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 I posted on another forum an issue that is with my Big Boy. The smoke tube from the whistle is partially blocked. It appears that it was in the molding process? I cut the tube open to find out what the restriction was caused by. The smoke actually comes out of the fill portion better than the whistle if you leave the fill plug out.

 Anyways I was blasted by another member there that it might hurt sales or even the hobby to post this complaint on that forum. They stated that I was the one who broke my new engine. I may not get a replacement part from this adventure as the moderator is the one who is the dealer.

 So will you (MTH) look into the whistle smoke tube? I've asked others to check theirs and I can't get any good answer. Maybe they are now afraid to post?DSC_2101

I could not get a great picture of the tiny hole that is left right at the mold point in the tube. Please enlarge the photo.





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Last edited by Engineer-Joe
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MTH, Here's the real story behind Joe and his broken steam whistle One-Gauge Big Boy.

On another forum dated 5-11-2017 Joe started a topic titled "MTH G Big Boy #4014 smoking whistle" and he posted a pic of a "blocked" smoke tube. Only problem with that is the smoke tube and smoke unit is a one piece sealed unit and the only way to discover a problem is to break it..which is what Joe did. He didn't "cut" the smoke tube open he broke it as he admitted here earlier/ above...


Seems that Joe only had this Big Boy for a few weeks before he decided to "fix"'s the dealer video of Joe's loco being tested...and the whistle smoke seems fine.

I'm the member that blasted him on the other forum as he brought up this problem on a new thread on about 5-11-2018. The new thread is titled "MTH 2018 Catalog (New Big Boys 4014, 4006, 4017, 4018, 4023)".

That forum is owned by a MTH dealer and that new thread is to make the public aware that there is indeed a new production run of Big Boys coming in July. That thread is not the place to air gripes over a broken smoking whistle esp. when there is already an ongoing thread about whistle smoke.

As the dealer that sold Joe his MTH One-Gauge Big Boy posted there is an outstanding order for a replacement smoke whistle tube. 


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I was told by that very dealer that a replacement smoke tube was unavailable and I would not see one for some time. There was no interest in him fixing this or returning the item to him for this. So I paid for a smoking whistle that did not work. The clear solution for me, was to go inside the engine again, which I already had to do to fix a poor signal issue, and fix the smoking whistle. How else could I possibly find out the extent of the blockage???

 I have had somewhere around 100 MTH engines and have fixed many. I contacted MTH several times and they instructed me to fix issues myself. I got a diesel that had a marker light burned out and they simply sent me a replacement. So I had to install it myself. I believe they may know of me and actually expect me to fix simple issues and not cry over them. They instruct me on where to look or what to do to fix brand new engines that arrive less than perfect.

 This Big Boy has other issues that I did not make public and it is common practice in G scale to modify stuff to get them to work with other brands. 


Casey Jones2 posted:

Seems that Joe only had this Big Boy for a few weeks before he decided to "fix"'s the dealer video of Joe's loco being tested...and the whistle smoke seems fine.


Works "fine" is a matter of opinion I guess. That whistle effect is weak at best, when compared to that of Lionel or JDS. LTD.

Especially when you consider the fact MTH has been the industry leader in model train smoke production for  well over a decade.

That small hole Joe posted sure looks like a defect/bad design, and makes Lionels use of aquarium tubing seem like a good idea. No brand war, just an observation.


RickO posted:

…..and makes Lionels use of aquarium tubing seem like a good idea. No brand war, just an observation.


I need to look at that to see if I can use it here. The smoke is too restricted to work good. There's a fill hole that has a plug. If you leave the plug out the whistle smokes good as expected from that fill hole. So asking it to blast thru a tiny opening and over a couple of inches must be too much for it.

 I'll add that the wireless drawbar is failing already. I had to go inside of this engine 4 times as soon as it arrived for different fixes. I drilled out the factory smoke tube and it still has weak whistle smoke. So I'll be going in to make my own. I just happen to be converting passenger cars on the bench so it's not like I have nothing better to do with my time than tear into a $1500 engine again. Ah the fun of toy trains! Darned if I do or I don't.

 Ok, so here it is. Not only is the fill/flow tube partially blocked, so is the whistle itself. I couldn't even blow air thru the whistle once I removed it. I then tried to push a paper clip thru it and it wouldn't go either. So I ran a series of drills thru the part of the whistle that's blocked working my way bigger with each drill until now it flows well when I blow into it.

 Here is the big boy with the whistle removed and my custom pipe inserted for the first half mod


so I emailed Midge asking for a replacement whistle now. I'm not sure if I can get it so I tore this one apart. (Yes that means broke it apart Chuck!)

I ran the largest bit thru it's half that was blocked and widened the gap so it's easier to blow air thru now. I will re-assemble and see how she works now. It's fun tearing apart engines seeing why they don't work as they should. I should leave this job to the pros right?


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one more thing that might just be a guess that's wrong? I looked into the whistle and saw what looked like a machined orifice? Maybe MTH wanted to create a realistic whistle effect that was scale? I couldn't blow air thru it so I can't believe the whistle even worked. I think that the effect might have to be overdone so that it achieves the look that it is desired. Having scale steam thru the whistle was weak at best. Being that the prototype has the whistle right behind the main stacks, also hurts the effect.

 I re-assembled it and after dinner I'll shoot another video to show the results. It figures that I just happen to be real busy right now with many other things.

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

OK it's better. I re-installed the original tube for this test with the whistle hole drilled out larger. What you can't see is all the smoke oil smeared all over my phone. So there's a dead space about 5 seconds long where I'm frantically wiping off the oil trying to pull the whistle cord!

If you're impatient, go to about 30 seconds in for the best effect.

I need to seal up my replacement tube at the whistle and see if it's better or not. It would be best to have a fitting that went to the small size of the whistle's hole. I'll have to make a trip to the hardware store again.

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

Holly Craaaaaa….

How come they got the O gauge one better?

It does look like the smoke or air passing thru the One gauge whistle is part of the restriction. You would need a high volume pump to get the full effect.

I can achieve the higher volume with the whistle removed. I am also considering drilling tiny relief holes next to (under) the whistle to see if I can get more volume?

At first, I was reluctant to post anything negative about this product, the way that I feel about many. Now, I am glad I did this.

Ray's train works is mailing me the replacement smoke pipe for the whistle and I should receive it today. I did not wish to name the dealer when I started this whole post. Another member did so what can I do? Ray's has excellent service and stands behind products and also upgrades things straight from MTH before shipping. I can't really ask for more. He told me about the weak smoke after I inquired about it's performance.

I put this engine on the shelf and was really disappointed to say the least. The last I worked on it, it seemed as if the whistle smoke had failed totally. I'm sure I am to blame as I touched it last. So I will accept the blame from posters like the one above.

 So, I can only move forwards and try to get it to work properly. I could have sent it back and demanded a refund. I don't wish to see any dealer go thru that extent for one defect. Once the pipe is here I can fine tune the actual whistle to get better airflow thru it. The wireless draw bar is also failing and I'm sure the electric coupler will fail like most of my others now have. I have high standards for every engine on my RR to pull it's weight, and I make my own mods to get them to perform as expected. I modified many engines that were bought used and abused so they needed these mods as they failed. Any weaknesses show up after a good pounding! There are so many other brands that fail totally that I am actually used to fixing everything on my RR. The fact that the MTH engines survive long after others become shelf queens keeps me a customer of their products.

 I will post my mods as I do them. I believe I may go backwards to the wired tether on this model next. It depends on why it is failing. Pulling more than 50 cars in a train takes these products to their limits and many times well past. Having software bugs like lash-up direction mishaps, also makes things fail prematurely. I had six diesels rip themselves apart before I could get them to respond and killed the power.

Alan D posted:

You should you try DCC MU function on PS3 engines to avoid DCS software issues resulting in stripped gears.

I have (had?) over 100 MTH engines and unfortunately right now, the majority are equipped with PS2. That's a mighty big change over for me. I'd have to buy like 80+ boards (non-MTH?). Then I'd have to buy back a DCC controller, and booster(s), and programmer, and reverser, and 80+ keep alive boards, and … interface, and.....

I'll keep pushing MTH to fix the software bugs. In the meanwhile I'll keep the consists all PS3 or all PS2 until then. That doesn't fix all the bugs. It just helps.

Glad you got parts but shelve a $1,400 Big Boy because of a anemic smoking whistle?? 

Yeah that DCS software anomaly regarding lashups does indeed suck...and it's been with it since 3.1 and I highly doubt that it's going away anytime soon since MTH R&D seems more intent on trying to convert us to using the CrAp on a 2 handed smart device instead of the 1 handed rugged time proven remote. 

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