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Would suggest you visit the K-Line Legacy site and read some of the features of the various F units produced. The first ones had motors in the B units as well (6 motors for an ABA) and I think they were of a completely different design than the 2nd generation. The motors may be mounted low in the trucks (?). The 2nd and 3rd generation had only both A units powered with a tether from the lead unit. Some had smoke and the 3rd generation had more detail like side view mirrors. Beautiful locomotives!

Last edited by c.sam
Norton posted:

Dan, what is the road name? I think the Legacy K-Line site only goes back to about the year 2000 or 2001. If its older than that it may not be one of the better ones. I think the early ones had their small motors between the wheels. These seem to be problematic.





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  • s-l1600
Last edited by Former Member

I have a Milwaukee road ABA set from 2000. Both A units are powered with dual vertical can motors. None of these units have smoke. There was also a release in 2005. That was an AA set with cruise and had smoke in both units and included an extra fix pilot. There was also an unpowered B unit with smoke.

Nice smooth runners and nice detail for the time. I added cruise to mine. Although I like smoke it's not a big deal for me in regards to diesels.

Last edited by milwrd
Here is the later PRR F7 set. These will have vertical can motors like Lionel's F units and much better detail.;p_oem_sku=K-25804TC


Depending on What you mean by "much better detail. The PRR" F" unts in K-line had many detail issues- even up to the "F7" ones done last- before K-line's demise. Those PRR F7's lacked the 36" Dynamic brake fan normally found behind the cab- the K-line's PRR F7's looked more like F3's than F7's and IMHO are not really worth it unless you purchased the A-B-A below $300.00 the Lionel TMCC F7's  - even with it's flaws can be had for $450-$500.00 for an A-B-A set and its details and paint can be corrected.

I have three sets of the Milwaukee Road. One set was the original A-B-A and the other two are the last sets of A-A. Much better detail with smoke in the later sets. Never had a problem with them. They are my only F units. Other than a couple of Atlas diesels all other diesels are K-line. K-line really raised the bar when they came out the their last sets. Donimages


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The F units Dan pictured are from the mid 1990s. No relation to the ones that came later. I would suggest Dan avoid those and look for ones that are listed at Legacy K-Line. Those fit the description some here are referring too. Much better quality. As Sam points out above not all K-Line F units are equal.


Last edited by Norton

I have the earlier F Units, ABA set, all units powered. The only real difference between the earlier units and the later runs was vertical can motors and horizontal truck mounted can motors. Mine w/horizontal motors have gotten a bit noisy, not sure if it's mechanical or electrical, with great RS's. However they can be a bit of a jack-rabbit.


I agree with Norton, these are likely the first run with truck mounted can motors, no flywheels and lackluster performance.  The location of the pickup rollers is kind of the giveaway.  There was no room under the truck for the pickup, so it was moved inboard, outside of the truck.

They were poor sellers due to the drive train.  Pretty sure Emery Distributors out of Easton, PA, may have done some TMCC retrofits to them to get them out the door. At least that's how I remember that's how it was done.


Last edited by Fred Brenek

I think you're making a good decision Dan, especially if you already have the cars. Keep looking as the better ones come up quite often. Do note that your cars are semi-scale and rather short (only 13") to  run with the F units which are fairly close to scale in size.

I have these handsome green F7s as an ABBA and they are really nice with all 4 smoke units going. As Mark mentioned above, they have a few details that are 'incorrect' for the PRR engines but unless you are very knowledgable about the variances, these are still impressive.


I also have the pretty NP 'North Coast Ltd' passenger locomotive as an ABA and they are the 2nd generation models. They have smoke but not the side view mirrors or scale pilot that the PRRs came with. 




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  • PRR F3

I own an early version of the K line F unit A-B set in B&O. Both units are powered and  their  appearance is great!  The horn sounds like a door bell buzzer.... which is a downer ( at least for me ) As others have already stated, they are jack rabbits!  I rarely run mine and when I do I use them on main line passenger trains where the jack rabbit feature seems to work.

I have the Sante Fe ABA F7 units from 2005....all have 2 motors each...and will smoke like Uncle Eddie!  My only dislike is about the aforementioned tether. Even Jim Barrett (bless him) wrote up that they can be problematic....and so were mine. I recommend sticking to engines made from 2003 to 2005...oh. and that off red colour (for the Sante Fe units) initiated howls of laughter and angst on account of it IS so blatantly off colour....cheers n beers!

If anyone knows why K-Line initially came out with the six small can motors mounted in the trucks, I would be curious to know the answer.  Their PR pushes the idea that all three units were powered and worked through one e unit.  I have to assume that it was some way cheaper than using the vertical can motor they eventually used.

They even tried to use one motor driver board for the vertical mounted motor A-B-A sets, and it was working it's tail off.  I had several of those sets, but when I found out that I couldn't install cruise that would handle all the motors, I sold them.  I still have on set, and I just removed the motors from the B-Unit and managed to get it to run decently with the Cruise Commander M with four motors.

The truck mounted motors were very under-powered, and those truck mounted motors also had a very poor MTBF if you ran them a lot.

@Reading RR posted:

I have the Reading F-3 with the updated CC.  Had to update myself, but they run great.  The only problem I have is with the manual plug in inter connect cables, they are a pain to connect.  But once they are hooked up the F-3's run great!

I realize this is an old thread & just came across it.

I have the SP Black Widow F7 AA set with CC and remember many years ago sending in the CC boards to K-Line to get them updated. I also have the dummy B-unit & put on the shorter couplers to close the gap. This is one of my favorite sets. But I'm curious - how did you update the CC? Did K-Line have some type of service bulletin at the time?

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