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  • Topic: Buddy L 2-6-2 Locomotive

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    • March 27, 2008 9:29 PM EDT

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      I picked up the Buddy L 2-6-2 Locomotive pretty cheap on e-Bay.
      Nice looking loco.
      On board sound is pretty nice for a cheap loco.A step up from my Bachmann 4-6-0.
      The steam unit has no on/off switch. It also does not use any fluid. However, the output is minuscule. Indoors it is visible, but very light. Outdoors it is for the most part invisible.
      The tender must be connected for the loco to function.
      The loco suffers from two problems. It is a poor performer on grades. Lots of wheel slippage. On the test track I set up with a fair amount of grade the Buddy L would only pull 3 cars and a bobber with a lot of slippage. My Bachmann 4-6-0 was able to pull the same grade with 6 cars and no slippage.
      The second problem was the electrical pick-up. Operation at the furthest point from the power was "jerky". The Bachmann ran smoothly over the same section of track.
      On a positive note the Buddy L was more stable and less prone to derail than the Bachmann.
      I think with a little work I will be able to correct the Buddy L's electrical and traction problems.
      Would I buy another? Yes, if the price was right.
      A side note on the Buddy L rolling stock. It is identical to the Bachmann rolling stock. Other than the wheel centers being painted black and of course the black Buddy L paint scheme.There is no doubt in my mind that it was manufactured by Bachmann.
      Ralph
    • March 28, 2008 12:45 AM EDT

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      I have one of the Buddy L's too. I added about three pounds of extra weight inside the boiler and it handles my curving, 4% grades quite nicely. The sound is really nice, in fact it was what I liked most about this loco. Unfortunately the sound died for no apparent reason.

      I also modified mine by replacing the stack, installing a battery powered LED headlight, detailing the backhead, repainting, weathering, etc. I also built an oil bunker for the tender.
    • March 28, 2008 5:29 PM EDT

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      That is just what I was thinking Ray, the Buddy L needs some weight. It is good to know it worked for you.
      By the way, I loved your web-site. I have around 8 free web hosting accounts I'm not using. Maybe next Winter I'll find the time to do a web site for my Garden Railroad.
      Ralph
    • March 29, 2008 10:41 AM EDT

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      There is someone around here or MLS who has spent a great deal of time improving the Buddy L.....I do not think Bachmann manf any of the rolling stock though?
    • March 29, 2008 3:23 PM EDT

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      I have a box car and bobber caboose from both a Buddy L set and a Bachmann set. The cars,bodies,trucks are all from the same injection molds. They are identical,even the couplers.
      Ralph
    • March 31, 2008 12:26 PM EDT

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      Ralph you prob are correct, I've never held one or compared, but here are some of the threads that led me to believe there were some discrepancies?>

      http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=29317&SearchTerms=buddy,l

      http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30558&SearchTerms=buddy,l

      http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26893&SearchTerms=buddy,l

      http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=44955&SearchTerms=buddy,l

      again, I've not seen them up close, but if the do scale out to match the old Big Hauler Box Cars, then they'd prob work well with my Early Steam line? (perceived from above listed post)

      cale
    • March 31, 2008 2:26 PM EDT

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      They scale out and will work just fine.
      If theses Buddy L cars weren't made by Bachmann-they were sure made in the same Chinese factory. The cars I have are identical to the Bachmann.
      The trucks on the Buddy L are the same as the trucks on my Bachmann boxcar,reefer and even my Big Hauler tender.
      Ralph
    • March 31, 2008 4:29 PM EDT
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      I had one, I had trouble with it on the R1 & 4% grade test track So I sold it, lo and behold last Christmas my wife suprises the hack out of me that she wanted a Keystone circus train set she found, Uh great! another Bloody L and I can't get rid of this one now I'll have to make it work... one the plus side the Keystone version as is has managed to operate on my transition to grade sections which the Bloody L absolutely refused to negotiate, the pilot and trailing wheels lifted the drivers clean off the track! I definetly needs more weight, as is, it will BARELY pull its own tender and the bobber caboose up and over the layout. Like Ray, I have to add some copius amounts of lead to the beasty if I want it to pull the 4 cars the set came with up and over the layout, either that or wait till whatever year I can set down the dead level track for the outdoors layout.
      ____________________________________
      Have fun with your trains
    • May 31, 2008 8:56 PM EDT

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      Ralph,
      while seemingly similar, they are not made by Bachmann. The trucks look similar but one is unable to interchange couplers, as the mounting base is incorrect, not allowing the coupler to seat correctly. I have done extensive reworking on these and have solved just about all that can go wrong with them. However, one thing that cannot be corrected is plastic embrittlement. Over time these will simply crumble away, like the old B'mann Shay trucks.


      I really like them and with a couple of mods, they are quite reliable. Some parts may interchange with Bachmann. The wheels are very similar to wheels first released by B'mann back in the early 90's. The predecessor is the Heritage Express loco and it had additional onboard cast weight in the boiler. This was deleted on the Buddy L model. Recently it was released as a Keystone model. I purchased extra locomotives as a source of spare parts, although, to date not required. I see them as about the same quality as an early version Big Hauler.


      If you suffer any maladies then email me as I have seen just about anything that can go wrong on these. The sound either works or it does not. There is really no fix other than a replacement sound board. In so far as plastic embrittlement failure then you need to be resourceful. It is usually stressed areas that crack and fail, such as screw mounts and axle insulators/joiners.
    • May 31, 2008 11:22 PM EDT

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      You are correct. Upon further inspection there are very small detail differences. The Buddy L bobber has a row of rivets not found on the Bachmann bobber. The BL is also weighted.
      I added several pounds to the Buddy L boiler and the pulling power is much better. The tender needs to be weighted. It will derail frequently if pulling 2 cars or more up grades.
      My freight route has some pretty steep grades. I've been looking for a bargain on another Buddy L to double head.
      Ralph
    • October 4, 2008 9:08 PM EDT

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      After only a few hours of operation, the Buddy L locomotive is no longer working properly. Inspection shows the power wire from the front axle is broken. The power wire on the rear axle is burnt.
      Not a hard fix, but surely a poor design to have problems after so little use.
      Ralph
    • October 5, 2008 8:00 PM EDT
      • Shut up Rooster
         
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      I had a buddy L set last year. It ran a few feet and died. I returned the set and get the Big Hauler set. That engine lasted less then a year and died as well. Lets just say Im done buying Bachmann engines and Buddy L
    • October 6, 2008 5:12 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Shawn, This is a Bachmann Big Hauler I bought in a set in 1988. One of the originals that first came out without the batteries. It ran great for about 4 years and finally the drive train crapped out. At about that same time I saw an article in GR mag about a replacement drive unit that some guy in Arlington TX was developing for these engines. I ordered one and and installed it and it has been a heavily used loco ever since. The guys name was Barry Olsen and the drive was a BBT 4-6-0 drive unit. Probably one of the first units the guy built. At the same time I gutted it and installed an RCS and converted it to battery power. Now it's one of the best running engines in the fleet.

      This next engine is also a Big Hauler but it's the 10th Anniversary edition. I bought it right after they came on the market. It's also R/C and Battery controlled and I've used the hell out of it and it still runs strong. I use this one more than any of the other loco I have. It still has the original drive in it.

      Every engine I own is a B'mann. They all run good (except for a few minor problems that were easily fixed) and most of them are all converted to Bat and R/C. 2 have the BBT drive in them and the rest still have the original drive train. You seem to be a pretty handy guy judging from your layout photo's so installing a drive unit shouldn't be to hard for you to do. I don't know which edition of the BH you have but I wouldn't give up on them yet. For a few bucks you could have a great running engine that would last you a long time.
      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • March 15, 2009 8:00 PM EDT

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      Very interesting thread and subject. I just finished my first Buddy L conversion. I haven't heard from the customer yet so I don't know how it has been received or his impressions.

      My first observation was that the wheels although similar in appearance to Bachmann's wheels, they are basically unusable. The tire is dead flat and the flange is perpendicular, no taper on either or a fillet. I use a tool to reshape Bachmann's tire profile and it works pretty well. If these were turned there would be no improvement, so I replaced the wheels with Bachmanns. The little pilot trucks are cute, and well made with nicely machined pickup blocks and bearings. But the tongues are too short, on an R1 section to the right the left front pilot wheel is digging into it's rail and the left rear pilot wheel is doing the same on the left rail.

      After swapping the wheels, including the pilot wheels I disassembled everything set the motor, wheels, bottom plate and all other electrical and mechanical devices, to be returned to the owner.

      I laid out the the chassis design. The spacing between axles is different than Bachmann's and I used the bachmann spacing so I could provide my Stainless steel siderods. So, my first axle is in the same location as the BL first axle. the second axle is critical, because of the mainrod length, fortunately the Bachmann second axle is just about 1/16" longer, so there should be no interference problems. The third axle makes the combined wheelbase a bit longer, but may not be visible to most people.

      Because I received the whole chassis, I had to confine my drive to the chassis, so the motor went in horizontally, like some of my older units. I also installed the reed switch crosswise in the chassis and rare earth magnets in the blind driver to fire the reed switch, works very well, one caveat with four magnets it may be firing too frequently. But that is up to the owner.

      I should have thought to post the pictures I took, but I'll have to lighten them a bit first.

      Also made pilot trucks with pickups and a new mounting system for the BL chassis. I should add the quality of the plastic was very high. I had to add crossmembers to strengthen every thing and to create the mounting points.

      Barry - BBT
    • March 15, 2009 8:10 PM EDT

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      See below, please.

      Barry - BBT
    • March 15, 2009 8:12 PM EDT

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      Barry - BBT
    • March 15, 2009 8:15 PM EDT

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      See below:
    • March 15, 2009 8:22 PM EDT

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      Sorry, made a mistake, see below:

      Barry - BBT
    • March 15, 2009 8:24 PM EDT

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    • March 15, 2009 8:25 PM EDT

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      See Below:
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