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Chuck

Aristo-Craft Dash-9 Lowering

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This has been posted elsewhere on other forums and websites over the years but figured I'd start a fresh new topic here.

 

From what I remember the first person to lower a Aristo Dash-9 was somebody on the East Coast...or maybe the NE and that would be back in 2004 or '05?? They posted how they did it on MLS when that was the go to forum in those days. 

 

As stock the Aristo Dash-9 sits too high for me...that is the gap between top of truck frames and bottom of chassis to much. When these Dash-9's first hit the street the forums were ablaze with topics about how high they sit. Aristo and Lewis Polk both posted various excuses such as the real Dash-9 that they measured had an "empty fuel tank" and "it's an illusion".

 

I didn't take a before pic showing the 3/8" gap as it never struck me to create a topic about this modification.

For me this like the 8th Dash-9 that I've done this to. Raymond has done this to probably at least 12.

 

First thing I do is completely strip chassis down and remove the molded "frame rails" and truck bolsters. The frame rails needs to be removed for when the fuel tank is modified and for the trucks to swing. If you only remove what absolutely needs to go then you end up with little 1" chucks of frame rail here and there...so I remove it all.

 

Here's with the frame sanded, old bolsters removed and beginnings of new bolster to be made out of 1-1/2" x 1/16" aluminum. 

 

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I found the reason why the cab/ number board lights didn't work...typical Aristo-Craft engineering. That is make the interior fit so tight it shears the wiring in half :Smirk_Face_Emoji_large(24x24):

 

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I do like these locos...too bad as looks like they'll never be produced again :(

 

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I should have stated in my earlier post that this modification will lower the loco by 1/4" and it looks much better. No more big ugly gap between the motor truck top cover and bottom of chassis/ frame.

 

Here's the difference in thickness between the old plastic bolster and the new version made out of aluminum...

 

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Here's how I layout the new bolster mount holes. That is center and drill for 1/4" bolt then use the old bolster for template to make the new holes.

 

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Grind the curved slots out with my trusty Dremel flex-shaft attachment fitted with a carbide cutter...

 

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When done they should look something like this. Lots of hand filing for final fit takes awhile. Mine ain't perfect but oh well. As long as they don't bind while pivoting all is well. 

 

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Drilled, glued and screwed to frame. Screws are #4 flat top that have been countersunked. After checking with a truck frame the countersink step may not be necessary as the bolster on the frame won't reach the screw heads when swung as far as they can go. I just like the countersunk appearance...and I don't take very good notes for future projects.

 

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Opposite end...

 

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Top side installing metal frame $ wiring harness...

 

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I see that you sanded down all the bottom of the chassis specially the 2 groove line that run across from one end to the other end. Is there a reason why you sanded it all down?  Also what tools did you use to sand it all down did you use a sander? I have 10 dash 9’s that I would like to start on these to lower them so they can look realistic.

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On 8/26/2018 at 12:51 PM, Chuck said:

First thing I do is completely strip chassis down and remove the molded "frame rails" and truck bolsters. The frame rails needs to be removed for when the fuel tank is modified and for the trucks to swing. If you only remove what absolutely needs to go then you end up with little 1" chucks of frame rail here and there...so I remove it all.

 

I start removing by using flush cutters and then sanding by hand with a sanding block and various grades sandpaper.

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So now need to raise the fuel tank. This is rather straight forward and is pretty simple.

 

Here's the stock fuel tank.

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All I do is remove the stock mounting tabs and glue them back onto the fuel tank...

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Have some help with the modification...

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Cutting off the mounts with one of my favorite tools...a mini hacksaw :Thumbs_Up_Hand_Sign_Emoji_large(24x24):

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More "help" arrived :Smirk_Face_Emoji_large(24x24):

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Mounts are trimmed a bit...

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Mounts are test fitted and then glued in place with thin CA applied with a brush. Sorry for the over exposed pic.

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Here's the glue I use as when applied with a small brush it's sucked into the joint by capillary action and sets up instantly. Works great for hold parts in position until a stronger bond is made. I also use it to re-glue windows back into locomotive cabs and cabooses etc. as I've never had it "fog" up a window. Oh and it's available at Hobby Lobby. Don't spill it though as I have...it gets hot when spilled on denim pant legs and carpet! 

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Test fitted to make sure the mounting holes line up...and they do. 

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Boy...going on 15 years old already :Smirk_Face_Emoji_large(24x24):

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Here I reinforced the joints with plastic epoxy and filed/ sanded down...

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Best epoxy I've ever used for hard plastic. Devcon was bought by Permatex and the replacement epoxy ain't the same. I buy old stock off of eBay or Amazon.

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Little paint and I'm done. Yes both ends of tank are the same.

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Well there's a bunch of little things you have to do like raise this thing which I think is a fuel cut-off switch but I figure if you're inclined to do all this work then you're more than able to find solutions to make detail parts fit. Like a old school guy I watch on YouTube states..."This ain't rocket science".

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Here's the engine sitting on track with drives installed.

 

I forgot that need to "raise" the pilots a bit as now the loco sits on them instead of the wheels :Hushed_Face_Emoji_large(24x24):

 

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So I just sand the pilots down by hand say like 3/16" or to just before you start sanding the airlines. I use a sanding block made out of a chunk of plastic and various grades sandpaper such as 80,100 & 200 grit. I measure and eyeball quite often to be sure I'm staying level and square.

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Done..front & rear...

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Little touch-up paint and I'm done. For paint I used a rattle can of Rustoleum Camouflage Forest Green as it's flat. Decanted the can then poured paint into a Ball canning jar. That way for $5 I get 12 oz of paint. I mix in various colors to "blend" the color I need...In this case I needed to lighten it up a few shades so I added some white. I'd rather spend $5 for a can of paint that'll probably go bad before I use it all then to spend say $8 for 1 ounce of Tru-Color paint.

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There as I'm done with the lowering project :Slightly_Smiling_Face_Emoji(24x24):

You may want more clearance but for me my trackwork is about perfect...Can always flip engine over and sand more off.

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