bad U-joint, american models steamer

Hello everyone. I recently dug out my first issue American Models B&O 4-6-2 Pacific and gave it a run. The plastic U-joint/dog bone that connects the motor to the transmission cracked right at the motor shaft. It's hard to believe that AM would actually press fit a plastic U-joint end  the motor shaft and expect it to last.

 

I'll give AM a call tomorrow, but for now, has anyone replaced this with a higher quality coupling? Are there newer ones out there that are sturdier, hopefully with metal collars and set screws? Where do I obtain them?

 

Thanks in advance.

RoyBoy

Original Post

Most u-joints in mass market model locomotives are plastic (Delrin, I beleieve.) Northwest Short Line uses plastic.  Athearn has been using it for decades, even the hallowed Hobbytown of Boston used plastic for their ball and socket joints.

 

If AM doesn't have any replacements, Northwest Short Line may be your next best bet.

 

Rusty

The shafts are pretty small, the metric equivalent of 1/8" so that, to me, seems to rule out rubber-type tubing. Does it come in that small of an ID and would it be stiff enough to do the job?

 

I called AM today and they are sending out a new plastic cup for the motor end of the U-joint. I'm still leery about the strength of the whole affair.

 

Everything inside the drive train is plastic. How well do these locomotives hold up in operation?

 

Mine is from the first run and I only ran it twice before it broke.

RoyBoy

I have several versions of the AM Pacific covering several runs, including the first run.  None have experienced the universals (or anything else in the drive, for that matter) breaking.

 

When the Pacific first came out, we ran one at a Scenery Unlimited open house for five hours non-stop without any trouble.

 

Also, all AM diesels, except for the first run of GP 35's (they use a spring!), have plastic universals, as do the former SHS diesels.  I've logged quite a few miles on most of my AM and SHS motive power without incident.

 

Rusty

RoyBoy,

 

I also have run my AM diesels and steamers for HOURS without any problems (knock on wood).  My GG1 has logged more than any locomotive I have ever owned, and it's still going strong.  Any mechanical device will have problems eventually and perhaps the u-joints are the weak point of the AM offerings.  But I haven't had any.  Any plastic (as I have heard) will eventually shrink and in this application, will split.  Delrin is pretty tough, though.  However, AM has a pretty good record of having parts available for almost all of their offerings.  Keep us informed as to the success (or lack thereof) of your venture. If history is any indication, you should have no further problems.

 

Jerry

Roasting in Wayne, MI

 

 

RoyBoy,

 

Ron will sell almost every part on any of his offerings.  They're not listed on his website, but all you have to do is contact him.

 

Going to his factory is like going to a candy store!  Racks and racks of all SORTS of nice trains!  And parts galore!  I can only imagine what AC Gilbert's place was like.... hundreds of times larger.

 

Glad it worked out!

 

Jerry

 

 

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