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· In depth idiot
8,699 Posts
I will confine my comments to UK RTR, since that's what I buy in significant quantity, and the more recent releases since these are probably of greatest interest.

First, my requirements. Whether light engine or on a full-size train appropriate to the prototype, smooth starts and stops with no cogging or jerking, and a realistic maximum speed. Minimal noise, (motor and gear noise should be less than the sound of wheels on rails) no wobbles, slopping about, or taking up a skewed position on the track when running.

On all models, check pick ups remain in contact with wheelbacks at all positions of wheels, adjust as necessary; steam models, check that rods cannot foul crankpins and fixed structure, adjust as necessary.

Run continuously for at least an hour at moderate speeds, alternating direction every 15 minutes. Attend to any lubrication deficiencies, then test performance on a DC resistance controller to identify what needs to be done. Occasionally several hours continuous running is needed to achieve real quietness and smoothness.

That's usually all that's required for 'both bogies driven' diesel models. The exception was the Hornby 31, because of the coupling mounting. On a realistic train this would not re-centre after a curve, skewing both the loco and the stock, and causing derailments. Hacked off the mechanism, and mounted the coupler directly on the bogies.

Many steam models are too light to deliver enough traction. Typical cure, remove manufacturers ballast weight, add new weights using lead, attempting to keep the point of balance near the centre of the coupled wheelbase. Bachmann WD, K3, A1, Std 5, Hornby A3, A4, 8F, Duchess have all required this treatment. This can be conveniently combined with DCC decoder installation.

Adjust or add suspension. Bachmann tend to overspring carrying wheels. Cutting down the spring on the A1 carrying wheels in particular makes a big difference. Increase spring pressure on coupled axles where extra weight has been added, if the coupled chassis has suspension. Hornby don't believe in springing carrying wheels: fit a spring to the leading bogie (Brit, Duchess, A3 and A4) and the loco rides much better.

Recent steam releases (Bach 9F and Fairburn 4MTT, Hornby Brit) were satisfactory as supplied for traction and performance, more like this please!

· Premium Member
3,966 Posts
To start with on any bachmann loco i strip it down and give it a good clean. the PTFE grease that they use has wonderfull lubricating qualities but also introduces stiction. this is not so necessary with steam loco's but every diesel i have had has suffered from this. the grease is fine in small quantities-and thats all that is required. extra greas on the mech does not aid performance, it mearny puts more strain on the motor.

Some time ago i had to do a repair and posted it on this forum. this is the only pic i have with me that shows the grease clearly.

I have had to alter the pickups on almost evry bachmann loco i have bought in the the last 5 years. usually its the pickup strip being bent round so its infront of the wheel instead of pressing on the back.


· Registered
2,768 Posts
One of my biggest bug-bears with 00 locos is the incredible amount of side-ways slop present on driving wheel axles.
This applies to all 00 manufacturers.
Even for trainset curves, this is NOT necessary beyond a little side-play on the centre axle of a 6 coupled loco.

Graham Plowman
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