Ok I am about ready to throw in the towel on having a running big boy! My first 2 where Athearn and between the tenders, decoders and one pulling the front trucks olny going left.
I finaly saved up the money for a PCM Big Boy it would be the saver of my Big Boy Quest! Not!!!!!!!
I think there is a two fold problem.
1 There seems to be little down forces on the tender with it being die cast. At first I thought it was because the draw bar was fitting the coupler pole in the tender to tight. Cleaned up the flashing on the draw bar and lubed the pole.
Then I saw this.
Seems the draw bar is resting on the rear engine. Rear engine is the rear drivers. There is what looks like a counter weight shaped like a hammer head under the cab.
That may very well be the problem but while I was playing with it I found a nother.
2. Used a section of flex track at work with 3 of my business under it and the rear axles would pick up as the center axles hit it. Tried removing some of the center wheels but same thing.
Engine is going back to PCM, darw bar is one reason but the head light and number boards don't work as well.
Here is where you are welcome to call me stupid. I don't think the draw bar alone is going to fix all the problem with the tender, there are just to many wheels on the darn thing. Plus I don't have the time to rebulid all my track. My other steam engines love my crappy track but they have 2 trucks front and rear.
When I get it back from PCM/ BLI thinking about removing the wheels after the front truck on the tender and adding a rear truck. My BLI M1a tender is about the same sizes with 2 trucks with 6 wheels per tuck and does great!
Now you can all call me a Dumb ---, with my only PCM engine sitting on a spur I am ready to buy a Y-6b by PCM. It has trucks in the front and rear of the tender so it should fair better, well I think it would? But that is what I thought about the PCM Big Boy.
I wish I keept the first Athearn Big Boy, would only work on DC and only pull 20 cars or so but it ran and tracked well.
Dumb --- Ken posting again
I hate Rust
The reason why the M1a tender's two trucks and 6 axles work is because it is not a rigid long wheel base like those on the UP Centipede tenders.
If you are going to butcher a UP tender and put a truck on the rear, dont. Return the engine or sell it and use the funds to get a Y6b. That Y6b has a tender that will be much like that of the M1a.
My M1a enjoys a spring on it's drawbar that allows generous grade changes at any situation, but the PCM Reading T1 with it's drawbar cannot easily run over some of the more extreme changes that occur across all three axis at once.
Be prepared to return the Y6b if that engine does not work for you and get out of the large engine business all together. Save your money towards an addition or something that will give you room you crave to run these big engines.
Either that or double head two good engines like a 2-8-2 or something with one as a helper and the other the lead. That way you can haul just as much train without the pain for roughly the same cost as a big boy that does not work.
Im not going to get back into the radius question all over again.
Big Boy's are lovely to look at, delightful to hold. BUt if you don't have the track for it, then it's not worth your while.
I would love to have just an HO B&O 2-6-6-2. Maybe someday I will have one. It seems the larger engines, while they may be adjusted to run on 18" don't tolerate them well. They may do it, but not nicely.
The 1:1's were complicated pieces of machinery, and so, too, would be the (accurate style) models.
I have an N scale 2-8-8-2 that I love to watch go around the 11" r turns, and run in general. It does OKon those curves, but doesn't like turnouts, straight or diverge. Then again, neither does my N scale 4-4-0.
Because I have a disability budget, that may be one of the few reasons I don't find myself buying a BB. Another is I have finally learned "bigger is not always better".
The other problems, well blame shody manufacturing. You would think for the price one pays for those things, they would be perfect.
And maybe you just aren't meant to have a BB.
Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.
HO and N Scale.
After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.