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Hello all. I now have 7 new USA Train diesel locos (F7, GP9, GP30, GP38) and the fleet is still growing. I see that replacement parts like motor trucks, shoes, geared axles and traction tires are currently available to purchase, and my locos can generally use the same parts. Historically, have USA Trains replacement parts generally always been available, or would you recommend my picking up some while they are available, in case (i.e., when) things break in the future?

If advance purchase is recommended, what commonly breaks that you would you recommend I get?

Thank you.

Kent
 

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I don't know about the larger community, but I have mostly been able to get most spare parts for my USAT F-3AB with the older style smoke generators. I bought the engine in 2015 but it was new old stock, I guess they first made my model in 2003 but I have no idea when mine was built. What I seem to remember having to replace have been mostly detail parts after six years of a lot of running with kids: chimneys, traction tires, ladders, stirrups for side frames, maybe air hoses; I think they were out of the pilot insert when I asked about it. I guess if they weren't still making the F-7 I would get worried.
 

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Things only tend to get more expensive and harder to find. Maybe stock up on a few wheel-sets, and even get some metal tires to replace the traction tires. Not only will this improve power pick-up, but it will allow the wheels a bit more "slippage" before you crack an axle.

BTW, I find that the later the wheel-sets, the more prone they are to slip within their gears-sets (brand new from USA), even if the gear-sets are not cracked. I pull the offending axle and put a couple drops of CA in these and immediately set the gauge before it binds.
 

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Yes and no.
while i run lgb almost exclusively, and have about 100 locos,
i stock parts i ‘know’ will wear out. Given my hoard having a ‘few’ spares is a reasonable hedge. Skates, brushes smokers, couplers, screws springs, idlers, bulbs, handrails, tires (which deteriorate over time), steps, lenses , etc. its more for convenience, but, some parts are increasingly difficult to find. Especially cosmetic parts. Its mice when youre in the midst of repair to have spares, including pesky fly away screws, springs, etc.

i have a few bachman parts that I anticipated might break, ie pilots and steps, so far so good. Id be lucky if these were the issues, compared to , say, shay pistons, climax drive shafts, etc. frankly with bachmann stuff, i have an attitude its works until it doesnt, then im sol. No parts, no support. May or may not be able to find a fix.

while less so, marklin lgb has demonstrated that some parts are also unavailable, even on relatively new models. like my saxon ivk, ik, roof brake system parts, etc., So, one could have a $2k loco that needs a part. Certainly has cooled my willingness to buy certain models because of this.

but…..i am amazed how often something oddball needs replacement. You really cant predict it all.
so, you take your chance and create a stash.

i have a lot of stuff from circa 2000 i still havent needed. I now buy what i need when needed.

in your case, perhaps a couple of ‘universal’ motor blocks with wheels, couplers, smokers
 

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I agree with the comment about Bachmann. That’s the only ones I have as I like the 1:20.3 stuff and steam. So a few years ago, I bought some things that I thought might break or be problematic. Some hatches, steps, rails, Shay wheel parts, hose holders, etc. I even broke down and paid the price for an extra Shay piston set since I have 2 Shay 2 truck and 1 of the 3 truck units. But when I did it, parts were few and even less now. But it is what it is with our throw away society.
 

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hey how about them

greg, i can read.

The point of my post, that needed parts, in my experience, and despite my stash, are unpredictable, was applicable.
IMHO,especially in light of the reliability and longevity of LGB, USAT being less so.
 

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I read your response, but historically each company has taken different (but consistent) actions on parts.

So Bachmann operates differently than USAT traditionally. LGB also, and also changed since purchase by Marklin.

So, I can agree somewhat on unpredictable, but in the main, over the last 20 years, USAT has been very good on stocking wear parts, much better and more consistent than Bachmann, and also stocked in the USA.

So to the specific question by the OP, normal wear parts I would not worry with USAT, they always stock parts, and it's clearly part of their profit window, meaning they have found a way to keep parts profitable, so for 20 years have been good. Bachmann and MLGB are different and have different track records.

Greg
 

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Yeah, each manufacturer / distributor (as Bachmann is not a manufacturer nor is USAT) seems to have a different philosophy.

Aristo was the worst, the president of the company came on his forum several times and said he had no desire to have parts "just sitting on shelves", and other than couplers and wheels, only ordered parts at time of a major manufacturing run. Often when you got parts, they were cannabilized from new locos or cars, I know this for a fact from the person (Navin) do did this, and is a very honest person, who unfortunately had to be careful how much "truth" he told.

When I called the original "Mike in parts" at USAT, and timidly asked for a brake wheel for a boxcar, I almost passed out when he said "sure, what color". I can only remember a short time when the axle sets for locos were not fully stocked.

20 years of my experience, which parallels my friends of the same or greater longevity.

Greg
 
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