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I recently acquired this accessory and having  issues with getting it to work properly.  It was filthy, so I disassembled, cleaned it up and reassembled it.

 I spent allot of time in getting the hook to work correctly, where issues seem to be around old lubricant in the hook mechanism gummed up, and caused it to stick.

Now I am having issues keeping the culverts on the platform before they are picked up, as they seem vibrate off. It seems to get worse when there are only a few on the platform.   Is this just how this accessory is or can this be tuned?  Video below shows this.  

I have read notes on tweaking the metal base by bending it slightly between the track and building to change the level.  Wondering about other’s experiences with it....




Videos (1)
Last edited by Hump Yard Mike
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I actually kicked it up sligbtly at the rail side vs level. Your's looks worse for it though. 

Softening the ramp mount to absorb some vibration? (foam/tape) or at the vibrator? Adjusting power slightly might help too.

When I didn't have correct culverts, I padded the ramp top at the pickup spot with clear tape to gain 1/32" or so at the pipe edges. (not why, but it helped too)

I honestly think they left a little "weak" design in place sometimes without much worry, because for kids, problems can be play value. Kids love to fidget too, and little issues teach physics skills without really trying hard to do so.

For better operation, it should be run a bit faster. This so the claw opens faster and helps so the edge of the culvert doesn't 'slide' off the end of the claw, instead just drops. if that is the fastest it runs in the video, the motor mechanism needs adjustment. The grapper needs to move a little farther down the beam. This adjustment is not easy. You need 2 pair of pliers to very slightly twist the heavy gauge driving arm to adjust the movement. Finally about the culverts, try using a dab of rubber cement to glue on a small piece of sandpaper right where the culvert sits first in line to be picked-up on the ramp at the bottom.

What voltage are you using?   It appears too much vibration is being transmitted to the housing....make sure the nut securing the roof on is not too tight or too loose..snug does it.  When adjusting the spring tension, be carefull of the arm the spring attaches to... they will break from metal fatigue.   In the October 1999 issue of O Gauge Railroading,  Jim Barrett in the Backshop wrote a piece titled 'The Old and the New'. in which he described the the problems and fixes for the 342 Culvert Loader.  If you can reference that, it would be helpful.  Good luck with's a fun accessory to watch.

Tom Smith

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