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Author Topic: Repairs to the Bachmann Standard line Big Hauler 4-6-0: Bumble Bee and others.  (Read 141813 times)
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

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« on: June 27, 2015, 09:38:03 PM »

Hi Fellow Large Scale Bachmann Forum Friends,
Let me start by saying that our beloved Big Hauler(Standard Line) 4-6-0 Locomotive with the latest most reliable Version 5 chassis has been produced for 17 years now. This is an amazing run for any model locomotive.  It is and remains a great locomotive.  These Version 5 chassis have been largely trouble free, but if you have one of those bought when they came out in 2000 and run it a lot it is very likely getting long in the tooth and may need repairs due to normal wear and tear.  Wear on the wheels, electric wipers, valve gears and motor along with high heat, rain snow and sleet, are all likely to contribute to a need for repairs. Nothing lasts forever!!

When repairs are needed after many years of running several options are possible:

The first being send it in to the Bachmann service department for repairs after first contacting them to see your options.  If you do this for your Big Hauler 4-6-0 the cost of the repair is currently $55.00(check for current price)  You pay shipping to Bachmann and Bachmann pays shipping back.  In most cases they will install a brand new chassis or at their discretion "may" send you a complete new locomotive, it will have the latest Version 5 chassis.  This is a great deal for the price, but not always the best option if you have installed aftermarket sound or converted your locomotive to radio control and battery power. That is why it is critical to call them  first.  

The second option is to replace the entire chassis and running gear by purchasing one from the Bachmann Online Store and and remove and replace your old chassis yourself.  The cost for a complete replacement chassis is currently $47(check for current price) plus shipping.  This method is very desirable if your locomotive tender is loaded with sound and radio control goodies and is not stock.   This is also strongly recommended because all the wheels running gear, gear train and motor are all new and completely assembled giving you for all intents and purposes a brand new locomotive from the motor and gearbox down.  This replacement is not very difficult if you take it slow and note how you took it apart, to make it easier to put back together.  I usually photograph things as I take them apart, putting the little screws and parts in sandwich bags labeling and numbering them as I as I go.

The third option is to just replace the broken part, motor, gears, or whatever, yourself.  I generally do not recommend this because it is kinda like replacing the motor in a 15 year old car.  You end up with a great motor but all the other things are probably ready to fail anyway.  Also individual parts, especially small parts are hard to find, and pretty costly in their own right.  You can spend hours of research finding a gear paying big bucks, and finding it does not fit.
There is also the fumble finger problem, I have been guilty of it myself.  This is when while fixing one thing you break something else.  Don't ask me how I know all this Roll Eyes!  If you go this option it may be a good idea to buy a parts locomotive or two. The problem with this method is you can't always be sure the parts locomotive has the same motor and gearbox yours does because their have been 5 different chassis versions.

I recently responded to a private message from a forum member who has a Bumble Bee locomotive. He asked if I knew a source to buy just a motor.  I made the following response:::

"Are you absolutely sure the problem is the motor. If not test it by applying power directly to the two leads right at the motor to be sure.  I say this because motor failure is very rare with the 4-6-0, but does occasionally occur.

I do not know of a way to buy just the motor, but you can currently buy a replacement chassis with the latest motor and gears directly from Bachmann for only $47.00(check current price).  It is an exact replacement for your your locomotive right down to the correct colors on the steam chests.  I recommend the complete chassis, because the locomotive in set 90025 has an older more problematic gear box. Replacement of the entire mechanism/chassis will over the long run be the best solution, provided you properly lube it from time to time.  You did not say which locomotive was giving you the problem, the older one or the newer one, but I still think the replacement chassis will be the way to go, since you will get an entirely new latest version 5 complete chassis.

The link to the item in the Bachmann online store is:  "

END OF RESPONSE to private message.

Tips on buying the correct chassis:
This Bumble Bee Chassis noted above will be an exact match for the locomotive in Big Hauler Sets 90025,90032,90057 and 90058 and have the cab number 177 178 or 179.  

To find the chassis you want, start by getting the product number of the set you have. say 90024.  Go to the chassis selections in the online store and see if it is available by looking for a chassis with the same number and purchase it.  In many cases the exact colors on the chassis you want are not available or yours is sold out.  All the chassis are the same mechanically with only the colors and pilot(cow catcher) different.  You can buy the chassis with confidence knowing that it will fit your cab and boiler perfectly. At most you will have to paint the parts to match the colors on your old chassis.  If the one you get has the old time long pilot, and yours has the short more modern pilot, it is a simple task involving only two screws to use your old pilot on the new chassis.  

I have droned on long enough on this subject, but if you follow this advice, I believe you will end up with very dependable locomotive, providing you properly lube it after each 10 hours of running with plastic compatible lubricants, with special emphasis on the points where the wheel axles enter the chassis.  If your side rods are binding stop your locomotive and find out why to prevent damage.

Here is how to identify your chassis version.
Big Hauler 4-6-0 Chassis Version Identification  by Bill Canelos  Copyright 1995-2015 by Bill Canelos All rights reserved.               
Version 1  1988-1990  Battery Powered R/C Units                              
Version 2  1990-1994  Smooth Bottom Cover  You can turn drivers by hand and motor will turn.                           
Version 3  1994-1998  Smooth Bottom Cover You cannot turn the drivers by hand.                              
Version 4  1998-1999  Large wide hump dead center between the rear drivers on bottom cover.                              
Version 5  2000-Pres  3/8th inch wide hump offset between the rear drivers and a plastic lubrication plug the size of a dime to the rear of the hump..                              

Note that the dates overlap and as of Feb 1, 2015 have not been fixed more precisely, but all new sets introduced in 1999 with the VHS instructions have the version 5 chassis locomotive.                           
All Big Hauler 4-6-0's manufactured after 2000 have the version 5 chassis, all new sets after 2000 have it as well.   

Have a great time running your trains.

Loco Bill   
 Edited to correct spelling.  I was not aware the message would become a FAQ, so remember the prices are as of this writing and are subject to change, especially the price of the chassis, which was on sale as of June 28th 2015!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 06:18:03 PM by Loco Bill Canelos » Logged

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
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