Anyone else have this problem with the steamer pilot truck?

A couple of our Sunset locomotives lift one of the front wheels off the rail unless the track is totally flat and smooth.  In certain spots this causes a derailment.  I've disassembled the pilot truck, tried reversing it, loosening the screws/springs holding it, but it still lifts the wheel, usually the inner one on the curving section of track.  It used to go air-borne at the slight change in track elevation coming off a long ROSS turnout, but loosening up the mounting screw allowed enough flop to keep it on the rail.

Hope it's not a "some engines do this, no fix" situation, or I have to ban all of them from the upper subdivision, which has minimum 80 curves.

Thought about bending the piece between the mounting on the frame and the truck frame, but Kyrian advised "NO!! Don't do that!!! .., see if there is a fix without bending up stuff"

Any advice is appreciated!

Original Post

I've got an older Sunset Northern where the pilot wouldn't trac to save its life. I became frustrated but got on top of it. I removed the pilot and added about 1-1/4 oz. of modern self stick wheel weights. In addition,I replaced the stock spring with a stiffer one to apply more down force. Now this bad boy goes everywhere on the layout without any derailments. I hope this helps.

The chassis engineering on Sunset locos is often (typically?) not up to Lionel and MTH standards; the modeling may, or may not, be a bit finer, but having to fiddle with this brand a little (or a lot - voice of experience) is frequently SOP. What you are experiencing is not unusual; it has also affected my buying decisions in the past.

When I noticed years ago that my expensive 3rd Rail/Sunset PRR 6-4-4-6 S-1 had no real front truck suspension - even RK locos usually have more - I was mightily un-impressed, and wished that I had waited for the Lionel or MTH version.

My long body steamers (non articulated) are more sensitive to level track than any of my other engines.  4 of my 5 Northerns are ok. The 5th, MTH 1995 SF 2912 (converted to Proto 3), derails the pilot on my O72 curves in one spot; however, on my O64/O72, and 3 of my O54 loops work ok; however, my 4th O54 loop (where the body is going up a slight bridge incline coming out of the curve) derails at speeds above 35 smph.  The length and the weight of the engine makes the pilot truck real light when the incline is leveling off. Specifically this is after a curve which is the worse possible case.  The derailment on the O72 loop is going off an "S" curve whose section just before the turn in the other direction is a turnout with the main line going through the O72 of the turnout.  I still need to work on this section of track when the SF 2912 comes back from a tether repair.  On one of the O54 loops (again an "S" curve I needed to super-elevate the outside rail on the bottom of the "S".  I have asked the shop to put a larger spring on the front truck to see if that will save me from more correcting track work.

Stronger spring wasn't it, and I don't see any space in which to place weights.  Trying to figure why one wheel won't go up and down in the truck casting. Checking the gauge today.  Leveling out the curve to see if that helps.  NP 2667 derails while identical locomotive SPS700 doesn't. So strange.  Wonder if bending the piece between the truck and the locomotive frame so it would press down ... ?


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