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Bachman Shay

5668 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  toddalin
I came across a Bachman Shay that is new in the box but Iam thinking it is an old version. Box is labled item #81198, Spectrum 36 Ton-2 Truck Shay. Is this an old one with truck problems. What dia. curves should it run on. Thanks for some info.
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Check out the trucks - if they are die-cast metal, you're good to go. If not, it had better be at a price that can let you buy the replacement trucks - around $100 or so.

Just for the record, I have an old B-man shay with plastic trucks that runs like a champ. I bought it used from a fellow who ran the daylights out of it on a track powered outdoor layout. I'm now in the process of converting it to battery power. I was thinking of putting the new trucks on it, not because of failure but because the wheels are so worn from use they could stand being replaced. I'd be cautious but i wouldn't make that the deciding factor. As tac said try to get it fo a price that you could still buy the trucks if needed.
As for turns it runs around the 4 foot dia. curves without a hitch.

If the truck cover plates on the bottom have 8 screws they will likely give trouble and are very old-first gen. They may have failed simply sitting in the box. if the cover plates have 6 screws they are a newer second gen update and are GENERALLY ok- may still cause trouble but not commonly so. The current metal trucks used in the most recent release were never supplied with the original 36 ton shay . if it is old, it will have a version of the plastic ones. Turn it over and look

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought all of the 36 ton versions were the first type of trucks. The 38 ton version has the metal trucks.
All of the 36T shays had plastic trucks and the latest round of shays have the metal trucks just as you say.

But the plastic trucks came in two types. The earliest which Jon has identified, were the really problematic ones. If the plastic trucks have 8 screws in them, the plastic was of a poor quality and problems almost always occurred. The 6 screw trucks stand up much better though not as well, of course, as the latest metal versions.

I have a pair of shays with the 6 screw trucks, suitably doctored by Dave Goodson. Both have run regularly for the last 7 years and neither has given me a moment of trouble. If the trucks are the 8 screw type, I would factor in the $100 replacement cost right off the top. If the trucks are the 6 screw type and have wear left in them, then replacement may not be necessary right away.

My shays are both very powerful pullers and run exceptionally well. Despite all the controversy around them, mine have been exceptional performers and they are exceptional "lookers" as models. They have been a fantastic bargain for their price.

Remember, you can never have too many shays!

Regards ... Doug
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I never knew there was a 6 screw and 8 screw trucks. Thanks!! I checked mine and sure enough it has 6. That would explain alot.
This bargin I came across has the plastic trucks, and 8 screws. I'll have to plan on new metal trucks some day. Can the change be made from the bottom.
You don't want to do this until you're ready to actually make the change; it's possible that when you undo the screws that the plastic will give up the ghost.... and you want your engine to have something to sit upon until you're ready!

That said,

There are eight screws that hold on the cover plate (and that's all they do.) Remove these as carefully as you can. Remove the cover plate. Observe grease (or not) on curved bit that fits under the gear. More about grease later.

(for the rest of this discussion, we're assuming the locomotive is upside down in some kind of cradle or support, so you can actually see what's inside... so when I say "Down" it's actually "Up" with respect to the locomotive!)

If you look down into the truck, with the cover removed, you'll see that there are two screws, one at the front, and one at the back that you can now see... slightly offset from the centerline. Remove these. The truck will now come away from the top plate.

I don't have metal trucks for mine yet, so I'm not sure if the new ones come with a new cover plate. If not, you're ready to go. If they do, you can remove the cover (bolster) plate like this:

There is a large phillips screw in the center of the bolster, in the middle of the cover plate you've just revealed. Removing this allows you to remove the cover plate. There are two little brass contacts on the top plate, held on with two tiny screws. Remove the screws, and the contacts will slip out through the slots if you're careful. (Make note of which one was where.... it's important.)

You can see most of what I've just described illustrated on George Schreyer's site:


One last point: The 36 ton shays were originally built with the idea that the trucks were independantly powered (if you put one on the track, it'll run by itself) as well as feeding power up into the engine. The newer ones are designed for DCC operation, and have one set of wires to feed power up to the engine, and another to receive it back down again. Having not installed the metal ones myself, I'm not sure whether they need to be modified for the older Shays or not ... hopefully someone can chime in and say for certain.

Matthew (OV)
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Oh ... said I'd mention grease and didn't. Your Shay should have a video with it explaining how to lubricate it. I personally prefer to use a better grease than the pink stuff Bachmann makes ... Labelle's and the old LGB gear grease are great alternatives (just make sure whatever you use is plastic compatible...)

While you've got it apart, do this.

Matthew (OV)
As far as I remember, with the early 8 screw trucks, all 8 were holding the base plate on to the truck frame. The two longer screws actually went through the "base" plate and through the truck frame to hold the truck frame to the "top" plate.
Be careful when removing the long screws lest the frame comes away from the "top" plate.

The 6 screw trucks still have the two long screws except they are "underneath" the "base" plate.
Because these two long screws were then actually too long (because they didn't also go through the "base" plate), Bachmann simply cut off the excess thread after assembly. Sometimes the cut wasn't clean and the end of the thread on the long screws got bent such that when the long screws were removed, the bent part destroyed the moulded plastic into which they had been screwed.

So be really careful when disassembling a 6 screw truck.
Ah, right. It's been awhile! You've got it exactly. I had two that were 8 screw, replaced with Bachmann's 6 screw replacement (plastic) trucks, one of which later was resurrected by TOC and got Hillside Brass inserts....

The other may just become my very first RCS powered shay...

Either way, it's been since ... 2000? Lotsa changes.

Matthew (OV)
Posted By tacfoley on 05/27/2008 3:16 PM
Check out the trucks - if they are die-cast metal, you're good to go. If not, it had better be at a price that can let you buy the replacement trucks - around $100 or so.

Where can I get them for $100 or so? I could use a set and best price I've seen is 150-160/set. :confused:
Dunno - YOU'RE the one who lives there.:) I bought my replacment set a couple of years ago in case I needed them - I have a six-screw version BTW bought in San Diego WAAAAAAAAAY back.

The prices you quote suggest a serious price-hike - I'd go looking to somebody like Ridge Road Station before I plonk down my hard-earned $$$$ - why, that's almost the price of a tankful of gas here in yUK!

Best wishes

Just checked the usual suspects. Ridge Road comes in under $125.00 ... just.

Matthew (OV)
Dave Goodson((Crumudegeon) had some 6 screw rebuilt ones at one time. Jerry
Posted By SlateCreek on 05/30/2008 3:25 AM
Just checked the usual suspects. Ridge Road comes in under $125.00 ... just.
Matthew (OV)

Thanks. ;)

Last time I sent it in to Bachmann, they replaced the plastic trucks (2nd, 6-screw variety) because the plastic had cracked/crumbled away, but the replacements that they put on were also cracked so I'll need to replace these in the near future too (like when I run the engine). /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif
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