N Bachmann 4-8-4 loco problems

The loco that came with my Empire Builder set quickly developed problems with not running smoothly, i.e.: it goes aroung the track with very
jerky motions. No literature came with the set regarding maintenance, etc. Which are the drive wheels, which are the pickup wheels, and how do I clean them? Can anyone reccommend a book on N maintenance? Thanks
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Hi, Wheel and track cleaning is a big topic. There are many different products and approaches to it. It may not be just your wheels......be sure to clean your track too. I use some stuff called MAAS that you can find along with the cleaning and polishing products at places like Wall Mart and grocery stores. MAAS will clean track very well but also inhibits oxidation to a degree so wheel and track cleaning does not need to be done as often. There are other similar products that probably work just as well. I clean the locomotive drivers by placing a piece of cloth with a small amount of MASS smeared into it over the my test track. It is held in place with push pins. Then I put the locomotive on the track and give it power holding it so some drivers get power while other are spinning on the MASS covered cloth and move the locomotives position until all the drivers are clean.. Tender trucks and car wheels are cleaned with a small with MAAS and a Q-Tip. Track is cleaned with bit of MAAS on a cloth and just rubbed over the rail. Very small amounts of MAAS are used as it goes a long way and you don't want blops of the stuff remaining on your wheels or track. Any residue can be removed with Q-Tips. Again be sure to clean both wheels and track. I model in HO and have replaced any plastic wheels with metal ones. Metal wheels tend to stay cleaner and not deposit as much crud on the rails. I don't know if N-Scale car trucks often come with plastic wheels but if any of yours do you might see if there are metal replacement wheel sets available. This will help some to keep your pickup wheels and track clean for longer periods. Bruce

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Bob and Anne wrote:

Bruce's advice was excellent. You could also check out the Bachmann website forums for problems specifically related to their Northern. Here's a link:
http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/index.html
When you get there, just click on the "Ask the Bach-Man" link on the right side of the page.
Jeff
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(BobandAnne wrote: The loco that came with my Empire Builder set quickly developed problems with not running smoothly, i.e.: it goes aroung the track with very jerky motions. No literature came with the set regarding maintenance, etc. Which are the drive wheels, which are the pickup wheels, and how do I clean them? Can anyone reccommend a book on N maintenance? ---------------------------------------------------- I have several of these Bachmann 4-8-4s and find them to be very good inexpensive N scale steamers. One will easily pull 50 freight cars on level track. I use Labelle 108 lubricating oil very sparingly. A bit on ech axle. The running characteristics you describe is not uncommon with these locomotives. I find that dirty track or bad electrical conductivity in the track is often the culprit. The drive wheels are the eight large wheels. I believe all the wheels pick up power.
"Beginner's Guide to N Scale Model Railroading" by Russ Larson is a book I found to be very helpful:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Bachmann's website (mentioned by Jeff) is a great place help find a solution to your problem.
Track cleaning:
http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-ballasting#cleaning
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,100 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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I forgot to mention this book, "Maintaining and Repairing Your Scale Model Trains":
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,100 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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You might try the Bachmann discussion board. Google "Bachmann," go to the United States site, and then to "Ask the Bachmann." Unfortunately, train set locomotives, by and large, tend to be more toy than model. The easiest way to clean the wheels is to take a heavy duty paper towel, put some alcohol on it, put it across the rails and turn on the power while holding the loco. You need to keep at least one set off the towel and on the track to keep power to the loco. I normally clean first the leading drivers and then the trailing drivers.
Bob and Anne wrote:

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Is the jerkiness regular, at the same frequency as that of the rotation of the driving wheels? If so, then the problem might be that the driving wheels are out of quarter. You might have to live with a certain amount of jerkiness, as it is nearly impossible to do a perfect job of quartering drivers.
On Sun, 12 Jun 2005, Bob and Anne wrote:

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In article

The advice on cleaning the wheels has pretty much cleared up the problem. Thanks to all who replied.
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