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Thread: Continuing saga with Kato FEF

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    Default Continuing saga with Kato FEF

    A few months back I posted for some advice after my sound-equipped Kato FEF fell off the edge of my benchwork. The first problem was with electrical pickup. Thanks to Mark's (Spookshow) input, I was able to adjust the brass pickups and get that working well. It now runs perfectly on straight sections.

    Now, the problem is that the engine derails on curves. All other engines run OK on these curved sections, including my Kato GS-4. I have checked the wheel gauge and that is fine. Turns out the bottom plate that holds the drivers in place was cracked, so I glued that back together, and it seems solid. No improvement. There is quite a bit of play in the drivers, both up and down and a bit side to side.

    There are two issues: first, the engine seems to pull the front trucks of the tender off the rails when it swings around the curve. Second, even if the tender wheels are on the rails, one (not always the same one) of the drivers slips off the rail.

    Anything else I can try before packing it off and shipping back to Kato. I think that these drivers are made differently than the ones on the GS-4 and don't have the problem with cracking that those had (Kato replaced a set for me for free on my GS-4 last year).

    Thanks for your input and hope everyone on this wonderful forum has a happy and healthy new year.

    Dan

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    I ran into similar problems when I installed a Loksound decoder in my FEF. What I found was the wires coming from the engine to the tender were impeding the loco during curves. I ended up redoing the wiring with very flexible wire and made sure the tow bar had full free movement. Might not be your situation but worth looking at.

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    Olie: I’ll check, but this was not my own sound install, it was one of the Kato/Kobo pre-installed sound engines, and it ran well until the fall. Still, I’ll make sure that one of the wires didn’t get snagged on something when I re-assembled it. Thanks.

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    As Ollie suggested, it sounds to me like the drawbar or wires connecting the loco and tender are not moving/flexing properly as the loco/tender go around curves...

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    Here's what mine was doing:
    Derail 2.jpg
    Drove me nuts for the longest time. I finally figured it out and it was the wiring and tow bar. once I got that fixed, she flies through the 11.25" curves without issues.

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    Same here... Wiring (though I made that mess myself) and somewhat narrow wheel gauge caused the loco to lift the front pilot and front driver. Once corrected, it ran around 12" curves, never tried 11".

    Heiko

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    Perseverance pays off. I have been working on the FEF on and off for about 6 months now. At first I was hesitant to take it apart. Steam locos look so much more complex than diesels. As I gained more confidence, I did a more extensive disassembly and found a small crack in the bottom plate that holds the drivers in place. Tried gluing it, but it is probably under a fair amount of vertical stress, so that did’t work. Ordered a new part from Kato, and that fixed the problem with the front drivers right away. However, the front tender wheels kept on derailing on curves. Some more investigation revealed that I had inserted the tender truck brass tabs on the wrong sides of the curved brass contacts, which was severely limiting the tender truck’s ability to move independently of the engine. That done, the FEF now runs perfectly. I remembered this Kato as one of the best running engines I’ve owned - steam or diesel, and it is now back to 100%.

    Lesson learned: many times over these six months I thought about just packing it up and shipping it to Kato, but every time I checked the Kato website for instructions, I’d re-read their suggestion to try to learn engine repair as a part of the challenge of modeling. Well said! After a few months of frustration and education (thanks to many of you for your suggestions) I am not as afraid of working on N scale steamers as I used to be. Hmmm, I have a GS-4 that needs the side rods re-done, so that’s next.

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    Wow, well done you.

    I know all too well that feeling of despondency followed by the jubilation of having seen something through. Effort always pays off, even when it ends in failure ! We always get something back. The more we put into modeling/life the more we get out.

    I wish you many hours of watching you FEF gliding around

    Tom

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    Glad to hear you got it solved.

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    Great job! So happy to see you got it fixed after diving into the tear down, troubleshoot and repair! Steam ain't as scary as it looks, just takes a lot of patience and perseverance. Now, how about a video??
    Northern Pacific and Black Hills RR in N, of course!!
    Aian, CEO, COO, Engineer, Gopher and everything else!

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    Quote Originally Posted by badlandnp View Post
    Steam ain't as scary as it looks,
    Whaaa? ... Yeah it is!

    Quote Originally Posted by badlandnp View Post
    ...just takes a lot of patience and perseverance.
    Ohhh, patience ... Moose no doctor, so no have patience...

    Quote Originally Posted by badlandnp View Post
    Now, how about a video??
    @danb
    Yeah, where's the video?!

    P.S. Great job! Ummm, sooo, when can Moose send you some of Moose's problem ?
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Video posted. Moose stampede avoided.

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    @danb

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing! Layout looks pretty nice too...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    There we go! Looking good and sounding good!!

    And even Moose got happy!
    Northern Pacific and Black Hills RR in N, of course!!
    Aian, CEO, COO, Engineer, Gopher and everything else!

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    Quote Originally Posted by badlandnp View Post
    And even Moose got happy!
    Hey, Moose easy to please -- just buy / run / photograph / videograph / talk about / worship steam locomotives ... Doesn't get simpler than that!
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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