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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 350 Royal Blue loco & tender on EBay with the intention of replacing the non smoking driver chassis with a similar chassis w/a smoke unit, installing a new can motor & electronic reversing unit, cleaning it up and repainting.
I drilled a hole the diameter of a Flyer brass smoke tube in the 350 smoke stack, replaced the 350 chassis with a chassis sporting a smoke unit, and low & behold... the holes don't line up. Not sure if a 354 or 356 chassis with smoke will work, or can I use a flexible non-metallic tube to connect both holes with what I have? As usual, I outsmarted myself.
Anyone have experience with this or something similar?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Dan Jeffrey -Flyer Fever
 

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The easiest way, and one many choose, is to buy a Silver Bullet engine, then paint it blue and letter it. The reverse unit is already in the tender so the project is far simpler.
A flexible tube will work. If you use a Silver Bullet chassis in the die cast shell the smoke unit will still not line up with the stack in the casting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The easiest way, and one many choose, is to buy a Silver Bullet engine, then paint it blue and letter it. The reverse unit is already in the tender so the project is far simpler.
A flexible tube will work. If you use a Silver Bullet chassis in the die cast shell the smoke unit will still not line up with the stack in the casting.
Tom,
Thanks for the advice and also the super quick response, I do feel a little better now about the direction I've taken.
As I mentioned, I do intend to replace the motor and reversing relay with a can motor and electronic e-unit, so I'd like to stick with the 350. I like the die-cast loco with the wire handrails & piping. However, the tender that came with my purchase leaves a lot to be desired with rust, chips & scratches in the paint, The four corner "tangs" are shot and no longer hold the tender body to the chassis. I may look for one that's in better shape. Are the Silver Bullet tenders made of plastic to match the loco? I've never seen one.
Thanks,
Dan
 

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Tenders on the 354 and 356 Silver Bullets are sheet metal. Here is a 356, note how much further to the front the smoke stack is located. Included is a Royal Blue for comparison.
Note the Silver Bullet does not have a reverse unit slot that will have to be filled and painted. The can motor and electronic reversing unit are a good plan. Consider a half speed worm gear as well.

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If your electronic reverse unit is similar to mine you will have a choice of forward or neutral on engine startup. I chose neutral to avoid runaway engines if children left the transformer set above zero, or did not lift up the dead man's handles on 15B's and 19B's etc prior to turning off the layout. However in an adult setting starting up in forward is fine and more convenient.
You will also find none of the train pausing accessories like a 755A Talking Station, Sam The Semaphore Man, Cow on Track, etc will work with a can motor engine. It will run right through the controlled block, barely slowing down. That is because the current draw of a can motor plus smoke unit is at most 1/4 that of the Gilbert open frame universal motor plus smoke unit. As a result of the lower current the voltage drop across the resistor is much less. The can motor also runs better at lower voltages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You're miles ahead of me. I haven't yet thought about train controlling accessories. I'm sure I'll have a ton more questions as time goes on.
Thanks,
Dan
 

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The Royal Blues are a cool engine. I have one and I too want it to smoke. I think I will take Tom's advice and get a Silver Bullet and paint it blue. I knew the smoke hole (which is not drilled) would not line up with a smoke unit. Congrats on your Blue. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
TrainDr has a restored Royal Blue on YouTube. The shade of blue and the quality of the finish is just beautiful! If I could get mine close I'd be happy.
Does anyone know whether the boiler cast metal can take & hold solder? I'm looking to possibly add a small brass nipple (about 3/16"dia.) to the new hole in the smoke stack to accept flex rubber tubing extended to a similar arrangement in the smoke unit.
 

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The 1948 350 on the TrainDR site is an original. That engine would grade as a C9, my non-indented tender above grades as a C7 maybe a C8 on a good day depending on who is doing the grading.
If you want to see a spectacular Royal Blue set made from a Silver Bullet engine take a look at Joe Deger's set on the ACSG Tidewater Division site. It is at sgaugers.org/TD/TD_JD.html.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The 1948 350 on the TrainDR site is an original. That engine would grade as a C9, my non-indented tender above grades as a C7 maybe a C8 on a good day depending on who is doing the grading.
If you want to see a spectacular Royal Blue set made from a Silver Bullet engine take a look at Joe Deger's set on the ACSG Tidewater Division site. It is at sgaugers.org/TD/TD_JD.html.

Thanks Tom, I'll take a look at it.
 

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I drilled a new hole in the top of the smoke unit so it would match the hole in the boiler and sealed up the old hole. Smoke unit on my Royal Blue works great with no performance issues.
 

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I just saw that Joe Deger also drilled a new hole in some of his smoke units when he was custom making new engines out of old Gilbert engines. Same solution as Kelpieflyer. Joe used a 10-32 tap to allow screwing in the smoke stack insert. He used JB Weld to seal the old hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tom, Thanks for the advice. I will follow it. Dan
Murphey's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Murphey's Corollary: And anything done to correct it will only make matters worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the vote of confidence! On to several other subjects you advised me on.
My Franklin 88 smoke unit I was unable to repair. Took your advice & ordered a replacement unit from Port Lines. Just recently received it but haven't had the opportunity to change it out yet.
The engine was a gift to my son-in-law. Gave it to him on his b'day minus the smoke. Will soon get it back for unit replacement.
I discussed my "gutless" American Models GG-1 with AM factory people. They advised returning for diagnosis and repair. They swear it should pull at least 20 similar cars. I have yet to send it. Should do that soon before warranty expires.
Many Thanks Again. I hope you don't mind me "leaning" on you for your advice.
Regards, Dan Jeffrey
 

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Dan, definitely get that GG-1 back to AM, something is wrong.
Always feel free to ask questions. There are a number of us S gaugers on this forum who can reply, each of us has unique knowledge and repair experience with AF stuff. Someone will know the answer.
 
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