Author Topic: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW  (Read 2437 times)

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Bart1701

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Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« on: January 20, 2013, 06:37:10 PM »
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Just bought a new locomotive - the Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW - at the Plano TX Train Show yesterday. It is very noisy. Spookshow had a note on his website about this loco: "One issue that has come up with these models (particularly the Dash 8-40BW's) is that some of them, as delivered, make just one hell of a lot of noise (manifesting itself as a combo platter of buzzing and screeching sounds). I had one of the noisy buggers myself and addressed the problem by taking it apart and lubricating the worms, bearing blocks and driveshaft cups. Once properly lubed, it ran just as smoothly and quietly as any of my other Atlas diesels."

I did disassemble the engine and found big globs of gold-yellow grease in a lot of places.

What's the best approach for cleaning up this engine?
- Clean all of the old grease out of everything? Using what method?
- When re-lubricating the engine, what LaBelle oils would be used, and are there different oils used for different areas?
- Exactly what should be lubricated? Maybe explaining what each area is just so I am sure what and where the worms, bearing blocks, etc. are. Pictures with arrows pointing to each area would ensure that my understanding is accurate.  :oops:

Thanks,
Bart

Bart1701

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 06:42:57 PM »
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OK - I guess I should have looked at the parts diagram for the engine first. I just looked at it and now I am sure what the bearing blocks and worm gear are. But, I can still use some help with cleaning the old grease out of the engine, the types of oil to use, and a good list of all that should be re-lubricated.

Thanks,
Bart

kiwi_bnsf

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 08:32:58 PM »
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Hi Bart,

I've had the same experience with several Atlas Dash 8-40B and BWs. The new ones were even worse than the ones that had been on the shelf for a few years.

All in all, I just finished stripping and rebuilding all seven of my 4-axle Dash 8s to get them running properly.

I completely disassembled each one, degreased all the worms, universals, and bearing blocks using isopropyl alcohol and a soft toothbrush.

Please note that Ron Beardon's bearing block removal mod is not recommended for the Dash 8-40Bs as they haven a universal (not a direct connection to the worm).

I very sparingly re-lubed the shaft either side of the worms, and the universal using Labelle 102 Gear Lubricant. You need much less than you think.

I found it was useful to reassemble the frame without the trucks attached. You can then place the frame directly on some rails and test run the motor and drive train, and listen for quiet running or any continuing sources of noise.

Once you have the motor and drive train running super smooth, you can add the trucks and see if things are still okay, or whether they need attention too.

I had a lot of problems with the Atlas FB-2 trucks. Many of them were very noisy, and had an annoying once-per-revolution noise. Again I degreased with isopropyl, and replaced several truck gear towers and wheelsets before I got everything sorted.

As an aside, all my Atlas locos shipped with their wheelsets with too narrow a gauge (a quick check with the NMRA gauge verifies the problem). I hand lay my turnouts to precise spec, and the Atlas wheelsets were riding up on my turnouts.

I think the problem is that the brass contact strips and truck frames seem to have been designed with narrow wheelsets in mind (perhaps to run on 9" curves). As soon as I corrected the gauge on the wheelsets to NMRA spec, I ran into problems with the trucks gears binding. In the end it took a lot of trial and error, and gauging the wheelsets to the narrowest possible while still fitting the NMRA gauge (there is a tiny amount of play within the slots).

Anyway, I hope that some of this info is helpful. It is possible to get a very quiet and smooth Atlas Dash 8-40B, it just takes some effort.

Cheers

Tim
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Tim

Modelling Tehachapi East Slope in N scale circa 1999

John

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 09:02:27 AM »
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Tim .. nice summary of what you did to fix them .. this protocol is actually pretty useful for all Atlas locos ..

u18b

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 05:29:57 PM »
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Back on the old Atlas board, Bob Horn complained about a B40-8 that was noisy.
We/he tried and tried to quiet it down (me advising online, him tinkering).

When I visited his house last year, I said- do you still have that noisy B40-8?  He said yes, he had retired it.  Couldn't fix it.

I opened it up and eventually found that the motor had a bent drive shaft- or maybe one of the flywheels was out of balance.

The confirmation was to swap out the motor from another loco.  The now perfectly quiet loco with new motor confirmed that the problem was probably the motor.   Running the motor all by itself with motor leads/wires found it was noisy all by itself.   He eventually got a new motor from Atlas (I think) and was good to go.

I say all this to suggest that you swap out the motor and see if it is quiet.  I don't know if Bob's was an isolated case, or if Atlas got a bad batch of motors/flywheels from china.  Or, of course, if there might be some other problem with the locos.

I have two B40-8s from two different runs and they are very quiet.



Ron Bearden
CSX N scale Archivist
http://u18b.com

"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

Bart1701

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 09:45:23 PM »
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Tim and Ron,

Thanks for the excellent detailed advice. I'll be off to get some Labelle 102 this weekend and will try Tim's suggestions first. If that doesn't work, swapping an engine as Ron suggested will be next. I'm confident that this engine will be purring along soon thanks to your help!

Bart

Bob Horn

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 11:18:27 PM »
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I was going to stick Ron's fix and comments but he beat me to it. Bob.

Nato

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 01:59:48 PM »
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 :|         Yes,Thanks for the great info on a fix. My locomotives from the very first run way back when,had an entirely different problem. All the wheels were out of gauge.Nate Goodman (Nato).

kiwi_bnsf

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 06:01:41 PM »
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Great to have your input Ron! I was originally inspired to start working on my Atlas diesels based on Ron's epic Atlas forum posts on fixing issues with the dreaded HT-C trucks common to the SD50 / SD60 / Tunnel Motors / SD40-2W

Once you get to grips with disassembling and reassembling several dozen Atlas HT-C trucks with Kato wheel set conversions, other Atlas and Intermountain loco maintenance starts to seem much easier.

I have to echo the comments about component replacement. Sometimes a new Scale Speed Motor is required to correct vibration / noise from out-of-balance flywheels. I found things much easier once I had at least one loco of each type that ran super-quiet. You can then swap trucks, motors, drive components to isolate what is causing the problem with a badly behaving or noisy loco.

The trick of running the frame and drive train sans-trucks (i.e. directly on the track) does make it much quicker to verify whether your motor and drive train is quiet, and everything is true. You can hear issues more easily, and if your motor isn't running perfectly across all the speeds ranges, then don't progress until the issue is fixed (in my experience things will only get worse when you fit the trucks).

If you have multiple locos of the same chassis, it can be much more efficient to work through a maintenance programme as a batch.

Cheers

Tim
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Tim

Modelling Tehachapi East Slope in N scale circa 1999

Bart1701

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 10:08:06 PM »
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I wanted to report success in getting this locomotive to run quietly!

I did a lot of things, but one thing seemed to be the most valuable.

First, the "other" things I did:

1) Cleaned all of the old lubricant off everything and re-lubricated the locomotive.
2) Tested the motor when removed from the frame. Ran DC power to it and the motor was smooth and quiet. This should rule out the motor as being the problem.
3) Put the trucks on another locomotive. Everything ran smooth and quiet. So, the trucks and the gears in the trucks should not be the problem.
4) Put everything back together.
5) Ran it ( minus the shell and fuel tank ) and it seemed quieter. Maybe not the quietest loco I have, but an immense improvement over where it was before!
6) Put the shell and fuel tank on - and I now had a noisy locomotive again.  :x

I was officially confused now  :?

I noticed that the fuel tank snapped on pretty tight, so I figured it (and maybe the shell) was pressing the frame further together and was doing something to press some parts together too tightly and that this was causing the noise. I tried backing the frame screws off by about 1/4 turn. The loco was quiet, until I put the fuel tank or shell on again. I could see that the frame was being pressed further together again.

So, what was the one thing that was really valuable? After some experimentation, I found that if I tightened the frame screws really tight (a little tighter than I normally would do), that the locomotive (without fuel tank or shell) was quiet again. So, I put the shell and the fuel tank on again and expected the worst...but, I was pleasantly surprised. The locomotive was still smooth and quiet!

My best guess is that the fuel tank had been pressing the somewhat loose frames together just enough to find the position where it all got noisy. Reminds me of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears - paraphrasing slightly -  just loose enough, not tight enough, and just right.

Not sure I have enough engineering knowledge to know what was going on with all of this, but I don't really care since I have a quiet locomotive now!

Bart







Denver Road Doug

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Re: Noisy Atlas Dash 8 - 40BW
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 10:37:07 PM »
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Thanks for the question and the followup!   I have two Dash 8's with this problem and they've been stored away hoping the locomotive fairy would magically come fix them while I was asleep.   Guess I have some work to do once I get a few other projects off the list.

Also learned from this thread that a fix was found for the 60's.   I saw that thread on Atlas but it had gone back and forth for awhile and I guess I gave up to soon.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.