I believe the issue of zinc rot is a common one with the JLC scale GG1 locomotives.  I recently purchased a NIB #4866 on Ebay and it arrived with the trucks disintegrating to the point that one had broken completely in half during the shipping process.  Of course this is one part Lionel no longer has in stock, and thankfully I saw a listing by a forum member shortly before I acquired the locomotive who stated he had them in stock.  I bought four, since the GG1 I already had, #4925, was also showing signs of zinc rot upon inspection.  An easy but expensive repair, but I'm now happy with my purchase.  It's still cheaper than a new Vision Line one.  

If you've got one of these you haven't run in awhile, take a look at the condition of the trucks.

IMG_6718IMG_6719IMG_6721IMG_6723IMG_6724

The next few photos are post-repair.  On my #4925, the gap between the trucks was non-existent due to the swelling.

IMG_6754fullsizeoutput_ee8IMG_6756

#4866 had a rear coupler that also crumbled and was replaced.IMG_6757

 

A video of my new locomotive pulling my set of MTH Congressional cars.  #4925 is with Mike Reagan for repair of some operational issues it had prior to the truck rot issue being discovered.

 

 

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Original Post

Would you happen to know if there were any left?  I am a victim of the dreaded Zinc Rot on my JLC GG1 and when I was looking for the needed parts I was only able to find 1.   The other truck isn't showing as of yet but I don't want to take any chances.

Chief Bob (Retired)

PUFFRBELLY posted:

Would you happen to know if there were any left?  I am a victim of the dreaded Zinc Rot on my JLC GG1 and when I was looking for the needed parts I was only able to find 1.   The other truck isn't showing as of yet but I don't want to take any chances.

Chief Bob (Retired)

I do not know for sure.  If you search in the "For Sale" forum, you should be able to find his listing and contact information as that's where I saw the post originally.  He's a repairman and had a stash of them.  The cost was a lot more than Lionel's parts department charged when they had them, but I figured it as a matter of supply and demand and paid his price.

Could you be a bit more specific?   A name would work.  I didn't try searching the for sale forum because I don't know what the listing would either.  Contact information would be great.  You can hit my email, it's in my profile page if that's OK with you.  Thanks for the reply!!!

Chief Bob (Retired)

Just had to look again at mine.  Fingers crossed, there's no sign of metal fatigue on JLC 4876. Had a gander at VL 4800 too.  Solid as day one.  I feel for anyone having to perform such replacements without manufactures support.

Bruce

Completely designed with your mind in mind.

brwebster posted:

Just had to look again at mine.  Fingers crossed, there's no sign of metal fatigue on JLC 4876. Had a gander at VL 4800 too.  Solid as day one.  I feel for anyone having to perform such replacements without manufactures support.

Bruce

FWIW, the Legacy models apparently have a different truck design.  Not to say they couldn't suffer the same issue, but they are a different part.

What people should do is cast the pieces in plastic with silicone or cast in aluminum. I was watching Youtube videos and it doesn't look that hard or expensive to do. The items they make are cheap and this is going to continue. You can cast using your old aluminum cans and using old parts that aren't totally shot.

SantaFe158 posted:

I believe the issue of zinc rot is a common one with the JLC scale GG1 locomotives.  I recently purchased a NIB #4866 on Ebay and it arrived with the trucks disintegrating to the point that one had broken completely in half during the shipping process.  Of course this is one part Lionel no longer has in stock, and thankfully I saw a listing by a forum member shortly before I acquired the locomotive who stated he had them in stock.  I bought four, since the GG1 I already had, #4925, was also showing signs of zinc rot upon inspection.  An easy but expensive repair, but I'm now happy with my purchase.  It's still cheaper than a new Vision Line one.  

If you've got one of these you haven't run in awhile, take a look at the condition of the trucks.

IMG_6718IMG_6721 

The concern is were the spares cast from the same batch of metal or a different correct one? With where the metallurgical industry is today Zinc rot in a product from the year 2008 should never occur. The manufacturers should stand behind issues like these.

While a proper comparison of truck frames could not be possible without disassembly, the frames ( the part in question ) look identical on the JLC and VL.  The separate inner drive train is where the difference is obvious.  One model puts the direct drive on the middle drivers and the other on the outer drivers. Otherwise, interchange of the frames appears possible.  Maybe the frames will once again become available from the manufacturer once the VL warrantee comes off later this year.

Bruce

Completely designed with your mind in mind.

BobbyD posted:

With where the metallurgical industry is today Zinc rot in a product from the year 2008 should never occur. The manufacturers should stand behind issues like these.

My thoughts exactly.  We've known about the causes of Zinc Rot for decades, and there's no excuse for it still going on in modern products.

The issue with poor quality casting should not exist in this day and age. As I had previously posted, the body on my MTH P5a BoxCab has suffered the same zinc rot problem and many others reported the same thing. I spoke with Mike Wolf about this issue and they have no replacement bodies. I was told that should they reissue the engine, they will produce some extra bodies. I'm pretty sure I won't be alive by then! The trucks and side frames on my Williams Peter Witt trolley also suffered casting decay. I did obtain replacements from Williams Bachmann.

Eric Hofberg

TCA, LCCA, Ives Train Society 

I remember having the conversation with Eric about the P5a before.  Mine is positively starting to exhibit the rot.  Other examples of recent rot exist throughout the major manufacturers....tender bodies on the first Railking Torpedo, trucks from numerous cars, etc.  One pattern appears obvious to me.  Technology to avoid the problem existed 80 years ago, it was virtually eradicated in the late 30's, and the disease once again raised it's ugly head when production shifted to the far east.

Bruce

Completely designed with your mind in mind.

I just checked my JLC GG1, the good news for me is it seems perfect, I don't see any evidence of rot starting.

Given the mention of the P5a, I thought I should check that one as well, but I don't see anything happening there either.

My only recent encounter of my own stuff was a bunch of K-Line passenger car trucks, they were crumbling as I watched!  I also had some freight cars with the wheelsets rotting away, that was a fairly easy fix.

Not cool.

Haven't checked mine yet, but I have the 5 stripe Brunswick Green, which (IIRC?) was from the first production of these, along with the Tuscan single stripe and the Penn Central (without reviewing the catalogs, I think those were the first three offered?).  {edit: guess I had the order back-asswards based on Bruce's research below}

I'll cross my fingers,  maybe this problem is limited to a bad batch of metal from when they made the later ones the batch shown above?  (and I hope those who do have these can get a workable solution! - which since my theory is just a theory may still include me...).

-Dave

Lionel offered the JLC version over a period of 3 years, beginning with catalog 1 of 2006, ending with catalog 2, 2008.  I surmise from this long run that total production wasn't all at one time.  This could explain why some suffer rot while others where spared.  Polling ownership could narrow down potential problem candidates.

 Concerning silver 4866, 6-18374, it was one of 3 initial offerings in 2006 and was the only one offered at the end of 2008.  By that time it had lost it's JLC status in catalog print, what with the influx of new Legacy offerings.

Bruce

Additionally, the first 3 offered were 6-18374, silver : 6-18371, Tuscan 5 stripe : 6-18372 Brunswick green single stripe.

Completely designed with your mind in mind.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I have the #4925, and I don't see any evidence of zinc rot.  If it's really not obvious, where should I look?  Nothing exposed looked bad, the truck frame looks pristine.

My 4925 was showing signs of cracking heavily around the screw holes where they mount to the trucks.  Upon comparison after replacement, they had also swelled a great deal and the approximately 1/8" gap between the two trucks was nonexistent.  Small detail pieces such as the sand lines hanging off the bottom were also slowly crumbling off.

brwebster posted:

While a proper comparison of truck frames could not be possible without disassembly, the frames ( the part in question ) look identical on the JLC and VL.  The separate inner drive train is where the difference is obvious.  One model puts the direct drive on the middle drivers and the other on the outer drivers. Otherwise, interchange of the frames appears possible.  Maybe the frames will once again become available from the manufacturer once the VL warrantee comes off later this year.

Bruce

I emailed Mike Reagan when I discovered my dilemma and asked if he knew of any sources for the frames, which he did not.  I had suggested the idea of finding the VL GG1 frames, but he stated that he learned the hard way that they changed the design and they are not compatible.  It would have been a great solution otherwise.

SantaFe158 posted:
brwebster posted:

While a proper comparison of truck frames could not be possible without disassembly, the frames ( the part in question ) look identical on the JLC and VL.  The separate inner drive train is where the difference is obvious.  One model puts the direct drive on the middle drivers and the other on the outer drivers. Otherwise, interchange of the frames appears possible.  Maybe the frames will once again become available from the manufacturer once the VL warrantee comes off later this year.

Bruce

I emailed Mike Reagan when I discovered my dilemma and asked if he knew of any sources for the frames, which he did not.  I had suggested the idea of finding the VL GG1 frames, but he stated that he learned the hard way that they changed the design and they are not compatible.  It would have been a great solution otherwise.

 That's getting it straight from the horse's mouth alright!   Good to know ahead of time.  

Thanks

Bruce

Completely designed with your mind in mind.

Plastic is  very easy. Look on Youtube. Cast with aluminum, from your cans is harder but the aluminum will last for ever. You use the good frame and cast with that part. I did it many times. I think its' better than paying the crazy prices and getting a better product.

shurlock1 posted:

Plastic is  very easy. Look on Youtube. Cast with aluminum, from your cans is harder but the aluminum will last for ever. You use the good frame and cast with that part. I did it many times. I think its' better than paying the crazy prices and getting a better product.

Aluminum maybe, but I can't see plastic being a good solution to this.  The truck frames aren't just decorative, there is an extension that mounts to them that makes up the pilot and the pilot truck is mounted to that.  In turn, the pulling force from the coupler pulls through the side frames, so I can't see plastic working well for that.

shurlock1 posted:

I am surprised that I don't see railroad buffs do this as a living. Copy a part or so, copy right on trains can't be that long. The big builders such as MTH and Lionel only have parts for so long.

3D printing would also be a likely option since you can buy metallic parts.  The hardest part would be coming up with the computer drawing files to print from.

shurlock1 posted:

I am surprised that I don't see railroad buffs do this as a living. Copy a part or so, copy right on trains can't be that long. The big builders such as MTH and Lionel only have parts for so long.

If casting parts and developing molds were as simple as you say, they probably would.  However, I happen to know to do cast parts is not that easy or cheap.  Henning's Trains manufactures a ton of pre-war diecast wheels, and the molds used are NOT cheap or easy to produce.  This is not a "corner of the basement" endeavor, it's and expensive and somewhat complex undertaking.

Now I have spent several thousand dollars and many hours in the project.  The net result is I have one style of diecast truck frame for the GG-1, how long before I ever break even?  Try probably never!

3D printing most of the parts we're talking about in plastic is a non-starter.  While metallic 3D printing exists, the hardware to do pieces this large is not cheap, and neither is the media used.  Add to that it takes hours to print a large piece, there simply isn't a cost effective way to do this project at this point in time.  Another issue is with a complex piece like the GG-1 truck frame, just getting the 3D model accurately created will be a challenge.

Joe Fermani posted:

If this is a wide spread production run problem, what would be the chances Lionel would do a part run to replace the trucks? I am one of the unfortunate ones that has a GG-1 with crumbling truck frames.

The problem is probably not Lionel willing to do the parts run, it's the actual manufacturers not wanting to provide parts.

I'm pretty sure this has come up in the past as why importers (at least Lionel, but I suspect more than just them) buy additional fully built units and then disassemble them stateside to supply some small level of parts support when an item is new.

They are not doing that because it's easier, they are doing it because the vendor only wants to sell "full widgets", not "parts for widgets" that cause you buy "full widgets" from them less often.

Anyone with the failed ones are just supposed to discard the old and buy new, just like a TV set or video game.  (sarcasm, for those not following too closely)

-Dave

Henning's is still working on getting castings made for this issue, it's going slow, but I think it's going to happen.  The first run had a bit too much shrinkage, though they otherwise came out good.  They're looking at a new mold process to minimize the shrinkage.

Stay tuned...

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I just got mine out of storage after several years and looked at it based on threads on this forum.  I am pleased that my 4925 does not suffer from issues in the zinc alloys.  However I suspect it is a regional issue.  Living in the deserts of AZ, I don't get the kind of moisture issues that may cause the impurities in metals  to cause this issue.  Just a working hypothesis on my part as I noticed the same issue with post war HO metal kits from Varney, Mantua, English, Penn Line and a few others when I started purchasing them here for my father who collected a lot when he still lived in NJ.  He was having lots of problems with some of the early 50's kits falling apart in his hands after an eBay purchase while the ones I found were in like new condition when I moved west in 1992.

Now to get it on the Paradise and Pacific for a periodic test run and maintenance checkup.

Jonathan

 

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