The problums I have had with Bachmann split frame steam locomotives and what I did.

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by toptrain1, May 7, 2009.

  1. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    * Bachmann steam locomotives have a split frame. By this I mean their are two cast metal frame parts. You can say a left and right. These are insulated from one another. The left, firemans side picks up power from the rail below it. Power then goes from this frame to one side of the motor. Thro the motor windings to the right side frame and down to the rail below.
    * If you are checking a used split frame steam loco and the wheels are locked. Look carefully at the bottom. If the leading drive axel is tilted towards the pilot, or the last driver axel is tilted towards the rear pilot truck one or both of the split frame metal castings have corrosion problums. This is what is locking the axels in place. The casting as it corrodes actualy grows to the front, or rear, or in both directions. On the 4-8-4s power is supplied to the rear axel. If the front axel is only locked the motor will drive the wheels out of quarter, further locking up the drive. I have noticed this on many older Bachmann steamers. I have seen it so bad that the cylinders are not lined up anymore. Even where the valve hanger connection into the frame has broken off by the cast elongating foward increasing the distance between the cylinders and this connection point.
    * I have a 2-10-4 that I was able to repair with a part I found at a train show. I also have a UP 4-8-4 in the multi color paint from a Overland set. It had this problum. I found a damaged 4-8-4 at another show and the frame was perfect. Now after my repair this Northern runs perfectly. I also have two NYC 4-8-4s. Play damage has redused one to parts only. These two also suffer from bad frames. In this case both are the left side frame. One is realy falling apart. The other i filled away extra groth and put the loco back together for a static model. I have inquired about frames and I can't get them. Of my 2-8-0s I had 4. Two still run. The other two the drives are gone. I have a Bowser drive in one and with the remaining parts of the other went to my son. He wanted one for parts and the other he gave to his son. 0-6-0 drived ones I don't even want to write about. No! Bachmann released an 0-6-0t. I have two. One if factory Pennsy, the other I painted for Pennsy. These have never failed in any way. Like the rabbit they keep going.
    * The PRR K4s are another story. These are very nicely detailed locomotives. They suffered, new from another problum which they shared with earyler 0-6-0s and 2-8-0s. I purchased two new all boxed and sealed from a train store. When running each their drives self destructed. Drive wheels sepairated from their axels and spun out of quarter. Locking up the drive. This i had seen on the earlier 0-6-0s and 2-8-0s. On both engines the valve gear flew apart. This I had never seen. Maybe the loss of quartering may have caused this. I did feal bad for awile. Contimplateing returning them to Bachmann under their warrante. I remembered that i have three Lionel 4-6-2s. They have belpair boilers. A Pennsy detail. I had aquired them without tenders. Here are two of the best looking tenders i've seen to date. Lionel 4-6-2s do not need tender pick up to run, and these all ran very good. Detail parts from these two engines have repaired and updated other locomotives. I don't feal bad at all anymore. I have even picked up a third K4 at a train show for parts. Now three inproved Lionel PRR K3 locomotives roam my rails. Yes the ones with smoke units work fine.
    * Having had these problums with other Bachmann steamers I tried to stay away form them. Advertisements kept comming about the new Spectrum line of steam locomotives. I was resolute. I wouldn't buy another one. Everything changes!
    * Being a CNJ modeler I have my problums. Odd ball steam is never mass produced. Or should I say not much. Longevity in real steam engines came to the rescue. Bachmann decieded to produce a model of a locomotive that is of a perfect size ( medium). One of which their are many surviveing locomotives also of which many are running. One that has a interesting history. Also one that wound up on the CNJ roster durring World War 1.
    I was tring to model this loco myself and having alot of problums. Now here is Bachmann releasing the loco I am trying to make. The Russian Decapod! I figured even if it didn't run I had the a well detailed loco to start with. Things do change. I bought two. ACL with highlited wheels and fireboxs. Really looked good.
    * Now next problum! Bachmann manufactured these in a much updated version only. I wish Bachmann had made them in the original versions as built by the Baldwin or the American locomotive companies. This version would have sold well in Europe. That is how the CNJ ran them. Originaly they had handrails on the outside edge of the boiler walkways and pilot front. This keep the firemann safe from fall off the locomotive when it was running, while he was making adjustments, and service in the middle of a snow storm in Sibera. The other larger change was the cab. The cabs available are of a more modern types. Not the original. The original was was almost completely enclosed with sliding doors. The tender front had a raised extension that supported a small roof that overlaped the cab roof. The cab roof slid in and out always under this extension as the loco swung around turns. All this made a nice enclosed cab to operate in the freezing conditions this engine had to opperate in. This original detail American locomotives lack. I had to from scrach make these details, which included a new cab.
    * Enough of my problums. Back to the locomotives problums. As a new locomotive the cast metal split frame parts corrosion will not if it returns plague me for a while. The locomotives run flawlessly. My only problum that occured which can point to a Bachmann bo-bo is they stopped running. The locomotive was internialy shorted. This happened before any changes were made. The locomotives were still stock Bachmann and two weeks old. What do I do ? Return them to Bachmann. No I returned them to the store I had purchased them from. They sent me two more. No problum! I have what I need. I test run them. One is shorted out of the box brand new. How could it have passed it internal run test? What can cause this? I am at that point where I imagined I would be, but the fact is returning these loco's was out of the question. To me whatever I paid was a excepted amount because I was going to make them anyway. So I faced the problum, got out my small philips head screw driver, removed the two screws that hold the plastic detailed frame bottom off, exposeing what is underneath.
    * Bachmann has married split frame technolgy and a solid frame into one engine. Bachmann has kept electrical two rail pickup in the locomotive. This works great with a split frame. But Bachmann has put a solid frame above it's modified standard style drivers and a split frame above this. Pickup wipers were shorting to the solid metal frame. The hi teck repair was made by inserting a piece of scotch tape whitout going deeper into the drive. Years ago I finished my detailing of these locomotives and they have run perfectly since then. Thank you Bachmann for this locomotive.


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