Hallmarkimprovements advice please!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Justin, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Justin

    Justin Member

    I'll hopefully one day buy a Hallmark diesel soon. From what the dealer says, they run loudly and erratic! Any ideas how to make it qiueter or better drive? How are they powered?
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Any particular reason why you're buying a brass diesel? Most early ones were notoriously poor runners and many had open-frame motors of dubious quality. Also, the drivetrains were often overly stiff, leading to poor tracking qualities. The noise can usually be attributed to the poorly-made gears, and many used worms and worm gears made from the same material, not the best practice. The brass body shell tends to amplify the noise, too.
    A good quality open frame motor can be tuned to give better performance: this usually involves adding thrust washers to limit motorshaft endplay and adjusting the spring tension on the brushes. Northwest Shortline offers a full range of gears and drive train components to upgrade almost any loco, and can motors too, should one be required.
    Unless the model is of a loco not otherwise available, I would reconsider in favour of a good quality plastic loco. However, if the loco in question runs well, and is what you want, or, runs poorly, but you enjoy the type of work required to bring it up to current standards, by all means, go for it.

    Btw, I wouldn't buy a used loco unless I can see (and hear) it run. This is a good idea for new locos, too. :D

  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Justin,Sorry to say there isn't much you can do to those old KTM drives to quite them down..The ones I owned from the 60s to around 79/80 was smooth(I added grease and oiled around) but,loud runners.Some would add foam to the inside of the shell but,I don't recall how well that help.
    I SUSPECT one could add a can motor and NWSL gears.

  4. Justin

    Justin Member

    I'll probaly have about 7' high on a piece of track on a shelf more than chugging around my train set!!! Probaly get some Athearn trucks or NWSL upgrades of some sort.
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    To mount the Athearn trucks, you'll need to drastically re-work the floor/frame of the brass diesel. A better choice might be to use the entire Athearn chassis, if you can modify it to fit. In addition to the Athearn trucks not being compatible with the brass floor, the driveshaft couplings would need to be modified, due to a mismatch of shaft sizes with the brass model's motor.
    What brass diesel are you planning on buying? While you can make any of the modifications that I've mentioned, and probably a lot more (I've remotored, re-geared, and rebuilt all kinds of brass locos, both steam and diesel, so I'm not just slappin' my gums together, here) :roll: :grin:, but unless you are really interested in doing this work and/or spending the money for the parts, and possibly, the tools to do this work, I'd advise you to think long and hard about it. As I said, unless the brass model is of a unique prototype, chances are that you can get a better looking, better running, and more accurate model by buying plastic, and it'll probably cost you less, too!
    When it comes to brass steamers, this is a completely different subject. Most brass steamers are road-specific, and the better ones are class-specific, meaning that your chances of getting a ready-to-run plastic version are much slimmer. This in turn makes it much more worth your trouble to upgrade such a model.
    I certainly don't wish to discourage you from this pursuit, as this type of work would be a dead art if it weren't for those of us who still practise it. There is a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction in doing this type of upgrade, but you need to be aware of the pitfalls, too.


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