With regards to the Weaver Troop Car fiasco

Were you effected by the wide spread (zinc rot?) self destructing Weaver troop cars some years ago?

Troop Car

This didn't effect the total production of troop cars. I was lucky, only 1 of 4 of my cars had the undercarriage expand causing it to crack in half. In a testament to the strength of the shells on these cars, the center of this undercarriage had a downward bow of an inch away from the bottom of the body shell. The side door glue seams broke free, possibly allowing enough flex relief to not crack the shell. At the time I remember a guy being sickened by the fact he owned 50 or so of these cars. I don't know if this was zinc rot, as the cast undercarriages actually swelled lengthwise. I was so disheartened I just loosened the undercarriage screws and put the cars in storage. Well, I just dug them out, and am happy to report the other 3 didn't follow suit. Weaver did offer a fractional discount that could be applied towards another item, but as I recall it wasn't near the troop car purchase price, and you had to pay the shipping back to Weaver. 

At this point in time, do you think we are beyond the danger of these undercarriages expanding?

I might try making a wood undercarriage and affix the detail parts, I can't think of any other repair solution.



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Atlas O has already offered replacement frames, for separate sale. There has already been at least one posting covering how the person used the new Atlas replacement underframe to "prepare" his damaged Weaver cars. I had one of my 3 cars break the underframe completely, while the other 2 I carefully disassembled and ground material off each end of the underframe (one of my buddies made me a new underframe out of styrene for the 3rd basket case car).

That's a good question.  All I can offer is the following:  When Lionel offered the reproduction of the pre-war Hiawatha many people reported casting failure X number of years later (I don't remember the time of the exact postings).  I have one of the sets and at that time I checked my set and found everything to be OK.  

  I've run the train from time to time in the years since 1988 and each time I've pulled the set out it looked fine.  Recently I pulled it out for a running session (I hadn't run it in a couple of years) and it is obvious that the main casting for the engine is starting to fail as are two of the undercarriage castings for the cars.  So, from 1988 to roughly 2015/16 nothing happened but then sometime in the last two years things started changing.  

 Given the history of the failure of the modern die castings I would say that all you can do is wait and see.

I checked my Weaver NH express service baggage car (a rebuilt troop sleeper) today and found the floor casting warped by approximately 3/8".  Several years ago I checked the car and the floor was not warped.  The warped floor created a crack in the plastic body casting under the baggage doors.  I disassembled the car and salvaged the underframe and related details.  I'll order a replacement floor from AtlasO tomorrow.  Once the warped floor was removed the body crack under the door closed.  When installing the new floor I'll apply plastic cement to the crack.  Glad I caught the problem before more body damage occurred.


Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

ajzend posted:

I've been fortunate enough to have escaped this floor board warping.  However, as a precaution I do not screw the body to the floor board.


I don't understand that solution to the problem. Once the diecast underframe expands, the carboy is apparently much stronger, and thus the diecast underframe warps seriously. How does simply removing the few screws help? 

I consider myself lucky for only one car warping, but after these comments, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth! I like (I think it was) Hot Water’s approach and grind off some floor at both ends. I think the 2 center screws will adequately hold the floor to the car.

Robert; now I’m worried about my 88’ Hiawatha! There has always been some rough areas under the paint, which I attributed to worn mold castings. What failure damage to look for, crumbling?



Like Rich, I have been somewhat fortunate.  Out of eight troop cars I have had two with failed/warped frames.  Now, first I have heard of the Hiawatha problems!  I have not run mine in a couple years, will inspect tomorrow.. oh, wait, Valentine Day.  OK... will inspect the Hiawatha on Thursday and also inspect the troop cars once more.  Thanks for the heads up!

Jesse   TCA  12-68275

The paint on my Hiawatha has always been smooth and glossy. Now most of the locomotive casting has a rough look and the black top is starting to show signs of bubbling.  The under frames of the cars have always been a smooth glossy maroon but now there are sections that are starting to look like the top part of the Hiawatha.  

Texastrains  - I don't remember when the first thread about problems with the Hiawatha appeared but it has to have been at least 8-10 years ago. 

Going to inspect ours again this weekend. My understanding of this issue from a metallurgist is that if the metal is impure it could happen now, or in 10 years. If the defect is there it will happen. Has anyone had issues with their trucks?

"I might try making a wood undercarriage and affix the detail parts...."

I did just that with the car that I kept out of the 3 that I owned - I sold 2 (with full seller transparency) at train shows.

Basswood (Hobby Lobby) comes in a thickness that pretty much equals the zinc floor. After sizing and drilling the wood for the screws, I removed the usable detail (that was most of it) from the zinc and mounted it on the wood with Goo after drilling a few positioning holes (as I recall...you'll see what's needed). Painted it weathered black and put the car back together.

Remarkably straightforward job, considering. The car was lighter, of course. That's why lead was invented.

I also strengthened the weak truck design with epoxy (bolster ends, for example).

I wound up hating these things so much that I have never even considered buying one of the Atlas "fixed" ones. Plus, one is enough anyway - it's a work car.

i had 15 of the cars, including 12 troop cars plus several "converted" express baggage cars and a maintenance of way car.  Only one was affected by "zinc growth" disease.  After that car was discovered and all the rest examined, I was able to get an Atlas replacement for the one bad car, to include: floor, frame and brake rigging as a kit.  Bit of a job getting it all installed correctly but I did it and all is well.

Paul Fischer

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