The entire point of the kinematic pilot is to close the gap between pilot and frame,  giving the appearance of a fixed pilot but yet a pilot that will move  around tight curves.  The first issue of the kinematic pilot did just that.  No gigantic gap, the pilot stayed in a fixed position unless around a tight curve.  Look at the ES44AC below.  Looks terrific.

KCS ES44AC no gap

Now look at their SD40-2 and the SD45.  Notice the giant gap between the pilot and frame.  This may state the obvious, but now there is no difference between an engine with a kinematic pilot and any other engine they do.  Lionel has gone inexplicably backwards here.  So what is the point?

Milw SD40-2 front gapSD40-2 Rear GapSus SD40-2 Front GapSus SD45 Front Gap

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The SD40s in the 2018 big book were advertised as having kinematic pilots with a minimum diameter of O54.  The SD40-T2 (at least in 2017 vol 2) did not mention kinematic pilots, and has a stated minimum curvature of O31.

I can understand why kinematic pilots wouldn't work on O31.  Maybe what we have here is a failure to communicate.  But if I ordered an SD40 expecting it to look like the ES44 in the first picture, I would be very disappointed.  Mind the gap!!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

"Were these advertised as kinematic? I've noticed not all Lionel engines come with them."

  The models pictured have kinematic pilots.  Thus the point of my thread.  And they were adverstised (SD45, SD40-2) as having them.  But does it matter if they were advertised?  They have them!  So the point is why have them if there is a tremendous gap?  I mean why bother?  What is the point of having a non moving pilot if there is a giant gap??

Eccentric Crank posted:

"Were these advertised as kinematic? I've noticed not all Lionel engines come with them."

  The models pictured have kinematic pilots.  Thus the point of my thread.  And they were adverstised (SD45, SD40-2) as having them.  But does it matter if they were advertised?  They have them!  So the point is why have them if there is a tremendous gap?  I mean why bother?  What is the point of having a non moving pilot if there is a giant gap??

I agree. If the engines do in fact have the kinematic pilots (which I guess they do) so yeah, why the big gap? Also, if the pilot is kinematic but has that large gap, would it be able to run on tighter curves like 036 or no? 

Eccentric Crank posted:

The entire point of the kinematic pilot is to close the gap between pilot and frame,  giving the appearance of a fixed pilot but yet a pilot that will move  around tight curves.  The first issue of the kinematic pilot did just that.  No gigantic gap, the pilot stayed in a fixed position unless around a tight curve.  Look at the ES44AC below.  Looks terrific.

Now look at their SD40-2 and the SD45.  Notice the giant gap between the pilot and frame.  This may state the obvious, but now there is no difference between an engine with a kinematic pilot and any other engine they do.  Lionel has gone inexplicably backwards here.  So what is the point.

(Photos omitted)

Excellent points. Thanks for bringing this up. I took a flyer on a couple of the SD40-2s in part because of the kinematic pilots that were advertised. I assumed they’d look like the ES44 and be a relatively easy  conversion to a fully-fixed, no gap, pilot. So yes, not what I’d envisioned and they’ll be more of a project if I keep them. 

RM

I recently received the SD40-4 from the TCA Kids Club.  I didn't notice the gap until the bottom of the pilot caught on a slight bump in the third rail at one spot.  Taking the plate off the bottom of the pilot, I inserted a shim of styrene to minimize the vertical movement of the pilot.  Reattaching plate  and making sure the shim was not too thick to limit the swing of the pilot, its vertical movement was much less, the gap smaller and no more hitting the third rail.

PeterA posted:

I recently received the SD40-4 from the TCA Kids Club.  I didn't notice the gap until the bottom of the pilot caught on a slight bump in the third rail at one spot.  Taking the plate off the bottom of the pilot, I inserted a shim of styrene to minimize the vertical movement of the pilot.  Reattaching plate  and making sure the shim was not too thick to limit the swing of the pilot, its vertical movement was much less, the gap smaller and no more hitting the third rail.

Peter:

What thickness styrene did you use as a shim?

Neal Jeter

Neal, I just used a piece of scrap styrene, so do not know the actual thickness.  It probably is about .o6 or .08" and about a half inch square.  Just experiment to make sure the plate, when screwed back on still allows the pilot to move without friction. 

@Dave Olson   @Conrail6358

A few questions for Lionel.

1)  Has anyone yet realized this massive gap on the kinematic coupler engines released after the ES44ACs?

2) Will this be corrected on future releases?

3) Will new parts or a fix be provided for the SD40-2 and SD45?

4) Since I ordered these based on my ES44AC can these be returned?  Surely you can agree that the later releases totally make the kinematic pilot useless as that giant gap defeats the purpose of this feature?

 

If anyone has a side by side comparison of these pilots against the earlier SD40/SD38/first run SD45 kinematic pilots, that might prove useful in explaining just how much can change with these pilots in under 4 years.

Thomas

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters

TCA Member11-66911

LCCA 30247

ERR Upgrades and Custom Artwork

The kinematic coupler (koupler?) is - maybe was, now - the best thing Lionel did for tight-curved 3RO railroading since TMCC. Now, it looks as if it has devolved quickly into the worst of both words: dorky swinging pilot appearance, but without the dorky swinging pilot capabilities. 21st century progress, again. 

I know that few post here when things go right, but it does finally seem to me that Lionel actually has some severe problems. Don't know why - the others deal with outsourced manufacturing (and design?) too, and their failure rate is far lower. This can't all be just perception.

D500 posted:

I know that few post here when things go right, but it does finally seem to me that Lionel actually has some severe problems. Don't know why - the others deal with outsourced manufacturing (and design?) too, and their failure rate is far lower. This can't all be just perception.

"The elephant in the room" as they say,  and as prices creep up near brass territory.

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

You don't really expect the folks at Lionel to answer, do you?

Expect the best prepare for the worst.

If anyone has a side by side comparison of these pilots against the earlier SD40/SD38/first run SD45 kinematic pilots, that might prove useful in explaining just how much can change with these pilots in under 4 years.

I could to that, but not sure of the point.  That is why I pictured the perfect ES44AC, skipped the above mentioned models and went straight to the latest ones.  The gap increased ever so slightly on each model after the ES44AC to the magnitude seen now.  

- Crank

If you interface the world of KM coupling which is structured around precise repeatable performance against the  subjects above it could be a reach to call them Kinematic.  Precision is a bedrock principle for KM.   Nice idea but not there yet in my opinion.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

I would assume your dealer will not take them back, I looked at all my ES44's, BNSF, KCS, SF and they look fantastic. I would have not noticed this issue as I don't have one of the engines you pictured above, going to check the catalog as I would be very disappointed if I purchased one with the ES44 expectation.

 

TCA, METCA, LCCA, LRRC, MTHRRC, Atlas Golden Spike Club Charter Member, Bergen County Model RRC and NJ HiRailers Member.

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ HiRailers website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of our events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what we've added.

 

 

 

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