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So I take my Williams FA-1 out of the box only to find the front truck pilot cracked  Ok no problem   Ordered a new one online with Bachman.  Installed the pilot and as I go to screw the shell on a truck sideframe disintegrates   Yikes    This also happened on a Williams U33C to me too  The zinc pest on the Williams trucks is definitely a pestIMG_1770IMG_1771

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Another example:

The gearbox cover of my Pacific. This would not be an issue if all this part did was to "cover" the gear, but this also serves to hold the main gear axle up to mate with the gears in the tower. Without this part, those tower gears don't mesh with the axle gear, so it appears I'm screwed. 🤔

Mark in Oregon

You know, reflecting on how Henning's created a solution for the Lionel GG1 ZP problem, then looking at the growing size of the ZP bast..rd master list involving what's now becoming the hobby's pandemic, I'd say there's a business opportunity for someone...Hennings, again?...to find a 'healthy' part from which to make a resin casting mold for lifetime replacements of each and every victim.

I'm not trying minimize the effort, mind you.  I'm sure it was a time-consuming (translation: $$$$) effort to find a successful alternative, and the subsequent manufacturing, packaging, sale, shipping, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah of those GG1 frames. 

OTOH, many of us who naively or knowingly bought into this China mayhem are destined to have derelict, non-functioning basket cases instead of treasured pieces purchased for enjoyment.  Talk about your throw-away product design!!!

I'm appreciative of Bachmann's continuing supply of replacement parts for ZP-itis.  But, if it's simply from the same original batch of affected parts, or remade by the same supplier without any metallurgical quality improvement, then the anxiety will never go away it would seem.

I can't tell you how UN-excited I am to open a box holding a long-treasured piece of China-made locomotive or rolling stock nowadays.  This part of model railroading is NOT fun anymore!

I have to stop reading these zinc pest postings/threads.  They're too depressing.

I would like to see replacement parts made of Delrin. It is used in other scales and lasts forever. Some folks here are really into zinc and find it to be superior. It can be a good material if done properly, however the crap coming out of China is not be produced properly and it is causing a lot of grief. If parts were available and affordable it wouldn't be a problem. Williams stuff is prone to suffer zinc pest. I have several Williams items that have had or have zinc pest. The fact that many of these zinc parts are sold out at Williams is telling.

Cast (not sheet; different animal) brass, even bronze, was once the standard in domestic model railroading for running gear, and even bodies and boilers. They are permanent and very heavy. Easier to work, especially the brass. Probably more expensive than zinc, hence the zinc. Zinc is fine so long as it is not contaminated. Our stuff costs so much anyway, maybe the cost of brass castings would not be a big addition to the bottom line. Don't know. It'll never happen anyway.

It certainly is frustrating, but in the interest of fairness...

I've had HO stuff that had it: (Italy-Rivarossi); US made (John English). In O I've got some old Auel trucks and this Williams Pacific was made in Korea. So this isn't an issue exclusive to the Chinese manufacturers...I suppose we might see it that way now since everything comes from there... maybe we should buy stock in the JB WELD company. 🙂

Mark in Oregon

Morning Strummer:

I had the same thing happen to me with one of my Williams diesels......all four side frames literally fell apart in the polystyrene box during the shipping process from America to Australia. Initially thought it was poor handling by the post office, but when I examined it closely......it was the dreaded "zinc pest"!!!

I was lucky and able to purchase replacement side frames from Williams in the States, but I was afraid the replacement side frames would also suffer the same fate at some time in the future. I got a guy I know here in south-east Queensland to make me copies on his 3D printer. Also did the front and rear pilots as I could see some "funny" marks appearing in them as well.

Project took me around three months with waiting for the replacement side frames to come all the way "down-under" to Australia, getting them 3D printed, testing them for correct fitting on the loco, adjusting the 3D printer for a better/closer fit, then finally printing them, painting them, and fitting them back onto the loco. Everything is still working well nearly one year on, and you can't tell the difference between the 3D printed plastic side frames and pilots from the original cast zinc ones (except they are not crumbling and falling apart).

IMHO, 3D printing is the way to go as long as you have an original to make copies from. Hope this gives you some hope that all is not lost.

Peter......Buco Australia

DSC01782DSC01788DSC01813DSC01849DSC02083DSC02157DSC02157DSC02089DSC02087

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Images (8)
  • DSC01782: Loco arrives with side frames broken
  • DSC01788: Pieces of the side frames in the bottom of the box
  • DSC01813: all four side frames broken off
  • DSC01849: Front and rear pilots look suspect also around mounting holes
  • DSC02083: New 3D printed side frames and pilot - test fit
  • DSC02089: New 3D printed side frame painted and fitted
  • DSC02087: Loco with all new 3D printed side frames and pilots back on the tracks
  • DSC02157: 3D printed side frames on the workbench after being painted
@Buco posted:

Morning Strummer:

I had the same thing happen to me with one of my Williams diesels......all four side frames literally fell apart in the polystyrene box during the shipping process from America to Australia. Initially thought it was poor handling by the post office, but when I examined it closely......it was the dreaded "zinc pest"!!!

I was lucky and able to purchase replacement side frames from Williams in the States, but I was afraid the replacement side frames would also suffer the same fate at some time in the future. I got a guy I know here in south-east Queensland to make me copies on his 3D printer. Also did the front and rear pilots as I could see some "funny" marks appearing in them as well.

Project took me around three months with waiting for the replacement side frames to come all the way "down-under" to Australia, getting them 3D printed, testing them for correct fitting on the loco, adjusting the 3D printer for a better/closer fit, then finally printing them, painting them, and fitting them back onto the loco. Everything is still working well nearly one year on, and you can't tell the difference between the 3D printed plastic side frames and pilots from the original cast zinc ones (except they are not crumbling and falling apart).

IMHO, 3D printing is the way to go as long as you have an original to make copies from. Hope this gives you some hope that all is not lost.

Peter......Buco Australia





Those new sideframes and pilots look great. I don't see the grainy texture usually associated with 3D printed items.

Thanks Michael:

The guy that did them works for the Hass motor racing company here in Australia (Formula something???) and apparently does a lot of 3D printing on parts for the race car.....gearbox components would you believe!!!

He has a pretty good 3D printer and uses some "special" plastic spools to get a really good finish on incredibly small parts.

And the best part....it only cost me about $75.00 AUS to get all of the side frames and the two pilots printed, which also included the set of original side frames he printed to start with, to make sure they fitted correctly.....bargain!!!

I also got him to 3D print some "frogs" for my Buco points (switches/turnouts) and I converted the old "fixed frogs" to movable frogs that switch from side to side at the same time as the switch blades move to turn the loco out, or keep it going straight ahead. This reduces the "gap" between the end of the fixed frog and the adjoining rail, and stops the loco and carriage wheels from "bouncing" or "thumping" over the gap as they go through the switch.....smooth and silent now!!!

3D printing is the way of the future for model railroading.

Peter.....Buco Australia

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Images (7)
  • DSC02461: 3D printed frog sitting in original Buco fixed frog section
  • DSC02460: original fixed frog removed (router) and new 3D frog ready for installation
  • DSC02458: Original Buco frogs converted to accept the new 3D printed movable frogs
  • DSC02457: Two different length frogs to suit the two different angles of the Buco turnouts
  • DSC02451: 3D frog mounted in Buco turnout with actuating arm connecting the switch motor to drive the frog
  • DSC02452: Secondary drive plate actuating the movable frog
  • DSC02453: Connection (piano wire inside small brass tube) at the drive motor plate

Peter, that is a great price for everything. It would cost more to get replacements from Bachmann and you don't have to worry about pest anymore. It would be nice to have a printer in the states that could print parts of that quality at prices like that. Thanks for sharing. Those directional frogs are neat. They negate the need for guard rails to protect the frog because some switches have guard rails that don't really work well. I have a couple of GarGraves 042 switches that have worthless guard rails and the lead wheels snag all the time.

@Strummer posted:

I agree and would be happy to replace my "sick" part with plastic. 🙂

As it is, I've JB'ed the heck out of it; will see how long it takes to fall apart again...

Mark in Oregon

I have a Williams heavyweight with a sideframe that has pest. I used JB Weld on it with a strip of brass to keep it together until I get a chance to replace it. Finding heavyweight trucks is difficult and pricey.

@dkdkrd is there really a master list!?  If not we certainly need one.  Not to shame a specific manufacturer, because most if not all have had zinc pest issues.  But to make folks aware of this problem before they buy a known "problem" piece (and that goes for unopened cartons!!)  If I want to collect, and speculate as an "investment," I'll buy Crypto.  But if I buy a train I expect it to run, and not disintegrate catastrophically.  So where can one look to learn the risks?!?

Last edited by Ted S
@Ted S posted:

@dkdkrd is there really a master list!?  If not we certainly need one.  Not to shame a specific manufacturer, because most if not all have had zinc pest issues.  But to make folks aware of this problem before they buy a known "problem" piece (and that goes for unopened cartons!!)  If I want to collect, and speculate as an "investment," I'll buy Crypto.  But if I buy a train I expect it to run, and not disintegrate catastrophically.  So where can one look to learn the risks?!?

Well, I was referencing this thread...

Modern O gauge Casting Failures and Outgassing - The Master List



I'm not sure whether it's being accurately maintained per all the horrific discoveries posted through the months/years.  Besides, it really seems to be hit-and-miss for any specific product.  And who really knows how batches of raw casting zinc are procured, distributed, recycled, molded, handled, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah in China?  You'll probably never know.  It's our own hobby's version of 'Chinese Choo-Choo Roulette'.

Where to "look to learn the risks?"  This forum is as good a place as any.  And, yet, .......

KD

@Strummer posted:

As it is, I've JB'ed the heck out of it; will see how long it takes to fall apart again...

Mark in Oregon

An update of sorts...

I basically encased the entire part in the JB Weld; since it's not readily seen, it wasn't necessary for it to look "neat". I just had to make sure it would still be able to be "seated" properly.  It'll be a week tomorrow and so far it's holding.

This is a good looking (and with the new #555 motor) running engine, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

Mark in Oregon

@Strummer posted:

An update of sorts...

I basically encased the entire part in the JB Weld; since it's not readily seen, it wasn't necessary for it to look "neat". I just had to make sure it would still be able to be "seated" properly.  It'll be a week tomorrow and so far it's holding.

This is a good looking (and with the new #555 motor) running engine, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

Mark in Oregon

Well...

...the JB gave out this morning; I'll re-glue, but I'm not very hopeful at this point.

Mark in Oregon

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