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Bachmann 2-8-0 Fail!

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Bachmann 2-8-0 Fail!
Posted by hornblower on Monday, June 5, 2017 2:19 PM

I have wanted one of the Bachmann HO scale 2-8-0 Consolidation locos for some time.  Trainworld currently has some of the DCC Equipped versions on sale so I finally ordered one.  It arrived late Friday, June 2, and I immediately took it out to the layout and tried it out.

Having read review after review claiming what a smooth running model the Bachmann 2-8-0 is, I was rather disappointed as the loco I received stuttered badly at low speed.  I observed that the loco smoothed out quite a bit as I increased the speed to around 30-35 scale miles per hour.  Thus, I figured it might just need a little break-in time.  I set up the layout for a continuous loop and let the loco run around at speed step 40 of 128 while I worked on some scenery.  Less than 15 minutes later, the loco stopped and sat humming.  I gave the loco a nudge or two, changed throttle directions and throttle settings but the loco would no longer budge. Upon closer inspection of the loco, I found that the side rods along the right side of the loco, instead of being in a straight line along all four drive axles, looked more like a roller coaster.  Comparison of the two sides of the loco showed that the main drivers had completely lost their quartering with the rod journals at nearly 180 degrees instead of the correct 90 degrees of offset.  

I would expect the driver wheel sets to have a bit more positive mating to hold their quartering against at least a little more torque than that produced by the model in which they are installed.  If I have this loco replaced, can I expect a similar quartering failure from the replacement?  Anyone have a similar experience?

Hornblower

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Posted by last mountain & eastern hogger on Monday, June 5, 2017 2:35 PM

Whistling

Hi HorneyB,

I have had mine for several years now. It worked great on arrival and has continued to perforn beautifully. No Issues at all.

Good Luck. I have heard Bachmann's service  is excellent.

Johnboy out.

from Saskatchewan, in the Great White North.. 

We have met the enemy,  and he is us............ (Pogo)

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Posted by maxman on Monday, June 5, 2017 2:49 PM

If you just got the loco, call Trainworld immediately, speak to customer service, and explain the problem.  I had a recent issue with a loco purchased there and they replaced it promptly.  I wouldn't bother with Bachmann at this point unless Trainworld won't help you.  And I'm sort of betting that you'll get more immediate service from Trainworld.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, June 5, 2017 2:59 PM

Hello all,

First of all I am not a big fan of steam.

They definitely have a "personality of their own" even when functioning perfectly well.

On my pike diesels rule.

That being said, I do have three steamers; a couple of 0-6-0's and a 0-4-0. The 0-6-0's are from Bachmann (DCC) and the 0-4-0 is from Model Power that I converted to DCC.

To be honest the bulk of my diesel fleet is also Bachmann.

I too have not been impressed with the steamers from Bachmann. 

On the USRA 0-6-0 one of the side rods was bent which caused erratic running. I added power pickups to the tender which has helped through the unpowered turnouts.

With the Side Tank Porter 0-6-0, because of it's short wheel base, it tends to stall through the unpowered frogs on the turnouts. 

The 0-4-0 'Lil Donkey does well despite it's diminutive wheel base.

What I discovered, with the Bachmann units, is the bottom gear cover needs to be shaved down.

Over regular trackage (I used code 100) the gear cover is not a problem but when running over the re-railers and turnouts the gear cover bottoms out and causes electrical and derailment problems.

I removed the excess material on the bottom gear cover with a rotary tool (Dremmel®). In one instance the amount of material removed actually exposed the drive gear. 

Being careful with the rotary tool I did not damage the drive gear. This allowed these unit to clear the rerailers and turnouts and maintain electrical contact through the unpowered turnouts.

Yes, these units were inexpensive but with Bachmann steam the old addage, "You get what you pay for" seems to hold exceptionally true.

Like I said, I run primarily Bachmann diesels and have no complaints.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:24 PM

I have a Bachmann 2-8-0 (DC) that ran perfectly for more than a decade. Then it was involved in an accident where a truck screw came loose from a freight car in the train it was pulling, the truck screw got caught, and the engine came to an instant stop. After that it clicks and bucks moving forward, but runs as good as new in reverse.

.

I also have a Bachmann EM-1 2-8-8-4 that runs better than any Swiss watch I have ever encountered. That beast is a masterpiece.

.

I think the advice to contact Train World was good and sound. I hope you get that beautiful locomotive back on the track soon.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:40 PM

Yes, I have already contacted Trainworld and the return process is in motion.  I was just wondering whether this problem should be considered a fluke and I should ask Trainworld to send me another unit, or whether anyone would recommend simply getting my money back.  I do have several other Bachmann Sound Value locos, including a 2-6-0 Mogul, and all run extremely well.  I just wish the currently offered 2-8-0 had sound as well.

Hornblower

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:48 PM

hornblower

Yes, I have already contacted Trainworld and the return process is in motion.  I was just wondering whether this problem should be considered a fluke and I should ask Trainworld to send me another unit, or whether anyone would recommend simply getting my money back.  I do have several other Bachmann Sound Value locos, including a 2-6-0 Mogul, and all run extremely well.  I just wish the currently offered 2-8-0 had sound as well.

 

It is just a fluke, to use your term. The Bachmann 2-8-0 is a great loco with a great track record. I have about nine of them, they all run great, never any problems. 

I have lots of friends with them as well, very few problems reported over the many years they have been on the market.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:51 PM

I have seen many positive reviews about this loco for some years.

Call Trainworld. Will be quicker than Bachmann and probably only have to pay to ship it back.

I have seen a lot of these for sale at Amazon.com

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:51 PM

Thanks Sheldon.  That's what I needed to know.

Hornblower

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:58 PM

If you have never been there, Bachmann has forums, company reps, repair, replacement, CV list, loco diagrams pages.

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/board,2.0.html

Rich

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, June 5, 2017 4:08 PM

And, if you join the forums, and have trouble getting the activation email, send an email to:

webstore@bachmanntrains.com

They have had a huge spam problem, and sometimes the activation email never arrives.  The people at the above address will set you up.

Mike.

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Posted by selector on Monday, June 5, 2017 8:04 PM

hornblower

Yes, I have already contacted Trainworld and the return process is in motion.  I was just wondering whether this problem should be considered a fluke and I should ask Trainworld to send me another unit, or whether anyone would recommend simply getting my money back.  I do have several other Bachmann Sound Value locos, including a 2-6-0 Mogul, and all run extremely well.  I just wish the currently offered 2-8-0 had sound as well.

 

(I see that Sheldon has responded already, but I have not read his post...I'm responding directly first.)

I have experience with two Bachmann steamers, both from the Spectrum line...upscale-ish.  The first was a Class J 4-8-4.  It was not a good locomotive and I sold it on eBay.  It ran horribly, and its pilot was the only one of maybe 18 locomotives from five different importers, all different locos, that scraped the rails because it was so low.

On Sheldon's recommendation, I purchased one of the last of the first batch of all-metal "heavy" 4-8-2's.  A completely different experience.  It does take a lot of CV2 "V-Start" voltage to get underway, but it runs much better.  I expect the CV2 setting to drop as I wear the drive in.  Right now it has perhaps 20 minutes of running, none of which has been in the past two years.

These are nice to look at.  When you get a good one, they run well.  I can say the same about Rivarossi steam and BLI.  My lovely, exceptional gem of a steamer, the P2K (pre-Walthers) 0-6-0 runs well when it runs.  It seems to have developed a problem my fix-it guy can't find.  It runs intermittently...I think it's the iffy tether system between tender and loco.

I would try to find a way to feel confident that you will end up with a locomotive that has earned a solid reputation.  This one loco stands out in all my readings about the Spectrum line.  Yeah, it's a bummer when you happen to be the one guy in 80 who gets a bad egg, but you'll get back something that runs like a Swiss watch. 

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Monday, June 5, 2017 8:47 PM

My Bachmann 2-8-0 is the most trouble free steam engine I've ever owned, so this was definitely a fluke.  It's so reliable that it's almost no fun for a tinkering guy like me!

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by grinnell on Monday, June 5, 2017 10:59 PM

I have 7 Bachmann 2-8-0s (DCC with sound) that are good pulling, sweet running locos. I also have one (DCC only) that doesn't run very well. I think it is the decoder that I plan to change anyhow, just haven't got around to it.

Grinnell

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Posted by the old train man on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 11:46 AM

Hornblower,I have the engine you mentioned & it runs great. If I were you I would ask them to test run it, just to be safe.

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 11:56 AM

selector
 

 Yeah, it's a bummer when you happen to be the one guy in 80 who gets a bad egg, but you'll get back something that runs like a Swiss watch. 

 

 

Ditto. 

I have lots of Spectrum steamers including three of this model. They all run great. I have had a couple of bad runners out of the box that were returned to the seller and exchanged for great running models.

This line has its detractors but I am not in that camp....For small steam, Spectrum is the best in my book if you are on a budget and don't want to mess with old brass...

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 1:33 PM

I have two of them and have operability issues with both that seem to be centered around the circuit board in the tender.  The first came DCC equiped and I initially blamed the cheap factory decoder.  I ended up pulling it out in anticipation of a better replacement.  Ended up putting the decoder into a DCC ready LLP2K loco just to test it out, and it ran beautifully without the hiccups I was experiencing in the 2-8-0.  Back into the 2-8-0 and same herky jerky operation.  The second one was only DCC ready and I put a Lokpilot in it, plugged into the factory circuit board and am having the exact same issue.  The only other Bachmann steamer I have is an early light 4-8-2 that ran great initially, but developed electrical pick-up gremlins after not too much run time (Less than 100 hours best guess.).  After trying everything I could think of pick-up related, I removed the factory circuit board and hard wired in the decoder and VIOLA!  The apparent pickup problem was solved.  It runs great again.  I like my Bachmann steamers, and will buy more when funds permit, but that factory board has been a PITA in my experience. 

Mike

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 9:06 PM

I had a couple of issues with my later run 2-8-0.  First was that the eccentric crank screw worked its way loose and rotated 90 degrees causing the left side drive train to jam.  The second was a pin that fell out of one of the smaller rods (dont remember which one, I replaced it with a small track nail, cut to length and smashed to look like a rivet.. good enough to work.

The second loco was a 2-10-0 that would run a bit and jam, but ran fine in reverse. I ended up putting in new drivers and side rods, this corrected the issue.  It got slightly out of quarter for some reason (I think the drive rods whacked into some scenery on a friends layout that has some rocks that are too close to the tracks edge).  I still have the old drivers in a box if I ever decide to go back and fix them.  

As far as fixing the 2-8-0, should be a pretty straight forward replacement of the drive wheels.  That having been said the gear box cover/pick up wipers tend to not want to go back to proper location.  I ended up buying a new underframe with wipers for both locomotives.

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Posted by hornblower on Thursday, June 8, 2017 1:27 PM

I'm pretty sure that the new 2-8-0 loco that jammed on me did not hit anything on my layout.  Regardless, I would still expect there to be a more robust method of holding the wheelset quartering so that something like a small bump would not be able to knock the quartering out of adjustment.  Don't the Bachmann drive wheels and axles have splines to positively lock the quartering in place?

Hornblower

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Posted by selector on Thursday, June 8, 2017 4:26 PM

HB, I had a brand new Sunset Brass HO 2-10-4 that developed a stumbling problem, especially backing.  I couldn't figure out why and tried all my usual remedies.  I finally gave it to my go-to buddy who found that one of the screws on a crank had backed out.  The head of the screw was binding slightly with a side-rod.  I was fortunate to have noticed the stumbling before I ended up with a pretzeled rod.  And, same loco, I had to send it back to Sunset because it would make sounds without any locomotion.  Jeff had to replace the entire tether set between the tender and locomotive.

Don't grind down your teeth.  Every one of us has to ship a problem child back to the reformatory for 'correction' once in a while. Confused

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Posted by fwright on Friday, June 9, 2017 3:28 PM

I've never seen splines to lock quartering on models except for a few British models.  On a very few older models, the axle ends have flats, have keys, or are squared off.

With today's Chinese models, the driver centers are usually plastic, not metal, and everything is press fit.  If the tolerances on the centers or axles are just slightly off, you don't get a good press fit. 

Plastic gears are notorious for shrinking ever so slightly as they age, and then splitting as the shaft becomes too big for the gear.  An example of a press fit that goes wrong.

just my experiences

Fred W

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Saturday, June 10, 2017 2:32 PM

Try the BLI 2-8-0's, they look better than bachmann's verson and you might get a better runner.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, June 10, 2017 4:04 PM

ATSFGuy

Try the BLI 2-8-0's, they look better than bachmann's verson and you might get a better runner.

 

That is completely subjective, while both are 2-8-0's, they are models of different locos, so they look different.

I have had more problems with BLI locos than with Bachmann locos....and I only have 7 BLI locos and 35 Bachmann locos.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, June 11, 2017 1:05 PM

THE BLI 2-8-0's look a lot more detailed than Bachmann's version.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, June 11, 2017 1:21 PM

ATSFGuy

THE BLI 2-8-0's look more detailed than Bachmann's version.

 

You are welcome to your opinion, but again just because that have the same wheel arrangement does not mean that the prototype locos would have had the same piping, appliances, visual features, etc.

Actually, if you are talking about the PRR H10 version, sure it may appear more detailed. PRR locos had lots of "stuff".

The non PRR 2-8-0 from BLI is a "generic" boiler on the H10 drive. It is a nice model. But its detail level is about the same as the Bachmann, and again not all 2-8-0's are the same. The non PRR model from BLI does not represent the same prototype and the Bachmann model.

Again, they are not models of the same loco, they will not have the same details, it is apples and oranges...

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, June 11, 2017 2:20 PM

I'll have to look at the BLI 2-8-0's more closely to see the difference between each one.

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Posted by NYBW-John on Sunday, June 11, 2017 5:41 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
ATSFGuy

Try the BLI 2-8-0's, they look better than bachmann's verson and you might get a better runner.

 

 

 

That is completely subjective, while both are 2-8-0's, they are models of different locos, so they look different.

I have had more problems with BLI locos than with Bachmann locos....and I only have 7 BLI locos and 35 Bachmann locos.....

Sheldon

 

With more moving parts, model steamers are going to be more vulnerable to malfunctions than diesels. That is true regardless of who the manufacturer is. I have two Spectrum Consolodations, one with sound and one without and they have been among my most reliable runners. Not so with my Bachmann Niagra which I would put in the junk category. It never did run reliably due to the pilot truck that flopped around like a fish out of water no matter how I tried to adjust it. Most of my BLI steamers have been good runners but I've had two which had problems with the driver rods similar to what was described in the OP. The only difference is those problems developed over time and not right out of the box.

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Posted by FJX2000 on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 6:55 PM

I have had the same experience with my HO scale Bachmann 2-8-0 consolidation! I got it used off eBay which is always risky, but at first it performed pretty smooth. I worked on it to get it looking like the Union Pacific #618 on the Heber Valley Railroad in Utah (since I used to work there and thought if I was going to get a 2-8-0, that's what I'd want it to look like.)

When I got the model it was numbered #616 and had the standard tender so I switched it out for a Spectrum medium Vanderbilt tender to match the prototype. After re-lettering/numbering the model with Microscale decals I got it looking pretty good.

After installing a basic, non-sound decoder in the tender I started running it a bit. But then it started to run pretty clunky and noisy down the track. It was noticable to everyone at my train club. I knew this was a bad sign. Then it did the same thing as the OP where the driver wheels slipped on the axle connecting the wheels and the binding of the side rods brought the engine to a stop. This is now my 3rd Bachmann engine to have this same notorious "axle slippage" occur as I've come to call it. I had a 2-8-4 Berkshire do it as well as a 2-6-6-2. In the past I sent the engines in to Bachmann for re-alignment and have gotten them back only to have the issue return after running the model around the layout a few times, even without pulling a load (though I have noticed that the strain on the engine from a load or from going around corners or both can cause this issue to happen even faster or more seriously.) 

Bachmann didn't have any replacement wheel sets on their parts website unless I pretty much bought the whole model for almost as much money as a new one, so I found ANOTHER 2-8-0 off eBay as a donor parts engine, only to find that it ran pretty clunky too. I decided to bite the bullet and look for a better solution. 

I took the model apart so I had just the wheels and the locomotive frame without the top boiler/motor assembly in the way. I could then adjust the wheels on the axles just by giving them a slight twist with my fingers. Once I got it all quartered in and rolling freely again, and after pushing it around by hand to see if it rolled smoothly on the rails, I purposefully pulled one of the problem wheels off the axle, applied a little super glue, and pressed the wheel back on. It was important to get it re-quartered quickly but I manage to get it done and now the engine runs smoothly and at least on the test track I have that makes a J-shape, it hasn't bound up again on me.

Hopefully this solution lasts a little while, and if it proves to last, then I will continue work on this model by improving the headlight (which is the worst of any model I've ever seen) and get Tsunami 2 steam-2 sound in there! 

What started as a love of Thomas the Tank Engine has grown into this... a passion for all things railroading!

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 8:54 PM

Not related to your issue but I note that older DCC decoders do not work well in DC mode. Somebody installed 9 pin digitrax  decoders in both of my Spectrum connies. Ran awful in DC only mode. Bought and installed blanking plugs (jumpers) and now they run very well. 

Unless the decoder is a modern dual mode decoder I recommend a jumper plug.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 11:59 PM

When the Bachmann Spectrum Consolidation first appeared, I bought two, and later acquired another six, plus a Light USRA Mountain, two 10 Wheelers, and a 2-6-6-2, the latter bought second-hand.

I also owned a Bachmann Reading Consolidation (the version with the pancake motor).  It was, surprisingly, a decent runner, and continued to be so even after a 5' drop to the carpeted floor. It still runs well, but it's not usually even on the layout.
One of my Spectrum Consolidations also took a nose-first dive when I neglected to put a lift-out in place...it was only 3', but to concrete.  I had to repair the drawbar and replace the front Kadee, on which the head broke off.  I called it the lucky 26, as it ran as well as it ever had.  Several years later, it started having problems with erratic running, and disassembly revealed that a plastic boss into which a screw was threaded, essentially holding the superstructure to the chassis, had broken off.  I'm guessing that it may have broken or partially broken, with the initial dive to the floor.  It was a very simple repair, and the loco again runs as well as it ever has.
I've added weight to all of my Consolidations, both in the boiler and cab, and also with replacement air reservoirs made from lead-filled brass tubing, so they're all very respectable pullers.  I shortened the tenders to better-suit their assignments...

Here's the "Lucky 26" in a recent view...

Here's the 4-8-2, and like those on the NYC, it's known as a Mohawk, since my layout is set near a very large Six Nations Reservation...

 
It had some early issues with the valve gear, but I was able to fabricate a new part and a couple of rivets to effect a repair, with no troubles since.

Here's one of the two 10 Wheelers, with its slide valves and steam chests reworked...

With a "new" boiler (Varney casting used for the "Casey Jones" 10 Wheeler and the "Old Lady" Consolidation) and a cab from a Bachmann Spectrum Consolidation, along with a few details, some added weight, and a shortened tender, she's much better suited to my needs...

After a little paint and lettering, the rejuvenated old bags have been turned into a pair of decent haulers...

I bought this one "used", from a now long-defunct hobbyshop.  It ran well on my layout when I got it home, but because I had a lot of projects on-the-go at that time, I put it back in its box....

A couple years later, I had time to work on it, so dug it out and took it for a spin.  It ran well, but about halfway up a grade, it stalled. The rear driver set was still turning, but not the front one.
I immediately figured that a driveshaft must've become uncoupled, but disassembly revealed that all of the gears in the front engine were pretty-well toothless...the former owner must have used non-plastic compatable oil, and while I was busy working on those other projects, it worked on destroying those gears. 

Bachmann had no replacement parts, so I contacted NWSL, and after some back-and-forth, sent the defective engine there, seeking suitable replacement gears.  A year or so later, and no replacements, I asked to have it sent back.
About that time, I learned of Bachmann's replacement programme:  "If we can't repair it, we'll send you a free replacement." 
I contacted Bachmann to make sure that I understood the set-up, then sent the locomotive, along with forty bucks to cover the repair.
A couple of weeks later, I got a message from Bachmann stating that they could not repair the locomotive, and instead, offered me a replacement...an 0-6-0.

Since it was not something I needed, I asked for a return of the locomotive.  A week-or-so later, it arrived, along with my $40.00.

Perhaps a year-or-so later (I've never much kept track of time, and since retiring, even less) Bachmann announced some soon-to-come replacement parts.  While I didn't hold much hope for what they might be, there were several items that Bachmann used to offer, like axle wipers for tender trucks, that I bought on a regular basis - very useful when repairing stuff for friends.
I was surprised to see three-axle engine sets for an articulated locomotive, but it was unclear if they were for my older locomotive or for the more recently released version. 
I immediately contacted Bachmann, and was assured that they would fit my locomotive.  I immediately ordered both  front and rear engines, even though the rear engine on my loco had not had gear issues at all - better safe than sorry was my thought.

Anyway, the parts eventually arrived and were as-advertised, so I set about getting that locomotive into service.

After installing the replacement front engine and testing it, the next step was to shorten the tender...

...then doll it up a bit...

Since I planned to use the loco in helper service, I thought that an auxilliary tender for extra water might be useful, so modified this old Roundhouse tender for that duty...

I added a few details to the locomotive...

Then slapped some paint on her, and she was ready for the rails...

Unfortunately, the all-wheel pick-up on the two tenders creates too much drag, so the old girl's not much use for helper service.
I'll likely modify it or remove some of the wipers, but I'm currently working on the main level of the layout, trying to finish-up a couple of the towns, so there's not much time for running trains.

I must apologise for the length of this post, but I wanted to emphasise that I'm completely satisfied with my Bachmann Spectrum locomotives - nice runners and good pullers, too... (the 2-6-6-2 runs well, and will eventually be a decent puller, too, once I correct my mistakes.)  They're also great models for modifications, too.

Wayne

 

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