Engines Issues ....

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#1
I own 9 engines, mainly Kato's but also a Fox Valley, BLI and a Bachmann (Steam). All but 2 of them run perfectly around my test track with a 17" radius. The two problem engines are a Kato ES44AC with TCS Decoder and the Fox Valley SD70.

The Fox Valley:

Despite having this engine for a little while, it is new having only been run for about 15 or 20 minutes to ensure that it did run. At that time it was very sluggish, at least compared to my Kato's, but I put that down to it needing to be "broken in" and it's performance did seem to improve the longer it did run. Last night I put it back on the track and the only thing that happened was the headlights lit and it "jerked forward" for an inch then stopped. Jerked forward another inch then stopped. It did that four or five times before it simply would not move at all in either forward or reverse.

Kato Engine:

The ES44AC has a similar issue except it does run BUT hesitates, runs sluggish, stops then goes again and so forth. I don't know what else I can tell you about this engine other than I have an identicle one that runs perfectly.

As said, 7 out of the 9 engines run without an issue on the same track so I can't see the problems being being track related. The Kato does not make any strange noises to indicate a mechanical problem; although, I am not mechanically minded when it comes to these things. I can't say for the FV as it doesn't do anything at all.

The only thing I can come up with is neither of the two problem engines have had much run time and last night was the first time either of them have been run in a few months. Whether that is a factor or not I don't know.

So, what are your thoughts re possible problems? As said, I am not mechanically minded so if there is anything else that you may need to know just ask and I'll try to tell you.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#2
I always break in my locomotives, I run them for about an hour, then I run them in reverse for another hour. I try to make sure the make turns to the left and right about equally. I find this does smooth out there operation and gives me time to find potential problems.
 

migalyto

Active Member
#3
Tony...... On the Kato units, I would go to the contact strips on the decoder. Pull the shell off and try to run it without it. Put it on a test track and squeeze the together and see if you don’t get more life out of it. As you know Kato locomotives are pretty bulletproof so it sounds like dirty wheels or contact problem. With the shell off you can also have inspect the copper contact that runs and picks up power for both wheel sets.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#4
Tony...... On the Kato units, I would go to the contact strips on the decoder. Pull the shell off and try to run it without it. Put it on a test track and squeeze the together and see if you don’t get more life out of it. As you know Kato locomotives are pretty bulletproof so it sounds like dirty wheels or contact problem. With the shell off you can also have inspect the copper contact that runs and picks up power for both wheel sets.
Yup, wheels or wheel wipers would be the first thing I would look for. Sometimes new equipment has a coating of something on them from the factory.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#6
Yup, wheels or wheel wipers would be the first thing I would look for. Sometimes new equipment has a coating of something on them from the factory.
Check also for a heavy application of "old" lube on the gears.

Greg
Sorry should have said the Kato is not an old model, I've had it for sometime and prior to last night, and being put in storage for some months, it ran perfectly. The FVM on the other hand is a new engine so the grease and lube might be the problem there.

Mike,

Yep, Kato are pretty much bullet proof so I'll pull the shell off and see if I can see anything untoward but as mentioned, last time I ran it, it ran beautifully.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#7
I dun'no about Fox Valley, but an Intermountain SD40-2 had so much grease it oozed out all over the place in only 6' of running, compared to the HO Kato 80MAC that had none anywhere. Can depend on who is doing the putting together on the assembly line.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#9
I got the Kato running, it seems as though it may have been just dirty wheels from sitting for so long without being run. Gave them a clean with acetone and it now runs almost as well as the other Kato ES44AC.

The Fox Valley is, in my opinion, just a piece of cr%p that didn't run that great out of the box to begin with. Fortunately it was only cheap (price wise) and the price certainly represents the quality of the engine as well, at least THIS particular engine anyway..

I'm not going to mess around with the thing BUT will use it to practice pulling an engine apart, so it will serve some purpose, just not the one it was bought for.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
FV is now, I believe, owned by Intermountain Trains. I haven't any of the FV locos and only 2 IM's. The IM's are not my favorites, even though they both use Loksound. I also have rolling stock from both, box cars from FV which are very nice, from pre IM manufacture and a number of closed hoppers by IM, that while fully assembled, were from one of their kit lines originally. A lot of ill fitting parts. What stands out are the corner stirrups when viewed from the sides, they turn in at the bottoms, make the cars look like a Banana (maybe sell'em to someone modelling QR), and seems I've glued every part on them back on.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#11
To be honest with you, the only engines I have not had any issues with have been the Kato engines. The issue with mine, as it turns out, was dirty wheels. Gave them a good clean and the engine is (as we speak) running happily around the test track.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Yep, at least with the Kato Engine. The jury is still out on the FVM; although, as stubborn as I am, I will find the issue if it means stripping the thing down to each and every tiny piece. All I'll have to do then is send it back to FVM to be re assembled :rolleyes:

I've pulled the shell off and had a look for any grease or oil oozing anywhere and couldn't see anything; although, the entire motor is pretty well encased/sandwiched between the frame and metal body so you can't see all that much any way. There is nothing hindering the wheels or trucks either so I am putting it down (through elimination) to a (maybe) electrical problem somewhere; although, have no clue where and no idea where to start looking.
 
#14
Does the FVM engine have "split" axles, with the wheels and axles separate from the gears? I had similar run-stop-run problems with a "new" engine. Turned out one of the plastic axles had split...in the box! Replaced them all with Athearn gears and the problem cleared up!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#15
Does the FVM engine have "split" axles, with the wheels and axles separate from the gears? I had similar run-stop-run problems with a "new" engine. Turned out one of the plastic axles had split...in the box! Replaced them all with Athearn gears and the problem cleared up!
I presume you are talking HO. The problem here is with N-scale locos. Unfortunately I left N-Scale long before Fox Valley even existed (probably before the founder of Fox Valley existed), so I'm not much help on that point.
 

migalyto

Active Member
#16
I had several FVM Gevos when I was in N scale. They defiantly were no Katos, but I had pretty good luck with them. They didn't like dirty track that the Katos seemed to go over no problem. The mechanism was a lot noisier than the Katos, but as long as the track was clean along with repeated wheel cleaning they never failed to run, but then again Katos run like sewing machines.
 

bnsf971

AKA Gomez Addams
Staff member
#17
If I recall correctly, the FVM mechanisms are knockoff copies of Atlas mechanisms, which are themselves knockoffs of Kato mechanisms.
Y'all probably don't know a lot about cloning, but there is a real thing called replicate fading. That means, when you make a copy of a copy of a copy, details (and smooth operation) start to get lost in the translation.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#18
Does the FVM engine have "split" axles, with the wheels and axles separate from the gears? I had similar run-stop-run problems with a "new" engine. Turned out one of the plastic axles had split...in the box! Replaced them all with Athearn gears and the problem cleared up!
No idea trailrider sorry ... but as Horseman said, this is an N Scale engine so I'd need to ask if the mechs are the same for N as for HO?
I presume you are talking HO. The problem here is with N-scale locos. Unfortunately I left N-Scale long before Fox Valley even existed (probably before the founder of Fox Valley existed), so I'm not much help on that point.
Yes, we are talking about N Scale here and not HO.
I had several FVM Gevos when I was in N scale. They defiantly were no Katos, but I had pretty good luck with them. They didn't like dirty track that the Katos seemed to go over no problem. The mechanism was a lot noisier than the Katos, but as long as the track was clean along with repeated wheel cleaning they never failed to run, but then again Katos run like sewing machines.
I didn't consider that at all; rather, assumed that if one engine (even three different engine makes Kato, BLI and even Bachmann) ran then they all should hence my saying I didn't think it was a track issue. From what your saying Mike, I'll give my track a darn good going over with my CMX and see if that helps at all. If they (FVM) are that finicky that could be the problem. Then, hopefully I will be able to give the wheels a proper clean so long as I can get it to run enough to "spin" the wheels.
If I recall correctly, the FVM mechanisms are knockoff copies of Atlas mechanisms, which are themselves knockoffs of Kato mechanisms.
Y'all probably don't know a lot about cloning, but there is a real thing called replicate fading. That means, when you make a copy of a copy of a copy, details (and smooth operation) start to get lost in the translation.
Interesting point Terry and one that is handy to know when wanting to select an engine to buy (by make) when reliability is the main consideration. It also explains why Kato engines are, or seem to be, the most reliable and solid runners.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#20
Mike,

Sorry for the delayed reply but have been pretty busy doing other "real life" things. In short though yes I have made progress. The Kato is back up and running as normal and the FVM is getting a bit better. As you stated, they definitely do NOT like any dirt of any description or amount what so ever and that seems to have been the main issue with that engine.

I gave the track a good clean with the CMX and also gave the wheels on the FVM (and Kato) a clean as well. That seems to have improved things for the FVM so will be giving its wheels a better, more thorough, clean in time. All in all though, the Kato is back to normal and running beautifully and the FVM is getting there slowly.

What this has taught me, if nothing else, is NEVER to compare any other engine with my Kato engines and just because one make of engine runs smoothly and properly does not mean all others will on the same track.
 



ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Top