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Hello all,

In the past,  I have posted and commented on a couple of the other forums about my continuing problems with my 20-20347-1 Via Rail Turbotrain.   Since the end of  March of this year,  I have only logged a little over an  1 hours run time on it,   the majority of time it being either shipped or at MTH for repair.   The first repair was to replace a slave board(approx 6 weeks total),  the second repair was to replace another slave board(yes the same one as the first repair),    "repair wiring at lead unit socket",  and "refurbish unit for operation".   This was approx another 9 weeks.   I received the Turbotrain back from MTH in late Sept,  but due to other things in life,  did not even open the box until last Thursday.   Another surprise-upon unwrapping the lead power unit from its foam/plastic wrap,   there was a gear from the lead power truck laying loose,  plastered between the foam and the side of the body(not on the bottom where the truck is-but up along the side).   There is an impression of the gear and it's grease in the foam where it was.   In addition,  there is a piece of the truck sideframe broken off(looks like a step) on one side.   This was not broken when I sent it in for repair and the broken part is not in the wrappings.   In addition,  on the coach car that couples between the 2 power units,  there is a tab broken off where the long plastic rod slides in from the adjoining car.   This also was not broken off when the trains was sent in for repair.   I waited a few days to calm down before calling MTH.   Explained the whole situation to the customer service girl,  so now the Turbo is going back to MTH AGAIN for damage repair!   I told the customer service girl on the phone that if I could use the lemon law on this train for a refund,   or even MTH credit for my original cost ,  I certainly would.   I'm at the point where I don't even want this piece of **** anymore.

Nick

 

 

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Original Post

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Whenever an engine is repaired at MTH, it goes into the layout room and gets run in DCS or (and) conventional.  Sorry to hear of your problems.  I am a fan and rode the Turbo Train as it passed through and stopped in my neighborhood.  I run both Amtrak trains and enjoy them.  I am very big on running any train when you bring it home to check for any issues.  This way the dealer may have another to swap out with you and if not you have the warranty period to work for you.   I have seen worse damage from the P.O. and Fed Ex.  I hope this gets handled for you.

Last edited by Marty Fitzhenry
Ray Lombardo posted:

What is pictured is obvious shipping damage.  Sorry to hear of the issues but if possible try to find an authorized repair facility closer by so you can handle it without the fedex, usps, or ups gorillas handling it.

 Since the piece wasn't in the wrapping, I question this being shipping damage...

machinist posted:
 Another surprise-upon unwrapping the lead power unit from its foam/plastic wrap,   there was a gear from the lead power truck laying loose,  plastered between the foam and the side of the body(not on the bottom where the truck is-but up along the side).   There is an impression of the gear and it's grease in the foam where it was.   In addition,  there is a piece of the truck sideframe broken off(looks like a step) on one side.   This was not broken when I sent it in for repair and the broken part is not in the wrappings.  

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Ray Lombardo posted:

What is pictured is obvious shipping damage.  Sorry to hear of the issues but if possible try to find an authorized repair facility closer by so you can handle it without the fedex, usps, or ups gorillas handling it.

 Since the piece wasn't in the wrapping, I question this being shipping damage...

Exactly.   That is why I made it a point in my original post to mention that neither of the broken pieces were in the tissue/plastic wrappings when I unwrapped the units.    And from experience,  I unwrap engines carefully on a soft cloth on a flat table in case anything is laying loose inside.   The gear issue is a whole different matter.    If someone can explain how that gear/shaft came out of the truck,  managed to work it's way up to the position between the tissue and side of the body(managing to leave an impression of the gear w/grease in the tissue) during shipping,  I'd love to hear it.   Turbo was purchased from Mario's,  one of the forum sponsors.   The first time Turbo failed,  I shipped it back to Mario's,  at which point Joe Romano personally drove and delivered Turbo to MTH.   When the first repair was finished,  Joe again drove to MTH and picked up Turbo and then shipped it back to me.   Second time I shipped directly to MTH.

J Daddy,  one of our club members has an Acela,  and it too is basically a shelf queen with various issues.

 

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Ray Lombardo posted:

In my mind there is a greater likelihood of an explanation for the parts not being in the wrapper as compared to MTH damaging the item and not owning up to the damage.  

Really?  Do you have a logical explanation for the parts not being in the wrapper and the item being damaged?

I don't argue with people on the internet.  It is certainly possible that you are correct and I understand the point being made.  That being said, it strikes me as silly for MTH or anyone else to play that game because it is not as if the customer is not going to put together that fact as well and blame them.  So not only do you wind up repairing or replacing the item,  you damage your reputation as well?  Makes no sense to me.  

Wow. I never would have bought one as it's not in my era of interest and I'm not into 3-rail, but man, what a nightmare! You guys who bought these sure have my sympathy*, as nobody deserves to buy something cool like this and then have this kind of problem(s) with it...

*for what it's worth.

I am with John on an employee causing this.  When any engine gets fixed it gets tested for a period of time then to shipping.  I know the tech guys at MTH and that would not be something they would do.  When they finish a repair they have to initial it.  Jason would not let something like this leave his shop.  

The fact a section of the sideframe was broken off and a gear floating about, I would be looking at Fed Ex rather than MTH.  Sideframes do not get broken by a tech.  

Last edited by Marty Fitzhenry

Ha... I bought two of these miserable trains and numerous extra cars.  My whole story on these exists on old threads on here.  MTH was not helpful as chronicled in my other thread.  Finally sets went back to MTH only to return and soon have more trouble.  They have since gone for more repairs at an MTH service  station and after another $100 out of my pocket the VIA train ran again briefly, now dead again.  My Amtrak one still works although two extra coaches are shorting out again and sidelined.  Many parts have fallen off of these sets...most before I ever opened the trains the first time.

 

Beautiful models...horrible design operationally...pathetic response from MTH.   The VIA one is a shelf display now at a cost of about $1200 with all the extra cars.  Amtrak set running for now but minus two cars.  i spent about $2,000 on TurboTrains and MTH really treated me poorly to say the least. 

 

My plan is to eventually rip out all of MTH'S electronics and put individual conventional boards in each power car.

 

Last edited by VistaDomeScott
david1 posted:

I would ask for a refund. Detail all the problems you have had , how many times it was sent in for repair and explain your dissatisfaction with the item you bought.

Do it in a professional manner.

Good luck,

Dave

Been there, tried that, no go.  The great wall of MTH left Turbotrain buyers largely screwed.  Everyone wants to blame everyone but MTH....  but bottom line is that these trains have inherent problems.

Last edited by VistaDomeScott
Marty Fitzhenry posted:

Whenever an engine is repaired at MTH, it goes into the layout room and gets run in DCS or (and) conventional.  Sorry to hear of your problems.  I am a fan and rode the Turbo Train as it passed through and stopped in my neighborhood.  I run both Amtrak trains and enjoy them.  I am very big on running any train when you bring it home to check for any issues.  This way the dealer may have another to swap out with you and if not you have the warranty period to work for you.   I have seen worse damage from the P.O. and Fed Ex.  I hope this gets handled for you.

Want to be the third person to work on mine?  MTH several times...still failing.  Another well known MTH repair station,  now failing again.  I too am a fan of the Turbotrain, but do not deserve to have such unreliable product for so much cash.  And repeated problems.  I own a lot of MTH and 99% of it is awesomely flawless.  It is NO fault of mine or any other owners of these for the problems encountered.  I am not a service tech nor do I want to be.  I simply expect quality for my money and responsiveness if things  go wrong.

The MTH TurboTrains obviously have known issues.  I will not tolerate blame being pushed off to the customer.  I am here to say most MTH products are great.  These are not.  And we who bought these and try to really run them suffer.   MTH tried to ignore my requests for help and at first denied problems.   A registered letter to Mike Wolf  was ignored.  That letter was pleasant, and as last resort.  You may have direct lines to Mr. Wolf and your own shop to work on trains. I have niether.  I just am a customer who spent tens of thousands of dollars on MTH and yet was largely ignored during this  fiasco.

Last edited by VistaDomeScott

Nick,

Not trying to fuel the fire here but, the shaft for that gear is pressed in.  I do not recall if it is tapered or just a press fit.  If the side truck was damaged in shipping and the gear was loose, there is a possibility that it might come out.  I find it hard to believe that an MTH tech would send something out like that.  As others have suggested, I would be looking at the shipper.

Sorry to hear about your issues............

 

Dave

 

Dave,

Do you have any experience with the wiring of the TurboTrains.  The issues seem to be the many delicate wires that are in some cars tightly smashed down where fastened to the cars.  Also the connections which suffer even on prescribed 072 minimum curves.

 

Do you think I could use a Williams board to run each of the power cars individually and conventionally?  At this point I would prefer a simplified turbotrain that really runs vs the shelf pieces MTH sold me.

Scott

Although this thread is about the additional damage to Machinist's Turbotrains, we cannot ignore the fact that these trains so regularly need to go back to MTH in the first place due to boards and or wiring. 

All MTH TurboTrain boxes should be marked "caveat emptor"

Last edited by VistaDomeScott

For those who have been following this thread,  here is the latest update.   Yesterday,  I received Turbo back from MTH via FEDEX(The three times that it has been shipped back from MTH it has come via FeDEX so I assume that is who they are now using).    In fairness to MTH,  I give them credit for their replacing the broken parts(the broken tab/eyelet on the coach car and the broken step on the truck sideframe).   They also repaired/reinstalled the truck gear back into the powered truck assembly.   So far, all three times the work/repairs have been done under warranty at no cost.   It is now at the point that the factory warranty period is finished(except for repairs that carry a 90 day warranty).   This weekend,  our club will be set up at the New Eagle VFD train show,  and I am going to run Turbo to give it a workout and see if everything operates correctly.   I will give another update after the weekend is over.

Nick      

I have two of them -- Amtrak/DOT and Amtrak late. Both broke a gear on the truck (I suspect bad zinc). The wire gauge between the cars is a bit thin, so running two extra cars per prototype is hit or miss (the trailing unit sometimes loses communication) but overall I like the trains and how they've run. At some point I plan to go into the trailing units and set them up with free-standing proto-3 hardware to eliminate the tether issue on the full 5-unit trains. I think the trains could use a little re-engineering if they're re-issued (heavier tether wiring). The gear situation is the luck of the draw.

 

Mr Union Pacific posted:

Is it PS 2 or PS 3?

Clint,

All the MTH Turbos are PS3.   The first run was released around 2010 and the latest run was released in Feb 2014.   Mine is from the latest run,  #20-20347-1,   VIA Rail and is like the one shown in Scott's photos above in this thread.(Mine does not have all the additional coach cars).

Nick

Jim,  I have a few sets as the real one  ran in my back yard years ago.  I wonder why some claim they have all these off the wall issues and no one else has issues.    My area has many of these running on layouts and everyone seems to be happy with operation.  I hope these members with issues get them resolved.  It is a very cool train to operate.

I agree with Dave Minarik about the shipper.  The MTH tech guys Jason has are the best.

Marty Fitzhenry posted:

Jim,  I have a few sets as the real one  ran in my back yard years ago.  I wonder why some claim they have all these off the wall issues and no one else has issues.    My area has many of these running on layouts and everyone seems to be happy with operation.  I hope these members with issues get them resolved.  It is a very cool train to operate.

I agree with Dave Minarik about the shipper.  The MTH tech guys Jason has are the best.

I sure wish I received the sets you did Marty!  My sets were used as prescribed and yet total trouble. I have an operational Amtrak Turbotrain (minus 2 shorted out extra cars) which for now runs fine after returns to MTH and repair at Stockyard Express.  The VIA version again has a non functional rear power car.  This after many wasted returns, calls, hours, and cash.  I own a lot of MTH products and operate all without problems on an all O72 FastTrack layout with Z4000 power only.  I still operate original MTH locomotives from 1990's with P-1 and before.  There is no blame to be placed on the numerous people who suffer problems with these.  I  have only a wish to run these beautiful TurboTrains without problems.  I certainly have tried..as my thread only touches on the aggravation and wasted money I have endured.  I wish I could rave about MTH's service but I did not find assistance easily and at first found denials and difficulty.  I still have an inop Turbotrain.  Want to trade sets? 

Last edited by VistaDomeScott

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