Worth Saving?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by CNWman, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    I got some 2-8-0 from a train flea market for $15 last weekend, and from what I've learned/know this is that:
    -It's a tender driven TYCO steamer with a good-condition body shell
    -It's lettered as #638 for the Chattanooga, maybe part of a TYCO Chattanooga Choo Choo set from the late 70's
    -probably has a steam generator, don't know if it works or not if it does have one
    -It's got horn hook couplers
    -The front truck does not like going into one end of my EZ track switches
    Now my question is this: what hope do I have of being able to make this thing as good as any basic steam engine availiable in the marketplace? And by that, I mean replacing the tender drive system with a body mounted motor, or if that's not possible make the tender drive as good as possible.

    And yes, I know $15 may have been a bit much for it, but the lowest price that this thing may have gone for was $35 back when it was new so I'm not complaining.
  2. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I think you'd have a long row to hoe to make that a decent runner. You could try putting a Bachmann 44 tonner or 70 tonner chassis into the tender (one of them might fit), but that's about $50, plus your time and effort to get it in. Once done, it's not that spectacularly detailled a model.

    OTOH, you can get a better-looking (and better-running) consolidation in the IHC 2-8-0, which goes for about $40-$80 on FleaBay.

    If you hit the MRR swap meets (we're getting into prime season) you can usually pick up a Spectrum 2-8-0 for about $100... which is probably the gold-standard for HO RTR 2-8-0's. I've seen them go for as little as $50 on FleaBay.

    I think your best bet for this one is to make it a roundhouse queen. Distress it, weather it, put some parts on the ground next to it, and it'll be an eye-catching display piece.
  3. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    If itb still runs that's a plus. If not you can clear out the tender and put in a chassis from a small switcher to use as power. If I remember correctly that particular type came with a smoke generator, but they had a high mortality rate.
  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Ray M, on this site, and on 2guys, has rebuilt plenty of oldies. He could probably give you some advice.

    My opinion: You can probably find an IHC 2-8-0 (exact same body) at a flea market for 20 bucks used. They run great. If the tyco does not run, put in on your RIP track heavily weathered. Jeffrey has a nice example on his layout. If the Tyco runs, you can do the standard lube and cleaning and run it until it quits. Adding too many extra details beyond weathering may be a waste of time. Even new tycos of that vintage wore out pretty quickly.

  5. MidnightRR

    MidnightRR Member

    Frankly, very little. This loco was a dog when it was introduced in the 70s--now, the bar for a good "basic steam engine" has been raised beyond the Tyco's abitity to reach it.

    Considering how much worked you'd have to put into it, versus the result you can expect, I wouldn't bother.
  6. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    And here it is.

  7. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    Yep, the old TYCO still runs. Nosily and not well over my insulated switch frogs, but other than that it's a pretty good runner to be honest. If the tender drive can't be saved I've been wondering if a NWSL switcher engine replacement might be a good choice.

    Squidbait: I know that the Spectrums are far and away better than most TYCO excuses for model trains. Heck, my first steamer was the Spectrum 2-8-0 painted for UP #618, and rivals my Trainman RS-32 for "most quiet engine". But I have almost NO experience in modding engines, and I'd much rather have the TYCO be an unsalvageable casulty and loose $15 for some valuable experience than get the same experience at the cost of a $100 engine.

    Well, the result I expect is the product of intensive modification and repainting in the form of a learning experience, so if the engine turns out scarcely better than it started, at least I'll have some experience for later.

    Plus, many considered my Hustler a lost cause in the lousy state I found it in, and now it is a good runner (still trying to get the reverse gear to stop jolting as much though...)

    Yeah, it looks like the engine was designed for steaming, but like I said before I don't know if it works or not. Doesn't matter, though, I'll probably remove it anyways when I rebuilt the engine, I've never really liked model train steam as it makes my eyes too watery.
  8. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    You know, it seems to me that I was reading about someone here stripping down a Tyco, repainting, super detailing, and swaping motors... and it looked SO good...

    I can't find it now... (what happened to the galleries?!?) I have mine from 1977, and I am thinking of trying to refit it. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? I mess it up so bad that I just rattle can it and put it in a park or rust the parts and strew them about my yard...


    ps- mine still steams. Haven't put oil in it since '79, but it still chuffs away... when I push it around my layout... (Won't go 2 feet without stopping...)
  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/yardbirdtrains

    Ray M has been known to put in an appearance over there as well. You'll find kindred spirits there for making silk purses from sows ears.

    I say go for it. First get it running well. When I began reworking my Mantua Shifter I first remotored it with a drop-in replacement kit from Dan Bush of Yard Bird Trains. Easy-peasy. In your case it may be a bit trickier, but even a smooth and powerful can motor in the tender could help.

    How much weight is on the drivers? If it runs well then it may be a good candidate for a foray into superdetailing. Just have fun and be sure to post pictures!
  10. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    I've used the Choo-Choo chassis as a basis for a scratch built brass loco more than once. It is a cheap way to get nice driver wheels , side rods & valve gear ( not all of them have it) The only mod needed is to put a gear on one axle.

    I grab them up when I see them cheap-- $15.00 is a LOT less than buying drivers alone from Prescision Scale or some other source.
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I have several and it is possible to get them to run better simply by changing out the rubber tired wheelsets with nickle silver ones from another tender drive to improve electrical pickup. It will never be a switcher but it will do for a holiday beater. Sounds like you have one of the older ones with full valve gear. As they slowly sank into oblivion, Tyco removed alot of details. In the end, the pilot wheels were dropped, only the last two drivers had a connecting rod and the handrails were two sad lengths of wires with cast in supports...sad...:cry:



    Check out the derailed driver at 0.23 >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKHHnNT7h8I

    Not exactly how you'd like a product to be advertised...:thumb:

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