New Lionel MTH O Gauge Union Pacific Tinplate engine and passenger car set

Today I recieved my new O gauge Union Pacific Tinplate steam engine and passenger car set. I got a great pre-order deal from Sidetrack Hobbies and the set is stunning. The MTH website showed the color as more of a bright yellow color, but they are a beautiful UP Armour yellow. 

The engine has traction tires and should do a good job pulling the 4 car set, but it gets part way around the track (using almost full throttle on my Lionel ZW 325 watt transformer and then the wheels just spin. The passenger cars just don't roll freely. I've cleaned the track and lubricated all the wheels so it's not that. I have 3 other tinplate passenger sets in green, blue, and red and all they roll beautifully. The difference I've noticed is the new UP cars have a black box between the wheels of each truck . Some sort of automatic uncoupler device. It slides between the wheel sets and impinges on the back of the wheels. If you lay the car on it's side, the top wheels spin freely, but the black box rests on the bottom wheels and they don't spin. This is my guess as to why the cars don't roll very well. Anybody seen this before ? That black box isn't on any of my other older passenger car sets. I'm wondering if there is a fix for it ? Would this be a warranty issue ? I've attached pics of the engine, passenger car, and truck. 

Thanks,

Scott

DFG56

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Scott, those trucks are fitted with a slide shoe.  I just experimented with one of my MTH O-gauge tinplate cars (from set 11-5510-1).  It's a freight car but it has the same slide shoe trucks as your set.  I laid it on its side and tried to roll the wheels like you said.  It does the same thing.  The wheels facing up spin more freely.  The "bottom" wheels get some drag.  It's just gravity I think.  My cars roll perfectly when placed on the track.  So my guess is something else is causing your problem.  Incidentally, I ran into a different problem with slide shoe trucks last week (they trip when passing over FasTrack switches and uncouple your cars, so watch for that).  

Thanks for that info Beachhead2. As an update, I tried the UP engine pulling one of my other tinplate passenger 4 car sets that rolls very well and even though the engine makes it around the track, it too finally stops and just spins the wheels. The UP engine  has traction tires and spins while my older non - Proto sound MTH Blue 263E engine without traction tires races around the track with ease pulling 5 cars. A bit frustrating. I guess I'll call Sidetrack Hobbies and see what they recommend. I added a couple of pics of my layout to give you an idea of curves, track, etc. Just level layout with Lionel Fastrack and 031 curves. 

DFG56

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I just got my first 263, also from side track, and have a similar issue.  I have heard that these loco's should be able to pull long trains, but with anything more than about five cars behind it is slips alot.  I am serious considering just going old school and adding extra weight.  I have been running mine on gargraves track.  I wipe the rails clean multiple times but the slipping persists with any thing approaching an impressive train.  Mine sounds and looks wonderful, but the slipping is a disappointment.  I was hoping to pull about (8) 2816 hoppers and a caboose if it could manage. ( using o-72 curves)

Also I have had trouble with the engine side of the "wireless" drawer bar not staying seated properly.  I was think about back off the screw that holds it up and adding a washer between the drawbar and the screw head to hold it a little tighter.

John Z.

May God Bless us all.

Hey John. Don't get discouraged yet. I do have a gray 260e engine that can pull 6 older Lionel tinplate freight cars plus a caboose without any trouble even at slow speeds. I've read a lot of posts somewhere on here regarding the slipping problem. At one point 2 years ago I tried Snot which was a terrible experience. If you aren't familiar, it's a jar of sticky stuff you apply to the drive wheels of your engine and it's supposed to form a type of traction tire. It didn't work for me. It just made a bumpy mess that I had to scrape and grind off the wheels. Some people are masters of applying it and I am not a master (obviously) lol. Anyway, don't forget to clean the engine drivers when you clean the track. If the oil or grease is on the wheels you will just put it back on the track. I use an electrical cleaner that is made for plastic so I don't melt anything and spray it on a Q tip and then just wipe the driver wheels to get any oil off. I just tried that and cleaned the track for the umpteenth time and spread the truck frames apart a little more on the passenger cars and it at least runs for a while now. Not like my other sets do, but maybe I'm making progress. Yippee !! 

Scott

DFG56

By the way, the people at Trackside Hobbies are really nice and friendly. They gave me some advice and said to do whatever it takes to make the cars roll as well as call MTH (not had good experiences with their support dept). So, just wanted to make sure no one got the opinion that Trackside was anything but a great place to shop for trains. 

Scott

DFG56

DFG56 posted:

By the way, the people at Trackside Hobbies are really nice and friendly. They gave me some advice and said to do whatever it takes to make the cars roll as well as call MTH (not had good experiences with their support dept). So, just wanted to make sure no one got the opinion that Trackside was anything but a great place to shop for trains. 

Scott

Trackside is fantastic.  I only mentioned them as a plug for being a forum sponsor!

May God Bless us all.

How stiff is the spring on the center rail pickup?  If it is overly stiff, the engine will not get as good a traction as it could.  Weight would help, but I guess you want to be sure what is causing the issue.  I'd also say you should make sure you lube both the front and rear face (axle hole) of each wheel.  If you just lube the inner axle contact point, your not totally lubed.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

Dennis Holler posted:

How stiff is the spring on the center rail pickup?  If it is overly stiff, the engine will not get as good a traction as it could.  Weight would help, but I guess you want to be sure what is causing the issue.  I'd also say you should make sure you lube both the front and rear face (axle hole) of each wheel.  If you just lube the inner axle contact point, your not totally lubed.

Well I think i have everything lubed properly - maybe the wheels need wiped off.  I will check the center spring pressure although I don't have a particularly good feel for how much is too much.  The engine does seem to work much better with just the slightest down ward pressure from the fingertips.

Scott - didn't mean to hijack your thread.  It's the same problem and same engine in a different paint scheme.

May God Bless us all.

No worries John. It's all about sharing information and getting some advice and help for our problems. I'm going to check the spring on my engine as well. That is something I did not consider before. 

Scott

DFG56

@DFG56 what are the product numbers of your new yellow (and older blue) 263E?  I'm curious about the difference in speeds too- maybe the drive mechanism was redesigned?  Are they both can-motored, or does the older one have a traditional open-frame motor??

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

Ummm the new UP engine is 11-6067-1 and the passenger set is 11-80069. I don't have the numbers for the MTH Blue Comet set which was pre-Proto sound. I've attached a picture and you can see that it doesn't appear to have a can motor. My black, grey , and red engines are all can motors. 

Scott

DFG56

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Well, a first crack at putting a little more bend in the pickup springs did help a bit. I am still slipping at lower speeds in certain spots, meaning the track needs to be even cleaner.   

I still like the idea of adding more weight 

The train speeding up at the end isn’t me, it’s just getting better traction.

May God Bless us all.

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The plastic coupler release under the cars is the issue here. I had some problems a few years ago with them uncoupling my cars going through Ross O-72 switches. At first I pulled them off...really not a good idea. Then I came up with a better solution.

You need to purchase small cable ties (I bought the ones I use from Dollar Tree).
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Poke the tie behind the wheels and connect the ends. It must cross the plastic coupler mechanism.

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Pull the tie tightly locking the mechanism against the bottom of the wheel set.  Cut off the slack at the end of the tie.

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You will find that your cars will run with much less resistance. These cars are the orange ones that just came out to match the Lionel Celebration colored engine.

Scott Smith

 

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You sir are a genius !!  I just performed the uncoupling mechanism tiedown and now my set runs like it should. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

I amazes me that anyone at MTH would think this mechanism would be useful on a tinplate passenger set. They obviously did not test drive it on a real layout. I wonder how many sets will be returned because of it.  I've attached 2 short videos of my new UP set running on my layout. 

Scott / DFG56

 

DFG56

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Part 2 UP

PS. I originally tried pulling the truck side frames apart to create more room for the wheels to roll. I found that doing so immediately pulls the silver cross bar out that runs under the trucks. It's a nightmare to try and reinstall the crossbar and then hold all 4 wheels and 2 axles together while trying to put the truck back in the frame. The cross bar comes out again as you spread the truck frame apart to slide the wheel set back in. So now I have 2 new cars without that cross bar which seems to do nothing structurally. Just a heads up on that issue. 

Scott / DFG56

DFG56

I am going to try this on hoppers and see if it makes a difference.  The truck configuration is a little different but I assume the mechanism works the same way.  I never use this uncoupling device so strapping them in the up position won't matter to me.  i will report back my findings.

May God Bless us all.

That's interesting that the originals had this mechanism. I have 3 other tinplate passenger car sets which are all MTH / Lionel reproductions and this part is not present on any of them. Wonder why they chose to add it now after all this time ? I haven't had the opportunity to examine an original set. I'll have to look for one at the next train show . Thanks for that info.

Scott / DFG56

DFG56

DFG56 posted:

That's interesting that the originals had this mechanism. I have 3 other tinplate passenger car sets which are all MTH / Lionel reproductions and this part is not present on any of them. Wonder why they chose to add it now after all this time ? I haven't had the opportunity to examine an original set. I'll have to look for one at the next train show . Thanks for that info.

Scott / DFG56

Other MTH passenger cars I have didn’t have these. Most of if not all of the rolling stock had this mechanism. That’s why I tried to find a solution. Pulling these things off is a pain and you risk damaging the cars. Hot glue doesn’t hold, at least not for very long. The cable ties will hold and can be taken off without any damage to the car at anytime with a pair of scissors.

Scott Smith

555F6492-71C4-42E4-AE4C-434F0232CB36Here’s a MTH Pennsylvania coal hopper I did this to years ago. The main issue I was having with my freight cars was the coupler activating when I went over a switch.  The solution works exactly the same way with the freight cars.

Scott Smith

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Well all I can say is thank you for sharing this solution because it really works and now I can enjoy my new train set. I was thinking I would have to return it because I just could not find a way to make it run properly. Being I pre-ordered this a year-and-a-half ago, I didn't want to return it and wait even longer for another set or a repair. I have spent more than 50 years in S gauge and I'm quite competent in repairing American Flyer engines, but now that I have come over to the "dark side" of O gauge, I have to learn to work on a whole new variety of trains. LOL

Scott / DFG56

DFG56

Thank you Mr. Smith!! 

Here is a much improved train of 6 hoppers and a caboose doing a leisurely 20 smph.  The caboose and four hoppers got zip ties.  One hopper is an early mth tinplate issue that didn’t have the uncoupled devices and another is a Lionel prewar celebration piece from the late 80’s that didn’t have that feature either.

I am still getting a little slipping below 16 smph but the difference is huge!  Thanks again 

May God Bless us all.

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