The lanai is clear, the MIK is coming, but still, Charlie the Railtruck, my railbound equivalent of Moby Dick, beckons me . The time and space to attack this running problem physically elude me, but the time to plan for a final attempt at repair is at hand.
Charlie has been a running side topic in virtually all of my threads since joining LSC a few years ago. For those who don’t know, Oldest Son had the “bug.” He liked railtrucks. I talked to the family and was given the “go” to purchase either the B’mann or HLW 'truck. To my dying day I will regret my decision to go with the B’mann one. It was a lemon almost from day one. B’mann wouldn’t fix it. They did send a 2-4-2 to honor their warranty, but it was not a railtruck. O.S. was disillusioned, and that pretty much squashed the “bug.”
To summarize the various fits and starts to get it working:
- I had it in a private shop that got it working by jumping those stupid pistons in the forward truck, but that was a temporary fix.
- Pete Thornton rebuilt the motor. Charlie was off and running…until the motor decided to smoke.
- Pete researched and forwarded an equivalent motor. O.S. and I pulled the worm gear off the smoked motor, installed it, and smoked the circuit board.
For most of Charlie’s five years with us, he has been the one thing in this hobby that drives me over the edge…non-functioning motive power sitting on my shelf. An ancient and played out LGB 2071D came back to life after much tinkering and then finally biting the bullet and sending it to TrainLi. Our efforts to breathe life into much loved and much broken LGB m2075 (battery) locomotives finally paid off (albeit not without some expensive mistakes!). Charlie’s status as shelf queen is also a reminder of how fleeting our chances are to get kids involved. That beautiful model with its crappy engineering nags at me like an old injury, and it is time to address it.
That time is now. Given O.S. and I had melted or smoked most of the original electronics, I at least feel freed from trying to restore Charlie. Jim R.'s recent series with his own railtruck has been a great source of inspiration. Both Bill Barnwell and Pete recommended I try another power source, and I bought a USA trains motorblock off of Pete that is ready for the purpose. GRNews is running an article in the next issue about putting battery power in a B’mann railtruck, which is fortuitous for us. I also think we’ve racked up the skill set to either build a powered “pusher wagon” or to modify the 'truck body to fit the new motorblock.
For now, I am going to use this thread to get some broad “go / no-go” guidance, generate a parts list, and finalize my approach. Cutting, sawing, and gluing may have to wait until after Christmas. We’ll see.
I have no published my intent, if only to hold myself to the effort. Charlie will serve the Triple O again…and permanently…or my name is not Ahab…I mean “Eric.”