Author Topic: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe  (Read 1391 times)

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gbcaboose

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MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« on: November 29, 2021, 02:31:06 PM »
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About 6 months ago I ordered some Micro-trains 50' ribside boxcars to paint. These are the upgraded ones with the body mount couplers. I had them stored in my closet in an Axian storage box. I got them out today while preparing for our club's show this weekend and the underframes were bowed and the sills had broken under the doors. Has any one else had this problem? I have bought a few of the painted/weathered cars and haven't had the problem. With me, it's been limited to the undec cars. The Detailed under frame piece seems to be the issue. There's only one way to "snap" it in, but it seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the underframe causing them to bow. 2 of the underframes snapped in half when I removed them from the car body.

Mike

gbcaboose

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2021, 04:09:00 PM »
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After further review, it appears the issue is that the underframe was re-tooled and the new underframes are slightly longer. If this is the case, was the body re-tooled to accept the longer underframe? There's alway's the chance that the underframes I received are for another body type and were packed in th undec kits by mistake.

I filed down one of the frames and trimmed the stirrup pieces but when I tried to install it in the body the frame snapped. I think it may have already been cracked or weakened.

In the pics below, the top frame is from the newer run with with the single hole for body mount couplers. The bottom is from another 25000  series car with truck mounted couplers (two holes)

Mike
« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 05:18:23 PM by gbcaboose »

Angus Shops

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2021, 08:24:06 PM »
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I suggest you not mess around with the damaged cars and return them to MTL for refund or replacement. Sounds like a faulty product, and MTL is generally considered to be tops in customer service. Is this a case of the dreaded ‘zinc pest’?

nkalanaga

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2021, 01:50:37 AM »
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Or possibly a problem with the die casting machine, or during assembly.  I've never had a warped floor from MT, but have bent them myself, usually while filing down the bolsters.  Most straighten fairly easily, but if bent enough, they will break.  The ones in the pictures shouldn't, so I suspect a manufacturing defect.  If the side sills are also broken the floor is almost certainly the problem, as that is usually caused by forcing the floor in when it doesn't want to go.

You said the factory painted ones were fine.  Do they have the same underframe? 

The plastic underframe details shouldn't have any effect on the floor.  They're flexible enough that they'll give long before the floor will.

As Angus Shops said, send them back, or at least ask about sending them back,  There's something wrong, and it's almost certainly at the factory.
N Kalanaga
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MTLJoe

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2021, 11:29:04 AM »
+4
About 6 months ago I ordered some Micro-trains 50' ribside boxcars to paint. These are the upgraded ones with the body mount couplers. I had them stored in my closet in an Axian storage box. I got them out today while preparing for our club's show this weekend and the underframes were bowed and the sills had broken under the doors. Has any one else had this problem? I have bought a few of the painted/weathered cars and haven't had the problem. With me, it's been limited to the undec cars. The Detailed under frame piece seems to be the issue. There's only one way to "snap" it in, but it seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the underframe causing them to bow. 2 of the underframes snapped in half when I removed them from the car body.

Mike

Mike,

Did you contact the front office about this?   I was hoping you could send one of the underframes back to us along with the product number on the box so we can determine when it was produced and correct the problem.  I can replace the defective parts as necessary.

Joe


gbcaboose

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2021, 09:06:43 AM »
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Thanks Joe, I sent an email earlier this week with some photos.

Mike

unittrain

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2021, 06:58:09 AM »
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It might be lead impurities in the zinc I know this has happened a few times in HO with some of the 89' flats from Walthers, but not saying that's the case here, but can happen. However I will say I was in N before and had hundreds of MTL rolling stock and it was never a problem everything was always top notch quality heck I still have several hundred to list yet since my switch to HO.

peteski

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2021, 11:43:52 AM »
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I also have dealt with or seen hundreds (if not thousands) of MTL cars (from their early days to the present) and while I have seen some white residue over the blackening they use, I have never seen any warping, or any other telltale signs of zinc pest.  I'll be curious about the cause of the problem described here. Hopefully we will be made aware of their findings.

Also, zinc pest usually occurs after several years, and usually after the metal was stored in harsh conditions (heat and humidity), which is not the case in this example.
. . . 42 . . .

Angus Shops

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2021, 12:52:41 PM »
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No argument from me about MT (and previously Kadee) quality! I also have several cars that must date from their earliest days in N scale; they remain as original other than the replacement of the pizza cutter wheels. Really quite amazing to think these cars are pushing 50 years old and are still ‘current’, with the oldest cars indistinguishable for my most recent purchases.

gbcaboose

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2021, 09:58:30 PM »
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I'll agree that I've never had issues with the MTL cars. I don't think this was a case of corrosion of the metal. These were undecorated kits and it looks like the wrong underframe was put in the kit. They were slightly longer than the underframes on my other 25000 series boxcars. Besides the length, the ends were made for the new body-mount couplers, with the single hole for the push-pin.  After painting and decaling, I "shoehorned" the underdrames into the car bodys. Sure they were tight, but I got them in there, and it wasn't like they were 1/4 inch too long, maybe 1/32 or less (see pic above). Over a few months the sills gave way and the underframe detail piece bowed.

Mike

MTLJoe

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2021, 05:57:39 PM »
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This looks like Zinc Pest to be honest.  The metal swells and then become very brittle.  We had a few bad bars back when these were done we figure.  but you never know....

Joe


brokemoto

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Re: MTL Rib-Side Boxcar bowed underframe
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2021, 01:00:33 AM »
+3
MT is pretty good about replacing it or doing what is necessary to rectify the problem.  I had an underframe warp then snap on a boxcar many years past.  I sent an inquiry to MT about purchasing a replacement.  I expected to pay, as I had bought the car used.  I even told MT that.  They simply sent me another one.

It is one of the reasons that I never hesitate to purchase MT products.  You must support a company that stands behind what it sells.