LifeLike experiences

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Herc Driver, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Here's more of an opinion question...

    I've been thinking of buying (online) a LifeLike GP60, EMD Demonstrator, Oakway Leasing...but am just a bit hesitant. I have two LifeLike diesels and although the fit and finish are fine, they don't exactly run too well. Specifically, they have difficulty traversing the turnouts, almost like the wheel sets are not as wide as they should be. I don't have an N-gauge for the inside track dimension to check the wheel accuracy, but there is more side to side movement than the Kato's and Altas diesels I run. Before I shell out some $$ on this one, does anyone have any experiences with this exact diesel or the GP60 models that LifeLike makes?
  2. johnny b

    johnny b Member

    Well I can't speak for everyone but I have never had much luck with life - like in general. was never happy with there HO stuff and now that I'm in N I had one Life - Like diesel , A PA locamotive , and had a lot of trouble with it jumping the track in the turns. Agian I don't want to speak for everyone , some people may have had a lot of good luck with Life - Like diesels but to this piont I'm not one of them . I can't speak for the GP60 either .
  3. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Haven't run the diesel in question, but other LL's I have run decent. But no, Atlas or Kato they are not. They do seem to be finicky about turnouts sometimes, and some run better than others. My BL-2's run really nice and rarely give me trouble. My F7 is a PITA half the time. My Alco cab unit is the most dependable. However, I probably won't buy any more LL having run a few Atlas and Katos owned by others...they are just so much nicer.
  4. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    The GP60s are reported to be some of the best locos LL has made. The only consistent complaint is that LL, starting from a clean slate, didn't engineer the thing as DCC ready. As a result, the frame has to be milled in order to install a decoder.

    As runners, they are very well regarded, and the detail is quite good.

    As a disclaimer, I don't have any of these locos. I am a fully committed to DCC and have no especiale need for this loco in my roster, so I passed on it.
  5. Zman

    Zman Member

    LifeLike has had a history of making so-so quality stuff, although they're supposed to be improving. I have one little 0-4-0 LifeLike switcher, and it makes a very cute mantlepiece bauble.
  6. Tad

    Tad Member

    Nearly all of the N sscale Life-Like locos that y'all are talking about are the old tech plastic frame designs. The first run PA's, BL2's and the F7's all fall into that category.

    Beginning with the GP20 and the second run GP18's, Life-Like went to a split frame design and improved their quality greatly. Many of the parts for these locomtives are interchangeable with Atlas parts. The GP60's are of split frame design.

    Herc Driver,

    You should buy an NMRA gauge and check the wheels on your Life-Likes. It will make a huge difference. I make it a habit of checking the wheel gauge on all of my locomotives. I have found that many locomotives are delivered with the wheel gauge not quite right. This includes some of my Atlas locomotives, as well.

    I have several Life-Likes on my roster, SW8/900's, SW9/1200's, GP18's and GP20's. They are all good runners and pullers. I did have to regauge a few. After I did, I have had no problems with them.
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thank you very much for all the input. I absolutely agree on getting a NMRA gauge, that is a very good idea and will probably cure a host of other ills that some of my more difficult cars are having. I used Bachmann EZ Track and the only problem I have with the Bachmann EZ track is that the height of the turnout rails seems to be just a touch higher than the connecting rails, and sometimes that little bit makes all the difference. I've already filed down the points of the turnouts but sometimes and on some cars, they cause a problem. The Life Like diesels are better running over a turnout in one direction opposed to the other. But I must admit, I have a Kato that doesn't like one or two turnouts too, so I won't speak ill of all Life Likes (it probably says more about my first attempt at laying and ballasting the track than the quality of the diesel).

    Thanks again for everyone's valuable input - I appreciate it.
  8. ironmule2004

    ironmule2004 New Member

    How do you regauge the wheels of a locomotive? Also what track do ya'll recommend. I was thinking I need to use code 55, but will this cause operating problems? Who makes the most realistic looking track?

  9. Cadillac_SD9

    Cadillac_SD9 Member

    the gp-60 are really nice beacuse although they are nscale they are in there proto 2000 line so they actually run really well. Are you a DCC user or DC user?
  10. johnny b

    johnny b Member

    Just what is DCC and what does it do ?
  11. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    Herc, spend a little extra cash for quality.

    I deal with these folks and they are about the best priced stuff you will find.

    I have and continue to steer clear of Bachmann and Life Like.
  12. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thanks again for everyone's input - it is appreciated.

    I broke down and spent the $$ for an EMD Demo GP60 from Life Like. Nothing ventured, nothing gained (ok, that may not be the best way to make a diesel decision). I'm hoping its a good running engine and it matches well with others on my layout. I don't expect it to run really well with the Kato's and InterMountain stuff I already own.

    I have noticed a quality difference in the double-pack Life Like engines verses the single engine packaged and sold...but I'm guesing they are not supposed to be the same in quality/fit/finish as the other engines they sell considering the price. Now that Walthers has taken over LL, some of the more non-typical engines like this EMD Demonstrator have been very hard to find. I managed to find one at Brooklyn Loco Works at a good price. (I haven't ordered anything from them before - so we'll see how it goes).

    BTW, went to Portland, OR a week ago and found a great LHS store located downtown - Vic's Hobby Supply - really nice folks, you Portland people are lucky to have such a well supplied store.
  13. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Report back with your opinion once you've run it. :wave:
  14. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Once it's out of the box, I'll give my two cents opinion of the GP60. :thumb:
  15. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Though I don't own any LL GP60's (I model CN & CP, neither of which own any), but I do own 9 LL/Hobbycraft chopnose GP9RM's and GP9u's, which were done as a special run. I was skeptical about LL, and had one run for me at the train store... I left with 6 of them. They run every bit as well as a Kato, and they will out pull my Atlas GP40's and SD50/60's! Pretty impressive for such a small locomotive. When I had a layout, one LL GP9RM would push 18 intermountain cylindrical covered hoppers equipped with MT truacks and plastic wheels up my 2% helix... push them up.

    I love 'em :)
  16. Dan Crowley

    Dan Crowley Member

    As others have mentioned, any N scale Lifelike with a split frame chassis will run decent.

    The C liners are better then anything else I own which includes Kato and Atlas.

    I have no doubt you will be happy with your GP-60.

    IMO the only valid complaint would be the lack of the frame being DCC friendly.
  17. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I have 3 of the CN Lifelike Canada chopnoses, and they're wonderful in terms of the way they both run and look. My current question has more to do with the ability to upgrade these little gems to DCC.

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