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Saggy Bottom Trolley


PhilipS

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Just acquired a Red Kato Portram Trolley yesterday and at first glance noticed the sagging mid section. 

 

Even though I got to test drive it at the LHS I just wasn't happy with the middle looking like it drags. Other than that this little guy rocks!

 

Bought it anyway and employing it for the vertically challenged counter top Christmas tree arrangement this season. Need to wire up the reversing module and get a few buildings to hide the module and store the trolley.

 

The roof is where the two trolleys articulate.

 

Anyone find a shim for the Center Black Strut or a manual to show how disassemble this and to add dolls?

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I received a reply form Kato USA Warranty.  Their fix is adding a 1/2 of a coupler spring #923511 (which they are out of) under the High Voltage Cable. See Pics.

 

Anyway, I used a 2mm soft rubber o-ring and the ground clearance issue is solved. Not the prettiest, just functional. I adjusted the diaphragm since taking the close up pictures.

 

Hard to see all the parts now and there is a perfect spot for a spring to suspend the mid-section. This should have beed addressed at the factory.

 

All I need is one spring for Christmas... :)

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Thanks.

 

The springs are common in their Mikado tender couplers (out of stock just like a lot of stuff). Sounded like a common spring.

 

I trimmed the oring down to 40% because it was interfering with the articulation. Got it right the second time so it is not so ugly.

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webskipper

 

I got an extra pack (923511- 8 springs in the pack) Here's what I can do. I'll send it to you, you take what you need and send it to the next guy that want one. That way it only cost a stamp.  

 

Here is the catch from Kato. The pack cost $1.00 but shipping is $6.00  

 

pm me your address if you want to do that.  

 

Inobu  

 

This is the spring used in the couplers of US rolling stock, koki and taki cars.  

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Anyone who is going to cut the spring use and Xacto knife.

 

Cut the spring on a hard surface. Cover the spring when you cut it because one side of the spring is going to fly off and they are tiny.

 

The Xacto knife allows you to measure and cut between the coils.

 

 

Inobu 

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That is sound advice.

 

The spring fix is going to be the best solution. It will allow the Tram to properly function like it's prototype.

 

Even though I shimmed the 2 Trams apart I sacrificed articulation for ground clearance. Once I trimmed the shims I the mid section started sagging again.

 

Thanks Inobu!

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A big thanks to Inobu for supplying the Springs!

 

A whole spring was used to correct the Tram. How it will stay where it I put is a wonder. I hollowed out the underside of the simulated high voltage wire to provide a keeper groove for the spring.

 

Ride height: pretty damn good. The trams look parallel. Noses a bit up and that's a good look.

 

No more catching on a simple Unitrack joiner. That's how low it used to be.

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This is a great little Tram.

 

Unfortunately, good things sometimes have to come at a price. The Little Tram's drive wheels popped off. At least Kato is willing to swap trams at the LHS. The Christmas Tram can still deliver this Holiday. ;)

 

Enjoy the little pics. Cantenary Poles out of stock. The auto-reverser works great with a little light in the room.

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Update.

 

New Tram still has a sagging mid section.  ???  

 

Half of a coupler spring does the trick to keep the trams level with a good attitude.  Use at least 50% of the spring. 100% is too stiff and will also prevent true articulation of both trams. The spring is also good to compensate when traveling over the Catenary Pole bases or other changes.

 

With the poles in place, it's starting to look life like. Just need to figure out how to stick people inside it. Maybe a mooner.

 

Employed a Microtronics Auto Reverser for the effect, and installed the photosensors into Kato Feeder Tracks so that standard Kato Plugs could be easily used for the temporary layout on top of the bar. Plug n Play. The plus connect to the copper wires which are soldered to the photosensors, not the track. I figured the wire ports are there, and I need more wires so it was a win win.

 

In the layout there are a total of 3 S62F pieces. The wires were stripped to connect to the auto-Reverser. Watch that schmatic, the directions had the power supply's polarities reversed.

 

I also used a Kato Long Engine House as a dust cover for the Trolley.  Cheers! :grin

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Just broke in the new White Centram.

 

They fixed the sagging mid-section. A slight jounce proves they addressed this issue.

 

Can anyone translate section #2 about the articulation?

 

Heck, translate 1, 2 & 3 of the Tram manual.

 

It's under the foam in the Tram case. I can send a scanned copy.

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It doesn't bother me to sacrifice a coupler spring to improve the realism of a model but, is there a coupler type spring that's 3-4mm long so don't have to keep cutting springs for the length I need?

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Cool! Now I see it helps tighten up the joint.

 

jeff

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Madsing
1 hour ago, PhilipS said:

Cure for the sagging mid-section

Help me understand please.

The spring is compressed and pushes the top of the two tram parts apart, correct?

 

Marc

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PhilipS
13 hours ago, Madsing said:

Help me understand please.

The spring is compressed and pushes the top of the two tram parts apart, correct?

 

Marc

Yes, as a semi-sprung part.

 

On one section of the tram's roof there is a gray finger that grinds inside the grooved gray part of the opposite tram section’s roof. The semi-sprung spring slows the (few mm’s of) travel rate. 

 

When a coupler spring that is too long is installed the cabs will pitch down and spill the passenger’s coffee. I settled on 40-50% spring length, and leveled out the tram. Individual results may vary. You can barely see the life-like bounce while it travels although a simple light jounce in place will.

 

I recommend fine needle nose pliers and a 2mm flat head to manipulate the spring into place and not let it fly across the room. An LED magnifying lamp is a plus. Choice of tools is subjective.

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Philip, 

 

sorry one more question, how did you get over the two linked connection arms? Take it apart and put the spring over one and then link the two arms back together while reassembling or wind the spring over the linked arms like putting keys on a key ring?

 

sorry it’s been many years since I’ve disassembled a Kato portram so I can quite remember how the bits came apart. This is good stuff to have well documented for the future. I’m going to go play with my Kato portrams to look for sag and see how this all works mechanically.

 

thanks again!

 

jeff

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PhilipS
16 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

how did you get over the two linked connection arms?

 

With the tram flexed, the high voltage cable will pull out some and with micro pliers you’ll be able to pop it out and back in. No superman strength needed.

 

The install of the spring is fun and once its close to being in place, leave it.

 

Had Kato made the gray nub parts the same on each side, it would have easier to DIY the coil spring trick. It looks too risky to drill and/or glue a pin in there. Look at it under magnification. You’ll see what I'm referring too. 

 

Cheers!

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