Re: [HOsteam] Taking a Athearn Genesis pacific apart - Universals

Ken Clark

Ron, Wayne,

I have long used universals in HO Steam models; there are significant advantages compared to flexible tubing.
The biggest is reduced current draw as measured with a milliamp meter. I have used several different universals;
Athearn, NWSL, PSC, Grandt, OMI, Proto Power West as well as Hobbytown. For durability, smoothness, and
quiet operation the three Hobbytown universals are the best in most instances. Check my repowering guide(s) at:

for more information and examples on how I've used universals. NWSL understands the problems with shrinking
plastic gears and universals and I recommend their replacement gears. I just find the Hobbytown universals just
better overall.

Kenneth R. Clark
P.O. Box 212454
Chula Vista, CA 91921

-----Original Message-----
From: rxensen <>
To: HOsteam <>
Sent: Fri, Jul 26, 2013 3:32 pm
Subject: Re: [HOsteam] Taking a Athearn Genesis pacific apart

I replaced the broken gear with a Nortwest Short Line gear.
Now the universals are both cracked, in fact one completely broke in 3 pieces.
On Jul 26, 2013, at 5:32 PM, acl-wayne <> wrote:

On 7/26/2013 4:13 PM, Kenneth Clark wrote:

Will a Hobbytown universal fit? They are available in both 2mm and
2.4mm (3/32nd) shaft sizes.
I have 2 Genesis Pacifics. The first one I bought ran very well until
the plastic gear on the driven driver shaft split. I was able to
obtain one for free from Athearn. The second one had the same split
gear from the factory. From information gained from reading various
lists, like this one, I determined to purchase a replacement gear from
NWSL who also sells universals.

Once repaired, both locomotives have run well and pulled well, that is,
after sawing about 2" off of the front of each weight and substituting a
custom-made lead weight of the same size. Also, I had to remove the
springs on all of the leading and trailing trucks so the balanced weight
could bear full force on the drivers.

Incidentally, while the drive axle gear never split on my Athearn 2-8-2,
I had to perform the same repairs to the weight and trucks.
You might say that I practiced on the 2-8-2 so that repairing the
Pacifics was easy.

Wayne Long

I have never had one fail. Failure of other 2mm shaft universals is
fairly common, one reason I don't favor 2mm shaft motors and gearboxes.

Kenneth R. Clark
P.O. Box 212454
Chula Vista, CA 91921

-----Original Message-----
From: ron christensen < <>>;
To: HOsteam < <>>;
Sent: Fri, Jul 26, 2013 12:50 pm
Subject: Re: [HOsteam] Taking a Athearn Genesis pacific apart

I got back to the Athearn Pacific locomotive today and found the problem.
After removing the plastic cover, and opening the metal weigh the
motor was in the clear.
Looking at the brass weight I found a plastic universal, something
like a Athearn diesel would have.
This was covered with a rubber tube slotted to fit the universal.
The universal had cracked and when I tried to remove it, it fell
apart. On closer inspection the universal on the gear housing is also
cracked. I suspect the lubrication was the cause. This is the same
thing that happened to the gear and early Prototype 2000 locomotives.
Now where to find a universal. Or maybe just a rubber tube like older
locomotives had.

Ron Christensen

From: Roger T. <
To: <>;
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: [HOsteam] Taking a Athearn Genesis pacific apart

I just uploaded a new file about improving the Athearn Genesis Mikado's
performance by Dr. Wayne from While it goes much beyond
what you
are requesting it begins with removing the mike's shell which I hope
will be
pretty similar to removing the pacific's shell also. Hope it helps.


It would be really helpful if people posted links to the files rather
just posting, "I've uploaded a file....."

Posting a link take seconds and is very helpful.

Just sayin'

Having said that: -

Disassembly instructions follow:

The boiler isn't easy to remove but it does come off.

1) Remove the screw up through the cylinders and into the smoke box.

2) Release the cab using a small blade to release the tabs
at the back wall of the cab and on the sides of the firebox
near the front corners of the cab. Release the cab grab
irons from the "buffing plate"

3) Remove the cab.

4) Remove the smoke box stays from the pilot deck and
smoke box, remove the steps and running board from
the pilot deck and above the cylinders.

5) Lift the back of the firebox end of the boiler until it clears
the top of the motor. It will clear, just be firm with it, it's
a VERY tight fit.

6) With the firebox now clear of the motor, GENTLY
squeeze the running boards near the motion
bracket (To release another set of clips inside
the boiler) and at the same time GENTLY twist the
boiler to the left and slide it forward.

The boiler should now slide away from the chassis and not break off
what I
think is a mechanical lubricator on the front right hand side of the

Reverse this procedure, which is just as awkward, to reassemble the
locomotive. I've done this to both my 2-8-2s. Be VERY careful with
the motor wires, they break away from the tabs VERY easily.


You may as well do the following while it's disassembled to improve
the tracking and pulling ability:-

Add lead behind the smoke box door. As steam in the 50s didn't use
the headlight in daylight, I removed the wiring for this and used the
space for more lead.

Fill the steam dome and sand box with lead shot.

Remove the cylinders and fill them with lead shot, leaving room for the
piston rod to slide in and out.

Permanently remove the screw that goes up between the cylinders into
the firebox and fill the steam chest with lead.

Remove the lip from the wire opening in the tender.

Cut off the sleeve on the wiring harness and removed the 2 or three
wires that are not used from the wiring harness.

Remove the pressure springs on both the leading and trailing trucks.

Install a working front coupler.

Removed the "stepped" stack and replace it with a brass casting.

Both of my Athearn 2-8-2s will now out pull the Bachmann 2-8-0s on any
of my grades.

Roger T.

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