Ricko,

Are you referring to my sending my engines to Lionel Service expecting them to get repaired properly?

Gunrunner John,

What could cause the roof of my new 1931260 Challenger #3985 to become red hot.  It is above the Steam Generator Smoke Effect unit.  Do these smoke units have different heat settings that could when damaged, turn up to extreme heat?  The engine is now at Lionel Service.  It is the first time Lionel heard of a Challenger getting VERY HOT.

My Western Allegheny H-10 is also at Lionel for a burned out CAB Light,  I thought LEDs never burned out, yet the Headlight on my BNSF Golden Swoosh had to have the LED replaced. I had a dim LED in my FEF-3 UP #844 CAB Light.  There were also burned out marker lights on my SP #4449 Daylight.  LEDs never burn out. ,,, they just fail to work?  Is that it?

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Well, the one flaw I had with the Vision Line Big Boy was the cab LED, I just took it out and replaced it.  Couldn't see shipping it for that.

John Rowlen posted:

 

Gunrunner John,

Talking about temperature, what could cause the roof of my new 1931260 Challenger #3985 to become red hot.  It is above the Steam Generator Smoke Effect unit.  Do these smoke units have different heat settings that could when damaged, turn up to extreme heat?  The engine is now at Lionel Service.  It is the first time Lionel heard of a Challenger getting VERY HOT.  … I am happy I could accommodate them.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

John, it could be like someone else suggested in another thread that smoke fluid escaped and went somewhere else and that could be the reason for the excessive heat.

I guess that's why the Lionel tech said to tilt the engine forward before adding fluid?

 

John Rowlen posted:

One of the difficulties in selling engines with flaws on Ebay is the Ebay Buyer Protection Plan that protects Buyers from engines that are NOT AS LISTED.  Any buyer complaint creates an automatic return issue. This is a good protection for the buyer, but it can create headaches for sellers of used equipment.

I might have an ugly engine, supply photos, write exactly how ugly it is, and still the dissatisfied buyer can claim,  "I thought it would look better."  A buyer return would be created automatically, lowering my seller rating and discount fee rate.  

The wording "Seller does NOT take returns" is meaningless.  If a complaint is made, a return is started.

With any business transaction there is risk: shipping damage, lost packages, buyer's remorse, etc.  But Ebay has been a good site for me to sell lightly used cars and engines that worked perfectly. 

I plan on offering a 30 warranty on all sales.  Cars arrive either working or damaged,  Engines create a gray area as board issues and smoke units could fail. This said, Ebay is still a good site for thinning my collection.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

I have found that there is a way round the eBay buyer protection, the seller can sell the item as "parts" with no warranty or anything and "no return" Then buyer can't return it for any reason. Only downside is that you might not get a good price.

SAHAN,

Thank you for reminding me of the need to tilt the new Challenger #3985 engine forward when filling the Steam Generator with smoke fluid.  (Not discussing Allegheny at this time)  The smoke fluid would have to contact something that could be bridged by the liquid/fluid and heated to a high degree. The engine shell was as hot as an iron for clothes.  I don't think I could hold onto the engine if I were lifting it at the time without some discomfort/pain.  Other than a smoke unit or motor, I can't think of anything in the engine with that capability to create so much heat.  If it was the motor, I would expect some movement issues. It ran fine.  The only failure was the Steam Generator Smoke Effect.

Lionel has the engine.  I hope the heat did not damage the wiring inside the engine. There was heat above the Steam Generator, across the top, and also by the Smoke Stacks, though not as hot.

Listing an engine as parts would certainly drive the selling price down.  I don't own an engine that bad to list it as parts. I have insisted that all my engines are in excellent/like new condition.  I would rather risk a return, than sacrifice profit on an engine sale.  Most of my engines are Legacy, 2013 or newer.

Thanks again.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

If it's getting too hot to comfortably hold your hand on it, something is seriously wrong!  I've never seen one that gets that hot that doesn't have a significant problem.

I'm amazed that you have continued buying expensive, complicated toys that don't work or dont meet your expectations. 

It does appear to give you something write about and occupy your time.  

I think I would cut my losses and change hobbies, manufacturers, or expectations.

MartyE and Einstein have both made serious observations on this subject. 

Stop that.  The man is caring for his 92 year old ma and likes the diversion.  My take.  Interesting situation tho.  I check in with bated breath for every new update.

 John, do you have a cool layout to run your trains on.  Reason I ask is, if you are just buying expensive trains to run on a loop on a piece of plywood I kinda have an issue with that.  Just a personal thing. If I were you, I would fix everything I have and work on my layout.  Don’t buy anything else.  That’ll teach em....

Best of luck.  Keep em comin...

AUSSTEVE,

I cannot tell if the new engine will meet my expectations until I buy it.  But the odds are now highly in favor that Lionel engines will not work properly.

I returned a Shay with bad gears to MB Klein, a B&O GP9 that gears did not even touch and Lionel Service broke the coupler lift bar off the front of the engine, that MB Klein accepted back. A Nickle Plate GP 9 #482 that had a broken front Lift Ring from Nicholas Smith. A Santa Fe SD 40 #5006 that wobbled more each day from Nicholas Smith. A Santa Fe SD40 #5018 that was missing air hoses and Lionel had no parts from Hobby Speed. A BNSF SD70 #9287 from MB Klein that was missing a rear bottom step  with two others broken from the rear of the engine. My Western Allegheny from Nicholas Smith is now at Lionel for a burned out LED Cab Light.  A 1931260 Challenger #3985 from Pat's Trains is at Lionel with no Generator Steam Smoke and is extremely hot to the touch.  The engine is also to get the correct articulated sounds and Out-of-Sync Drivers.  In all fairness, two of my H-10 and one K-4 Steam Engines have worked perfectly, and I'm hooked again.

I would say the odds are pretty good that future items will have issues.  That is why I called Lionel to tell them about the too short Drive Shaft in my older 6-11333 ATSF Northern #3759.  The shaft lasted two years until the end T-joints rounded and popped out of the U-joint cup,  The shaft was 3/16 of a inch too short to center in the cups.  There will be more of these arriving from China soon.  I just wanted to warn Lionel.  I am 100% supportive of Lionel.   I have been giving feedback for over five years and they have been sending me back an Allegheny that does not run correctly and a Southern Pacific AC-12 that was missing the front Pilot when it returned. I bought another Pilot from Lionel parts and it was bent, ... so I bought the very last AC-12 Pilot Lionel had.  It looks acceptable.

I still have many of my 100 HO engines and a few G-gauge Dash 9 and SD45 engines.  The birds were pooping on the G-gauge. (Outside, of course).  My vision in my left eye is almost gone, so detailing HO is very difficult. I detailed 180 Walthers passenger cars ten years ago.  Some I have sold on Ebay.  There are still forty HO buildings in the Music Room with Mom's three manual Allen Organ Theater Organ.

As to finding other hobbies,  I don't drink, so alcoholism is out. I like landscaping, but then so do the deer that ate everything I planted for my mother.  I can sit by the in-ground pool out back, but I need to cover it for winter.  I can sit in a restaurant and shove food in my face.  … And then there is Model Railroading.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

John Rowlen posted:

...But the odds are now highly in favor that Lionel engines will not work properly.

I returned a Shay with bad gears to MB Klein, a B&O GP9 that gears did not even touch and Lionel Service broke the coupler lift bar off the front of the engine, that MB Klein accepted back. A Nickle Plate GP 9 #482 that had a broken front Lift Ring from Nicholas Smith. A Santa Fe SD 40 #5006 that wobbled more each day from Nicholas Smith. A Santa Fe SD40 #5018 that was missing air hoses and Lionel had no parts from Hobby Speed. A BNSF SD70 #9287 from MB Klein that was missing a rear bottom step  with two others broken from the rear of the engine. My Western Allegheny from Nicholas Smith is now at Lionel for a burned out LED Cab Light.  A 1931260 Challenger #3985 from Pat's Trains is at Lionel with no Generator Steam Smoke and is extremely hot to the touch.  The engine is also to get the correct articulated sounds and Out-of-Sync Drivers.  In all fairness, two of my H-10 and one K-4 Steam Engines have worked perfectly, and I'm hooked again.

I would say the odds are pretty good that future items will have issues.  That is why I called Lionel to tell them about the too short Drive Shaft in my older 6-11333 ATSF Northern #3759.  The shaft lasted two years until the end T-joints rounded and popped out of the U-joint cup,  The shaft was 3/16 of a inch too short to center in the cups.  There will be more of these arriving from China soon.  I just wanted to warn Lionel.  I am 100% supportive of Lionel.   I have been giving feedback for over five years and they have been sending me back an Allegheny that does not run correctly and a Southern Pacific AC-12 that was missing the front Pilot when it returned. I bought another Pilot from Lionel parts and it was bent, ... so I bought the very last AC-12 Pilot Lionel had.  It looks acceptable.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Mr. Rowlen

On the one hand, I admire your dedication to your mother.

On the other, I am completely puzzled by your seemingly equal dedication to Lionel. The above statements made by you are why I say this.

I suspect there are quite a few of us who feel the same way.

Mark in Oregon 

I am also impressed with your patience and calm.  These are great traits in general.  You have set some kind of record for bad luck with a manufacturer's product line.  I've bought fewer and not as high end products, mostly from Lionel (but also MTH, Atlas and previously from K-Line, occasionally from 3rd Rail and Weaver).  I can count on one hand the number of failures out of the box, and I think my experience is pretty typical in the hobby.  Perhaps it's because I don't use my trains heavily, they mostly sit on the shelf after some test running, but this would account for early death of products.  Still that's a failure rate of perhaps 1% over 25 years, which is about what one expects.

Unlike others, while I'm inclined to think I wouldn't put up with your experiences, if your dealers and Lionel make the product right or exchange/refund, and you enjoy the hobby, don't let anyone give you advice, which, of course, I am doing .  Follow your own heart and mind in these matters.  May better luck come to you in future purchases.  Your experience is wildly different from the people I know, and my own purchases, so you are almost certain to do better in the future as the statistics even out.  You are purchasing from reputable dealers so they will make good on any problems.

William 1 posted:

Stop that.  The man is caring for his 92 year old ma and likes the diversion.  My take.  Interesting situation tho.  I check in with bated breath for every new update.

 John, do you have a cool layout to run your trains on.  Reason I ask is, if you are just buying expensive trains to run on a loop on a piece of plywood I kinda have an issue with that.  Just a personal thing. If I were you, I would fix everything I have and work on my layout.  Don’t buy anything else.  That’ll teach em....

Best of luck.  Keep em comin...

I have not read all the above replies, and have never bought a Legacy, Visionline or other high end locomotive with whistle smoke, bell that moves back and forth, and other advanced features. 

Based on my anectodal experience, I would consider switching to less advanced but IMO very good and more reliable trains like LC+.  From my experience with LC+ and what I've read on this Forum about them, they are much more reliable and Lionel is good about servicing them while under warranty.

Also, consider buying from a fair-minded LHS that appreciates your regular business, even if it's just spending a few hundred dollars per year there.  Although mine doesn't guarantee everything, mine would help me get a problem train fixed by Lionel, or let me return it to the LHS for store credit. Arnold

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Lionel has been like the beautiful woman who doesn't always love you back.  Some great moments, and then  some absolutely maddening.

I have been very fortunate that the dealers have helped me when possible.  We often commiserate with each other.  Remember that Lionel Dealers have their stories too, but you will never hear of them.  They get to stack pallets of damaged/returned merchandise to return to Lionel for a dealer credit.

We are all part of a large Model Railroader family: Dealers, Customers, Manufacturers. and the Shipper who just delivered the dessert cake upside down in the box.  Some days are a picnic, and other days everybody brought potato salad.  "Ah man, who was supposed to bring the beer?" 

Have a good week.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

I've found great enjoyment in the hobby by building a small stable of reliable locomotives and then spending the rest of my time on scenery and operations.  If you've spent upwards of 200K over a few years on new motive power, then either you have the world's largest train layout or the world's worst CMO.

Jon

KOOLJOCK,

I was happiest when I was building my new layout.  Then I was set off course by the number of items that came in needing repairs.  I have as large a layout as space will allow. 

The detailing supplies are under the layout waiting to be applied section by section. The Grand Central Gems Lodgepole pines and Redwood trees, the Atlas O Signals partially installed are waiting. The upper level to the Rotary Coal Unloader needs to be finished.

I have revisions to make on the lower level that became apparent after running the layout. I wanted to use the series of Atlas O Double Slip Switches that look great, but are highly impractical for my limited freight yard.  I need to make sure function wins over design elements.  One single Pratt Bridge needs to move back two more inches to accommodate the swinging boiler of the Big Boy and other articulated engines.  All the best planning, often needs changes as the layout begins operating. 

I included a video made when I worked on my 86' Boxcars, oiling the kinematic coupler slides and attempting to get them to move freely and not derail the car(s). The video pans across my layout as it is currently.  I need a few access points near the yard on the large table.

I don't know about my CMO, but my BLT is really delicious.  Nothing makes everything better like bacon.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Attachments

Photos (2)
Videos (1)
Maximum Speed 86; Boxcar-3_Trim_Trim

Mark In Oregon,

Fortunately I never dropped an engine, … or a car. 

Thank you for your observation.  You would be surprised how sturdy a correctly built Atlas O Pratt Bridge can be. The Santa Fe is a new Dummy unit from High Country Hobbies that goes with the two powered Santa Fe GP9 engines on display in the living room. 

The New York Central GP30 is a shell transferred onto a GP35 chassis.  It is my one "Frankenstein" creation that is needing a new smoke unit I ordered and received from Lionel parts. This work is on the bottom of my To-Do List.  Not every idea hatched late at night is a good idea.  It does run perfectly without smoke in a consist with a NYC GP35 I own.

The building is the Office for the Walthers / Atlas O Lumber Yard.  I added and painted a wood grained floor and will add Woodland Scenics Plug-in LED Lights. It goes by my sawmill and Forklift Unloader.

My Atlas O California Zephyr passenger is in search of its box.  I have it.  I have all my boxes, but where did it go.

Is there really a thread on OGR that asks "Did you every dropped an engine?"  Make sure to forward it to UPS, FEDEX, and USPS.  My mailman and I were talking when my UPS driver dropped a big Aristocraft G-gauge engine off the back of his truck and into the street. His tight brown shorts may have been riding up that day.

Thank you again for your question.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Gunrunner John,

The lack of access to the shelves is my biggest design flaw.  I was six years younger when I started the layout and able to climb up on the 2x4 sub-structure Table.  This area will get a re-designed Freight yard.  I love the Atlas O #5 Double Slip Switch, but a row of them eats up most of my freight yard run. I might follow a design shown by Chris A on the "What Did You do …" thread.  A downward ramp to a lower multi-tracked storage area might work.  I also have two places where a lead from the upper level (not yet built) could run into the laundry room and a four track storage yard.  This is more likely.

Or I will remove the yard and create a big quarry pit for my aged body to enter the middle of the layout.  The Quarry pit sounds better every time I say it.  Well padded with a small refrigerator.  Don't wake me if you hear snoring.

Now that I am running the lower level, I can see areas for improvement.  Learn from my mistake: we get older, wider (yes that is wider, not wiser), and less able to get to where we use to when we were younger.  

Again, Thank you for all your help.  The YLB Batteries are excellent.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

John Rowlen posted:

Gunrunner John,  I will look again.  I found what looks like two screws at the mid-rear of the engine, and a screw in the left rear steam chest (The right had no screw).  There are detail pipes to move out of the way that are attached to the engine shell.

I will look at the front of the engine, but that is floating above the front drivers and should not be fastened. Perhaps the technician stuck the downward pressure front drivers spring into the shell by mistake, and that is keeping the shell from lifting. It is obvious by now the technician did not know this engine well enough to service it. … Not that I understand it at all.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

John,

Assuming this is the same as the TLC Allegheny, here are the screws to remove to release the top of the boiler.

Take out the following 4 screws (the manual is wrong on both sets listed):

Front:

Allegheny 01

Back:

Allegheny

The last step on the under side is you need to pull out the rear grab irons lower connection from the bottom hole insert:

Allegheny 03

Now, just turn the engine onto its wheels and gently lift off the top of the boiler (it separates at the walk platforms).  Careful to not break the solder connection to the handrails (antenna).

If you want to send the engine to get fixed, I used Alex Malliae who Lionel sent me to for my older Legacy Challenger.  He is on the forum (Alex M) and here is his contact info:

Jada Enterprises
(917) 971-9196
301 Karen Ct
Freehold, New Jersey 07728

 

 

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Photos (3)

Allan,

Thank you very much for the information.  I will look under the shell before deciding to send the engine for service.

"(The manual is wrong on both sets (of screws) listed.)"  Why am I not surprised by this.  I wonder what the Lionel technician did when he followed the manual instructions when servicing my engine.

Oh, I remember, He said, "I did the best I could."

Thank you again.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

I really don't enjoy being negative on this forum, but why do posts like this stay at the top?  I have had no out of the box failures on my O scale trains.  Am I lucky?  Perhaps, but I do not purchase O scale Lionel (of MTH for the record) products new.  My manufacturer of choice stands behind their product. 

If your locomotive is not operating per specification, send it back as often as it takes and make Lionel pay the shipping.  If this was bought new you are entitled to quality product that operates per specification.  If Lionel cannot commit to that, send it back for a full refund.  End of story.  3rd Rail made an excellent brass Allegheny.  While it may not have all the bells and whistles of a Legacy version, it is a solid runner. 

Jonathan

 

John Rowlen posted:

"(The manual is wrong on both sets (of screws) listed.)"  Why am I not surprised by this.  I wonder what the Lionel technician did when he followed the manual instructions when servicing my engine.

Oh, I remember, He said, "I did the best I could."

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Mr. Rowlen

On the 22nd (Sunday) you wrote "I am 100% supportive of Lionel".

2 days later (Tuesday) you posted the above (in red) which seems to be in conflict with your earlier statement.

I hope you can see why there might be some of us who are confused by this whole conversation...

My advice (which is worth nothing) would be: take a break from buying more locos and learn to repair the ones you already have (you have quite a few, so that should keep you busy). You'll save a ton of dough and have a lot more fun in the process...

Mark in Oregon

And this thread keeps running and running.....for what reason?  John...I am closing this thread.  It has served its purpose (whatever that is).  Frankly, all of this bashing and airing out in threads like this is getting old!  If you aren't happy with a manufacturers product or service, then stop buying it!  If you don't like the service you got...then send the loco to another service center.  I swear....you have the worst luck with your purchases....!  The thread is closed and after a few hours, it will be deleted.  If any of you have something you want to keep within the thread, then save it.

Alan Arnold
CEO/Publisher
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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