NYC ALCO FA / FB Units

NYC ALCO FA / FB Units
Custom Painted P-2000 units

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Walther's Trainline FA Issues

Greetings Blog Followers, today is 12-12-12.

For the 2012 Holiday season increased passenger and freight movement has left my New York Central trains short on motive power. Fortunately neighboring railroads have been able to lease us some power by the hour. The Lehigh Valley sent over an Alco FA-FB-FA  lash up. Road crews reported problems with the units right out of the gate as the B unit was making a grinding sound and one A unit had structural damage. While the above is a 1/87th scale story the facts on the locomotives are quite true. Follow along as I once again tackle the issues of another set of Walther's Trainline FA/FB units.

Lehigh Valley Alco FA-FB-FA units made by Walther's as part of their Trainline offerings

Note rear of A unit where shell has split

The A unit on right is from the first release that came with horn hook couplers. This unit has had no issues since the 1990s when I first received it.
 This A unit is from a later release with scale knuckle couplers. The frames grew quite a bit from one release to another.

The B unit had a grinding noise that was an easy fix. The motor twisted just a bit under power and caused the universal to hit the frame. Some small strips of foam added to the sides of the motor corrected this.

 Here is the B unit frame. This frame had received a trip to the grinder last year to have the frame size reduced enough so that the shell would no longer split.

This frame was so large that the original coupler mounting holes were ground away during the shortening process. A Kadee coupler box has been installed.

The A unit frame that is in need of size reduction

The front of the A unit frame

Here is the frame completely stripped of motor, wheels, trucks etc

A view inside the frame

Bottom view. Note the coupler mounting pads on each end and the screw holes for each. The frame on the above B unit was so much bigger than the shell that the frame needed to ground down past the screw holes for the shell to fit without splitting.
 The working parts of the A unit. Note that I marked the motor and circuit board circuit board for easy reassembly.

Frame gets ready to meet grinder. Safety equipment such as eye protection is strongly recommended for this step and metal shavings will be flying off the frame. 

The newly ground frame. Fortunately the frame did not need as much material removed as the above B unit frame.

Front view of the newly ground A unit frame

Here are the units reassembled and back in service. The newly repaired A unit is in the lead. Note the Lehigh Valley boxcar to the right, talk about product placement ;)

The Lehigh Valley FA-FB FA units once again in revenue service

Here is the newly repaired A unit. The shell corners were glued and all seems to working well.

The B unit is now as quiet as a mouse after the foam was added to the motor sides.

LV 538 on point of a 50 car coal train. Doing what he is meant to do. 
   In review the Walther's Trainline units are now back in service and running smoothly. The later release units did require some work to repair the manufacturer defects that may be beyond the skill level of some modelers. Walther's continues to offer these units for sale and they are reasonably priced power for DC layouts. A bit sparse on the details but the are heavy and mostly run well. A good way to avoid the models with the frame problems is to closely look at the models. If the rear door is bulging outward than this is a unit with a frame problem.
 If you are tackling the frame problems yourself with a bench grinder as I did be aware that the metal used for the frame can easily break apart so go slowly and steadily. I know this because I broke the first one I tried to fix a few years back.

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