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How bad are the old Rivarossi 4-4-0s ?

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  • Member since
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How bad are the old Rivarossi 4-4-0s ?
Posted by NevinW on Friday, February 23, 2007 7:27 AM
I am planning on modeling the Virginia & Truckee.  Finding Rivarossi and Poacher V&T 4-4-0s in realistic paint schemes is easy and they are a dime a dozen.  I know there are slightly oversized.  I can only conclude that they run poorly.  Can anyone give me information about these engines?  How oversized are they?  Is there any way to get them to run acceptably?  Is is possible to put DCC in them?  My suspicion is that I will need to stick to old brass but I thought I would ask. -  Nevin
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Posted by Railphotog on Friday, February 23, 2007 7:34 AM

I had one of these models, can't recall if it was a Rivarossi or not.  It had a tender drive - the motor was in the tender, with a driveshaft running into the engine.   There wasn't any room in the engine for a decoder, but I don't know if there would be in the tender.  I doubt it, as it is pretty small.  It ran OK - at a fast speed too!  I never really used it much, passed it along to a friend whose grandson got an interest in modeling.   Remember this is real old technology, and may not translate into what we now accept as being "state of the art" stuff!

 

 

Bob Boudreau

CANADA

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Posted by hminky on Friday, February 23, 2007 8:14 AM

If you add electrical wipers on the tender wheels and remotor the older Rivaorossi/Pocher locos they run really well. The newer IHC engines don't need to be remotored. I have a webpage about the tender wipers at:

http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/1879/locomotives/wipers/

They were built to OO scale and are a good match for the prototype in that scale.

Thank you if you visit

Harold

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Posted by cacole on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:34 AM

The main problem with the older Rivarossi and Pocher 4-4-0 models is their deep, European wheel flanges, which won't go through an Atlas turnout without stalling on the frog.

As others have mentioned, the motor is in the tender, and there is an unsightly drive shaft going between there and the engine because the boiler is too small for a motor to fit into.

I doubt that you would find room in the tender for a DCC decoder.

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Posted by emdgp92 on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:36 AM
I think Bachmann once made a 4-4-0 with a tender drive. I have one--it runs, but is by no means a smooth runner. As a result, it doesn't see much running time, and is usually "on display" along with a dead Model Power 0-4-0 near the station.
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Posted by TwinZephyr on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:41 AM

I know from experience the Rivarossi/AHM and IHC old timer 4-4-0s will run very well with a high quality motor such as a Sagami.  While the smaller can-like motor used in the later production models may be better than the original three pole motor in a metal can, neither one is all that great.  My Sagami powered Inyo is very smooth and quiet with excellent throttle response - and this is without Harold's tender truck enhancement.

A small DCC decoder will fit in the tender.  Of course you will need to solder your own connections.

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Posted by hminky on Friday, February 23, 2007 9:48 AM

 emdgp92 wrote:
I think Bachmann once made a 4-4-0 with a tender drive. I have one--it runs, but is by no means a smooth runner. As a result, it doesn't see much running time, and is usually "on display" along with a dead Model Power 0-4-0 near the station.

The newer  Bachmann Old Tyme 4-4-0 Jupiter's and 119's with the tender drive can be upgraded with wipers and run very good. They have a five pole skew wound motor. Both the Rivarossi and the Bachmann are easily converted to DCC, I use the Digitrax DZ123, it is a simple wire up. I have a webpage about wipers on the Bachmann Jupiter at:

 http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/bachmann_4-4-0/wipers/

I abandoned the "HO in the 1870's" project because the inability to put sound in small locomotives with the discontinuance of the Sountraxx DSD-090LC sound decoders.

Just a thought

Harold

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Friday, February 23, 2007 5:00 PM
I worked on one of the oldest Rivarossi 4-4-0s not long ago, and it wasn't really a bad engine. The only real problems were the oversized flanges, and the lack of much weight at all (tiny piece of lead near the cab was it). Other than that, it was a nicely detailed, smooth running engine.Big Smile [:D]

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by SteamFreak on Friday, February 23, 2007 6:11 PM

The advantage of the tender drive is the remotoring flexibility, because you can drop in just about any small can motor, as others have said. I used a small Mabuchi in my Rossi 2-4-0, and it runs beautifully. As far as the drive shaft is concerned, there are all sorts of compromises in model railroading -- personally, it doesn't bother me that much. I think the biggest issue is the large flanges, if someone is using code 80 or lower.

I have the IHC Reno, and it runs great out of the box, in spite of the inexpensive can motor. They're nice engines.

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Posted by msowsun on Friday, February 23, 2007 8:27 PM

My Rivarossi 4-4-0 is about 25 years old and still runs very nicely.  I added some lead weight to the cab area and shortened the tender and driveshaft connection. The headlight and fuel bunker also recieved some changes.

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Posted by CP5415 on Friday, February 23, 2007 8:38 PM

I have one, it was my Dad's, from the mid 60's

It runs great considering it's age. It has had no problems running or hauling the passenger cars I have of the same vintage even up the 3.5% grades i have.

I seriously doubt you can put DCC in it due to it's size.

Gordon

 

 

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Posted by richg1998 on Friday, February 23, 2007 10:06 PM

 A couple of years ago I put Lenz decoders in a Mantua General, Bachmann 4-4-0 and a IHC 4-4-0. The first two have smaller can motors. I recently used Harolds ideas for tender truck pickups and fine tuning the Bachmann to run much better. The IHC engine has a front coupler and I can bring it up behind a freight on a grade, couple on the move. At the top of the grade I stop and uncouple manually.

I would post a photo of the tender decoders but I do not know how to post photos. I have the photo in my computer. I do not have a URL for the photo.

 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 IRONROOSTER on Saturday, February 24, 2007 6:11 AM

I have one of these that I bought in Germany in the early 70's.  I haven't run it in years, but at the time it ran pretty well.  It does have deep flanges so you'll probably need code 100 track.

Enjoy

Paul 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by Curmudgeon on Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:45 AM

How old is old?

I am working on a couple of old Rivarrossi units now (the Mantuas, Tower-drive Athearns, English, PennLine, and MDC are running fine).

This one I bought new in 65-66.

It's a 2-8-0, tender drive.

We got the driveshaft kit for it in the 70's. It was a good runner.

Been stored at my brother's place until last week.

It's toast.

The tender floor is ZAMAC, the lower part of the gear reduction is (or was) cast as part of the floor.

The floor swelled so bad, the back sticks out 3/16" past the shell, and the end steps are sticking straight out.

I went through the locomotive, it's fine, but to get a motor and gearbox mounted in the tender on a new floor is not a possibility.

I'm pretty good at fabricating, but getting a big gearbox with the round bearing mounts built, and retaining proper gear mesh, is far more effort than this is worth.

I may put a new gearset on the #2 axle instead of the #3, and a can in the cab, but I lose weight doing so.

I've talked to others, and this seems to be an issue with older Rivarossi engines, especially tender drive ones.

 

TOC

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Posted by SteamFreak on Monday, February 26, 2007 4:22 AM
 Curmudgeon wrote:

How old is old?

I am working on a couple of old Rivarrossi units now (the Mantuas, Tower-drive Athearns, English, PennLine, and MDC are running fine).

This one I bought new in 65-66.

It's a 2-8-0, tender drive.

We got the driveshaft kit for it in the 70's. It was a good runner.

Been stored at my brother's place until last week.

It's toast.

The tender floor is ZAMAC, the lower part of the gear reduction is (or was) cast as part of the floor.

The floor swelled so bad, the back sticks out 3/16" past the shell, and the end steps are sticking straight out.

I went through the locomotive, it's fine, but to get a motor and gearbox mounted in the tender on a new floor is not a possibility.

I'm pretty good at fabricating, but getting a big gearbox with the round bearing mounts built, and retaining proper gear mesh, is far more effort than this is worth.

I may put a new gearset on the #2 axle instead of the #3, and a can in the cab, but I lose weight doing so.

I've talked to others, and this seems to be an issue with older Rivarossi engines, especially tender drive ones.

 

TOC

Curmudgeon,

I've seen so many of those tender drive 0-8-0's and 2-8-0's (and a few 4-4-2's) for sale on eBay with the tender floors disintegrating, and even have a few of the motors that came with the crumbling upper half of the gearbox still attached. I've seen one or two examples with the floors intact, and one seller had a number of the floor castings in with a few lots of parts he was selling that went for quite a bit of money. I don't know if they were repros or not, but the zamac looked brand new.

Couldn't you build a new tender floor out of brass or even styrene, then mount a can motor to the floor? Does it need the extra reduction of the transmission in the tender?

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