Author Topic: Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive  (Read 591 times)

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jbcz

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Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive
« on: March 08, 2018, 05:10:09 PM »
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Winter can lead to working on “lost causes”.  I have two Minitrix 2-10-0’s that have been sitting in their boxes for quite a while.  I decided to make them better looking and more usable.  The results are pretty good.

First I chopped the mechanism front off the loco to reposition the boiler properly with respect to the steam pipes/smoke box.  I was able to save the headlight.  I notched the top of the light enclosure to permit light to proceed to the headlight.  Slipping the light through a machine nut is all that is needed to position it for the new boiler location.

Then, I hardwired the tenders to the locomotives.  One is a Bachmann USRA medium tender (close to one variant used by the I1) and the second is the Minitrix tender.  References indicate something close was actually used with the I1.  It turns out that hardwiring the tenders improves operation immensely to the point where the locos don’t stall anywhere on my RR.

Modifying the boiler was the last job to make a presentable loco.  I used the I1s diagram out of the MR DVD archives scaled to N-scale as a reference for this.  This took much cutting as I lengthened the firebox with a piece from Minitrix boiler parts in the “junk box”, shortened distance from the firebox to the steam dome, and shortened the distance from the sand dome to the steam dome.  I replaced the lower firebox with a more accurate version fashioned from Minitrix tender body parts.  I flipped the handrail on the boiler front and added scratchbuilt air tanks on the pilot.  The result came out pretty good and all of the cutting gave the boiler a lot of the huskiness of the I1s boiler. 

This is another way to resurrect the 2-10-0 locos that we all have and turn them from “frankensteins” to fairly nice models.  As is typical to my efforts, it does not take a heap of skill and does not require much surgery to the mechanism.  They are both good runners – 3 pole motor response is not like today’s locos – but the high quality mechanisms give smooth performance and good pulling power.  They were worth the effort.  Here’s a photo of both.

jbcz

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Re: Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 05:28:08 PM »
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I forgot to add that I shortened the cab to fix another flaw with the look of the boiler shell.  I also blacked the drivers to reduce their shine.

strummer

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Re: Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 05:52:00 PM »
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Nicely done...good paint jobs, too!

Mark in Oregon

mmagliaro

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Re: Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 07:44:34 PM »
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You hit all the key points: getting rid of the Trix tender chassis and using all-wheel axle-point pickup under there solves all the pickup issues, and it's amazing how much better these run when the stalling stops (and the old K4 and the 0-6-0 B6) .  They are still too fast, but that pales in comparison to the stalling.

I like what you did with the boilers.  I've seen a lot of chop jobs done on the I1 to at least slide them back and fix the alignment of the steam pipes, but I don't remember seeing anybody bother to splice in an extra piece of another shell to get the longer firebox.  You also fixed the dome spacing and cab too.  So these are pretty darn nice all around.

One word of caution to anyone else thinking of doing this.  These engines will not run on code 55 track unless you turn the driver flanges down.

nkalanaga

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Re: Upgrading old Minitrix locomotive
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 01:45:58 AM »
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"These engines will not run on code 55 track unless you turn the driver flanges down."

Good to know.  Most of my Minitrix experience has been with Fs and FMs, and they will run on ME C55.
N Kalanaga
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