I recently purchased a used (great condition, working lights, smokes like a champ, properly lubricated, etc) Lionmaster Legacy Challenger. I have a fairly large layout, which includes a 4.5% grade. I have engines that pull better than others, but none of them have any issue pulling 10-15 cars around my layout. I run both Legacy and DCS. Steam and Diesel.
This engine has difficulty pulling away from a stop with 8-10 moderate weight cars -- boxcars, tankers. If I nudge it, it will get up a head of steam and start moving around the layout, however it begins to have trouble on the middle of the grade after losing momentum and won't make it's way up. It's not breaking traction and spinning it's wheels as my other engines that are overloaded would. It just isn't putting out the power. I'm running a constant 18 volts with the command control.
So I think, well, the motor just doesn't have the stones to pull it's own weight up a grade. I got a bum deal on a used engine that I thought was a great purchase. But the motor really does have plenty of power, because when I hit the boost wheel when pulling out, or to get up the grade, the train will respond and fly right up. I figure that since it has cruise control / speed control, the power output should automatically compensate for grades, turns etc. It does when I use the boost. But does not hold speed when I am running at any preset speed.
Has anyone had this experience or can properly diagnose? The most I really do is change out smoke units and traction tires, so If it needs to go in for repair that's OK. I have been down that road a few times with a couple of other locos. I would like to know what the root cause is, or hoping for an "easy" fix.
Thanks in advance.