LGB American Standard Gauge 40 foot Box Car & Body Mounting Kadee 906 Couplers

LGB American Standard Gauge 40 foot Box Car & Body Mounting Kadee 906 Couplers
Ted Doskaris
March 17, 2016
Rev GE-A

March 28, 2016
Rev GE-B  Added car brand comparison & car height info.


Completed Cars - Odds & Ends Details
Appendix A, Using Modified LGB Trucks



The German company, Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB), produced some realistic American rail cars, including 1930s-1950s era standard gauge 40 foot box cars made of plastic.   At this time these cars appear to be out of production; however, while they last, they can be obtained as New Old Stock (NOS) from a  mail order house such as Trainworld in New York.

I obtained two cars  that were sale priced:

One car being a Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), road no. 24018, P/N 46919.
Trainworld Link

The other car being a Santa Fe (ATSF) "Tool Car", road no. 205228, P/N 45919, also, sale priced - albeit  at a notably higher price than the PRR car!
Trainworld Link

As factory equipped, these type cars are very light in weight at about 2 pounds each.


As received in their packaging, it appeared both cars suffered from the rigors of shipping - though easily remedied.


Some observations can be made about these LGB cars:


As to the wrongly oriented under frame, the Aristo-Craft Company (superceded by Polk's GenerationNext) did the same thing for years but did finally correct it.
In this regard, shown below is a book jacket showing the proper underpinnings location of an example prototype  40 foot box car.

See book "ATSF Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment"
By Lloyd E. Stagner, Published by Morning Sun Books, ISBN 1-878887-45-9
Page 123 depicts prototype ATSF "Tool Car", road number 205228, that the LGB car is intended to represent.

The prototype car differs from the LGB car with respect to the door and some under frame detail.
The prototype door is a Youngstown corrugated door rather than the Superior multi paneled door of the LGB model.  The roof walks are, also, shown removed at the date when the photo was taken. (Removing the roof walks on the LGB car would render an undesirable appearance without reconstruction.)




Correcting Underframe Orientation:

The under frame is simply unfastened, turned around and refastened to the floor of the car body.
The ATSF car example is illustrated below:




Preparing Cars For Kadee Body Mount Couplers:

Illustrated below is an ATSF car example for operations needed to body mount Kadee 906 type  couplers assemblies.

Newer production runs of Kadee 906 and 906R (Rust) kits may have done away with the factory supplied stainless steel  2-56 machine screws & nuts - replacing them with course self threading, larger diameter screws.  If using these larger screws, the holes drilled in the floor will need to be slightly larger, and tapping for threads would not be done.




Implementing Alternative Trucks:

Aristo-Craft or USA Trains Bettendorf trucks are used in place of the LGB factory trucks.

The Aristo trucks, P/N ART-29101, are fitted with metal wheels, P/N ART-29111B.  
The USA Trains trucks, P/N R2033, are fitted with blackened metal wheels, P/N R2093.

Since the LGB trucks with emulated roller bearings are inappropriate for these era 40 foot cars, it's fortuitous to replace them with friction bearing type trucks that effectively lower the car for a more optimal body mount coupler box installation.  The alternative trucks (both equipped with their factory metal wheel) are Aristo-Craft  trucks on the example PRR car and USA Trains trucks on the example ATSF car.


Choosing  USA Trains Truck to Replace LGB Truck:
The USAT truck needs to have some slight modifications done as illustrated below.  
To prevent binding of the truck when rotating and rocking it on the LGB under frame bolster, the USAT truck bolster needs to have its ribs trimmed and a couple of shims employed.  These shims are, also, used to help establish proper railhead to coupler alignment with the Kadee 980 gauge.

With the USA Trains trucks installed, the ATSF car's Kadee 906 coupler aligns with the Kadee 980 gauge as shown below.


Choosing  Aristo-Craft Truck to Replace LGB Truck:
Of the two trucks, the Aristo truck is the simplest to implement as exemplified on the PRR car.

The Aristo truck bolster tang must be removed before the truck is mounted so it won't interfere with the Kadee coupler box -  illustrated below.

In the above illustration, out of view is a 1/32 inch thick shim under the Kadee coupler box.


With the Aristo trucks installed, the PRR car's Kadee 906R "Rust Color" coupler aligns with the Kadee 980 gauge as shown below.


Shown below is a close up view of example PRR and ATSF cars coupled together.



Completed Cars - Odds & Ends Details

With body mount Kadee 906 type couplers installed, operation on 8 foot diameter (or larger) curve track is OK.  An 8 foot diameter circle is shown below.


If a layout has curves with an "S" bend transition, be sure to insert a straight track section between the directional change having the length of the longest car  to avoid the binding of cars and derailments.

The example ATSF car came with factory black parts, many of which were painted to better match the color of the car body.  Testers No. 1181 Aluminum paint was used.


The example PRR car came with molded-in brown colored parts, so these need not be painted - their more glossy appearance or other user preference not withstanding.

Weight of Completed Cars:

The completed ATSF "Tool Car" measured 2.65 pounds.


The completed PRR car measured 2.59 pounds.

Car Interior Detail:

Should the need arise to provide better access within the car, the roof can be removed.  I did not need to remove the roof.


Car Comparisons - Selected Brands:

Illustrated below is a comparison of 40 foot box cars, particularly the Pennsylvania (PRR) Aristo-Craft & REA brands with the LGB brand.  All these cars are upgraded having been lowered and equipped with Kadee 906 type body mount couplers.


Height Specification of Lowered LGB PRR Car:

The lowered LGB car height from railhead conforms to its side panel specifications as Illustrated below.


Appendix A, Using Modified LGB Trucks

As to the factory supplied truck with plastic wheels, it does have silky smooth rolling characteristics, and it includes equalization capability for forgiving operation on poor, undulating track work.


If you happen to have one of the rarest 40 foot box cars that had early type roller bearing trucks (e.g. Boston & Maine 1957 car road no. 76182 as shown on page 101 in book, "Pullman-Standard Freight Cars") or if the appearance of roller bearings on a car known to have friction bearings is of no concern, then the as supplied LGB truck can be used if modified.  Modifying the LGB truck is desirable because it will lower the car to be more prototypical whilst at the same time avoids the use of a thick spacer under the Kadee coupler box.

Illustrated below are  fabricated parts with dimensions to use in place of the factory truck bolster.
The dimensions shown will allow the Car body to be lowered by lowering the truck bolster within the LGB truck to be like that when using the alternative trucks.

For the metal bracket, I obtained a Simpson Strong Tie strap, ST 2115, obtained from Home Depot and positioned its holes to advantage when cutting its length.  The plastic "H" spacer material was obtained from TAP Plastics.


To install the fabricated parts, the factory truck must be disassembled first - illustrated below.
Note that the attachment points of bolster and side frames of the LGB truck are asymmetric for the purpose of equalization, but this does not hinder the installation of the fabricated parts.  The equalization is done away with - not needed for decent track work)


With the truck disassembled, the side frame pockets must be trimmed so when the truck is mounted on the car it can pivot OK.


Reassembling the truck with fabricated metal bolster bracket and plastic "H" spacer is illustrated below.

Illustrated below are the trucks shown with discarded factory bolster and assembled with the replacement bracket and plastic "H" spacer.  (No. 2-56 screws, washers, lock washers and nuts are used at ether end of the metal bracket to fasten the side frames.  The plastic "H" bracket is just placed on top of the bracket.  The spacer did not need to be fasten or glued in place.)

Aristo-Craft metal wheels, P/N  ART-29111B, work well as replacements for the LGB factory plastic wheels.  The LGB plastic wheel tread diameter is undesirably larger when compared to an Aristo metal wheel.

When mounting the LGB modified truck, the car's under frame bolster screws should be replaced with flat head screws so as not to interfere with pivoting truck operation.  Also, a small bushing is needed on top of the under fame bolster's mounting post so when truck is fastened it won't bind.


As can be seen below, the completed car  Kadee 906R coupler aligns with the Kadee 980 gauge.


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