Author Topic: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally  (Read 3763 times)

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u18b

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WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« on: May 21, 2014, 11:55:22 PM »
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We take a break from the EP-2 project for a slight diversion.

As many of you know, I'm writing a book on every Kumata N scale locomotive ever made.  I hope it will be a great resource.  And many of you have loaned me your often expensive brass locomotives to examine, photograph, and in almost every case, improve.

That project never died.  It just sort of got put on hold when I discovered a brand new KMT loco that no one had ever seen before (the new brass EP-2).

Well, at this point I have held in my hands almost every single brass model that Kumata has made.  Someone is sending me an RS-1.  I'd love to see an RSD-4/5 some day, but it will be pretty similar to the RS-2.

So the only loose end was the Silverliner.

Man these are rare.  I have begged on numerous boards for someone to help me.... and no takers for well over a year.  These were released in May of 1988 and were red hot- selling out fast.



But I just obtained a set.  And wow, even after 30 years, it was still in practically mint condition.  Zero wear on the loco and very very little wear on the dummy.  And there was still just a little bit of black paint on the wheels- which would wear off with use.  So these really were practically mint.  I'm also certain the shells had never been off.



The set contains two cars and a bag of window glass!  The glass was unopened.
The two cars were identical externally.



The cars are chrome (or Nickel) plated.  And the diamond pantographs are gorgeous..... even if they appear to be a bit fragile.  I don't have any catenary, so I don't know how they would hold up in actual cat usage.



On an interesting side note, my new custom springs are smaller than these.



Trucks are typical Kumata.
Flanges are not pizza cutters.  Looks like they would do code 55 fine.
Each truck picks up electricity from one rail.
The insulated wheels do not pick up electricity (the Pennsy MP-54 cars and the NH Washboard sets have extra electrical pickup and are thus exceptions to the Kumata rule)).



There is a powered car and a dummy car.
The dummy car (surprisingly) is not a gearless power car.  It has totally different trucks.
Wait just a minute.... is that what I think it is????



Oh my gosh.... I think it is....



It's an old Con Cor truck retaining pin.  Yikes!  Welcome to 70's technology.



Well, the cars are drop-dead gorgeous.  Lots of free-standing details as you would expect from brass.



Heralds are printed.  Kumata/NJ Brass got a lot of flack on the NH Washboard set for using poor decals.
These are not decals.
However, this printing looks pretty delicate.  I've made myself try to never handle the cars by the middle.
Two road numbers, 252 and 253- which is prototypically correct.



There were 60 sets made for Pennsy and only 30 sets made for Reading.  I've never seen a photo of a Reading set.
Here is the dummy.



And here is the power car- which is not as see-through.



Chassis has some similarities to the NH Washboard and the E units.
Good grief!  Those are the longest motor shafts of any KMT loco made in N scale!


Oh!  And just like the NH Washboard set, the shell is REALLY hard to get off.  You have to spread the metal out in the middle to get the shell to clear the motor.   6 screws hold the shell on- 2 on each end, and 2 in the middle.

Frame wire is soldered- like the other commuter cars.
But shiny stuff (like solder joints) are painted black so it won't show through.



Hey!  Here is an example of why I needed to actually see one and not guess.
This is new.  It is the only KMT N loco where the wire is screwed into the wall of the gearbox for better reliability.



Oh my gosh-- are they crazy!  They used wire nippers to just cut off the worm shaft!!
As we say in the Deep South..... Dad-Gumm!
This is the only KMT loco where I have see this.



Oh NO!  The assembly techs drilled and tapped for the screw and then did NOT clean up the burrs!!!!!!!!!!!!



This set had cracked u-joint cups just like they all do.  50% (or 2) of these cups were cracked-- which is actually below average (I've see E units with all four cracked).



Another Yikes moment.
That motor has obviously been rubbing on something.  You can see the green paint missing.
I saw no obstruction.  Made me wonder if a burr got in there.



Motor mount is soldered, not screwed.



Typical Kumata truck.



It ran fair.

It was not all electric razor like a NH Washboard set I was sent.
But it was not as quiet as the MP-54 set... which, BTW, is shorter (probably has something to do with it).
I already see lots of repairs, mods, and improvements I can make.

Next instalment will be improvements.


« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 05:08:32 AM by u18b »
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

LV LOU

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 12:09:24 AM »
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Typical Kumata truck.


Ron,that looks just like TRIX gearing with NWSL wheelsets..Actually,looks like a TRIX FM Switcher truck would drop right in..
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 12:54:49 AM by LV LOU »

peteski

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 01:35:42 AM »
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That is a gorgeous set!

Ron, I've seen some other new motor armatures with missing paint like this one.  My thought was that the iron armature was assembled and painted, then it was ground down to fine tune its diameter.
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mmagliaro

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 01:46:07 AM »
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That is a gorgeous set!

Ron, I've seen some other new motor armatures with missing paint like this one.  My thought was that the iron armature was assembled and painted, then it was ground down to fine tune its diameter.

Or perhaps... to balance it?   I never thought about that.  After they wind an armature, how do they make sure the thing is perfectly balanced?  Or will it almost always be balanced once they get the jig right and wind the exacty same number of turns of wire on it every time?

u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 01:47:15 AM »
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Wow, Lou.
You're exactly right.





Ron Bearden
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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 01:49:47 AM »
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Or perhaps... to balance it?   

Yes, that is quite possible. I often see an area on the outside surface of the painted armature pole ground down, or some sort of putty stuck to the windings. I know that those are signs of balancing the armature.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 01:49:59 AM »
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Max and Pete,

Interesting idea.
I never thought of that.
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

spookshow

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 07:50:47 AM »
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Thanks for posting this, Ron. A couple of follow-up questions -

The MP cars I've tried were all very solid runners (as far as throttle response goes), which I chalked up to the "all wheels live" trucks. How much impact does the "one rail per truck" scheme have on these? Any balkiness/jitteriness or problems through insulated frog turnouts?

Any theories as to why the silverliners run quieter than the washboards? Better fitting bearings? Other?

Thanks,
-Mark


u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 09:49:57 AM »
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Thanks for posting this, Ron. A couple of follow-up questions -

The MP cars I've tried were all very solid runners (as far as throttle response goes), which I chalked up to the "all wheels live" trucks. How much impact does the "one rail per truck" scheme have on these? Any balkiness/jitteriness or problems through insulated frog turnouts?

Any theories as to why the silverliners run quieter than the washboards? Better fitting bearings? Other?

Thanks,
-Mark

Great questions Spook.

Unfortunately, I don't have any insulated turnouts.  I'm running 100% code 80 Kato Unitrak.

So on clean track with clean wheels, only the slightest hesitation.  Runs well, in spite of the 50% loss in possible pick-up.

The frame is a lot thinner than I remember the Washboard being.  But, the battery boxes and what-not under the loco appear to be sold- probably brass- so that adds to the overall heft.

I never weighed a Kumata loco, so I can't compare weight.

I did think of adding some weight though.


Comparison:  Good question.

-Same fairly loose/awful bearings.
-same size as Washboard, MP54 shorter.

I'm kind of going with my guy here, but there almost seems to be a linear relationship between the LENGTH of the worm shaft and the performance issues.

MP-54, shortest worm shafts, runs great.
Silverliner, med worm shafts (HUGE motor shaft), runs fairly well.
Washboard, longest worm shafts, ("normal" motor shafts), runs like pure crap.

So the longer the shaft, the more the shaft can (and does) wobble.

I think one thing that was in the plus column for this Silverliner is that it was still in mint condition (even after 30 years- thus owned by a collector, not a runner).  Paint cracked on the underframe when I opened her up and there were no marks on the phillips screws.  Thus I conclude that I was the first person to take this apart.

What that mean is- the bearings were still in new condition.  The older and more wear these get, the more the bearings loosen up.  This is true of the E units too (with the weird exception of the E5s.  I have seen two E5 sets, and both ran absolutely flawlessly such that they didn't even need tweaking.  I told one guy, I'm afraid to "improve it" because it might run worse than it does now!!  SO I don't know why the E5s are so good.)

Hope that helps.

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

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 10:59:36 AM »
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If you'd like to see some pics of the Reading ones, John Almeida's RPOTW site has some good stuff:
http://www.trainweb.org/phillynrhs/RPOTW060101.html

Here's the whole list: http://www.trainweb.org/phillynrhs/RPOTW.html

u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 11:34:31 AM »
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Thanks Ed.

These are really amazing locomotives.
I discovered that they were only retired TWO years ago in 2012!  That's 50 years of service.

I'd love for someone with the Reading model to speak up.
The Reading units had a little cow catcher as shown on the link Ed provided.
I wonder if NJ placed that on the Reading model.
I sort of doubt it, but it would be cool if they did.
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

amato1969

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 03:04:53 PM »
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Super hot models!  I rode these on the Warminster line regularly when I lived in PA.

  Frank

u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2014, 03:24:28 PM »
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Time for repairs and tweaks.
Get this thing running as good as it can.

First, as I do on almost all Kumata locos, I toss the main brass gear in the truck and replace it with a modified plastic gear with identical teeth.  This reduces noise a good deal.  All brass gears running on each other adds noise.



Good grief.  Those burrs were worse than I thought.



Filed smooth.



There is SO much empty room in this loco, it is a shame to waste.
She is screaming at me..... Please give me flywheels.
Here is an old Atlas U25B flywheel just slide over the long motor shaft.  The u-joint cups on this end were not cracked so I left them.



I replace the bearings with modified Kato bearings.
Also, since the bearings are a different size, I have to restrict the lateral movement of the shaft.
So I add a round bearing in there.  That came from an old Kato/Atlas RS-3- with the plastic cut off the bearing.



I slide a flywheel on the other end.
The u-joint cups were cracked on this end so I replaced them.
From deep in my parts box was found a u-joint from an old Mehano loco (the most valuable part in the whole loco!).



Now, since this particular u-joint snap/locks the dogbone, the lateral movement is already restricted, so I don't need a bearing spacer.



Add a old Atlas/Kato RS-1 heat shield so the wire is protected over the motor.
Here is the whole chassis.
Runs wonderfully.  Like all Kumatas can-- if you know what to change.



You know, those yellow brass flywheels are really going to stand out.
A black permanent marker solves the visual problem.




« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 03:26:33 PM by u18b »
Ron Bearden
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u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2014, 04:31:22 PM »
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It is possible that my loco set was missing a parts bag.   :(
There was no provision for couplers except the screw.

Knowing Kumata, they normally include a drawbar with their stuff.
So since I had plenty I was not using from my EP-2 project, I just got one of those.



Hmmm.  Not bad.  Count the railroad spikes between wheels for a reference mark.



So next try is the old 1025 coupler.  More modern couplers are too fat for the included screw.  This set- like most older brass- was made for a 1025.



Hmmmm.  The coupling distance is even GREATER with a 1025.
This photo shows another problem that I had not noticed until now.  Since the cars have different trucks, the dummy is a little taller than the powered car.  You can now see that with these couplers.


I think I'll try Z scale couplers next.

Ron Bearden
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u18b

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Re: WoooHooo! Kumata Silverliner in brass! Finally
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2014, 04:51:14 PM »
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Since the 905 Z coupler is thinner, I have room to add a 1015 shim.



Now the distance looks more reasonable.


The dummy is better now, but still a little bit too high-- but not so much a problem on my level Unitrak.
I can always add a spacer to the frame of the powered loco to raise the shell a little.
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.