K Line... Are their engines any better?

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K Line... Are their engines any better?
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 19, 2004 3:52 PM
I have a couple K Line alcos from early 90's they are not good runners, had a lot of trouble with derails. Are the new K Lines any better? Need input...........Tim
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Posted by Buckeye Riveter on Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:00 PM
I really like my K-Line C&O Mikado that I purchased new last October. It works great. I have an older K-Line SW-1 that has been dropped on the floor and it does okay for being as beat up as it is.

By any chance are the derails always the same truck?

Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member, a Roseyville Raider and a member of the CTT Forum since 2004..

Rogers Corners, OH, ELV 936 - Home of the Baltimore, Ohio & Wabash RR

TCA 09-64284

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:02 PM
Hi Tim,

When Elliot convinced me to try other makers than Lionel, I immediately went with K-Line.

I own 2 F59PHI engines (an Amtrak and a California Amtrak) and their New York Central 20th Century Limited. The 20th Century had to be returned to the factory straight out-of-the-box. DOA. It was back 6 weeks later and now runs like a champ. Puts out more smoke than 6 Lionel steamers, but that's no surprise is it?

The two Amtrak F59's are faster than greased lightning and I have had no problems with them pulling an 8 car consist of 18" and 21" passenger cars.

So, I think it's safe to say that K-line is just like anyone else. Good and bad. I have had both as noted above. If the engines don't work, return them or repair them. If they don't meet with your approval, get your money back.
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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:50 PM
See
http://www.trains.com/community/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6619
for my experiences with K-Line.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:57 PM
Williams is good too without all of the extra tech stuff.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 19, 2004 10:15 PM
Williams is your best bet if you want reliability and dependable running engines.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 19, 2004 10:53 PM
It's tough to beat Williams on price and quality of decoration as well.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, June 20, 2004 12:57 AM
Oh yea I have several williams sets. My favorite is the SP F7 ABA with 6 luxury liners. Beautiful set and runs great. The aluminum luxury liners are fantastic.... Tim
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, June 20, 2004 6:07 AM
I'm a very big fan of Williams myself, but I also feel that the more recent K-Line locomotives (late '90s to the present) are excellent performers and very good values.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:42 AM
I have the new K-Line Plymouth Switcher - Milwaukee Road. It is a good runner, although you can only tow about six or seven cars with it. I do not have any other engines by K-Line[:D]
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Posted by ben10ben on Sunday, June 20, 2004 10:10 PM
I have 2 K-line locos, both with TMCC, and both have given me no trouble.

I have the 20th Century Ltd. Hudson, which pulls great and has excellent sounds, and Lackawanna Trainmaster which is a far nicer model than any of the other currently available Trainmasters.

The K-line Trainmaster I think deserves special attention. The TMCC version(with smoke) was only $225, $25 more than the Williams Trainmaster with far fewer features and far less detail, and the conventional version(no horn) half the price of the Williams version(still more detail). For $125, you got a horn and smoke, which, again, was an excellent value.
Ben TCA 09-63474
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Posted by brianel027 on Monday, June 21, 2004 8:07 AM
Tim, I posted this fix somewhere here in the past. Most of the early K-Line locos (MP-15, S2, Alco FA) need to have a flexible spring placed between the frame and the truck. There is a silver guide pin from the truck that goes up into a curved slot in the metal frame of the loco. This is where you place the spring, and your derailment problems will end.

As far as low end locos, the K-Line Alco is a long shot better looking than the Lionel counterpart. And the MP-15 and S2 also both have dual motored trucks unlike many of the Lionel NW2's equipped with DC motors - so the K-Line locos will pull more and run up and down inclines much better than their Lionel counterparts.

Adding the spring will eliminate the derailments. Also adding some additional weight to the loco will help (as it will with Lionel locos). I've also added a spring to some of my MPC-era locos that were jumping the track with the front truck. This also cured the problem with those locos.

As far as the above comments on Williams, well they are fine running locos. All with diecast trucks and dual motors that are body mounted instead of truck mounted. But for the $45-$70 price tag of those lower end K-Line locos, they are a good deal and respectable quality for the price. Adding a spring to the front truck of these K-Line locos will help you get your money's worth out of them.

I've also found removing one of the traction tires from each truck on the K-Line locos will help operation, at least on the tighter 027 curves.

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, June 21, 2004 8:57 AM
Another vote for Williams.
Strong running, dependable, cheaper, simple.

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Posted by 4kitties on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 11:56 AM
I have a Scale Hudson with TMCC/RS, purchased in April 2003; a FM Trainmaster with smoke and horn, purchased this past winter; and a Plymouth switcher that's a few months old. I have had no problems with any of them. I also have a 4-car set of 18" streamlined passenger cars, purchased in the summer of 2000, and they have been flawless. I'm not afraid to buy K-Line.
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Posted by TexasEd on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 4:21 PM
I wouldn't say better unless you include "for the money"

I always feel like I got a better deal with a K-Line engine than MTH or Lionel. More bang for the buck.
http://www.trainweb.org/ttat
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 7:50 PM
Hi Pigseyes,

I did Brian’s S-2 fix and it works great. I used a Century brand Utility Compression Spring C-670 (3/8 x 1-½ x .028) that I purchased at Orchard Supply Hardware. The trick is to cut the spring to exactly three turns counting the first factory made double turn. The factory end goes up against ¼ size Nylon Flat Washer, and the cut end hooks down against the power truck housing. I pull fairly long trains at the club’s layout without the front truck jumping the track. A drop of heavy gear oil or grease in between the Nylon Washer and the steel frame lets the truck swivel freely over the slot. I recommend this repair, and have modified two K-Line S-2 Switchers and the new K-Line Alco FA. They are great little engines that pull a long string of cars. Nothing but raves from our club members who run those engines. Western Depot has the price down in the $80 range for the SP Blackwidow S-2 including caboose.

Brian, I’m in the middle of repairing one of the K-Line S-2 Trucks. My boy ran the little engine fast like a slot car, and the idler gear froze onto the plastic shaft. K-Line sent me a new truck (free of charge) but I must remove the wheels from the axle to install the little plastic gears that go between the idler gear and the geared wheel. The wheels looks like they are pressed onto the axle. Have you removed those wheels, or have a suggestion for removing them?

Richard
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Posted by brianel027 on Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:50 AM
Richard, you will need to pull at least one wheel from each axle off. Not a hard job if you have the right tools. You'll need a wheel pulling tool and and decent sized stationary vice to put the wheel back on.

You also need to take care when removing the truck frame cover from the truck chassis assembly. There are 4 silver screws that need to be removed. But you need to remove the plunger assembly off the coupler first. Otherwise when you remove the 4 screws and try to remove the truck frame cover, you will break the small T off the pin "spring" that centers the coupler. I suggested an alternative coupler centering "spring" design to the current one year's ago that was never used. As I have suggested the installation of the spring also to no avail.

A suggestion for your son Richard. I'm not a big fan of single can motored engines, but for you son, this could be a good thing. If you happen to already have some K-Line 027 Budd cars, this is an easy task. You can make one of the dummy Budd cars motorized by switching a motorized truck with a dummy truck on one of the S2's.

A single motored engine will not pull as well... you also want to add some addition weight over the remaining motorized truck (on the rear). But the engine will not run quite as fast either. Another suggestion is to look for a used Lionel 1033 transformer for you son's layout - or for him to use on your layout - whatever the case may be. The 1033 has the B-U post setting which puts out 0-11 volts to the track. A perfect range for the modern can motored engines, unlike the typical 6-18 volt settings which will make "accidents" much more likly to happen due to excessive speed.

Just some thoughts. Good luck. If you don't want to buy a wheel puller, maybe you have a local dealer who will do it for you. There is a cost-effective economical way to make your own wheel puller too. Maybe someone here knows that one.

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 25, 2004 11:14 AM
Hi Brian,

Thanks for the tips. I tried the automotive gear puller that I have in the garage, but its way too wobbly. The screw point is 60 degrees to seat in the center-drilled shaft used in transmissions. Maybe someone in the Lionel Club will have something made up to pull O Gauge locomotive wheels? The club will run trains this Sunday at the old railroad station in Danville.

They tore up the railroad tracks that ran through our valley, and paved it for a bike trail. Now that the trains are gone the people around here are getting sentimental about the old trains. We still have the old train depots in place, and they are fixed up as museums. It’s been 25 years since Southern Pacific rumbled through the San Ramon Valley, and every year the towns around here celebrate Train Day. We have two Train Day celebrations coming up where Joey will run his Lionel trains. One in Danville the 27th of this month, and one in Pleasanton on the 25th of July. There is a full page write up in the Valley Times about the Danville train day. As you can see, these train show dates are messing up our summer travel plans. Rachel and I would much rather use our airline retiree free air travel, or go camping up in British Columbia with our truck & camper. Guess we will have to make short trips in between Joey’s train schedule.

While we were in Michigan last week we road a museum train pulled by an Alco S-2, and it was interesting to tour the cab. The roof liner inside the cab is beautiful varnished wood paneling. I am thinking of hacking two K-Line S-2s, and making a RS-1. Here is the S-2 factory manual:

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/s1-gen.html

Richard


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Posted by Back2Trains on Friday, June 25, 2004 9:58 PM
trail_cam: where in Michigan was this?
Jim
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 25, 2004 11:44 PM
The Alco S-2 pushes a coach at the Michigan Transit Museum in Mt Clemens, Michigan. The train runs from a park on Joy Blvd to the Selfridge Air Force Base Air Museum. It's located near the Lionel Visitor Center in Chesterfield.

Here is the link: http://www.mtmrail.com

Richard
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Posted by brianel027 on Saturday, June 26, 2004 8:36 AM
Richard, a better idea for you is to buy a used Lionel RS-3 or just the shell if you can find on ebay. Chop the shell done and mount it to the chassis of the MP-15. I've done this one and it works very well. And on a smaller type of layout, the RS-3 looks much better with the slightly smaller proportions... it really does.

There are plenty of small modifictions that can be done to the K-Line S2 to make it look a little different and / or to add details... using metal ladders in place of the molded in ones (this is more effective if you repaint, thus sanding off the molded in ones), cutting out a window in to the back door on the cab, cutting windows into the front of the cab (can be done, but takes some patience!), adding metal horn and bell in-place of the plastic ones (Lionel ones work just fine), adding a real headlight to the front in place of the lucite tube inside the loco, adding marker lights, adding handrails along the side of the loco and by the step on each side of the door on the cab, adding a flashing strobe light on the cab, filling in the frame gap on the front and back of the loco....

Just a few ideas there. It's fun to take these lesser expensive units and make them into much nicer looking units. I love it when folks say "Why does your S2 look and run so much better than mine?" It may have started as a K-Line, but when I'm done with 'em, they become "Brianel's!"

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

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Posted by Greywoulf on Monday, December 03, 2018 1:04 AM
I've been acquiring the K-Line Alco FA diesels. IMO they're about the best looking smaller (027) size covered wagons you can buy, for a great price usually, and with two strong motors for pulling! I run them on my 027 tubular track and have no problems (derail or otherwise) whatsoever!
Celebrating my 5th childhood (at the very least?), Greywoulf

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