HOn3 locomotive shops

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Model Railroading' started by Bill Nelson, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML  c-16 locodoc kit.jpg c-16 locodoc remotor kit

    I got my Locodoc remotoring kits yesterday. In the photo, you can see how much smaller the motor is than the humongous stock motor. Next to the motor is the plastic backhead detail that goes on the end of the motor.

    this motor comes with a bracket and a gear on it, so the heavy lifting is done for you. the motor is a Faulbauer (sp?) motor, and is supposed to give the model a 12 volt top speed of a scale 33 mph.

    This is going to be fun, the converted locomotive I saw ran wonderfully, this locomotive should run as well as it looks when I'm done

    .Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML lcdc mtr.jpg SML MTR comp.jpg SML scrws loctd.jpg I have been working tonight on the C-16, Even though Locodoc did the heavy lifting of findig a worm gear that would fit the shaft od a motor that will fit the space, installing it and a cradle for the motor, this got tricky in a place or two. it was very hard to get it together without shorting the motor cradle against the insulated lead from the tender.

    There is also a very weird migrating bind in the mechanism. Most steam locomotive mechanism binds reocur at predictable spots, due to something not right in the quartering, the rods , the crossheads, or the valve gear. this bind can disappear for ten to twenty axle rotations, and will show up with the wheels in different places each time. It almost makes me wonder if the axle gear is slightly eliptical, and the idler gear is slightly off center, and both gears have to have their high spots line up to have a problem. I have minimized the problem by loosening up the cover plate and the motor mount screw. This may be something I have to run the **** out of in order to get it smoothed out.

    It was my original plan to go ahead and work on extra electrical pick up, but I spent so much time working around that short and playing with the bind, that I wanted it get it together.

    this bind might not be noticeable if the motor wasn't so good. it will start @ 8% throttle from a Bachman train set throttle.

    Note in the picture of the locomotive body, the mounting screws are screwed back into their respective holes. this is a good habit, when working on locomotives, as it makes it harder to loose screws, or forget which one goes where.

    I'ts back together and running, in the next couple days, I'll try to do the locodoc kit for the FED 4-4-0 I need to work on the FED 2-6-0 as well something about it's front coupler interferes with the pilot wheels, and takes weight off the drivers, knocking the pulling power down the toilet, so I have to do something about that too. I may have to remove the KD coupler, and install a dummy, but I really want that working coupler up there so I'll try other things first.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Testing multiheading. With the C-16 running, with it's new motor it was time to test hultiheading operations. this side by side testing brought up some surprising results. as maligned as these hulking beasts are, my MDC 2-8-0 runs slower and smoother than any of the other rod locomotives, It is a late produced kit with nickel silver drivers, and apparently improved gears and motor, as it is bone stock. The first one I built I replaced gears and the motor, and it did not run this well. The MDC, bought new, (Horizon, the **** *** ******, that purchased MDC) discontinued all kits and all narrow gauge locomotives and parts, cost jist over 1/3 as much as the cheapest locomotive (+installed upgrades ) shown here, and less than 1/5 of the more expensive locomotives (the PFM Shay and the Westside C-15.

    admittedly the MDC is ****-Ugly, requirers a tinkerers skill to build for good performance, but if they were still available I'd buy 2 or 3 more for the club.

    The Shay ran well with all the other locomotives , I need to add more electrical pick ups to it, as it is still bone stock. Back in the 60's or 70's when it was imported, the PFM/United Shays were the most reliable HOn3 locomotives out of the box . The C-16 was faster than the 2-6-0, but only slightly, and they both adhered to the rails well so the pushing/sliding was about even,, and the visual effect was good. that's why the shay did well with everything, as you can't judge how fast it is trying to go by it's moving parts.

    The next project is putting the remotoring kit in the 4-4-0. Then it and the 2-6-0 should be the best double heading combination, as their wheels, gears, and motor will be identical, with just enough difference in the looks of the locomotive to make it interesting. I think I have fixed the drag on the 2-6-0 caused by the front coupler draft dear interference with the pilot truck, the wheel in the pilot truck was also a little tight, and I have resolved SML  beginning  the  4-4-0 conversion.jpg SML testing  mult H cap.jpg that. I did find a broken wire between the tender and locomotive, that reduces electrical pick up, so I will need to attend to that also

    I have train club tonight @ 7:00, as well as needing to be at work @ 12:00, so it is time for me to take another nap.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  4. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    @ the club.

    I went to the club briefly tonight. I took my 16 inch radius test track, and the little GE, and the MDC 2-8-0 are ok with it, so 16 inch radius will be ok for either my return loop or for a mini layout.

    The c-16 ran wonderfully with a train behind it. that small bind I had been studying doesn't show up at all when it has a load. I could even pull a 7 car train up the too steep part of the grade up to where a visible kink stops it, so I have to go in there and fix that kink.

    the FEd's pilot truck and front coupler are ok, and that little critter was able to pull that same train up the hill, and it wasn't slowed down by the kink. both locomotives were slipping pretty good though.

    Bill Nelson
  5. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

    Hey Bill,

    This is a very interesting thread and I am learning a lot about narrow guage. Things are just a tad better in Haiti right now and I might be able to get a little R&R with modeling choo choos again.

    I really enjoyed your well written philosophy of Model RR'ing a few posts back. Also you are getting some class photos done with your new camera.

    Keep up the good work. It is all very interesting and inspiring!!!

    Doc Tom:thumb:
  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom.

    I am currently hacking on the 4-4-0, and hope to have it in working function by the weekend. Then I can perhaps get back to working on the fleet of cars and cleaning off the work bench.

    I'm adapting to my nighttime schedule, which may be forcing me to work on projects on the weekend nights, as I try to stay awake, when I never resisted napping in the day on weekends before. I'm toying with plans for a small portable HOn3 layout, or a return loop for the mountain. I'm leaning toward the mountain @ this tome.

    Bill Nelson
  7. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML undrfrme wrk.jpg SML height  gauge.jpg SML undrfrme wrk.jpg have done a little work on my rail line boxcars. in the top photo you can see me using the height gauge end of the KD Hon3 coupler height gauge to test the floor level of the car. the car is still slightly high, and I need to file some more off of the bolster.

    In the other photo you can see where I have cut the frame pieces to allow the trucks to swing more widely, in order that these cars will go around the same tight curves that my locomotives will so I can play in tight areas.

    'That is about it, for tonight, I need to take a nap for one more night, till I can start my weekend @ 8:am tomorow morning.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML crng trnbkl.jpg SML R L BX w blsn trks.jpg SML trs rd #1.jpg I'm watching the super bowl . I'm at a disadvantage, as my wife is working , so I have to actually pay some attention, rather than having her cue me as to when to watch.

    My first project for this evening/Night is to try to finish a Rail line box car, which may go to the club. Since I'm working nights, and actually slept last night, I'll be trying to stay up most of the night tonight, to reestablish my sleep rhythm : I'm going to work on trains, clean and organize my workbench, perhaps wash the Lassa Appso.

    Besides the rail line box car, I'd like to get couplers on three ore cars which are cut down from MDC ballast cars ( do you notice the old trend for cheap cars?). I said old, because Horizon Hobbies, which now owns roundhouse/ MDC, has discontinued the kits, and especially the 3 in one kits, that used to give us creative guys inexpensive options for our model trains. I also want to get the new Locodoc motor in the FED 4-4-0.

    While drilling the holes for the grab irons on the rail line Kits, you might have thought that was the most challenging thing on this kit . So far drilling out the turnbuckles is the worst. This kit comes with very complete brake hardware; but I have decided that I can't see much brake gear on my HOn3 equipment, and as often as not it has gotten in the way of operation over challenging trackwork, so I habitually leave it off.

    so with the brake gear left off , the hardest part of this kit is coring the turnbuckles so the mono filament truss rod can be threaded through them. fortunately they give you five with the kit, cause I ruined the second one I drilled out, when the drill bit hard on the back side and the whole thing twisted up .

    With the truss rods on I was able to give the floor a shot of paint, get the body couplers and trucks installed. the coupler pockets on this kit look very good, but the KD's are a little tight in there for my taste.

    I'm going to take a nap, and then work on some other stuff later tonight. the Rail line box is rolling, it needs a little tuning to get it happy, and then the doors and miscellaneous hardware. when I go back to work on train stuff the 4-4-0 will probably be the next priority, and then the little ore cars that can be finnished up quick and dirty, to get more cars for the operations at the club.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  9. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SML fitng mtr.jpg motor on!

    I got the new locodoc motor on old #3. If you look under the flywheels, you can see where I used a grinding wheel on a dremil to remoce some of the PC board under the flywheels to give them some clearance so they would not contact the floor. the motor has been stuck into place with Walther's Goo . in a couple hours, when that is dry, I'll solder the motor leads up (I've already tested the motor, so I won't wire them up backwards like I did with the 2-6-0).

    The locodoc instructions for wiring up the locomotive are specific, but I can't use them as , being ornery, I have taken a completely different approach to wiring the locomotives.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  10. Hoorhaylowe

    Hoorhaylowe New Member

    Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy.

    Hey Bill I was just wondering how the driveshaft from the tender affect cornering and change of direction. I have never owned a tender drive other than the Tyco models I have from the seventies, and eighties, which tend to not work very well. I realize the loco's wheels do the pulling and pushing, but does it make the tender jump and dance w/ all the gear reduction and torque?
  11. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member


    It is impossible to get the driveshaft backwards, the direction issue comes from replacing the open frame motor with that fancy bell armature micromotor from Locodoc. it has little wire leads that Wayne (locodoc/Roundbell/Salida Roundhouse) thoughtfully solders on to the tiny terminals on this motor for us. you glue the motor down to the tender frame , If you don't pay attention before hand, the wires have a 50/50 chance of being on the wrong side of the motor, and if hooked up, that will make the locomotive run backwards.

    The tourque-dancing tender we remember from the old Mantua (later tyco) General was a result of basic physics, and a cheap motor. I have two Generals in service on the standard gauge DG, CC, & W RR (featured in the logging section, for any who have not yet had the pleasure of touring that extravagant mess,) one has had a tender swap, and is powered by a tender that used to drive a AHM Genoa. that tender looks better, and has a can motor, which doesn't produce as much tender rock. My other General, has a Carry conversion boiler on it , making it a much more modern locomotive. It has an MDC tender, from which a huge chunk of the white metal frame has been milled out to make room for a cannon copier motor. That much improved motor and the heavier tender, show no torque rock.

    The motor that Locodoc provides in this remotor kit is awesome. it is a very low speed motor, and causes very little torque rock. I'll try to set up a you tube video, as that is the only way to show what fine performance you can get out of these locomotives with the locodoc conversion kit. Also I replace the render pin with a screw which seems to heip stabalize the tender floor some as well.

    Bill Nelson
  12. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

  13. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

    Wow Bill that is one Smooooooooth running lokie. I am impressed. Your HOn3 pike is really getting some nice motive power on its roster.
    Doc Tom:thumb:
  14. Hoorhaylowe

    Hoorhaylowe New Member

    Thanks for Vid. Everthang the good doctor said goes for me too. I'm interested in the details of the Mantua/Tyco as I have two(The Chatanooga & the Royal Blue) Wouldn't mind putting them in service.
    Thanks Again!
  15. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member


    there is a link to a video of my C-16. I still need to go back and add more electrical pick up to this critter. it does better on the test track, but up here on the top of the mountain, the need for better pick up shows up.


    here is a video O took from the front porch this morning.

    The Mantua/tyco general is a locomotive that is interesting. it's main problem is at it's best it was a low cost 1950's design that has never been upgraded. what it needs is a new motor, better electrical pick up. and some detail upgrade. If your's did not come with the cab weight, one o those would be handy. A locodoc kit for an FED 4-4-0 could probably be used to remotor a General, although it would take some ingenuity to do the driveshaft, and would be expensive If you check out my DG, CC, & W RR thread over in the logging, Mining, and Industrial RR section, there are pictures of my Generals there.

    Bill Nelson
  16. Well Bill, a few years ago, I picked up a MDC 2-8-0 custom worked to look like a East Broad Top family loco. It has Tomar pickup shoes and the whole nine yards. On straight or curved track, it runs fine. Run it over a turnout...instant stall. There doesn't appear to be a thing wrong with the loco, but get it near a Shinohara HOn3 turnout and it dies. There doesn't appear to be a problem with the turnouts either. (Keyword 'appear') I'm getting no younger and my doc wants me to avoid stress (yeah, right, I'm a model railroader AND a narrow gauger) because of my health problems (irregular heartbeat and a neuro problem which makes my hands shake from time to time uncontrollably), making building kits w/small parts near impossible.

    Is it the turnout(s) or the loco?
  17. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member


    the short answer is yes, but my bet, based on familiarity with both; is that most of the problems reside in the locomotive.

    The tomar pick up shoe is a possible culpret. These things are fantastic in theory. I went nuts with them about fifteen years ago; and added them anywhere I had electrical pick up issues. They have got to be aligned perfectly or there will be problems.

    look at the underside of the locomotive, and fix the position of the pick yp shoe firmly in your mind. then set the locomotive on the track, and drive it up to a switch and let it stall. Next observe the location of the pick up shoe and the points of the turn out. It is very possible that the pick up shoe can touch the stock rail, and the open point causing a low current short. This might well not be enopugh tp kick the circuit breaker, but the electrons are taking the easy way between the rails through the pick up shoe, rather than the hard way through the motor. Besides causing the potential for shorts around points, I don't like the pick up shoes, as they get their extra pick up at the expense of tractive effort.

    There are things I don't like about the electrical pick up set up on the MDC 2-8-0. In fact I don't like the standard electrical set up for just about any steam locomotive I don't have my MDC locomotive here (it is at the club), but I know that the first Modification I made was to solder some super fine very flexible wire directly to the wheel wipers on the trucks. I drilled holes through the tender frame, and joined the two wires Together under the tender shell,and hooked those two wires to a third. which runs back through another hole in the tender frame, next to the drawbar mount. this wire goes directly to the motor. This eliminates a couple spots that have the potential to add resistance.

    The next thing I did to mine was to add phosphor bronze wipers to the insulated wheels on the tender trucks, these are hooked up to wires which are also hooked directly to the motor.

    the third step and I don't think I have done this yet, is to add wipers on the insulated drivers.

    The first thing I'd do is to loose the Tomar pick up shoe I have removed them from all of my HOn3 locomotives , and from all but one ho my standard gauge locomotives.

    There are some occasional issues with the shinoharra switches, usually caused by poor electrical contact at the point's, but I'm betting most of your issues are with the locomotive.

    Bill Nelson
  18. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLMDC tndr pickup.jpg SML MDC.jpg Modified MDC 2-8-0 pick up

    I took my camera to the club (forgot my tool bag) and got this photo that shows how the tender is wired up on my MDC 2-8-0.

    This locomotive is uglier than homemade sin, and it's long wheelbase causes it to seriously loose traction where there are vertical curves. but it runs very smoothly, and has good slow speed , even though it is too fast at full throttle. with this set up. it has pick up on all tender wheels, and never stalls if the track is clean.

    Mine has a few cosmetic alterations, I have shortened the smoke box, and lowered the boiler

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  19. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    SMLMDC tndr pickup  gc .jpg that photo of the underside of the tender didn't show the wires well, so I have done a gamma correction with graphic converter to show the wiring in more detail

    these wires have to be very fine and flexible, or the trucks won't track well.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  20. The biggest pile of brown & smelly MDC ever did was their RTR Shay. I got one off Ebay and it was shot from the git-go. The cheap gear towers were literally broken from the factory. I've never heard one good thing about them. I have one out being worked on.

    The good news: the GE 70-tonner is PERFECT for my era. They were made between 1942 and 1955. It's no wonder the West Virginia Midland is interested in a couple to replace the aging Pardee and Curtin steam power.

Share This Page