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I know there have been posts of pictures and bashes, but when I did a search of the USA trains GP7/9, I didn't find many comments of performance and durability.  Anyone have any opinions, good, bad or otherwise?

Robert
 

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They are bullit proof...I have 3 of them.....I run my UP GP-s' all summer long....flawlessly!

ONLY problem is that parts break off of them...so be carful.

I highly reccommend them...induldge!

Bubba
 

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I have a GP 9, 30, and a 38. They all run great. About the only problem Bubba has is when someone runs them off the high line a long the fence!
 

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Back in 2000, while we over with my folks in Ontario, our next door neighbour came around to sort a few things out and ended up flipping a couple of switches in our little summerhouse, not knowing that they were Can/US way up - the opposite to the UK.

The result was that my GP9 and six cars came trundling out of its little undercover spur onto the mainline, and carried on trundling for the next 23 days and nights until we came back.

The pick-up skis were worn through, and so were the traction tires, but all the cars [steel wheeled] were fine.  The whole train was covered in birdy poop too, where they had gotten used to ti going around and used it for a mobile perch.  It was a couple of years before the odd bird stopped from sitting on the loco or car as it went around....  

Does that answer your question?

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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Posted By Trains on 03/28/2008 6:52 AM
I have a GP 9, 30, and a 38. They all run great. About the only problem Bubba has is when someone runs them off the high line a long the fence!


You mean by "Dabgerous Danly Moore!"  Hope he doesn't read this as he is SOOO sensitive!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif

I am still finding parts from that one!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif

BUT I picked them up and placed them back on the track after falling 4' to the ground on dirt and they...again ran flawlessly!  Minus some broken parts!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif 

Bubba
 

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Tac-
Amazing testimony to durability!
Apparently, there was no sound system or easy sight line for neighbor detection. Otherwise, how to explain for this duration of time in which no one made an effort to stop the running.
Any insight to this second phenomena?

Wendell
 

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The USA locos run very smoothly and others have attested to their longevity and durability.

They have four downsides. Three are minor nitpicking - they come with two wheelsets in traction tires that I would change out. A second is only slightly bigger nitpicking - they are fragile so the inevitable derailment will knock a few parts off. Belive me, they do not have to be dropped from 4 feet to lose a detail part or two so an hour or two of strengtheing some of these things with metal will likely be called for along the way. The third nit involves current draw ... these diesels have the reputation of being current hogs. There has been some speculation that it is not the motors drawing exhorbitant current but the lights; however I personally have not seen any test results though have witnessed first hand the enormous power consumption. If power is any concern on your railroad (if you run battery/RC or big lashups of diesels or multiple trains from a single power source), you may find that replacing the various lamps with LEDs works wonders for excessive current draw.


The last nit is a bit more major. The gears on the wheelsets tend to crack. Over time you will do the repair to each wheelset - several variations have been published on MLS but the monofilament fishing line for a tie and some AC to seal it is likely the simplest and least expensive if inelegant. This problem is a bit vexing as it has been known for years and years yet USA Trains has not really corrected it nor will they generally acknowledge the problem and provide replacement wheelsets free. The fairly recent S-4, despite Charley Ro's admonitions that it would be fixed develops cracked gears on the wheelsets just like other USAT diesels including the GP7/9.

My nitpicking aside, the motor blocks appear to be very robust and I think these are fine models. the downsides would not keep me from buying one if I wanted a model of a transition era GP.

Regards ... Doug
 

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GP-9s are 2nd on my favourite diesels list. As others have mentioned the plastic details on USA Trains diesels can take a beating outside in the real world of steel trains, but there are simple and inexpensive fixes for them.
 
Pilot Steps

The pilot steps on USA Trains diesels frequently come unglued or get damaged. Often the little plastic nubs that are supposed to be glued into the pilot are sheared off.


The nubs can be sanded down and drilled out of the pilot steps with a pin vice and a small bit. The pilot steps can then be tapped with small screws.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/Pilot01.jpg


The holes in the pilot should then be drilled out with a larger bit to allow the screws to pass, so the pilot steps can be easily mounted or removed for replacement.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/Pilot02.jpg

Handrail Stanchion Tabs http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/StanchionsA.jpg


The small tabs on the bottom of the stanchions on USA Trains diesels are susceptible to damage. When they break off, they can be replaced by an L shaped piece of brass rod soldered inside the channel. The repaired and painted stanchions are shown in the next photo.

Cutbar Loops http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/Cutbar.jpg


If you are like most people, you will break some of the fine plastic loops that hold the cut bars in place on USAT diesels. Fortunately these loops can be replaced with the ends of number 6 Aberdeen fish hooks. They are ten for a dollar locally. Thanks to Fletch for this tip.

Pinion Gear Axle Sleeves

If your USA Trains diesel is running lumpy at slow speed or frequently derailing, the pinion gear sleeve in the motor block may be cracked. You should not be able to turn any of the wheels with your fingers. If you can the wheel will slip under load and may not stay properly gauged.


Although a pair of the entire axle assemblies is available from USAT for $10, the sleeve can be repaired with inexpensive monofilament fishing line.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/Gear01.jpg


Pull the half axles out of the sleeves of the pinion gear. Clean the gear and sleeves to remove any grease.


Tightly wrap the sleeves with monofilament fishing line and coat it with CA (superglue). Keep the line tight until the glue has dried.


When the glue has completely cured; trim the ends of the fishing line. Then push the half axles into the sleeves until the wheels are properly gauged.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/files/Fixes/Gear02.jpg


Thanks to Dave Goodson (The Old Curmudgeon) for this tip.


 


Sorry about the links rather than photos, but this web site no longer accepts replies with multiple images. I waited for 10 minutes for it to post, but no luck. Damn annoying!!
 

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I stand by my geeps.  Great engines.

just a point:  There are at least three versions of electronics in these engines and there is no way of being sure what you've got.  (a) the simple old version has a main cct board that consists of nothing much more that function switches + a very basic smoke gen, (b) a second generation that has a main cct board with regulators for a much better smoke generator and (c) a third generation that I don't know much about except the main board is different again.

Someone will know more about the variations but it sure would be nice if USAT would tell us what's inside so we know what we're getting.

Dave
 

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Doug, Paul and Dave summed it up pretty good.
Just keep some glue around and you will be all set.
I have 4 of the GP-9s.

I also have 1 44 toner, 2 F-3s, 1 GP-30, 3 GP-38-2s, 3 SD-40-2s, 1 S-4 and a couple of Aristos.
Love the USA stuff.:)

Tom
 

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I have about 40 USA trains locos that use the same motor block as the GP7/9, and they are all great runners. I have had only one problem of a wheel coming loose and that took only a few minutes. Other wise they are great runners, lookers, and fun to use too.
 

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The lighting in USA loco's is a part of the high current draw.  The large incandecant lamps draw so much current that they cannot be controlled directly by a DCC decoder.  The best solution for DCC is to change them for LED's.  Otherwise the entire USA line up is a great group of engines.  The parts that wear out are easy to get, and easy to replace.
Mike Kidman
 

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Posted By Wendell Hanks on 03/28/2008 12:31 PM
Tac-
Amazing testimony to durability!
Apparently, there was no sound system or easy sight line for neighbor detection. Otherwise, how to explain for this duration of time in which no one made an effort to stop the running.
Any insight to this second phenomena?

Wendell

Dear Mr Hanks - the train stopped running about five minutes after we returned from London Heathrow.  I was busy hauling our daughter's wheelchair out of the Voyager, and mrs tac was first in the house.  She came haring out, asking if I'd left a train running while we had been away...

In response to your queries - 

1.  No, there was no sound system switched on.

2.  Our backyard is surrounded by high hedges for privacy - this is the UK.

3.  Even if anybody HAD noticed, nothing would have been said - this is the UK.

4.  Certainly, nobody would have dreamt for one second actually going into our backyard and switching it off - that would have been a very grave invasion of privacy - this IS the UK.

AAMOI - we have lived in this location since 1987, and have had trains out in the backyard since 1989.  As soon as reasonably-priced sound systems became available, they were fitted to every new loco we bought - and we have about 40 or more now.

As a result of a 33-year career in the Army, I have pretty poor hearing, and I like to hear the trains, so the volume is pretty well cranked-up.

BUT - not once in all those years has anybody around made ANY comment about the trains.  Not a single youngster has ever come around knocking on the door to ask about the sounds and sights of the trains - clearly visible from at least four other houses.

Like I said - this is the UK.

tac
www.ovgrs.org

 
 

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Tac-
Thanks for your through analysis.

What does and does not attract people to break with privacy is a mystery to me.
The privacy behaviour is not limited to the UK  as our garden layout is visible to three neighbors and only one, in 13 years,  has ever made any inquiry.  I probably could run some of the cars on fire and not get a response.  We did invite the 4th graders in our daughter's elementary school to visit and the result was the teacher showing her concern these toys will rust.
Our trip to Germany to visit our daughter was preceeded with her cautioning us that German people do not like eye contact, and do not appreciate verbal contact to structure time while waiting for an event (underground transportation, market check-out, etc.) and she was absolutely right.  However, ironically, at the largest toy store (I was told) in Munich, I did have very positive conversations in the store's Marklin train section.

Thanks.

Wendell
 

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I'll toss in my two cents here about current draw.  All my locos,no matter what brand get the same RC conversion,that is take out all the factory boards , most wiring and any incandescant bulbs are replaced with leds.   . MY USA GP's have one of the lowest current draws of any of my fleet after conversion.  I can say for sure that the motors are not the problem with current draw.   They have also been very reliable performers. 
 

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Thank you Paul! I’ve been saying that for years but my message fell on deaf ears.

From George Schreyer’s technical tips on the USA Trains GP-7/9.

“At 20 volts DC in to the board, the number board lamps draw about 115 mA, the headlights about 75 mA and the markers 55 mA for a total of 245 mA.”

I removed the factory boards and built my own with LEDs. Each board draws just less than 20 Ma. They do not include the Christmas class/marker lights.





My GP-9 would run for 3 1/2 hours on two 9-volt, NiMH, AA battery packs. That is as good as any 4-axle, Plug and Play diesel in my roster.
 

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I'm going to change the subject here for this one response since we are talking some about current draw. Has anyone seen the humongous incandesant bulbs that Aristo has in the new GP40?
 
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