Re-gauging an On30 Bachmann Climax to On3

I re-gauged a Bachmann On30 Class-B Climax that I purchased on e-Bay to 3' gauge so that I could have a low-cost 3' gauge locomotive for my future On3 Elk Valley Lumber Co. logging layout.

The conversion was so easy, I am now convinced that Bachmann designed it to be converted in the first place because the trucks and axle lengths are correct for 3' (or 36 inch) gauge.

The other clue was the brake shoe spacing. It turns out that the stock 30" locomotive shoes have the correct spacing for 3' gauge!

 The Climax after conversion
The completed 3' gauge locomotive.
The conversion was a breeze. All I had to do was remove the wheel sets, make a support jig for the wheels, clamp the jig in my vice and gently tap the axle through (approximately 0.050" per side) while I checked the wheel's gauge with an On3 NMRA standards gauge.

As it turned out, the correct gauge was reached when the axle was roughly flush with the outside of the wheel. I repeated this with the remaining 3 axles.

 The stock Bachmann Climax wheel sets
The stock 30" trucks, prior to conversion. Note the brake shoe spacing and axle lengths.
Once the wheel sets were re-gauged, I simply reinstalled them into their respective trucks and bent the electrical pickup fingers out roughly 0.050" per side.

After the conversion, I set about breaking the loco in and it now runs very smoothly.

 Climax trucks after conversion to 36 inch gauge
Climax trucks after conversion. Again, note the brake shoe spacing and axle lengths.
I have to say that Bachmann have done a bang-up job on this excellent model. Now I have it running, the model will be backdated with a new 'wooden' cab, fluted domes and a diamond stack etc.

Click on the arrow to return  Click to go back or here  Click to return to Chris' On3 home page to return to Chris' On3 home page.
Last updated: May 2006