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Out here in the dry western plains zinc rot seems like an almost unknown problem. I get the impression that it is primarily a moist climate issue. Does that seem to be the case with those who have had issues? Even so, that does not explain the OP's case where the car in question was brand new in a sealed package, which presumably would have had one or two silica gel packs to absorb any moisture in the air. Just curious is all. 

Rod

PS: MMM; can you decode "It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!" please, just for those of use who have no clue what this might mean? Thanks.

Conrail1975 posted:

I ordered a couple of these about 2 weeks ago. One came in nice shape but the Toronto one was pretty busted up. I sent it back to Train World and they sent me another within a week. Unfortunately that one was broken also but the axle housing part is intact. The outside truck detail is snapped off and the pieces are crumbly. Whether it was rough handling during shipping or the zinc contamination or both I don't know. Train World's price was half what these cost at the local train shop. I feel bad about complaining they were broke but what do you do? It's a brand new item. Hopefully I will get another good one eventually.

These streetcars are really nice looking and engineered so that the motor and drive lines are under the floorboards and the circuit board is hidden up in the roof. This makes room for the detailed interior. Nobody else makes these without mounting the motor in the middle of the cabin and putting cheap silhouettes of people in the windows to block the view of the interior. You got to give Bachmann credit for going the extra mile on these.

From your pictures, I can tell you that’s classic zinc rot. The blistering is a telltale sign.

While "NIB" how old is the actual streetcar? I have no idea when these were manufactured, and I suspect that zinc pest doesn't care that it's never been opened/handled. If it's going to rot, it's going to do it regardless of the circumstances of standard packaging. Thought this was an issue that wasn't an issue any longer. Guess not.

Last edited by Deuce

Plenty of discussion about zinc rot here on the forum. It was a problem in the past in American production, particularly before World War II, and it has been a problem in China over the past 25 years.

Once American companies figured out what was causing zinc castings to deteriorate, they tightened their quality control standards. For established train makers, the problem pretty much disappeared, even from production in Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan and Korea over the years.

When production moved to China, zinc pest became a problem again, but not consistently. The sheer volume of products have exhibited no problems, but the number of examples of bad castings is nonetheless notable.

The problem in Chinese production is tied to the fact that many factories use subcontractors for certain part production, such as gear boxes and couplers. Many of those subcontractors are essentially garage production facilities, and as such their quality control is very inconsistent.

Hopefully, the factories will eventually weed out the subcontractors who cut corners, but American companies have to hold the factories accountable for that to happen.

M. Mitchell Marmel posted:

I don't have zinc rot problems with my Peter Witts.  I DO have problems with the pickup roller brackets overheating and melting after the cars have operated for a few hours...  Anyone else have this problem?  Lovely cars and good runners, otherwise.  

Mitch

Yes!  Mine had a meltdown after one evening of operation.  Of course this was after I replaced the trucks because of the zinc rot issue.  That happened over a year ago and it's still sitting on the shelf waiting for me to put the internals of the zinc rot trucks into the melted ones.  I'm glad I saved the parts.

Deuce posted:

While "NIB" how old is the actual streetcar? I have no idea when these were manufactured, and I suspect that zinc pest doesn't care that it's never been opened/handled. If it's going to rot, it's going to do it regardless of the circumstances of standard packaging. Thought this was an issue that wasn't an issue any longer. Guess not.

Mine was brand new in the sealed box and had the issue, though I'm unsure of how old it was.  Unfortunately I wasn't aware this was an issue with these and purchased it for a good price from an ebay seller who had purchased it at an estate sale.  After parts costs, I still came out cheaper than buying a new one from a dealer so I certainly couldn't complain.  It was just a little annoying to have to go through that process.

Rod Stewart posted:

Out here in the dry western plains zinc rot seems like an almost unknown problem. I get the impression that it is primarily a moist climate issue. Does that seem to be the case with those who have had issues? Even so, that does not explain the OP's case where the car in question was brand new in a sealed package, which presumably would have had one or two silica gel packs to absorb any moisture in the air. Just curious is all. 

Rod

PS: MMM; can you decode "It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!" please, just for those of use who have no clue what this might mean? Thanks.

While moisture can accelerate it, zinc rot is due to impurities getting into the castings during the manufacturing process and causing them to crumble over time.  The problem was more or less solved in the U.S. early on, but with lax quality control in China and elsewhere, it's occurring again.  

My bad..yes,part is listed as 'truck frame', part # PW-FRAME-01.  Sorry I am not familiar with posting links. The truck frames show up on the bottom of there Williams O parts/ locomotive selector screen; at the very bottom, under new parts for September. Hopefully these are the fix for my crumbling trucks; I have not looked at my Peter Witt in a very long time.

@Don Winslow posted:

Funny - I was reading through this thread with interest and suddenly realized I own a Williams Peter Witt streetcar. Examining mine, it looks to be fine.

I have one too.  When I looked at first, I thought one truck has a problem.  Turns out there's just machining or molding marks on the bottom, though the other truck is smooth.  However, it's solid as a rock.

Question:  Is there another metal or alloy to use other than zinc?

Yes, BRASS!  I suppose you could also use copper, aluminum, etc. -- anything that's pure.  I believe that "die-cast" is actually a mixture, a crystal lattice of Zinc, aluminum, and maybe a couple other trace metals.  I'm not sure there is any molecular bonding, so I hesitate to call it a compound.  Over time, and especially in the presence of moisture, any incompatible bonds break down the crystalline structure and the item crumbles, returning to dust.

My understanding is that it's not a question of if, but when.  As long as my trains last another 40-50 years, I don't care what happens after that because I'm pretty sure I'll be returning to dust myself!

Last edited by Ted S

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