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It sounds as if you have a 'Big Hauler'. They come with a Lifetime Warranty so if you send it back to Bachmann's Service Center in Philly they will fix of replace it for just the shipping and handling - $25 these days I think?

The black plastic center rod that goes up from the front truck is broken off. The spring is still there.


The whole assembly needs to be fairly loose, so if you can find a longer screw, it can be inserted from the top into what's left of the truck center rod.

Take a look at George Schreyers "Tips' site for details of how to get at it:
http://www.girr.org/girr/tips/tips.html
 

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Posted By modeltrainsfreak on 12/15/2008 4:35 PM
I am going to call Bachman and see what they say. Thank you so much everyone for your help! Another member agreed to post pictures of the broken truck....so maybe if anyone has suggestions, so I don't have to mail it off...that would be great!

ModelTrainsFreak


Photos, comments and a possible solution below:



As we thought, a Big Hauler, or 'ten-wheeler' as we know it. But notice the droop on the front pilot frame...



Truck seems to be in one piece. Hope the screw is around somewhere.



Aha! We thought the truck was broken - looks like it is OK, but there's a piece broken out of the slot that the truck screw swivels in to move it from side to side. Compare the photo below with Torby's photo above.



What's missing/broken is the screw that goes up into the smokebox in front of the slot - it looks to have been ripped apart and has taken a piece of the slot with it. Here's what the screw and slot should look like (photo from George Schreyers page, link above. Ignore the brass mounting from the moment.)



Two possible solutions, if that's the case. First, lay the loco gently on a towel on its side and remove the bottom plate - 3 black screws (2 between the driving wheels, one behind the pilot truck.) Find a long screw (like the one holding the truck) that will screw all the way up into the smokebox.

1. (Easy option) Get a couple of large washers - small fender washers or big brass ones - from your local hardware store. Take the screw that is supposed to hold the pilot truck on and let it swivel, add the original washer then a new one, put it through the slot and add the second new washer on top of the spring, then attach the truck again. The washers should stop the screw from falling through the slot.

2. (Alternate in case the washers don't work/don't fit.) Find some thin, flat plastic / styrene and cut a piece to fit inside the frame over the slot (from the top, there's a sort of box shape that it will fit in. Mark the slot on the plastic and make two cuts alongthe curve so that you end up with two pieces of the plastic that fit either side of the slot. (Drawing below shows the first cut.) Put the plastic in place from the top, then remount the screw and truck. The plastic should stop it falling out. Drill another hole for the screw to go upwards into the smokebox.


Replace the screw that goes up into the smokebox (or find a new one - email me if you want a spare screw.)
In either case, use lots of grease (e.g. vaseline) on the washerwasher and spring to make it swivel from side to side easily.
 

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mine is modified the same way as Pete's

Actually, that one is George's. Personally, I'm an 'equalisation' fan - just mounting it as you and George did adds a bit of weight and tracking flexibility, but doesn't solve the problem of it having a long rigid wheelbase.

Looking at your photo, one can see the two plugs under the truck holding the track pickup strips in place. The front one, with the arrow to make sure the truck is picking up the same polarity as the drivers, and the rear one, can both be removed with a small screwdriver and thrown away. (Mark the polarity some other way before you do!) Add a strip of plastic or electrical tape down the middle to separate the pickups. The truck gets all loose a floppy, allowing the wheels to lift independantly, but nothing falls apart.

Here's the result - three wheels firmly on the rails and one lifting over an obstruction:

 
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