Intermountain SD-40-2

Trains Dec 4, 2018

  1. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

    Thinking about getting one, any good or bad things I need to look for?

  2. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    I wanna say there's another thread on here about them, and not that good, from the reviews so far.....o_O
  3. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

    I have two and love them!
  4. Dogwood

    Dogwood TrainBoard Member

    No problems and run very well. I've the sound version with ESU board. Detailing is also acceptable.
  5. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

    I own two of the Intermountain SD40-2w in Canadian National colours.

    I’ll share my experience with these locomotives, but first I’d like to mention that I am very new at model trains, having started back in February, and have very limited experience with this hobby. I currently only own four locomotives (Kato ES44AC, the two Intermountain SD40s and a new Kato F40PH I received a few days ago that I have not yet run). Just to say that I don’t know if my experience is considered normal.

    I bought the first SD40-2 back in May of this year, but sent it back to the store for an exchange within a few days of receiving it. I had a few problems with the locomotive. The rear coupler was just about broken, the cab was glued on incorrectly, the headlights were sticking out of the shell by a few millimeters, and finally, the motor made a strange noise. The store was very nice about it and exchanged it immediately. For reference, these are the photos I sent to the store to document why I was returning the locomotive (also note the glob of lube in the truck):



    (sorry for the quality of pictures in this post, all were hastily taken with a cellphone!)

    The replacement was better, but in terms of aesthetics, it still bugs me a little. The main problem is that it looks to be a little “humpbacked”, as if the cab just doesn’t quite fit on the frame. Basically it suffers to a lesser extent from the same problem as the first. The headlight fiber-optic also sticks out a little bit, but again, not as obviously bad as the original. Speaking of that headlight, it is very dim, especially when compared to the Kato. I sometimes have to look twice to make sure it’s on or off.


    Notice the glob of glue at the bottom of the rail, just forward of the rear truck. Lucky, this is the only such spot of visible glue on both my SD40-2s. But we can see that the cab doesn't quite fit.

    And here's a photo of the headlights, as compared to the Kato ES44AC:


    Maybe it's just lack of experience and it's the Kato that's too bright?

    On the other hand, it runs great as far as I can tell. I adjusted the CVs (the loco is DCC sound), and I can make it crawl smoothly at slow speeds or up to its maximum scale speed. It is noisier than the Kato, but I can’t say whether the motor noise is above average or not (I have nothing to compare it to - see experience comment above!)

    After the above, I didn't think I'd buy another Intermountain locomotive, but two things happened. First, I started reading and learning about consists and really wanted to have a second locomotive to run with the first. Second, a sale happened. So here I am with a second SD40-2w.


    I have just about the same problems. The humpback look, and the dim headlights are still a problem. Additionally, this time around, one of the grills on the cab was glued on crooked.


    I know I shouldn't have trusted Intermountain again, but here I am. It's a hassle having to return stuff over the border, and felt bad at again asking for a replacement from the store, so I kept it regardless. The one bit saving it is that it does run well. A bit noisier than my other SD40, but I have no idea what is acceptable in terms of noise.

    Oh, one point to make is that the broken handrails on this second model is entirely is my fault - these things are incredibly fragile and I was careless one day. I kept the missing piece and intend to glue it back on one of these days.

    Will I trust Intermountain for a locomotive again? Not if the sale is really good!
  6. SknarfWl

    SknarfWl TrainBoard Supporter

    I am very happy with my pair. I bought them used from a friend, after running them several times on his layout I had no hesitation in buying them. The run as well if not the same as my Kato's and the sound is very good on them.
  7. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the pictures Stephane. If it was me I would have returned both. For the money they charge, those defects should not be present.

    Yes, defects! The gap and the headlight sticking out like that??? It's not like there's a tiny scratch on the paint or a broken horn that can be replaced.

    How could they have let that crooked grill go? Afterall they have the other one to compared to, which looks relatively straight. You don't have to know anything about model railroading or even locomotives to say "Hmmm, that doesn't look right."
    mtntrainman likes this.
  8. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    Intermountain has had an ongoing problem that may be the fault of their, not the Chinese factory. All their locos have had problems with the cabs not snapping down on the walkway, just as we see in your photos. I'm wondering if this is a tooling problem. Intermountain makes their own tools and ships them to China for production, perhaps the tooling folks have messed up something.As far as the headlights or the glob of grease, those are the kind of things that come with Chinese production.
    DCESharkman likes this.
  9. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

    Boy for what they charge for those unit that's sad! Don't they have Quality Control?

  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    Just because they are made in China does not mean the tooling is bad, it can easily be sloppy assembly by the Chinese workers. Never underestimate the the assemblers who work like slaves.
  11. Hoghead2

    Hoghead2 TrainBoard Member

    Bought one. Warped shell, ran badly , got returned
  12. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

    I've seen Intermountain stuff all over the board. Terribly inconsistent I guess. =(
  13. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    Just because they are made in China does not mean the tooling is bad, it can easily be sloppy assembly by the Chinese workers.

    Perhaps I was unclear. Intermountain makes their own tools, in Colorado, USA, and ships them to China for production. It may be sloppy assembly, but I suspect it's problems with the tooling, as their locomotives are made in the same factory as several other manufacturers,, that don't have the same problem..
  14. Dogwood

    Dogwood TrainBoard Member

    I have the impression that it is similar to ATLAS. Also there are big fluctuations in quality noticeable.

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