Hi, it's been almost a year since I first asked here about getting started in N scale. I finally decided to do something and have acquired my first starter set. I am on a budget but I managed to get started for $60 total which I think is pretty darn good.
I purchased a like-new Life-Like complete set with a GP38-2 on ebay for $35 with some extra track. I also purchased a Railmaster 1300 controller from ebay for $8, and a Life-Like SD7 Engine for $20. I am happy with the set since it came with standard nickel track which I prefer (not the quick-lock). The old style track reminds me of my childhood sets and I can use flex track with it for my layout.
Everything arrived in great condition and works very well.
First thing I noticed is that the new power pack (despite being older and used) is substantially better than the stock unit. I expected a significant difference but the performance is far better than I expected and I am very satisfied for the $8 it cost me.
The next thing I noticed is that the GP38-2 runs very smooth and quiet! This is baffling to me because I was under the impression that the GP38-2's (especially those included with a set) were junk. It looks good, and even has the little GP38-2 porthole on the rear right side and the fans on top look very nice and crisp. I can almost see down through the fan gratings into the shell. The lighting isn't very good though and could probably be improved with some careful drilling tinkering.
Now for the SD7. The SD7 makes a bit of a "clicking" noise... not a loud sharp click but a subdued tapping noise, almost as if it's partially derailed and bumping the rail ties, but after examination I can find nothing wrong with how it's sitting on the track. I sounds like I am hearing the brushes against the commutator in the motor. The typical hiss motor and rail noise is also significantly louder, probably two or three times as loud. It also requires significantly more throttle to start moving. I see no lint or anything else in the trucks, it looks brands new. Is this uncommon for the LL SD7? It seems to run ok, it's just loud. The detail however is very nice.
So, what next? Should I remove the shell, clean it up, and add a drop of oil to the gears? How should I remove the shell without damaging it?
I would also like to add an additional bulb for the rear lights while I have the shell off if possible.
I am really looking forward to starting my first layout!
Thanks in advance