Topics

Intermountain underframes


mopacfirst
 

I picked up a few of the recent Intermountain 1937 and 1942 40' boxcar recently to round out the fleet.  I had built quite a few of the early ones, and I recalled the change in the underframe of the 1942 (10"-6") which had a very thick body bolster so that it (the center of the bolster surrounding the part molded into the body), was now flush with the part molded into the body.  In other words, there was no projection into the truck mounting hole.  This also put the body 4 to 6 inches too high.  At that time, I would cut that part back when I was working on the underframe.  I used various methods, but finally discovered that just filing it flat would still allow the trucks to swivel properly, so I didn't bother to try to fill in the space between the underframe body bolster part and the part molded into the body, which takes the truck screw.

Now I find, on these RTR cars, that the same problematic underframe part is used on both.  I just tore into a couple of the 10'-0" 1937 cars and discovered that this underframe, with the too-thick bolster, is now used on these cars too.  I routinely bust off the coupler pocket on Intermountain cars so that I can install the Kadee 262 coupler pocket and discovered this.  Fortunately (?), the paint on this underframe part is about two scale inches thick, so I was able to chisel it off which reduced the height a little, but I'm really disgusted to discover this.

Ron Merrick


John Sykes III
 

I think this is another case of Intermountain quality going to hell in a handbasket.

It seems to me that the key factor was the closing of the Hong Kong factory a year or so ago.

I just got 6 PFE reefers about a month ago and am finding that the brake gear mountings are different on some of them (inconsistent).  Looks like they came out of multiple factories.   However they are all wrong and need the brake gear removed and reapplied correctly.  I bought 6 CalScale* brake sets just in case I needed to replace parts, but am finding that the Intermountain brake gear comes off very easily since it is poorly secured to the underframe.  I would rather have a "shake the box" kit where I can properly buildup the brake gear than have to remove and rebuild it.

*Yeah, I know, Tichy is closer to scale, but I have always found it to be a PITA to install.

-- John


mopacfirst
 

It gets better with the Intermountain.  On one car, I pried open the coupler pocket, pulled out the Kadee #5 and installed a pair of #158 I had, that had already been painted boxcar red.  Crude, but an easy fix.  The couplers still operate.
Yesterday I tackled a pair of UP cars.  I had some Kadee #158 with the #262 scale width coupler pockets, and a couple pair of more accurate trucks (Accurail "Bettendorf" with code 88 wheels) and painted them oxide red.  So today I pried off the entire Intermountain coupler box, which was easier than prying it open.  Then I went to tap the existing holes. because they were in the right place to mount the coupler box in the right location.  Wrooonnngggg --  turns out the RTR Intermountain cars have a steel weight firmly glued to the inside of the car floor, and the weight evidently extends from end to end.  I didn't disassemble the car to determine this, I just discovered that my tap won't go into the hole because of the steel weight blocking its path.  And the magnet test confirmed the weight is steel.  So I won't be drilling through it, not with hand drills in pin vice (vises?)  Sorry Tony, the plural of vise has to be something like "vice".
I would prefer to use a screw to hold the coupler box onto the car, but I'm thinking of using a brass rod of about the right size, cutting it to length (bottoming out in the hole and extending through the hole in the Kadee box, and using Shoe Goo or similar to attach the rod into the hole and the coupler box, which would at least sustain the draft forces of normal operation of these cars in a train.
Another thing I thought of is chiseling the roof off of these cars, removing the weight and installing a more typical weight in place of that steel weight, which would then allow me to thread that hole and attach the coupler box in a more secure manner.  Needless to say, this thought makes me a little queasy, but I've whacked the roof off an Intermountain pair of reefers before when it turned out that the wrong one was installed on each car.
Or I could put these cars in the driveway and run over them a few times, which is probably the most appropriate thing to do with them, since I have four more that need a similar treatment.
Seriously, any other suggestions?  Suggestions that don't involve leaving the installed, unpainted, #5 alone?

Ron Merrick


Todd Sullivan
 

Hi Ron,

I don't know what size trains you are running, or how much force is applied to your freight cars' draft gears, but I have used CA to bond coupler boxes on cars, and that has worked better than using Testor's styrene cement, especially on Intermountain cars.  Another possibility would be to use shorter screws to hold the draft gear boxes to the cars.  If the screws go in the holes snugly, and are just short of the combined thickness of the floor and draft gear box, you should be able to snug them up and they should hold.  I've used similar techniques and rarely have had a problem with things coming loose.

A story.  I used to know a sea kayaker who owned a pickup truck, and he used 3/4" hemp rope to tie his boats onto side stakes in his truck bed.  Just to make sure the rope was tight enough, he would wrap the rope around his waist and then hang off the side of the truck with his full weight, then finish tying the rope.  I watched the $2500 composite sea kayaks, weighing perhaps 60 lbs each, groan and deflect under the strain, and I was sure one would crack eventually.  I typically used 1/4" parachute cord to tie my similar kayaks down, pulled the cord reasonably taught before tying it off, and never had a problem with them coming loose.  There's an analogy in there somewhere ... maybe. 

Todd Sullivan


Jim Hayes
 

If you want to remove the roof. I've had good luck by putting the model in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then any part pops off easily with a #17 Exacto blade.

Jim


Tony Thompson
 

Actually, Ron, it’s vises.
Tony Thom


On Jul 24, 2020, at 6:45 PM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io <sullivant41@...> wrote:

Hi Ron,

I don't know what size trains you are running, or how much force is applied to your freight cars' draft gears, but I have used CA to bond coupler boxes on cars, and that has worked better than using Testor's styrene cement, especially on Intermountain cars.  Another possibility would be to use shorter screws to hold the draft gear boxes to the cars.  If the screws go in the holes snugly, and are just short of the combined thickness of the floor and draft gear box, you should be able to snug them up and they should hold.  I've used similar techniques and rarely have had a problem with things coming loose.

A story.  I used to know a sea kayaker who owned a pickup truck, and he used 3/4" hemp rope to tie his boats onto side stakes in his truck bed.  Just to make sure the rope was tight enough, he would wrap the rope around his waist and then hang off the side of the truck with his full weight, then finish tying the rope.  I watched the $2500 composite sea kayaks, weighing perhaps 60 lbs each, groan and deflect under the strain, and I was sure one would crack eventually.  I typically used 1/4" parachute cord to tie my similar kayaks down, pulled the cord reasonably taught before tying it off, and never had a problem with them coming loose.  There's an analogy in there somewhere ... maybe. 

Todd Sullivan


mopacfirst
 

Here's a followup on the coupler and coupler box replacement.  

For the two cars that I completely removed the stock Intermountain coupler box, I anchored the Kadee 262 box in a manner that seems adequate.  I had some .046 brass wire (DA 2511).  Cut a length of around 3/16", just shy of 1/4".  Then I used ACC to loosely fix it in the hole remaining from the Intermountain coupler box mount into the body, not necessarily needing to be perfectly vertical.  After that cured, then I used Shoe Goo to attach the Kadee coupler box in its proper position -- the Kadee box ends up with the right location along the car centerline.  So this mount seems to be a success.

I'll note that the recent Intermountain cars seem to be painted after assembly of the body, roof and side/end details, while the underframe, brake equipment and coupler boxes seem to be unpainted black plastic on the several cars I've bought recently.  So any cars that have just had the couplers replaced with the #158, without a change of the box to the Kadee 262, will get a wash of body color paint (usually boxcar red) on the ends and sides of the original coupler box when I get around to installing the uncoupling lever.  I need to go back and look at the last batches of IM cars delivered before the Chinese factory collapse, for instance the 10"-0" height cars with 3-4 ends (the "postwar" car as IM calls it) to see what condition they're in.  My move is imminent so a lot of the cars are not available for inspection right now.

Now for a question.  I saw the posts about IM so longer selling parts.  But one thing I do like about IM 40' steam era boxcars is the one-piece metal roofwalk of an Apex pattern.  Has anyone ever been able to get these separately?  I had a couple that I pried off of some Burlington cars because the prototypes actually had a wood roofwalk, but I immediately used those on something else.

Ron Merrick


Kenneth Montero
 

Plano and Yarmouth both have Apex metal running boards i their current listings. Searching Ebay, one may find the same from Details Associates and some of the brass car importers.

Ken Montero

On 07/26/2020 1:23 PM mopacfirst <ron.merrick@...> wrote:


Here's a followup on the coupler and coupler box replacement.  

For the two cars that I completely removed the stock Intermountain coupler box, I anchored the Kadee 262 box in a manner that seems adequate.  I had some .046 brass wire (DA 2511).  Cut a length of around 3/16", just shy of 1/4".  Then I used ACC to loosely fix it in the hole remaining from the Intermountain coupler box mount into the body, not necessarily needing to be perfectly vertical.  After that cured, then I used Shoe Goo to attach the Kadee coupler box in its proper position -- the Kadee box ends up with the right location along the car centerline.  So this mount seems to be a success.

I'll note that the recent Intermountain cars seem to be painted after assembly of the body, roof and side/end details, while the underframe, brake equipment and coupler boxes seem to be unpainted black plastic on the several cars I've bought recently.  So any cars that have just had the couplers replaced with the #158, without a change of the box to the Kadee 262, will get a wash of body color paint (usually boxcar red) on the ends and sides of the original coupler box when I get around to installing the uncoupling lever.  I need to go back and look at the last batches of IM cars delivered before the Chinese factory collapse, for instance the 10"-0" height cars with 3-4 ends (the "postwar" car as IM calls it) to see what condition they're in.  My move is imminent so a lot of the cars are not available for inspection right now.

Now for a question.  I saw the posts about IM so longer selling parts.  But one thing I do like about IM 40' steam era boxcars is the one-piece metal roofwalk of an Apex pattern.  Has anyone ever been able to get these separately?  I had a couple that I pried off of some Burlington cars because the prototypes actually had a wood roofwalk, but I immediately used those on something else.

Ron Merrick


Brian Carlson
 

You can use Kadee roowalks too. Attach with canopy glue. 

Brian J. Carlson 

On Jul 26, 2020, at 1:23 PM, mopacfirst <ron.merrick@...> wrote:

Here's a followup on the coupler and coupler box replacement.  

For the two cars that I completely removed the stock Intermountain coupler box, I anchored the Kadee 262 box in a manner that seems adequate.  I had some .046 brass wire (DA 2511).  Cut a length of around 3/16", just shy of 1/4".  Then I used ACC to loosely fix it in the hole remaining from the Intermountain coupler box mount into the body, not necessarily needing to be perfectly vertical.  After that cured, then I used Shoe Goo to attach the Kadee coupler box in its proper position -- the Kadee box ends up with the right location along the car centerline.  So this mount seems to be a success.

I'll note that the recent Intermountain cars seem to be painted after assembly of the body, roof and side/end details, while the underframe, brake equipment and coupler boxes seem to be unpainted black plastic on the several cars I've bought recently.  So any cars that have just had the couplers replaced with the #158, without a change of the box to the Kadee 262, will get a wash of body color paint (usually boxcar red) on the ends and sides of the original coupler box when I get around to installing the uncoupling lever.  I need to go back and look at the last batches of IM cars delivered before the Chinese factory collapse, for instance the 10"-0" height cars with 3-4 ends (the "postwar" car as IM calls it) to see what condition they're in.  My move is imminent so a lot of the cars are not available for inspection right now.

Now for a question.  I saw the posts about IM so longer selling parts.  But one thing I do like about IM 40' steam era boxcars is the one-piece metal roofwalk of an Apex pattern.  Has anyone ever been able to get these separately?  I had a couple that I pried off of some Burlington cars because the prototypes actually had a wood roofwalk, but I immediately used those on something else.

Ron Merrick


mopacfirst
 

So it appears that the answer to my direct question is no, nobody had been able to get separate Apex-type roofwalks from IM.  I rate them as more durable than Kadee, only because the Kadee (at least the older ones) suffer from a disease where they curl up at the ends.  I've mixed and matched many roofwalks over the years, with the exception that for wood roofwalks, I've preferred the molded plastic ones rather than real wood.  Using Tru-Color colors Weathered Gray Wood and Seasoned Brown Wood, I've developed a technique for painting and dry-brushing these so they look weathered.

Side comment:  I got a PFE R-40-10 the other day, probably an old stock or used, and it had a wood-appearing roofwalk that was actually metal.  Never saw that before.  Of course, it was detached and bowed in the middle so I'll probably replace it with a plastic one.

I think I have picked up one or two of the Kadee Gypsum expanded metal ones, so at my first opportunity I'll install one of those.  I do have several of the IM molded plastic ones on various cars, not always on the car bodies they came with, and I suspect the Kadee ones will look better.

Ron Merrick