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Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

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  • Lindley Ruddick
    I can only second what Don has written. I have not worked with as many locomotives as he has but I have experienced some running problems - usually at shows of
    Message 1 of 19 , May 8, 2011
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      I can only second what Don has written. I have not worked with as many locomotives as he has but I have experienced some running problems - usually at shows of course. Since my philosophy is NEVER work on a loco at a show, I am fortunate in that I can put the offending loco back in the box and get out another one. When I get home, I remove only the truck frames and clean up everything using isopropyl alcohol. I have also experienced a "loose wheel" on the axel more than once. I VERY carefully put just the smallest amount of thin super glue on the axel end after checking at least twice to make sure that the unit is in gauge. The I add only a small drop of lubricant on the gears and reassemble. Only on a couple of occasions have I needed to separate the chassis halves. In those cases it has taken me quite a while to get everything realigned - especially the shaft bearings and thrust washers. I can only emphasize Don's comments that everything should fit together very nicely - no force necessary IF everything is lined up. If you do have to force it, it is NOT properly aligned. Bright lights and an OptiVisor (or imitation) are great tools to help make things easier.
      Lindley



      On May 8, 2011, at 3:16 PM, Don Fedjur wrote:

      >
      > Hi Guy's,
      >
      > I read what Dave has experienced as well as some others out there in Z-Land about the MTL offerings and have to beg to differ. I am not the consummate expert, but I try to learn the intimate details of why or why not something works or doesn't work. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you cannot see a problem or have the experience to know what is at the core of what is causing an engine to run poor or not at all. I have cleaned, repaired, trouble shot, DCC'd now past a hundred(s) loco's of the modern MTL loco offerings without including the F-7. They are a truly reliable best in class and affordable offering that is all but completely bullet proof in reliability. If you are having a problem with the GP-35 or GP-9...........you are doing something wrong or missing something that is causing it's reduction in performance.
      >
      > The number one way to kill any engine is over oiling and general poor maintenance. Modern loco offerings now use a high performance "grease" that stay's put for maximum coverage and performance. It should be known that there is a period where out of the box an MTL GP-35/GP-9/SD-40 will run perfectly, haul your 25-60 car freight train and then suddenly have slipping issues. This basically happens at about 20 hours of operation and can vary of course somewhat from loco to loco. Kinda twilight zone anomalies that come out of nowhere. Inspect your trucks, clean all of the wheels on the loco including the flange where it makes rail contact. Remove the two brass screws that hold the truck frame in and inspect the gearing for dirt/debris/proper lubrication. Also, Inspect your wheels gauging and put back on the track and it will be "broken in". There is nothing wrong with the loco, it is just a break in and cleaning issue.
      >
      > Many times I get a loco that is handed to me with the it runs slow syndrome. If you mix oil types and get debris in your trucks or internally to the worm drives........usually a super fine piece of lint/hair.........it slows things down. Usually the owner decides to take apart the chassis to inspect and or clean. Here is where everybody goes wrong. One, the pins for each bushing that supports the worm axle have to fit into the chassis halve and not inadvertently get slipped as the spacer between chassis halves. An easy oversight. The chassis halves snap fit clean and snug when all parts are in the correct alignment. A big problem I see when I get a loco from someone who has attempted to clean or DCC themselves and then run into operational problems is that they over tighten the chassis halves screws and strip out the plastic. The plastic spacers which prevent shorting of the two chassis halves are going to fit cleanly or not at all. Same goes for the worm axle pin guides. I put a red "dot" of paint on the black screw heads for each of the six chassis halves screws so I know how many times it gets turned. Still, by simple "feel", you know when to stop before stripping out the screws spacer.
      >
      > All of that said, over tightening of the chassis halves including improper seating of the worm axle pins causes the undo pressure on the internal drive components to slow your engine/motor down. Other really key and obvious things to look for are, check your true output voltage on your power supply! I set my internal output control for my NCE 5-Amp power supply to not exceed 10 Volts. Read the manufacturers instructions sheet for your specific loco. It will have a statement about voltage and pulse power. Are you running more than the specified 8 Volts? And pulse power will kill your engine, so use the correct power pack/power supply to run your trains. Even though your decoder board compensates for overages in what it sees AC/DC, this could be the real cause of what may appear to be a slow running engine. For those of you that are comparing speed and response to say a Marklin engine, they are completely different animals. The Marklin will run like a rapped ape. The modern MTL and AZL offerings use highest quality brush less DC motors vs the brush type found in the MTL F-7 and Marklin offerings. Also, with a quality volt meter, check the amp draw MA draw from your loco's contact points. If there is excessive draw, something is causing your engine problems........usually one of the listed subjects above.
      >
      > So.................get your motives out, turn on some quality lighting on your workbench so you can see what the real problem is and answer your own questions. The proper tools as well as cleaning and inspection products make all the difference in the world when working on this stuff. The Micro-Trains engines are a wonderfully reliable and smooth running product that will give you years of reliable service with great pulling power. If you need any help or have hit the proverbial dead end of wits to solving an issue, I will be happy to help you out and can also service your engine for you. Like Loren stated in an earlier posting to this string, MTL stands behind their product and will make right on any product that is deemed defective. In the couple hundred modern MTL engines I have dissected, I have found only one instance where an engine was an unsolvable issue and MTL promptly replaced it without issue or question.
      >
      > Don
      > Carlsbad, CA
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: mark2playz <mark.markham@...>
      > To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Sun, May 8, 2011 12:11 pm
      > Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q
      >
      > Dave,
      > I have to agree with you, some of the MTL GP units don't perform as well as others, no matter how much you play with them. In my collection,the units with the first generation metal casting seem to work the best.
      > A possible alternative is a note I saw in one of the AZL releases forecasting new roads for GP7 & GP9 2011...
      >
      > Mark
      >
      > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, David Epling <cct24@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Negative Ghostrider. We've got some pretty competent people on our team. Jeff worked on one of them and got it working pretty good but at this point all 4 gps are in sluggish mode. Bob is banging his head against the wall because he can't find anything wrong with them
      > > Sent from my iPhone
      > >
      > > On May 7, 2011, at 7:44 AM, "Loren Snyder" <ljsnyder@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > > Dave,
      > > >
      > > > You ever heard of the saying 'pilot error'?. Somehow I think there must be
      > > > something about the way the Geeps are put together or maybe dirt and lint in
      > > > the trucks, but I know of no Geep that can't be made to run great if
      > > > adjusted correctly. I think you just haven't come across the problem yet.
      > > >
      > > > Have you considered having some of the resident experts examine your locos
      > > > to see what they can do about the running issues?
      > > >
      > > > There are some guys in the ZoCal group who can field strip those puppies and
      > > > reassemble them almost in their sleep.
      > > >
      > > > I'm not knocking you or accusing you of mistreating them, but the common
      > > > denominator in this equation seems to be the engineer.
      > > >
      > > > MTL will examine them and repair or replace them if you send them to MTL if
      > > > nothing else.......
      > > >
      > > > Give it a try Dave,
      > > >
      > > > Loren
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > -------Original Message-------
      > > >
      > > > From: David Epling
      > > > Date: 5/7/2011 7:05:31 AM
      > > > To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
      > > > Cc: Bob Sims
      > > > Subject: Re: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q
      > > >
      > > > Because both do not run flawlessly. Our MTL Geeps run like crap and we can't
      > > > see why. We've had all 4 (2 GP9s and 2 GP35s) of them checked, re-checked
      > > > and re-checked and they still barely run. We managed to get a pair of WP MTL
      > > > F7s to work, or rather they simply started working. The train runs
      > > > flawlessly pulling 18 cars on the Museum layout and up the mainline ruling
      > > > grade of 3%
      > > >
      > > > Thursday evening, we tried out our new AZL GP7 (UP), it pulled the train by
      > > > itself up the grade stalling only on the Keddie Switch. The 3 units run fine
      > > > together but we'd rather have all 3 as WP Units.
      > > >
      > > > David
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Don Fedjur
      Thanks for the kind notes Hamster! It is all about building our great hobby. Don ... From: Loren Snyder To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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        Thanks for the kind notes Hamster!

        It'is all about building our great hobby.



        Don


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Loren Snyder <ljsnyder@...>
        To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, May 8, 2011 4:48 pm
        Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q





        Ah.......I stand by my original statement that it is most likely operator
        error or pilot error if you wish to call it that.

        Don, I was thinking of you when I wrote that piece and I know you are
        absolutely on the money. I am vindicated in what I said.

        BTW folks, the loco Don is referring to as being the one unsolvable loco was
        Don's own loco. He fussed and fumed over that problem child a long time and
        did finally admit defeat. He sent it to me and I promptly took it to MTL
        and they simply replaced it with a new one.
        Never did find out what was wrong with the original, but hey, that is MTL's
        internal problem.

        I'd also like to take this opportunity to highly recommend Don's services to
        anyone with MTL loco issues. Don in my opinion is a MTL Geep guru when it
        comes to making them 'mo betta'.
        And I'm saying this without any compensation from the master fixer upper....
        ....I just whole heartedly believe in Don's unique ability to trouble shoot
        and repair balky MTL locos. True, once in a while a lemon comes along, but
        few and far between.

        And Don still calls me Hamster,

        Loren




        -------Original Message-------

        From: Don Fedjur
        Date: 5/8/2011 3:17:22 PM
        To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

        Hi Guy's,

        I read what Dave has experienced as well as some others out there in Z-Land
        about the MTL offerings and have to beg to differ. I am not the consummate
        expert, but I try to learn the intimate details of why or why not something
        works or doesn't work. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you cannot see a
        problem or have the experience to know what is at the core of what is
        causing an engine to run poor or not at all. I have cleaned, repaired,
        trouble shot, DCC'd now past a hundred(s) loco's of the modern MTL loco
        offerings without including the F-7. They are a truly reliable best in class
        and affordable offering that is all but completely bullet proof in
        reliability. If you are having a problem with the GP-35 or GP-9..........
        you are doing something wrong or missing something that is causing it's
        reduction in performance.

        The number one way to kill any engine is over oiling and general poor
        maintenance. Modern loco offerings now use a high performance "grease" that
        stay's put for maximum coverage and performance. It should be known that
        there is a period where out of the box an MTL GP-35/GP-9/SD-40 will run
        perfectly, haul your 25-60 car freight train and then suddenly have slipping
        issues. This basically happens at about 20 hours of operation and can vary
        of course somewhat from loco to loco. Kinda twilight zone anomalies that
        come out of nowhere. Inspect your trucks, clean all of the wheels on the
        loco including the flange where it makes rail contact. Remove the two brass
        screws that hold the truck frame in and inspect the gearing for
        dirt/debris/proper lubrication. Also, Inspect your wheels gauging and put
        back on the track and it will be "broken in". There is nothing wrong with
        the loco, it is just a break in and cleaning issue.

        Many times I get a loco that is handed to me with the it runs slow syndrome.
        If you mix oil types and get debris in your trucks or internally to the worm
        drives........usually a super fine piece of lint/hair.........it slows
        things down. Usually the owner decides to take apart the chassis to inspect
        and or clean. Here is where everybody goes wrong. One, the pins for each
        bushing that supports the worm axle have to fit into the chassis halve and
        not inadvertently get slipped as the spacer between chassis halves. An easy
        oversight. The chassis halves snap fit clean and snug when all parts are in
        the correct alignment. A big problem I see when I get a loco from someone
        who has attempted to clean or DCC themselves and then run into operational
        problems is that they over tighten the chassis halves screws and strip out
        the plastic. The plastic spacers which prevent shorting of the two chassis
        halves are going to fit cleanly or not at all. Same goes for the worm axle
        pin guides. I put a red "dot" of paint on the black screw heads for each of
        the six chassis halves screws so I know how many times it gets turned. Still
        by simple "feel", you know when to stop before stripping out the screws
        spacer.

        All of that said, over tightening of the chassis halves including improper
        seating of the worm axle pins causes the undo pressure on the internal drive
        components to slow your engine/motor down. Other really key and obvious
        things to look for are, check your true output voltage on your power supply!
        I set my internal output control for my NCE 5-Amp power supply to not exceed
        10 Volts. Read the manufacturers instructions sheet for your specific loco.
        It will have a statement about voltage and pulse power. Are you running more
        than the specified 8 Volts? And pulse power will kill your engine, so use
        the correct power pack/power supply to run your trains. Even though your
        decoder board compensates for overages in what it sees AC/DC, this could be
        the real cause of what may appear to be a slow running engine. For those of
        you that are comparing speed and response to say a Marklin engine, they are
        completely different animals. The Marklin will run like a rapped ape. The
        modern MTL and AZL offerings use highest quality brush less DC motors vs the
        brush type found in the MTL F-7 and Marklin offerings. Also, with a quality
        volt meter, check the amp draw MA draw from your loco's contact points. If
        there is excessive draw, something is causing your engine problems.......
        usually one of the listed subjects above.

        So.................get your motives out, turn on some quality lighting on
        your workbench so you can see what the real problem is and answer your own
        questions. The proper tools as well as cleaning and inspection products make
        all the difference in the world when working on this stuff. The Micro-Trains
        engines are a wonderfully reliable and smooth running product that will give
        you years of reliable service with great pulling power. If you need any help
        or have hit the proverbial dead end of wits to solving an issue, I will be
        happy to help you out and can also service your engine for you. Like Loren
        stated in an earlier posting to this string, MTL stands behind their product
        and will make right on any product that is deemed defective. In the couple
        hundred modern MTL engines I have dissected, I have found only one instance
        where an engine was an unsolvable issue and MTL promptly replaced it without
        issue or question.



        Don
        Carlsbad, CA





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Epling
        ... Don s own loco. He fussed and fumed over that problem child a long time and did finally admit defeat. He sent it to me and I promptly took it to MTL and
        Message 3 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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          >>BTW folks, the loco Don is referring to as being the one unsolvable loco was
          Don's own loco. He fussed and fumed over that problem child a long time and
          did finally admit defeat. He sent it to me and I promptly took it to MTL
          and they simply replaced it with a new one.
          Never did find out what was wrong with the original, but hey, that is MTL's
          internal problem.<<

          I would put forth the argument that the problem never got fixed, they simply replaced it.

          Gents, We've done everything that has been tossed out here and we still have 4 useless locomotives. Bob will be up late Friday, he's gonna give it one more shot before we regroup and figure out our next move.

          David

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Loren Snyder
          To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2011 4:48 PM
          Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Loren Snyder
          Dave, Yes, I believe MTL just replaced the chassis and whatever they did with the faulty one is anyone s guess. That just happened again last week for one of
          Message 4 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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            Dave,
            Yes, I believe MTL just replaced the chassis and whatever they did with the
            faulty one is anyone's guess. That just happened again last week for one of
            my customers. Found out that MTL simply put a new chassis under the hood
            and returned the next day. It would be my bet that 'if' they can't readily
            find the issue, they simply scratch the whole chassis into parts and start
            over. The chassis can always be melted and recast like they do junk cars.
            Or maybe they simply take them out back and release some pressure by
            throwing the offending loco as hard as they can against a brick wall.
            There would be a certain amount of satisfaction in doing that I'm sure. :o)

            Why not box them all up and send to Gail at MTL and tell her the peace of
            the world rests upon her ability to repair them to good running order? MTL
            is good about making things right.

            Loren




            -------Original Message-------

            From: David Epling
            Date: 5/9/2011 8:39:46 AM
            To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

            >>BTW folks, the loco Don is referring to as being the one unsolvable loco
            was
            Don's own loco. He fussed and fumed over that problem child a long time and
            did finally admit defeat. He sent it to me and I promptly took it to MTL
            and they simply replaced it with a new one.
            Never did find out what was wrong with the original, but hey, that is MTL's
            internal problem.<<

            I would put forth the argument that the problem never got fixed, they simply
            replaced it.

            Gents, We've done everything that has been tossed out here and we still have
            4 useless locomotives. Bob will be up late Friday, he's gonna give it one
            more shot before we regroup and figure out our next move.

            David


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Epling
            Thanks Loren, I think that is going to be our last option. Bob will be here at the museum late Friday so I imagine he ll give it another shot and then likely
            Message 5 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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              Thanks Loren, I think that is going to be our last option. Bob will be here at the museum late Friday so I imagine he'll give it another shot and then likely call it a day if we can't get anything going.

              Thanks everyone.

              David


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Loren Snyder
              To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 8:55 AM
              Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q



              Dave,
              Yes, I believe MTL just replaced the chassis and whatever they did with the
              faulty one is anyone's guess. That just happened again last week for one of
              my customers. Found out that MTL simply put a new chassis under the hood
              and returned the next day. It would be my bet that 'if' they can't readily
              find the issue, they simply scratch the whole chassis into parts and start
              over. The chassis can always be melted and recast like they do junk cars.
              Or maybe they simply take them out back and release some pressure by
              throwing the offending loco as hard as they can against a brick wall.
              There would be a certain amount of satisfaction in doing that I'm sure. :o)

              Why not box them all up and send to Gail at MTL and tell her the peace of
              the world rests upon her ability to repair them to good running order? MTL
              is good about making things right.

              Loren




              -------Original Message-------

              From: David Epling
              Date: 5/9/2011 8:39:46 AM
              To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

              >>BTW folks, the loco Don is referring to as being the one unsolvable loco
              was
              Don's own loco. He fussed and fumed over that problem child a long time and
              did finally admit defeat. He sent it to me and I promptly took it to MTL
              and they simply replaced it with a new one.
              Never did find out what was wrong with the original, but hey, that is MTL's
              internal problem.<<

              I would put forth the argument that the problem never got fixed, they simply
              replaced it.

              Gents, We've done everything that has been tossed out here and we still have
              4 useless locomotives. Bob will be up late Friday, he's gonna give it one
              more shot before we regroup and figure out our next move.

              David


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Loren Snyder
              Dave, I know the frustration that comes from having to baby sit balky locos or less than ideal performance of anything mechanical. One can t always keep an
              Message 6 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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                Dave,
                I know the frustration that comes from having to baby sit balky locos or
                less than ideal performance of anything mechanical. One can't always keep
                an eye open for the mule to keep moving or working right as it takes the joy
                out of the whole experience. Just imagine the fun of having to remove lost
                rolling stock or cars from inside my modules....lots of fun you bet.

                Besides, we're all growing too old for that nonsense, and just because we
                don't always function correctly doesn't mean our trains can't. :o)

                I know how important it is for your layout display to function properly so
                if your resident loco wizard ends up scratching his head, (careful, that's
                how I lost most of my hair) then by all means wrap up a care package in care
                of Gail at MTL and send them off to be repaired/replaced.

                Tell Gail I told you to send them. She'll do one of two things, either roll
                on the floor laughing loudly, or run out of the office screaming, "Loren's
                at it again!"

                Signed,
                A little crab grass in the flower garden of Gail's life,






                -------Original Message-------

                From: David Epling
                Date: 5/9/2011 12:06:51 PM
                To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

                Thanks Loren, I think that is going to be our last option. Bob will be here
                at the museum late Friday so I imagine he'll give it another shot and then
                likely call it a day if we can't get anything going.

                Thanks everyone.

                David



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ell
                ... SNIP ... SNIP ... Don, Loren, and all, I have 4 GP-35s. All 4 ran well out-of-the box and throughout a several hour break-in for each. They ran well at
                Message 7 of 19 , May 9, 2011
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                  --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Don Fedjur <donfedjur@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Guy's,
                  >
                  SNIP

                  >Also, with a quality volt meter, check the amp draw MA draw from your loco's contact points. If there is excessive draw, something is causing your engine problems........usually one of the listed subjects above.
                  >
                  SNIP
                  >
                  > Don
                  > Carlsbad, CA

                  Don, Loren, and all,

                  I have 4 GP-35s. All 4 ran well out-of-the box and throughout a several hour break-in for each. They ran well at shows I do once a year the first year for each. The next year for each they all ran slow. As far as I could tell there was no lint or other dirt problems. I sent them off to the Siska's for service anyway last summer. They all ran better when returned.

                  However, I learned many years ago to keep watch on the milliamp current draw of model train motors if you want to spot problems. I had checked the ma current draw for each before I sent them away. The ma current draw for each had dropped some when they came back, maybe from 45-50 ma to about 40 ma. But one had a significantly higher ma draw than the others, both before and after service. I don't have the numbers at hand, but it was like 80 ma compared to 45-50 ma. I loosened the screws on the chassis halves about a quarter turn and the ma current draw dropped considerably, from about 80 ma to about 50 or 60 ma. The engine seemed to run a little better, but further screw loosening did not result in an additional drop in the ma current draw. But this convinced me to loosen the chassis screws on the others a little.

                  Say what you will about operator error, there is obviously something different about this particular engine. Is it within manufacturing tolerances? I have no idea. Is something else creating a friction drag. I have no idea. All 4, when they slowed down, gave all indications that some sort of friction was causing the problem, not that it was a dirt or lubrication problem. But I sent them away for the service anyway.

                  It would be helpful (a suggestion made in the past on this board) if manufactures included an expected range for the ma current draw for locomotives that ran well. One could tell quickly then if something was wrong. Checking to see if the engine has gotten hot or seems to be moving more slowly are crude checks at best. Having a milli-ammeter connected provides a continuous check.

                  The engine in question doesn't run hot. But it's current draw is about 50 percent higher than my other GP-35s. Is it a candidate for replacement by MTL? I doubt it.

                  I am well aware that the majority of running problems with model train locomotives can be traced to crud getting into the mechanisms, dirty wheels or track, or improper lubrication. But these little z-scale jewels have some pretty close tolerances. Even a tiny mechanical problem, which may be near impossible to find, can cause reduced performance. The ma current draw of the motor can be a pretty good clue to this, but actually finding the problem is more than my eyes or fingers are capable of anymore (40 years ago maybe).

                  And with the way manufacturing is done today, you don't know what part, if any, is being built by the vendor or if it's built by a sub-contractor for the vendor. And if it's built by a sub-contractor, the sub-contractor may change from one production run to another. Assuring superior quality control is possible, even with different sub-contractors, but it is also very expensive.

                  Ell Geib
                • Don Fedjur
                  Ell, Thanks for the note. You are definitely see things on the right track here. It can be the tinniest of issues and sometimes be staring you right in the
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 9, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Ell,

                    Thanks for the note. You are definitely see things on the right track here. It can be the tinniest of issues and sometimes be staring you right in the face and you cannot still see the problem.


                    the majority of running problems with model train locomotives can be traced to crud getting into the mechanisms, dirty wheels or track, or improper lubrication. But these little z-scale jewels have some pretty close tolerances. Even a tiny mechanical problem, which may be near impossible to find, can cause reduced performance.

                    Routinely, and after an engine is broken in, I break it down. I almost always find fine particulate matter in the grease. Either from the factory or from someone who filed their posts to fit their DCC board. It can be a whole host of things the most common, carpet fiber, cotton lint fibers and hair, namely cat hair.

                    When I get an engine that is a problem child a simply cut to the chase on a proven routine, no screwing around. I completely dismantle the whole thing, inspect all of the internals, even clean or file flash metal on the chassis halves, trim plastic, you name it, then submerge less core less motor in a ultrasonic bath.

                    I use precision bearing lubricant as well as a high performance silicone gel based grease. Contacts come out brilliant shiny, wheels and gears are inspected for fuzz and debris remnant and close attention is paid to reassembly. 99.999% of the time we have a Charlie Sheen special, WINNER! It is all about the fit, conductivity, and reducing all possibilities of shorting.



                    Don Fedjur
                    7766 Anillo Way
                    Carlsbad, CA 92009

                    office; 760-942-6140
                    fax; 760-942-6180
                    mobile; 760-861-5161
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                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Ell <geib@...>
                    To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Mon, May 9, 2011 2:21 pm
                    Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q




                    --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Don Fedjur <donfedjur@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Guy's,
                    >
                    SNIP

                    >Also, with a quality volt meter, check the amp draw MA draw from your loco's contact points. If there is excessive draw, something is causing your engine problems........usually one of the listed subjects above.
                    >
                    SNIP
                    >
                    > Don
                    > Carlsbad, CA

                    Don, Loren, and all,

                    I have 4 GP-35s. All 4 ran well out-of-the box and throughout a several hour break-in for each. They ran well at shows I do once a year the first year for each. The next year for each they all ran slow. As far as I could tell there was no lint or other dirt problems. I sent them off to the Siska's for service anyway last summer. They all ran better when returned.

                    However, I learned many years ago to keep watch on the milliamp current draw of model train motors if you want to spot problems. I had checked the ma current draw for each before I sent them away. The ma current draw for each had dropped some when they came back, maybe from 45-50 ma to about 40 ma. But one had a significantly higher ma draw than the others, both before and after service. I don't have the numbers at hand, but it was like 80 ma compared to 45-50 ma. I loosened the screws on the chassis halves about a quarter turn and the ma current draw dropped considerably, from about 80 ma to about 50 or 60 ma. The engine seemed to run a little better, but further screw loosening did not result in an additional drop in the ma current draw. But this convinced me to loosen the chassis screws on the others a little.

                    Say what you will about operator error, there is obviously something different about this particular engine. Is it within manufacturing tolerances? I have no idea. Is something else creating a friction drag. I have no idea. All 4, when they slowed down, gave all indications that some sort of friction was causing the problem, not that it was a dirt or lubrication problem. But I sent them away for the service anyway.

                    It would be helpful (a suggestion made in the past on this board) if manufactures included an expected range for the ma current draw for locomotives that ran well. One could tell quickly then if something was wrong. Checking to see if the engine has gotten hot or seems to be moving more slowly are crude checks at best. Having a milli-ammeter connected provides a continuous check.

                    The engine in question doesn't run hot. But it's current draw is about 50 percent higher than my other GP-35s. Is it a candidate for replacement by MTL? I doubt it.

                    I am well aware that the majority of running problems with model train locomotives can be traced to crud getting into the mechanisms, dirty wheels or track, or improper lubrication. But these little z-scale jewels have some pretty close tolerances. Even a tiny mechanical problem, which may be near impossible to find, can cause reduced performance. The ma current draw of the motor can be a pretty good clue to this, but actually finding the problem is more than my eyes or fingers are capable of anymore (40 years ago maybe).

                    And with the way manufacturing is done today, you don't know what part, if any, is being built by the vendor or if it's built by a sub-contractor for the vendor. And if it's built by a sub-contractor, the sub-contractor may change from one production run to another. Assuring superior quality control is possible, even with different sub-contractors, but it is also very expensive.

                    Ell Geib







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Don Fedjur
                    Another thing to check is the even distribution of power throughout your layout. If you have a number of spurs, switch tracks etc. and your track feeder wires
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 10, 2011
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                      Another thing to check is the even distribution of power throughout your layout. If you have a number of spurs, switch tracks etc. and your track feeder wires are spaced far apart.........you may be having an issue of power drop, read loss. It will cause your motive power to reduce speed, balk etc. Measure it with a current meter and do it under load.


                      Don



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Loren Snyder <ljsnyder@...>
                      To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Mon, May 9, 2011 12:18 pm
                      Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q





                      Dave,
                      I know the frustration that comes from having to baby sit balky locos or
                      less than ideal performance of anything mechanical. One can't always keep
                      an eye open for the mule to keep moving or working right as it takes the joy
                      out of the whole experience. Just imagine the fun of having to remove lost
                      rolling stock or cars from inside my modules....lots of fun you bet.

                      Besides, we're all growing too old for that nonsense, and just because we
                      don't always function correctly doesn't mean our trains can't. :o)

                      I know how important it is for your layout display to function properly so
                      if your resident loco wizard ends up scratching his head, (careful, that's
                      how I lost most of my hair) then by all means wrap up a care package in care
                      of Gail at MTL and send them off to be repaired/replaced.

                      Tell Gail I told you to send them. She'll do one of two things, either roll
                      on the floor laughing loudly, or run out of the office screaming, "Loren's
                      at it again!"

                      Signed,
                      A little crab grass in the flower garden of Gail's life,






                      -------Original Message-------

                      From: David Epling
                      Date: 5/9/2011 12:06:51 PM
                      To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

                      Thanks Loren, I think that is going to be our last option. Bob will be here
                      at the museum late Friday so I imagine he'll give it another shot and then
                      likely call it a day if we can't get anything going.

                      Thanks everyone.

                      David



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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Ell
                      ... Hmm! Karen must do the planing for the kits. They don t seem to suffer from lack of planning for obvious potential problems. :-) :-) Ell
                      Message 10 of 19 , May 10, 2011
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                        > Just imagine the fun of having to remove lost
                        > rolling stock or cars from inside my modules....lots of fun you bet.

                        Hmm! Karen must do the planing for the kits. They don't seem to suffer from lack of planning for obvious potential problems. :-) :-)

                        Ell
                      • Loren Snyder
                        Yes, lots of careful planning and going back several times to re draw and make sure parts fit easily until we have it just right And no, there are no tunnels
                        Message 11 of 19 , May 10, 2011
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Yes, lots of careful planning and going back several times to re draw and
                          make sure parts fit easily until we have it 'just right'

                          And no, there are no tunnels for her parts to get lost in.......but I
                          suppose we could design something like that if you'd like :o)

                          Sometimes in the dark, but never in the tunnel,
                          Loren


                          -------Original Message-------

                          From: Ell
                          Date: 5/10/2011 1:41:59 PM
                          To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: GP7 Shell Swap Q

                          > Just imagine the fun of having to remove lost
                          > rolling stock or cars from inside my modules....lots of fun you bet.

                          Hmm! Karen must do the planing for the kits. They don't seem to suffer from
                          lack of planning for obvious potential problems. :-) :-)

                          Ell




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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