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Model Railroading > Tracking down derail issue

Date: 01/06/22 11:27
Tracking down derail issue
Author: santafedan

I have a complete set of the Walther's el Capitan cars.  I posted some time ago that I had to change out the wheels because the original wheels were %^%$#.
Recently, I had a car that consistently derail at the same spot.  All of the other cars in the train had no issue with that spot.   On run bys, everything looked OK.

At the work bench I found the problem   The first photo is a good truck.  The second photo shows the issue.  A slight miss alignment  of the truck frame.  5 minutes work and all is fine now.

Date: 01/06/22 11:51
Re: Tracking down derail issue
Author: wabash2800

I bought some Walthers heavyweight passenger trucks. They appear to be handmade with tiny screws, shims, etc., not made for disassembly. I took a defective one apart and couldn't get it back together straight. If you get some trucks that are good, great (most of the time). But it seems the same hit and miss quality issue with Chinese goods. Like Jason knows at Rapido, if you want consistency in good quality you have to get on the manufacturer and visit the facility from time to time. When I worked in automotive, quality was built in the product, not something you did by sorting out the good from the bad after the fact.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/22 12:00 by wabash2800.

Date: 01/06/22 12:23
Re: Tracking down derail issue
Author: BlackWidow

Thanks for sharing this!  I have many Walthers passenger cars and several have exactly the same issue - they derail in one spot when no other car does.  I'll have to look at your solution.  In fact, I call it the rule of 8.  I run 8 car psasenger trains and typically one will derail at the same spot and make itself unusable.  I have ordered replacement trucks from Walthers and solved many of these, but if your solution works it will certainly save some time and money.

My El Capitan problem is with the 3 axle diner.  It always derails on the same spot, and if I can get that working, it will be very nice!

Date: 01/06/22 12:28
Re: Tracking down derail issue
Author: ATSFSuperCap

Your problem is you installed narrow or scale width tread wheels.    They WILL fall between the rails, even semi scale 88 profile wheels will do this.  My double track mainline is laid with Micro Engineering flex track, Shinohara flex track and Central Valley tie strip hand laid and most 88 profile wheels will fall between the rails.   The only fix is set the wheels farther apart or use 100 profile wheels.   I have tons of WAL passenger cars I have not had any big problems with the factory wheels and I run the heck out of my trains.    Including the Santa Fe El Cap cars.    They run fine and do not wobble or do anything wrong.   The only issues I have had are with the trucks themselves.   The first derailment problems are caused by the phillips head screws on the top of the truck bolster.    When the head is stamped for the phillips pattern it leaves a small sharp ridge around the stamping.   That can hang up while rubbing on the metal plate that powers the lights.    You need to gently file the tops of the screws so they are nice and flat and smooth.   That stops almost all the derailments, by the way it is worse on a six wheel truck.    The next issue is caused by the slop built into the bolster/truck side frames while installing the screws.   If the side frames are not held tight against the screws ( that is holding them as close together as possible) one of the wheels could be extra loose in the side frame.    This allows the axle end to ride near the end of the axle which does two things, it scews the truck so it does not sit flat on the track which alone can cause derailments and over time the pointed axle end wears down from not having enough contact area and then the wheel assembly falls into the truck and the car derails.   Last when you install replacement wheels, like Intermoutain ones for instance the wheels are only insulated on one end, the WAL wheels are insulated on both ends so that all the wheels can provide power to the lights, you will need to either install the wheels with the insulation pointed the same way ( only works if you do not have lights) or you have to put tape or other insulating material on the lighting pick up plate or the car will short out the layout.     I have used Intermountain wheels as replacements only as needed and my cars do NOT have lights so I put some black electrical tape on the metal plate to keep things insulated.

Date: 01/06/22 12:50
Re: Tracking down derail issue
Author: wpdude

As Victor said, quality WAS built in... Also check that the trucks pivot freely on the kingpin or screw, and are not binding.

Date: 01/06/22 19:02
Re: Tracking down derail issue
Author: sp8234

I also remove the metal tab that rests on the screw head of the truck so power can light the car up. 


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