Author Topic: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up  (Read 1940 times)

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kverdon

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New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« on: October 21, 2017, 06:26:44 PM »
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I just received my brand new Athearn SP&S Challenger and it seems to be majorly challenged out of the box.  The front power truck just freezes up with none of the wheels turning when entering a turn or even on straight track when under load (14cars).  This seems pretty serious.  I can't see the valve gear binding. I can see it happen at slow speed where the front struck will just stutter at slow speed.  Under load it just freezes up.  

Any suggestions except request a replacement / refund from my the shop I purchased it from?

thanks,

Kevin Verdon

Jbub

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 06:38:18 PM »
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I would send it to Athearn with it being a brand new loco. Their warranty will fix it and that beats disassembly and possibly voiding said warranty in my book.

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Cajonpassfan

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 06:46:20 PM »
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Sorry Kevin, that's a bummer, sorry to hear that. I haven't taken mine apart to give you any meaningful advice, but unless it's something obvious, I'd be tempted to just exchange the loco rather than risk voiding the warranty. It's not an inexpensive model and we/you deserve to get one without quality control issues. I own three, and love them...keeping fingers crossed, and the only issue I ever had is throwing a traction tire on one.
Otto K.

kverdon

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 06:56:11 PM »
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I did some testing in a cradle and when any pressure at all is applies to the front drivers, they all stop.  I have a feeling there is a problem with the worm gear slipping.  It probably tested ok in the shop but when it gets under load KAPUT.

I am going to request a replacement / refund from the vendor I purchased it from.  I have not heard good things about dealing with Athearn directly and do not relish have to wait umpteen months to get it back when it is brand new.  Like the previous posted said, at what these cost I deserve to start with one that works correctly.

thanks,

Kevin

peteski

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 09:44:40 PM »
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When the front engine is frozen is the rear engine still running (since they are both driven from the same motor)? You didn't explicitly state that.

If you do not hear a ratcheting noise (when the worm slips over the worm gear) then the most likely culprit is the universal coupling slippage. The coupling that connects the motor shaft to the worm shaft. But I agree with others - I would return the brand-new model for repair/replacement.

Return it wherever you want, but I seem to recall reading some positive stories about Athearn customer service (here on the Railwire).
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kverdon

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 10:01:05 PM »
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Thanks Petski,

Yes, when the front engine freezes, the rear engine is still running fine. There is no ratcheting sound but you can feel/hear the motor running. I guess it depends on availability, if the retailer can replace it I will go through him as it will be faster. If he can't replace it I can check with Athearn and see if I can get one from them or just get a refund from the retailer and order it elsewhere before they are gone. The SP&S models seem to be going fast.

up1950s

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 10:39:14 PM »
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I'll buy it for 100.00 .

davefoxx

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 12:59:37 AM »
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I am going to request a replacement / refund from the vendor I purchased it from.  I have not heard good things about dealing with Athearn directly and do not relish have to wait umpteen months to get it back when it is brand new.

In Athearn's defense of their warranty program and customer service, I just sent an HO scale GP40-2 back with driveline issues, e.g., squealing and surging.  Once I emailed Athearn and got the authorization to return the locomotive, I mailed it back on September 19, 2017.  It returned from Athearn on October 20, 2017.  It only took 31 days door to door to door, and it's fixed.  It didn't take months.  No fuss, no muss.

DFF

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kverdon

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 12:24:43 PM »
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Thanks, should I have to go down the warranty track, good to know its not as long or bumpy as I had thought.

Kevin

Nato

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 03:00:53 PM »
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                 :| Keverdon, sorry to hear about your locomotive, mine arrived see other post (thread) above and it runs great on my DC layout. Can't wait to run it in full DCC on the Wasatch N Scale layout http://www.wasatchnscale.org at the "Wasatch Rails" train show in November in Sandy/Salt Lake , Utah. Fill out your Warranty card and mail it in. I just sent mine in. I say this because one of my Big Boys had drive rod problems and was promptly looked at and repaired by Athearn /Horizon and returned to me in about a two week period of course I live closer to California then some Railwire members. Be sure to E Mail or phone to get an authorization number so they will not wonder about the model they suddenly have received. I also included  a letter describing  what was wrong with my locomotive. Got this back with my locomotive with hand written notes on it from the repair tech (person) as to what he fixed and tested. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah. :|

kverdon

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 04:38:47 PM »
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Thanks Nato,  It is good to know that Athearn repairs can be prompt on a turn around.  At this time I really do not think I should be dealing with a Warranty replacement as the item was defective out of the box and I am hopeful the vendor I purchased it from can provide a solution either with a replacement or refund it a replacement is not available.  A refund would enable to me to procure a new unit from this run or at worst, one from the one coming in Dec.

thanks,

Kevin

davefoxx

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 07:30:07 PM »
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Thanks Nato,  It is good to know that Athearn repairs can be prompt on a turn around.  At this time I really do not think I should be dealing with a Warranty replacement as the item was defective out of the box and I am hopeful the vendor I purchased it from can provide a solution either with a replacement or refund it a replacement is not available.  A refund would enable to me to procure a new unit from this run or at worst, one from the one coming in Dec.

thanks,

Kevin

Except that warranty work is exactly what is required.  It's not the vendor's fault that the locomotive has a problem.  All you're doing if you demand a refund or replacement is making life more difficult for the vendor.  Like many products bought today (not just model railroad related), problems need to be dealt with by going straight to the manufacturer.

Like Nato, and as I pointed out in my last post, you do need to contact Athearn for return authorization and you do need to have returned the warranty card beforehand.  I also got hand-written notes from the repair tech on my note to the manufacturer.  You could have this locomotive back before the December release.

DFF

General Counsel to the Laurel Valley Ry.
Member: ACL/SAL Historical Society
A Proud HOer

kverdon

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 08:03:50 PM »
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I am sorry Dave, I just do not agree with you.  Had the loco failed under normal use within the Warranty period, then yes, I would agree with you.  This however was not the case.  I was sold a defective unit.  Yes, it makes its a little more difficult for the Vendor but that is what is known as Customer Service.  I paid him for a product that, though not directly his fault, he ultimately did not deliver.  He maintains the business relationship back to the manufacture via the distributor, not I.  If there is not customer service then why not just purchase it from the cheapest vendor available, or better yet direct from the distributor or manufacturer.  Given the cost of these engines you have the right to a working version out of the box.  Should you purchase a similar priced item such as a Camera or TV and it fails to work when you get it home you return it to where you purchased it with the expectation that they will replace it or refund it. 

thanks,

Kevin

mmagliaro

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2017, 12:28:12 PM »
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I know this is an old thread, but I am currently fixing one of these for a friend.  It has exactly the same problem.
The motor is fine, both sets of drivers are free (not jammed), the rear engine truck runs, and the front one does not.

I took it apart and found the problem.

1. The boiler shell comes off easily after removing the screw through the stack
2. There are 6 wires that have to be unsoldered from the circuit board.  Then you can pry the board off from the 4 little tabs that hold it down on the motor.
3. The motor has a flywheel on each end with a hexagonal hole in it.  A hex-shaped ball-end joint fitting goes in the hole.  At the other end of that plastic piece is a slotted cup, which fits over a two-pronged "fork" piece that goes to the worm to drive the truck.  It's just like many U-joint assemblies in a diesel drive.

The problem (at least in this case) was that the end that goes into the flywheel simply does not stick out enough to keep the ball-and-cup joint connected.  The end in the flywheel can go down into the flywheel so far that the joint simply comes apart!

This engine ran perfectly the first time we tested it.  Then he brought it back yesterday so we could do some work on the traction tires.  It had simply sat in the box since the last time, several weeks go, and yesterday suddenly had this drive problem.  Pretty frustrating.

My bet is that it worked until that end of the u-joint just worked its way deeper into the fly wheel, the joint came apart, and voila!... no drive.

I am fixing it by dropping a spacer down into the flywheel hole so that that end of the u-joint will stick out a little further so the joint stays engaged.  I used a piece of 1/8" Delrin rod that I sliced off to make a little Delrin disk that I pushed into the flywheel hole.  Once the disk was in there and I put it all back together, it ran fine.

I'm still trying to figure out how this is happening.  The flywheel cannot be pressed much further off the motor without binding on the frame cavity where it rides.  I supposed it could be a manufacturing tolerance, where the fly wheel needs to be pulled just a "little" away from the motor, and the opposite end on the worm needs to be pulled a little off the shaft, to close up the spacing between the two joint halves.  But it does not look to me like there is enough room to really do that.  But it has to be something like that, or these engines would all be failing like this and they are not.

I will eventually have photos.  I know this was a lot of text to digest.




Chris333

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Re: New Challenger Challenged - Front Power Truck Freezes Up
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2017, 01:53:50 PM »
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Max, did you end up with one for your own layout?