New Rivarossi Berkshire--problems & comments

I just bought a new Riv Berk 5400 series engine. I'm very happy with the detail even though most of it is molded. It is a smooth runner but my first gripe is with the shimmy--wobble--sway--call it what you like. I googled the symptoms and someone said the traction tires cause this. I popped the tires off and ran it again. No difference. So it's some mechanical problem.

Has anyone managed to cure this? The loco runs fine otherwise.

The dealer also said this was a light engine so the tires were needed. But it weighed in 1 pound and is well-balanced. There's plenty of room for extra weight in the super-easy-to-remove boiler, but it doesn't seem worth it. The tires are not noticable and feel capable of pulling me across the room.

This item original sold for about $160+ US and with the vastly improved drivetrain, etc. you'd think they'd provide a body-mounted prototype coupler on the tender. The talgo-hornhook was a nuisance and a joke. It's gone--I mounted a kaydee box and amputated the talgo.

And they could have provided a constant bright headlight for the price too instead of the oldtime incan bulb that doesn't light until the loco's up to half speed. Good thing I love to modify.

But this beauty only cost me $50 new at Trainland. That's about what it's worth, IMO.

I'd appreciate responses about the shimmy problem. Thanks ,guys.


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Reply to
Charles Kimbrough

First off, any loco with rubber tires is a toy train loco rather than a model railroad loco. That said, pulling off the tires won't fix the problem of the loco wobbling down the track. Wobbling has several sources, the quartering of the drivers being one, the shape of the treads being another (too much taper will make the loco hunt excessively) and the length of the siderods as well as the size of the holes in those siderods.

-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!

Reply to
Bob May

I thought the review in Model Railroader said that they did not recomend taking off the boiler?

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Are you sure you're not thinking of the Life-Like Berkshire instead of the Rivarossi? The Rivarossi Berkshire's boiler can be disassembled easily, but the Life-Like Berkshire's boiler looks like a major job.

-fm Webmaster of the Pere Marquette Historical Society, at

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Reply to
Fritz Milhaupt

Thanks, Bob. The quartering is true but there is considerable slop in the siderods, more so than on my Genesis Mikado, to name an example. I suppose this is unrepairable. I'll try adding weight. Maybe that will reduce the sway.

As I said above, I popped the tires but that didn't make a bit of difference, so it's not tire taper. They're flat anyway. Must be the slop and it causes each side of the loco to play catchup with the other, back and forth. Sound right?

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Right you are, sorry, my mistake. Paul

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Excessive siderod 'slop' is a common problem with Rivarossi (and others) steam power ... especially the older items. Apparently some 'genius' decided that they could loosen up the siderods and then not have to hold such close tolerances on the quartering of the drivers and spacing of the axles. This, of course, is exactly the OPPOSITE of what's needed for smooth operation. That idea works ONLY if you have gear drive to all axles, as some european models do have. It does NOT work when you actually drive the axles with the rods, as Rivarossi does.

One contributing issue you may be able to deal with ... The driver axles usually have WAY too much sideplay as well. This just make the previously mentioned problem WORSE, and makes the models sometimes waddle like a duck. A steam loco SHOULD 'waddle' a bit ... it's normal, but not as much as some Rivarossi's do. Shim washers between the drivers and bearings, especially on the first and last axles, should reduce this a bit (be careful of causing 'shorts'). You need SOME sideplay, but usually not as much as they give you.

Dan Mitchell ==========

robby wrote:

Reply to
Daniel A. Mitchell

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