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!