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Lowering Bachmann freight cars?

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  • Lowering Bachmann freight cars?

    I want to lower my Bachmann freight cars but I don't want to have to pay $12.00 + shipping for Bachmann #29904 trucks.

    Is there an cheaper alternative way to lower my cars? Could Kadee HO trucks be used or do they look to small?



  • #2
    Im pretty sure any regular Ho will look disproportionately small



    • #3

      This is a great website for those planning and building a small railroad. This section is all on On30 and has lots of great tips.

      The Site owner has tried HO, HOn3, S, Sn3, Sn22, O, On30 and is now using a train simulator! I would suggest you print things you like, as there is no telling if he will keep the site going now that his interest has changed.

      It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government. -Thomas Paine

      No, That\'s not a mistake. I did that to give it some extra character. I\'m glad you noticed!


      • #4
        Welcome, Lurp Dog! My friend Mike B. nailed it, as I'm sure many others here will agree. Harold's site has a wealth of information on it- which I'm saving as well since he's going "virtual". Besides that link & article, there have been numerous articles in other modeling publications; this is one of the best articles as well: and with some minor work, gives the look you want. You have the option now of newer Bachmann frames, and low slung trucks- but for a little work and a lot less $$ you can do it using the info in these articles. Have fun!


        • #5
          Dog,try and find a copy of may/june gazette 2008 bob hayden has a fine artical about lower can order back issues at

          1-800-545-4102 rick


          • #6
            THANX for the suggestions.

            I was hoping to find a cheap way to lower my cars without having to purchase the low slung trucks.

            I think I'm going to try to modify the older trucks buy removing the lug on the bolster and then doing the frame as Bob Hayden suggested in his article about lowering the freight cars.

            They won't be Maine narrow guage low but they will be a lot lower than stock.

            THANX AGAIN

            LURP DOG


            • #7
              See the differences in the Bachmann trucks below, the lowered ones are obviously on the right:

              Note the wheel diameters are smaller too, and the lowered bolster.

              I don't have a whole lot of Bachmann cars, but have been able to accumulate replacement trucks here and there, train shows, etc. at around $10.00 a pair. I did the lowering on the cars myself as per posted suggestions. Sure do look better!


              • #8
                Lurp dog.....I didn't want to buy new trucks either, so I simply cut away the underframe enough to allow the trucks to swing.

                You then mount the original, unmodified truck to the car floor with just enough washers to keep the wheels from hitting the car floor. I posted a bunch of photos to our On30 thread....tom

                (you don't see the cut away frames unless you turn the car over.)


                • #9
                  Lurp dog- looks like you have numerous suggestions here. Whichever way you go, you'll like the look. I've lowered most of my Bachmann cars using the method as described previously; even made a metal template to use when attacking the coupler box with the razor saw! Makes it go much faster. In any case- it's worth the effort. Have fun!


                  • #10
                    Bachmann sells new under frames for lowering their On30 freight cars by about as much as the difference between a center-shank coupler and an over-shank one. The new under-frames come as standard equipment on their most recent freight car releases, and they come with Bachmann medium length center-shank couplers (the shank attaches to the coupler's head in the middle of the knuckle when viewed from the side) already installed. Most of the original run freight cars I've seen use the #78022 over-shank (with the shank mounted flush with the top of the knuckle) medium length coupler, which, when used on the original frames, places the coupler at the proper height to match other Bachmann equipment (and NMRA recommended height for HO couplers). If you look at your under-frame with one of it’s trucks removed, you should be able to tell whether is the original type frame (which has semicircular humps on either side of the truck mounting boss on the bolter), or the newer style under-frame (the bolster is flat and level all the way around the truck mounting boss). Also, to maintain the center-shank coupler height, these new underframes should have the standard arch bar trucks installed, not the low arch bars as used on the log cars. The new under frames also come with a bunch of adapter bushings to enable you to use the low arch bar truck (which look more like the trucks used on the Maine two footers) to lower the car even further, but if you choose to use this combination, you will also need to switch to the under-shank couplers (which have the shanks mounted flush with the bottom of the knuckle) in order to maintain proper coupler height.

                    Replacing just your under-frames on your older Bachmann with the new ones can be done without doing any major surgery, but will incur the expense of buying new under frames, which come in blister-packs of three, with a street price of about $15 ($5 per car). Then, of course, there’s the question of what to do with the old frames? You could scratch-build some car bodies that sit down over the frames enough to make the car look as low as you want, but that’s a lot of work too…

                    Have fun,

                    Bill Nielsen

                    Oakland Park, FL USA

                    Florida On30 Renegades