Cleaning Tip: Walthers Mainline ES44

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DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
#1
Hey all. I was not able to find any information about this on the series of tubes known as the internet, so I'm doing my own info dump here.

Last weekend when I ran my Walthers ES44 at the club I noticed it was a bit finicky, especially on certain track types, and I'm giving it a clean to see if that helps. I never got around to degreasing the typical factory over-greasing so I'm chasing that dog now.

These trucks break down a little differently than other locos I am familiar with.

The sideframes are held in by fork tabs. They didn't take much effort to pry off.
IMG_20181116_161735804.jpg


The baseplate is a little weird. It has two big tabs on each end and two small ones on each side. This piece needs to be pried off back to front, so start at the fuel tank end and work it off towards the pilot.
IMG_20181116_161629271.jpg
IMG_20181116_161401222.jpg


The axles are held in there pretty tightly by the bronze bushings, just like any typical diesel model worth its salt. They are VERY snug, though, and some force is needed to get them out.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#3
Going by the loco's prototype, this is from the latest of Walthers Mainline production. I was under the impression that these are using the Proto lines drive, which now has helical gears (teeth cut on and angle to improve the way they mesh together). The photo doesn't seem to convey that.

And what you are saying about the brass bearings being tightly held, would prevent the axles having some free and independent up/down/rocking/twisting movement to allow for track irregularities.
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
#4
Going by the loco's prototype, this is from the latest of Walthers Mainline production. I was under the impression that these are using the Proto lines drive, which now has helical gears (teeth cut on and angle to improve the way they mesh together). The photo doesn't seem to convey that.
My photo is a terrible example of that. The gears' teeth are cut at an angle, yes. They are not straight teeth like an Athearn.

And what you are saying about the brass bearings being tightly held, would prevent the axles having some free and independent up/down/rocking/twisting movement to allow for track irregularities.
They are VERY tight, yes. They are also the main point of electrical contact so I dare not to mess with how they sit in the truck body.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#5
My photo is a terrible example of that. The gears' teeth are cut at an angle, yes. They are not straight teeth like an Athearn.
That's OK then, 'cause I was sure that's what I'd read, didn't want to be sharing false info.

They are VERY tight, yes. They are also the main point of electrical contact so I dare not to mess with how they sit in the truck body.
The proof of the pudding will be in how they react over dips and peaks, if any. One of the things about tri-axle loco trucks, is they like to pivot about on the center wheels, causing derailments. I know my Athearns, even with their bit of "looseness", will do that, even when placing the loco on the track.
There's always that movement in the truck's mounting that compensates to a degree. Far as I'm aware, there's only one guy at the club who has bought any of these Mainline locos. Somehow he seems to be able to sell them on and make a profit.
 
#6
I’m curious, have you been able to locate any information on the ESU decoders other than the small amount in the box?
I just got a KCS unit and would like a bit more documentation on it. I ran mine at our club last weekend and it did fine on the track there. I ran it with a Mainline SD70ACE as a second unit and a SD70ACE as a mid-train DPU with no issues. It was quite impressive! I have 4 of the Mainline units now am pretty happy with them.
 



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