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My problems started with my Pacific not being able to negotiate a couple Aristo, 8 foot diameter, switch tracks I got on e bay. These were my first attempt at switch tracks. Two major problems with them was, one; there was too much space between the rail and the frog, and the sprung drivers on my Pacific would push the driver wheels down in that space, and then jump up on the other side, causing drastic jump and, at speed, derailment. Two, the frogs were not deep enough for the Aristo Pacific driver flanges. (How could Aristo make a switch that would not accept and Aristo Loco?) I have a friend that knows Mr Polk, and we got some of the new frogs from him. They are no "bolt on" project by ANY means! I had to completely re-work the switches,with the new type frogs. Then I had to bend some new sections of track post frog section, because the new Aristo frogs are different; Less dead space with them, between the rail and frog. Had to cut the other brass rails, to merge into the frog angles. Now, the grove is the proper depth. Pacific still dropped, but less now/ Anyway, I gauged the Pacific wheels, and found that they are much too narrow together. It is an older Pacific, however I do not understand wear changing the width apart, of the drivers. I took the drivers off, and saw no way wear would do this. What is happening is that the drivers, being fully sprung, are pushing the drive wheels down into the dead space between the frogs, and being too narrow together, the engine drops and then raises, and depending on the speed, will actually derail the engine. Therefore, I am going to get a new motor block for the Pacific. It is the old style, and not can motor or with motor fans. I refuse to get a whole new engine because I love the Pennsylvania engine. Nope, I love that old engine, and I am going to cure it and bring her up to date, with the new can motor and cooling fans.
Does anyone have any ideas on this subject?
Thanks, Ron in Sacramento, CA
 

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Hi Ron!

I'll try to answer all your questions the best I can.

1. Aristo makes 3 switches, non of which are 8' diameter. There is a "curved" switch that match 4' diameter, the "Wide Radius" switches that match a 10' diameter, and the #6, which is a prototypical switch with a 1 in 6 diverging angle.


2. I'll assume you have the Wide Radius switches.

3. It sounds like you have back to back WR switches in a crossover. Not recommended, makes a nasty S curve. (Yes I know there are people out there that make it work. It's still a nasty S curve).


4. Stock frogs from Aristo are not deep enough on the WR switches, especially if you trim the frog top down to the rail top height.

5. The new replacement frogs are better ($1 each from Aristo), and have the NMRA recommended 3mm depth.


6. Normally the flanges on Aristo steam locos are less than 3mm in "depth", but check yours.


7. I find your statements about having to cut the brass rails to merge to the frog VERY worrisome. The new frogs fit exactly. Hmm... maybe you DO have the "tight" turnouts, the 4' diameter. No one has ever said that the new frogs do not fit exactly. You do have to remove the screws underside to pull the "Stub rails" back to clear the frog.


8. All Aristo locomotives are tight gauge, measured with an Aristo gauge (which is correct). Yes, virtually NO WAY to correct the gauge. Weak point in the Aristo design. The only way to fix this "correctly" is to completely disassemble the motor drive system and insert a shim between the axle and the gear housing the axles are screwed to. Royal pain in the butt, I know.

9. My ideas for you:


Sell the loco instead of trying to fit the new motor block into your older Pacific. It can be done, but it's not pretty in my opinion. There are some pictures of this here or on the Aristo forum.

Double check that you do not have the 4' turnouts. If so, throw them away. Way too tight.


Yep, those are my opinions, although you stated you did not want to get a whole new engine.

Regards, Greg
 

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Ron: Greg has made some very good points and reason of why you maybe having problems. I would not at this time get a new motor block as this will not cure your problem. I believe as Greg mentioned you may have the 4' switch which is way to sharp for your loco to negotiate. Stating that the replacement frog is not a drop in replacement leads one to believe you have installed in a smaller type turnout. I have replaced 12 frogs so far in my wide radius switches and only takes 10 min or so to replace. Later RJD
 

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What Greg said--I think you've got a 4 ft switch, the smallest made. An aristo Pacific will go over an Aristo "wide radius" switch really easily. It will bump some on the frogs, but not really enough to derail. Here are some pictures of the various common switches


 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

Hmm... could he have mistaken the LGB 1600 for an Aristo switch?

Maybe another possibility.

Greg
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

Yep, I know that, just hypothesizing all possibilities until he gets back to us. But it sure would not like the 4' diameter one! From your point and the fact that most LGB switches are flange-bearing (so it would be almost impossible to "drop into the frog"), my guess is it's an Aristo 4' diameter.

Regards, Greg
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

I believe in the opening statement that he replaced the frogs in the switches.
Most likely that would be the 10 foot diameter version of the Aristocraft switch.
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

A picture with a ruler in it!

Yep, my money is on the Aristo 4' diameter switch at this point, fits all the symptoms. He could not have had all that trouble with a Wide Radius switch, no way would filing of the rails be required as described.

Regards, Greg
 

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Yes a picture would be the ticket. Looks like most folks agree it is of the smaller turnout. Later RJD
 

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I run my Pacific through 4' switches all the time...

Though I do it slowly...
And I am indoor, and the track is all level....

Its the only way to get it to the spur with the passenger station in the space I have alotted...

I also back it through one when putting it in the yard on my layout...

I did have to trim the frogs and guardrails down to rail height, as they were too high and cause the pilot to derail...

as long as I go slow I have no problems at all...

I do think at what I consider normal running speed it would derail for sure...

Philip
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

Well, it seems that we are waiting for Ron in Sacramento to come back here, otherwise we are kind of spinning our wheels.

Regards, Greg
 

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Hi Greg... I seen Ron's eng. and I gaged it once and using a Aristo Gage and it is was way out of alignment. One set of drivers was way to far apart. but I gave him a new Frog that Aristo sent me for some of my 10 Aristo R. switches and it dose help. I think he need to do somemore tinkering and get the drivers back in gage and go form there. It is an older producton Eng. but it is a nice PA eng.

Hope Ron can get it back in gage and if wants ...he can use my gage being he is only a few miles from here.
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

Noel, do you know if his switch was the "tight" one, the 4' diameter switch? Something really does not ring true on him having all that difficulty putting the frog in, it's a slam dunk on the WR turnout.

Also do you know if it's the first gen pacific or the 2nd one? (New or old motor block).

Unusual that the gauge is too wide, that can point to something severely wrong in the motor block.

Thanks for the info, it answers a number of questions.

Regards, Greg
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

I am about to order allot of turnouts.... 10' radius.... Which are the best deal? Aristo WR or does USA make a 10' ? I have not seen the new AMS switches I have heard about... I bet they're cheap! :)
 

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RE: 8" Diameter Aristo Switch VS My Aristo Pacific

Stainless or brass?

Do they need to be "curved" as to match a 10' curve exactly?

USAT does not make a 10' diameter

what code? 332 or 250 or ??

Regards, Greg
 

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First of all I'm with Greg, the switch has to be a 4' diamiter switch. My Santafe Northern will go through a 10' switch with no problem, with it's 4" longer wheelbase. Secound, some of the early Pacific had an axle problem, where the axle was pinned to close together. A few years back, I had one older Pacific that I got from a guy who bought it new and wouldn't even make it around a 8' curve. It would just drop off the inside of the track and lay over on its side. He got so dicusted he gave it to me for $50 bucks. Thats when I saw the problem for the first time. I changed that axle and never had a problem agian. But then sold it off and it still runs fine. Thanks Rex
 

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As Noel mentioned it was the older style. To be sure, the first run loco had plastic side rods. Matter of fact this loco actually ran better then the new ones due to the numerous power pick-ups on the loco and tender. Later RJD
 
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