AF Big Boy Problems and Solutions
A collection of QC and Operating Issues and Solutions
I am compiling these issues from
personal experience and also from contributions from other owners.
|From Carl T
Found the power pickup terminal connection on the pilot truck loose. Causing no problems but needed retightening.
|Tightened terminal screw|
|From Carl T
Reduced the intensity of the marker lights in the tender to a more realistic level
|Added a 10K resistor in the marker light connection.|
|From Jim E
The problem is that I do not have reverse. It acts like it is "locked" in "forward". The manual says the "program/run" switch can be used to lock in one direction by moving it to "program" , but I have it set in the "run" position.
|This seems to have resolved itself, and
I have no idea why. I am using a late (circa 2004) Lionel CW-80 transformer that has the whistle/horn/directions buttons and should be compatible electronically. I also noticed today the directional light on the tender is working today, indicating that it is in reverse.
That did not work last night, either.
|From Jim E
I found out what the little nut driver is for. Saw a screw lying by my track after shutting down the BB. After a close inspection, I was missing two side rod screws on the right side. Luckily, I found the other one as well. The little nut driver fits the side rods. I also found one loose side rod screw on the left side.
|From Lou T
I was having trouble with the BB tender going through Tom's turnouts and also riding up the rails on curves when going in reverse. I'm using SHS flex track with a minimum radius of 24" on one curve only.
|The problem of going through the turnouts was to
re-gauge the tender wheels using a 23/32" piece of plywood between
the wheels as a gauge.
To solve the backing problem, I moved the flanged wheelsets in one space on both ends of the stationary truck and put the blind wheelsets on each end. This shortened
the wheelbase on the stationary truck thus making it eaiser for the stationary
truck to negotiate the curves in reverse.
|From Joe P
The tender coupler keeps riding high to the point that no matter how many cars I have behind it they come uncoupled. The couplers are not opening, just the coupler on the tender ends up higher than the coupler on the cars. When
coupling, the top of couplers are flush and then at startup the tender coupler jumps 1/2 to 3/4 of the coupler up.
I also discovered the spring for the front hook that holds the wireless tether wasn’t installed correctly . All this caused was the hook to sit high and into the body when not hooked up to the engine.
|I compared the problem tender to the non-problem
tender and discovered that the
coupler mounting bracket was bent and the screws that mount it to the fixed truck were not tight (allowed the bracket to swivel left to right also).
|From Scott G
Big Boy stopped smoking a few days ago and I think the heating element may have burned out. I've tried the restart procedure several times to no avail.
|Called Lionel tech support concerning the smoke unit
in my Big Boy. The gentleman I spoke to was very helpful. He said
that it sounded like the element had burned out and that it was
possible that the voltage regulator
circuit (located on a separate board somewhere else in the locomotive) had failed, causing much higher voltage to be passed to the heating element than intended. He recommended measuring the voltage across the heating element terminals with the engine running to see if it was too high (correct range is 4-5V). He also is shipping me a replacement element, but unfortunately, the 6 ohm replacement is out of stock so he is sending an 8 ohm version.
|From Ken O
Noticing that there was some sparking action going on in the curves at the rear axle of the tender. If the train is going slow enough, the "shorting" can get severe enough to short out the transformer. When I look at the tender wheels at the rear axle, I notice the residue on the inside of the wheel from the "shorting".
|Found the screws that hold the coupler mount to the
truck frame were loose causing the coupler to droop and short.
The "locked in neutral" does seem to be what's happening. I tried changing the Program / Run switch and the Odyssey on-off in all combinations but to no avail.
|The DCDS-J board driver board has a black connector
in the middle that needed to be reseated. Seems to fix the problem.
My front drive mechanism has developed problems after about two hours of running. It appears the worm gear has slipped on the motor shaft. I removed the loco body and the cover plate on the driver chassis to observe the
mechanism in action.. It must be keyed in someway because you can turn the motor flywheel weight by hand and the motor shaft rides up slightly and then the worm gear shifts back about a 1/20 of a rotation and the spur gear does not rotate. It makes a rattling sound when it attempts to move under its own
track power. The front drivers appear to be totally dis-engaged from the motor while on the track. They rotate freely but only if pushed by the rear drivers. But...works OK in reverse
|Sent to Lionel,
|From Harold H
Ran in conventional mode for about 15 min,all seemed fine. Moved Legacy control from main layout to xmas layout to run bigboy. Ran fine in cab one, then hooked up 3 flyer passenger cars (660 series) Ran until engine stopped with rear drivers spinning and front ones locked up. Reversed engine it moved a few inches and it locked up again(front drivers). I noticed it ran fine if I lifted the front of the engine so the drivers were off the track. Also found screw on track. It came from under cab. Replaced screw..
|Repacked engine and sent it back to Lionel for
|From Bob B
Issues going through combined switches and tight radii curves.
|Swapping the last two axles of the tender makes going through combined switches and tight radii curves way easier/better.|
|From David H.
Gaining experience with mine and those of two friends in the club this past weekend. Have mine up on rollers with boiler shell off to check if all plugs are seated properly and if I have a whistle vs smoke problem or not (i.e. using the whistle
decreases smoke output). Similar notes on the t-truck wires, lack of wheel contact on rails, and "retarded" front driver set as compared to
Check that all linkages fhave free motion and lube pivots lightly
with 108. But especially that secondary piston and everything
associated with it. Hand turn the flywheel slowly and check with
each small advance that all push rods are aligned straight and
linkages have slack (almost a wobble) to them. If any feel tight
(not necessarily locked, just restricted or stiff instead of free)
ease them up. Mine now keeps pace and moves
|From Jim E.
I noticed on my BB that both the trailing truck of the loco and front truck of the tender were not resting on all four wheels of either truck. It was due to two things, the first being that the "hook" from the loco has to be pushed all the way down into the slot of the tender, otherwise it binds and holds the tender up a little, making it "tipsy". Also, the wires from the trailing truck were fished through the spring area of the truck. I think.
| Once I made sure the wires were above the
truck and helping push it down, the truck "seated" itself better on
the track. This also helped with some power interruptions i was
having. I'm very concerned about trying to bend/straighten any of
that link because of the wireless tether.
|From Steve B.
I was also dismayed by the wires going up into the cab from the trailing truck. No matter how many times I pushed them back up they just kept working down and caused interference with the movement of the truck. Maybe the restriction of movement of the trailing truck kept the lead truck of the tender from moving properly. It shouldn't be so since the draw bar is free moving, but who knows. I think I will push
the trailing truck wires up into the hole and apply some hot glue to keep them there when I get it back. That very well may have been the culprit in my derailment.
|From Carl T.
Noticed a sparking on the loco between the right front valve hanger and the boiler occasionally in curves. The boiler measured a short to the left track pickup. It is supposed to be isolated.
|Found the short in the smoke unit. the
element was touching the smoke unit case.
Moved the position of the element to fix.
The loco was only doing 3 chuffs per revolution instead of 4
|Adjusted the chuff micro switch by slightly bending the micro switch arm in a downward direction.|