A Shorty Dump Car,
a simple and quick project.

The Lionel eBay item.

The shortened car, a simple hacksaw job.

After a little trimming and hole drilling underneath, the trucks were reattached in their new positions, shimmed with washers cut from .020" sheet styrene so the chassis would be the same distance from the rails as before, and small nuts and bolts replace the original plastic rivets.

Notice the removed pieces at the sides.

The simple surgery.

Brake wheels were replaced here, perhaps not prototypical, but they are there!

The finished project painted a satin black, with a tiny bronze fleck in the paint (Krylon Brushed Metallic Finish - Oil Rubbed Bronze), that resembles real metal. The most important thing is that the plastic look is now gone; doesn't look like a toy anymore! Although I don't object to an appearance characterized as "toy-like," the look is very much improved especially when the bare plastic has a translucence about it, a bigger problem in yellow than other colors.

Click here to see the car in action!

      When I placed this car (in its original length) next to my modified handcars, shortened box car, shortened converted On30 passenger car, and K-Line by Lionel Porter, it really looked too long, especially on tight curves where it overhung the track. So I shortened this operating dump car very quickly with a hacksaw and a hobby knife in about 20 minutes, and it doesn't even need to be repainted. Once all the 6 vertical cuts were made with the hack saw, the horizontal cuts were made by first scoring with the knife, then snapping off the pieces with pliers, but this car's plastic wasn't as easy to work with as regular sheet styrene. The trimming underneath doesn't have to be perfect as long as the trucks can pivot freely. And because the mechanism wasn't affected, it dumps just as well. Total project time, with a little tinkering for the truck shims, was about an hour. The shimming is necessary so the plunger has the same range of travel over the operating track coil as before. The car's chassis is now only 7 " long.

      I found that the load for the car needs to be rather light in order for it to dump, so approx. 20 large jelly beans, distributed so the bulk of them is slightly off-center toward the side of the tray that opens, is about the maximum load in weight. A lesser amount works perfectly. I wanted this car for spontaneous table play with a modified handcar rather than for use on the layout. Perhaps some light weight snack food would work better provided it isn't oily, or wrapped candy would be the best choice. Pretzel sticks would work well as a log load. Tinkering with the spring might allow for more weight in the load, but that might interfere with the release mechanism. Dog treats might be a good choice when playing with Fido!

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