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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All:

Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong forum. I have been having issues with the middle of the "6" main drive wheels sliding out of the plastic axle sleeve while in operation. This happened to me on a 5th generation, and I even took apart my older 4th gen and found the sleeve cracked. I recently bought a brand new chassis from bachmann (with the metal drive rods) and within 2 hrs of operation the SAME failure of the center axle sleeve happened (see images below).

I've scoured the internet and am surprised I have not found anyone else with this issue given it has happened three times to me in a short timeframe. Trying to find a suitable solution to this issue as my 4-6-0's are currently confined to the shelf.

PS. I have not spoken with Bachmann yet about this issue happening on a brand new chassis. I'll be putting a call in to them today.

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It was running on the small circuit on my temporary Christmas display. The other 5th gen this happened to was running on the larger circuit. FWIW, I have a PIKO 2-6-0 which has run about 10 hours on the large circuit flawlessy (other than losing traction in dew/conductivity in frost). My front yard is on a slight incline, but didn't think it is severe enough to cause the issues with the sleeves.
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And here's a picture of the sleeve out of my older 5th gen I experiences this issue on first.
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In all my years of playing and repairing the 4-6-0, I have never seen a cracked sleeve like that. Obviously they exist!

Yes, get hold of Bachmann parts. They often have scrap locos lying around and may be able to find you a complete, unbroken axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In all my years of playing and repairing the 4-6-0, I have never seen a cracked sleeve like that. Obviously they exist!

Yes, get hold of Bachmann parts. They often have scrap locos lying around and may be able to find you a complete, unbroken axle.
I wonder if they just get brittle over time/with age, and the chassis they sent was old stock? Check this out. The axles on the pilot truck are cracked too (on both my older 5th gen and brand new chassis I just bought). Here's a pic of a pilot on the chassis I just bought. I noticed they were cracked upon taking it out of the box new, before even installing/running it. I've reached out to Bachmann via email, and have dialed in and been on hold for a while. Will see what they say.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Spoke with Bachmann - they do not have any replacement center axle sleeves. They are sending me new chassis. Crossing my fingers...

As for the front pilot, they did indicate that they have a new style axle. It is plastic surrounded by metal which fixes the cracking issue there. I wonder if they will end up doing the same for the center axle.
 

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Well, That’s certainly rather surprising. I’m the proud owner of 3 Big Haulers, and I’ve NEVER known that to happen. Here's my tip: get another Big Hauler that you can use a “donor” locomotive to provide you with any spare parts if and when needed. Frankly, considering how finicky Big Haulers can be at times, it would definitely come in handy. Hope you’re able to get the issue resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you like the Bachmann big haulers, get the annie and you can get the annie drive replacement for the older non-annie engines. Annie has metal drive rods and a better motor box.
Loco Chassis 81095
Hi Dan - that's precisely what I did. The Annie chassis was brand new and failed on me within 2hrs of operation. It is the one in the pics above. Crossing my fingers that I'll have better luck with the next chassis they are sending me. I will say, Ruth at Bachmann has been very helpful with this issue.

Also, I'm trying to repair the axle sleeve on my older 5th gen big hauler that was plagued with this same issue. I took some heavy duty marine style really tough heatshrink (the stuff with adhesive in it) and double wrapped the axle with that. When fitting it to the center wheel stubs, I also used some two part epoxy for that fit and let it cure overnight before running it. I ran it for a short time this morning and so far so good. Bachmann said they don't have any replacement center axles and their supplier is going more of the route of sending them full chassis vs. sub-components, so it stinks to have to replace a whole chassis due to a $1 or $2 plastic axle sleeve. I'm hoping this repair will hold up for a long time. If not, I will try something else.
 

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I nearly posted this last time, but didn't as it isn't the center axle. However, all the locos I have seen use this style of wheel/axle.
Wheel Set (Large 4-6-0) [G912X-00J05-MTG48] - $19.80 : Bachmann Trains Online Store!




Nothing to crack here! The way it works is that there is a boss on the inside of the wheel that rides inside the brass bearing (which also collects power from the track and connects to the brass strip on the bottom plate.) The black plastic bits bottom right are sleeves that fit inside the wheel boss for insulation, and they have a slot that fits on the metal axle ends to keep everything quartered. There are screws holding it all together (not shown) that go in the end of the axle.

I think the center flangeless wheels have the same mounting system, but I haven't had my hands on one for years. If yours have the nylon insulation, there's no reason you can't use this solid axle from the front or rear of the chassis.

Buying a junk loco might be a good investment.

P.S. I never saw a cracked pilot axle either. But I haven't had one for some years, and maybe they are all getting old and the plastic is deteriorating. Aristocraft plastic axle sleeves break the same way these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I nearly posted this last time, but didn't as it isn't the center axle. However, all the locos I have seen use this style of wheel/axle.
Wheel Set (Large 4-6-0) [G912X-00J05-MTG48] - $19.80 : Bachmann Trains Online Store!




Nothing to crack here! The way it works is that there is a boss on the inside of the wheel that rides inside the brass bearing (which also collects power from the track and connects to the brass strip on the bottom plate.) The black plastic bits bottom right are sleeves that fit inside the wheel boss for insulation, and they have a slot that fits on the metal axle ends to keep everything quartered. There are screws holding it all together (not shown) that go in the end of the axle.

I think the center flangeless wheels have the same mounting system, but I haven't had my hands on one for years. If yours have the nylon insulation, there's no reason you can't use this solid axle from the front or rear of the chassis.

Buying a junk loco might be a good investment.

P.S. I never saw a cracked pilot axle either. But I haven't had one for some years, and maybe they are all getting old and the plastic is deteriorating. Aristocraft plastic axle sleeves break the same way these days.
Thanks for the idea! I'm not sure that it'll work though without some heavy modification to the wheels, as I think the stub axle is cast into the center wheels (at least it is on a gen 4). I'll look more closely at my gen 5 next time I have it opened up. Either way, I think it could be done by grinding the flanges off a set of front/rear wheels. So far so good on my heatshrink/epoxy repair though. It has run for about 2hrs and seems really solid (no loosening up yet). Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

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The center spacer for the pilot axles on my 5th gen are both split. It was never run except on the test track. I have tried a couple different types of glue to no effect. I replaced the pilot to the new style for my Annie but I am using the old axles on my Lionel Atlantic. So, I am interested in a fix.
 

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If anybody has a spare plastic side rod with crosshead and the crosshead guide in their parts bin. I have one of those ten wheelers that was given to me that runs, but the guide is broke off the cylinder and missing. They want nearly the price of a new chassis for the cylinder block/crosshead guide assembly. I rarely run it, but would be nice to be able to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The center spacer for the pilot axles on my 5th gen are both split. It was never run except on the test track. I have tried a couple different types of glue to no effect. I replaced the pilot to the new style for my Annie but I am using the old axles on my Lionel Atlantic. So, I am interested in a fix.
Bachmann has improved replacement ones for sale. Currently $5 and change for a pair of them. These ones won't crack as they are reinforced with a metal tube. Axle Tube Metal /pair (Large 4-6-0 Anniversary/Standard) [88-82-B] - $5.41 : Bachmann Trains Online Store!

Just wish they would apply this same design for the center driver axle.
 

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When the pilot axel on my 4-6-0 split. I went to my local hardware store and bought a nylon electrical insulator that is used to support circuit boards. You can find them in their specialty parts section. Take your axel with you to test fit them.
 
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