Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Electroliner, an inspection pit, a red faced shop foreman and a beached whale

How do these things relate to each other? My MTS Electroliner arrived Thursday. By Friday I was at the kitchen table, deep in gears and grease on a crash course to ready the liner for operation.

 One of 50 made by Model Tramway, I believe these were the first commercially produced models of the Electroliner. As you can see its untarnished and absolutely beautiful. Looks amazing for something made in 1965. It came with this photo of 803-804 at Highwood after abandonment, before it was shipped to Philly for its second life as a Liberty Liner. Upon tearing into it, I discovered this one had nowhere near 3.3 million scale miles like my NSL Jewett combine.
 Somebody loved this thing. It has a directional lighting kit installed. I had originally procured plugs and sockets thinking I was going to install a bus jumper through the train to make all pole sockets active. MTS or its previous owner beat me to it.

I figured this system would suffice to get me on the high iron. You can also see the new tubing in the drive. My local hobby shop had this stuff on a spool, and it is excellent. After lubing the drive and giving it a general once over, I was tickled to get it together so rapidly..........not so fast

 The club layout embarrased me. Every time this thing hit a grade crossing or street trackage, it would derail or stonewall stop. Fortunately by design, you can run the motorized tavern/lounge car independently of the train. The truck undercarriage rides so low, the screw heads were striking the crossings. The above photo shows the offending screw head. Clearance is that tight under the truck. After consulting the yahoo ho traction message board and hearing many suggestions, I hit both Chicagoland and Des Plaines hobby in search of screws. The only ones I got were wrong, so back to the drawing board I went. After quiet reflection and a few uttered words not fit for print, I pulled out the Walthers combine mentioned in a previous posting. On a whim I took the screws out of the Jewett's power truck and tried them in the liner.

This is a drastic improvement. Come Wednesday, I'll find out if it clears the grade crossings. It was suggested to take a look at the layout as the problem, and I don't think the club layout is to blame. Ive run at least 6 of my other cars through these crossings and street trackage with no issue. I'm reluctant to repower it because I havent seen any pieces with this type of drive that run this well. It climbs almost a 4% grade like a boss. Wednesday will be make or break it night.

 It became apparent the bus jumper system in place was a total joke. If this thing was on my home layout and never disassembled it would work. My work around is a nice two circuit disconnect system.

These plugs snap together, and with the two wires enable me to bus both the hot and ground throughout the train. I'm not going to fool with pole reverse on this set. Im just worried about consistent operation. With 2 poles on the wire and every truck in the train grounded I should eliminate erratic operation altogether.

A big thank you to the seasoned veterans in the HO Traction Yahoo boards, and Jeff Obarek for moral support Friday as this thing had me pulling my hair out.


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