Athearn R-T-R

I purchased one of Athearn's new R-T-R flat cars in Milwaukee Road colors with 2 John Deere tractors as a load. Probably 90% of my railroad is made up of
Athearn Kit cars so the new R-T-R cars must be just as good right? Wrong!
When I first placed the car on the track and gave it a nudge it seemed stiff. I put it in a train and as I was pulling out of the yard it derailed at the yard switch. I loosened the trucks a little and tried again. This time it made it out of the yard but derailed at every switch along the route.
I finally switched trucks with an old Athearn box car and the flat car ran the route just fine. However, when I put the new trucks on the old boxcar, it derailed at every turnout. Looking closely at the trucks they resemble something that might have been under an old Tyco car of 10 years ago. The shiny black plastic sideframes have very little detail as compared to the old Athearn trucks although the wheels are in gauge and spin freely. I ordered 2 new Atlas wheel sets from my dealer as I would also like to have the (dare I say it) Union Pacific version of this car. Anyone else had experience with these? James F. Westphal
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     snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (JFWestphal) writes:
I ended up with two of these (I didn't buy either one so I'm wondering??).
1. I think they are too light ala the genesis 56' well car w/containers. I keep forgetting to weigh them.
2. I changed out the wheels for IM sets. Both seem to run better but, one of them still picks a switch on the club layout ... everytime! I've carefully watched it go through the turnout but, don't understand what the problem is. They are the wrong era for all of my trains so I'll probably just park them in the frieght yard.
Not much help, sorry.
Paul

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Thanks for the info Paul. I can't figure out why those trucks pick switches either. James F. Westphal
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     snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (JFWestphal) writes:

I've reversed the car on the track and it still picks the switch.
I've reversed the trucks (spun them around so the other wheelset is leading).
It only picks the switch for the route into the hidden yard.
It gets through the switch and jumps the rail after the leading wheel set clears the rerailer.
The action appears to be smooth, that is, the car doesn't snap or jump.
It slowly rides up the rail and comes down on the wrong side. This seems to drag the trailing truck with it.
If I stop the train and rerail the car, before the trailing truck gets to the problem area, then the trailing truck has no problem when I start up again.
It just struck me that the trucks on that car might be warped just slightly, in just the right way, and that switch has just the right kink in it to cause the wheels to get pushed around a little funny? If the flange were pushed into the rail it might cause it to climb like that??? BUT, the trailing truck should show some signs of the problem????
If I push it through by hand no problem??? Wonder if the couplers are aligned funny so that pulling it through the switch has some bizarre affect???
WIERD!!
It's pretty frustrating. I'm going to try and remember to do the following:
1 - weigh the cars 2 - switch the trucks between the cars 3 - get the two club members who are really, REALLY good with this kind of stuff to take a look 4 - pull it through the switch with a different engine 5 - push it through the switch with an engine 6 - switch out the trucks for something else just to see what happens
Hopefully one of those produces a clue?
Paul
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Paul Newhouse wrote:

Try number zero first. Check the wheel sets with and NMRA gauge. Then check that section of track with the NMRA gauge. Then fix the problem (Does this car have the new code 88 [narrow] tred wheel sets? If so, trackage gauge become more critical)
Howard
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Yeah, even if it isn't the problem I need to check the weight on about a dozen cars.

Will do but, I'm betting against a batch of IM wheelsets being bad since I don't have problems other cars using wheelsets from the same batch. Of course, I do have one IM wheelset that isn't insulated!! So they can have a bad one every now and then.

I'll run the track gauge through the switch BUT, it's one of the most heavily used turnouts on the entire layout. I'll be surprised if these cars caught an out of gauge problem on just that one. It is on a newer section of the layout so it may not be one of the scratch built turnouts that are on the rest of the mainline.
OTOH, there is definitely something different about that it. I'm putting my money on a problem with the cars/trucks.

I believe they came with plastic, at least heavily coated in some black crap, wheels. I put InterMountain wheelsets on them. Code 88 like on the Bombardier cars? - no.
Paul
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Have you tried turning the truck around on its kingpin?
Does it swivel freely?
It could be there is some obstruction interfering with the motion.
A wheel could be out of round.
One wheelset might not be centered on the axle, causing it to 'crab' down the track.
-- The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale November 2, 2003, at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at: www.gvrr.org
(JFWestphal) writes:

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Yes. ("Spun them around so the other wheelset is leading").

Yes.
No exhaustive test was done but, there wasn't anything obvious.

I would have expected to see some wobbling or some kind of action with the truck/car but, I didn't.
I also turned the car around and the same thing happens at that one switch when routed the same way.

I was kinda thinking along this line when I referred to the "warped truck" possibility. The wheelsets might not be tracking each other exactly right. When rolling down the track the two axles might not be parallel and/or in the same plane ... or something?
Like I said, WIERD!!
Paul

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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 15:03:56 GMT, Paul Newhouse wrote:
=>It just struck me that the trucks on that car might be warped just =>slightly, in just the right way, and that switch has just the right kink =>in it to cause the wheels to get pushed around a little funny? If the =>flange were pushed into the rail it might cause it to climb like that??? =>BUT, the trailing truck should show some signs of the problem????
That, or the truck can't rock properly under the car. Loosen the rtcuk screw a bit, so the trcuk can rock side to side and for and aft. Third possibility: a slight wide gauge on the wheels.
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Wolf Kirchmeir, Blind River, Ontario, Canada
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I'll take it to the club tomorrow night and try all the "stuff". Including swapping out the trucks all together.
Didn't mean to get so long winded about it but, James complaint just threw me back there big time!! *8-}
Paul
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Didn't mean to stir up a hornets nest. I just switched trucks with an old set of Athearn trucks and the car now tracks well. Ordered up 2 pairs of Atlas trucks to fix the boxcar I stole trucks from and have a spare on hand. James F. Westphal
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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 15:03:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@pimin.rockhead.com (Paul Newhouse) wrote:
.......snip.........

..............and more problem solving ideas........
Do you have a burning desire to know what is wrong with this particular truck, or do you just want the car to operate smoothly?
It is implied that all the other cars operate acceptably through this same trackwork. So then, I am inclined to think that this truck assembly is defective in some way. Does it really matter why it is defective? Why don't you just throw it away and replace it with another that is not defective? I'll bet if you sent it back to Athearn they would send you a replacement. Although I think that might be more costly and time-consuming than just throwing it away. If you have a defective injection-molded plastic part, you are going to be required to replace it in the end, so why spend the time and effort to find a defect that is probably a fatal one anyway? Some problems cannot be solved. Some problems can, and should be. The trick is to be able to tell the difference.
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    Captain snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net writes:

I'd like to understand the problem. Then I'll worry about philosophical aspects of it.

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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 00:44:03 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@pimin.rockhead.com (Paul Newhouse) wrote:

LOL ! I can understand that. I sometimes have to work very hard to overcome my insatiable need to know ~WHY~ something is the way it is. But, what can you really do about it when you find out? Replace the truck? So, just go ahead and do it anyway and don't sweat the small stuff :-))
Captain Handbrake
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For any who are interested:
Took the trucks off and was wondering why they didn't want to follow the track. They should rotate slighty going into the turnout but, apparently don't!? Looking carefully at the hole for the screw to attach the car body it didn't seem to be quite round. One side seemed to have a bit of a flat spot. I selected a drill bit that was the right size for the hole in the trucks on the other car (the one that runs pretty well). Just rotating it, by hand, in the hole of the wierd truck it scraped out a tiny bit of material.
Now the car runs through the switch very well.
The trucks seemed to rotate freely when I played with them. However, that little bit of material must have caused just enough binding while passing through the switch that the truck resisted rotating JUST ENOUGH that it caused the wheels to climb the track and derail. The turnout has a vertical bend in that direction not much but, you can see that it is right in the vertical transition. The main begins a climb, at the entrance to the switch, and the turnout continues on the level. So the truck wasn't climbing so much as it was not rotating in the vertical or horizontal to follow the change in track.
GRRRRRRRrrrrr ....
The little bit of material (and I mean little bit) caused such a small aberation in the "roundness" of the hole I almost disregarded it as an optical illusion.
My newbie badge has another little experience chink it. The car is also a little light which didn't help, I'm sure.
     snipped-for-privacy@pimin.rockhead.com (Paul Newhouse) writes:

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