Re gauging Grandt

Discussion in 'On30 Forum' started by MT Hopper, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Okay my main modelling inability is trying to build, modify, or sometimes run/operate electrically powered model locomotives and their mechanisims.
    I am in posession of three unbuilt Grandt line "O" scale 3 foot gauge Porter kits complete with motors. At the time of acquisition I modelled in HO and HOn30. I moved to "the Dark Side", when Bachman produced the On30 Forney as I had been "hooked" on the Maine Two Footers but didn't have a "brass budget".
    Apparently the 30 inch gauge kits are no longer available from Grandt. Being mechanically inept I have not rushed to cope with the Porters.
    The time has come. Can anyone direct me to a guide that will show me in kindergarten detail how to 30 inch gauge the Porters?
    Cheers from the Heart of the Continent
    MT Hopper
  2. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I'm not familiar with the Grandt Line Porters, but I think you may have set yourself a task! It will depend on how the mechanism fits together - specifically how wide the frame is between the drivers. You may have to mill the frame narrower to allow the drivers to slide in 1/16" on each side.

    As for re-gauging the drivers, depending on the axle they use, you may be able to just slide the wheels in on the axle to re-gauge them. If they use a shouldered axle, though, you'll have to look at new axles/driver sets.

    It seems to me there was an MR article about re-gauging HOn30 locos to 3' gauge... I realize it's the reverse situation to what you want to do, but there might be some useful tips in there for you.
  3. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Thanks Squidbait. I suppose viable alternatives would be
    to sell the Porters and buy Bachman On30 Porters but then I'd lose the square side tanked loco and the tender hauling one.
    I could just "slap" the superstructures on to Bachman On30 mechs and call it a day, but then I'd have these Falhauber motors and gear sets to sit and expensively oxidize away.
    I could just do "drowning man". That's where I flail about barely knowing what I am doing and possibly one limping, cockeyed Porter emerges out of three. This is the least attractive of the options.
    Ah well!
    Cheers from the Heart of the Continent
    MT Hopper
  4. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    FYI It's pretty easy to convert the bachmann on30 porters to side tanked and tendered versions. There are all sorts of conversion kits available. There's even a very helpful article on the internet about dismantling the porter. Just google it. So you CAN have your cake and eat it if you want.

    IIRC the grandt line kits could be built to both gauges, but I could be wrong on that. You might want to email your question to them, they have a website.

    Faulhaber motors? LOL. Totally overrated. While those snobs over at backwoods miniatures might think they're being clever by putting them in their latest kits, I could pull identical quality motors out of second hand computer CD players. They're just a name. They're like Roco or Bemo - no better than bachmann but just more "exclusive". Yeah they're nice but the performance difference between faulhabers and modern flywheel drive locomotives is negligable. If anything they're just quieter but even that is less of an issue lately. So seriously, don't feel bad about it!

    Oh and by the way, it's not anywhere near as scary as you think to build and modify these sorts of things. If you picked up those kits to make them up into On30 porters I'd be willing to bet that you'd finish up with 3 porters in working condition, and you'd be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve. The most complicated kits I've ever built were a couple of plastic 1:700th scale destroyers. They made brass walschaerts valve gear assembly seem simple. So remember that nothing is ever quite as bad as it seems, and sometimes it's more complicated than you're expecting. :wave:
  5. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Thanks for your help Canopus. I'll try to contact Grandt Line.
    Cheers from the Heart of the Continent
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I have a Grandt Line Porter sitting in front of me.

    I don't know if you can narrow them. The gear on the motor comes close to filling the space in between the sides of the frame. Otherwise, there are several spacers to alter. You may be able to remove a little of the frame's thickness (and if it becomes to thin, there is a firm that can turn them into brass for you). It is worth noting that my porter is 25+yrs old and not necessarily identical to your kits.

    As far as the motor, I thoroughly disagree. It is wonderful and I would prefer to switch every locomotive I have over to coreless motors. My On30 Bachmann porter isn't anywhere close to being 1/3rd as nice as the Grandt line porter in any aspect...the performance of the Maxon 20-20 motor is on par with the excellent detail. There is something mesmerizing about it which a flywheel-sagami combination just can't deliver. There are definitely some that don't like coreless motors, but there are those of us whom love should find out which you'd prefer.

    Even if you never plan to add any On3 to your layout, you may really enjoy building one of the Porters as an On3 locomotive. It would then help you to understand if it is feasible to convert the other two to On30. Perhaps you might also want to look into one of Grandt Line's C&S caboose kits. They are small but gorgeous. Much better detailed than their HOn3 offering. For On30, it would need replacement wheels (it comes with plastic wheels that can't be regauged) and possibly a narrowing of the brake beams. Here is a link to the prototype:
  7. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Meh. I see nothing wrong with the performance of the bachmann porter as it is. Nice slow, smooth running loco once it's run in, even if the motor is a little loud by "modern" standards. I've never heard any complaints and I've seen plenty at exhibitions. I'm quite happy with mine.

    My outside framed bachmann 2-8-0 runs beautifully. The motion is mesmerising and the slow running matches the detail quality. Another bachmann triumph.

    My heavily kitbashed gas mechanical critter is probably the worst performing of the lot and even that runs nicely compared to some others. Yet again, bachmann wins.

    I've got premium Atlas and Roco HO locomotives that don't run as well as some of my Bmann on30 stuff. I actually had a pair of Stewart Hobbies models, widely regarded as some of the best models in the industry, that actually performed horribly until I added quite a lot of lead, and even after that they were only "entry level". Compared to my Bachmann stuff they're just toys.

    Coreless is a sales gimmick. Just like skew wound, brushless, precious metal windings and all the other silly meaningless specs. How the model performs on the track is what counts, not what it says on the box. I have MODEL POWER locomotives that run smoother and slower than some coreless motored locomotives do.
  8. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Thanks for your suggestions NKP. I believe my Grandt Porters are about 15 to 20 years old. I bought them when an article appeared in the NG&SL Gazette about building them as two foot gauge in 3/8" scale. I suspect my "solution" may be to pick up that 20 year old idea and simply build them in 1/32nd scale. The NMRA had had a convention here in my home town and I was fortunate enough to meet Cliff Grandt and that set off my little "buying" spree. At any rate thanks again for the suggestions.
    Cheers from the Heart of the Continent
  9. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Canopus. I have the Bachman Forney, 2-8-0, Shay, 0-4-2, Gas Mech and street car. I haven't had a problem with a single one of them. At the time I got them I had thoughts of turning the 2-8-0 into a 1/35th scale Deutz and the street car into an Orenstein & Koppel loco. I think I'll just finish up the drawings for a 30" gauge sugar cane car and get them off to OZ and then seriiously consider turning the 2-8-0 into a 30" Cuban sugar cane loco.
    Viva el vapor!
    Cheers from the Heart of the Continent
  10. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    I did actually find the thread where you mentioned using the 2-8-0's chassis as a basis for the deutz HF 130c. Having dismantled the bachmann model myself I can tell you that bashing it into a diesel will just trash a perfectly good model. If it's an outside framed chassis you want it's simple enough to scratch build one. I can send you instructions on how to do this if you'd like.

    Cuban Railways has an outside framed baldwin 2-8-0 that is identical to the bachmann model. I believe theirs is an oil burner and has the later type cylinders.

  11. MT Hopper

    MT Hopper MT Hopper

    Thanks Canopus. I have the drawings for a 1914 30 inch gauge Baldwin built for the Azucar Central Santa Lucia originally built to burn soft coal but later converted to oil. To get "close" to this loco I may just have to do some dome and bell swapping and widen the firebox. The loco was later used at the Rafael Freyre Central on 15 miles of track.
    Viva el Vapor
  12. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    It would be really difficult to reposition the domes on the bachmann model because the bases of the domes are cast on to the metal boiler. If you wanted to move them you'd have to grind them off.
  13. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I will have to respectfully disagree. When running in a perfect mechanism corless motors are exquisite. I just got done putting two in some HOn3 locomotives. I documented the process over in the narrow gauge section in a thread entitled HOn3 locomotive shops.

    On the C-16 I found a bind in the mechanism after I had put in the new corless motor. best I could figure it a gear in the tower and one on the axle that are are elliptical . the gears are different sizes, so occasionally the high spots came together and made a very slight bind about once every fourth or fifth driver revolution. This did not show up with the old open frame motor, but a lope was visible with the corless motor. Fortunately loosening the cover plate adds enough lash between the gear on the axle and the gear in the tower to make it work.

    Just as important as the slow speeh is the top speed, which is slow also with these newly completed locomotives.

    In any case for good slow speed. the mechanism has to be perfect, and if you have a geared locomotive or a switcher where super slow speed is the priority, the corless motor is not your best bet anyway, what you want is a gear reduction motor.

    Bill Nelson

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