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Well the zinc in pest got me twice in the last couple of months. The first one was my MTH premier American Freedom GS4. The whole side skirting on one side just crumbled away. The other one was my MTH premier veranda turbine the coupler crumbled away. I can fix the veranda but the GS4 needs a whole new skirt on one side. They were in a temperature controlled environment and they were never exposed to extreme temperatures either way. Anybody else have any troubles with these engines. Its the protosound  one veranda and the proto 2 GS4.

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I am sorry Bob. That just stinks. I agree with dkdkrd. Over the years, I had 4 cases I can remember. 2 of them were with the exact same model MTH Veranda 20-2185 (Proto 1) from 1998. I think I had numbers 71 and 75. Both engines had their couplers disintegrate to pieces, Interesting part, this was over 15 years ago. I sold both of them. So, the contamination process could happen quickly or take years.

The coupler should be an easy fix. The GS4 you may have to just live with it.

Donald 

If you do some reading, you'll find that this issue typically affects specific runs of a model.  A recent example is the Lionel JLC GG1 side frames, they rod away and fall apart.  Since they also hold the pilot trucks and couplers, that makes the engine pretty useless.  That story has had a semi-happy ending, Henning's Trains is manufacturing replacement side frames.  Not cheap, but at least you don't have a shelf-queen. The bummer was that Lionel didn't step up and do the side frames, but at least a solution is available.

I remember the NIB Railking PRR Torpedo that we took out of the box and the tender had a sway-back look, it was totally rotted!  MTH actually made that one whole and shipped a new shell free of charge.

I've also had several different runs of K-Line passenger cars that the trucks disintegrated on.  Atlas boxcars was another run of bad trucks...

Hence why I have concerns with anything from the far east factories making todays trains.  Lionel learned this lesson once, back in the 30's, figured that out and moved to a different caster.  One reason nice undamaged 700e Hudsons are so pricey today.  Thankfully the OO line and pretty much everything else from big L up thru the LTI era seems to be stable metal wise thus far.   Sorry you got bit by the pest.   AD

Metal companies publish a Mill Test Report with every batch of metal they sell. This tells the purchaser what the properties are that make up the metal.
So either these reports are being ignored or the supplier is producing bad reports.
Since everything is done in China/Korea the train manufacturer could easily be left out of the loop on this.

I just got bit today from an 2009 Atlas reefer I bought at a show. I took the foam cradle out to inspect the car and trucks. Plastic overlay was taped down so I did as good of a visual inspection as I could. I tilted it in all directions to listen and observe for any loose components. All looked good so I gave the man $35 and went on my way! Got home and removed the car, still looking good. One coupler wouldn’t open so I pulled on the plunger and gave the claw a little pressure and it snapped off. Fortunately the rest of the truck was fine, but that’s not always the case. I’ve got a collection of these broken claws. Anyone know if the Lionel claws work? I’d like to pop the rivet on a few of these and fix them because as we shift to buying NOS, or watching pieces in our collections disintegrate before our eyes, I see this becoming quite common! Luckily I had a compatible replacement and was able to fix it without dropping $25 on new trucks. I feel bad for you guys that have big money pieces falling apart. So far so good for me on that!

The metallurgy of the alloy can be perfect but if the proper temperatures and casting procedures during the die casting process are not followed,all kinds of issues such as lack of fusion,lamination,inclusions,gas inclusions,cracking,etc... can arise.

Maybe so, but I don't think the what we know of as Zinc Pest happens without some impurities in the mix.

@GSBOB posted:

Well the zinc in pest got me twice in the last couple of months. The first one was my MTH premier American Freedom GS4. The whole side skirting on one side just crumbled away.

Well, you just confirmed my worst fear. I noticed the skirting on the engineer’s side has been getting wavy. Now I know why. I had avoided body-part zinc pest issues until now. Figures it would happen one on my favorite models, which I bought immediately after it was released in 2002.

We'll agree to disagree on this point Ricky.  The JLC GG1 sideframes, for instance, are indeed swelling and bowing out because they are expanding, and then pieces are breaking off.  I have an example in right now for repair, the sideframes are out at least a quarter of an inch and expanding.  Unless your experts have examined all the failures, I can't imagine they can make an unequivocal statement that none of it is due to zinc pest.

I think you're forgetting all of this stuff is cast in China, usually in small subcontractor shops, and to assume there is no impurities getting into the castings is pretty bold, and totally unverifiable!  Is there some other problem responsible for some of the failures?  Sure that's possible, but that's certainly not an explanation of all the failures that have surfaced lately.  I suspect zinc pest is alive and well simply because of the way the stuff is currently manufactured, not because we don't know how to eliminate it.  It frequently costs more to do things right!

I'm going to sell my GS4 to a guy that knows someone that can make a new skirt for 180.00 and paint it for 80.00. I contacted mth but they didn't respond but I really didn't expect them to. I don't want to repair it because it may just happen to the other side eventually. Maybe I will look for a newer release of this engine. If I could afford it I'd buy only 3rd Rail

I agree with John. If you review the forum postings going back years you’ll see the problems discussed have mostly involved swelling and eventual disintegration of components in modern pieces.

In fact, it has been documented so well here that any other conclusion, frankly, shows a lack of insight about the problems. Or, at least, a myopic conclusion that failed to take into account all of the facts.

Also, the problem of zinc pest dates back to American production of our trains into the 1930s. Zinc pest, or zinc rot, was what led to the development of the newer casting alloy Zamac in the 1950s. Mantua, for one, heavily marketed its use of Zamac to reassure buyers of its HO products during that time.

My American Freedom Train GS4, produced in 2002 by MTH, clearly is showing swelling, which is why it is currently sporting a wavy appearance. GSBOB confirmed this in his post to start this thread.

Also, GSBOB, I would love to get the name of the guy who is making replacement skirts. I will want to refurbish my model, since it is one of my favorites.

The use of the outside small sub contractors is probably one of the main reasons its so hit and miss on far east produced trains. Harder to maintain quality control when you spread production of a model across several sub contractors of dubious quality and reputation.  Making things the absolute cheapest way possible is the rule of the road in China.  This is one reason Lionel moved casters after the 1937 run on the 700e, better control of the metal castig quality.  And we see this today as the first year run are very prone to swelling and zinc rot issues, where as the later versions are much less prone to it and not at all with the OO line that I have seen thus far.   Definatly an issue to be hyper aware of when buying these models going forward into the future, just as most know to closely inspect prewar items for it, now we add modern era models made overseas.  AD

I wonder if you could look for the 1998 model with the good shell and transplant it onto yours?  It'll probably be cheaper than trying to rebuild the shell and then paint it.

The AFT version was first produced by MTH in 2002. Earlier versions were strictly Daylight schemes. So repainting would be required.

Plus, the skirting we are talking about is a separate casting and can be replaced. Too bad MTH appears to no longer be an ongoing business. I could have waited for future production runs and obtained the part then.

If we're allowed to call a zinc-pest spade a zinc-pest spade, how about looking at a uniquely American problem? Lionel was successful as long as making and selling trains were successful (at least into the 60s), and then followed other American companies who were warned that outsourcing then would have an unknown effect later, they went ahead and adopted offshore resourcing and product manufacture. Inferior product, lost jobs, American institutions dissolved, way-to-go-results. Not meant to be too harsh, but some truth is okay. Nothing is simple now, wasn't then...

GRJ is bang-on, that the east provided nothing beyond assurance (as best they could) that component mixtures would be resilient but mixes couldn't be that because of the relatively small batches of metals made by suppliers for trains. No wonder Mike has taken the money and ran... Makes me feel okay that I'm just a small-time postwar guy whose trains still run well and when they don't, are mostly EZ fixes. GN 6 Christmas is comin' #2332 by Welz 4 copy.

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A question please. I too have been a victim of the zinc pest on some past Atlas reefers. Thankfully, my Lionel JLC GG1 ( green 5 stripes) seems fine. If it has not succumbed to the dreaded rot by now, can I be reasonably assured that I will remain one of the lucky ones, or should I go ahead and try to purchase a set of sideframe  replacements just in case.

The metallurgy of the alloy can be perfect but if the proper temperatures and casting procedures during the die casting process are not followed, all kinds of issues such as lack of fusion, lamination, inclusions, gas inclusions, cracking, etc... can arise.

Ricky, while these issues could lead to zinc pest, I can assure you first hand that in all probability 99%+ of the issue is not what you state. It is in fact, due to a high level of Lead (Pb) impurity in the zinc alloy melt. The chemical company I work for has a metals lab. Several years ago I had a friend do me a favor and analyze a number of pieces that clearly had zinc pest. EVERYONE of them came back with high Pb! Max spec for Pb in Zimac (Zinc alloy) formulas is 50ppm. These were all 2x and higher! No wonder there is a problem!



Chris

LVHR

Last edited by lehighline
@turtle7 posted:

Thankfully, my Lionel JLC GG1 ( green 5 stripes) seems fine. If it has not succumbed to the dreaded rot by now, can I be reasonably assured that I will remain one of the lucky ones, or should I go ahead and try to purchase a set of sideframe  replacements just in case.



I'm holding off, I have a JLC GG1 as well, but it's sideframes seem solid as a rock.  The ones I've seen (and I have one here now), there is no mistaking what is happening.  They're bowed out significantly and they have hairline cracks all over.

Were all these produced at the same time?

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