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Model Railroading > Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge


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Date: 11/20/10 09:11
Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: brfriedm

So the poor quality of the new Athearn SD70ACE continues. When I bought the first BNSF ACE, I ran it and was seeing some derailments. I chocked it up to those funky long sanding hoses that impede the trucks. It went back so no big deal. Then the 2nd KCS ACE arrived and we ran it in an openhouse last week and we saw derailments also. Darn. After that openhouse was over, I checked the wheel gauge and all checked perfect. Ok, remove those funky sanding lines and that should do it. Last night it went back in service and the darn thing was derailing regularly. Frack. So I took it off the train and parked it on a spur and we moved on. Lots of people were at the openhouse and you can't worry about these things. We have trains to run. Today, I rechecked everything and could not find anything. Trucks pivoted nicely and no impediments.

I placed the unit on a piece of glass and there was the problem. The rear wheelset on both trucks had one wheel up in the air. One side was fine, the other wheel slightly up in the air. The front truck has the rear wheel on the conductors side in the air and the rear truck has the engineers wheel in the air. Warped trucks? Not sure. Unit is pretty much unusable.

Pictures are hard to take on glass but the wheel closest to you is in the air. You can easily slide a piece of paper under that wheel.

Bruce



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/10 09:12 by brfriedm.




Date: 11/20/10 09:26
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: calsubd

Sorry about the bad luck Bruce, I'd nominate you for Head of Athearn QC though, Ed



Date: 11/20/10 09:51
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: wabash2800

Chinese Quality Control: Like when Vinny Barbarino used to ask with a dumb look on his face in Welcome Back Cotter, "What?" "Who?" "Wher?" <G>



Date: 11/20/10 09:58
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: TCnR

Is there any 'float' in the axles?

Leaving all three axles fixed would be a design issue. In the past there has been enough vertical play to prevent an issue as shown. Or, there's something in the way of the axle moving.

Does the truck have any heritage to the old faithful -2 'blue box' design?



Date: 11/20/10 10:08
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: wabash2800

I don;t think it's the axles, the trucks are "whopper jawed".



Date: 11/20/10 10:09
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: AgentSmith

Here in Aurora, IL Some guys at our club have had the same problems...they look great, but will not stay on the track. I did the same thing, the trucks would not sit down equaly on all wheels. How is this possible?? in the 70s & 80s, the old Athearn trucks would sit down better than most of the new stuff. I have a two year Athearn RS-3 that wont run well either, needs new gears. Quality control is a big problem.



Date: 11/20/10 10:10
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: wabash2800

Genesis: Just the beginning?



Date: 11/20/10 10:15
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: NSDash9

This was also a problem with the earlier Genesis SD70 series models. On all those I had issues with, I found that the copper electrical contact plates were bent and caused the problem. I disassembled the trucks and used a straight edge to bend the plates so that the holes for the axles were all straight and level. I them reassembled the truck and placed it on a piece of glass to make sure the problem was solved before putting it back on the model. Not something that modelers should have to be doing on a new model out of the box, though.


Chris Toth
NSDash9.com



Date: 11/20/10 11:21
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: TCnR

So we're heading to the spring contacts being improperly installed/being too stiff and the QC department not doing a glass plate test before leaving the assembly line?

Could any of this been found by doing a track test at the LHS? Albeit usually on a short run of straight track.

That sounds more constructive, but still 'shoulda been' done before we are this far into the project.



Date: 11/20/10 11:25
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: KV1guy

Is that shock on straight....and is that some excess CA where its mounted?



Date: 11/20/10 11:36
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: wheel

It's about time for KATO to get back in HO.......

At least they were never built in China!!



Date: 11/20/10 11:47
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: JoppaSub

I picked up UP 1982 (non-sound) at my LHS today...Very nicely done...Checking the things reported by Bruce...and all...I was happy with the locomotive. No bent copper pickup strips as all wheels sit evenly on the track with this engine. Handrails were very good on mine...Keep in mind with all the details added to this engine...it's imperative to pre-paint a lot of these parts prior to installation...With that said...there was minimal glue visible upon close inspection of this unit.

Smooth running...albeit a little smoother in reverse than forward. I'll pop the top on this unit later next week...to install a decoder...and check for wire clearance...Paint is very well done...perhaps beyond my own painting ability...

I just wanted an MP Heritage unit...and I am probably going to buy an SD70M to go with it...although I'll have a ton of detailing to add on to match this unit.

I give it a thumbs up.

Thomas Austin
Centralia, IL
Joppa Sub Layout Site



Date: 11/20/10 17:07
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: wabash2800

Yes, from my experience if it is bad enough it won't stay on straight track.


TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Could any of this been found by doing a track test
> at the LHS? Albeit usually on a short run of
> straight track.
>



Date: 11/20/10 19:18
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: SantaFeRuss

Remember all those MTH SD70ACe haters out here on this site saying things like "I'll pass on the MTH SD70ACe and wait for the Athearn version". I wonder, with all the problems the Athearn units have, do you MTH hater still feel the same way? I have not heard nearly as many problems with the MTH SD70ACe's as I have with the Athearn SD70ACe. Any opinions?

SantaFeRuss



Date: 11/20/10 19:49
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: CFWRRCEO

NSDash9 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This was also a problem with the earlier Genesis
> SD70 series models. On all those I had issues
> with, I found that the copper electrical contact
> plates were bent and caused the problem. I
> disassembled the trucks and used a straight edge
> to bend the plates so that the holes for the axles
> were all straight and level. I them reassembled
> the truck and placed it on a piece of glass to
> make sure the problem was solved before putting it
> back on the model. Not something that modelers
> should have to be doing on a new model out of the
> box, though.

Just two fridays ago, I found and fixed the same problem for one of the members of our MRR club who brought in a brand new unit and it would derail on straight track. The truck electrical contact plate had a very noticable bend in it when removed from the truck sideframe. Straightened it and re-installed and all worked well. Atlas units use the same kind of plate so it might be a place to look if one of them is also derailing for no apparent reason. Bob
>
>
> Chris Toth
> NSDash9.com



Date: 11/20/10 21:21
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: cchan006

SantaFeRuss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Remember all those MTH SD70ACe haters out here on
> this site saying things like "I'll pass on the MTH
> SD70ACe and wait for the Athearn version". I
> wonder, with all the problems the Athearn units
> have, do you MTH hater still feel the same way? I
> have not heard nearly as many problems with the
> MTH SD70ACe's as I have with the Athearn SD70ACe.
> Any opinions?
>
> SantaFeRuss

I went back to read the comments posted last year when people first received the MTH SD70ACe. Here's one such thread:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?3,2006649

The big issue with both MTH and Athearn seem to be the price they are asking and the expectations that come with it, but the Athearn's problems seem more serious, with parts falling off or going missing, and the derailment issues mentioned above. MTH seemed to have had their own QC issues, too, reading the link above, but I give them a lot of credit for listening to the market by making non-DCS/DCC Ready units available. I'm confident that Athearn will work out their issues, too, so I'll wait to get my first HO SD70ACe, but right now, I'm leaning on MTH due to the lower street price. If I need a second SD70ACe, I'll consider an Athearn, expecting the QC to have improved by then.

In contrast, I bought the first batches of Bachmann's DCC DDA40X in both HO and N many months ago, and after programming the decoder ID's, they went straight to the club layouts pulling high priority piggys at track speed and both ran flawlessly. They might not look as pretty as an Atlas or an Athearn Genesis, but for the price I paid (~$70 each), I was extremely happy. Same can be said for Kato's N scale SD70ACe's. I bought 2, but one of them did have a front truck binding issue that caused derailments, which I was able to fix.



Date: 11/21/10 02:56
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: SantaFeRuss

cchan006 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SantaFeRuss Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Remember all those MTH SD70ACe haters out here
> on
> > this site saying things like "I'll pass on the
> MTH
> > SD70ACe and wait for the Athearn version". I
> > wonder, with all the problems the Athearn units
> > have, do you MTH hater still feel the same way?
> I
> > have not heard nearly as many problems with the
> > MTH SD70ACe's as I have with the Athearn
> SD70ACe.
> > Any opinions?
> >
> > SantaFeRuss
>
> I went back to read the comments posted last year
> when people first received the MTH SD70ACe. Here's
> one such thread:
>
> http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?3,2
> 006649
>
> The big issue with both MTH and Athearn seem to be
> the price they are asking and the expectations
> that come with it, but the Athearn's problems seem
> more serious, with parts falling off or going
> missing, and the derailment issues mentioned
> above. MTH seemed to have had their own QC issues,
> too, reading the link above, but I give them a lot
> of credit for listening to the market by making
> non-DCS/DCC Ready units available. I'm confident
> that Athearn will work out their issues, too, so
> I'll wait to get my first HO SD70ACe, but right
> now, I'm leaning on MTH due to the lower street
> price. If I need a second SD70ACe, I'll consider
> an Athearn, expecting the QC to have improved by
> then.
>
> In contrast, I bought the first batches of
> Bachmann's DCC DDA40X in both HO and N many months
> ago, and after programming the decoder ID's, they
> went straight to the club layouts pulling high
> priority piggys at track speed and both ran
> flawlessly. They might not look as pretty as an
> Atlas or an Athearn Genesis, but for the price I
> paid (~$70 each), I was extremely happy. Same can
> be said for Kato's N scale SD70ACe's. I bought 2,
> but one of them did have a front truck binding
> issue that caused derailments, which I was able to
> fix.


Well taken,cchan006......

I do have an MTH BNSF SD70ACe and have an Athearn SD70ACe on order. I am pleased with the MTH version with both perfomance and appearence. Lets hope my Athearn loco will be as nice. Once in hand, I will compare and decide which way to go with more of them.

I have seen the Bachmann DD40AX locos. Not perfect but pretty cool non the less. With a little fixin and detailing, they'll be just fine. Glad you like them!

SantaFeRuss



Date: 11/21/10 06:06
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: hoydie17

I've got two more Athearn units coming in the next several days. (UP & MP)

Once I've seen them and how they perform and were QC'd, I'll be deciding whether to pursue further purchases via MTH or Athearn.

Based on what I've seen so far, there's a very slight edge towards MTH DCC-ready models.

Sean Hoyden
Centreville, VA
Night Stalker Photo Works



Date: 11/21/10 07:38
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: JoppaSub

Bottom line is...quality control must be addressed. However, my SD70 being in good shape exemplifies the "win some, lose some" attitude that is quality-control these days in the hobby with some manufacturers. Just about all of the major manufacturers are having QC issues of some sort...and yet they keep having them. Nothing seems to be corrected.

Granted, a model with the level of details of the Athearn ACE may indeed have some parts "fall off" due to way they are assembled...pre-painted parts sometimes don't stick to the model as well as a bond made before the trip to the paint booth. The truck issues are more a PIA...however, since they will either involve sending the engine back...or fixing it (after some dis-assembly of the engine).

Thomas Austin
Centralia, IL
Joppa Sub Layout Site



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/10 11:00 by JoppaSub.



Date: 11/21/10 10:38
Re: Athearn HO SD70ACE - More problems emerge
Author: brfriedm

One final comment on these warped trucks and the slightly raised wheelsets. It takes about 25-30 minutes to run completely around my layout. This unit could run for 10 minutes or more before derailing. Never in the same spot. My track is very good as I am a stickler about good quality track. My point is that you can test run for a few minutes and not see issues. You really need to air them out to see if you have problems.

Thanks for all your comments and be well.

Bruce



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