 36" inch wheels installed, but wheel changes to z 33" (preferably metal) freight wheels are much simpler than mutating short nose coupler trucks. And what the truck side looks like in z scale.....will require an optivisor to notice.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you sumgai. But what you're suggesting is definitly not an option for me. I know I will notice the truck's difference like your nose in the middle of your face. ;)
    In my opinion the best option definitly lies in what Robert Ray suggests.. ;)

    Dom
     

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