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Author Topic: A sick Climax  (Read 2023 times)

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« on: February 11, 2016, 09:12:38 AM »

Hi there good folks, it has been a long time since I last posted back in 2013, that was in Canada and Now I live in Switzerland. Any ways I brought all my On30 models with me. A short while after Christmas 2015 I decided to make a very small switching layout in On30 using my Bachmann Climax as the focal point. I took her out of the box, and after a small lube job, I placed her on my rolling road for testing. All went well for about 4 or 5 minutes when all of sudden she stopped working. This loco is not dcc so there was no puff of smoke, lights worked in both directions but she refused to turn over. Now I know about the cracked gears, so while in Canada I had converted her to a rear wheel drive only, but at least she ran! ( I never received replacement gears for it eaven though I had contacted Bachmann back in 2013 and they acknowleged my email)
So I removed the working truck and tested the loco the motor turned so that was good. Before reassembly of the working truck I removed any oxidation on the pickups with 1000 grit sand paper and checked the gears again for cracks, all looked good but she refused to turn over. Lights worked in both direction but the wheels would not turn. I have done this a couple of times takig it apart and putting it back together but to no avail. I am quite frustrated with this whole episode and don't know which way to turn.
So I turned to you for help. Any ideas, thoughts, coments, suggestions,( pitch it out the window, run it over with a road roller, blow it up, or be gentle and kind to it.
Thanks in advance.


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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 09:26:29 PM »

The Climax has a fragile and difficult drivetrain, which is unfortunate because it is a very aesthetically pleasing loco. My Climax gave up it's drive very quickly due to a combination of bad gear and bad universal joints. I'm not sure what you can do, especially if you can't get the repair parts you requested, maybe a new letter (not eMail) to the parts department will work. Does the motor still spin up while the loco just sits there?

The best advice I can give you at this point is to replace it on your roster with a Stearns Heisler, which seems to have the best drive of all of the Bachmann geared locomotives. That's what I did a couple of years ago, and my Heisler is still running sweet...

Bill in FtL

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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 08:11:26 AM »

Hi Bill, thanks for getting back to me. You are right when you talk about a fragile and difficult drivetrain. I fixed some of the loco issues with the electric pickup. My findings are below in point form.

1) After disassembly of the trucks from the loco I found that the PCB board had a very thin layer of oxidation and groves.
2) The groves turned out to have been created by the rather pronounced dimples (contact Points) on the pickup shoes.
3) Being an extremely small area of contact between the shoes and PCB board I actually found dirt in the groves which caused it loco to loose electrical contact.
MY FIX: I used 1000 grit wet and dry sand paper to clean up the PCB board. (I used light oil on the sand paper with a gentle hand removed the grooves.)
The pickup shoe dimples were flattened using a smooth jaw plier. Down the road I will directly solder the wires to the trucks like a diesel loco.

Before I got to the 3 points above and my fix, I had opened the centre gearbox to inspect for broken or cracked gears. Also to see the motor for broken wires. The motor and it's connections were good but what I found in the gear box suprised me. There was no factory grease at all.

History of the loco: I bought this loco used off eBay in 2012 from a very upset person from BC. He poor guy, hardly had a chance to use it as the drive connection to the front truck universal joint broke. He told me about it. I told him as long as all the parts were in box I would manage. Once I got the loco, I made a small sleeve cut from a brass tube and fixed it.

I greased all the gears and then applied current to the motor. It ran so sweetly that it was music to my ears. Assembly of the gearbox and motor back onto the frame with the internal connecting rods was a whole different story. With some very flowery language I assembled all back together. So if some one wants to open up that gearbox have fun!!!

Once all of the above was understood, I now have a well running Climax. There is a noise from the whole drive train but that is the nature of the beast.
I have ordered front and rear trucks from Bachmann as spares as well as to replace cracked gears, as the replacement set is no longer available. This has been a very costly experience for me which I will not repeat with them again. Sorry for my rambling..
Once again thank you Bill, and thank you for those who read my post.
PS: if the universal joints break down the road on my loco (which they will) I will use parts from some very good US model manufactures who specialise in gears connections etc.

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