MTH Ho Trains

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Haha funny thing, I just did that because I remembered you saying maybe find an authorized service center in your previous post, so I did a search for them, and it turns out the hobby store i go to that is about 10 minutes from campus is an authorized service center. I never knew that. But thanks again for the advice. I might get this thing fixed after all.
 

scoobydo

Member
I had a problem with my MTH and sent it to an authorized service center (not an HO, this was an O). I'm in CA and the store I like is on the East Coast who is the service center.
I had my Loco back in working order in about 9 days. Most of that was shipping time.
MTH told me they would take 30 days or more.
As far as MTH HO trains, I own 5 steamers from them along with 4 diesels. They are my sons who is 6 years old.
He is a little rough when handling them, but actually is not too bad. These things hold up to a beating and still keep chugging. A few broken handrails or a bent wire here and there, but nothing you can easily see. He is 6 after all and has had a few of these since he was 4. He also owns an Athearn Genesis and some Bachmann Spectrum's.
They all work fine and I see no advantages in one or another. They ALL require work.
Its just part of the hobby. Yes, its part of the hobby. I don't care if you spend $300 plus on a train, its just something that needs to be done. The front truck derailing has happened to a few, but I have not added weight to fix them. I simply took them off and blasted them with brake cleaner to make sure they were moving freely. I then lightly oiled them. I have not had a problem since. Most of my front truck derailments have come from the wheels sticking and not turning. I'm sure a little weight would also work, but the problem is not extreme. Even if these trains run flawlessly from the box, your going to need to service them soon anyways. These trains require light maintenance often.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
...
Its just part of the hobby. Yes, its part of the hobby. I don't care if you spend $300 plus on a train, its just something that needs to be done. The front truck derailing has happened to a few, but I have not added weight to fix them. I simply took them off and blasted them with brake cleaner to make sure they were moving freely. I then lightly oiled them. I have not had a problem since. Most of my front truck derailments have come from the wheels sticking and not turning. I'm sure a little weight would also work, but the problem is not extreme. Even if these trains run flawlessly from the box, your going to need to service them soon anyways. These trains require light maintenance often.
This was exactly the point I was trying to make in an earlier thread. These are all mechanical, and anything mechanical will need maintenance.

I was fortunate in that a gentleman I met became a friend and taught me a lot more on repairing both steam and diesel loco's than I had already learned on my own. Its second nature to me now that I never seen anything out for repair.

I'd rather spend the time repairing it myself, and then I know it will be done right.
 
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Ericsauto

Active Member
All that is understood but if I buy a used car I should expect repairs. I should not expect repairs on a brand new car. Now new cars eventually will have to have repairs or they will not run. Trains are the same.

My other problem with MTH as quoted in my earlier post is that I have yet to see the 2 passenger car sets that I order in November of 2009. They have once again pushed the date to late this fall.

As for my MTH diesels, no problems. Their steam are still poor quality and I will not buy any more.

I am a BLI fan now. 7 steam engines right of the box and and no adjustments. Just bought last week a BLI Southern Pacific GS-4 and it runs great. Their quality is much better in my opinion and that is what I will be buying.

I have also canceled my orders for the MTH passenger sets. You may accept poor quality but I refuse too. We all pay good hard earn money for their products and they should produce. If I want cheap , I'll buy cheap.

Just my opinion.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
That's funny. I just bought an MTH Daylight passenger train. I was PO'd because BLI pushed their Daylight out again. I figure a bird in the hand...:rolleyes: The MTH cars are nice, very free rolling. Keep us posted on your GS-4. I have heard that there have been problems with the gearbox on that model. Nor surprising considering how heavy it is. I think it's better than the MTH GS-4, but I think the heaver weight of the new diecast steamers is too much for some of the current drives being fitted to them.
 

scoobydo

Member
That's funny. I just bought an MTH Daylight passenger train. I was PO'd because BLI pushed their Daylight out again. I figure a bird in the hand...:rolleyes: The MTH cars are nice, very free rolling. Keep us posted on your GS-4. I have heard that there have been problems with the gearbox on that model. Nor surprising considering how heavy it is. I think it's better than the MTH GS-4, but I think the heaver weight of the new diecast steamers is too much for some of the current drives being fitted to them.
I also got the 8-car "Southern Pacific Lines Version". Both the cars and the Engine are still new in boxes waiting to be gifted to my son.
I already know what to expect on the Engine as he has the Freedom Daylight Version, But I know nothing about the cars. From the box, and what I could see the look great.
How do they stack up to Walthers Passenger Cars?
I have a few of the UP city cars and they are NICE. Although disappointing that they do not have lights, they are very nice.
Once I upgrade to Kadee 158's, they will be complete. (I'm skipping the lights for now)
Anyways, do you have both to offer a comparison review?
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Sure I can compare both. I have the 8 car SP Lines set from MTH and four of the articulated coaches. I have an 11 car COLA train from Walthers.

Comparison:

Rolling ability: MTH. As good as other cars with IM ball bearing wheelsets. Much better than Walthers.

Couplers: Walthers. They use a Kadee #5 clone. You can't tell the difference. I'd consider changing to a smaller knuckle carefully, unless your layout is totally flat. Smaller semi scale knuckles on 85 ft cars can make separation easier when the track elevations change. Besides, you don't really see them anyway when the train is coupled together. MTH's Daylight cars came with plastic McHenry couplers. These had the metal knuckle spring, so operation was OK, but I had a friend break some plastic knuckles with a long train. I swapped them out for Kadee #5's Note that on the latest MTH set, the Powhatan Arrow, the couplers are metal. Looks like they learned.

Detail: Pretty close on the exterior. Interior: MTH is better.

Lighting: MTH, includes it, and it's flicker free. Walthers must be installed at extra cost.

Paint accuracy: Tie. Both excellent. MTH's Daylight paint is better than BLI's, and even edges Athearn's a little.

Assembly-disassembly: MTH. The Walthers Chinese puzzle box assembly makes it hard to get into the cars. With MTH, you remove the couplers, and spread the sides apart, and the chassis pops loose.

Underbody detail: MTH. Pretty much complete and accurate. Walthers is more rudimentary, but again, you don't see it much.

A few grumbles on the MTH cars: Crooked brake cylinders on a few of the cars. The window shades are wrong. They should be aluminum colored to the outside, but the MTH cars shades are the same color as the interior. My Daylight Observation car needs work, as the drumhead light leaks light where it shouldn't.

Grumbles on the Walthers cars: You have to paint the interiors. Trucks are often out of square. Easy to fix, but still kind of a pain. I'm not nuts about their truck design, but that's me. Sometimes things that should not be glued are, making disassembly even tougher than usual!

Overall: MTH has managed to come up with some really nice cars at a reasonable price. A brass Daylight 16 cars long will cost you around six to eight grand.

This realy surprised me, because I have not been a huge MTH fan. I still won't buy their locos. I insist on them interfacing with everthing else I have, plus on loco sound & features, MTH has concentrated more on "play value" than prototypical accuracy. I favor the latter, but that's me. YMMV!

I like the Walthers cars too. They are very serviceable. I have their COLA, their Super Chief, a nice train of heavyweights, plus misc other coaches, sleepers, head end cars and so forth, as well as the HW Santa Fe coaches. Total around 70 cars. I would not have bought that many if they weren't good quality.

Hope this helps!
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
No Eric, no ball bearing wheelsets, just very free rolling. I had to look twice! I have some old Soho and Coach Yard brass Daylight cars that I had fitted with ball bearing wheelsets, and the MTH stuff rolls as well as they do.

PS: One more grumble about the MTH cars...The antennae. They are a thin wire. Looks good scalewise, but very droopy. I had to debond it from the posts and then ACC it back whille pulling it tight. Then it had to be painted. Walthers and BLI use a larger diameter wire. Stays stiff and doesn't droop, but looks too chunky. Win some loose some I guess. Overall, now that I have bought the MTH cars, I have not found anything that has made me regret it. What I did came down to some minor tweaking.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
...The antennae. They are a thin wire. Looks good scalewise, but very droopy...
Alan,

Did you consider replacing that wire with some .12" steel (piano) wire? In some cases, like a straight antennae wire, it inatalls easily, and after painting actually looks the correct size.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
No, not really Carey. I have two friends at the club who have different versions of the train. Mine is circa 1939-1940 and is pulled by a GS-3. There is another mid fifties version and a 1965 version each owned by other members and only partially using MTH cars. They did what I did, and it had worked for them. I will consider that if they droop again though!
 
Im glad some of you are having luck with MTH but im pretty pissed. I sent our SD70M-2 (That had probelms when we first bought it brand new) in at the beginning of May to get the capacitor fixed (The ONLY thing wrong with it, the outside was perfect and cosmetically there wasnt a thing wrong)and just now got it back. Upon opening it I litteraly said WTF. The engineer side railing was bent down about halfway down the loco (It was disconnected from the posts). The conductor side ditch light was broke off and just hanging there as well as the front railing disconnected on one side. The rear air lines on the conductor side were completely missing, and to top it all off, and im not sure how the hell it went out like this, the conductor side truck cover was just hanging there, held on only by the thin wire. I am pretty pissed to say the least. I will not send it back if this is the crap that I can look forward to upon its return. That would be like sending your new car in to get a seal replaced in the engine, and it comes back missing a mirror, broken taillight, and a tire just hanging there by 1 lug nut.....
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
They'll probably claim it's shipping damage...

Either that or they sent you an engine that belonged to someone else...
 
Im starting to believe it. I have always liked MTH for their pulling power and alternating ditch lights for the M-2's and ACES, but im thinking now just to buy Athearn or something and do the ditch lights myself. I love the dash-9's and MTH doesnt make those anyway. So maybe ill jump over to the lighting part of this form and read up on one of your guys posts that tell me how to do ditch lights, since the knowlegde between all of you is incredible. And I figured they would claim it happened during shipping but there is just absolutely NO WAY it happened during shipping. I took it to my local hobbyland tonight and the guy was appaled(spelling?) when he saw it but he said unfortunately he couldnt touch it because then MTH would claim he did it..... He said MTH has been causing them lots of problems as well. So ill just see what happens I guess....And @diburning, no its our original engine because I put special markings on the shell and under the train before it went out since this was a gift from my gf and our first DCC loco, so it was special. Unless they noticed and put the same markings on another used train lol. Which actually seeing as how this went I wouldnt put it past them honestly...
 
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bigB

Active Member
I too have not been overly impressed with MTH's HO quality control. First, to make the shell on the SD70M2/ACe where it will not accomodate the premier sound decoder under the shell (the decoder not the speaker) is just poor. Second, the DCC ready problems are fairly well known. I finally, after 3 months, got my ACe back from MTH for warranty work. They had to replace the motor bc it was wired wrong and smoked a couple decoders.

My advice to anyone looking to buy an HO MTH loco would be to buy a quality used one. Youll prob end up getting a very nice engine at a good price that someone else has gotten the bugs out of it for you. MTH's do run well (when they are wired correctly) and they are heavy so they pull well, but I am done with buying new products from them.
 
Wiring the motor wrong isnt just an "oops", that is really pathetic on their part. I just got my M-2 back and it has to go right back after 3 months as well to get the stuff fixed on it they broke. We came to the conclusion it was dropped due to the bad scuff marks on the conductor side and the broken ditch light. But forgetting to put the sideframe to the trucks back on or breaking the clips and sending it out like that boggles my freaking mind. They told me they will guarentee it back by 90 days. We shall see....
 




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