Why no N-scale Switchers? Mods to a LL SW9 to run on Code 55

NIevo Jan 16, 2012

  1. NIevo

    NIevo TrainBoard Member

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    Why in the world hasn't there been anyone coming out with a SW7, SW9, SW1500 etc. engine? It seems like it would fill a huge void and they were used everywhere! Seems like there has been the NW-2 and the MP-15 but that is it. Seems like a great next project for FVM!

    Also, I have a couple old Life Like SW9's and while I really like them they will not run on the code 55 I am using. Anyone out there know of a wheel swap for them? Or if not what are the options for getting them to run on code 55?
     
  2. johnh

    johnh TrainBoard Member

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    I have used Atlas wheelsets with great success. The wheelback to point distance is different on some sets it seems, and may require you to grind the point that goes in the cups.
     
  3. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    NWSL has a replacement wheelset for the LL SW9/1200.
     
  4. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Kato NW2 chassis can certainly support LL SW shells. It's not even all that hard. It's kind of beyond me why Kato stopped when they did, because that mechanism can support many more shells than the NW2. With a medium-difficulty modification to the frame halves, I've now converted approximately two-dozen NW2's to SW-1's using my resin shell.
     
  5. NIevo

    NIevo TrainBoard Member

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    Do you know the correct ones to use from NWSL? I also just saw that Walthers was re-releasing some of the SW9's, I wonder if the new wheels would work in the older units?
     
  6. NIevo

    NIevo TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting, I never thought of trying that.

     
  7. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    We do need more N scale switchers. I'll take some Alco S-series switchers, please, something updated.
     
  8. VIARailfan

    VIARailfan TrainBoard Member

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    Where are the pics????
     
  9. Jerry M. LaBoda

    Jerry M. LaBoda TrainBoard Supporter

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    The problem is that there isn't as many switchers sold as there are road units, making it more difficult for a manufacturer getting a decent return in a reasonable time. They simply do not sell enough of them fast enough to make the effort worthwhile.
     
  10. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Just a sampling....

    "Stock" Life-Like SW with a Kato chassis underneath:

    [​IMG]

    SW1's....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You supply the NW2 chassis, I have the resin shell, I mill the frame, custom paint & decals extra.
     
  11. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think so - I looked on the NWSL site for a wheel replacement, and all I could find were wheels for the GP18's, etc. which are different from the SW's, which have splines that fit into the plastic axle. If this is true, I'd like to know what the part number is.

    However, the LL-to-Kato body swap indeed works. It does require a bit of cutting to the walkway at the rear, but is pretty easy to do with a small cutter in a Dremel. Separate the walkway from the rest of the shell, lay it on top of the Kato chassis, and you'll see exactly what needs to be cut away. Takes about 5 minutes. You might also need to thin the inside of the main shell a bit - one of my LL shells was a bit too tight, but the other was fine as-is. Once you have the cuts made correctly, you can reassemble the LL shell and it is a press-fit into the Kato chassis (I took the rear light piping out, so if you want to keep that, you may have to work on it some - don't know about that part).

    John C.
     
  12. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, you're calling me a "liar" and then want me to help you with the part number? What a charmer...you must be a hit with the ladies...

    The p/n for the set I have is 2676-6, which is a 40" wheel/64 (.013" deep flange). If you do a search for that part number, you will also see a discussion on the Atlas forum that states Atlas wheels can also be used interchangeably, if you can't locate the mythical NWSL parts. (they're right next to the Unicorn blood) There is some discussion using the Atlas parts is not ideal, but others say it works so....your mileage may vary.

    It will be interesting if the new Walthers version comes with the old clunker wheels or if they just use the Atlas ones.
     
  13. craigolio1

    craigolio1 TrainBoard Member

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    Contact Pat at Trainworx. I have had him mill down the flanges on dozens of locos. Now they run on code 40 and it's cheaper that NWSL.
     
  14. craigolio1

    craigolio1 TrainBoard Member

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    Randy, can you make a resin Alco S13 shell to go on the NW2 chassis?

    Craig
     
  15. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    There's a big gap between 'can I?' and 'will I'? here. I was pretty bullish on this stuff until I hit the wall with the practical requirements for CAD design. Most people hang up on the handrails, then can be done in photoetched, but I'm pretty much looking at $1000 to do a first-rate design/artwork/test/production first run for photoetched handrails here. With the SW1, I started a test of the 'custom project' where I'm also doing the handrails in brass wire. I don't make very many, and the shell is a minor player in the overall plan, but the end result is right up there with brass for detail. It's been fun for me because it's closer to modeling than factory work, making that BN unit for a customer was a lot of fun, particularly when I never did a BN unit before in my life.
     
  16. rpeck

    rpeck TrainBoard Member

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    Randy how much for the SW-1 shell?
    Thanks Rick
     
  17. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Agreed I need SW-1s as well , I can paint them orange and black myself. What a thrill it will be seeing 3-4 donkeys Mu'ed together on my version of the Milwaukee !!.
     
  18. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Contact me via the randgust webpage link below where my email is listed - and I'll also send you photos of what has to be done to the frame to make it work. It's drastic but not difficult. I don't like posting it here because of the spammer links.
     
  19. ChicagoNW

    ChicagoNW E-Mail Bounces

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    Why would the manufacturers make switcher locomotives?

    The models require much smaller motors, have no space for drive train, wiring or light pipes, and have very few parts that can be used on other locomotives. To top it off the customers complain about the over-sized body, lack of pulling power, finicky running and inability to install a sound decoder.

    Would you as a manufacturer want to face that kind of expense and rejection of a future product?

    The switcher does not command the limelight of the passenger loco or the SD team pulling a mile long coal train. And you generally don't see sets of these worker bees cruising the countryside, so, multiple loco sales won't happen. Sales of the prototypes dropped as time passed them by too.

    Since you may only see a single switcher working buried in a large plant all by itself, how will it ever grab the attention of a three year old. None of the TV trains main characters are ever switchers.
     
  20. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry - bad choice of words for which I apologize. I didn't mean to question your veracity, just that I couldn't find this on NWSL's site and I looked pretty hard. That's why I asked for the part number, because I have six of these things sitting on a shelf (and two more that became shells for Kato NW2's). Interesting that Atlas wheels may work; I have some retired Atlas stuff that I might investigate.

    John C.

    Edit - I went back and looked at the NWSL catalog again, and I swear all I see there is 2576 (wheels for the GP18's) and the Arnold S-2 replacements. Where the heck are these things? Am I blind? Is there another catalog I'm not getting via the web site?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2012

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