Sad Days Indeed - Intermountain Frame Rot

DCESharkman Apr 1, 2022

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  1. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Well I have been away for a bit checking all my InterMountain locomotives.

    So far over 200 locomotives suffer from this problem, and it has affected almost my entire fleet of Intermountain F-Units and the SD-40 Tunnel motors.

    The biggest issue is the swelling of the frame so that shells can not be removed.

    What to do?

    Not really sure......
     
    MetraMan01, Kurt Moose, MK and 3 others like this.
  2. Moose2013

    Moose2013 TrainBoard Member

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    Very sad to read this and 200 locomotives affected. Moose very sad for you ... Moose's prized possessions and the locomotive models that inspired Moose to get into the hobby are two Intermountain cabforwards. Hope they aren't affected. If they are, there'll be a Moose stampede heading towards Intermountain's office the likes this world has never seen before...
     
    MetraMan01, Kurt Moose and BNSF FAN like this.
  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know it sounds weird but throw the entire loco in a pan of warm water. The warm water should soften and expand the plastic shell enough to gently pry the shell off. May have some effect on the powdery frame also. Just a matter of letting the motors and electronics dry and no harm is done to them. Then if you get new frames just a matter of transferring the electronics to it and put on the old shell.
     
  4. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking! Back in my tech days, we actually had a regular, household model dishwasher that we would load up CCAs in and run to clean them up. If you do, just make sure that you use distilled water vs regular 'ol tap water so that when it dries there's no impurities that can dry on the connections and moving parts and almost certainly lead to corrosion.

    Otherwise, just make sure it is 100% dry before energizing again, no problemo. I don't know about the last 5yrs or so, but this is actually how the Apple stores used clean your keyboards and mobile devices for years btw!
     
    MetraMan01 and Hardcoaler like this.
  5. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Ouch! That is very sad news indeed!!!!! I would be pi$$ed royally at IM right now!

    Not trying to add salt to the wound but even if you can remove the mechanisms from the shells, would there be a permanent deformation in the shells due to them being pushed out and held in that position for so long by the expanding metal?
     
  6. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    When I finish my IM inventory testing I will be calling IM to discuss options. Sad to think I still have almost 100 more to go.
     
  7. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    WOW!!! I'm glad I never bought anything from IM! ​
     
    Kurt Moose and mtntrainman like this.
  8. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    3D print new frame halves in brass?
     
  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Makes me glad I decided to change directions and sold off my Intermountain stuff.
     
  10. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

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    So sorry to hear this.
    I have 20 tunnel motors and 8 F units which I checked a few weeks ago. None had zinc rot. Zero.

    Why the difference? I'd really like to know.
     
    khilding likes this.
  11. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    Hmmm, I have an Intermountain on pre-order, for which the arrival & pay-by date hasn’t arrived yet. About 4,weeks away, it is.
     
  12. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc_pest
    In spite of the development of zamak the impurities are still with us and strike periodically. My IM FTs are now hiding under Hallmark brass shells while wrapped in Kapton tape. I suppose they could still swell up and jam things up real good.
    I have even had it show up in Microtrains box car frames.
     
  13. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    The shells need to be removed because the frames can swell enough to crack the shells. It happened to some of the old Rivarossis, E8s and FMs. Either the nose or rear end would be pushed away from the rest of the shell.

    Doug
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I do hope he can remove those shells. Even if swelling does not crack any plastic, it can permanently distort the shape.
     
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is too awful to even contemplate! :( Please keep us updated on what happens with any attempts at saving shells, or contacting IM.
     
  16. ns737

    ns737 TrainBoard Supporter

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    3d printing a few frames would be ok. but 300 would be costly
     
  17. Trainguy64

    Trainguy64 TrainBoard Member

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    What is the frame rot you guys are talking about.
    I have never heard of such a thing.
     
  18. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Zink has the bad habit of self destructing at times. Most manufacturers use it to cast locomotive frames.
    Check out this link.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc_pest
     
  19. 7dmack

    7dmack TrainBoard Member

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    I've seen similar posts on this date but different years. Somebody has 300 locomotives, seriously?

    I would hate for someone's name to be corroded for a 4/1 laugh.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
    Mr. Trainiac likes this.
  20. Trainguy64

    Trainguy64 TrainBoard Member

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    I guess It would be a common problem with most manufacturers if they all use zinc to make the frames.
     
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