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Need added weight in tender

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  • Member since
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  • From: Columbia, IL
  • 314 posts
Need added weight in tender
Posted by wdcrvr on Monday, June 17, 2019 6:34 PM

I have a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0.  Had a lot of trouble with trying to keep it on the rails.  Noticed that when the loco is sitting on a straight flat stretch of track the front wheels on the tender are elevated off the track.  So I tried setting a few heavy chrome nuts on top of the front end of the tender and this made a vast improvement in tracking.  So I would like to add some weight inside the tender since I have not seen any prototype tenders with large nuts sitting on top.  Having a lack of experience I am wondering if anyone out there can give me any tips on getting into the tender,  where to place the weight, what weight is appropriate for the tender,  what options are there for materials to use as weight and any other info that might be helpful before I start taking the tender apart.



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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 17, 2019 6:58 PM

I have a Spectrum 2-8-0 and never had this problem.


I would remove the truck and try to flatten the mounting pad with a flat file, or fix whatever is wrong with the trucks.





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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 17, 2019 7:04 PM

I have a Spectrum 2-8-0 and never had this problem.

Don't have a 2-8-0 but I've never seen this problem in the tender I owned.  It's a geometry problem, not a weight problem. 


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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, June 17, 2019 7:22 PM

I agree with the comments above.  The problem is most likely the truck, warped or out of shape.  Fix the truck, adding weight might make things worse.
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, June 17, 2019 7:46 PM

Check the vertical free-play of the drawbar, too.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, June 17, 2019 8:04 PM

Hello All,

Let me begin by saying I'm not a big HO steam fan.

That being said I do have a few on my pike.

My thoughts are why are the front trucks of the tender above the rails?

How is the tender attached to the loco?

If the connection is through a "draw-bar" this might be the root of the problem.

The "J-bar" is a solid link between the loco and the tender, unlike couplers, these connections can not be separated without tools.

A metal "draw-bar" can bend, plastic ones can warp or the ends disfigured and hardware can strip over time.

I would begin by removing the connection between the loco and the tender.

Put them on a level piece of track and look for any height differences between the two. Is one noticeably higher or lower than the other?

When removing the "draw-bar" did you notice any binding of the mounting screws?

"J-bar"s can be easily made from thick styrene strips.

Measure the thickness and width of the old "draw-bar" and find an equivalent in strip stock.

If there is a difference in height between the two you can use shims to correct any differences.

Hope this helps


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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, June 17, 2019 8:17 PM

I have belonged to the Bachmann forums for some years. Many times how you adjust the wires. There are a couple plastic sleeves around the wire bundles. Makes the bundle ridgid. Remove the sleeve. I have. Do not cut the wires.

Coild be trucks or drawbar. Fine tune evrything. Generaly no extra weight is needed.

My 4-4-0, 4-6-0's run just fine with no added weight. Coupler bars and wires are fine tuned


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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, June 17, 2019 8:24 PM

The tender and loco are connected with a draw bar.  The draw bar is connected to the loco, and there is a hole in the end, that a pin, under the front of the tender slips into, along with the mini plug wire connections.

No tools needed to seperate.

I have this loco, one of two locomotives I have that has factory DCC and sound.  I love it, it runs great.

My guess is the draw bar is bent, and/or the tender truck is warped or out of place.


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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, June 17, 2019 11:11 PM

I have a number of those Bachmann Consolidations, and have added weight to both the locos and their tenders....

To get into the tender, unplug the wires between loco and tender and lift the front of the tender to disengage the pin from the drawbar. 
On the underside of the tender, there's one screw, just behind the rear axle of the front truck.  After removing it, carefully lift the front of the tender body from the floor, then carefully manipulate it to disengage the two lugs attached to the bottom of the rear wall of the tender's cistern - they protrude through the tender's floor, and can be fairly easily broken-off if you're not careful.

I've shortened the tenders of the five locos I have in-service, while the other three will be left at their original length, since all will represent specific prototypes.
I add weight to the tenders for better electrical pick-up, and add weight to the locomotives to increase their pulling abilities.  I also model open coal bunkers on all of my steamers, and use loose "coal" loads, which account for a little more weight, too.

Since all of my locomotives are DC, I remove the circuit board from the tenders (affording more space for additional weight) and replace the stock plugs with with mini plugs, like these, shown on an Athearn Mikado...

Here's an Athearn tender with added custom-cast lead weights...

...loaded with "coal", it weighs about 7oz.




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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 8:33 AM

The wires Bachmann uses to connect the tender to the engine electrically tend to be very stiff, and can cause the front of the tender to lift up - particularly if you're using the close-spacing hole in the drawbar. Sometimes just moving it to the longer-spacing hole solves the problem.

Also, most Bachmann engines have a cab deck apron that folds down to lay on the 'lip' on the front of the tender. It's pretty easy to put the engine on the track with the apron stuck below the lip on the tender, causing the tender to rise up in front. It usually works best to put the deck all the way up, put the engine and tender on the track, and then reach in with a screwdriver or pencil etc. and lower the apron down.

If you do need to add weight, note that the simulated coal load is a removeable piece, and there's room underneath it to add weight like BBs or a few of the square 'peel and stick' lead weights.

  • Member since
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Posted by selector on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:53 PM


Check the vertical free-play of the drawbar, too.

Cheers, Ed


This.  Front of tender doesn't touch the rails?  Look to the drawbar assembly first, then to the mounting or structure of the tender's leading truck.

Look also at the lie of the tether wires if they are present.  They twist, kink, wrap around each other, get in the way of movement, hang up somewhere, etc.

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Posted by leewal on Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:21 AM

Check the drawbar. The connection may be lifting the front tender trucks off the rails. I had a similar problem when I repaired a loco and reassembled it with the drawbar up-side-down.

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Posted by wdcrvr on Saturday, June 22, 2019 10:48 AM

Thanks for all the inputs from everyone.  I decided to try removing the plastic sleeves from around the wire bundles. The tender now sits down squarely on the rails without any added weight.  It has been running fine.



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