I wonder when this became more of an issue with Asian production. I have some Lionel and MTH aluminum passenger cars from the mid to late 90's that were made in China. The diecast trucks on them are fine. It seems to be post 2000 stuff that is affected. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

That's why I think we (perhaps OGR) should set up a registry, like the Bedbug Registry, that lists known "problem cases."  To prevent libellous entries, the complainant should be required to post photos showing the degradation.

Some well-known cases are the JLC GG1 truck sideframes, Weaver troop sleeper floors, MTH P5a box cab body, prewar 700E and 763E frames and tenders, American Flyer O gauge lead and trailing truck wheels, pretty much anything made by Dorfan in the 1920s, and now Ben's Atlas 55-ton hoppers.  Caveat Emptor!

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

Lou1985: "I'm curious how many of each run are actually affected by zinc rot. We see stuff here but how prevalent is it? There might be some castings that will last for decades while others crumble. " 

Santa Fe, All the Way

Lou, Your answer: all of them.

But let me clarify: the entire run of the affected part, not the run of the complete loco is what would be defective. For example: let's say in 1963 LIONEL decided to run 2,000 GG-1s. That means they needed 4,000 motors, and as we know, the die-cast part, the motor bottom frame casting would be the only part affected. Now, if they kept the molding machines running with contaminated product, or impure conditions throughout the entire 4,000-piece run, well, yup, they're all gonna go!

However, if they made an auxiliary  run for the remainder.... those might be okay, again, depending on the condition of the material and the conditions on which they were being molded.

I might add, I've only seen 'zinc pest' on 1963 GG-1s - never [as yet anyway] on the earlier GG-1 models!

-Len Carparelli

When I had a spin caster we found that zinc rot occured when you did not take out the slag that pools at the top of the melt pot.  You need to skim it off or it will contaminate the metal.  Some folks get to stingy and use the slag to save a few bucks. Metal casting either injected or spoon can be very temperamental, it doesn't show up in the metal being used to latter in the parts life.

I know where I have been, I know where I am at, I am hopeful I know where I am going.(The devil and God are talking it over).

Bob posted:
Keystone posted:
<big snip>
Brass, die-cast (remember their "Hi-Iron" products from about 10 yrs ago?), <snip>

You must know something I don't.  I had one of the Sunset High Iron PRR K4s Pacifics.  The locomotive and tender were constructed of sheet brass just like regular 3rd Rail products.  The only Sunset/3rd Rail diecast piece I am aware of is the NYC Mercury locomotive.

I still have my Hi Iron K4 and it is made from Brass.

I like the idea the idea of a registry so folks can be aware of the models with these problems.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

bluelinec4 posted:

Here are my additions to the registry

1- Atlas 55 ton hoppers produced from 2005-2010

2- Williams by Bachman Diesel truck sideframes ( Older williams seems fine its just when Bachman took over _

3- Williams by Bachman Scale FA pilot

I have several Williams Diesel engines that I bought new over the last 5 years. I checked them all last week when this topic came up and so far they are all okay. Should I expect these issues to start popping up over time or is more of an outside chance? Also, are these side frames generally available or not, and if not should we expect the to be available at some point? Also, do have the Williams Peter Trolley and it already has issues, only two years old. Thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers, Pete

My new/old stock 2010 Lionel Southern Pacific Shasta Daylight 18" aluminum passenger set made its inaugural run this past December on the club layout with one car hitting the ground with a zinc pest broken truck side rails and a few others that look like they might be on their way out.  I surmised this was going to happen when I oiled the wheels and went to spin them with my finger flicking off the brake shoes on a couple of the cars.

 

 

PilotPete posted:
bluelinec4 posted:

Here are my additions to the registry

1- Atlas 55 ton hoppers produced from 2005-2010

2- Williams by Bachman Diesel truck sideframes ( Older williams seems fine its just when Bachman took over _

3- Williams by Bachman Scale FA pilot

I have several Williams Diesel engines that I bought new over the last 5 years. I checked them all last week when this topic came up and so far they are all okay. Should I expect these issues to start popping up over time or is more of an outside chance? Also, are these side frames generally available or not, and if not should we expect the to be available at some point? Also, do have the Williams Peter Trolley and it already has issues, only two years old. Thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers, Pete

When I was a collector more than an operator I use to be tell anybody that handled my trains to pick them up from grabbing the trucks.  I still do it that way.  That’s how I found the problem on the Williams engines when the wireframes just broke off.  They didn’t look bad but they cracked off with hardly any pressure

i forgot one more for the list.  The red r12 set.  Never opened it.  I sold it as new which it was and every truck was cracked at the wireframe mounts. The wireframes were good the trucks had the zincpest

I have a Santa Fe F3 A-B-B-A set from 1996.  The other day I picked up the dummy B unit and the side frame on the rear truck simply fell off.  The casting broke right where it attached to the base plate.  Found a new rear truck to replace it.  I hope I don't lose any more.

Dick Malon

 

 

 

 

Dick Malon posted:

I have a Santa Fe F3 A-B-B-A set from 1996.  The other day I picked up the dummy B unit and the side frame on the rear truck simply fell off.  The casting broke right where it attached to the base plate.  Found a new rear truck to replace it.  I hope I don't lose any more.

I'm curious.  Who was the manufacturer/importer of your F3 units?

Jim R. posted:

The problem in China is quality control involving small subcontractors for certain parts such as trucks, couplers and frames. Some of these model-train subcontractors operate out of garage-sized facilities that are far from state of the art. Some, not all, of these proprietors are either sloppy or indifferent in the production process for these castings.

The low-volume nature of these parts productions is what prompts the primary contractor to seek outside help.

Whenever this topic of Zinc Pest comes up, it seems to be mostly more recent production higher-end, scale products. Which bears out what Jim wrote above, as most of the scale products are extremely small production runs. Which is why we have BTO. And it's not just Lionel: All the companies are doing it under differing explanations. MTH, Atlas and 3rd Rail have all also cancelled lots of product that failed to reach even the new extremely low, minimal production run numbers. HO scale too: Rapido has cancelled products that didn't show enough interest.

The problem doesn't seem to be as prevalent (not unheard of, but not as prevalent) with older produced China-made trains. But I think that's because they were ALL mostly made at Sanda Kan, who was making nearly every manufacturer's trains. Sanda Kan had the possibility to group production runs from differing companies who all might have been offering a die cast product. Remember when Sanda Kan got into trouble, with Kader buying them out. Now remember the panic when nearly all the train companies had to scramble to find NEW production facilities when Kader dropped them all? It took some of those companies a couple years with great difficulty and problems.

Now remember comments made by the train companies that there was a "learning curve" at all these new facilities. All of these train companies were forced to go to vendors who didn't have the expertise or experience in quality manufacturing of model trains that Sanda Kan did. Both MTH and Rapido have spoken of happily bringing aboard former Sanda Kan employees to their own dedicated Chinese factories.

I, at one time had more than a couple dozen die cast locomotives that were all starter sorts of products... ie: Large production runs. Most of them were made by Sanda Kan, but certainly some of them were made by Lionel's later vendor. Early Light was spoken of as one of Lionel's new vendors dedicated to starter products.

At any rate, I have had ZERO zinc pest problems with any of them. And more than likely, it would have started showing up by now. I did have some (no more than 6) K-Line "classic" type die cast trucks crumble on me, but they were also purchased as separate sale parts and showed signs of being defective when I got them.

So again, the problems are not exclusive to high end, nor from vendors other than Sanda Kan. But from what I'm reading, the problems are not nearly as common either. Again, it goes along with what Jim R. and a few others wrote, that the smaller the production run, the more likely the zinc pest is to appear.

As to what Leighline Chris wrote: "So until the current brands move their production facilities out of China the problem is likely to continue."

This is more than likely, not going to happen. There are a lot of variable and complications in this, but as a general rule, tooling made in China stays in China. This would mean Lionel having to abandon (or retool) nearly all of their scale product line. FasTrack too. Scott Mann has also written here about moving tooling and just how difficult it really is. Or how about Lionel trying to get the scale milk car tooling out of Romania: Didn't happen, they had to remake the tooling. Given that, the $99 list price is a steal... they should be more like $150.00.

MTH was always made overseas, so they have no tooling to bring back to the US. And K-Line: Forget it. Outside of what was sold, that tooling is all part of Kader, so that tooling isn't going anywhere. And of that tooling, what was once in the USA, were the non-scale K-Line products of MARX and Kusan origins.

It's somewhat less problematic for a company to relocate tooling that was brought into China from elsewhere. Notice in the case of Lionel, that the American made cars (outside of the Weaver LionScale) are all traditional products once made in the USA. Or the cars now being produced in Vietnam (the traditional ore and 2-bay hoppers and all of the older made Standard O cars) were all also once made in the USA.

And by the way, take note of that Vietnam made Norfolk & Western 2-bay hopper 6-pack. The "&" is not printed over the side rivets: I'm guessing the Vietnam vendor doesn't have the printing ability the way the Chinese vendors do. That to say again, there's a "learning curve" and quality compromises when the train companies move production to other facilities. Would the scale guys be content with that?

The problem as I see is as much our faults as the train companies. WE are the ones (well, not all of us) who wanted MORE precise scale, MORE accurate detail, MORE product variety, MORE features, etc. and the train companies responded in kind. And now we're all held hostage, both the train companies and the train consumers. Remember Lionel moved to China in the first place, not to lower prices, but to meet the new tooling challenge being posed by MTH and K-Line, who were already in China.

Yep, we got what we wanted, and a lot more that we didn't bargain on. The topic of this thread would be one example of that.

brianel_k-lineguy posted:
Jim R. posted:

The problem in China is quality control involving small subcontractors for certain parts such as trucks, couplers and frames. Some of these model-train subcontractors operate out of garage-sized facilities that are far from state of the art. Some, not all, of these proprietors are either sloppy or indifferent in the production process for these castings.

The low-volume nature of these parts productions is what prompts the primary contractor to seek outside help.

Whenever this topic of Zinc Pest comes up, it seems to be mostly more recent production higher-end, scale products. Which bears out what Jim wrote above, as most of the scale products are extremely small production runs. Which is why we have BTO. And it's not just Lionel: All the companies are doing it under differing explanations. MTH, Atlas and 3rd Rail have all also cancelled lots of product that failed to reach even the new extremely low, minimal production run numbers. HO scale too: Rapido has cancelled products that didn't show enough interest.

The problem doesn't seem to be as prevalent (not unheard of, but not as prevalent) with older produced China-made trains. But I think that's because they were ALL mostly made at Sanda Kan, who was making nearly every manufacturer's trains. Sanda Kan had the possibility to group production runs from differing companies who all might have been offering a die cast product. Remember when Sanda Kan got into trouble, with Kader buying them out. Now remember the panic when nearly all the train companies had to scramble to find NEW production facilities when Kader dropped them all? It took some of those companies a couple years with great difficulty and problems.

Now remember comments made by the train companies that there was a "learning curve" at all these new facilities. All of these train companies were forced to go to vendors who didn't have the expertise or experience in quality manufacturing of model trains that Sanda Kan did. Both MTH and Rapido have spoken of happily bringing aboard former Sanda Kan employees to their own dedicated Chinese factories.

I, at one time had more than a couple dozen die cast locomotives that were all starter sorts of products... ie: Large production runs. Most of them were made by Sanda Kan, but certainly some of them were made by Lionel's later vendor. Early Light was spoken of as one of Lionel's new vendors dedicated to starter products.

At any rate, I have had ZERO zinc pest problems with any of them. And more than likely, it would have started showing up by now. I did have some (no more than 6) K-Line "classic" type die cast trucks crumble on me, but they were also purchased as separate sale parts and showed signs of being defective when I got them.

So again, the problems are not exclusive to high end, nor from vendors other than Sanda Kan. But from what I'm reading, the problems are not nearly as common either. Again, it goes along with what Jim R. and a few others wrote, that the smaller the production run, the more likely the zinc pest is to appear.

As to what Leighline Chris wrote: "So until the current brands move their production facilities out of China the problem is likely to continue."

This is more than likely, not going to happen. There are a lot of variable and complications in this, but as a general rule, tooling made in China stays in China. This would mean Lionel having to abandon (or retool) nearly all of their scale product line. FasTrack too. Scott Mann has also written here about moving tooling and just how difficult it really is. Or how about Lionel trying to get the scale milk car tooling out of Romania: Didn't happen, they had to remake the tooling. Given that, the $99 list price is a steal... they should be more like $150.00.

MTH was always made overseas, so they have no tooling to bring back to the US. And K-Line: Forget it. Outside of what was sold, that tooling is all part of Kader, so that tooling isn't going anywhere. And of that tooling, what was once in the USA, were the non-scale K-Line products of MARX and Kusan origins.

It's somewhat less problematic for a company to relocate tooling that was brought into China from elsewhere. Notice in the case of Lionel, that the American made cars (outside of the Weaver LionScale) are all traditional products once made in the USA. Or the cars now being produced in Vietnam (the traditional ore and 2-bay hoppers and all of the older made Standard O cars) were all also once made in the USA.

And by the way, take note of that Vietnam made Norfolk & Western 2-bay hopper 6-pack. The "&" is not printed over the side rivets: I'm guessing the Vietnam vendor doesn't have the printing ability the way the Chinese vendors do. That to say again, there's a "learning curve" and quality compromises when the train companies move production to other facilities. Would the scale guys be content with that?

The problem as I see is as much our faults as the train companies. WE are the ones (well, not all of us) who wanted MORE precise scale, MORE accurate detail, MORE product variety, MORE features, etc. and the train companies responded in kind. And now we're all held hostage, both the train companies and the train consumers. Remember Lionel moved to China in the first place, not to lower prices, but to meet the new tooling challenge being posed by MTH and K-Line, who were already in China.

Yep, we got what we wanted, and a lot more that we didn't bargain on. The topic of this thread would be one example of that.

brianel  k-line Guy: "And now we are all held hostage." 

I ain't because I no longer buy any of it.

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