The saga of the Trainorama 44 class split wheel-sets

 
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
I decided today to try and tackle the issue of these damned clunking/lurching/slipping wheel-sets.

I mentioned elsewhere yesterday, that I just bought a PSM 44 class off ebay. As luck would have it, it has the same running number (4423) as one of my under-performing TOR 44s.

So, today I figured that 4423 would be the ideal "sacraficial lamb" to try and find out what is going on with the wheels.

Well, I've got to say that they didn't build those bogies with the intention that anybody would ever want to dismantle them! I cut the wires and removed the rear bogie from the loco. I poked and prodded as gently as I could (at first), but nothing I did seemed to indicate the right "pressure point/s" that would unlock the bogie. 

More pressure and leverage was applied until the fore and aft brake cylinders on one side, parted company with the bogie. The pressure stakes were raised again and now 2 jewellers screw-drivers were employed to try and remove the base cover plate. The cover was contorted into an unbelievably crazy shape, only to spring back into position once the pressure was reduced/removed.

Eventually, having decided that the bogie was probably going to have to be destroyed, I added more pressure and the bottom plate (incorporating the side frames) reluctantly parted company with the "mechanical" section of the bogie. The damage was restricted to a couple of broken plastic joints between the side frame and the base plate; so not as bad as I had envisaged.

The wheel-sets were easily removed and inspected under my magnifying lamp, to reveal that the nylon gears on all 3 axles were cracked on their short end, enabling the steel axle that slides into the central gear section to rotate independant of the wheel on the opposite side. The 11 gear teeth themselves appear to be intact and causing no meshing issues etc.

I read somewhere else, a report from a fellow modeller who said he corrected the problem by drilling a small hole through the plastic "sleeve and the steel axle and then pinning it. That may well work, but as I have 5 of these locos, I'm not keen on the idea of doing that to 30 axles, any more than I am to dismantle 9 more bogies.

So there you have it.....a tale of woe and I now have a partially dismantled 44 class that may be only good to be used for parts. However, I live in hope that someone, better at this sort of stuff than me, will go into business and produce the required wheel-sets (or even just the new centre gear sections) and also undertake to dismantle and re-build the bogies in a professional manner!


Roachie

  

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  Thumpa Chief Train Controller

Location: That's on a need to know basis.
Sounds like a right royal FUBA!

However; PM if you would like to sell the metal chassis of the TOR 44

That goes for anyone else who has a TOR 44 chassis.



Regards,
Thumpa.
  Albert Chief Commissioner

G'day Bill, I have shared you pain on a number of occasions. however I have developed a couple of methods to removing the side frame so little to no damage is done.

Work from one end to the other releasing each clip by inserting flat tooth picks (not the round ones) where the clips are located. The bogie frame will felx a bit but nothing has broken yet.

Also I have removed the side frame while the bogie is still in the loco. Cradle the loco firmly, at one end jam a small blade screwdriver under the end of the bogie frame (fuel take end is easier) and with a pair of needle nose pliers sqeeze the clips while levering up the screw driver and work to the other end.


  Wee_pierre Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
Rochie, Told you that you need a degree in engineering to get them apart. After my last posting Al from AR Kits sent me some of his plastic gear axles and as I only got back to Broken Hill yesterday I have not had a chance to compare them with the TOR axles and with the degree of difficulty in getting the bogies apart I probably won't till another set cracks. This would be a good opportunity for me to thank Al for supplying the parts cost free and postage free to try and help me fix a problem with someone elses product 'Well Done Al!' Shame on TOR multiple STD phone contacts  and not a sausage 1 angry post and Al contacted me he is obviously a manufacturer that cares about customer service and supporting the product after it has been sold. Whatever happened to customer service and spare part back up in this country?
  ARKits Train Controller

Location: Warwick, Qld
Rochie, Told you that you need a degree in engineering to get them apart. After my last posting Al from AR Kits sent me some of his plastic gear axles and as I only got back to Broken Hill yesterday I have not had a chance to compare them with the TOR axles and with the degree of difficulty in getting the bogies apart I probably won't till another set cracks. This would be a good opportunity for me to thank Al for supplying the parts cost free and postage free to try and help me fix a problem with someone elses product 'Well Done Al!' Shame on TOR multiple STD phone contacts  and not a sausage 1 angry post and Al contacted me he is obviously a manufacturer that cares about customer service and supporting the product after it has been sold. Whatever happened to customer service and spare part back up in this country?
"Wee_pierre"


Hi Little Peter,
I have a feeling that the gears I supplied will not do the job but I will look into other options.

I may manufacture but I am also still a modeller and know what it feels like to have something fail with little or not options left but to trash what you have bought. 

Have a great day.

Regards

Al
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Unfortunately you only need to be one tooth count different and it will not work. And it seems that each Chinese manufacturer uses their own design, so there is no commonality between models for different importers.

Fitting plastic gears to metal shafts has always been a no-no, but the Chinese do not appear to be aware of this, and continue to make this very basic mistake over and over again. Even the bigger names are no different, with both Hornby and Bachmann making this mistake as well. You can fit plastic gears to shafts as long as there is some method to key them and hold them in place, such as key flats, pins or even splined shafts, but an interference fit is always going to fail after a period of time as the plastic shrinks.

And it now appears that a new level has been reached where the bogies are extremely difficult, if not nigh on impossible to safely dismantle to change the gears or wheel sets.

North West Short Line have for many years made a comfortable business out of making replacement wheels and gears to replace the faulty ones in models built by some of the best known names in the business in the US. But they will have no knowledge of the Australian models, so it is unlikely they will produce replacements.

It would be possible to make locally produced replacements, but what is the point if they simply split again after a period of time? The only option would be to change the design to give them a longer lifetime, perhaps replacing plastic with metal gears.

But if you cannot easily dissasemble the bogie to change the gears ???
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Unfortunately you only need to be one tooth count different and it will not work. And it seems that each Chinese manufacturer uses their own design, so there is no commonality between models for different importers.

Fitting plastic gears to metal shafts has always been a no-no, but the Chinese do not appear to be aware of this, and continue to make this very basic mistake over and over again. Even the bigger names are no different, with both Hornby and Bachmann making this mistake as well. You can fit plastic gears to shafts as long as there is some method to key them and hold them in place, such as key flats, pins or even splined shafts, but an interference fit is always going to fail after a period of time as the plastic shrinks.

And it now appears that a new level has been reached where the bogies are extremely difficult, if not nigh on impossible to safely dismantle to change the gears or wheel sets.

North West Short Line have for many years made a comfortable business out of making replacement wheels and gears to replace the faulty ones in models built by some of the best known names in the business in the US. But they will have no knowledge of the Australian models, so it is unlikely they will produce replacements.

It would be possible to make locally produced replacements, but what is the point if they simply split again after a period of time? The only option would be to change the design to give them a longer lifetime, perhaps replacing plastic with metal gears.

But if you cannot easily dissasemble the bogie to change the gears ???
"TheBlacksmith"


G'day Blacksmith,

I'm glad you have added your comments, as I have been wondering whether YOU could assist us Aussie modellers in some way?

What would be the possibility of you manufacturing a suitable bogie out of brass, with "arms" sticking out onto which the Trainorama side frames could be glued?

The brass bogie would have a level of inherent extra weight which would prevent it lifting a wheel on the leading outer edge as it traversed a curve. With some pre-planning, it could be possible for this new bogie to simply drop into the TOR running gear, even to the point (perhaps) that the original driveshaft could be re-used.

I would be interested in your thoughts regarding this idea and the likely cost per bogie please.......

Cheers

Bill
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Bill,

The problem I have is that the TOR design is very different from the one I use in my bogies. So any potential replacement would require new parts to do the job.

At this current point in time there is very little sales activity going on, and from what I hear from other small manufacturers, they are experiencing the same downturn. So I would have to be very brave to commit to a whole bunch of new parts under the current situation.

However, if someone was willing to send me a faulty bogie to examine (it would be returned), I could then post my views here, and see what interest exists.

Geoff
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Thanks Geoff,

I am about to send Al one of the wheel-sets from the bogie I have removed, but I could send you the rest of the bogie if you would like to have a gander at it. The more experts that are involved the more likely we are to get a good result I reckon.

Geoff, I take you point about not wanting to commit to a large tooling cost for a potential fizzer; however, I see it as a potential captive market. TOR have indicated they will have a "fix" by the end of the year, but I wonder whether that will just be a large box-full of the same wheel-sets that have been found to be faulty after a bit of use? I do not envisage TOR producing a whole new bogie (that would be easier to dismantle); but it would be great if that is what they do.

I don't want to create a situation whereby I appear to be playing you and Al off against each other. Al has asked me to send him a wheel-set so he can see what's involved and what is going wrong. However, even if he can produce a new wheel-set to go in the existing bogie, we still end up with a bad situation whereby we have to use brute force (with resultant damage) to get the damed thing/s apart in order to install the new wheel-sets.

A far better solution in the long run is for a complete new bogie or a complete new mechanism, which would incorporate the existing bogie side frames.

I will send the remainder of the bogie to you Geoff, for your appraisal.

Regards,

Bill
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
OK Bill, I will wait to see the bogie, then I will report back to this thread.

Geoff
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Rochie, Told you that you need a degree in engineering to get them apart. After my last posting Al from AR Kits sent me some of his plastic gear axles and as I only got back to Broken Hill yesterday I have not had a chance to compare them with the TOR axles and with the degree of difficulty in getting the bogies apart I probably won't till another set cracks. This would be a good opportunity for me to thank Al for supplying the parts cost free and postage free to try and help me fix a problem with someone elses product 'Well Done Al!' Shame on TOR multiple STD phone contacts  and not a sausage 1 angry post and Al contacted me he is obviously a manufacturer that cares about customer service and supporting the product after it has been sold. Whatever happened to customer service and spare part back up in this country?
"Wee_pierre"




Not entirely the fault of customer service & spare parts 'in this country'. The problem is with the manufacturers (probably in China) making sub-standard parts and if they don't make spares available, then there is little sellers like TOR can do.

Makers like the old Hornby factory, could simply run off another batch of parts if they were faulty or in short supply, now time has to be found in the Chinese factory production run to do so. A Hornby diesel (class 31) had a batch of faulty chassis which corroded to pieces. It actually expands taking the body shell with it, as per photos in this thread.

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/43768-hornby-corroded-class-31-chassis/page__hl__%2Bhornby+%2Bclass+%2Bcorroded+%2Bchassis__fromsearch__1

It cannot be fixed, except by replacement.
So if a large organisation such as Hornby, can't get this resolved after more than a year. Modellers are still waiting for Hornby to replace the chassis (and body shell if required) - this IS what they have promised to do under warranty, what hope have TOR got?


Kevin Martin
  a6et Minister for Railways

The last lot of information that came out of TOR, since BBB took over the whole business, & prior to GL Ray's reply to Roachie's other post on AMR, is that their new factory had to do a lot of work on retooling/Engineering for the 48, & GM's.

Included in the retooling was the supplying of new motors for all previous models, which meant that the motors for the 48 would be able to used in the 47, & 49cl, also the GM would be able to be used for the 44, S, 42 etc.

As I have no idea about whether the same sort of mech used in the 44 is the same as in the S & 42cl, which makes me wonder if the new tooling set up would be changed by TOR for future releases, in which case it would be an reasonable idea if those modellers who have problematic 44cl could contact TOR & suggest to them that it would be in their interests to see if their new factory could look into this problem with the aim of rectifying it, & also to make available spare bogie mechanisms.

If that cannot happen, then hopefully Geoff or Al may be able to come up with something.
  N470 Station Master

Location: Somewhere with a MYKI card


  • Does the same issue exist with the Traino 930?



Regards,
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
One would expect so...
  UP9372 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Banned


Everytime Roachie posts about pulling something apart I cringe in horror. Suggestion, do not pull anything apart. Sell it and buy something that works or at least ask if someone else knows how to pull the poor thing apart. The tooth picks etc sound like a better plan than sheer destructive force.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)

Everytime Roachie posts about pulling something apart I cringe in horror. Suggestion, do not pull anything apart. Sell it and buy something that works or at least ask if someone else knows how to pull the poor thing apart. The tooth picks etc sound like a better plan than sheer destructive force.
"UP9372"


You're probably right mate!!!

I am used to working on diesel engines and also on brass and white metal locos; so when it comes to plastic I also cringe in fear of what might happen when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object!!! hahaha

I would love to replace all my 44 class locos with PSM brass units, but you'd soon see me in the bankruptcy courts!!!

The TOR body shell and bogie side frames are, to me, impeccable. Too bad about the mechanism; or to be specific, just that one little aspect of the mechanism.

I used to repair brass steam locos ( and build white metal kits commercially) and it would be great if there was a keen, able modeller out there somewhere who would undertake to do the same for plastic models.

Goodness knows how many blokes there are like me that are either too ham-fisted or whose eye-sight is failing them, who would love to pay a competent person to fix these models for a reasonable fee. I guess the big factor is the cost.

The models themselves are relatively cheap (say $150- for a TOR 44 class at the moment), that it would only require a bloke to do 7 hours work (@ say $20- per hour), and you'd be better off just chucking the old one and buying a new one. It's the age in which we live....the "throw-away society").

Roachie
  ARKits Train Controller

Location: Warwick, Qld
Hi Bill,

I know where you are coming from. I have a 47 Class here that I am not game to touch. Also had a CL here that had some real issues. keeper plate on the bogies kept falling off. The little nubs that hold the plates on had worn away. So I used Micro Trains body mount screws to self tap into the bottom of the keeper plate and then into the gearbox spacers on the bottom of the gear box sides. Held a treat. I have also spoken to a couple of guys who are supposed to be repair gurus and they had the same problems as you. So I guess you are up there with the best of them.

I think I will stick with the tried and true Kato method. Bottom keeper plate just pops off and the wheels gears are made from quality tooling delrin so that they generally do not split. First 45 were produced in 1989 and to date I have only ever had to replace three axels because of this and one was just the other day.
Regards

Al
  Albert Chief Commissioner


Everytime Roachie posts about pulling something apart I cringe in horror. Suggestion, do not pull anything apart. Sell it and buy something that works or at least ask if someone else knows how to pull the poor thing apart. The tooth picks etc sound like a better plan than sheer destructive force.
"UP9372"


Selling and buying another doesn't work either. Wink   I had a CFCLA 44 that kept derailing, it had a warped gear tower and as a result the bogie would see-saw instead of riding flat.

I sold it. Waited a couple of years and bought another (same number) and the new loco had the exact same problem. This time I got TOR to send me a new bogie though.
  Stu49 Junior Train Controller

No real excuse for the lack of product support really.
I have an early AR kits 45 class that was rebuilt using genuine parts supplied by AL.
No waiting for months for parts or reply emails.
That is exactly what the "other" big names should do I believe it is known as backing your product?
cheers

Stu
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
I have today placed an order with Hollywood Foundry for a new 44 class mechanism with belt drive, 26:1 gearing.

My rationale is that (assuming it all works out okay), I will have a well-detailed model that runs exceptionally well, for far less than the cost of any more PSM brass 44 class locos.

By the way, the PSM 44 I bought off ebay has arrived yet, but when it does I will be have a close comparative look at the TOR v PSM models for level of detail. I realise that there will be differences, because the PSM models represents the "as delivered" version of the model, the most notable difference to latter locos being the 5 chime air horns at the No.1 end and no horns at all at the No.2 end.

If this all goes well, I plan to order more HF mechanisms for the remainder of my 44s.

At this stage I'm not sure what work will be required to get the new mech to fit into the TOR model and whether I'll be able to re-use the heavy TOR weight that surrounds the motor and flywheels. If that cannot be done, I will have to work out how to add extra weight to the loco.

I will also need to work out the best way of attaching the bogie side frames and fuel tank.

In the meantime, I am about to send off one bogie to Hollywood Foundry so Geoff can decide if there is anything he can offer as a suitable alternative and also will be sending off 1 wheel set to Al Cutmore so he can ponder the wheel-sets themselves. With regard to the latter, I don't reckon it's going to be viable....even if Al can manufacture new wheel-sets, there is still the vexing issue of the level of difficulty of dismantling the TOR bogies to get the new wheels in there!!!

Roachie
  Albert Chief Commissioner

If you are going to replace the mechs, use the good bogies to fix others that click.
  Piston Train Controller

Other than Mr Roachie, how many others have this problem with their 44 class?

Although this is a well known problem we might be hitting the panic button too early. Maybe this was out of a crook batch?

If it is going to happen to all of our diesels in time, this might be a ticking time bomb to kill off the hobby.  Give it a few years when Tom Hobbies is gone (sorry already gone), Bobs Hobbies, Eureka, Auscision and the rest and there will be a glut of dummy units available.

I just hope this is just a small occurence and our fleets will be safe in the future.
  Albert Chief Commissioner

I've had the problem with the 44, 47 and 49's, so it's not just a crook batch. Even had the problem with the first release of Austrains 80 class.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
If you are going to replace the mechs, use the good bogies to fix others that click.
"Albert"


G'day Albert,

I have now sold the TOR model of 4423 (minus one bogie) and when I get the new Hollywood Foundry mech it will go under another TOR 44 (4498). That will leave me with 2 bogies which may be able to be used as spares for the other 3 TOR 44s I have.

However, I fear that the longevity of these bogies is going to be relatively short.

I have just become aware of another possible replacement from AR Kits.....Al is preparing replacement mechs for several plastic and also white metal and brass locos, including the 44 class. So I will hang off to see what happens on that front.

Roachie
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Conspiracy: initially there was a Traino' 44 Dummy Unit available for $150. Coincidence that the Powered 44's have been reduced to the same price? Is this a subtle way of declaring that they're only good for being pushed/pulled around or simply over-supply?

Just a thought

I potentially have a fleet of ten Dummy 44's...

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