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Heljan Class 47's, Do I own £2400 of scrap?


EEType4

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First things first, this is not about bashing Heljan in particular.

 

Having read a good few posts regarding the swelling of Heljan 47 chassis and the subsequent destruction of the bodyshell I have kept a close eye on the 32 locos in my fleet.

 

Checked all before Christmas and all were fine. Checked again today and 47500 has exploded in good style (I'm really peed off it's this one in particular)

 

post-8686-127022211554_thumb.jpg

 

post-8686-127022233321_thumb.jpg

 

Further checks revael that another 5 have their bodies well and truly wedged on together with evidence of the chassis floor bowing and swelling.

Non destructive removal of the body appears impossible.

 

The reason for this post is to let the great many of you who thought you might have escaped this problem to check, check and check again as it is obvious that this issue takes time to show it's hand.

 

Clues to look forward are the inability to remove the shell and a gap emerging between base of the cab front and top of the buffer beam as well as the centre of the chassis bowing downwards.

 

post-8686-127022237905_thumb.jpg

 

post-8686-127022246375_thumb.jpg

 

With an attrition rate of nearly 19% of the fleet I can't help but wonder how long the remainder will last.

 

32 Class 47's at an average of £75.00 each makes a whopping £2400.00 worth of unusable, valueless scrap.

 

One is not amused.

 

Add this to the 3 claytons still without replacement chassis' and 2 Hornby class 31's with similar swelling problems and the shine really starts to go off the hobby of a lifetime.

 

It is worth also noting that the locos have seen little, or no use in some cases, and have been stored in centrally heated room within the house.

 

post-8686-127022250699_thumb.jpg

 

post-8686-127022255104_thumb.jpg

 

I have contacted Heljan and Howes and will keep you informed of progress if that is acceptable to the moderators.

 

Once again I must Emphasise that this is NOT about having a go at Heljan, but more about encouraging you all not to take it for granted your fleet is safe, that's what I thought and boy am I wrong

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What do you think may have caused damage such as that?

 

If only we knew... It looks as if there are some additions to the wall of shame, we had a list regarding the Hornby 31's but I can't remember RMweb doing the same for the Heljan 47's???

 

A search of the old site will reveal all I'm sure.

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What do you think may have caused damage such as that?

There has already been quite a lot of discussion of this problem, both on here and on other Forums. The problem was first noticed on some Hornby Class 31s, and is apparently due to contamination (possibly by lead?)of the Mazac alloy used for casting the chassis blocks. The effects of such contamination have been understood for a very long time- however, this appears to be the first time it has been noticed on such a wide scale.

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By coincidence Rails have this on Ebay

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.u...=item2eac19261c

 

Surely thats more of an impact type damage rather than the unforunate OP's chassis swelling damage?

Only speculation obviously but i'd say a crash to the floor? (odd the buffers appear undamaged though!) or someone sat on one end of the body while it's off the chassis.

Whatever........All i'm trying to say is that EEtype4's 47500s chassis has clearly swelled lengthwise (what an awful shame, my sympathies) and the rails one appears to be crosswise damage - it would need an enormous amount of swelling across the width of the chassis to do that!. I strongly suspect that the rails one is accidental damage while the OP's is a factory fault of some kind.

 

Anyone ever noticed similar problems with any other types of Heljan locos - i must now go and check my collection of westerns and hymeks!

Best,

John E.

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In an effort to establish some form of rhyme & reason as to which locos are affected, I have spent a couple of hours checking each 47 in detail, in the course of which I was delighted to find this:

 

post-8686-127022747973_thumb.jpg

 

I also decided to see just how tight the body shells are so the previously pictured D1100 was experimented upon.

 

The body had to be drifted off using a wooden block and a pin hammer under the cab fronts! The result:

 

post-8686-12702276364_thumb.jpg

 

Also apparent is that on the ruined and very tight locos an impression is left on the chassis corners from, I pressume, sheer pressure.

 

I can assure all that they have definately not been dropped, and as a modeller for over 30 years and a collection of some 600 loco's always take care of my stock, as I am sure we all do.

 

The chassis are without doubt in my opinion swelling. As in the case of poor old D1100 once the shell is released it is impossible to refit it the chassis.

 

The definitive list is as follows:

 

Cat No:4732 Loco No:47076 Livery:Rail Blue Status:O.K.

4750 D1734 Green O.K.

4732 47076 Rail Blue O.K.

4808 47500 GWR Write off

4700 D1100 Green Chassis write off, body cracked

4730 1932 Rail Blue Body excessively tight, but removable

4701 D1662 Green O.K

4700 D1100 Green Body wedged solid

4732 47076 Rail Blue O.K.

4805 47212 RFD Body excessively tight, but removable

4801 47636 Large logo Body excessively tight, but removable

4702 D1942 Green O.K.

4752 D1733 XP64 O.K.

4731 47059 Rail Blue O.K.

4812 47063 RF Cons O.K.

4751 1562 Green O.K.

4806 47591 Intercity O.K.

4695 47299 Rail blue Body wedged solid

47411 Rail blue O.K.

47411 Rail blue O.K.

4753 47122 Rail blue Write off

4807 47715 Scotrail Body excessively tight, but removable

4753 47122 Rail blue O.K.

47411 Rail blue O.k.

4800 47591 Large logo Body wedged solid

4702 D1942 green Body wedged solid

47411 Rail Blue O.K.

4731 47059 Rail Bue O.K.

4732 47076 rail blue O.K

4810 47981 Dutch O.K.

4804 47631 RF Dist O.K.

4677 47321 RF O.K.

 

So there you have it. Take my advice and try to pop the bodies off your 47's ASAP.

 

The duplicates are for renumbering purposes, I will get round to them one day.

 

The question is will the tight examples carry on to the point of explosion, or have they always been that way.

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I know a few people who've experienced this with Heljan 47s, all from the 60s/70s green/blue batch. This is the first time I've seen one of the 80s batch exploding, which is rather a worry as my two are from this run.

 

I wonder what your legal status would be with regards to this problem.

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I wonder what your legal status would be with regards to this problem.

 

 

Good point well made.

 

I am reluctant to go down this route as I have always considered our hobby to made up of decent people and companies, plus it's only fair to Heljan a chance to reply.

 

That said I have dug up an interesting bit of info on The Sale Of Goods Act on the BBC news web site. To quote it, it says:

 

"It works like this. For the first four-five weeks you have a "right of rejection" - if the item you've bought breaks down, you can demand a refund.

 

For the next six months, you are entitled to replacement or repair of the goods. It is up to the retailer to prove there was nothing wrong with it if they wish to get out of having to do the work. And then after six months, there is still a duty to replace or repair faulty goods, but the onus is on you, the consumer, to prove that there was something wrong.

 

And the key time span is six years. That's how long goods may be covered by the Sale of Goods Act. It all depends on what "sufficiently durable" means. If a light bulb goes after 13 months, the consumer is not going to be overly gutted. If their washing machine goes after the same time span they are going to be livid."

 

"A key fact is that your relationship in the Sale of Goods Act is with the retailer, not the manufacturer."

 

Could be a headache the last one as I'm stuffed if I can remember where I bought most of them. (Its like that when you get to my age!)

 

 

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If only we knew... It looks as if there are some additions to the wall of shame, we had a list regarding the Hornby 31's but I can't remember RMweb doing the same for the Heljan 47's???

 

A search of the old site will reveal all I'm sure.

 

I have a few Heljan 47's in storage waiting the never coming layout. After having had an unused 47145 'explode' I created what I believe is an 'at risk' list based on similar reports from others on the internet (excluding 'tight' chassis' as I'm not sure this is the same issue). This is so I could focus on what to check regularly. 47500 & 47122 weren't on it until today. The list is as follows and I would welcome any additions:

 

47145

47193

47258

47810

47981

47375

47792

47781

47298

D1734

D1100

47122

47500

 

From my notes I think all these locos where released between December 2004 to November 2005.

 

Hope this helps someone.

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My apologies!

Your photo of D1100 looks like it could be the start of how the one at Rails ended up, so it looks as though i have leapt to the wrong conclusion there, sorry.

You have my sympathies with regard to the problem, still got to check my Heljan locos out too.

Regards,

John E.

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I have 9 Heljan Brush(plus 47375 waiting to be sold),including 47500.

None of them are showing any signs of issues except 47636 which looked to have a tiny hairline crack on the corner.I managed to get the body off and there are no signs of internal damage though the body was a tight fit.I think the crack may stem from a derailment but i will keep a beedy eye on it as it is one of my favorite Heljan`s.

I bought 47375 only last year.The first arrived shaped like a banana,thankfully its replacement is straight and true. I will be selling it soon,only because it is out of my era.

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I have 9 Heljan Brush(plus 47375 waiting to be sold),including 47500.

None of them are showing any signs of issues except 47636 which looked to have a tiny hairline crack on the corner.I managed to get the body off and there are no signs of internal damage though the body was a tight fit.I think the crack may stem from a derailment but i will keep a beedy eye on it as it is one of my favorite Heljan`s.

I bought 47375 only last year.The first arrived shaped like a banana,thankfully its replacement is straight and true. I will be selling it soon,only because it is out of my era.

 

Keep an eye on 47636, cracking in the corner is, I fear, the start of the problem showing itself. Better still store with the body off.

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Keep an eye on 47636, cracking in the corner is, I fear, the start of the problem showing itself. Better still store with the body off.

I have toyed with the idea of modifiying the foam and storing them all seperate.

I would have thought that it would have been cracked on the inside too though if it was chassis bulge.

Sorry to read of your plight,but hopefully it might prevent others falling down the same route.

Good luck with sorting the issue and please keep us informed

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Just been and checked my 47's [last checked around Christmas last year when all looked OK] - all stored body off since November 2008 for obvious reasons!

 

D 1100 TWO TONE GREEN badly distorted and cracked chassis

D 1662 TWO TONE GREEN slight chassis distortion body will not fit back on

47 245 RFD no obvious distortion but body too tight to fit on

47 278 BLUE WHITE ROOF no obvious distortion but body too tight to fit on

47 711 NSE no obvious distortion but body too tight to fit on

47 781 RES original chassis u/s early 2008 fitted new replacement chassis from Heljan in August 2009 - body fitted OK

47 145 TINSLEY BLUE body fitted OK

47 231 ex245 RFD body fitted OK

un-numbered RFD body fitted OK

 

Five more duff duffs to go with 3 u/s Hornby Class 31's [no sign of a solution yet] and 2 dead Claytons [still waiting for replacement chassis] I am only buying Bachmann now.

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I have a few Heljan 47's in storage waiting the never coming layout. After having had an unused 47145 'explode' I created what I believe is an 'at risk' list based on similar reports from others on the internet (excluding 'tight' chassis' as I'm not sure this is the same issue). This is so I could focus on what to check regularly. 47500 & 47122 weren't on it until today. The list is as follows and I would welcome any additions:

 

47145

47193

47258

47810

47981

47375

47792

47781

47298

D1734

D1100

47122

47500

 

From my notes I think all these locos where released between December 2004 to November 2005.

 

Hope this helps someone.

 

Thank you for taking the time to compile the list. I have 23 Heljan 47's but only one has gone all banana on me - 47981. None of the others I have are on your list.....

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... The question is will the tight examples carry on to the point of explosion, or have they always been that way.

If they are too tight to remove easily, and were always like that, they would have both been diificult to assemble at the factory, and there would have been many comments on this aspect from owners at the time of acquisition.

 

Why wait to find out if any more will 'explode'? The evidence in this thread suggests the best move is to store the bodies off the chassis, and for those operating these models to cut a slice off each end of the chassis block as a precautionary measure.

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Guest 838rapid

I have taken Heed of your advise guys and have removed bodies from chassis

 

Better safe than sorry in my mind.

 

I bought many of mine as bodies from various outlets and they are on chassis of unknown cast times.

 

Cheers for the head up guys

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Hi Everyone,

 

This was a well known problem on the old forum as I remember coming across the thread after finding one of my many Heljan 47's, 47 298 in DRS livery had cracked the same as the photo at the start of this right down one cab corner and had got so bad it had also cracked down the centre column of the cab windscreen. The body was well and truly wedged and the chassis had bowed in the middle forcing the tanks section off as well. There is a large bulge right in the centre of the chassis block and the only way to re-use would be a lot of grinding away and I didn't have the facilities to do this. I contacted Howes way back last year and they had been doing there best to sort problems by swapping chassis for people but had run out however they had kept my details safe and when I asked Heljan at model rail Scotland they said more would be made and to contact Howes again as their UK agent. A couple of weeks ago I got a suprise to be handed a box by the postman containing a new 47 chassis sent from Howes as they had said to keep calling every so many weeks to check. Whilst this issue is not Howes fault or problem the way they dealt with the issue and sent me the replacement as soon as they had one having kept my details for months has completly restored my faith in Heljan and Howes should be congratulated for their excellent service with this matter. As Heljan admitted this fault could occur and have no reall way of knowing how many models will be affected it is worth giving Howes a call to see if they have any more replacements from Heljan at the moment. Hope that this may be of some help to others affected on here.

 

thanks,

Mark

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Hi Everyone,

 

This was a well known problem on the old forum as I remember coming across the thread after finding one of my many Heljan 47's, 47 298 in DRS livery had cracked the same as the photo at the start of this right down one cab corner and had got so bad it had also cracked down the centre column of the cab windscreen. The body was well and truly wedged and the chassis had bowed in the middle forcing the tanks section off as well. There is a large bulge right in the centre of the chassis block and the only way to re-use would be a lot of grinding away and I didn't have the facilities to do this. I contacted Howes way back last year and they had been doing there best to sort problems by swapping chassis for people but had run out however they had kept my details safe and when I asked Heljan at model rail Scotland they said more would be made and to contact Howes again as their UK agent. A couple of weeks ago I got a suprise to be handed a box by the postman containing a new 47 chassis sent from Howes as they had said to keep calling every so many weeks to check. Whilst this issue is not Howes fault or problem the way they dealt with the issue and sent me the replacement as soon as they had one having kept my details for months has completly restored my faith in Heljan and Howes should be congratulated for their excellent service with this matter. As Heljan admitted this fault could occur and have no reall way of knowing how many models will be affected it is worth giving Howes a call to see if they have any more replacements from Heljan at the moment. Hope that this may be of some help to others affected on here.

 

thanks,

Mark

 

I suppose the problem many will face, myself included, is when you've bought a Heljan loco from a box shifter at a show, and it does a banana act. How many of us pay cash for loco's on trade stands, and don't note who sold them to us? I would imagine quite a few of us are getting a bit twitchy about other Heljan loco types in their collections 'going bananas' now.:unsure:

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This is a very sad situation. It ruined my day to see that green 47 like that :(

My sympathies to the original poster.

 

I'm going to check my fleet tomorrow.

 

However, other than limiting the damage, what's the point of removing the body? If the chassis is going to swell you couldn't possibly get it back on again!

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However, other than limiting the damage, what's the point of removing the body? If the chassis is going to swell you couldn't possibly get it back on again!

You're more likely to get a replacement chassis than a replacement body in the right livery so its worth saving the body.

 

Luckily I haven't got any tubby duffs and its only a Hornby 31 i'm waiting for news on.

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I hate to add this, but you should realise that once this attack on the Zinc casting has started it will never stop, there is no cure, and distortion is just a symptom.

 

Mazak/Zamak are exact formulae alloys, and this problem of zinc rot is well known(for well over 80 years), and basically only comes from contamination by the Factory and Foundry, they got lead in the mix.

 

The casting will not only distort, but will slowly break up, especially with damp or acids present on the surface. White powder,(zinc and lead oxide), appears on the surface and around any cracks. It is sometimes shown that other contaminations than lead can cause Mazak to distort, without the oxide breakup, but this is rare. It is still a flaw that the maker is responsible for.

 

Sale of goods etc., does not apply here really, the proof of the miss manufacture is there in the distorted body, and it is down to Heljan to replace them, or refund. They can try to hide behind the restrictions of time passing, but not with Zamak/Mazak rot, it has a known cause and no cure whatsoever, rendering the product unfit for use.

 

Stephen.

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