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Trouble with steamers

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  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 36 posts
Trouble with steamers
Posted by falk55 on Thursday, March 14, 2002 5:39 PM
The problem I am having with my steamers is driving me buggy.First of all ,the steamers run fine on other peoples layouts.Other peoples steamers run fine on my layout.On my layout all they do is run herky jerky,and the amp and volt meters jump around.The track is clean and has feeders in several spots.I hand painted the track recently,but as mentioned before,other peoples steamers run fine on my layout.I also have several diesels and all of them run fine-no problem.The meters stay put.Another point is the steamers used to run "pretty good" on my layout.Any suggestions would certainly be welcome.
  • Member since
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  • From: Niue
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Posted by thirdrail1 on Thursday, March 14, 2002 7:14 PM
You don't say what scale you are in, but in N or HO scale there is a WIDE difference in the quality of steam locomotives. Maybe the "other people's steamers" are of better quality with more pickup wheels. There is also a wide variation in size of steam locomotives. Are you sure your curves aren't too sharp for the locomotives you are using? Most steam locomotives need a larger radius curve than a Diesel. If they worked "better" before you painted the track, that has to be a good part of your problem.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 15, 2002 6:24 AM
Gilbert, what manufacture steam locos are you running/scale??
  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by falk55 on Friday, March 15, 2002 3:35 PM
charles:
Thanks for your reply.
The scale I'm modeling is HO.The steamer that is the newest ia a Mantua 4-6-2 Light Pacific,4 years old.I have two separate layouts at the present time,and the above steamer does not run even remotely well on either one.One thing I have noticed on the pickup wheels,at the radius by the flange is a darkened band which may be from sparking,although I dont't see any.This has been cleaned up and no change in operation was noticed.It runs as though it is starving for power.Other steamers are--2-8-2 Mike,about 35 years old that was a kit made by tyco.It was running pretty good for a while.This was before I painted the track.Another steamer is American Flyer 4-6-4 Hudson.These last two had not been run in about 35 years.They were lubed before use.
I know I need a new moter in the Hudson,but that's another problem.Again,the puzzle is why does the Mantua run on someone else's track just fine and not mine?Right now I am mainly interested in getting the 4-6-2 running.
Gil
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  • From: US
  • 36 posts
Posted by falk55 on Friday, March 15, 2002 3:43 PM
Forgot to mention this.
another post raised the question of radii.The smallest is 18" but for a very short distance.The steamers in question don't even run on straight track.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 15, 2002 7:18 PM
Gilbert, I too have a 4-6-2 Mantua light Pacific,
but it appears that the problem is in the track.
Why not take the engine off the track, turn it over wheels facing upward and run jumper wires(aligator clips)from the track to the power wheel pick ups and throttle up.

I would do this frequently as one of my methods in cleaning the drive wheels.

If the wheels turn, it's not the engine.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 16, 2002 7:29 PM
Gilbert, her's something worth looking at cause it happened to my. When I painted my track, somme locos ran fine, others were rough. I ended up cleaning the inside edge of the rails on both inside and out side rails and my problem was solved. One would think that if they kept the tops clean that would be enough, but I have to keep the inside edges clean too. try it and let me know if it worked. Paint there might just be to thick and interfering with that particular engine.......Jamie
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 16, 2002 8:34 PM
I have to ask a question here, why would you paint the rails on your track?, I knock myself out trying to keep them clean, free of dirt, dust and the black stuff that appears after you run your trains. I've never seen painted rails on a real railroad.
Beeline
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 17, 2002 3:32 AM
You've never seen rails on a real railraod that are shiny all over either. Except where the wheels touch the rails, i.e. the top and on the inside, the rails are a dark color. So, since "rails are scenery, too", painting them makes them look more realistic.

Another goood reason is that it helps disguise the fact that most commonly used model rails are grossly oversized.

BillK
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 17, 2002 3:48 AM
Gilbert, James has a good idea. Every 4 months or so, I also clean the inside of my rails. If indeed your engine does run like I suggested off track,then the only thing left is the paint thats on the inside.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 17, 2002 5:11 PM
Well I am 68 years old and when i was a youngster of 8 or 9 I lived near a freight staging yard we use to hop a freighter for several miles down the track and another one back to the yard and all tops of the rail were shiney and so was the inside of the rail where the flange touched. If you want to prototype use a magic marker to stain the out side of the rail and the lower part of the inside rail but paint?, It's one thing to try to make your layout look great it's another to invite trouble which is what he has. Besides if you ballast correctly you don't see much of the lower rail to worry about, and if somebody said to me your lower rails are shiney I'd escort them out by the back of their neck, and goodby see you at the end of the line.
Beeline
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 17, 2002 9:18 PM
Jamie's idea sounds like it could well fix it. The band of black makes me wonder, though. I would make absolutley sure any dirt and/or oxidation/corrosion is off your wheels.
One explanation (guess?) for other locos working well on your track is the new locos have electrical pickup on all wheels. Makes them much less sensitive to bad spots, they have at least ONE wheel getting pickup, even if a few others are not. Yours run well at another layout that does NOT have painted rails, or one that has the inside of the rail clean, at any rate.
One off-the-wall idea... yours is not code 83 or code 70 track, is it? The Mantua and other older locos will not have RP25 flanges, I had a (borrowed) Rivarossi that the flanges were almost too deep for a code 100 turnout! Ok, there was a lot of gunk in the frog, and once that was clean, everything was fine. But, I wouldn't put that on a code 70 track, and have my suspicions about code 83. My newer Spectrum equipment should be fine on those, but my freight cars? I just don't know, but no matter, I don't have any code 70.
Dean
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 18, 2002 11:52 PM
And your layout would be the one with the fake-looking track and the "Constructive Comments Will Not Be Tolerated" sign?

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