Need help with a brand new KATO SD90/43MAC loco, not running at 100%

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by learningtolearn, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. learningtolearn

    learningtolearn New Member

    Hello everyone. This is my first post here. :wave: To shortly describe myself, I'm 27 and pretty new to model trains, N-Scale in particular. I used to run HO trains as a kid almost 20 years ago. I need help with my setup I just built today, a KATO locomotive in particular and I know someone might be able to see right where the problem is.

    I purchased 4 KATO locos online, all NIB. Two SD90/43MAC's and two AC4400CW's. I test ran them all today after setting up my "Super Tri-R railroad". I noticed that all of my locos, when first run, acted a little sluggish. As I ran them for a few minutes, they got smoother and ran like sewing machines and all seem to be fine, except for one. The one in particular is one of the SD90/43MAC's I have. When I run it, it doesn't seem to accept power as quickly or well as it's twin. It's slower around the track, and just does not perform like my other three. Since it was brand new, I firgure that there would be some break in time, but it just is not performing optimally and like the other three are. I think there may be something the matter with it, but I do not posses the knowledge yet to know what it is. I don't know if it just needs to be run more, oiled or have some maintenance, the wheels cleaned, or the like. Being brand new, I don't understand why it's acting this way and I am a bit dissapointed. It seems to be only about 60% as fast as it's twin. I was hoping to run them in tandem sometime. I am a little hesitant to open it up and oil/grease it, although I am a competant mechanic and am familiar with moving parts.

    Is it normal for new locomotives to do this? I have to ask myself why the other three are running so well and this one is not. I hope someone might be able to shed some light for me. Thank you.
  2. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Sounds to me that they are not brand new or at least have been in storage for a long, long time. My clue is your statement that they act a little sluggish at first. They may improve with more running time. If not, you will need to take them apart and clean and lubricate. You might try just cleaning the pick up wheels first on your problem child. What fun, aye!
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    yes, clean the wheels first. and if that solves nothing, I suggest an inspection of the underside to see if anything looks awry (lint caught in wheels, something loose or broken, etc. Since these are supposed to be new engines, I would next check to see if there is a waranty and could the problem one replaced. If your problem still is not solved, it's time to open it up. If you don't consider yourself capeable of fixing this yourself, take it to the local hobby shop and see if someone there can help.

  4. Casey Jones

    Casey Jones New Member

    Usually Kato engines require little or no break-in at all and run like a gem right out of the box.
    I would either check to see what the return/exchange policy is at the place where you bought them, or continue to see if you can find what is causing this problem. Most Kato engines I've ever had will "MU" very well and run very smooth and quiet right from the get-go.
    I would also contact Kato and talk to their "Diesel Doctor" about your problem and see what suggests.
    Good luck,

  5. learningtolearn

    learningtolearn New Member

    Thanks everyone for your replies. Been away for work for a few days, but had time to think about it. Definately, I'll try to clean the wheels, take the body off, relubricate everything, and then see how things go. Also, I am going to email KATO and ask what they might suggest.

    As far as cleaning the wheels, what would everyone recommend? I've heard of people using pencil erasers, special track cleaning erasers, and I've heard of track and wheel cleaning fluid. Would something like alcohol work or does there need to be some sort of abrasive? If using an eraser of some sort, could I use one of those high quality drafing erasers that's really soft?
  6. learningtolearn

    learningtolearn New Member

    I was just at KATOUSA's website. They surely don't make it easy to contact them directly. A phone number is provided as is an email based questions system. But reading their FAQ, I get the feeling that they want you to take things to your local hobby shop and also that help from them is limited. Anyone else get the same feeling? I'll try emeiling them, calling if I don't get a response. I wonder why it's like this over there?

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