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Thread: Life-Like SW9/1200 questions

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    Default Life-Like SW9/1200 questions

    Some time ago I picked up an undecorated unit in the hopes of having it painted in the New Haven scheme, and it looks like that's finally going to happen!

    To make things easier I figured I'd remove the shell from the chassis, using the review on Spookshow.net it came off fairly easy and I only broke one tab!

    This is the 1997 version with the Rapido couplers and plastic worm gears. I want to take care of a few things while the shell is off and do it once and for all.

    Replacing the couplers looks fairly easy but which ones should I use? I want to replace the worm gears and I ordered the Kato gears. Before I screw things up, how difficult is it to open up the chassis and replace the gears? The New Haven SW-1200 came with flex coil trucks and this one doesn't have those. I ordered a set from Micro-Trains for their SW-1500's. They look like I can swap them over but wanted to check with you folks to see if it can be done.

    Thanks!

    Joe

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    You can't really go wrong with MTL 1015's - pretty much the standard replacement for that type of coupler installation.

    Disassembling the chassis is pretty simple - just remove the two screws that hold the two halves together. But is there something actually wrong with the worms in yours? Unless it's running loud and/or rough, they should be fine. The "out of round" plastic worm problem was not widespread.

    -Mark

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    Mark,

    Thanks for the info. Actually this is new, right out of the box. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse and thinking I need to replace the gears. Just thinking that while the shell was off I would take care of this. Any lubrication I should take care of? Thinking it's a 20 year old, would anything break down?

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookshow View Post
    But is there something actually wrong with the worms in yours? Unless it's running loud and/or rough, they should be fine.
    If you've already ordered the worms I'd definitely put them in, it should run quieter and smoother and the extra weight couldn't hurt. I replaced mine with brass worms and do not regret it.

    The wheel flanges on these are pretty deep and can hit the spike details on code 55 or smaller track, so hopefully the MTL trucks will work. I bought Atlas wheelsets a long time ago but still haven't replaced them yet. It's on my "to do someday" list.

    Another concern with these locomotives was a high "kick start" voltage, meaning you have to turn the throttle up to 4 or 5 (maybe higher) to get it moving then drop it to 1 or 2 to get it to creep. There is a decoder setting to adjust this with some decoders but I never had much luck with mine and so I plan to put an Atlas slow speed motor in it. I haven't gotten to that either. Most people aren't so picky and it most likely won't bother you.

    The number one issue with these is the electrical pick ups under the frame, which I think you are referring to when you said "tabs". How to fix this is documented extensively on the internet.

    Let us know if those MTL trucks work!
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    Are the Kato worms difficult to swap?

    The "tabs" I referred to were the plastic tabs on the shell, not the electrical tabs on the bottom of the sill. I actually have the MTL truck frames, not the entire truck. Looking at them with these old eyes, I'm thinking I can just swap the frames. I hope!

    Joe

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