Turnout trouble

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by tverskaya, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    I hope this is the right place for this question.

    Allright, cheapskate that I am, I bought a number of second hand turnouts, simple, handoperated ones. (Minitrix, with a fairly large box next to it with the mechanism in it) When I tried whether they worked as they should, I found out, that the switch mechanism doesn't seem to work properly as that the direction isn't fully changed. I figured that this could result from two things: either some dirt clogging up the mechanism or a very worn spring which might need to be replaced.

    If these assumptions sound more or less plausible, then what's the best way to clean one and is replacing a spring doable?

    On a side note, one of the turnouts arrived in the mail with one rail bent about 90 degrees - can that safely be bent back or will it break or is the item pretty much ruined?
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    On the clogged mechanism, I would try removing or disconnecting the throw mechanism first. With the throw removed from the picture, see if the points move freely with your finger(s). If not, you'll have to futz until they do. I wouldn't use anything stronger than rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to clean. Once the points are moving freely, work your way backwards a step at a time until you get to the hand throw. Sooner or later, you'll find the cause of the non-throw. Whether you can fix it depends on your ingenuity and the cause. You might try hooking up a Caboose Industries hand throw if you can't fix the throw mechanism.

    As far as bending the rail back - what have you got to lose? If it bends back, great! If not, the item wasn't usable anyway.

    yours in the track repair gang
  3. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    Thanks for the help.

    Bending back the rail went smoothly, so that one got saved.

    One nasty detail is that the throwing mechanism is molded as one piece with the sleepers, and the cover isn't meant to be removed, so detaching it is a bit tricky.

    As for three of the five switches of the lot, I'll maybe have to either repair and with one maybe even build a new throwing mechanism. Maybe, as according to the current plans I won't be needing all of them for my layout. But then, at about $2,50 each the loss isn't that great...

    Got to try to get some benchwork built next week.
  4. shortliner

    shortliner Member

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Try blowing the mechanism clear with compressed air. There might be a bit of something. Do the points move freely into position?
    I remember that some switch mechanisms had plastic springs in them. These may have relaxed or been set in one position. That would mean that the mechanism is sunk. You may want to sacrifice one to see what's inside.
  6. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    The springs seem to be metal, but fairly worn. Everything can be moved by hand, but that's many times the force the spring would apply on it, so that doesn't mean that much. On a bright note, with some luck I'll get a replacement, at least for the one of which the mechanism is entirely disfunctional (but which could probably be replaced by one as described on the site Jack mentioned.)

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