U33C Remotoring, New Chassis and New Lights.

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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I've had this Athearn Blue Box U33C for several decades. Bought it way back before DCC was a thing.
I also have an Overland chassis that the shell will fit along with an ESU decoder.


Nothing in the original chassis I can use in the rebuilt version. I stripped out some of the lead weights that I had added a long time ago so I could fit some LED lamps to the lenses.


D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I prepared an ESU sound decoder and downloaded the sound file for the U33C from the ESU web page. I tested the sound files then moved the speaker and chip to the work desk to prepare for installing into the shell.


I found the original headlight and number board lenses and installed them then added the LED lamps to them using Goop glue. Still looking for the nose lamp lenses.


D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I use a Loy's Toys decoder tester box to program the decoder and test the speaker. I have both ESU and JMRI available on the computer next to the programming track. After the decoder is programmed how I want it, I install it and the speaker in the loco then solder in the lights.


D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
While testing the motor again, I noticed it had more current draw than I was expecting. A surprising .75 amps. I decided to go through the drive train and lube things up.


I disassembled the trucks down to the bushings on the wheel axles. Added some thick lube to them and putting them back together, making sure of the correct orientation of the axle.


D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Attempted a test run on the rails but the decoder kept shutting down. Close inspection found the drive shafts were a little to long. When I tested the loco motor before, the loco was sitting on a small block with the trucks suspended. The trucks were leaning a bit so when they were level on the track they were pressing the drive shafts into the flywheels causing a binding action. I have quite a few drive shafts but only a few that will fit the flywheel and truck couplings. Of those only a few are close but slightly to long.
I decided to try cutting one in half and removing some of the shaft then rejoining them using heat shrink tubing and AC glue.


There is a very small space between the shaft and the chassis so the sleeve has to be thin.


I'm gonna let this set a bit for the AC glue to set then I'll test it.

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
OK, ran the first test after trimming down the drive shafts. Runs great.
I did notice that I had the motor wired in backward. Notice the rear light is on while moving forward and goes out when moving backward. I programmed it so the headlights would stay on while moving backward.
The LEDs in the cab create the camp fire effect. I'll cover the LEDs with blackout paint to tone that down.


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