Author Topic: KATO GS-4 most recent release  (Read 1497 times)

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carlso

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KATO GS-4 most recent release
« on: September 30, 2018, 08:53:03 PM »
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Not sure I am in the proper area but here goes. I had one of the original releases from way back that went bad regarding drivers, I bought and sent "new" drivers and loco to M. M. for repair. He did tweak and install and it ran fine for a couple of weeks and then went to heck in a hand basket. So I purchased one of KATO's "new versions" and should have returned it to KATO a couple of years ago but did not. I did not tinker with it, was able to get ESU sound installed with sound right on. Very happy but there are 3 things I need some guidance with, please.

Running it today at show at a scale 55 mph, per speedometer, when it stopped dead still. Checked it out and found rods, valve gear jamming together. I used #11 blade and VERY gently tried to spread valve gear so they would not jam with rods. There is absolutely as much lateral slop in the drivers as the old one had. I suppose that is so it will negotiate tight radius layouts. Second thing is the pony truck will not stay in slot. It has spring and I turn it at an angle and press the pin into the slot and turn forward. Sits fine but is so light that it will not stay on tracks at all times. Third the trailing truck falls off of the pin that is on the driver bottom plat and falls loose under the loco. When I do get it to stay, any length of time, it wants to run at an angle and often is off the rails.

I am sort of rambling, I know, but I am getting real frustrated and about to doubt KATO prowess with regards to this loco. Anyone have any of these experiences and or possible solutions to try ?

Thanks for reading,
Carl

« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 09:00:17 PM by GaryHinshaw »
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

mmagliaro

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 01:12:10 AM »
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Not sure I am in the proper area but here goes. I had one of the original releases from way back that went bad regarding drivers, I bought and sent "new" drivers and loco to M. M. for repair. He did tweak and install and it ran fine for a couple of weeks and then went to heck in a hand basket. So I purchased one of KATO's "new versions" and should have returned it to KATO a couple of years ago but did not. I did not tinker with it, was able to get ESU sound installed with sound right on. Very happy but there are 3 things I need some guidance with, please.

Running it today at show at a scale 55 mph, per speedometer, when it stopped dead still. Checked it out and found rods, valve gear jamming together. I used #11 blade and VERY gently tried to spread valve gear so they would not jam with rods. There is absolutely as much lateral slop in the drivers as the old one had. I suppose that is so it will negotiate tight radius layouts. Second thing is the pony truck will not stay in slot. It has spring and I turn it at an angle and press the pin into the slot and turn forward. Sits fine but is so light that it will not stay on tracks at all times. Third the trailing truck falls off of the pin that is on the driver bottom plat and falls loose under the loco. When I do get it to stay, any length of time, it wants to run at an angle and often is off the rails.

I am sort of rambling, I know, but I am getting real frustrated and about to doubt KATO prowess with regards to this loco. Anyone have any of these experiences and or possible solutions to try ?

Thanks for reading,
Carl

Personally speaking, I do not like the GS4.  It has too many fragile, and in my opinion, inferior components compared to Kato's typical efforts.   Most notably, I'm not a fan of the motor, which seems too small for a large-drivered high-geared engine to provide smooth running at low speeds, and the driver bearing problems are already well-documented.

But I'm more concerned about what happened to the one I fixed and sent back to you, since this is the first time I'm hearing that it failed.  Please PM or email me.

peteski

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 02:25:59 AM »
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Yes, these locos are fairly delicate, and with the narrow wheels and small flanges they are somewhat fussy about the trackwork.  If it is pushed along the track while not running, the traction tire can come off of those large drivers. If the show layout was anything like my local NTRAK club's modules, then I could see the GS-4 having some problems staying on track.   ANd I agree with Max that the tiny motor (smaller version of their standard open-frame motor with a skew 3-pole armature and very strong rare-earth magnets) seems a bit anemic for that model. The same motor is used in the rather small NW2 loco.

Still, their design allows them to pull a full SP Morning Daylight consist. Not a small feat for a single steam loco.

The lateral play of the drivers is like you suspected for negotiating tight curves, but I don't think that it should interfere with the valve gear.  Max has some experience in fixing these - I'll be watching this thread myself.
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Mark5

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 10:43:27 AM »
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Most notably, I'm not a fan of the motor, which seems too small for a large-drivered high-geared engine to provide smooth running at low speeds, and the driver bearing problems are already well-documented.


+1

I hope Carl's loco can be sorted out favorably!

Mark

mmagliaro

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 11:31:21 AM »
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I've fixed up about 10 of these things (driver bearing problems mostly), and I have not had any trouble with traction tires, derailing, or valve gear jamming.  But then, my layout has nothing tighter than an 18-1/2" radius curve and a 1.7% grade.  I built it to accomodate longer-wheelbase steam locomotives, so I am not likely to see those problems.

I think if it were geared down lower, the small motor would have been adequate and the whole engine would have run better.  There is no reason to have it run rocket-sled fast at 12 volts.


peteski

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2018, 02:11:35 PM »
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I think if it were geared down lower, the small motor would have been adequate and the whole engine would have run better.  There is no reason to have it run rocket-sled fast at 12 volts.

Well, if all if your other N scale locos are speed demons then any new one you make will likely be the same, to match the others.
But I agree with you 100%. I wish they would slow down their models. They made the wheels and flanges more prototypical - time to do the same with the running speed.
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carlso

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 05:04:25 PM »
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Well guys, I sat here this morning at 9:00am +/(-) and posted a reply to Max and Pete but it does not show. Perhaps I forgot to "post", most likely, so here goes again. I will mix my replies to each of you in one posting.

First off to Max I owe you an apology because my wording may have made you think that I was dissing your work. In no way is that the case as I am totally in awe of your knowledge and talent. So do not think I was unhappy with your clever fix. The loco ran well for 2-3 months and then started having problems with the "new version" drivers. The #4 driver with your fix was fine but #1 & #2 went to heck in a hand basket. The problem as I see it is the frame casting is so poor at the bearing slot, or whatever it is called, that the bearing block will not stay fixed. I found that they were coming loose on one side and completely migrating from one side to the other and back, not good. I thought I could fix that by putting two very small JB Weld blobs on the inside of the block but on the frame thus creating a stop. That did not work so I put a geared motor in it and yes it ran, sometimes, slow but strong. I had alignment problem with worm/worm gear so that crapped out and wore down the worm gear. I gave up and set it aside. Purchased the "new version" of the GS-4 and I find it is not much better, if any, than the original. IMHO, KATO blew this all to hell.

 I had it running this past week long Fair Show and it did OK for a bit and then it would jam up and stoooooop ! ! @! I found the driver rods and valve gear were not playing well together so I used my #11 blade and very carefully spread rods etc, to get some clearance. I am afraid to try too much for fear of popping pins. I have problem with the pony truck and the trailing trucks staying on the loco  and also staying on the rails, way too light. As I wrote this morning, I think it is bound for a static roundhouse scene. All I hope is that Scaletrains, BLI or some unknown, as yet, may produce a better one. Yea, in my remaining lifetime.

Now let me make a comment that will answer all of the questions about how I operate my N Scale trains. I do not jet sled them at 12 volts, I do not run at 100%. I have ESU decoders (also some Zimo) in most of my locos, diesel and steam. I set speed using a scale speed speedometer that I got from Bryan. Great stuff. I set the thing up using the start, mid, and hi settings. I set top speed at 65 -70 SMPH depending on freight or passenger, then I set mid point at 35-40 smph and start voltage at around 10 smph. So the decoders and motor do not get raced or max voltages thrown at them. Should last longer. Also by doing this I can and have made KATO, FVM, Atlas all run and play well, consisted together. I am personally tired of hearing guys, mostly newbies, complain about KATO's speed. Any model engineer, including myself, does not need to run them wide open. Our layout is permanent, made with KATO Unitrack and we laid the track almost flawlessly 7 years ago. We have 28" down to I believe 19" radii, so rather generous. It has 2% grades on each (2) main lines. In 7 years we have not had one railjoiner problem that required replacing or soldering, that's pretty good.

I'll get off the box as I am just frustrated after a week of running for the public.

Thanks for your interest,
Carl

Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

peteski

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 05:29:24 PM »
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I am personally tired of hearing guys, mostly newbies, complain about KATO's speed. Any model engineer, including myself, does not need to run them wide open. Our layout is permanent, made with KATO Unitrack and we laid the track almost flawlessly 7 years ago. We have 28" down to I believe 19" radii, so rather generous. It has 2% grades on each (2) main lines. In 7 years we have not had one railjoiner problem that required replacing or soldering, that's pretty good.


Sure, you can run the speed demons at partial throttle in DC or limt the top voltage in DCC. But you are missing the point.  First, in DC you are limiting your range of control of the throttle know to just a part of its arc of rotation.  That means less of the fine control.  That is not a problem in DCC since the brain inside the decoder still accepts full range of speed step commands digitally translating it to the reduced max voltage fed to the motor.

But in both instances the quality of low speed running and control is nowhere as good as if a loco with the same motor had a higher gear ratio. Just like in a car transmission, lower gear (higher gear ratio) results in more torque, and much finer low speed control.

So while there are workarounds to Kato's design, it would be beneficial if Kato slowed their models down.

If your layout is well-laid Kato Unitrak then I would expect that loco to perform flawlessly.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 05:47:57 AM by peteski »
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carlso

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 06:46:28 PM »
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Thanks Pete for your comments but I have nothing more to say or add. You are wanting to get too technical for a redneck West Texan, no further comments are needed except to say I partially agree with some but not all of the above posting.

I just expect when paying good, hard to come by, money I expect the item to be well done. I learned with the Athearn Big Boy. No more.

carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Onizukachan

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2018, 01:19:36 AM »
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And I just bought a secondhand GS4 as my first Nscale loco in 30 years!
After disassembling a large chunk of it to fix shipping damage to grab rails and broken off front coupler, I finally got the chance to run it on 12 feet of pieced together flex track on my living room floor this weekend in DC.


You mentioned the rear trucks, mine are completely free floating. When I took it out of the box, whoever packed it had somehow installed them completely backwards. Like the rear was in the front. Once I put them in the right way around, they dangle like crazy when I lift the loco off th3 track. That was disconcerting! I’m not sure if that is normal or something non-obvious is missing.

If you ever need some wiring help, let me know. I’m a DCC noob but I’m local.

Nato

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2018, 02:55:00 AM »
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 :|     I can Pull a full Morning Daylight and and a bit more with my Con Cor GS 4's a slightly over looked model. The one big fault was since it used a GN 4-8-4 drive train it came with pilot wheels with the GN side frames. These are easy to snip off and the wheels are still held in place and look correct. Yes you can get a decoder that is almost drop in for these locomotives and their 2-10-2 locomotives, and the backup light on the rear of the tender works. Con Cor also did a nice fully unskirted war time version and a fairly nice Western Pacific conversion by using a single headlight boiler/smoke box front. Of course Con Cor also made/ sold their foob versions of these locomotives like Pennsylvania (they never had a 4-8-4) with a PRR Key Stone smoke box front, Rio Grande and NP also UP with smoke deflectors. They were trying to unload the foobs at fire sale prices for years,you could pick them up for parts sources, or possibly convert say a Rio Grande into a WP loco by swapping the coal version of a GS tender for an oil one. Lastly let me say I do own one KATO first gen GS 4 which I have hardly ever run and two Brass Daylights, a GS 4 from Nakamura early version no working headlight and a later Key Brass GS 2 along wit some brass car sets. Nate Goodman (Nato). Good luck on solving your KATO GS 4 issues.  :|

carlso

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2018, 02:21:51 PM »
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Thanks to all for the responses.

As a wrap up, I have installed Magliaro inspired "upside down U's" onto the 2nd & 4th drivers of my newer "revised" loco.. I hope I made them long enough to be close but not restrictive to the bearing block. I think I have solved the pilot and trailing truck issues.

I will have a chance at club layout next Wednesday 11/7. Will post results.

Carl
Carl Sowell
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Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

mmagliaro

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 04:38:42 PM »
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Carl,
That's what I would have done.   In fact, on some GS4's I fixed for people, I had to put more than one upside-down U brace in there.

The other problems you had, with the worm gear not aligning or the rods jamming, I have not seen.

As long as you made the U braces wide enough to keep the bearings from tilting inward, and as long as there was just the slightest gap between the brace and the inside of the bearings so they can still wiggle a little, it will work fine.  The lateral driver motion is achieved by the axle sliding through the bearings.  The bearings just have to be able to float a little to accommodate uneven track and manufacturing tolerances in the frame.

carlso

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2018, 08:21:29 PM »
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Thanks Max,

You said on some locos you had to put more than one U. Did you mean two on one driver or one on each of the non geared driver? I, for peace of mind will pull the plate off again and make sure that I cut the brace long enough.

Thanks for the guidance.

Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

mmagliaro

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Re: KATO GS-4 most recent release
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2018, 01:49:01 AM »
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I meant on two different drivers.  Sometimes, just like your case, more than one axle would have the problem where the bearings would keep leaning in or popping out of their slots.