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Author Topic: Upgrading a big hauler  (Read 3975 times)
Mark Oles

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« on: February 17, 2015, 02:21:50 PM »

Hi Bachmann!

I recently purchased a new, old stock Night Before Christmas set.  I am going to save it and give it to my son for Christmas.  I gave the locomotive a once over, and everything works great.  The engine ran very nice and smooth. 

However, I am curious to find out if I can fit the newest anniversary drive train/chassis to the old big hauler boiler?  I may elect to upgrade this locomotive if that is the case to take advantage of the metal gears and better pony truck design.  Do all the mounting holes line up for Anniversary vs Big Hauler?
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veetwelve


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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 12:59:10 AM »

Hi Mark,

Although I have not personally attempted fitting an Annie chassis into an older Big Hauler, the author of the attached forum post has apparently done just that.  It seems the only issue is some fettling of the air tanks necessary to clear the larger steam chests on the Annie chassis.

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/topic,18521.0.html

Good luck,
Jay
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Mark Oles

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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 02:29:48 PM »

Jay,

Thanks for digging that post up!  That's good news to me! 
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veetwelve


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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 10:22:37 PM »

Hi Mark,

One thing that I forgot to mention... Annies come in two versions.  The original Annies had the "version 5" chassis, but if you want the metal gears and the improved pilot truck, you'll need to get a hold of one of the most recent Annies with the "version 6" chassis.

All of the Annie chassis that I've seen for sale on the Bachmann parts webpage are the version 5.  To get a version 6 chassis may require purchasing an entire new loco; if my understanding of this is incorrect, I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will chime in.

Good luck!
Jay
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Mark Oles

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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2015, 10:06:10 AM »

Jay,

I was over at Bachmann's parts page, and they do list the new, updated versions separately. I have been following the trend of the Annie and Big Hauler for a long time now.  The big hauler in this set has a lube port which I think makes it a version 5 drive.
Old:
Old drive

New drive:
New drive listing
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veetwelve


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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2015, 08:00:46 PM »

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the links.  I was unaware that the new Annie chassis were available, but the price tag on that bad boy indicates that indeed they are!

Please keep us informed on your progress in fitting the Annie chassis to a Big Hauler; this question comes up from time to time and it's always better to get first-hand information from someone who has actually done it.

All the best,
Jay
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 09:57:03 AM »

Hi Mark.


The 90037 Night Before Christmas set locomotive does have the version 5 chassis.  The version 5 chassis is the most reliable trouble free great running set locomotive you can buy.    My recommendation would be to keep it as it is.   While the gears and siderods are metal on the Anniversary locomotive chassis the motor and gear train design is exactly the same  as what is in your set locomotive.   

The old drive you looked as is exactly what you already have so no gain there.   Again I would recommend keeping your locomotive as it is especially if you are going to give it to your son.   It should give you many great days of play value just as it is!

Have fun playing trains with your son!!

Bill
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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!
Mark Oles

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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 10:31:48 AM »

Hi Bill! 

Luke will flip when he gets this set next Christmas.  We went HO scale for Christmas this year, so no G scale.  I intend to install a Crest Revolution receiver in the Big Hauler before Dec 25, so it is ready to roll right out of the box. Maybe over the summer when he's not paying attention!  I expect to do the full install in the tender, since there's a lot more space in there than in the locomotive itself.  I'm going to use ball bearing wheels to the tender for power pick up.  I am also planning to paint the wheels to match the locomotive wheels.  Just because!

There are 3 things that attract me to the version 6 anniversary chassis:

1) Much improved lead truck connection.  Our outdoor railroad is 'pretty level', meaning that most of the time, we don't have derailments related to vertical kinks and such.  However, we are an outdoor railroad and subject to creeping plants, acorns, sticks, and mischievous squirrels.  I will do the lead weights to help keep the v5 lead truck on the rails as we zip around.  My minimum diameters are Aristo wide radius turnouts and 12.5' diameter on portions of the mainline.

2) The Walscherts valve gear on the anniversary models is very realistic looking and also adds weight to the model, improving pulling power. I don't think I will add any extra weight to a V5 chassis. Better to let the wheels slip than overheat or overtax plastic gears. Our mainlines do have grades to them, so weight and pulling power are important.

3) The metal gears for the drive should hold up better than plastic gears.  This is a key item for me, since Luke tends to load up his locomotives and then run at full speed (just like we all pretend not to like to do but do anyway!).  The main drawback here is likely added maintenance to ensure proper lubrication, as dry metal to metal is probably less forgiving than plastic.

Bill, you are right though.  Luke can just run this engine, as-is, and will love it!  I picked this set up on consignment from a local hobby shop for a no-brainer price. So low, I didn't even have to consult my wife (and that's saying a lot)!  That means I can add the upgrades necessary to make this engine fully compatible with the rest of our fleet and still be within the Christmas budget.
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