Rolling qualities of Rapido HO 8600s

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Rolling qualities of Rapido HO 8600s

NH in VA
Member
Joined: 13 Jul 2011, 02:10

27 Oct 2017, 13:17 #1

It is not a surprise that these cars are not as free rolling as the previous Am Flyer cars.  Rapido has acknowledged this.  Still, I was surprised how much resistance to motion there is when I try to pull (only) seven cars up a 1.5% grade with a brass electric loco.  If I uncouple the cars on the grade, they do not roll backwards - they just sit.  I thought of one or two things to do, primarily removing the electrical pickups from the trucks and forgoing lighted cars (fine by me for my daytime themed layout).  But before I even took the trucks off, I tried something more simple.  Lubrication.
Not just any lube. I used Nano-Oil weight CLP 5 which I take to mean 5 weight.  It is noticeably thinner than other oils I have including 10 weight by the same manufacturer.  I noticed a substantial change in the rolling resistance after applying the oil to the ends of the axles in the truck sideframe.  When I push the unoiled car and take my hand away, it stops within two or three inches.  After oiling, it coasts approximately three car lengths before stopping.  Still not perfect on a grade, but much better.  I am trying different amounts of additional weight on the loco, and noticeably less was necessary to get the train to start on the grade and get up to speed climbing.
I am not a shill for any product or manufacturer - I own no stock in Nano-Oil.  But, at first try, this stuff seems to really help so I thought I'd pass it along.  First saw it advertised in Model Railroad Hobbyist, the on-line (and free) magazine (I'd check it out too while you're at it (I did say 'free', didn't I?).
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DBrion
Member
Joined: 21 Jun 2006, 05:52

27 Oct 2017, 13:41 #2

I've had similar experience - difficulty pulling 5 Rapido coaches up a mild grade (< 1.5%) with a single Rapido FL9, but no problem using two FL9s.  Thanks for the tip.  
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

27 Oct 2017, 14:31 #3

Thanks Mr. NH in VA for the Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine information. I subscribed for free and read a few articles. I like the format, the more colorful full page and smaller ads, some from places I'm not familiar with. While I haven't checked out that oil, I have learned some new-to-me material and methods for scene construction. I'm going to have to read all the back issues and check out a bunch of the advertisers over the next few months. I like the idea of just clicking on the advertisers and checking out their specific items advertised keeps the magazine free. I'm not sure about subscribing to their Forum or Blogs yet.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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NH in VA
Member
Joined: 13 Jul 2011, 02:10

28 Oct 2017, 01:54 #4

I continue to experiment.  My goal is to pull ten 8600s with a single electric motor up a 1.75% grade with some 36" curves.  I have pulled seven newly oiled 8600s up that grade with a single OMI EP-5.  The EP-5 just slips the drivers if I try run too fast a speed (above 25 on DCC), but it will start the train and pull from a dead stop on the grade without spinning the wheels if I apply power gradually.  No chance of any of this before applying the oil.  I think I put a little extra weight in the EP-5 as it clocks in at about 2 Oz. heavier than another EP-5 I have.  I have heard how some people say brass models are lousy pullers, but I am close to getting what I want with the EP-5.  I agree they take more fiddling than some other models available.  If only someone would make a more modestly priced EP-5 . . . . .   Or EP-4, EP-3, EP-2 . . . .  I think with the older type electrics (pre-EP-5 or pre-EF-4) with the big drivers it will be harder to get to my goal since they are essentially in overdrive (low overall numerical final drive gear ratio) compared to the smaller-wheeled diesels and the EP-5.  I am going to try some tungsten weights and I'll pass along what I find once they arrive - not much accessible space in these shells so I'm trying more dense weights.  Interestingly, most of the weights I saw on the Internet are intended for Pinewood Derby cars.
I have to do this with one motor for the sake of realism.  Any thoughts are welcome.

Richard, glad you found MRH useful.  I have been using it for four years, maybe more.

John
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NH in VA
Member
Joined: 13 Jul 2011, 02:10

09 Nov 2017, 04:28 #5

Update.  Well, nobody has been pestering me for additional info, so I guess this is not uppermost on many minds.  But I thought I'd follow through and provide info I have found in trying to solve this problem of pulling a reasonable number of Rapido 8600s up a moderate grade.
I have changed my requirement to eight cars.  Not really caving - my New Haven station platforms are only seven cars long, so eight gives me a little cushion.  An Overland EP-5, with a Digitrax DH165AO decoder board, and with a few ounces extra weight (car wheel weights with foam stick tape) is adequate to pull eight Rapido 8600s with the oiled journals as described above.  My grade actually fluctuates a little bit, so it is about 60' long and ranges from 1.5% to 2.0% as I climb from the staging yards to the main layout.  Two 180 degree, 36" radius curves are on the incline.  I have not experienced any warming of the EP-5 motor, so even this long a pull is within the safe range for the loco assuming one has done some lubing on the loco as well.  I have been able to pick up a couple of these locos (unpainted) for a reasonable price over the last couple of years, so I am glad they are pretty much adequate with little extra effort.
As I had thought, electrics (pre-EP-5) with larger drivers were a bigger challenge.  To make a long story short, a considerable amount of weight was required to get sufficient tractive effort for eight 8600s.  I have the aforementioned stick-on tire weights, but there was not enough room for the weight it would take.  The foam tape also increases the volume of the weight without adding any weight making the situation worse.  I have lead sheet weights, but the problem was still that there was not sufficient free volume space in the loco model.  I turned to Tungsten weights and did solve the problem.  I have worked over two units - an NJCB EF-3 and an OMI EP-4 - including disassembly, cleaning, lubing, using Kapton tape to cover potential shorts, and so forth.  Both are each now able to pull (at least) the eight 8600s up the grade to the station tracks without warming up the motors.  Both locos were about 13 oz bare weight and were 25 - 27 oz after additional Tungsten weights were added.  On the EF-3 I actually removed the factory White Metal weight blocks to stick in Tungsten weights to get the amount of weight I needed into the loco.  I gradually built the weight up by taping weights to the bare chassis until I got the result I wanted.  Of course, the drivers slipped at first with insufficient weight.  But I wondered how I would know when I was getting to the right weight without smoking the motor.  My method was to get to a point where the loco would just about pull the load, then bog down intermittently, then move again when I gave it just a bit of help.  Finally, when the drivers slipped, and just pushing down on the motor lightly got the train moving again (not pushing it along, just adding a little more vertical pressure) I knew I was just about there.  I added a bit more weight - maybe an ounce - and figured the weight of the body would then be enough for the correct weight.  That seems to have worked, and I will continue testing to make sure.
So the key was the Tungsten - using Lead would not have made it possible to get enough weight into the unit.  Tungsten is about 1.7 times as heavy as Lead in an equal volume.
I got the Tungsten from an on-line Pinewood Derby Hobby Shop called Maximum Velocity (www.maximum-velocity.com).  The sizes I used were bars 1/4" X 1/4" X 1-1/4" and 1/4" cubes.  These shapes were perfect for stuffing into or onto the chassis to build up weight in the available open areas.  I superglued some together to make a unit weight, then attached a unit weight to the chassis with Walthers Goo.  Do not kid yourself that you will be able to saw the Tungsten to size - you won't be able to with normal shop tools.  That's why the cubes are useful in getting every bit of area filled up - they are already cut for you.
This is not cheap, but it may be the only way to solve the problem if yours is similar to mine.  Because of the way my layout is built, I have to have a single electric pull a whole train up the grade which dumps out of the hidden climb just to the West of New Haven station.  It is not possible to use helpers even if that was the way the railroad actually did it.  But I was able to get the performance needed with a slightly more exotic weighting scheme.
Passing this along in the event others can benefit.  When I planned the layout it never occurred to me a nominal 1.75% grade would be any challenge at all for a moderate sized passenger consist.  Sometimes you just don't know what you don't know until you get to the real world situation.
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