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Thread: IM F3A Frame Rot

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    Default IM F3A Frame Rot

    A couple of years ago, someone over on the Railwire was discussing IM F3A frame rot. At that time I checked all of mine and found no sign of it. Today I discovered it on two different units. I’ve got a dozen or so IM locomotives and going to check them all. I’ll contact IM Monday and hope they still have frames available.





    Last edited by Allen H.; 26th Nov 2022 at 02:05 AM.

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    Zinc pest. Not good at all.
    I LIKE TO WORK WITH BIG SHIP ENGINES BUT I SPEND MY FREE TIME AROUND N SCALE TRAIN MODELS.

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    A little bailing wire and duct tape will fix that right up........but seriously, I believe that's the common frame for all the IM F units (maybe not F9 and not FPs or FTs) so it should still be available. At least you were able to get your shells off........I've seen examples where the chassis deformed to the point of losing the shell as well. I've seen other brands have the issue as well, but not to the extent of IM.

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    Spoooooooooky. The ghost of 1960's Rivarossi!



    Doug
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRLdave View Post
    A little bailing wire and duct tape will fix that right up........but seriously, I believe that's the common frame for all the IM F units (maybe not F9 and not FPs or FTs) so it should still be available. At least you were able to get your shells off........I've seen examples where the chassis deformed to the point of losing the shell as well. I've seen other brands have the issue as well, but not to the extent of IM.

    Don't forget to use some Gorilla Glue too. That stuff holds everything together (according to the commercials).
    Just an old gandy dancer.


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    As an alternative path, in case IM can't provide replacement frames: A friend of mine documented how to modify Kato frames to fit under IM F7 shells in #130 of the N Scale Railroading online magazine: https://nscalerailroadingmagazine.co...2021-MAR-A.pdf - although Kato mechanisms are not available at the moment either.

    Heiko

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    I called Intermountain this afternoon and spoke with a woman in customer service who informed me IM does not currently have replacement frames for the F3A. She stated they are in production now but would not give a date as to when they would be available. She said they should be here, on shore, 1st quarter 2023. So, it looks like we will be waiting a little while longer.
    I checked through all my other F3 and F7 A&B’s and didn't find any more frames with signs of zinc pest. So my issue is with only the two A’s that I discovered last week. Luckily, no shell damage on either. I think I will order a 3rd set of frames, when available, just in case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donzi View Post
    I think I will order a 3rd set of frames, when available, just in case.
    How will you protect them from current issue? As I recall isn't "zinc pest" just a matter of time?

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    I just noticed......are those the frames where the board screws to the top? If so, the new frames may not work.....or maybe I should say your boards may not work. IM changed from the old "shoe" to make contact with the motor to hard wiring. I personally hate the new version and quit buying IM F units.

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    My understanding is that the very first batch of F3's have the biggest problem with Zinc rot...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian_Huntress View Post
    How will you protect them from current issue? As I recall isn't "zinc pest" just a matter of time?
    You’re exactly correct, zinc pest shows over time. By buying a third set of frames, I’m trying to hedge my bets that if a unit I already have that is not showing a problem yet, later shows a problem, I will have an extra frame to replace it with. There is no way to protect against it after it is cast.



    Quote Originally Posted by MRLdave View Post
    I just noticed......are those the frames where the board screws to the top? If so, the new frames may not work.....or maybe I should say your boards may not work. IM changed from the old "shoe" to make contact with the motor to hard wiring.
    According to Spookshow, the two units in discussion were manufactured prior to 2014. Yes, my boards screw to the top. Mine have the “shoes” under the board. I think I can use my old motors and boards in the new frames. If not, I’m going to have to find a way to fabricate a solution. Soldering is not a problem for me.



    Quote Originally Posted by nicki6 View Post
    My understanding is that the very first batch of F3's have the biggest problem with Zinc rot...
    That appears to be what I have from the ’05-’06 run. All the units I own are from that run but only 2 so far are showing problems, the frames on the rest look good for now. Fingers crossed. And so far, only F3A's.
    The F3B's are OK as are all the F7A's and B's.

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    It's only a matter of time if the Zamac formula is incorrect. If they get the formula right, the castings will last indefinitely.

    Doug
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Gosha View Post
    It's only a matter of time if the Zamac formula is incorrect. If they get the formula right, the castings will last indefinitely.

    Doug
    Maybe Intermountain, or who ever casts the frames, needs to talk to Hi Point firearms. Hi Point has the formula correct for their Zamak firearm frames and receivers. I have a Hi Point carbine that has been shot quite a lot and it holds up fine. Speaking of that other firearm manufacturers need to get with Hi Point too for the same reasons.
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    I think the decoders will work...Just twist the feet out the decoder and run a short wire...Worked for me...

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    On mine, I had 2 A's and 3 B's that were bad.
    Being that IM is out of "F" unit frames, the new replacements will be sound ready.
    Rodney

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    Die Cast Machine Tools Ltd. in England, who made Lone Star toys and Treble-O-Lectric trains knew how to make Zamac (Mazac over there) castings,too. In the almost 60 years (it will be 60 years on Christmas Eve) I have been involved with Treble-O-Lectric, I have seen only one casting that warped from Zamacitis (as I call it) and that was a thin roof casting for a boxcar.

    Doug
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    Received my 3 replacement frames from IM the week before Christmas.
    Pleasent surprise was not only frame replacements, but complete running chassis.


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    Look nice, but i think is a BS to make all of as to buy a bad built locomotive which will rot in a matter of time. They have to do it in a propper way, not in wrong way, unfavorable to our pocket. This was the reason of 100 diesel locomotive in my rack, most of them KATO, Atlas, Rapido. No one is Intermountain. Is a long story this zinc pest on manufacturing. Any isue in the mix of alloy will surface in one day in our detriment. Also Intermountain are in the higher range of price, not in the lower . Too sad for this, was supposed to be replaced by them free of charge and with all deserved escuses.
    I LIKE TO WORK WITH BIG SHIP ENGINES BUT I SPEND MY FREE TIME AROUND N SCALE TRAIN MODELS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamitzu View Post
    which will rot in a matter of time
    I believe in fairness to them the frame rot thing might be a thing of the past but can't say that for sure.

    Sumner
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    When your production is on the other side of the world, it is difficult to do daily quality control. Some suppliers skimp on the runs after the samples have been produced. You would not believe how much some factories change materials or even product designs after the sample is sent to the head office. Many companies have sold their souls in the name of low production costs.

    Because Zinc Pest takes years to appear, it is very easy to pass off lower quality products. Head offices rarely do deep dives in materials once the product is green lighted.

    Glad to see the response to the problem.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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