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Author Topic: Why I Like and Use B'mann's HO SD40-2s  (Read 9598 times)
K487

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« on: July 01, 2013, 01:35:23 PM »

I posted this on another board because someone asked about Bachmann HO SD40-2s.  Because of the subject matter I thought it would be suitable here.  Smiley

Regarding Bachmann's HO SD40-2s, here's my 3 years of experience with them. They are my all-time favorite diesel locomotives, and I have many of these. Here's why.

A. To me they look great (any missing or molded-in minor details or potential prototype/model measurement discrepancies don't bother me).

B. Price is attractive (generally can be found for under $50 for a new one).

C. SD40-2s are my favorite real railroad diesel locomotives (I used to ride in them on the Missouri Pacific RR in the Ozarks of Missouri in the 1970's as head end brakeman) - powerful, dependable, and comfortable to ride in.

D. I remove any DCC or light boards (I'm strictly DC only) and use the space (plus elsewhere) to add 4 ounces of weight, and doing it while balancing the total weight equally over both trucks. The locos as-is weigh in at 18 ounces each and with my additions total 22 ounces.

E. After lubing and running them in just one of these will walk off with a 60+ car train - forward or backwards - with no slipping from a dead start.

F. These engines with NO modifications will run around my 22", 19" and 16" radius loops. I use them only on the 22" and 19" loops - my visual barf-meter maxed-out  when I ran one on my 16" radius curves for the first (and last) time.

G. The "negatives" are (1) sometimes they slightly surge while running, (2) sometimes they have some minor (fairly quiet) gear chatter, and (3) once in while I get one that has very noticeable wheel chatter - from cracked gears?

H. Their overall noise level is - well, if an Atlas engine is the standard for "quiet running" and we give it an A grade, then 9 out of 10 of my Bachmann SD40-2 engines  (and most of my other Bachmann HO engines) would rate about a B to an A-. I can easily live with that.

I. I change out the orange headlight and install a 3-to-18 volt with resistor warm white 3mm LED. Since I run the three big trains with at least two locos I don't put any backup lights in (I'm lazy.)

J. Most (85%) of my engines are Bachmann (SD40-2, GP30, GP35, GP38-2; GP40, Berkshires and Heavy Mountains, plus some others), and I've found that about every 40 to 50 hours of run time I need to lube the motor and two gear tower bearings (and I also VERY lightly lube the commutator plates while they are spinning in the motor housing with LaBelle 107). Most of these engines will "tell" you when to lube them by beginning to jump-start sometimes and/or making some small unusual and/or screeching (dry bearing) sounds.

I'll admit that I really enjoy running 2 SD40-2s together (which I do most of the time), and sometimes 3 SD40s MU'd. And I change road names in these power consists when I feel like. Right now on the outside loop I have a CSX on the head end with a BNSF (facing aft) coupled to it.

Lastly, I'll also admit that I enjoy viewing the locos' railings.  Why?  They are painted appropriately and look to be to scale.  This is opposed to the Blue Box Athearn diesels I ran for many years - they served well but (A) I never painted the railings, (B) the railings were over-sized, and (C) the railing stanchions were easily pushed or bent out of the vertical .

Hope this is helpful or at least interesting.

K487
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jbrock27

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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 07:00:38 PM »

Athearn RTR are much better detailed today compared to the BB years.  I think all you said is terrific, but I would still choose an Athearn (or Atlas) diesel of recent times first.  I would likely put Kato up there as well, but can't state this from experience as I have yet to own one, but never read a bad thing about them, in any era they were made.
I also have yet to go DCC.
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K487

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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 08:01:27 PM »

jbrock27:

Thanks for the input.  For all of us it's beneficial to have some choices.  You sound like you're headed toward DCC, but while I've no intention of going there I won't say "never."

K487
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jward


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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 09:15:24 PM »

I have had brand k in both n scale and ho, and will never knowingly buy another.

haven't bought any Bachmann sd40-2s yet, but my Bachmann fleet so far totals about 20 locomotives. all 20 have given good performance free from major troubles. I run dcc and my only real complaint is the lack of programmability of mid and top speed on the dcc onboard locomotives I own. hopefully Bachmann will offer upograded decoders in the near future.

athearns were my standard for many years. Bachmann has taken over their spot on my roster, due to their reliability and affordability.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jbrock27

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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 10:43:38 PM »

Jeff, you are the first person I have ever heard knock brand "k".  What did you find that you disliked about them?  You are certainly consistent as I have seen you write many, many times how you used to be a true blue Athearn guy and now really find the Bachmann products to be a good product for a good price.

K487-No, I don't have any future plans for DCC.  What I do have plans for is installing 2 blocks when I redesign my layout.  This will be a first for me and have done much research and reading on the subject!  I will say, I took a look at some of those B'mann SD-40-2s and they certainly do look nice.  They come with flywheels on the motors?  Are they split frame?
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jward


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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 08:30:52 AM »

my ho locomotives were all atlas kato. I had problems with stripped axle gears, and difficulty finding replacement parts. my n scale rs2 ran more like a train set locomotive, with extremely high gearing especially when compared to the newer n scale locomotives by atlas, Bachmann and lifelike. the ho rs3 seemed to run too fast as well.


none of this has been a problem with the atlas classic reissues of these models, which run the way they're supposed to and have given me no problems. I currently have 5 classics, and 4 more trainmans which use the same drive.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jbrock27

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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 12:44:39 PM »

Thank you for the info Jeff.  I had never heard of those issues before.  Makes me glad that I ended up losing many bids for "yellow box" RSs!
I have a  Trainman GP-38-2.  It runs great, doesn't pull the best, buts runs supper smooth and quiet.
I do really like my B'mann Plus F7As and how they run.
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jward


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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 09:52:28 PM »

my current fleet of atlas is a tm  gp38-2, 3 tm rs36s, 4 classic rsd5s and a classic rs3. I also have a Bachmann rs3 which is as direct of a comparison as I can get. both Bachmann and atlas rs3s run very well, but the atlas is much heavier and thus pulls better on my grades.

for Bachmann I currently have an s4, an fa2, an rs2, a gp7, a gp9, several gp40s, 4 gp30s, 2 fts, 2 2-60s and
2 0-6-0s. plus a b23-7.

I guess you can tell I like alcos......

like I said before, any problems I've had with my classic and my bachmanns have been minor irritations which were easily solved or worked around.


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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Balrog21

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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2013, 07:09:21 PM »

Nice to see another fan of the SD40-2's! I love 'em as well! My favorite engine. Here is a pic of the IC Sd40/SD40-2's I'm collecting, Just two more and I will have all that was produced. Come Christmas time I think the elves over at Athearn will make me very happy. =) Not to mention the BN SD40-2 Dummy and the 3 other SD40-2's in the back, SanteFe, NS, and UP ones in the far back tracks. =) Two are Bachmann, the rest are Athearn, except for one and I don't know what it is. It's the Sante Fe one but it's a powerhouse. Oh, almost forgot I also have an undecorated SD40-2 from BLI that is getting some custom work to match the second photo below. They are all DCC now.
Bal


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K487

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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 10:38:22 AM »

Balrog21:

Your first pic made me think, "Somehow Balrog21 got it to rain SD40-2s on his layout!"  Smiley

If you can come real close to matching the ICG 6032 in your second pic you'll have a super winner.

K487

 
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Balrog21

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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 07:47:22 PM »

Thanks K487, hehe..I do love me some SD40-2's! More are in the works to aquire!  Grin
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Balrog21

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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 08:40:02 PM »

Just wanted to show the remaining Sd40's in the collection.



other than ICG's all I really want is a dummy Chessie System SD40-2, and I will be very happy!
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jward


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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2013, 10:26:16 PM »

i always preferred sd45s, with their low ruble, but sd40-2s were the most reliable locomotives ever built. this was the peak of EMD's dominance of the locomotive market. 40 years after the first ones were built, they are still going strong. can't say that about anything ge built except the industrial locomotives.

some sd40 trivia:

Illinois central had their sd40s built on a longer sdp45 underframe, to accommodate a larger fuel tank.

the sd40 and sd40-2 have the long front and rear "porches" because emd standardized on the underframes on its 6 axle locomotives. the sd45 uses the same frame, but lacks the large porches due to a larger diesel engine. the sd40-3, likewise used the sd45-2 underframe.

the largest owner of sd40-2s was union pacific with well over 1000 at one time. they inherited some from Missouri pacific, c&nw and katy. the largest purchaser of sd40-2s was Burlington northern with about 800.

Norfolk & western's sd40-2s were set up to run long hood first, which would be reverse on most other railroads.

the last sd40-2s built went to mexico. 2 ended up back in the usa on wheeling & lake erie. those 2 were famous for being the locomotives which derailed and caught fire in the movie "Unstoppable."

the same diesel engine and generator were also used in the gp40-2, and f40ph. without the turbo, it wazs used in the gp38-2 and sd38-2.









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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jbrock27

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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2013, 09:34:40 AM »

Bal, which Santa Fe are you having trouble identifying?  Have the ability to post a bottom side up picture of it?
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K487

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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2013, 10:40:08 AM »

Jeff:

Thanks for your list of SD40-2 trivia.  I'll add some more if you don't mind. 

I've read and believe it's true that the UP RR has embarked on a program to refurbish/upgrade at least 500 SD-40-2s to last another 20 to 30 years, and are currently doing so in their North Little Rock AR shop to the tune of about 5 to 6 per month.

And as a sort of counter point I've read that the the BNSF is refurbishing/upgrading GP38-2s.

My take on the "why" for both of these programs is based on the Baltic Dry Index - a measure of world wide ocean transport of dry goods.  In 2005 the index was 15,000; last month it was 950.  I believe the railroads have seen "the writing on the wall" and are saving money with the rebuilds vs. purchasing new power. 

Also, on another forum a BNSF engineer chimed in with (and this is a quote), "The SD40-2 is an engineer's engine and almost perfect in every way."

K487
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