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 Help needed on repowering an Athearn Diesel
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Bbags
Administrator

USA
13288 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  10:45:01 AM  Show Profile
I purchased an undecorated powered RDC that I will use on my layout.
When I popped off the shell I saw the famous Athearn rubber band method for running the RDC.
While it does run OK I want to change out the motor and wheel sets.

I have very little knowledge(actually none) in this area so I am asking how difficult is this and whose kits would you recommend.
I went to the Northwest Shortline web site to see what they offered but I am basically lost.
Thanks for any help you might give me.








John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

On30fan
Crew Chief

USA
506 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  11:25:10 AM  Show Profile
John, I haven't done this either but I have one of these babies and I thought about it.

Earnst has gearing kits for the athearn RDC, I hear they are fairly easy to do. Caboose Hobbies has them part # 02593.

Wheels I'm not sure about but the earnst kit should give an idea for which ones or may provide a way to convert the stock wheels.

Any motor that would fit into any other athearn unit would work here. It's a typical mount with those little rubber clips.

Also NWSL has a self powered truck for the RDC # 7032-4. That would open up the interior of the car for detailing.

Cheers,
Steve
San Juan Lumber Company
Niagara Frontier Traction Company
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On30fan
Crew Chief

USA
506 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  11:25:10 AM  Show Profile
John, I haven't done this either but I have one of these babies and I thought about it.

Earnst has gearing kits for the athearn RDC, I hear they are fairly easy to do. Caboose Hobbies has them part # 02593.

Wheels I'm not sure about but the earnst kit should give an idea for which ones or may provide a way to convert the stock wheels.

Any motor that would fit into any other athearn unit would work here. It's a typical mount with those little rubber clips.

Also NWSL has a self powered truck for the RDC # 7032-4. That would open up the interior of the car for detailing.

Cheers,
Steve
San Juan Lumber Company
Niagara Frontier Traction Company
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shortliner
Crew Chief

United Kingdom
514 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  3:07:26 PM  Show Profile
John - I did an article for Model Trains International magazine about powering a "dummy" RDC with a Tenshodo Spud. Speed is a bit fast, but is okay if run with a PWM controller - I can go dig - email me direct if it will help. It is a relatively easy conversion but that metal chassis is HARD!. I used the bogies to cast side frames in GRP resin - easy when you know how!
Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands (chacmool at lineone dot net)
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shortliner
Crew Chief

United Kingdom
514 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  3:07:26 PM  Show Profile
John - I did an article for Model Trains International magazine about powering a "dummy" RDC with a Tenshodo Spud. Speed is a bit fast, but is okay if run with a PWM controller - I can go dig - email me direct if it will help. It is a relatively easy conversion but that metal chassis is HARD!. I used the bogies to cast side frames in GRP resin - easy when you know how!
Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands (chacmool at lineone dot net)
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MP Rich
Fireman

USA
1762 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  4:39:23 PM  Show Profile
I can't be any help other than to tell you I agree that you will need to change some things.[:-glasses] That has got to be the simplest drive train I've seen in a long time. Just for info is this an old item you've found somewhere or are they still using that drive? It's simple until you want it to run. [:-fight] Is there any type bearing in those metal supports or just metal to metal?
Richard
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MP Rich
Fireman

USA
1762 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2005 :  4:39:23 PM  Show Profile
I can't be any help other than to tell you I agree that you will need to change some things.[:-glasses] That has got to be the simplest drive train I've seen in a long time. Just for info is this an old item you've found somewhere or are they still using that drive? It's simple until you want it to run. [:-fight] Is there any type bearing in those metal supports or just metal to metal?
Richard
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shortliner
Crew Chief

United Kingdom
514 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  06:31:56 AM  Show Profile
The rod runs metal to metal - all the ones I've seen by Athearn have this system. They are all "short" on scale length, especially if you compare them to the more modern versions (proto??), and tend to "bounce" when they come to a standstill, due to the rubber bands. - But they are "convertible"
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shortliner
Crew Chief

United Kingdom
514 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  06:31:56 AM  Show Profile
The rod runs metal to metal - all the ones I've seen by Athearn have this system. They are all "short" on scale length, especially if you compare them to the more modern versions (proto??), and tend to "bounce" when they come to a standstill, due to the rubber bands. - But they are "convertible"
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Bbags
Administrator

USA
13288 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  08:26:23 AM  Show Profile
Thanks for the help everyone.

I actually bought 2 of these from a hobby store that is out of business.
They are new old store stock.

Richard,
I have heard about the Athearn rubberband motors from years ago but this is the first I have seen one up close and personal.

I bought both a powered one and a dummy and think I will try first to use a self powered truck that was mentioned by On30fan.

The Alaska RR has 4 of these which they use to this day.
They actually are used on the opposite end of a passenger train so that on short scenic runs the primary locomotive does not have to run around to get to the front of the train to pull it back to the station.
The engineer just walks the length of the train and then drives the train back home using the RDC.

So I may end up just simulating this by having the RDC(without power) as the last car of the passenger train.


John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.
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Bbags
Administrator

USA
13288 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  08:26:23 AM  Show Profile
Thanks for the help everyone.

I actually bought 2 of these from a hobby store that is out of business.
They are new old store stock.

Richard,
I have heard about the Athearn rubberband motors from years ago but this is the first I have seen one up close and personal.

I bought both a powered one and a dummy and think I will try first to use a self powered truck that was mentioned by On30fan.

The Alaska RR has 4 of these which they use to this day.
They actually are used on the opposite end of a passenger train so that on short scenic runs the primary locomotive does not have to run around to get to the front of the train to pull it back to the station.
The engineer just walks the length of the train and then drives the train back home using the RDC.

So I may end up just simulating this by having the RDC(without power) as the last car of the passenger train.


John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.
Go to Top of Page

MP Rich
Fireman

USA
1762 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  11:23:55 AM  Show Profile
One of my first engines was an old athearn GP9 with rubber band drive. There was no way to find a rubber band that would be the right length and tension to keep good pressure on the drive shaft without being to hard and pulling it down too hard. When we start talking about the good old days we have to remember a few of those things. It's a wonder any of that timeframe ever came out still interested in operating a model railroad. Maybe those gradual improvements are what kept me wanting more. I'm sure you will love those you have once you get them retrofitted to run like new. Richard
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MP Rich
Fireman

USA
1762 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2005 :  11:23:55 AM  Show Profile
One of my first engines was an old athearn GP9 with rubber band drive. There was no way to find a rubber band that would be the right length and tension to keep good pressure on the drive shaft without being to hard and pulling it down too hard. When we start talking about the good old days we have to remember a few of those things. It's a wonder any of that timeframe ever came out still interested in operating a model railroad. Maybe those gradual improvements are what kept me wanting more. I'm sure you will love those you have once you get them retrofitted to run like new. Richard
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