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I have two Lionel G scale GP-7's that I custom painted for Rock Island that I would like to re-power with USA trucks. Is this a easy switch?? Any help is appreciated. I would not bother with this except I have spent the time and effort to repaint the locos and they have a sound system. Also is there a way to trigger the horn on a railsounds loco with a reed switch??

Thanks
 

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I've not seen nor heard of anyone making this type of switch. I seem to remember seeing someplace a LONG time ago where they made the truck bogies and the attached deck part of the frame instead of swinging as it came from the factory. maybe this was an article in Classic Toy Trains which I once had a subscription to or GRR or ORR? This resulted in larger diameter track curves being required to run it but probably no worse than the locos manufactured now. As far as the sound system if you are going to the trouble of installing another manufacturers motor blocks you may want to consider upgrading the electronics as well. As I recall they had a weird "thru the rail" push button system to activate the horn and bell? I imagine if you've gone to the trouble of detailing out a Lionel then you'd be willing to go the step futher to upgrade it's running and sound. Good luck and let us know how it works out.

Chas
 

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Posted By rocketrider on 03/10/2009 12:37 PM
I have two Lionel G scale GP-7's that I custom painted for Rock Island that I would like to re-power with USA trucks. Is this a easy switch?? Any help is appreciated. I would not bother with this except I have spent the time and effort to repaint the locos and they have a sound system. Also is there a way to trigger the horn on a railsounds loco with a reed switch??

Thanks



Rider, I think your choice for the USA trucks is a good one. I've used USA's 44 ton and NW-2 trucks for replacement trucks and bashing on other frames and had to do some cutting on the locomotive to get them to fit.

You might give the service department at Lionel a call and see if they have any insight on the question Railsounds question or as Chas has suggested, upgrade the sound when you do the conversion. A Sierra GP sound if you can find one or for some diesel sounds with a horn trigger available, you could use and inexpensive Dallee. I have 2 installed for diesel sound effects.

The top of the line Phoenix PB-9 would do nicely as well.

Sounds like a fun project. :) :)
 

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You are right in wanting to repower,those Lionel power blocks are terrible. A couple thoughts though. The Lionel GP's are 1/32 yet the trucks they used are close to 1/29,way too big. If you want to use USA trucks I would suggest the ones used on the NW2 and S4. If you measure them with a 1/32 rule they are very close to the correct 9 foot axle center to axle center. Finding sideframes could be a problem. What about MTH trucks? Could that be a possibility? Many years ago about the dawn of time when I was flirting with 1/32 I rebuilt two Lionel GP's using Northwest Shortline trucks. I really can't reccomend them though. They are not great runners and don't have much power. You are also going to have to deal with the truck mounted pilots. I rebuilt them and attached them to the frame. I even found an old photo. The center loco is a stock Lionel,front and rear are the rebullt units.
 
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