Re: Athearn SFRD 50' Reefer and Accumate Proto:HO

Tim O'Connor

Here's my easy solution with Athearn freight cars -- build the
car with the weight INSIDE the car, and the wood floor turned
upside down so the floorboards are underneath. This is so easy,
obvious and improves the appearance so much that I am amazed
that Athearn hasn't done it for the last 40 years.


Cut off the Athearn coupler boxes. Now you can drill holes into
the PLASTIC floor and attach the Accumate draft gear, etc. (This
is done BEFORE you glue the weight to the plastic floor and put
into the car body.) Measure everything first to make sure that
the draft gear stick out the right amount -- I made a little jig
to locate the holes.


Nip off any excess coupler box screw that went all the way through
the floor. Now glue the weight to the floor. (If you're using a
Kadee box that uses a 2-56, you can use their long plastic screws
and nip them off easily.)


Fit the floor into the carbody. Typically you have to file down the
coupler opening cast into the end of the car body just a bit, and I
usually use styrene strip to glued into the car body to bring the
floor to the proper height.


Glue the floor into the carbody and add the underframe. All of this
only takes me about 20-30 minutes, working carefully.

There are many variations possible. One is to use an Accurail floor.
Another is to paint the Athearn floor first so the floorboards are a
wood color, as they would be on a new car. Another is only to toss
the Athearn steel underframe and use another, like an Intermountain
or other brand. Oh yeah, I always plug the stupid "tab holes" in the
side of Athearn box cars, and file the tabs off the floor castings.

Tim O'Connor

At 12/9/2010 05:17 PM Thursday, you wrote:
I'd like to apply Accumate Proto:HO couplers to several Athearn SFRD reefers. Examining the underframe and reviewing the photos in Richard Hendrickson's RMJ article suggested to me that this may be a difficult installation, particularly to preserve the appearance and at the same time the mechanical stability of the coupler box. I thought it would be best to check whether anyone has had any experience with this coupler installation before I started experimenting...


Charles Hostetler
Goshen IN

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