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Discussion Starter #1
I recently got a Bachmann Annie for a really good price and I've been very impressed with it. Great detail, runs very well, pulls surprisingly well. Years ago--probably close to 15 years ago now--my son had been given a Bachmann "Big Hauler" set and I really disliked the loco--it seemed poorly made and tracked badly. But the Annie is really terrific.

So--Barry's Big Trains. It would cost pretty close to twice what I paid for the Annie to upgrade it. But I like the loco a lot. Can I get a sense of people's experience with BBT? Is it worth it to upgrade?
 

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I have two BBT mechanisms and am about to send them back for upgrading. I am also going to send in an Annie to be converted to a 2-8-0. His work rocks as far as I am concerned.
 

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I had a conversion done to a Sam's Club Annie about 3 years ago. It was the best thing I could have done to it. It still is my strongest puller. It is really nice if you like to go real slow. The movement is so smooth, no jerking or lurching. Once my track is up and running again (soon) I plan on having a 2-8-0 put into another Sam's Club special.

Tommy:cool:
Rio Gracie
 

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I have several (many) 4-6-0's.
None of them worked well enough for revenue service.
I started in doing my older units into 2-8-0's, and when I got an Anniversary, the weight was insufficient for our needs.
Adding weight overloaded the motor.
So, it is now a 2-8-0 also.

I have three 2-8-0's, one a full "Annie", the other two ld RGS units.
I have one (actually, my brother's) still a 4-6-0, and two SPNG 4-6-0's with special wheel spacing, one, #9 is basically complete, the other, #8, is close, and has been for about 9 years.
One of these days I'll get it done.

Pittman motors, double-lead worm, reduction gears, ball bearings everywhere, aluminum chassis, new axles, 8 pounds of cast lead weight, and they do pull.

Bruce posted some photos in this thread
http://www.largescalecentral.com/LSCForums/viewtopic.php?id=8731&p=1
and if you scroll down you will see one of mine in revenue service.

TOC
 

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Having been gifted several B-man "Big Haulers" over the years, I decided
several years ago to make something out of all that junk... Decided I could
do a scale change on one, marry a couple of the junky B-man drives and
make a pretty nice copy of the Western Maryland consolidation #348, the
Elkins WVa switcher for its last 40 years of service... This was before Barry
made consolidation drives... So I did the usual scale change things, sectioned
the cab both vertically and horizontally, sectioned the tender also, lowered
the domes & stack a little, put on 1/29 bell & generator, made up a 2-8-0 drive
out of a pair of the 2-6-0 drives, etc, etc... It all worked out quite well and
looked almost identical to the protype... But I was always afraid to run it very
much because of the fragility of those old B-man drives.... Then Barry made the
2-8-0 drives, an I installed one in this thing about a year ago an it runs real
good, pulls lots of cars, an I don't worry about breaking the drive... I'd
definately recommend Barry's drives.... Heres a pic of the little dude with the
BBT drive...
Paul R...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice work!

I'm a little unclear on how it works with BBT. I'd probably want to keep the 4-6-0 configuration--do I just get a new drive mechanism and frame, put my wheels on it, and reassemble the loco? Or do you have to send your existing drive unit in to Barry?
 

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In answer to your first question...YES!

Second question...put it back in the Bachmann box, pack it well and send the whole thing to Barry. He can probably put it together 3 times faster than you and knows where everything goes. Well worth the effort!:) And expense.
 

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You can keep all the original configuration above the waterline.
However, you will get a new pilot truck mount on the 4-6-0 that will allow the lead truck to actually stay on the track!
You can do all the install yourself.
If you have colored drivers, you can send those in and Barry will re-use them on your drive.
He cores the centers out and installs new axle inserts.
 

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I'll tell you what, I have sent two engines to Barry for his BBT upgrades. The first was a 2nd Gen. Big Hauler that had the most atrocious gear noise! It was cheap (I think my Dad picked up the Red Comet set that it came from at Costco for $27) but it was my daughter's and she wanted to run it. I sent it to Barry who installed his BBT460 unit in it. Much improved! I also had him install a Sierra sound unit as I despise the "chuff" that the Big Hauler comes with! The unit is now extremely reliable and a good hauler with a decent sound!
The second one was a "whim". I was on a "Bumblebee" kick and my eye kept straying to the Bachmann Annie version. The Annie already has near Spectrum detailing and the thought of a nice engine like that with a BBT drive.....well, I ordered one and had it sent to Barry (oh yeah, there's a little bit more to it than that! I had Barry then send it to Dave Goodson for RCS r/c battery and Sierra sound intallation. By the time I first saw the engine, it was a spectacular runner with excellent sound and primo r/c control without the need for track power!) :cool:
Anyway, I asked Barry to make the Bumblebee Annie a 2-8-0 and together we decided to use Aristo wheels as this would lower the profile making it look more "narrow gauge." I then asked him to paint the wheels gray to give it more of the "look" of the Bumblebee paint scheme (the silver/aluminum was just a bit too much for me!) which matched the LGB Mogul paint scheme that I have. Barry was so enamoured of the design that he has made a twin of it and has used it as a demonstrator unit!
I can't say enough about Barry's upgrades! To coin a phrase from the old Outdoor/Finescale Railroader magazines, Barry's units earn my highest recommendation. They are superb!!

Here's a shot of the Bachmann BBT 2-8-0 Bumblebee Annie:

 

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Posted By flatracker on 04/16/2008 5:39 AM

...put it back in the Bachmann box, pack it well and send the whole thing to Barry. He can probably put it together 3 times faster than you and knows where everything goes. Well worth the effort  and expense.


All of this speaks very well for Barry's Big Trains. I have some candidates for conversion coming up once I start my Phase III operation.
 

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With the release of the new Annie drive unit, add a little weight. You can pick up the "Annies" for $125.00 - $165.00.
The price for Barry's upgrade is not worth the expsense.
Should you want to upgrade, spend the money on an LGB Mogul, Forney, etc.
 

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In your opinion! Barry made his BBT unit to repower the Big Hauler when it's gearing was crap! He has perfected it to the point where it is bullet proof! (You won't strip those gears no matter how much weight is added!) Now, is it worth the $$$ to have a Big Hauler upgraded when you can junk it and buy an Annie? It all depends on what you perceive as value. Personally, I don't see a Forney as the same value as an Annie but that's just me. The Mogul is a fun engine and I have one but it is a small engine not suited to run in front of my Fn3 rolling stock whereas the Annie can! It's all in your perspective.:)
 

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I've heard nothing but good things about Barry's work. I currently have two Big Haulers (2005 versions) that run adequately. My plan is to run then into the ground then upgrade them to BBT drives.
 

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As usual, it is up to the individual as to what he wants. But, if you want a fairly large loco with pretty good detail and a very good runner, then approx $400 total doesn't seem bad at all. The LGB Moguls are nice engines but small and lacking a lot of detail (I have 4 of them). I do really like them, however I wanted to model the ET&WNC line and the "Annie" fit the bill. Barry's motor made it the best runner I have, and there are many modification instructions to this engine for more detail if you want to spend the time doing it. Again, I will say it is well worth the expense. I don't think there are very many Moguls for sale that are going for $400 these days either.
 

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I started with an Annie, but it was just too small with my 1:20 rolling stock, so I wanted to upscale it. Since I was putting a lot of work into it, I decided to go with the BBT chassis. So, now I have a great runner that's the right size. I just replaced the original pilot wheels with 22" Sierra Valley wheels.


 
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