Mantua's Mastodon's and Walther's Doodlebug's! - Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource
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HO Scale Discussion of HO scale model trains.

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Old 11-17-2011, 01:02 AM   #1
trainguru's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 954
Scales Modeled: HO, OO, and S & O at Christmas :p
Mantua's Mastodon's and Walther's Doodlebug's!

So, the my little pike, the WNC&P RR&N/G-WR, just got a Mantua 4-8-0 and a Walther's Doodlebug (CP & NP), and I'm happy with the doodlebug, new in the box, never ran, from a late modeler, but that same late modeler's 4-8-0 is a rough rider (wher'd it go, San Juan hill with Teddy?), and I'm it my whit's end. I replaced the missing smokebox cover, with a Percision Scale Brass cover (held on by the hand rails clamping the rivets, and holding nicely), and fixed the back step, greased the gears, but it's still rough riding! What did I do wrong? Heck, I even cleaned the hair from the darn thing ( ), and still it ride's rough! Is this what I get for a five dollar steamer (it was $10 and yes I did test it)? Should I stop buying steam for under ten dollars? Help? -

On a side note, the doodlebug cost me thirty dollars, and I'm still shocked, at how a charmer it is!

"Ayeeeee!" - Says the Fonz!
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Oh
Posts: 2,608
Scales Modeled: HO, O, G, N, OO
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Well I don't buy many engines for under five dollars that ever run smoothly at first but I change all of that. The first step I take is to clean all of the wheels with q-tips and 91-99 percent isypropyl alcohol and then clean all of the copper pickups on the engines as well. This ensures that the engine is getting all of the power it can get. I then proceed to completely strip the gears of any oil or grease. On a new engine i would re grease with a very little bit but on an older more used engine it is strictly oil as it is easier on the motor and gears. Once that is done I proceed to the most common problem for my older engines which is the motor. I first take out the springs and brush's and lightly sand the graphite/carbon rods so they are flat not curved which enhances the motors running characteristics. Once this is done before re-installing the spring and brushes I clean the armature and commutator where the brushes touch to ensure that all of the old carbon/graphite that slows the motors running is gone so it is basically a new motor. Now depending on the motor you can sometimes get the entire armature and commutator off of the casing allowing for cleaning of the inner walls which will allow more cooling, cleaner movement, and a longer motor life. That is about the most you can do for the older engines, especially the ones for 10 dollars. Once you buy your first new engine like a Bachmann Spectrum DCC/Sound engine or a comparable Athearn or Atlas you will never want to go back compared to their incredibly smooth running. Now while you could argue you don't have the budget why not just try saving up for it? Sure you will pas up a couple of older engines to save the 100-250 needed for the new one but the difference in running and power is worth it and requires a lot less maintenance plus it practices the art of saving.
<----- One day I am going to build one of those trains
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doodlebugs , mantua , mastodons

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