MDC two truck Shay

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Drew Toner, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. Drew Toner

    Drew Toner Member

    I picked up a MDC kit that I am going to put together this winter. I have heard talk of the different upgrades that you can put in the MDC unit. I've also heard that if you don't do the kit right, it won't run!

    Well, mine is going to run, but I want to install the upgrade gears, wheels etc now, rather than later!

    Can every one give me there thoughts on this kit and upgades that you would recommend. (part numbers would be nice!!)

  2. Hi, Drew,

    I bought MDC's 2-trucker back in 84 shortly after they first released the kit. I waited several years to put it together, and I'm glad I did because most of the replacement items came out in the interim.

    I really like how mine turned out once I did assemble it. It looks good, and it runs great. It will literally crawl along at an inch or two per hour. :eek: (I don't know who would want to run one that slowly, but it's capable of it. Don't ask me how I know that... :rolleyes: :D )

    Northwest Shortline makes replacement gears for it. I highly recommend buying their "Partial Re-Gear Kit" and the replacement "Bull Gear Upgrade." Doing so will make a huge difference in how your Shay runs.

    I also highly recommend buying Jeff Johnston's MDC Shay Handbook. He takes the reader through the construction of both a 2-truck model and a 3-truck model in almost step-by-step fashion. He's got a lot of good tips and sound advice, and the book is full of clear photos. It's well worth the money. :cool:
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Couldn't have said it better myself, Casey. Give yourself plenty of time, Drew and don't gloss over any binds in the mech until it operates smoothly. They are great kits that build into a great loco but they are very unforgiving.
  4. Drew Toner

    Drew Toner Member

    Thanks for the info gentleman. If all goes well, I'll have pictures on the Gauge before spring!!

  5. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Aha! Timely Advice!

    As one who has both a 2 and 3 truck version, I'll be following this advice also. Thanks! :)
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Like Casey I bought one and and put it in the "rat hole" until I felt like building it. By then NWSL had all of the conversion parts out and it was worth the wait. Be very patient when building this one and like mine it will run like a Swiss watch!!

    Attached Files:

  7. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    I was looking at the MDC ready-to-run 2-truck shay the other week at the local hobby shop. I quickly put the idea of buying the R-T-R as it wouldn't even go up a slight incline, let alone a steep hill! Just in case it might have been that particular shay, we took another one out of the box - and it stalled as soon as it hit the slightest incline.

    Has anyone had a similar experience with the R-T-R version?
  8. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Bob, The biggest problem I encountered with the 2 truck version (kit) was getting the timing right on the bevel gears at the wheels. Even MDC makes note of this in the kit instructions as being critical and I'm sure the book that Casey mentioned covers this aspect too but it wasn't around when I built mine. These gears only drive the jackshafts and the cylinder pistons and are a prime source for binding. The actual motive power is furnished in much the same manner as an MDC Boxcab or Climax unless MDC has changed the set up from the early kits.
  9. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Like Casey, I bought a pair of these right after they appeared on the market in '84. I try to build carefully, but still was not happy with the way mine ran. It lacked the smoothness a low-speed model ought to have. So, I took it apart and polished and de-burred every part under a magnifying glass. It ran better. While I've been working on my present layout, I bought Jeff Johnston's book. at present, the locos are stored away while benchwork and track are being put in place. The book made such a strong case for the NWSL parts that I went out and bought them as well. The book also recommends a can motor, which makes emminent sense to me. So, when I rebuild the first and build the second, which is still fresh from the hobby shop, I know it will be an improvement. And, the same book has some great ideas for detailing. Good luck with yours. --Stu--
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    My kids gave me one of these kits, I've done everything and then some to make them run slow,smooth, and quiet. At this point, I have removed the 'truck gearboxes', and intend to power through the lineshaft. I'm thinking of using two of the worm/gear sets from the trucks, to build a double reduction, similar to Bachmann's, and transfer power to the engine crankshaft, with an O ring, or flat belt.
    I have had the shay pulled as a dummy, with only the lineshaft/crankshaft/bevel gears operating, and it runs very smoothly. Once I get power to the lineshaft, it should be as close to perfect as I can make it.
    Then, I start the 3' gauge 3 truck kit!
  11. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    The slip joints on the lineshaft can cause problems. Seems that in the early kits they were a bit too large/long. Here's a diagram of the correct dimensions.

    Attached Files:

  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    And a pic of the corrected joints.

    Attached Files:

    • test.jpg
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  13. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Reply to Vic

    Many thanks for the diagram and photos. It's one of the areas I'd mentally marked down as needing attention when I got back to these locos. Did you make your altered pieces from their kit parts, or from new brass stock? If new, what size? Thanks again. --Stu--
  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Stu, Modification was done to the orginal kit parts.

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