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It may not be "breaking a sweat", but it's pulling with a really small motor.  The Lionel Legacy K4 is based on the K-Line design, and I've had a bunch of them across the bench for motor and gear issues.

Have you had any other gearbox issues with Legacy steamers produced in the last few years, on the bench?

Lionel has adapted that fragile gearbox to just about every model. Light and heavy Mikes, N&W J's, NYC Mohawks, the H10's, heavy pacifics, the new northerns, the new 2-6-6t, and at least one of the driver sets of the Legacy mallets. Heck, it might be in everything by now.

As I mentioned some time ago, I had a first hand experience with the secondary gear bushing beginning to fail in my Legacy K4. Even though well lubed, it actually started to produce metal shavings.

It takes a ton of grease in the gearbox screw port to get it transferred up to the worm with this design, and most folks aren't aware that theres an extra set of bushings in the chassis above the powered axle that can only be lubed through the spokes.

I only own two models with this design, and after the K4 failure will never purchase another. I suspect, eventually we'll see more failures of these over the next several years as folks put some miles on them.

I wonder what the purpose of the design is? To attain a slow speed that can't be reached by the electronics alone? I know I won't have a gearbox failure in my old lurchy TMCC steamers.

Last edited by RickO

Wouldn't be helpful Rick if Lionel would provide a cutaway illustration of the motors and gearboxes they install on these engines like they did in the Post War catalogs. Then we would know ahead of time what to expect. Looking at a Pullmor motor today its amazing they could sell trains as inexpensively as they did back then.

Pete

@Norton posted:

Wouldn't be helpful Rick if Lionel would provide a cutaway illustration of the motors and gearboxes they install on these engines like they did in the Post War catalogs. Then we would know ahead of time what to expect. Looking at a Pullmor motor today its amazing they could sell trains as inexpensively as they did back then.

Pete

That would be much easier than my usual tactic: zooming in on pictures on the Lionel parts site and hoping for the best.

@Norton posted:

That helps after the fact but sometimes that isn't posted until 6 months after release and in some cases like the J3a Hudsons never. Would be nice to know before committing.

Pete

Oh for sure. Zooming in on the chassis usually tells you nothing, as the pictures aren't great.

I'm in the process of acquiring one of the Legacy ATSF 3751 class Northerns from the 2019 run. I'll soon enough find out if it has the multi gear gearbox. At least with MTH Premier I know I'm getting a worm wheel and a worm shaft with ball bearings on each end in the gearbox every time, and that's it. Haven't had one issue with that design, and I will sometimes run big 4-8-4s on the front of passenger trains at 75mph for a couple hours.

The entry level sets and licensed products are Lionel's bread and butter, not the high end stuff.  That is info straight from Lionel btw.  They know their market well and cater to it.  Also, fantasy schemes sell like hotcakes, they have also admitted this.  There is also a healthy market for very high end items and sets.  You make what sells.  This catalog very obviously reflects what lionel has indicated are their best selling types of items.  Also, from what I've seen, o-scale has gained a lot  of popularity in recent years and especially with the 20-40 year old crowd.  Things aren't as bleak as you think.

Back in the days of the original LGB this was also their marketing plan, starter sets.

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