Spectrum 2-8-0

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by shark, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. shark

    shark New Member


    I picked up one of these last week and am wondering if anyone can recommend whether or not to oil it. The Bachmann dvd didn't really say much about the Spectrums. One of the axels does not move freely from side to side and I think it is causing jumpiness (grinding sound) when running clockwise. Do you have any recommends for maintenance (If/what to oil, oil type, etc). I requested this info on Bachmann's support page over the weekend, but haven't heard back yet.

    Many Thanks,
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There may be some flash on the axel, inside the frame or on the back of the wheels that is causing the problem. Since it is brand new, you might take it back to the shop where you got it for exchange, or at least to compare it to another one.

    However, one axel should remain relatively fixed, as this will be the one that transfers power from the motor to the rest of the drivers (via the siderods).

    If returning/comapring it is not an option, removing the side rods to determine if it is indeed one specific axel that is causing the problem would be a first step. You might also disconnect the drive to see if the wheels turn freely one their own. If yes, then maybe the problem is in the gearing somewhere. If the motor is not in perfect alignment with the gears, then it may bind at some point in each revolution.

    In terms of lubrication, Labelle makes a plastic compatible line of grease and oil. Before you apply it though, make sure that there is no dust, lint, or other fibres that may be binding the moving parts. Clean as much away as possible.

    Grease is for gears, and oil is for all other spots. Remember that less is more - too much lube can be just as much of a problem as not enough. Apply oils and grease from a little puddle on your workbench (make a little dish from tinfoil or similar). Pick up a tiny drop on the business end of a pin to apply.

    Hope that helps.

    *****EDIT - Try doctorwayne's lubrication guide (below) if you can't or don't want to return it, but before you disassemble the loco.

  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can also send it back to Bachmann with a letter detailing the problem you are having. It is better if you don't try to fix it first. Bachmann pays the shipping for a locomotive that is less than 1 year old as part of their warranty. After the first year, you pay the shipping, but Bachmann guarrantees their product for life.
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I have six of these locos and, in my opinion, they're one of the best locos around, especially for the price. The third driver set (from the front) is the main driver and there should be almost no side-to-side play in this set. The other three driver sets have built-in lateral motion to accomodate tight radius curves. The second and fourth driver sets are slightly sprung, to accomodate irregularities in the track. To oil these locos, I use LaBelle #102 Gear Oil, in the needle-point applicator. This slightly thicker oil does not migrate all over the place as much as thinner types, but you should still apply it very sparingly. To do a fairly complete lube job, it's probably best to disconnect the tender, as most oiling points are either on the sides or bottom of the loco.
    To lubricate the axle bearings, turn the loco upside down (I usually just hold it in my hand) and insert the applicator needle behind the backside of each driver and the plate that covers the bottom of the frame. If necessary, push the axle set towards the side that you're working on, to give clearance to get the applicator needle in position. Apply one tiny drop of oil on the narrowest part of the axle that you see in this space. (The axle bearings are actually inboard of where you're applying the oil, but it will migrate to where it needs to be - that larger "boss" on the back of the driver is not the bearing.) Do this on each side of the loco and on all driving wheel axles. While the loco is still upside down, apply one tiny drop of oil on each side of the axle of the lead truck, at a point just inboard of the "loops" that hold the axle in place.
    Now, with the loco either on its side, or upside down, as is most suitable, lubricate the siderods and valve gear. You should apply a miniscule drop of oil at each point where the siderod is connected to the drivers, and it can be applied either on the face of the rod, right where the hexhead of the retaining bolt is, or, if working from the bottom of the loco, at a point between the back-side of the rod and the boss cast into the face of the driver (into which the mounting bolt is threaded). The main (third) driver requires a little more attention, due to the addition of the main rod bearing. This is best done from below: One teensy drop between the main rod and the spacer just inboard of it, and another teensy drop between the siderods connecting to the second and fourth driver sets.
    You should also lubricate the valve gear. Start at the eccentric crank (that extension mounted outboard of the main rod. Apply very small amounts of oil at the following points, working forward as you go: at the rivet connecting the eccentric crank to the eccentric rod, at the rivet on the other end of the eccentric rod, at the rivet that holds these parts to the plastic valve gear hanger, and at the rivet visible through the centre of the valve gear hanger. Also, a small drop between the two rivets at the top end of the combination lever (the vertical rod that's situated aft of the cylinders), and another at the rivet at the bottom end of the same rod. Apply a bit to the opposite end of the crosshead link (that's the little short rod between the combination lever and the crosshead (the part that slides back and forth just aft of the cylinders. Finally, apply just a dot of oil to the rivet head in the centre of the crosshead. (Don't panic, we're almost done)
    Ideally, the finally lube should be done with the loco connected to power, as we want certain parts in the proper position for oiling. Again, using very small amounts of oil, apply some to the valve stem (the small rod that extends into the upper part of the cylinder casting). Also a drop on the piston rod (the larger rod extending into the lower part of the cylinder casting). This one is best done with the rod at least partially withdrawn from the cylinder, that is, with the crosshead at a point somewhere back of its forward point of travel. Apply this oil right at the point where the rod enters the hole in the cylinder, so that when the loco runs, the oil will be spread along the length of the piston rod. Lastly, apply a spot of oil to each of the crosshead guides (the flat bars between which the crosshead slides back and forth). The best place for this is wherever the crosshead happens to be sitting when you're doing this work: just place the oil in the slop (space between the moving parts) where the crosshead slides in the guides, both upper and lower.
    The only other places that require lube also require disassembly of the loco. Those points would include both the front and rear motor bearings and the front and rear wormshaft bearings. Also accessible during this operation would be the worm and worm gear, which is mounted on the axle of the main driver. Use Labelle #106 Plastic Compatible Grease for the two gears. If you do disassemble the loco, use the exploded-view diagram that comes with the loco for reference.
    Mark, to check for a possible source of the noise, place the loco (connected to the tender) upside down on your workbench. Attach a lead from your powerpack to one of the axles of each of the tender trucks, then apply enough power to get the drivers turning slowly. As they turn, watch, by looking straight down, for places where the siderods may be hitting either one another or where they're hitting either the driver rims or counterweights. Also, check the bronze pickup wipers that rub against the backside of the drivers. These can sometimes get bent, either during the initial assembly at the factory, or if someone has removed the coverplate that holds the drivers in place. If one of them is bent, use a pair of tweezers to straighten it. Remove the coverplate only as a last resort, as it can be very difficult to get all eight wipers back in their proper positions. My guess is that a bent wiper is the source of the noise.

  5. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    You might run it until it quits.

    Then oil it.

    That however could fix it or make it worse.
  6. shark

    shark New Member

    Thanks everyone for the responses. Wayne, thank you for taking the time for that post. It is exactly the info I was looking for and is appreciated. The 2nd wheel set is tight and sticks when moving it either direction. I agree, this is an extremely cool loco. I spoke with Bachmann customer service today and they recommended that I send it back, which I probably will do. After reading your posts and inspecting it, I don't think lubing will help. It came in a set and didn't appear to be packaged all that well, so who knows. Wayne, you have 6 of these? I assume that they had different RR's previously that aren't available now, or you just like quantity. I am thinking of buying a Spectrum 2-8-2 Duluth. Do you have a 2-8-2?

    Thanks again,
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Mark, the first four of my Consolidations were undecorated, as I had ordered them when they were first released. The fifth one was ordered later, also undecorated, and it's in an extremely torn-down state right now, as I'm rebuilding it into a CNR N-2-b. Loco number six was purchased used from the LHS, and was a U.P. engine. I haven't done too much with it yet, but my plan is to convert it into a Grand Valley loco like the one pictured below, although I have some ideas that will make it look quite different from the loco pictured.

    While mine looks pretty much "stock", with the exception of the tender, the two side-mounted air tanks, plus a new one on the pilot deck, are all made of brass tubing, then filled with lead. That, plus extra weight in the boiler and cab, along with more atop the frame, make the locos even better pullers that they already were.
    The only Spectrum 2-8-2 that I'm aware of is the one based on a Chinese prototype, and I believe that it's just lately become available here. There are a couple of the prototypes running in the U.S., by the way.
    I bought two of the Athearn Mikados when they were first released, again as undecorated locos. While they are smooth running locos, they were barely able to pull their own shadow around. I found a way to increase their pulling power significantly, and purchased two more at the LHS: both were used and decorated for the B&O. Modifications were mostly internal, although the air tank weights were also used. I also added tender electrical pick-up, and the locos are the equal, in pulling power, to my modified Bachmann 2-8-0's.
    The modifications, which could be applied to almost any plastic steamer, can be seen at:

    Boosted output from an amplified Mike...

    Here's a photo of one of the former B&O Mikes at the Lowbanks coaling tower, with sister 636 passing in the background:

    And a shot of the two originals, 630 and 632, on a freight passing through Port Maitland. This shot was taken before the upgrade outlined in the Link given.

    From what I've read, the Bachmann Mikados are good runners, but I don't know what their pulling capabilities are. Perhaps someone else can comment.


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