Railway Preservation News

Servicing AB valves
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Author:  robertmacdowell [ Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Servicing AB valves

What's the best option these days for servicing AB valves on railroad museum freight cars? I'm dealing with a museum that doesn't really have the time or tools to overhaul the valve themselves.

Back in the day, companies all around Chicago would swap your AB valve for an overhauled one for $50 per portion.

Are there still companies that will do an exchange on AB valve portions?

Can you get ABD, ABDW or ABDX valve portions cheap or free somewhere?

Can you get reasonably priced ABD valve portion exchanges?

What does this cost noawadays?

Author:  SR6900 [ Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

Don't know prices, but it's where we get them serviced in Chattanooga.

Author:  Howard P. [ Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

Try Multi-Service Supply in Pittsburgh.

"Multi-Service Supply

(412) 741-1500 - Phone

(412) 741-3320 - Fax



2010 prices for some of this stuff:

AB service and emergency portions, UTEX - $125.00

Reconditioned 10” freight brake piston/rod/spring assembly UTEX -$135.00

You can figure that it will cost about $300.00 for materials (including brake hoses, pipe bracket strainer, dirt collector gasket, etc.) to COT&S the average vintage freight car. It will be more if you have to replace angle cocks or any brake rigging parts.

Howard P.

Author:  Hayneshopcat [ Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

My suggestion is throw the AB's in the scrap bin and convert to ABD at a minimum. Clean valves are available on most any repair track if you ever need to move this stuff on a Class One and had a problem. The AB valves are still perfectly legal under FRA but AAR requires that they be thrown away when they quit and as a result, most of them are long gone. Here in Oak Ridge, even the passenger cars are being converted to ABDXL. And I recommend Multi-Service Supply also.

Author:  seth4404 [ Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

Reviving a dead thread, but can ABD service and emergency portions mount on the same pipe bracket as AB valves?

Author:  Howard P. [ Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

Yes. You will have to adjust a few of the mounting stud lengths, which can be done with pipe thimble spacers.

Howard P.

Author:  Joe Nugent [ Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

Howard P. wrote:
Yes. You will have to adjust a few of the mounting stud lengths, which can be done with pipe thimble spacers.

In addition: Depending on how the pipe bracket hangs underneath the car, you may need to make modifications to the car body or to the bracket location itself. The ABD's are a different shape than the AB's, and sometimes they can interfere with frame rails or other under-car obstructions.

I've been slowly converting our equipment over to ABD's as the AB's fail. I've encountered interference issues maybe 20% of the time. (One caboose and one flat car so far.) You may also need to modify the bleed rod, depending on how that's situated as well.

Author:  EDM [ Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

You also need a J-1 relay valve and an 800 cubic inch reservoir (+/- 3 1/2 gallons), if you are doing a passenger car conversion. Anyone have any idea what J-1s are going for these days, either with or without the pipe bracket?

Author:  Randy Hees [ Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Servicing AB valves

We use ABDW as our standard, And convert older portions (aka AB) as they require service, but have some similar portions... We purchas ABD(W) cores when offered... We use Wabtec through their Carson City NV office for servicing... the price varies based on service vs emergency portions, and on ABDW or ABDX and such, but about $125-$135 per portion... They have an exchange program so turn around is quick.

We have L-3 and L-2 triples on some older cars (Harrimans, aka Commons Standard) We just had Strasburg refurbish an L-3... it was costly(+$1,000) but done well... They don't have a L-2 test plate but we have access to one to borrow if needed... We needed fast so more expensive that if time wasn't an issue. For that valve we talked to Multi Service but they were not certain that the test rack was in service.

We have our own single car test equipment for AB... We have a vendor who loans us a test set for the triple valves... we pay to have it certified...


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