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AIRFIX AUTO-TANK - help required


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I am getting my Airfix Auto-tank back to running order but have managed to lose the spring that provides the connection between the bottom motor terminal and wheel contacts; it's on the pin protruding from the bottom of the motor. This must have happened to someone before, does anyone know of a suitable replacement? I was thinking amongst the pony-truck springs, carbon brush springs etc there must be one similar enough.

DSC_4558x.jpg

Edited by Robin DL
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Pretty much any small spring that can a) fit through the hole in the chassis and b) over the pin, and is c) long enough, will do the job, though you may have to trim it too length.  Old VCRs, cassette players and the like are a good source of small springs and can often be found in skips.

 

The Airfix 14xx chassis is regarded as a failure nowadays but was a very advanced and brave thing when it was introduced.  Constant velocity universal joints in the drive train, sprung plunger ball bearing pickups; it was a ground breaker in it's day.  It has a poor reputation because of trouble with the sprung plunger pickups, which got dirty and seized up, but, it if worked, it was a very smooth and controllable little runner.  It wouldn't cut the mustard nowadays; we'd want full cab detail, but it's DNA survives as a Hornby Railroad version with a different chassis and motor but the same body tooling.  

 

If you get really stuck for a source of springs, the original locos are often knocked out cheap as non runners on 'Bay.

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5 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

If you get really stuck for a source of springs .......

 

.... take some thinnish phosphor-bronze pick-up wire, and wind your own spring tightly around the brass pin on the motor. That's how I produce springs for holding down loco bogies, etc.

 

I came upon the idea in the instructions for a Kemilway chassis; ( for the Kitmaster - Airfix - Dapol BoB / West Country plastic kit). The chassis kit included a length of PB wire with which to form the front bogie spring.

 

Regards,

John Isherwood.

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

 It has a poor reputation because of trouble with the sprung plunger pickups,

 

Another problem were the traction tyres, which also caused pick-up problems.  Railway Modeller recommended removing said tyres, and anyone following that advice soon discovered that the railheads on Peco Code 75 track were an extremely tight fit in the grooves in which those traction tyres sat.  Never have so many motors been locked-up and burned-out so quickly.

Guess how I know . . .

Edited by mike morley
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30 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

... cromulent ...

 

Crikey!  I doubt I've seen that word since O level English Language in 1962.

 

Word Of The Week for sure.

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

I'd forgotten about Kemilway; a blast from the past, there, Mr Isherwood sir and giving our age away!

 

Kemilway chassis were, and are, really excellent - though I prefer to build them solid rather than equalised as designed.

 

I currently have an Airfix West Country at the final stages of painting, which is fitted with a Kemilway chassis, Markits wheels and a Romford Terrier motor, and which runs beautifully. (It's an ancient model that formerly ran on a Tri-ang Princess chassis fitted with Tri-ang BoB wheels)!

 

I have in stock, thanks to Ebay, a full Kemilway BR 3MT 2-6-2T kit, plus a chassis kit for the same to go under an old Tri-ang body that I detailed.

 

Also on the 'to do' list are two Airfix and one  GBL BR 4MT 2-6-0s, each to go on Kemilway chassis.

 

I can recommend these chassis to anyone who comes across them, and they can often be picked up for a reasonable price.

 

Regards,

John Isherwood.

Edited by cctransuk
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2 hours ago, mike morley said:

 

Another problem were the traction tyres, which also caused pick-up problems.  Railway Modeller recommended removing said tyres, and anyone following that advice soon discovered that the railheads on Peco Code 75 track were an extremely tight fit in the grooves in which those traction tyres sat.  Never have so many motors been locked-up and burned-out so quickly.

Guess how I know . . .

Traction tyres are Satan’s expectorant in my view, and I immediately remove them from any model thus polluted that comes into my possession. Never had any problems on code 100, but on a facing turnout in code75...

 

Not only do they destroy any chance the loco might have had of picking up current properly, they also spread crud everywhere ruining any other loco’s chances.  And their pointlessness on a 14xx, seldom push or pulling more than one trailer, was pretty spectacular.  

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2 hours ago, spikey said:

 

Crikey!  I doubt I've seen that word since O level English Language in 1962.

 

Word Of The Week for sure.

You won't ever have encountered this word in your English class, spikey, because it's a wonderful 1996 Simpsons reference! Who'd have thought The Johnster was that up to date? ;-)

 

Background: Jebediah Springfield is alleged to have said, "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man" and that has become the town's motto. Miss Hoover later opines that, "'Embiggens' is a perfectly cromulent word."

 

:-)

 

Edited by Harlequin
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Just now, Harlequin said:

You won't ever have encountered this word in your English class, spikey, because it's a wonderful 1996 Simpsons reference!

 Strewth, so it is!  So what's the word I was thinking of then?  This is going to bug me something chronic now, although Mrs Spikey's just raised the distinct possibilty that I've got it confused with something Shakespearian from English Lit.

 

Whatever, apologies for the distraction.  Now back to our normal programming ...

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Well, I am that up to date despite my dotage, so there yaboo sucks. 

 

I am am fully aware of the word’s origin but was happy to let Spikey believe his version; I’ve been rumbled now of course!  Ms Hoover (Lisa’s teacher) is challenged by Ms Krebapple (Bart’s), who hails from Shelbyville where such vocabulary is unknown, promoting her response which is of course, in and of itself, perfectly cromulent.  

 

It it is my intention to subversively insert this word into text or conversation at suitable opportunities in an attempt to bring it into common usage.   Any assistance any of you are willing to provide in this noble and embiggening quest will be appreciated, gentlemen!

Edited by The Johnster
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Remembering that I have a scrap chassis, I've dismembered it & I've got one (a spring that is, not the Oxford English Springfield dictionary :lol:). 

 

If you'd care to PM me an address, i'd be happy to pop it in the post during the week.

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Pah!  I shall now be grumpy all day on account of having been kept awake last night wondering what the word is I was thinking of.  Odds on it was something in The Merchant of Venice, but I really CBA to churn my way through that again.  Whatever, "cromulent" is a very fine word.  I like it muchly, and The Johnster's campaign for its embiggening/embiggerment has my full support.

Edited by spikey
typo
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17 hours ago, mike morley said:

 

Another problem were the traction tyres, which also caused pick-up problems.  Railway Modeller recommended removing said tyres, and anyone following that advice soon discovered that the railheads on Peco Code 75 track were an extremely tight fit in the grooves in which those traction tyres sat.  Never have so many motors been locked-up and burned-out so quickly.

Guess how I know . . .

My Airfix 14xx gave hours of "fun" keeping it going and eventually provided a spare pair of plain wheels for its Dapol replacement. The motor and spring were donated to a friend's loco long ago, so I can't help the OP. The duff keeper-plate/pick-ups (the reason for withdrawal) went in the bin at around the same time.


Decades later, the buffers have been earmarked to replace the unpleasant looking sprung ones on my Heljan 1366 Pannier. The chimney and safety valve are gone (can't remember where) so there's not much left....Waste not want not.  :rolleyes:

 

John

 

 

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I have two S/H Airfix ones

IMHO the body is quite good for a 40+ year old design (at least they have an ashpan!)

With clean working plungers and plain driving wheels they run fine, both mine are fitted with DCC decoders.

However those big motors are just overkill in such a small loco.

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2 hours ago, melmerby said:

 

However those big motors are just overkill in such a small loco.

Use of the same motor in multiple models saves costs and development time - seemples

Tim T

(edited to correct iPad typo)

Edited by timbowilts
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2 hours ago, timbowilts said:

Use of the same motor in multiple models saves costs and development time - seemples

Tim T

(edited to correct iPad typo)

Taken to a nonsense degree by Tri-ang, who used the X04 in most of their range for years. From small 0-4-0T to large Pacific locos. 

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When Airfix introduced the 14xx, a big deal was being made of having daylight visible beneath the boiler in the correct places and hiding the motor and gears; more traditional RTR had plastic (or die cast in the case of Hornby Dublo) skirts to hide the motors that would have intruded.  The 14xx features a motor that lives in the cab and bunker, driving the front axle through a coupled shaft in order to keep the area between the front of the tank and the smokebox saddle clear.  

 

Haulage, even with the traction tyres removed, was very much overkill, but, if the plungers were clean, slow performance was very good, if a little noisy by current standards.  The body tooling stands up very well to current standards, and is perfectly acceptable to most of us.

 

This model was a mould breaker in it's day, one of the locos that presaged the current era of scale expectations.  We demand as a matter of course nowadays that we should see daylight through our locos in the proper places, and that our locos should have a good bit of detail below the footplate, and that our cabs are clear of motors and have something to see rather than to hide in them, that our motors run quietly and that our drive trains are smooth and controllable, but twas not always so, children.  

Edited by The Johnster
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2 hours ago, The Johnster said:

When Airfix introduced the 14xx, a big deal was being made of having daylight visible beneath the boiler in the correct places

What daylight?

It has a solid chunk of mazak where the underboiler clearance should be!

54152-7-PO_3372900_Qty1_1.jpg

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5 hours ago, melmerby said:

What daylight?

It has a solid chunk of mazak where the underboiler clearance should be!

54152-7-PO_3372900_Qty1_1.jpg

 

That's the Dapol 'improved' re-engineered chassis. The Airfix original had 'daylight'

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Thanks to everyone for their help and comments. In the end the solution was close to home as my son (an N-guager) realised he had one in his collection that may do and it turned out to be a near perfect fit. Some interesting comments about the Airfix auto-tank here; my own experience is that in its early days (when they were new) I replaced the grooved traction tyre wheels for regular smooth ones and had no trouble at all running 2-coach auto-trains up my gradients, which it is doing once again after all these years. It still has its original 6 plunger contacts (but I did get hold of half a dozen spares sometime so must have had concerns about them) and now newly cleaned after a 10-year gap runs very smoothly at a snails pace.  Of my other Airfix locos, the tender drive Scot, Castle and Fowler all run much better with the central traction tyres removed (less wobbling and less derailing but with no apparent loss of pulling power), and it was the Prairie that I always had trouble with and still do - very erratic runner!

Thanks again.

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