With some more time at home these last few weeks, this project is about wrapped up. Below is the list of items I completed that may be help to others having similar performance issues. I assume my engine must have been an odd ball, as I have not seen any one else having as many issues that I have encountered with it. I was counting on it working with O72 diameter track as advertised, which maybe part of why I have run into allot of these issues. Regardless, it runs well on O72 now and it is beautiful model!
1. Upgraded to err board as unit did not come with any cruise as purchased Roy from Royz trains was awesome in providing information on what I needed for the err upgrade and what to watch out for. I highly recommend him as supplier for err products!
2. Removed reed switch from bottom of tender for chuff and re connected to micro switches in engine.
3. Bent (tuned) micro switches in engine to help with skipped chuff
4. Removed the pot from the non OEM Lionel sound board and soldered the wires from the existing pot on the tender to control the sound volume from outside the tender as it was originally suppose to be. Works great!
5. Ground large pipe on fireman side (not sure what is for ) in half so drive middle drive wheel would not interfere with it. Pipe too big to be bent out away from wheel.
6. Removed one screw (there is second one still holding it) holding ash pan on as it interfered with rear booster truck from pivoting on curves
7. Front pilot was too close to front drive wheel and wheel flanges would touch on O72. The front pilot brass stock reaching back to attach to the engine, was arched intentionally around the rear axles as manufactured. I intentionally flattened it out a little bit to push the truck forward just a bit.
8. Spring replicating pipe going to rear booster truck was not in tension when on straight track, so when engine would enter a left hand turn, it could not compress in length causing derailments. Cut spring shorter in length to be in tension when on straight track so truck could pivot on curved track.
The modification does not take away from the aesthetics at all.
9. Ground tender frame sides away from rear coupler and also tender frame above coupler to allow coupler additional swing and not be bent down because of frame misalignments. As delivered the coupler could not move, especially an issue with this tender because of its size and overhang past the rear axle, causing issues on O72 with train coupled cars coupled behind it.
10. Moved tender axles around so there would not be two non-flanged wheels in a row, to prevent them from dropping down in between the rails on curves and cause derailments
11. Replaced engine/tender connection hook with a solid brass bar to allow the engine to back up and not derail front tender truck. Existing design attached engine to front tender truck only, causing repeated derailing when on a curve in reverse. Along with this, I tighten the gap between the engine and tender and also trimmed the apron between the engine and tender not to conflict with the two. I removed the airline connections that hung down on the front of the tender as they interfered with this.
11. In the process of all of this. I managed to completely destroy the fireman hand rail along the engine stairs of the pilot. Replaced and painted.
12. Engine builder plates almost all fell off or were crooked. Reattached. Engine head light was not level and pointed up. Leveled it.
13. Weird transmission issue where on curves it would lurch and kick. Not an expert on this, but believe the transmission was shifting from side to side where the internal worm gear would become misaligned with the gear on the center drive shaft. I shimmed the internal gear bearings to help reduce the float and also shimmed the transmission to stay centered between the frame. It seems to work much much better now, but no longer has a sprung centered driver because of the shims.