Thursday, January 18, 2018

Athearn SD40T-2 total rebuild

Athearn SD40T-2 total rebuild

rebuild, rewire and pimp my drive system

The Athearn SD40T-2 that I got in 1988 was a locomotive that I wanted sooo bad.  I got a snoot nose specially ordered for from the hobby shop.  Those were the days when I made everything Chicago & NorthWestern.

I hand painted this thing and bent grab irons with a pliers from piano wire.  I did hard wire it back then and coated the exposed metal with the graphite coating called Slip Plate.

The problem with this locomotive is that it's big with a long wheel base.  It's notorious for jumping the track on multiple turn outs.

So I was wondering what project to do next when a friend asked if I could do an SD40T-2.  I've got several of them and my first thought was to do this rust bucket I got for a couple bucks at the train show.  Then I saw my old set of tunnel motors, 1 a snoot the other a regular hood.

When CNW ceased to exist I was in shock and boxed up all my trains where they stayed for 20 years, almost exactly 20 years.  I setup a new workshop and promised myself that I would destroy or strip my 72 CNW locomotives, but preserve them.  I'm amazed at how detailed these locomotives were. Considering that I had all hand tools and not nearly what I have now, these locomotives look good.  They aren't great by today's standard, but they're certainly operating quality.

I spotted my tunnel motors in my lineup of old stuff and decided they needed this rebuild.  I remember dreaming about getting this locomotive.  I went ahead and did an in depth rebuild.

One of the most important modifications I made was the floating axle.  If you're familiar with Athearn locomotives, especially the SDP40 and SD45, then you probably know they tend to derail in yards a lot.  The tunnel motors don't just derail they also throw cars off the track.  The solution is to make the floating axle.

This rebuild was a total success and the floating axle negotiates multiple #4 turnout with ease now.

This is part 1 of the rebuild

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