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  • Topic: AMS Tank on Wood Flat

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    • March 27, 2011 9:58 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      My only rolling stock purchase at this year's ECLSTS was an F Scale AMS Tank-On-Flat car. It's a nice model of a dubious prototype; I was told by several that no-one had a tank exactly like this one and that AMS had lettered it up for several Colorado roads. This doesn't particularly bother me as I purchased a Data Only version with plans to letter it for the C.V.S.Ry. I was very excited to have a car I could use one of the new heralds on, so as soon as I was unpacked from the show I opened it up and installed a set of vinyl heralds. While I was putting on the heralds I had a chance to look the car over closely. Typical of an AMS car it has lots of detail; all of the brake rigging with brake hangers and shoes on the trucks. This is nice, but when I build a car I don't bother with all the piping and rigging that no-one ever sees. The truss-rods are seen, and on this particular car, two of four were not in the queens posts. I tried to pop them in, but they won't stay. This will take a drop of epoxy to fix. The finish and lettering is very nice,as are the top-side details. I looked closely at the tank bands and really think they were nicely done. As is common among several brands, the molded in wood grain is a bit exaggerated. The couplers are a BIG PROBLEM. They appear to be glued in place. The cast draft gear box is molded into the car and an unusual cover is screwed on from the bottom. This cover is so tight that it takes quite a bit of force to move the coupler side to side. I'm sure the car will not track through a curve while coupled. I tried to remove the cover to fix the problem. The screw comes out but the cover will not budge. It is either painted on or glued in place. Additionally, like other AMS cars, the lift bar and links will jam when the coupler swings. In order to run the car these two problems will need to be addressed. I'm afraid it may require surgery. For now it has been relegated to Shelf Queen duty...

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    • March 27, 2011 10:51 PM EDT
    • Hey Jon, I had to "shave" down the couplers on my AMS rolling stock. Try that, it may help with your case as well

      Matt
    • March 28, 2011 10:38 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Jon,
      I have a string of those.
      It's painted on.
      A little prying should pop it. I've only broken 1 while removing the cover.
      If you break it, I have replacements.

      The Accu springs are way too stiff.
      I replace them with KD centering springs.
      (And a KD centershank coupler, as well.)
    • March 28, 2011 11:40 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      John Bouck said:
      Jon, I have a string of those. It's painted on. A little prying should pop it. I've only broken 1 while removing the cover. If you break it, I have replacements. The Accu springs are way too stiff. I replace them with KD centering springs. (And a KD centershank coupler, as well.)
      Thanks John. I had a feeling I wasn't the first one to see this problem. I'll get out the pry-bar tonight :) I did try prying last night, but didn't want to force it. When I tried lifting the "ear" it broke right off.
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    • March 28, 2011 1:02 PM EDT
      • Southwestern, NH
         
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      Jon,

      these are die cast zamac, and are typical of chinese (read cheap ) zamac castings. the expand as they disitigrate. this design was not repeated on other ams cars. the stock copler needs to be reamed out to a larger size to pivot correctly. i also apply the kadee springs to many of my accucraft coupler instlations. so pry carfully.
    • March 28, 2011 6:55 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Great info Al. I assume you are talking about the coupler pocket being zamac, not the coupler, or is it just the cover?

      The piece of the coupler pocket cover that I broke off sure looked like plastic, not a cast metal. I did manage to get the rest of it off and it is metal. Dang!!
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    • March 28, 2011 7:41 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      No joy :( I did get the covers pried off. On one, the cast pivot pin cracked in the middle. I was able the clean that one up and put it back together, but the coupler head now droops unacceptably. The other pivot pin snapped clean off as soon as the lid broke free. Still looking for one of the springs (I have plenty of extras thanks to JB).

      I'm going to write or call Cliff at Accucraft. I can probably convince him to ship me replacement covers.
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    • March 29, 2011 9:20 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Jon,
      My cars are packed away for a basement remodel, so I can't remember.
      Was there a small bolt going down thru the top that you didn't remove first?
      I know my West Side caboose has them.
    • March 29, 2011 10:09 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      John Bouck said:
      Jon, My cars are packed away for a basement remodel, so I can't remember. Was there a small bolt going down thru the top that you didn't remove first? I know my West Side caboose has them.
      Nope, just a screw up from the bottom. I think I snapped the pivot pins when I tried moving the couplers side-to-side before taking them apart. They were jammed solid into the coupler and needed to be removed with force. Like Al said, this stuff expands. I emailed Cliff. I'll see what happens.
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    • March 29, 2011 6:35 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      I knew I could count on Cliff...
      Accucraft said:
      Hi Jon I will try and get these parts in the post this morning ! Best regards Cliff Accucraft
      Thanks Cliff :D :D :D
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    • April 4, 2011 8:56 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Cliff came through with replacement covers, they arrived today. The track Track trials that followed were a dismal failure. Out-of-the-box, the car would not rack through a single Aristo wide switch without derailing both trucks. I pulled the wheels and checked back-to-back. They were all over the place. Unfortunately several axles would not adjust tighter than about 1.857 inches. This helped, but one axle still jumped over the rail at the frog.

      I was going to just give in and replace them with deeper flange wheels from Aristo or USA, but the 1:29 axles are .25" too long for the trucks and the axle diameter is too small. I considered cutting a set down, but found a spare set of Accucraft wheels that would adjust to 1.575 back-to-back.

      While I was installing the replacement wheels I noticed that one truck was out of square. All 4 wheels would not touch a flat surface. It looks like the side frame casting is ether warped or bent. I managed to get around this with a few shims made from .010 styrene. I'm heading back down to the basement to try one last time. If this doesn't work I think I'll give up.

      I love the detail on AMS cars, but they always seem to come with a set of problems.

      Edit to add: FAIL :( It will now track through trailing point but derails on the frog of every facing point. I even shimmed the guard rail to keep the wheels tracking properly through the frog. It appears the warp is worse than I thought. Entering the frog, the tread of the leading wheel is .050 or more off the rail head. It doesn't stand a chance.

      Almost 5 hours invested with no joy. I'm done. Anyone want a good deal on a tank lettered for the C.V.S.Ry. ?
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    • April 4, 2011 9:14 PM EDT

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      Is it done yet?
    • April 4, 2011 9:27 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      No, but I am. Read the edit.
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    • April 4, 2011 9:58 PM EDT

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      Jon Radder said:
      Almost 5 hours invested with no joy. I'm done. Anyone want a good deal on a tank lettered for the C.V.S.Ry. ?
      Maybe a dumb question, but why not just replace the trucks? Ralph
    • April 4, 2011 10:07 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      I've considered that Ralph. I have some extra Delton trucks. Not as nice detail, but I may try them on for size.

      I wrote to Cliff again letting him know about the warped trucks. I'll wait and see what be suggests.
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    • April 5, 2011 9:55 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      A club member replaced all his Accu tank trucks with LGB trucks and has had no prollem over his (Aristo) switches since.
      I run the accu trucks on all mine, but I only have LGB 1800 switches.
      But, I also worked the trucks over a little.
      Clean the paint off of the bolsters, both truck and carbody. Smooth them with an emery board. Then lube the bolsters with light LGB oil.
      Check wheels for straightness and lube axles. Leave the mounting screw loose, but not too loose.
      I actually do this to all my Accu trucks and have no prollems with them.
    • April 5, 2011 10:50 AM EDT
      • St. Louis, MO
         
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      I have derailment issues over all my facing point LGB R3s with my 10 AMS cars--as I'm on a tabletop indoor layout I was able to rearrange my track to eliminate facing point switches, but that's not really a fix. I believe I read something somewhere about wrapping sheet brass around the guardrails on LGB switches to narrow the flangeways and try to guide the flanges better. Can anyone confirm whether this actually works?

      And Ric Golding uses aftermarket wheels of some sort on his AMS flatcars to pretty good effect.
    • April 5, 2011 12:05 PM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      "And Ric Golding uses aftermarket wheels of some sort on his AMS flatcars to pretty good effect."

      USA's or Bachmann's with axle tips ground down to fit the journal boxes.
    • April 5, 2011 12:49 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Ric Golding said:
      "And Ric Golding uses aftermarket wheels of some sort on his AMS flatcars to pretty good effect." USA's or Bachmann's with axle tips ground down to fit the journal boxes.
      Ric - Do you use any type of bushing to increase the shaft diameter of the axles? USA wheels are a very sloppy fit in the journal brass.
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    • April 5, 2011 12:51 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      JB - Thanks for the tips. I think these trucks are SNAFU since all 4 wheels will not sit on the track with the trucks removed from the car. I wrote to Cliff again asking for advice.
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