MTH Ho Trains

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Ericsauto

Active Member
I don't know if it is just me but is anyone else getting fed up with MTH 's ability to deliver new products or just get service from them? :confused:

I own about 8 MTH engines now and I really don't know if I will ever buy another. One thing that drives me crazy is their Steam Locomotives. Great looking pieces , nice sound, good smoke, but the front Pilots plain suck. They are plastic ( on Most) and they are under weight and do not stay on track well. I recently just bought a $350.00 New york central 4-8-4 and took it right back because it derailed immediately on the first 24 " radius turn. I have 5 or 6 Broadway limited Steam ( Mainly Hudsons) and I can run those on anything at any speed almost without fail.

MTH makes a good Diesel ( I think I have 4 ) and I have not problems with them.

I had a hard time getting parts for my MTH hudson Empire express and My K-4 now just sits in the roundhouse as a display until I get around to working on the Pilot again.:mad:

The last straw is that I ordered the matching 5 car Passenger from my Hobby shop in November of 2009. It was due out May 2010. Then it was backordered until Dec 2010. Guess what , now it is not due out till June 2011.

Just venting, but I think I will now steer away from MTH. I am going to the train show in Columbus Ohio this weekend and MTH will be there, I think I will express my concerns.
 

Motley

Active Member
Oh boy, I thought I was the only one! I have the same exact problems as you!

I just recently got a new Challenger, and yep it derails because the front trucks are too light. I thought it was my track. Here I was ripping up parts of my trackwork trying to fix it.

Then one time it derailed, and now the decoder is all jacked up. I tried calling them and reset it, and it's broken. I paid $500 for this dang thing, and I'm PO'd.
They said I had to ship it to them and it would take months to fix it. Still haven't done that yet.

I'm in the same boat as you with the Daylight Passenger Car set. I preordered it a month ago. I just went on their site and saw a delivery date of Feb. Not sure where you came up with June, it better not be that late. Who told you this? What cars did you order?

I have a couple of their Aces, and they work flawlessly though.
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Trust me it is not your track. I did the same thing . I ordered part # 80-60025 5 car Passenger Empire State Express. As of yesterday it says June 2011

Here is the link:


http://www.mthtrains.com/content/80-60025

Same thing with the Ace's I own 4 ( I think now) Automatic couplers are that great but the engines are fantastic.

Why do they put plastic pilots on a quality model ? It is just as cheap to make them cast

Good luck on getting what you ordered. P.S. - I forgot to mention that I ordered the Santa FE set too and it is now due I believe in June.

MTH - Get with the game or get out of HO
 

Motley

Active Member
Ya I may not even send it in to get repaired, because it's just gonna keep derailing with those front trucks. Also the design of the tender is poor, there are so many wheels it's very difficult to put on the rails. Did I mention that the wire broke between the tender and engine, and I had to solder it back on.

So now I have a $500 paper weight.

I think I may wait and get the BLI 2-10-2 ATSF Modernized when ever that comes out, may be next year. BLI is another company that can't deliver products on time.
 
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Ericsauto

Active Member
All we can do is laugh about it I am sorry to say.

Broadway Limited is my Steam Engine of choice now. 3 of them with no problems.

My MTH Empire State Express sure looks good pulling freight cars around. I did get it to be able to run around the layout without derailing ( most of the time) . I was thinking of painting the freight cars silver and write on them with a Sharpie " Empire State Express" until my cars come in sometime in 2014 or so. ;)
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I don't own any MTH products, but let me be the devil's advocate for a bit.

I am a pleased owner of 9 BLI steamers, no two alike. I am a collector.

I also have a Lionel Challenger, a Rivarossi Allegheny, and a P2k Heritage 0-6-0. Also, a Trix GG1 and a Trix Mikado. A broad mixture.

Every time I have introduced a new largish engine to my layout, I have had to tweak my rails in one or two places. Once I learned why the engines were derailing, and adjusted rails up or down a hair, my problems went away. Happened most recently for two Genesis SD-75M's, both of which derailed at the leading trucks on my very nice broad curves. Raised the outer rails at one or four spots and they trucked along those curves very happily.

So, I would be hesitant to join in an argument or slug fest over one particular manufacturer's products unless the forums were full of complaints about them. Think MRC Brilliance decoders a couple of years back. :D

Yes, no two ways about it, some models have their problems. Often a steamer derails only due to the pilot truck's being out of gauge, too light, binding on some part of the frame, flashing at the pivot mount, ....whatever. But these are not insurmountable problems. A couple of pennies glued atop the frame will help...a lot! So will a spring of some sort, coil or blade made out of copper or phosphor bronze. Sometimes the truck is installed upside down...inverting it makes the problem go away. But just as often it is the track undulations horsing the rearmost part of the frame, back at the last pair of drivers on a longish steamer, that causes the front of the frame to go light, thus relieving the front truck of any good helping it to track properly. It should be no secret that the tighter the curve on which this happens, the higher the probability of a derailment.

It really helps to get one's eyes down to track level, place a straightedge atop the rails, and back-light the straightedge. You'd be surprised at the dips and rises in rails. On curves, they do a number on long framed steamers. But, you need to understand that where the derailed truck is, the problem is probably aft, along the boiler towards the cab, even under the cab.

I know you are cheesed off and frustrated. But if you have other engines that do just fine, it isn't necessarily that the others are poorly engineered. I have learned that it is just as often the case that I prepared my roadbed poorly, and the engines are impartially and impersonally telling me so.
 
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cmcgloughlin

New Member
I have the MTH Light Mikado. I have problems with the pilot derailing, too. Some of it may be me but its good to know I am not alone. I love the looks, sound and smoke of this engine tho.

Is there a way it can be adjusted to not derail? If it is too light, or too tight, couldnt one adjust it some way to get it running OK?

UPDATE: just saw Selector's post, good suggestions.
 
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Ericsauto

Active Member
Slector I agree with all your points and adjustment ideas and I do exactly what you say when I buy a new Engine or LOCO.

You need to check out how flimsy MTH made these pilots on some of the new models, it is not good quality. Which is sad because the rest of the Loco is really nice. My complaint is with that of the quality of the pilot. The 4-8-4 I bought , when it derailed , I removed the pilot to check adjustment and the thing you could almost bend in half because it was so thin. That to me is ridiculous.

I normally have to adjust something with new engines , rolling stock or loco's but you should never have to keep on and on adjusting every time you run it. Track work will move over time because of expansion / contraction of wood and you will have to make adjustments.

Remember that I am not saying that I won't buy them anymore because of the just the that problem it is also because their service is very poor also. I am in the customer service business too and if I put off my customers the way they do , I would be out of business.

I appreciate all the tips on adjustments, I am sure all the readers do to. Sure helps when you are doing this hobby , that is why I like this forum.
 

Motley

Active Member
Hmm, well this is interesting. I just called MTH back again, told them the issues I'm having and they gave me an RMA number. I asked how long it will take to repair and they said about 4-5 weeks. Now when I called them before, they said more like 3-4 months. Heck I don't know, whatever, I'm just gonna send it to them and see what happens. I also told them the lead trucks kept popping up, and I want their engineer who is fixing it to call me about it.

When I examined the lead trucks, there is a small spring on it holding it down, that looks too weak, maybe they could replace the spring with a stronger one? If they can't do that, then when I get it back, I'm gonna try to add some lead weights to it.
 

SABRR

Member
Damn, for that price, I could build 4 or 5 Mantua drive, Cary Boiler kit bashes from 2-8-2's, to 2-12-0's and have a super puller, excellent detail and DCC to boot. Time for y'all to learn how to build 'em and save your money!

I would never do business with MTH simply because of the aggressive nature they have had in the industry.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Eric, I forgot to address your comments about the service side. I don't have much to say about that, except that I have found BLI to be most responsive, and their repair for out-of-warranty items is $45, including all shop materials, parts, labour, and shipping back to the owner. That's a steal to get a prized loco back and working....if you ask me. But, depending on their workload, the shop can sometimes take two months to return a loco. My new Q2 Hybrid was gone four months, exactly, because of a faulty headlight. I think it may have had to go back to China, but not at all sure about that. Maybe they waited until they had 20-30 for repair and flew in a tech from the factory....it sounds reasonable, even if that rate of problems does not. :D

Mike, if there is a spring there already, consider stretching a coil or bending a leaf more for more pressure. Or, cut off part of one coil, or flatten the kink of a leaf if the pressure is so intense that it actually seems to lighten the first axle on a steamer....I have had to do this.
 

Motley

Active Member
What I would like to know, is if MTH's service repair dept. is so busy, then why do they work half of a day? Yes their service dept. is open 12pm-5pm Mon-Fri.

Maybe Mike should hire some more people and extend their hours to a NORMAL business day, like everybody else!
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
That is why I like BLI - Good Service and I do understand backlogs on repairs. I had to send one in for a small problem and got it back in 4 weeks. They at least work on your problems.

Motley I am sure MTH like others read these forums. Maybe 2011 they will change their ways.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Questions/comments like this is one reason why I learned many years ago to do my own troubleshooting and repairs. I've had locos dating back to the 1950's that I've been able to salvage from junk heaps resurrect, and sell. Mainly because I had to learn how to repair my locos myself. Many of my locos still are from the 1960's and have never seen a repair shop other than my own.

The trouble with many modelers these days is they can't do for themselves in regards to repair. In the past their were no such things as warranties or returning for repair. You either did it yourself or had a friend do it. While some hobby shops did offer repair services, these were few and far between, esp in my part of the country.
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
I repair my old stuff too. Missing the point on this one. A brand new high dollar item should only need adjustments not major repairs.
These companies put out these products should , for the price, produce quality. When it wears or breaks in the future then your points are 100 % correct.

Just my opinion
 

Motley

Active Member
I have no idea how to fix it, what am I supposed to do, pull a rabbit out of my hat? I paid over $500 for this thing, it better work...flawlessly.

So let me get this straight, you go buy a new HD TV at Best Buy and spend $1000, take it home and it stops working, are you gonna fix that your self? Or are you gonna call the manufacturer and have them fix it?

Don't tell me "This is part of the hobby". I spend thousands of dollars on all the high end stuff, and I have to return a lot these items due to manufactures defects. Don't ask me what and how many, but over the past year it's been quite a few. Caboose Hobbies my LHS returns the items with no problems after I show them what's wrong.

Sorry, but I expect to get my moneys worth. Talk about what is frustrating with this hobby, is exactly this. I'm new to the hobby (since childhood) for about a year. And yes I buy RTR stuff, and I expect it to work. I can do minor adjustments on rolling stock, replace couplers, etc. No big deal. But when my brand spanking new steam engine derails because of the lead trucks, then shorts out the system, then the decoder fries and goes completely dead. Now I have to wait almost 5-6 weeks before I get it back.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I repair my old stuff too. Missing the point on this one. A brand new high dollar item should only need adjustments not major repairs.
These companies put out these products should , for the price, produce quality. When it wears or breaks in the future then your points are 100 % correct.

Just my opinion
No Eric, you missed my point. By learning how to troubleshoot and repair the old stuff, I can then do the same on the new, even the warrantied stuff. I do alot more repairs here on our LHS customers BLI, and MTH locos than I do on any other brand. Personally, I have never filled out a warranty card on any new loco I own that came with one, (my spectrums). Because if I can't fix it, I know they definitely can't and I don't want to receive in exchange from them another loco that may have the same if not more problems.

I have never found a loco that I didn't know how to fix. Whether the customer wanted to pay the price or not was a different story. If that MTH loco was mine, and that pilot truck is as flimsy as you say, the first thing I'd do is replace it with a substitute, even if that meant scratchbuilding one, if I couldn't get it to function as it's supposed to. If a highdollar item is suspect to begin with, like I consider all chinese made steam locos suspect, then I generally won't buy it.
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
If I have to scratch build a piece for a brand new high dollar Loco then I won't buy it again. I am glad you can fix it all but quite honestly I agree with Motley. Not all of us are in it for that part. Some build scenery , kits, kitbash or repair locos. We all have our special talents in this hobby, that is not what I want to do all the time.

I just bought a new car yesterday. Now I own a auto repair shop and I can repair it but if the engine goes bad under warranty damn right I will take it back to the dealer.

You buy cheap stuff then I see your point. Some us buy quality high end so that we can enjoy running them, not working on them.

Like comparing a Chevette to a Mercedes
 

hamltnblue

Active Member
If you want the front pilot trucks to stop derailing, try pasting a section of lead sheeting on top of it. It only takes a little extra weight to get it to stay on the track. This is with anyone's loco's
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Now that is what I look for on this forum, an answer how to fix them. Where can you get lead sheeting in small amounts.
 




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