Got a problem, can you help

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gil Finn, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I am not an HO guy but several years ago I bought a Roundhouse Shay and ran it in a circlke a feqw time and put it a way. before I did that one of the out side drive shafts broke. It still ran OK but was very loud.

    Now I set it up again and it is still loud as the dickend like a truck is of the tail on an O gauge car.

    Proplem is it has not power and stalls where ever the is a high place in the track. It is on the carpet.

    Also it sound like an old car with bad carburations.

    Pardon me please if I am hard to understand, I have be ill....

    How is this thing suppose to run and sound, would oil help it?

    Seem like at the time I paid $80 for it and expect better service out of it for that money.

    I have had flea market life like engines that preformed better.


  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I understand that Roundhouse shays were not good runnners out of the box. One problem, don't ever run a locomotive on tracks laid directly on carpet. That is just asking to gum up the works. I understand that Ropundhouse shays can be made to run good. I'll let someone else with more experience with them chime in here.
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    They were not good runners out of the box but NorthWest Short Line dutifully put out a regearing setup fo those of us who own(ed) them. It's been 25 years since I had one so I can't be of much help past this. prod list/pdf prod08.htm
  4. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    The NWSL upgrade kits will make a big difference. Replacing the electrical pickups with lower tension wipers to reduce friction helps as well as getting the inner and outer drive trains in time.
    It takes a bit of fussing with, but they can be made to run nicely.
    I went overboard on mine, remotoring it and building a new gearbox. (see the thread in the academy)
  5. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Have you any suggestions on who to have work on one?
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Seriously, the best one to work on your Shay is you. You can't really make the situation much worse than it already is, you will learn a lot in taking it apart and modifying the locomotive, and you will have a special pride when you have made it run better yourself. There is a book by Hank Johnstone called somethiing like "The Roundhouse Shay Handbook" which describes in good detail how to assemble the kit version of the Shay, how to remotor and/or regear one, and sources and suggestions for detailing and painting. The book is out of print, but is frequently available used.

    As the others have said, this locomotive generally did not run well out of the box. Even the factory assembled versions, unless they had modifications made, were subject to locking up from the line shaft gearing getting out of "time" with the drive shaft gearing. The usual solution was to remove the line shaft gear mesh on one truck (two trucks if a three truck model) leaving just one line shaft gear set to drive the Shay engine and universals on the side. Another solution was to modify one set of universals to allow slippage between the 2 shafts going into the universal.

    Other frequently encountered problems include plastic gear slippage/cracking (similar to older P2K locomotives) and electrical wiper tension too high. The gear slipping/cracking is fixed with the NWSL regear kit, and as Ray mentioned replacing the wipers helps the total friction load. I believe the RTR models all had fairly decent can motors to begin with so remotoring is probably unnecessary unless the motor has been damaged (cooked).

    The Roundhouse Shay, even with its problems, filled a needed void in the hobby. It can be built into a nice Shay, at a fraction of the cost of used brass (starting at $300). Until the recently produced Bachmann Shay (even that has a street price of around $150), the only other under $100 Shay was to use a NWSL motorizing kit and a Keystone unpowered Shay kit - quite a bit more difficult than the Roundhouse.

    Finding somebody who has both the skills and the time to alter your Shay at a cost you want to pay is going to be hit-or-miss. Most who enjoy reworking locomotives (and do it well) do it as a hobby, and often have enough projects of their own to fill their hobby hours. There are a few pros, but I'm not sure a Roundhouse Shay would be worth their time and cost. Again, I suggest trying it yourself. You can do it! Take some pics as you go.

    yours in having fun
  7. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Fred thank you taking the time to write in such detail.

    I think i will use it as a static display.

    I am planning a two track shelf layout and I though this little engine would be nice to have along with my K Line Shay.

    I am using Lionel Fast track and I have some Atlas True-Track so it wound all look pretty nice.

    I may look for an other steemer maybe a 4 8 0 in C & O livery and proceed on.
    I enjoy HO and it fits my budget being a disabled vet.

    Thank you all for you help.
  8. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Got this email...Subj: Round house shay
    Date: 29 March 2006
    From: (F R Martin-Northwest Short Line)
    To: (Steve Frame)

    Thank you for your inquiry: "Do you replace the gears, ect on these or just sell parts for them.
    Can you recommend someone to work on a roundhouse shay "

    Information from the
    NorthWest Short Line model maintenance shared information databank

    MDC HO geared locomotives


    HINT: Cut or file line shaft gear to half thickness and align with outside edge of wheel (crown) gear teeth. 9-22-86 Ric Hargraves Monticello AR.

    HINT: Engage only one lineshaft gear per truck to avoid gears fighting each other due to misalignment (mis-timing).

    HINT: Motor replacement is usually not necessary. The kit motor is a fine running SAGAMI open frame (10130-9) motor. However, if motor replacement is desired, the 1630 size is appropriate (16302-9 single shaft / 16303-9 double shaft). 482-6 Universal Coupling kit can be used to connect.

    KIT: 186-6 (2 truck)/187-6 (3 truck) Replacement axle gears (delrin) and top two gears (brass) of transfer gearbox (between motor and trucks). Gears are machined for precision and provide substantial improvement in operation for most MDC Shay models. Operating noise is reduced but (due to spur gear design of mechanism) is not fully eliminated. Operating problems can be further reduced with installation of 188-6 and modification work with lineshaft system see hints).
    KIT: 188-6 Kit of precision components required for article in August
    1985 MODEL RAILROADER, eliminating precision machining/modification described in the article. Does not include the 4-40 screws listed in the article, does include bullgear (bottom transfer box gear) and universals set pre-fit to eliminate requirement for bushing.

    3-7-97 "Unbelievable how much better the MDC Shays run after installing
    the #186-6 and #188-6 gears..." JH 970307 41101

    Also very helpful in completing these Shay models: The MDC Shay Handbook, Jeff Johnson, OSO PUBLISHING, (out of print - can often be found on ebay).

    page 4-16a:

    See footer below for ordering information.

    #186-6 $19.95 2 truck Shay
    #187-6 $24.95 3 truck Shay
    #188-6 $12.95
  9. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    As for your problem with the shay, I'd have to agree with the guy who suggested not running it on a carpet. The oil in the gears tends to pick up all the fluff on the carpet which screws up the drive.
  10. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    It is true track. I was testing it anyway.

    I am not biulding a layout to test it. Besides lent or no, it wont hurt it as to many parts are flying off for it to run.
  11. isboris4449

    isboris4449 Member

  12. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Those yahoo forums are to labor intensive to get on to for me. I tried to join one the otherday and still havent heard back but thanks for the suggestion.

    I call Athaerns and they volunteered to try and repair it the other day.
  13. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    You won't find a plastic 4-8-0 in HO.
  14. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Actually there was a 4-8-0 made by Tyco at one time (I have the kit version). I believe the cab and maybe some other parts are likely the same "oversize for HO" used on the Tyco 1890s 4-6-0. In any case, it is supposed to look like an 1890s locomotive, which is the general era when this wheel arrangement was experimented with. The 4-8-0 was never popular, most likely because the narrow firebox could not produce enough steam to haul much of a load at the speeds the locomotive was intended to go. The 2-8-0, on the other hand, had just enough steam capacity to haul good loads at drag speed - often 25 MPH - and so became a work horse freight locomotive.

    yours in steaming
  15. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I did find a 0 8 0 Rivarossi and a Bachman 4 8 4 Niagra.

    I sent the shay to Aethern for repair.
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    That Rivarossi will serve you well. The Niagra, on the other hand, if it is one of their earlier releases, may prove a little frustrating to own. They look great but their mechanisms were poorly engineered, using plastic split axles that easily went out of quarter and using the same tiny pancake motor as the Brill trolley they put out. They sure do look pretty settng still though, I have their Northern that I keep for nostalgic reasons. They both were great looking first efforts for a train company that wanted to branch out from toys into the scale market.
  17. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Duplicate post, happens every time I post.
  18. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    The Nigagra gives me fits to get on the track.

    The Rivarossi is well made but wore out and has a lose and cock eye wheel and some problems with the connection between the tender and engine.

    I cant repair it and may send it off to a competent shop in Ohio or sell it for parts.

    I can fix the connection problem with a piece of wire soldered in the right place and why I could change out the axle and wheels I dont want to get into the rods and valve gear rods.

    I am sending my raoundhouse shay to Athaern as the said they would look at it.

    I need now a good transformer. My cheap starter set on gave up the ghost.

    I am O ga modeler and I am adding HO line to my shelf layout soon and a G set to the back yard.

    I have two Bachman sets and a lot of Aristo track. I plan to up grade the engines and make log cars out of the cheaper cars that came with the sets. I will remove the bodies and make floors of wood and use chain from the fire place mechanism to hold on logs....similar to the cars I make to pull be hind my shays.

    Thanks for your input.

    Bread and circuses, well said. I think this war is both.

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