Mantua 0-6-0 trouble

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ESE999, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. ESE999

    ESE999 Member

    I just got the Mantua Classic six train set today, and I want to start off with a little review to the set. Mine has some issues that I'd like to point out.
    When I first started up the locomotive (mantua saddletank 0-6-0), the motor spun but the wheels did not turn. I inspected it and saw that the worm gear was not properly aligned with the axle gear. I proceded to dismantle it. The motor mounting screws were not tightened, so that the worm gear was not tightly aligned to the axle. I corrected this. However, after spending half an hour putting the running gear back together (steam chest and slide valve was a nightmare). The locomotive runs rather strangely. It lurches to the timing of the pistons. Lunging and slowing down when the crank pins reach certain positions. Perhaps the pins are misaligned?
    The following things are little peaves, not particular cries for help, but just so you're aware:
    1. Creeping with this power pack is impossible. It is either stop or start at about 25 scale mph. Now I have lots of power packs lying around, so no biggie, but for someone starting off this may be kind of frustrating.
    2. While the cars themselves are beautiful and roll wonderfully, the couplers are just plain icky. They aren't horn-hook/NMRA couplers either. They look to be a spring type I am not familiar with (bear with me, this is my first HO set in a decade). They constantly bounce around and disconnect.
    3. Why do all sets these days come with roadbed track? Wouldn't be cheaper to use standard track?
    4. The track terminals set up is very strange. It seems like a run off of fahnstock clips, only not as strong. Should probably be pinched with plyers to hold the wire.

    Thanks for any comments, questions, advice, etc.
    Michael T. Downes
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    It sounds like your drivers may be out of quarter. Check to see that the crank pins on the rods are at the same position on each driver---and/or---you may have over tightened the motor to the gears.

    The roadbed track is much more reliable than the old sectional track. No manufacturer had that right. Properly assembled with all joints squarely connected meant that you would miss the two ends of a full circle upwards of 2" or more, leaving you to have to skew the track to align it all the way around.

    Set power packs are great to power accessories with, but not trains, there is no real low end control, there is hardly any real control at all. Your next best investment is a good MRC power pack.

    I always add my own soldered terminals. In the case of roadbed track, I drill small holes on the outside of each rail and solder a wire directly to the rail, feeding it through the holes and under the track.

    Hope that helps.:wave:
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    The Mantua stuff now is made by Model Power. The old Mantua molds and dies were bought by model power, and I assume assembled in China like almost everything else. Mantua sold stuff RTR and as kits, and it is quite possible that you got one not assembled correctly without much care.

    Your power pack problem could be solved with a better pack, or it could be the loco. The binding problem may contruibute to the poor slow speed performance. I would look for flash on the side rods, especially the corssheads and shafts that enter the cylinders. Just a small amount of flash could cause the crossheads to bind on the guides or the cylinders as they go in and out. I suggest starting the loco slowly, and then when it stalls, look for the areas that are in contact. More than likely it is where one crosshead is in a certain position respective to the cylinder. Extra flash or poor clearances can be corrected with a file. Other areas to look are driver pins interfering with the side rods. These things can be difficult to track down, but most are solvable.

    But since the loco is new, I may suggest contacting model power for a replacement.

  4. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Sorry to hear about your train set troubles! The guys have all given you great advice that should at least pinpoint the problem if not solve it. If you'd like additional info you may want to visit: or I have found great assistance both here at The Gauge and there as well.
  5. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member


    You mentioned that the loco was "lunging and slowing down when the crank pins reach certain positions." That also suggests lunging and slowing down with each wheel rotation. Since I make it a practice to fix the easiest part of the problem first, why don't you check the fit between the worm and the gear. It might be out of alignment, or just too tight. The gear might not be exactly round, which means that during the rotation, the gear could jam against the worm. Allowing more slack might reduce the binding. Perhaps a bit of light grease might help. Can you visually see of the side rods are binding? If that doesn't do it, then its back to the crankpins, quartering, and other un-fun things to fix.
  6. ESE999

    ESE999 Member

    The worm gear slows down as well as the wheels. I will check the alignment of the gears tonite. Thanks everyone for all their fine input!
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Since the entire gear train is connected directly together from the worm gear all the way to the drivers including all of the gears in the gear box and the rods and valve gear (if any), binding anywhere in the system will cause the problem. If you can take off the body so that you can run it with all of the mechanical bits in plain view, I would suggest removing the motor and worm gear from the chassis. Then just push it gently along the track perhaps with a car coupled to it as a handle so that you are not putting any extraneous force on the locomotive to mask the problem. Check for binding. If you get binding with the motor and worm gear removed, the problem is either in the gears, valve gear, quartering, or alignment. If the problem goes away with the motor and worm gear removed, the problem is probably with the worm gear alignment, concentricity, or lash.
  8. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    Yep !

    Russ got it right. Also with the body and motor off, holding it in your hand, slowly turn the drive gear and watch for binding. You can get a closer look at it this way.
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I think the roadbed track is a huge step forward for trainsets. In the past, HO was not really compatible with carpeted floors and was prone to falling apart once it had been taken apart and reassembled a few times. EZ-track, PowerLoc Track, Unit Track, etc really alleviate these two problems. Since trainset track has never been worth much for serious model railroaders (too tight of curves for most layouts, lower quality), it isn't a loss to modelers. They only downside to the stuff is that it is expensive. Trainsets are intended for people that don't have layouts and want everything they need in the package.

    I bet any kids receiving the set for christmas wouldn't mind the lack of slow speed performance...a better question would be: How about its high speed performance? When I was in elementary school and jr high, the other kids only cared about how fast it would go...slow speed was irrelevent.

    I'd put my money on assembly issues being the problem...probably flash as Kevin said. I had horrible issues with a Spectrum On30 2-6-0 which I'd regauged to On3...I had the rods reveresed which caused a slight bind and pulled the wheels out of quarter...I only figured it out AFTER I'd pruchased a quartering tool from NWSL. :-(

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