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N-scale steam

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  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
N-scale steam
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 12:24 PM
On my model short line railroad, I have a number of smaller n-scale steam loco's. I cannot generally afford brass and so I'm left with Atlas/Bachman/etc. These loco's leave a little to be desired in terms of performance (and detail). The shorter wheel base models do not do well in turnouts. Does anybody has some suggestions for modifications to improve operating performance? I'm fairly handy and could do just about anything short of machining my own parts.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 2:48 PM
1. Make sure all drivers and leading/trailing trucks are in gauge.
2. Make sure everything is lubed properly (not too much, not to little).
3. Make sure side rods, etc, are not adding any more friction than they have to.
4. Make sure locomotive is getting all the electricity it can - clean the pickup wheels, any contacts. This might help them make it through switches. Sometime the tenders also pickup power and the coupler to the engine transmits it. If so, make sure good contact is being made there, too.
5. ADD WEIGHT. N-scaler steamers are notoriously underweight - that's why so many of them have traction tires. If a loco starts to slip it's wheels before it starts to stall it's motor, that's a sign that adding weight would improve its pulling power. Try taping pennies, nickles, whatever to the top of it as an experiment. There's not usually much room inside these little jewels to add weights, though.
If you think doing so would help enough to make it worth the trouble, you might consider using titanium weights - denser than lead. You might check at a golf pro shop for them (don't ask). If you want to get really carried away, use depleted uranium (just kidding)!
Bill
  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 4:49 PM
Most of what Bachmann has put out in the past is poor to hopeless. I have one of their older 2-8-0's, a beautiful Reading I10sa, that only collects current on 4 of its 8 drivers. It should collect current on all 8 drivers and from the tender trucks as well, as does the Kato Mikado. I intend to eventually remotor it and add additional current collection. The Atlas are better in the current collection business but are around 30 years old. They will run very well if remotored and remotoring kits are sold for each specific model. So, you can do two things, 1. increase the number of wheels collecting current, and 2. remotor.

BUT, the new MDC Roundhouse 2-8-0 runs beautifully, as does the just announced rerun of the Kato Mikado, as well as the Con-Cor GN S2 4-8-4 and NYC J3a 4-6-4. These sell for over $100., but not at brass prices. Bachmann has a new 2-8-0 that is supposed to be a vast improvement. It has reached our shores but is not in shops yet, so the jury is still out.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt

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