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I'm in the process of assembling the kit. Since it doesn't come with a full assembly manual (although it does have the full Aster-like assembly diagrams), I have been giving some feedback to Channing @ Accucraft. I've just finished Page 4 (cylinder assembly).

Your loco appears to be running great!

(David, what's the problem with the safety valve?)
 

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David,
I also have a P-8. The pop-off doesn't make an unusual amount of noise. The apparently loud pop-off noise on the video may be due to the video recording device being more sensitive to high frequencies, rather than low frequencies. The sound of the wheels rolling on the track is much more pronouced than the pop-off sound on my track with the P-8 pulling a string of cars.
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jeff,

Would you mind letting me know how the trailing truck is attached to the main frame in your loco? Mounting the two springs as per the drawing didn't work for me - the truck was pushed upward towards the firebox and wouldn't swivel.
By the way, the safety valve does make this strange noise! Initially, I thought the water level in the boiler might be too high and that's water squirting out, but such is not the case.

Michael
 

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I have just started on one of the first kits that were shipped in. These definitely qualify as “craftsman kits” with the lack of directions. The drawings are nice but could use some additional information. I’m glad I’ve had 35+ Aster kits under my belt before I tackled this kit. I must admit being surprised that some parts were pre-assembled like the boiler shell, tender trucks and even the couplers/pockets. Another surprise is the decreasing sizes of fasteners. Where the vast majority of screws used in Aster kits were M2, this Accucraft kit has moved on to smaller screws with M1.7 and M1.4 making up most of the screws used on my kit so far. While this size reduction makes the fasteners less obtrusive, these are a bit more difficult to handle and you really need one of the high quality Phillips screwdrivers that Aster provided in their later kits. The small size has to make the screws more prone to breakage although I have yet to break one. Possibly I have avoided that fate by chasing out the threaded holes especially for the M1.7 and M1.4 screws. Assembling the tender tank alone employs over 50 of these screws, so chasing threads is an important task in the kit building process.

On account of a parts problem, I have been forced to jump instruction sections in order to keep building. So I now have the tender and the boiler completed while the chassis is about 60% done. Can’t wait to get it to the air test on my test stand.

So far I have enjoyed the build, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action on the rails. Til next time….

Ross Schlabach
 

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Michael,
You are very welcome.
As to your noisy pop-off, I suggest that when your boiler is up to pop-off pressure, that you hold the pop-off closed (with a flat-bladed screwdriver or other tool) and let the pressure rise until the second pop-off releases, (hopefully only 5-10 psi higher pressure) to find out if the higher-pressure pop-off also makes the same loud noise. If it is not as noisy, then there may be something like a macining burr inside the lower-pressure pop-off that is causing the loud noise. You could then consider ordering a replacement for the lower-pressure pop-off from Accucraft. This test will also give you confidence that the higher-pressure pop-off is actually working!
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jeff,

I put both valves on my test stand and checked them with compressed air.
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The 'noisy' valve makes the same strange sound with air! Apparently there's something wrong, and I'll get a replacement.
The other valve is OK.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After dismantling the valve, I couldn't find anything that didn't look normal...and after reassembling the 'strange' noise has gone!
Maybe some dirt, swarf, who knows...
I adjusted the valve to 4 bar and marked it.
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Michael

P.S. By the way...my loco is the spirit-fired version.
 

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Michael, did you have any problems with the operation of the crosshead? The bracket holding the two slide bars (items 21, 20 Page 4), goes below (and behind) Frame 1 (Item 13, Page 1). But then it ends up pushing the two slide bars downwards so that the crosshead doesn't slide properly. The installation diagram on page 5 seems to suggest that the tab of the Slide Bar Bracket goes forward of Frame 1 but then the holes in the slide bars don't line up. Was this an issue for you as well? If so, how did you end up resolving it?

Adding some photos to better explain the problem.
Wheel Train Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tire


The red triangle below shows how the crosshead slide bars are pushed down due to the bracket below the frame (red arrow).
Wheel Train Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle


One solution would be to file off the bottom 2 mm or so of Frame 1 (green) and then redrill/tap the frame to re-align the holes (green arrows).
Wheel Train Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle


A screen grab from a video of the Ready To Run P-8 seems to show that that is what has been done. Compare length of yellow arrow to first photo above.
Automotive tire Rolling Gas Rim Automotive design


Another solution may be to install the bracket in front of the frame (see below). But then none of the six holes in the bracket line up.
Train Wheel Automotive tire Automotive design Motor vehicle


Finally, for those thinking that the cylinders are supposed to tilt downwards (towards the back) -- that is not the case. The cylinder blocks have tabs that fit into the frame and the top of the block is parallel to the top of the frame. see below.
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