Broadway Limited NW2 painting

Stephane Savard Apr 3, 2022

  1. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

    I'm not too worried about the paint, I'm mostly frustrated at damaging it from the constant handling, repeatedly taking off the trucks and then putting them back on. The whole oil paint weathering trick is a first for me (actually, using oil paints is a first for me! :D) and it's a learning experience. I thought that giving it a day to dry would be enough, but I'd have to give it more time. The paint chipping will be easy to repair, it's only on the edge of the air tank and the edges of the pilots, a dab of dirty rusty black and it will look fine again. As for the rust, lucky it only appears to have rubbed off on the cab sides, and I can layer a bit more there without too much trouble. This time I'll wait several days before giving it a clear coat using an oil compatible clear coat. But before that, I'll make sure to get it running right. I still like my paint job, I think it turned out nice for a first try, and happy to see people like it too!

    Working on the trucks is not super easy. to completely remove the trucks from the body means I need to desolder the wires to the trucks. The copper pickup "plates" are sandwiched between the side frames and the main body of the trucks, and nubs at the ends of the wheels fit into these plates, which is what holds the wheels in place. Plus, to remove the trucks I have to jam tweezers between the body and the truck and pry them off (instructions are in a document on the BLI support website). Anyway, if I do remove the trucks (but keep them wired) the wheels do not bind on anything, but do not move quite "freely", which is what makes it so confusing.


    When I first got the engine, one thing I had to clean up before painting the sideframes was to remove a lot of plastic flashing from the molding process that was contacting the wheels. But, I also completely took the trucks apart (down to removing the individual gears!) and cleaned up everything with dawn dish soap and a toothbrush and inspecting every gear for any additional flash, or something that might be catching. Then reassembled the trucks and re-oiled using some Labelle 108. I also checked the worm gears, and those are clean as well. The one thing that I did notice is that one wheel wobbles slightly when I roll the wheel set down the table on it's own (I initially thought maybe a gear was offset, and rolling the wheels down the table it's easy to see if a gear is offset as it will wobble). Anyway, the gears are all good (no wobble), but there is the one wheel that wobbles slightly. Now, since the wheels notch into the pickup plate, I think that maybe (?) this might be the cause of the surging/slowdown on each wheel revolution.

    When I was reassembling the locomotive, with the hood off, and with the trucks not yet soldered back on, I used some alligator leads and hooked up the decoder to my track to test that the decoder and motor were reassembled correctly. The motor runs whisper quiet! The worm gears also run true; while it was running I cleaned the worm gears with a small brush, so I could see that there was no wobble there. The problem is definitely in the trucks!

    I've seen comments like this in forums about the BLI locomotives. I own an HO-scale BLI Consolidation that's a Paragon3, and also an n-scale mikado. I do agree that the decoders do not run as well as all my ESU decoders, especially for slow speed creeping. But not enough that feel that I should replace the decoder. I did have issues with the mikado, but that was with the running gear jamming. I contacted BLI support and they were very helpful in resolving the issue, and now it runs fine. I don't have great trackwork, and the mikado does run well. As for the NW2 I currently have problems with, it's a Paragon4. The decoder runs very very well, no complaints there! I'm convinced the issue is purely mechanical within one or both trucks.

    Yeah, well, it's just how n-scale is I guess. Okay, to be clear, I did mention four working out of the box, but there are actually six, but two are sitting in a box with broken shells - the mechanisms work as far as I know. Here's the full story...

    Loco #1 (good) I started the hobby four years ago, when I received a Kato ES44AC as a gift. I installed a TCS decoder in it, and it ran well for all of the four years I've had it. Very recently, I've added a Loksound decoder and speaker to it, and it now runs absolutely beautiful!

    Loco #2a and #2b and #3 (sitting in boxes, broken shells): I bought a Intermountain SD40-2w and it never ran right. That was returned to the store, and the second one I received was also off. I mean it ran fine, but the shell looked like it was assembled wrong. The cab was glued on at an angle, one of the window shades crooked, and one coupler was barely hanging on, looks like the screw holding it on is stripped. But this was very early in my "modeling career" and I didn't know any better, and kept it. A short time later I bought a second one at a discounted price. Same problems!!! The cab is glued onto the frame at an angle (makes it look hunchbacked) and the coupler pocket is barely hanging on. Why I didn't return it? Cross border shipping, procrastination, and thinking I might fix it someday. A few years later and the railing are crumbling. I broke most of them just with light handling, looks like the plastic is dried up. Anyway I've been so frustrated with these shells that I stuffed them in a box and don't look at them. About two months ago I took one out and tried repairing the cab. I had to pry it apart (because of the glue) and I can't see how it was designed to fit together. I can see that whoever put that shell together at the factory just did the best they could, because it just doesn't seem possible to make it fit! After successfully 3D printing a loco shell in the past year, I've decided these will be my next 3D printing project. So it's turned into a lemonade project. I've since sworn off Intermountain.

    Loco #4 (initially bad, now fixed): Rapido GMD-1. Took two years to get this one fixed (was sitting in a box for a long time). Initially the fuel tank was glued on at an angle and it dragged on the rails. I finally fixed that after finally learning how to disassembling locos and still didn't run correctly. It would die on every frog. I eventually fixed this by added 440 uf of capacitors to the decoder. Now it runs great. One of my favourite locos now!

    Loco #5 and #6: Both Rapido Dash 8-40CM locomotives. These have run perfectly out of the box right from the start, and still run great. (well, not entirely true, both had out-of-gauge wheel sets, but I now consider this a required check buying any locomotive, I have yet to find a single loco that does not requiring re-gauging the wheels with the NRMA gauge).

    Loco #7 (good): a DCC non-sound RS-11. This was my 3D printed project, I replaced the RS-11 shell with an RS-18 3d printed shell of my own design. It runs well, if a bit noisy. ESU is coming out with a drop-in Loksound decoder for this frame later this year, looking forward to adding sound to it!

    Loco #8 (initially bad, now good): BLI Mikado 2-8-2: Running gear would jam up constantly. Eventually got this fixed with help from support.

    Loco #9 (bad, TBD): this BLI NW2, subject of this thread...

    Anyway, I've sent BLI a support request, they've been super helpful in the past, so looking forward to getting this NW2 fixed!
    in2tech likes this.
  2. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

    BLI support is pretty good. One P3 I was having problems with is their ES44AC. Truck removal on that was pretty simple and when I did the roll test with them removed one was catching at a certain spot. Took it all apart but couldn't see or find anything and like you cleaned everything up anyways then lubed but only a slight improvement. Contacted BLI and they sent me a new set of trucks super quick. Tested and installed those but still same problems with lurching and such. That is when I dug into the CVs. I adjusted 118 up to almost max and 120 up as well but don't recall exactly what their final settings are. I have the same switcher as you and had to make similar adjustments to get it all sorted.

    I do have their P3 equipped light pacific and it runs like a dream but it hasn't seen a lot of track time.

    Since you have that wobbly wheel I'd definitely get that truck swapped out even if it is not the cause as it could create issues with staying railed on imperfect track or going through turnouts.

    Back to painting: if you decide to start over or for future reference. Gunze Sangyo (Mr Color) makes lacquer based acrylics and they adhere real well to the alclad primer. I mix with their t-106 leveling thinner for airbrushing (I use with all my acrylics including tamiya and tru-color) to slow drying time but also gives a real nice and even finish. I also use Tru-color paints which are acrylic but they use an acetone solvent in their paint so it adheres better to model plastic. I know in this case you are on metal but it may still work to bond with the primer you are using. Tru-color makes airbrush ready paint colors for model railroaders which is nice too. I've done several railroad cars with that paint and with some tamiya satin clear to seal it up the paint is very durable.
    Sumner likes this.
  3. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

    Funny thing happened today, but first a small update

    Broadway Limited sent me two complete trucks in the mail; they're in Jamaica right now (Jamaica, NY :D). They gave me the option of sending it in for repairs, or sending me two truck assemblies for shipping cost only. That was fine, so just waiting now, cross border USPS isn't very fast. Anyway, pretty happy that they're sending the parts vs me sending the engine into the repair centre. I'll update and post the final pictures once it runs great!

    Anyway, what really gave me the idea of giving an update was my last post! I'm officially at 4 out of 10! :ROFLMAO: I bought a used Kato Budd RDC-2 unlettered on ebay. It was a good price, claims of "runs smooth", “Is in mint condition, box has light wear marks, unit was barely ever used”, and "This unit was bought and put into a collection, was barely used at all."

    Well, it certainly looks to be in super condition, I can barely see any wear on the wheels, they're clean, and the entire shell is super nice (with the horn and detail parts still in their little bag). But I stuck it on a test DC track, and well, nothing. The headlight and marker lights light up and switch front to back when the powerpack is switched from forward/reverse, but not even a hum from the motor.

    Still in the "this is funny" mood, so off to email the seller!
    MK likes this.
  4. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

    I finally received the new trucks for the EMD NW2. Changed them out (stupid soldering of wires again! :censored:) and tried it out. Well, it's quieter, sounds less like a coffee grinder.

    But I hate it. The switcher is still jerky, and just not running smoothly. So whatever the issue was, I guess it wasn't entirely the trucks. Am I being too picky though? I don't exactly have much experience with this hobby, given that I'm alone in this, I never visit anyone else's layouts, and so I've only ever really seen my locomotives run.

    So I took two short videos, maybe you can help me judge...

    Slow speed:

    Trying to compare it to my GMD-1, which runs smoothly. In the video you can't even hear the GMD-1 running. But Can you see how the NW2 is jerky? It grinds the motor/gears on a cycle, and while not shown in the video, is significantly worse on a curve. On each "grind" cycle, the engone slows down, appearing to have trouble moving forward.

    Medium-high speed:

    At any kind of speed, we can definitely hear the cycle of gear grinding, and the locomotive visible slows down on each cycle. Makes it looks like it's jerking forward. Think of how a pigeon bobs its head forward on each step it takes. I hate this; none of my other locomotives do this.

    Edit: in other news, the Kato RDC I mentioned in my last post runs great now! I opened it up and found the problem, the motor tabs where not contacting the track pickup strips. Must have been jostled good by shipping. I didn't want to send it back to the seller, so we worked out where they'd pay for the motor replacement had it been the motor. All's good, and everyone happy in the end!
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  5. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    No, you are not picky. There is something that's "cogging" but I can't think of anything off the top of my head other than it's a "gear issue". I know, not much help.

    One thing you may want to try is strip everything down to the motor and apply a low voltage to see if the motor is running smoothly. Then put motor back in it's harness and in the frame, apply (same) voltage and test. Next run the trucks by themselves on a slight graded test track. Runs smoothly down the incline? If so, trucks (and their gears) are good.

    Where I'm going is test each step in the assembly process until you find the step that gives you the cogging. I know it's easier for me to say it than for you to do it but it's the only way to isolate where or what part is causing the issue. Bottom line is that it shouldn't run like that.
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
  6. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

    You should try to adjust some of the CVs. My switcher ran just like that out of the box less the noise. CV118 I set pretty high although I don't recall exactly. Maybe 200? Speed step smoothing (CV120) I never could get to work as good as I wanted but transitions between steps was not smooth at all and adjusting that tamed it somewhat.

    Also try swapping the trucks back to front to see if that helps with the grinding noise. Make sure the worm gears are properly seated and lubed.

    Good news about the RDC.
    Stephane Savard likes this.
  7. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    @Stephane Savard Your not being picky at all. You want your locomotives to run correctly. Now will they, that is the question? Hopefully you can get them working correctly.

    Good luck! Keep us updated. This hobby can be very frustrating at times, I will tell you that. For a variety of reasons. I guess it is just part of it? Or it appears to me it is anyway. I mean for goodness sakes you ordered a Brand New NCE PowerCab that wasn't soldered correctly, etc... etc... Are these NEW locomotives giving you issues? I thought they weren't? But I could be wrong?
  8. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    That aint right ! :censored:

    Looks like a gear problem to me. More like something...flashing or the gears. JMO !:whistle:
    BNSF FAN, Stephane Savard and MK like this.
  9. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

    Thanks all for your help!

    @in2tech: It is new (well, as new as a painted undecorated locomotive can be :)). The only engine I bought used so far is the RDC. I would possibly buy more used engines, but they're not easy to find aside from ebay, which I'm very wary of trusting. I've only been to one train show here in Montreal a few years ago, when I was pretty much starting in the hobby, and now after a few years absence they're doing the show again this year in June. Hopefully will be able to go have a look, I'm hoping to find some used rolling stock for sale.

    @MK & @freddy_fo: I had to strip it down completely to paint it, and one thing I did when reassembling was to incrementally test everything as I put it back together. The motor without the trucks is whisper quiet, and the worm gears were spinning true, no wobble at all. That's what led me to believe the problem was entirely with the trucks. And at this point I tried every combination of trucks I could. I even tried as a last resort to swap parts of the original trucks with the new replacement trucks. But one thing that I noticed is that the new trucks did roll freely when off the frame, so much better than the old trucks. Also, none of the wheelsets have any wobble in them, something the original trucks had. Could not find any dirt or crud stuck in the meshes of the gears either.

    I'm not going to mess around with the CVs right now; normally I'd check it out, but in this case, the problem is obviously mechanical. The low quality cell phone video doesn't quite capture the sound of the grinding that comes out of the locomotive at each cycle of the gears. It labours through one part of the rotation and while it might be able to hide it somewhat with CV changes to the motor, the issue will still exist.

    I've sent back an email to tech support, and this time the locomotive and it's trucks is going back to BLI for repairs. I'll let the experts deal with this one, I tried what I could!
    in2tech and MK like this.

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