Help! Marklin 8827 derailing on Micro-Trains Micro-Track

v_z_gK_Z_289333312 Dec 15, 2015

  1. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    Hey everyone! I'm new to the forum and new to model railroading - I posted an introduction if you're interested in knowing what brings me to model railroading.

    Anyway, for my first Z Scale layout, I want to go small so I can be encouraged as I see progress. I've employed some of my tools in the garage and put together a 2' x 1.5' foot box which can set on top of a table. This fits the standard Z Scale oval of track.

    While I have a fair bit of original Marklin track, laying the cork roadbed and then ballasting seems a daunting task to me as I've already seen how finnicky Z track and trains can be. I glued a small section of track down on cork elsewhere as an experiment and had to carefully file a few places and it was just not a pleasant experience.

    My father-in-law is into model railroading and suggested the Micro-Trains Micro-Track with built-in roadbed and ballast. So I got the basic oval and set it up.

    Here's the thing - when the oval is completely snapped together, even if I have it caulked down and flat, my Marklin 8827 engine partially derails. Either the front wheels will pop off the rails, or the second set of wheels from the front, messing up the electric pickup.

    It looks like the train "hops" up at a few places where the rails are joined together. I tried filing these joints more level with each other, but it still happens! I have a suspicion that the metal rail joiner itself is push up the train's wheels.

    When I had been using the Marklin track, I didn't see this kind of thing happening.

    Are the Micro-Trains sections of track shallower than the Marklin track or something, which could cause hopping like this? Do any of you have any advice / tips? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  2. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    Here is a great post at TrainBoard about one week ago.

    http://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/why-derailments-on-mtl-turnouts.88120/

    Is it happening at random, at a curve, or repeatedly at one spot? If one spot, check the rail joiner for proper holding of the rails and no mismatch.

    Also, check your front wheels on the 8827 for any gunk. I have seen some resistance build up due to carpet fibers and the like leading to poor tracking of the 8827.
     
  3. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the link - I saw that thread but saw it was about turnouts so I only skimmed it. I'll give it a more in-depth read.

    My 8827 seems to most often derail around the left curve on the Micro-Tracks oval. There is one particular rail joiner where it occurs most often, but I think a wheel has "popped" over on another section of track too.

    Running my hand along the rails, there are quite a few places where the rails join unevenly that I can feel. Kind of disappointed with this Micro-Tracks oval compared to the ancient Marklin track I was using with no roadbed.

    When I first set the Micro-Trains oval up, it didn't lay flat - which might be part of the problem? The inside of the oval would raise up in the air by a little bit. I didn't want to bend anything forcefully to make it flat, so I caulked it all down, hoping being flat would help with the derailings, but it didn't.

    I've since taken the track back up with a putty knife and I hope to give it a thorough looking over tonight and report back.

    The 8827 is clear of gunk. I gave the wheels a good cleaning recently.

    The only other "engine" I have to run right now is the Marklin "Schienenreinigungswagen" 8802 cleaning car and it does not derail, but it is significantly heavier and less long, with sturdier wheels...
     
  4. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think this is normal. Contact your MTL dealer who sold you this brand new set of track and if that is not fruitful, contact MTL.
     
  5. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    If your camera or phone can get a decent photo (not out of focus), please send a picture of the location or two that seam to be uneven. Depending on how the track was cut, there could be detectable variations between track Heck, even in HO if the track was squarely cut, without deburing. Especially of cut from bottom up. But we have run dozens of loco types and manufacturers across some BAD track work and still make it (nearly) every time.

    There is something more to it.
     
  6. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    I'll try to get a picture or two soon.

    As I examined individual pieces last night, I noticed that even individually, some of them do not lay completely flat on the table. Is this normal variation?

    I contacted the seller and I don't think I'll be getting anywhere that route, I was merely told to pin the track down flat and make sure my connections are good.

    I'm hesitant to contact MTL, since I did caulk these track pieces down, hoping flatness would help, and even though I was able to easily pull them up with a putty knife, the undersides are no longer pristine.

    Also, just want to let you know that I used the word "derail" but it's not like the engine flies off the tracks and fully derails. Just the front two sets of wheels pop off the rails. It'll keep noisily going around the loop, stuttering because of worse electrical pickup, until I stop it so it doesn't get damaged.

    I hope I can get these track pieces working!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  7. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    I've taken some pictures of a problem joint. I think I've detected that this one piece has a dip, which raises the second set of wheels of the locomotive, which can pop over the rail at a somewhat high speed.

    Anybody have any thoughts based on the pics? I hope the pictures are okay; it's really hard to get good pictures of such small things! Also, let me know if I uploaded them incorrectly, since I'm new to this site.

     
  8. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    No, they should be flat when individualized and laying on a flat surface. But unless you are using a granite inspection table, flatness can be a subjective thing.

    Did you ever possibly torque the tracks? They should always snap directly together, when lifting off the layout, do not twist the sections. They must be pulled apart away from each other.

    What packaging was your pack of track shipped in? Was it the fitted blister pack with yellow card stock backing, or a plastic bag with an MTL border at top (newer packing) with the track pieces rubber-banded together?

    Well, the good news is that for under $25 including shipping you can replace the entire oval (price of either a Rokuhan R028 starter oval or another MTL starter oval 99040101). I wouldn't rule bad sections out and just trying to make it work might be costing you more money than just buying another loop.

    While I offer both Rokuhan and Micro-Trains' Micro-Track, I would suggest new z scalers to consider Rokuhan track. If you have a plain vanilla layout, MTL will work fine, but Rokuhan allows so many track options with all their radii and straight sections. Plus, Rokuhan turnouts have for the most part been flawless. If you are buying MTL because of "made in America," well MTL's Micro-Track is actually made in China just like Rokuhan.

    Anyway, this doesn't exactly help your present situation, but may give you another option going forward.
     
  9. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    I did not torque the tracks; I have been very careful. It did not lay flat immediately upon setting it up the first time. The track set came in a blister pack with yellow card stock backing. I bought it from a MTL dealer.

    I got this reply from MTL:

    "Sometimes the track may become bowed while in the package. We recommend tacking the track with nails. There are holes in the roadbed for this purpose. Marklin has roadbed tacks available that you can purchase and will fit with our track. This should solve the problem."

    I was hoping to caulk this to foamboard, so this doesn't really help me, and I don't think it would fix the problem since I already caulked this stuff down as flat as it could go, and AFAIK, a lot of model railroaders are caulking track down and forgoing the tacks? My pictures above show a sort of dip on the one piece...

    Thanks for the advice on Rokuhan track, z.scale.hobo. I bought MTL track at the suggestion of my father-in-law, but I see that Rokuhan might be more consistent for just getting trains running reliably. I'd really like to avoid spending another $20, so I hope I can figure out something with this current oval.

    Is the Rokuhan oval the same dimensions as the MTL oval? (I already woodworked a box for the MTL oval dimensions!)
     
  10. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    R028 has one additional length of 110mm straight section included. Therefore, their oval is a bit larger. But, you can duplicate the MTL oval by removing one straight section from either straight run. It would end up at about 17 x 20 or so.

    I sell a lot of tacks (Marklin 8999) and track screws (my own packaging), but am not at Home Depot, so I cannot comment on the caulk sales! :) Caulk is quite messy. One of the more reputed sites for z scale does not even mention caulk: Do it Yourself in Z Scale

    Back to your oval ... I am also noticing from the top view (your image 1) is some distortion of your sections. The two rails don't appear to be cleanly connected. I am focused on the outer rail.
     
  11. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the R028 advice.

    Yes, I've noticed the gap in the outer rail as well. (Also on a few sections not pictured.) I have it snapped together as much as the two pieces physically allow me. Is there an easy tip for a way to fix that?
     
  12. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    I misstyped. The outer rails look bent. Physically bent and that is why I used the term "distorted."

    And yeah, the inner rails are the ones that are not connected together. I think MTL uses the metal ball lock method underneath like Rokuhan. The best you can do is push each rail a tiny bit closer together, but I doubt there is any more than 500micron of tolerance on either rail. But when you move the rails, you may open a gap on the next section down.
     
  13. Kez

    Kez TrainBoard Member

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    In your last picture looking straight down on the two connected curve sections, there appears to the naked eye to be a gauge issue (distance between rails) where the two sections meet. Check for consistency of distance between the rails at this point. Do you own a track gauge? A caliper measuring device?
    I also agree there appears to be a dip in the rail on the piece to the right of the second to last picture.
     
  14. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    Unfortunately, I don't have precision measuring tools like that yet. My father-in-law probably does, and I'll be seeing him this weekend, so maybe I'll bring my track along for him to measure.

    So much for buying an oval with built-in roadbed to give myself an easier time than using the bit of plain Marklin track I have. What a headache so far! Oh well.
     
  15. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    It seems you just simply need to replace a couple of sections. You likely cannot magically make these out-of-tolerance sections work.

    If you don't want to spend for brand new, you can buy second hand at the auction site for less $$ per section. Things in model railroading do not always go so smoothly and sometimes you have to spend a few extra bucks.

    I bet that once you have new, functional sections in place you will laugh at this brief hiccup. Sectional track is not always this cumbersome. But, you are not dealing with precision items (not at sub-$2 per piece pricing) so stack-up tolerances can occur. You hit one such issue at your "first" venture.
     
    Kez likes this.
  16. Kez

    Kez TrainBoard Member

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    Keep your spirits up. Unfortunately, MTL signed up with the wrong manufacturer in China, and got some poor product as a result. Don't let this experience sour you to what should be the fun of Z.
     
    z.scale.hobo likes this.
  17. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    It does look like there is a problem with the example track picture (all the same connection or, are many like this??).

    To me, the first picture, track in hands, I would say the end of the right hand rail is bent up, the last inch (3cm). There is a definite look to a physical change (like assembly) of the two pieces. And, the right hand rail joiner looks bulged out, same assumption. I would replace at least this piece (I don't have any spares) but if other joints are similar (just this very end of the curved track), then I would say it likely was from assembling the track. It is quite possible that this is the cause and its not your fault, just a learning curve when assembling interlocking track, aligning rail joiners and all at the same time. Certainly could also be a gauging issue, slightly bent inward.

    As for the flatness, as Frank (Z scale Hobo) says, the track will not be mirror flat. Bending rail (during manufacturing) will cause some small lifting arc (middle) or ends up (lower in the middle), like a piece of paper gap but no where near a credit card. Tacking it down (requires a surface, like wood that *will* hold the nails, *not* foam board or soft material) or caulking (using another large flat board to definitely press it flat) could help. However, there are *many* of users that have set it up with humps, dips and not so quite aligned and run all day.

    The longer, multiple driver loco you have will negotiate the smaller radius but, it's not the best to run on curves, compared to diesels (to independent trucks). The drivers want to run straight but are made to slide independently to negotiate the curve. Single pilots are also more of an issue than a 2 axle pilot. The single axle *always* ends up tracking a slight offset angle but does not effect how the drivers run, just more prone to that single axle derailing too (usually only turnouts).

    Many of us have discovered a new hobby and some of the potential issues. Lets try and get you another piece of track to try here.
     
  18. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    Last night my father-in-law was over to watch our daughter while wife and I had something to do, and he had time to show me how to informally check the track gauge without using a tool, by tapping a car around the track and seeing where it moves cleanly and where not. At the two sections in question, the car does not move cleanly, and he suspects the tracks in addition to being kind of wonky at the rail joiners, are too tight all across the length of those pieces.

    I suppose it is totally possible I put the pieces together wrong and bent something, but I have previously set up a much larger loop with some basic Marklin loop I have and all was fine. Ballasting and all that seemed like more than I wanted to get involved in at this point in my hobby, so I got these sectional pieces with built-in roadbed / ballast.

    Thanks for the tips so far, guys, I'll let you know if I figure anything out...

    I see online that Rokuhan pieces have "screws" - is this an alternative you can use to the tiny nails? Seem like it would be much easier!
     
  19. v_z_gK_Z_289333312

    v_z_gK_Z_289333312 TrainBoard Member

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    FYI, folks, I ordered the Rokuhan oval so I can compare the two. And if I can get the MTL oval working well anyway, then I just have two ovals with roadbed to play around with :) It wasn't too much money, so I convinced myself to do it.
     
    Kez likes this.
  20. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    It looks like everyone has made sure your track issues have been addressed. I'd like to comment on mounting the track.

    I used nails and screws for years. Always found its was a lot of work to get the "tension" right with the Märklin track, more so with roadbed. I've used the caulk and found it to be a mess with it pushing through spaces in the plastic roadbed. What has worked the best for me has been 1/2" wide double-sided foam mounting tape. I use short (about 1") pieces of tape between the cross supports of the plastic roadbed. The track is still somewhat adjustable until you press down firmly. When I have the track the way I want it, I use a 1" wallpaper roller to press down on the track.
    I mounted my MTL test oval this way in 2010 any it has stuck firmly to a plywood base.

    Hope this helps,

    Mark
     

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