Author Topic: Kato FEF-3 derailing  (Read 1136 times)

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Cajonpassfan

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Kato FEF-3 derailing
« on: April 03, 2022, 10:25:52 PM »
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I'm having a hell of a time trying to keep my new and otherwise beautifully running Kato UP FEF Northern on the tracks. It just doesn't like my 18" minimum radius curves and throws both the pilot truck and sometimes the training truck on the ground. I consider my Code 55 trackwork to be reasonably good, and I don't have issues there with my other locos, even big brass steam. This happens randomly, and not at the same place at all times, but always on a curve.
I had previously posted on another thread not directly related to this specific issue, but even after attempting fixes like additional weights, more spring tension, loosening loco to tender wires, etc, I can't seem to be able to figure out just what the problem is. Frustrating...spending many hours on this locomotive with no improvement. If anything, it's getting worse.
So I'm thinking: Am I the only one with this issue?
Otto K.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2022, 04:50:16 AM by GaryHinshaw »

C855B

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2022, 10:47:23 PM »
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Did you check the gauge on the wheels, 'specially the drivers? Both of mine are narrow. I have no problem on curves since I'm 24" minimum, but I do have trouble with them through #10 crossovers.

I don't have the heart at this point to fix them because it's the kind of thing I could screw-up on a bad day that I didn't know was bad until I screwed one up.  :(

Rasputen

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2022, 10:53:14 PM »
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I know I have crappy trackwork, mine did not like my Shinohara turnouts at all, so I traded it for a Con-Cor/Kato 4-8-4.

Ngineer

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2022, 02:24:18 PM »
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So I'm thinking: Am I the only one with this issue?

Otto,

no, absolutely not. You are not the only one.

Please have a look at:

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=49448.0

It was a great thread - thank you for all your suggestions and help - but I never told you my, well, not a real solution.

I did put a stronger spring on the front truck. It doesn't derail, but it rides too high. So there is an optical issue.

I would have tried a wide variety of springs, but even on eBay I couldn't find strong and tiny springs in different sizes.

Hope that helps.

   Javier

Ngineer

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2022, 02:33:14 PM »
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Addendum

If you want to see the pitching (the nautical term) of the cab, just look at this Kato video: (I don't know if I am allowed to post a direct link, so delete the whitespace in the URL.)

https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=x8nuvTZXCAQ

The FEF pitches more than the GS-4. Could it be that the spring isn't strong enough? Who knows.

And I do like my Kato. This discussion is not about hating on Kato, but on how to improve the way it runs.

   Javier

MK

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2022, 04:28:03 PM »
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Helping out Javier...


Cajonpassfan

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2022, 11:31:28 AM »
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Omg, she waddles like a duck on steroids. Mine is nowhere as bad...
Thanks,
Otto

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2022, 11:44:02 AM »
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Otto,

no, absolutely not. You are not the only one.

Please have a look at:

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=49448.0

It was a great thread - thank you for all your suggestions and help - but I never told you my, well, not a real solution.

I did put a stronger spring on the front truck. It doesn't derail, but it rides too high. So there is an optical issue.
[
I would have tried a wide variety of springs, but even on eBay I couldn't find strong and tiny springs in different sizes.

Hope that helps.

   Javier


Oh, thanks Javier, I missed this old thread,  because I didn't own any of the original FEF 3's. I waited for the Greyhound version to be released. I'm intrigued with the notion of removing the spring and perhaps adding a bit more weight. I'll play with it and report back when I have time...
Thanks again, Otto

randgust

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2022, 02:30:45 PM »
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Wow, I can't believe Kato USED that video.   That's pretty bad.

The only thing I know is from what I can see on Mark's review:  http://www.spookshow.net/loco/katofef.html

and what I see is that when its good its great but if it's bad it's awful.   The derailments and the cab wobble are two separate issues.

I just finished working on a Bachmann 4-6-2 and was astounded by the horizontal 'slop' in the drivers.   If you have a locomotive with a lot of horizontal (lateral) play, it can create all kinds of random havoc for a lead truck.   Also, under load, most drawbar connections right under the cab yank the frame inward, resulting in pitching the front OUT against the laterals on a curve of any angle.  So the angle on the pilot truck can be much worse than if it was running light.   Ran into that on a LL 2-8-4 and ended up relocating the drawbar.

So on my steam I check the gauge on the lead and trailing set, the inner set(s) can run a little narrow if they aren't derailing, set those end axles perfect.   Then if there's sufficient lateral motion on the inner pair(s), I'll make snap-on split washers like a letter "C" between the lead and trailing drivers and the frame out of nylon or styrene to remove all the lateral play I can without binding.  I find MT truck pin washers rather handy for this if there's that much slop.  And they come right back out if it doesn't work right.  If the inner sets have lateral play, leave that alone.

Then look at your lead truck, same deal.   If there's a lot of lateral play in a 2-wheel lead, usually no big deal.   But on a four-wheel, they can be laterally deflected to be out of alignment and literally crab at an angle.   Some locomotives count on this as part of the curve clearance, but if it can stand it, take it out of at least the lead axle.

I've never liked springs on lead trucks if it compromises pulling power, you're lifting drivers.  I prefer to add a little lead weight under the truck or over the lead axle if I can.

I thought I had good track until I got three locomotives that have severely tested my patience - my Jamco heavy pacific rebuild (lead truck problems led to this discussion), my Hallmark 4-8-4, and most recently, my own D16 4-4-0, that had it's own lead truck design issues.  That locomotive led me to another conclusion, if you're running on 'mixed track' you're better off with wheels with a wide tread and shallow flange if you're fighting turnouts and dropping in the frogs, turn the flange rather than going to a newer wheel.    And I still ended up tearing out and completely rebuilding one kinked turnout that was the root of all evil for steam derailments that never derailed a diesel.

And I'm forcing all of these through 11" curves guys, so I can't imagine what 18" must be like.   In my dreams, and not on my layouts.

For the trailing truck, wow, you've almost got to be having a lateral slop changing the wheel/flange angle on a 4-axle trailer, or hitting something and binding.

On my Jamco it got so bad trying to figure out what was happening I took the motor out and rolled the chassis around trying to find out what was hitting what.  Lateral slop on #1 driver crankpin was clipping the main rod where I couldn't see it, but could feel it.

Heck, as a kid I had a Tyco 4-6-2 in HO that the lead truck kept derailing and finally took the death plunge of the end of the table when my Dad ran it, taking the entire AHM heavyweight train with it onto the concrete basement floor.   Same issues, springs, pitching, laterals.   That thing drove me nuts.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2022, 02:45:55 PM by randgust »

nightmare0331

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2022, 05:15:23 PM »
+1
check the fulcrum that the front two axles pivot on the front two drivers.


Also, do you have wires dangling between the loco and tender for sound or anything?  These units can be very picky if the tension of those wires is off.

Hope this helps!

Kelley.
www.dufordmodelworks.com


Cajonpassfan

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2022, 03:13:26 PM »
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Thanks, Kelley, that did help some, but not enough to be ready for prime time. At this point, I got too frustrated and set her aside. Will try another day...
Otto

robert3985

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Re: Kato FEF-3 derailing
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2022, 02:46:35 AM »
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Wish I could help, but all four of my Kato FEF's run like Swiss watches.  The only locos I've ever purchased that didn't need at least some of the wheelsets re-gauged. Three of mine are from the first run, and the fourth one I just picked up about a month ago...and it runs great.

Maybe you could borrow a trouble-free one from a friend, run it on your layout and see what happens.  If it runs okay on your layout, then use it as a baseline to see if you can see, or measure, any differences between it and yours...and assume the differences in yours are detrimental...then bring yours back to the same specs as the trouble-free borrowed one.  That might work...maybe.

Good luck!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore