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Messages - Stokerman

Large / Re: SSpectrum 4-4-0 different gear problem
August 26, 2019, 12:22:15 AM
Greg ... many thanks for the news that NWSL will still be a viable resource. I'll definitely sleep better tonight knowing that!
Large / Re: SSpectrum 4-4-0 different gear problem
August 24, 2019, 08:22:10 PM
North West Short Lines (NWSL) is no longer an option I'm afraid. They've sadly pulled the plug on their business within just the last month or so. I was hoping that they'd sell the business to some enterprising young person because they've long been such a valuable resource, but I've heard nothing along those lines, so assume that it is a done deal and custom model railroad gearing is now at a dead end.
Large / Re: Metal Coach Railings
October 10, 2018, 08:01:35 PM
A bit of an update:

I have received several sets of the metal railings now and have installed a couple of cars worth, an observation car and a combine. They look great and are properly spaced to drop right in just as the Bach-man said.

However, there are a few aspects that should be considered before going forward with the installations I found. 

First, the brake wheels do not fit on the brake shaft for the baggage and coach type railing as received, and the metal castings are a bit brittle and unforgiving, so go carefully here. It is probably best to install the brake wheel before mounting the railing, and a little filing on the sides of the shaft, or a slight opening of the brake wheel hole will both work to achieve a fit. Only very little metal needs to be removed from either surface, and if you do it just right, the brake wheel will "pop" on and be able to turn, but will not easily come back off, which I think is perfect!

Second, I did not replace the 90 degree hand grabs that mount on the ends of the body itself, on either side of the door, as the replacements only have two attachment points, one on each end, while the original plastic hand grabs have two attachments along the top of the grab, and one at the bottom. Thus using the metal replacements would leave an attachment hole open behind the middle of the top run of the grab rail. I note that my one factory made coach that came with metal railings has some kind of a stand off at that intermediate attachment point, but nothing like that comes with the replacement railings. In point of fact, the plastic body mounted grab rail looks fine, and doesn't sag like the ones on the end sills do, so really doesn't need replacing from that stand point, and though slightly off of the bright color of the metal replacements, they are that way on the factory version that I have as well, so it ends up looking just the same, and better than if replaced leaving the hole showing.

I chose to use Zap-a-gap to mount my railings, and it seems to have worked fine, but I wonder if something like Shoe-Goo or a silicone caulking might not work better. Whatever you use, make sure that you square up the end sill railings and make them look to be even, before your bonding agent sets up completely, or you'll end up with something that doesn't look all that much better than the plastic you replaced.

Do remember that these metal railing pieces are a bit brittle, so don't expect to be able to bend them one way, and then bend them back, because they'll just snap if you do.

I must say, to my eye, they are well worth the price and the effort to replace the original plastic railings, on the end sills at least, and I'm quite glad I've done it!
Large / Re: Metal Coach Railings
September 15, 2018, 05:18:54 PM
Quote from: the Bach-man on September 14, 2018, 09:35:15 PM
Dear Stoker,
They drop right in, but I glue them in place with Dr, Mike's CA.
Have fun!
the Bach-man

Hey Bach-man

Many THANKS for the quick reply!

I'll be counting up my coaches and placing an order as soon as I get the total.

While I've got your ear ... have you any thoughts on the Shay graphite lube thread I have going nearby?
Large / Metal Coach Railings
September 14, 2018, 09:01:11 PM
Here's a question about the metal coach railings that came on the later production J&S coaches, combines, baggage and observation cars. Are those railings a simple drop in replacement for the plastic railings on the earlier production cars?

Anyone here ever changed them out?

I have a small fleet of the early passenger sets that I'd like to upgrade if it is a no hassle switch-over.
Large / Re: Thoughts on Graphite for Shay Gears
September 12, 2018, 01:59:13 PM
Put another four or five hours of run time on my Shay with very little addition of graphite to the normal lube points and it ran the distance smooth and trouble free. I clocked a couple of laps and found it was running just about 11 scale mph, and kept that speed or near it for most of the run. So there's another approximately 50 scale miles run, or about 2.5 actual miles, and no sign of any trouble or visual wear at all.

On another note, my test oval of live ballast, fully floating track has made it through the summer in good form with just using the Decomposed Granite from my yard, sieved to about 3/16ths and below, for ballast between the rails and the coarser material placed on the outside berms of the roadbed. We have now likely seen our last temperature over 100 degrees, and the only expansion / contraction related issues that I've seen is the center bar that links the ties together on Sunset Valley tie strips with track in six foot sections seem to shed the ballast placed on top of them after just a day or two at the initiation of the curves for about a foot or so, just after the long straight sections. Center 12-15 feet of the curves show no sign of shifting ballast, and neither do the straight sections. It has already wintered over from late last years installation, so the only thing that hasn't been tested is how it reacts to deep snow, as we only had several light snows last winter.

These results suggest that I may wish to use Micro-Engineerings tie strips and rail, as their system has the link that holds the tie strips together placed under the rails between alternate ties, so even as track expansion / contraction movement shifts a bit of ballast, it won't uncover and show a central plastic tie link strip like the SV tie strips seem to do.

Now I just have to come up with about a dozen turnouts (to be built from SwitchCrafter's "kits") and regrade the long settled roadbed of my proposed layout, and I'll be in business. Perhaps by next spring?!?!

Meanwhile, I'll continue to run on my test oval, get my Three Truck Shay Battery Powered and R/C controlled, and add a live steamer or two into the mix, and keep reporting results back here.

Once again, if anyone else has long running experience on using graphite, or other products, successfully for lubing up our trains, it would be great if they would post about their experiences here!

Large / Re: Thoughts on Graphite for Shay Gears
July 16, 2018, 05:36:40 PM
Hello Again All

Just an update on my use of graphite for lubing my Shay drive train, especially the bevel gears and drive line lube points.

No I wasn't using too much grease and oil before, but any film of oil is going to catch dust, and dust will catch bigger particles in the wedge of an open gear face, so any oil that is enough to provide lubrication is a liability that close to my kind of ground it seems!

I now have another 8-10 hours on my Shay, which is equal to about another 100 or so scale miles, and perhaps 4-5 actual miles, of running with just the dry graphite lube on most all of the moving parts that are low to the ground. Seems to be working just fine, and may even be imbedding somewhat into the plastic so that it will be there essentially forever, with a minimum of re-lubing. Most important thing is that it doesn't attract or adhere dust and larger particles like wet lubes do.

It's working so well that I'm now trying it out on my ten wheeler Annie with all the rods and linkages that were exposed to the same problems. There was still a trace of oil on most of those lube points, so it made a bit of graphite "mud" which seemed to hold it in the proper locations better than just a dry application, but at the same time it seems to have sucked up and dried the old oil enough that dust should be less of a problem there too. I probably have about 20 hours run time on my SPC #21 Annie now, lubed up with graphite, which is about 400-500 scale miles or 20+ actual miles, and I see no problems.

Lubing these things with graphite is a bit messy when you first do it, but then so is using the "wet" lubes, but as it runs in it seems to kind of imbed in the joints, bushings and slide-points, while sort of falling away and blowing off of the other areas where it is not needed. Just a damp paper towel to daub it off of unwanted areas before putting the engines away seems to be all that is needed.

Oh yeah, and I've been using it in all my rolling stock trucks also, where I think it will prove to be really long lasting and low maintenance.

I will certainly continue on with this experiment, and report back as it progresses, but for now I'd cautiously call it a real success!!!
Large / Thoughts on Graphite for Shay Gears
July 02, 2018, 04:05:14 PM
I operate in the dirt, as my yard and ballast are all Decomposed Granite (DG) that goes from almost clay like fines to small gravel of about 1/4+ inch diameter. It all seems to work fine as live ballast, through the seasons of heat, cold, rain and snow. However, when the wind blows a fine dust can fly onto the exposed gears and other parts, and obviously sticks to the oils or grease that is on those exposed parts. I am trying powdered Graphite on the driveline and wheel bevel gears as they seem the most exposed and susceptible of all, and having a dry lube helps minimize the problem of fine dust sticking to "wet" lubes and thus causing excessive wear!

Do any of you have experience with using Graphite in this manner? I wonder if it might even be a superior way to lubricate the cranks and valve gears, or even siderods and crossheads on conventional locos?

What got me started down this "train" of thought was walking up to the side of my Shay to turn on the R/C one day and scuffing my foot in such a way as to shower the side of the engine with the DG such that some of the wheel gears were nearly packed with everything from dust to fine gravel. An obvious problem that would have been very destructive had I not noticed what I did, and gone ahead and run the engine anyway. Actually, the size of some of the "rocks" that stuck in the gear teeth would have jammed something fierce no doubt, but also cause damage no doubt.

I now have perhaps a dozen hours run time on the engine using Graphite for the bevel gears, and all seems fine so far. But if anyone knows of any down side to this technique, or has greater experience using it ... I'm all ears!!!
Large / Re: Stock is in Short Supply
February 15, 2018, 02:15:50 PM
Hello Greg

Thank you for your reasoned and well thought out reply. I do understand economics to the extent that the price point for the $5.50 Top Cover that I need may well need to be $15.50 or even $20.50, which still beats the heck out of the $176.50 for the entire Motor Block and Truck assembly if that is not actually needed. Other parts should also be priced at a point that allows the company to make a small profit on each sale, such that the $1.10 Cab Steps may well need to sell for $10 or so, but I suspect that sales would still be made, as these are wonderfully detailed scale models that most owners will want to keep looking and working correctly ... or so I think!

Again I ask ... What about the supposed Lifetime Warranty on defective parts, of which this certainly qualifies?

As for this being just a "niche" hobby, well certainly, but in truth all hobbies can be similarly so describe as just a niche.
Large / Re: Stock is in Short Supply
February 15, 2018, 01:56:33 AM
Hi Bill ... Thank you very much for the reply!

Yes, I'm aware that whole trucks may still be purchased, but I don't seem to be needing to replace the whole $176.50 truck just because a screw ear is broken on a $5.50 top cover as seen here:

I note that there are many other parts still offered, and have availed myself of some of them, like the delicate Hose Hanger set, and a couple of spare Headlights, but also note that the Cab Steps are listed as "Sold Out", and they are a delicate and easily damaged detail part that should continue to sell well ... or so I think! It appears that they are the same for both the 36/38 ton and 55 ton Shays as many parts are interchangeable.

Well, it is what it is, and I'll figure some kind of a work around for the parts most critically required!!!

Large / Re: Stock is in Short Supply
February 14, 2018, 08:28:58 PM
Certainly that is a bit discouraging as I'm needing some parts for the 36/38 ton two truck Shays. I have just converted one to R/C & Battery power, but noted a broken screw ear on one of truck covers (motor blocks) and also broke a set of cab steps in the process. I have a dozen various Bachmann large scale engines that I have been saving until an outdoor layout could be built, which I am now finally getting around to actualizing. Sad to think my purchases over the years in anticipation of this, have been a mistake.

So what about the lifetime warranty anyway? Do they have parts that they are saving to deal with those issues? I am given to understand that the early Shay motor blocks are defective due to bad plastic which is certainly the cause of the screw ear on my cover crumbling. Seems with manufacturing problems such as this cropping up, a robust after sales market for parts could be somewhat profitable, and would certainly be morally correct under the circumstances!!!