Bachmann Not Honoring Warranty

Kisatchie Jan 15, 2016

  1. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    That really isn't saying much, considering that the MSRPs keep going up. And, besides, when a MODEL railroader waits decades for a distinctive engine like the K-4 and purchases it, even at a big discount from its huge MSRP, offering him/her something different but "more expensive" is NOT any sort of guarantee that he will have a WORKING version of WHAT HE PURCHASED.

    And, do you really think that Bachmann would provide somebody with a new K-4 because they returned a broken 2-8-0 as the K-4s came out and Bachmann did not have the parts to fix the 2-8-0? No, Bachmann will jusst provide a new model THAT IS NOT SELLING OUT in place of one that did.

    Advertizing a "lifetime warranty" used to mean the BUYER'S lifetime, or at least the COMPANY'S lifetime, not just the lifetime of the individual copy of the product that you buy. That means that the company has a RESPONSIBILITY to produce and stock the parts needed for repair/replacement. NOT doing so seems to be at least DECEPTIVE advertizing, no matter how much legaleze is embedded in the fine print.

    I am hoping that this opens a window for entrepreneurs to start an engine repair business in the U.S. that they can morph into a full-fledged engine MANUFACTURING business that out-competes PRC by providing both quality AND SERVICE to model railroaders. Given the current level of MSRPs, the continuing PRC QC problems, and the sorry state of "warranty" for runs that are designed to sell-out quickly, are Americans still unable to compete?
     
  2. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    OP- Sad to hear about the meltdown.
    Am sorry to hear that the K4s has no service or parts available.
    Back in the 90's when I first got back into model trains, and ended up with an N scale layout bought second hand, it came with Bman F units. They were fast! But, being broke in they could crawl at fairly slow speeds, 15-20 mph. Not too bad for cheap locos. My then 5 year old ran those units for hours and hours on that layout. We took it to shows in Helena, Billings and Livingston where they were run and run and run . . . . . .and they were still running when I sold them after repainting them and reverting to a steam only layout.
    Have steam from most and find that the Bman steam runs as well as the others. Paid attention tho, and have not bought or run any of the older not so good stuff. Except for two 4-4-0's I have sitting new in boxes yet.
    Have never had to send one out on warranty, yet. (Am madly knocking on my wooden noggin here!!!)
    As a reference, I have two ten-wheelers, run a lot, an EM-1, with hours on it, a K4s with a bit of time on it, a light Mountain in the box yet, the two 4-4-0's, an older 4-8-4 in the box and a 2-6-2 that has been run some in DC and waiting for conversion.
    So I guess I have been fortunate that these have all been good loco's for me and run well and reliably. So even if they are having QC trouble and planning troubles, well, I ain't tossing out the baby with the dirty bath water!
    Traindork . . . . NAW! Ain't going to happen. No dismals!
     
  3. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    So.... What your saying is I shouldn't start my truck to warm it up, then open the hood, pour a few gallons of gas on the engine let it catch fire, the pull it back to dealer demanding a brand new truck.?
    DANG!!!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
     
  4. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    I am, by no means, an electronic expert. However, in reading this thread and the similar thread over on the Railwire forum, I came across a posting which offered a reason for what happened. I am not saying this is definitely the cause but is, I think, something for us to ponder. Here is the posting responding to an earlier post. First the earlier post:

    Quote from: Rich_S on December 09, 2015, 05:22:21 PM
    "Tony, I can lay a quarter on my tracks anywhere on my layout and the circuit breaker in the DCC system trips. Dead spots do not cause shorts, crossing polarities cause shorts. It sounds to me like your frog was not properly insulated and since you were relying on rail jointers for the connection to your DCC system, a short on the frog may not have been detected by your system. I can lay a quarter on every piece of track on my layout and the DCC system will detect the short. Since I have Atlas code 80 turnouts, the frogs are plastic, I never have issues with shorts at the frog, the only issue I ever have with turnouts is with the points not properly aligned [​IMG] I still think something happened inside the tender and burned itself open before the DCC system could detect the short. This locomotive was only 2 weeks old, the wheels were not even dirty yet, but I guess now I'll have to wait and see what Bachmann decides? [​IMG]"

    This is the response to that post:

    "The quarter trick is not an end all test of the breaker system. The quarter test is a hard short. If all it took was a completion of the circuit, setting a loco on the track would trip the breaker. I think the breakers trip around the 2-3 amp mark in a Digitrax system. A loco only draws around a quarter amp to a half at most. You can have a weak short which will not trip the breaker but will still heat up connections and wires. 2 amps through a truck will melt it in a heartbeat, it probably only took about an amp to melt the truck.

    The breaker really trips on wattage, not just amperage but the combination of voltage and amperage. Lack of feeders makes the problem more evident because the wattage needed to overcome the breaker is not only being consumed by the loco but the resistance in the track leading to the loco. Our layout passed the quarter test at the points where the loco's failed, but they still failed there. The lack of feeders and weak connections lowered the voltage at the point of the short requiring more amp draw at the short to trip the breaker. The only way to finally discover the problem was with a RAMP meter.

    I'm not saying that there was not a problem with the loco but the reason it melted was lack of feeders. If there was a short anywhere in the loco, except the motor wires, and the breaker was working correctly, it would have shut down the system. Dead shorting the motor wires usually doesn't result in a total melt down though, it just blows the power output side of the decoder and shuts down the output of the decoder. I have a Tsunami that is that way right now. I am using it in conjunction with a standard decoder because the output side of it is toast. The sound works perfectly fine, just no motor output. The other decoder handles that."

    This was something that I was not aware of and reinforces the old adage of not relying on rail joiners for current transmission and having feeders for every section of track. Was this the problem for the K4? I don't know. But it is advice worth keeping in mind.

    As for the K4 getting repair parts may have to wait for the next release, if there is one. But failing that there may be a work around. From what I read the parts affected are the front tender truck and wheel sets. I'm wondering if a front tender truck and wheel sets from another Bachmann DCC locomotive could be used. The side frames may not be the same but it may be possible to get a functioning locomotive. Bachmann site shows tender trucks for the 4-6-0 in stock and priced at $8.00. These have the same pick up design as the K4 truck and may fit. If the decoder is toast then a new decoder will have to be installed. The Bachmann decoder was panned when it came out due to its limited functionality. So there are options available and admittedly are not the best but they could restore a functional locomotive to the layout.

    One more thing. In checking Bachmann's online parts listings I see where they are sold out of a number of items. Some of these are "wear and tear" items such as traction tires. I can't believe customers have worn out the traction tires already. Someone is hoarding them. Still I believe Bachmann should replenish these very basic parts.
     
  5. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    No and I think your analogy is way over the top. Are you by any chance from Cincinnati? Warranties generally apply to a defect in the product itself. If damage was done by something other than the product then the warranty does not apply.

    One more thing here. Bachmann has sold out of this locomotive. That tells me there are a lot of K4's out there. Yet this is the only reported instance of this particular problem. That is evidence enough to suggest the problem may not be with the K4. Not conclusive by any means but the weight of evidence seems to indicate such.
     
  6. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    No, Ink, I ain't from Bengal land. Tuck in the middle of iowa where the closest tracks to me are 20 miles away.
    I would agree that I maybe over the top. But this thread seemed to go over the top to begin with. Perhaps we should discuss WHY his tender melted. Not bash the mfr. If it was an operator error, or some other operative error, that would be more helpful.
    If this is the first negative. Then that's good. How long did it take for the ATSF 4-8-4 or that GN 2-8-0 to get thrashed?

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    An excellent idea folks. So let's follow his lead and take it that direction.
     
  8. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Bachmann is what I started out with in N Scale and honestly they served me well for what I knew at the time. Reliable and a company that was known for a good warranty. As stated within this Thread all companies will fall short at times.
     
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  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    From the early years I have had Bachmann power in the stable. And I have gone on about the early junk and it's problems, mainly the cracked gears. I have had electrical problems only twice, once their fault, once my fault. A sloppy job of QC with a N&W J wiring harness led to a short, the other was a circuit board fried when I thought I had killed power after a derailment of a 44 tonner. I ended up buying another 44 tonner on sale because it was cheaper then buying the circuit board, the J was such a mess that I scrapped it.

    None of the first generation Bachmann is in my stable of locos any longer and I would never even think about another first generation even if it was gift. However the newer stuff is, and other than the two I mentioned, it all runs fine with the exception of the gas electrics, and now that I have replaced the power trucks they run fine.

    However I have a long list of other manufacturers who also have had early product failures from the old Zimac crumbling frames to poor motors and they aren't around any longer to even think about warranty service. And that makes me think about the Bachmann warranty, and what is considered an average lifetime, and how long will a locomotive be produced. And I have to agree that offering a locomotive of a different type does suck for some people who model a specific road and power. That said though at least they are trying.
     
  10. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    My first response, #3 in this thread:
    "Question is, what's broken?
    Next question is, how hard is it to fix?
    Like, if motor or gears, NWSL makes parts."
    The original poster was quoting from a post on RailWire, so he doesn't know. Asking that on TrainBoard is silly, as apparently the original poster isn't on TB.
     
  11. Arctic Train

    Arctic Train TrainBoard Member

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    OK "Inkaneer", I'll give you that Bachmann steam locomotives are probably a useable locomotive but I don't run steam and was referring to the abysmal diesel line Bmann produces. I am referring strictly to their N scale diesels. I should have been more specific.

    I echo what "Point 353" says earlier. ..."You wonder how many potential model RRers have been lost when they conclude, from the unsatisfactory quality of those starter sets, that all model trains are junk?" ... I'd have given up the hobby decades ago if all I had to choose from is Bachmann. And one could argue, yah they're cheap but they offer a lifetime warranty right?. Well I guess now that option may even be called into question. "Caveat Emptor" and Good luck...

    Brian
     
  12. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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    Some of you need to go and read the whole RW thread carefully. The initial quote in this thread does not tell the whole story at all.

    Sorry, but the thread title here is incorrect; the warranty WAS honored. Bachmann guarantees replacement OR replacement with another engine; it's on the paperwork and it's been that way for years. BTW no guarantee you'd get the same scheme, either, but there could always be a workable deal to just replace the mechanism and decoder. In any case, replacement K4s and mechs are out of stock, so a Berkshire was offered by Bmann and it was refused. Whether the offer is equitable or not is debatable, but an attempt was made in good faith to honor the warranty. For anyone who would suggest a lawsuit, the complainant would get thrown out of court once that warranty and the attempt to honor it was revealed.

    As Inkaneer stated, the complainant likely melted part of the tender due to incorrect track voltage. And that was after a couple of posters gave troubleshooting advice, which was apparently ignored. The complainant later said he didn't think he had sufficient drops on his layout but considered that to be an unrelated problem. No, and apparently no check of track voltage was made, either, just an assertion of the "quarter test". The original problem (lights on, no movement) could have been due to the same problem.

    Buying N scale steam in its first run in the last 20 years has been a mixed bag. Many won't buy one until many reports are in and possibly not at all until the second run; I didn't reserve or buy a first-run K4. Still, it's been notable that there have been so very few problems reported with the K4 relative to any other new steam locos. BTW a thrown traction tire doesn't count in my book. While the complainant's situation is truly unfortunate, it is an isolated incident and probably self-caused. It won't stop me getting a second-run K4.
     
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  13. Arctic Train

    Arctic Train TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Steamghost for providing clarity. I rarely like to pour gas on a fire but Bachmann "quality" and implied warranty really have me "steamed". Of the 73 locomotives I own from multiple different manufacturers, the only ones that are "terminal dust collectors" are Bachmanns. I foolishly bought these 3 duds because of the price. Wasted money right out of the box. Sure I've had minor issues with a few other locomotives but the fix was either easy to accomplish at home, or the parts were readily available on the internet. In all these cases the fix was worth the trouble because the locomotive ran really good before the problem arose.

    I just want others to know if they decide to chase price they may have to endure the challenges of "hoop jumping" the requirements of any implied warranty Bachmann provides.

    Brian
     
  14. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Depends upon whether or not you consider an inequitable offer as fulfillment of the terms of the warranty.
    Most customers would likely expect their loco to be repaired or, failing that, replaced in kind with either an identical loco or one of equal or greater value.
    Suppose your new Ford Mustang couldn't be repaired and you were offered a Focus as a replacement, because Mustangs were all sold out.
    Would you agree that the warranty had been honored in a satisfactory fashion?
     
  15. Jeepy84

    Jeepy84 TrainBoard Member

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    What's the msrp of the k4 and of the berk? If the berk costs more, your analogy doesn't fit.
    What I get from all this is Bachmann should consider stocking repair parts for first runs instead of selling them. Or, at least limit quantities per customer.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
     
  16. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    By all means look it up for yourself.
    Rather than speculate, I took the time to do a bit of research before making my post.
     
  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I find it funny and a bit annoying that this all started on a post on TRW in early December and has now migrated over here to TB by quoting a post from over there ? :mad:

    The asshats over there argueing wasnt good enough to stay over there ? :ROFLMAO::notworthy:
     
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  18. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, it is more like 2 different discussions. On RW, it is mostly about ONE incident. Here, it is about the warranty issue, which applies to MANY different experiences with Bachmann WARRANTY. There are some cross connects, but the focus HERE, and the title of THIS THREAD is about how Bachmann does NOT maintain the ability to repair or replace IN KIND.

    To me, the Bachmann warranty seems aimed at the toy train buyer, who does not care whether his engine matches his caboose, so long as that engine runs around the circle of track. But, the people on RW and here are more MODELERS, who DO care what engine model and even paint scheme they have, as well as how WELL it runs.

    So, to me, that is the paradigm I need to deal with when I decide whether or not to buy a Bachmann product. I know that their toy-like stuff, such as the ancient 0-6-0, will be in-stock forever, but their model-like stuff, such as the K-4, will be UNAVAILABLE for most of the time.

    That means that their warranty is not really an incentive for me to buy a Bachmann Spectrum product. What I really want to know is whether there is a problem with their new products out-of-the-box and whether there is a COMMON malfunction or breakage issue that will come up SOON after the product becomes unavailable for repair or replacement. Beyond that, I am just taking a chance, like I need to do with many manufacturers.

    Steve
     
  19. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Well this whole debate revealed another problem that is inherent in the hobby and that is the lack of repair parts. Companies do not want to stock repair parts because there is no return on investment if something sits on a shelf in the parts dept. Maybe what is needed is a separate company to handle repair parts for all the manufacturers. That would provide the manufacturers with a return on their manufacturing investment while, at the same time providing their customers with a one stop shop for all their repair part needs.

    Failing that some limitation should be employed to prevent the hoarding of repair parts. How many packages of traction tires does one need especially when they come with 10 in a package? How about limiting purchases of such items to one per order. If someone wants another package then a separate shipping and handling charge will apply. We pay a good amount of money for the models of today. These are not the toy train sets we knew from the 60's and 70's. We should demand that a company provide the support for its product offerings. And Bachmann is not alone in this. Kato and LifeLike/Walthers are also involved. I believe there are some consumer laws requiring companies to provide support for their products for a period of time (15 years?) after that product model was first manufactured. I don't know if these laws apply to hobby products or not. Something to ponder.
     
  20. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    Don't remember if this was said here , or over at TRW . I think Bachmann really underestimated the number of K4's that they were going to sell . And this is what has led to the lack of extra/repair parts . Probably if/when they do another run , there will be a bit better chance of there being extra parts . I've used their repair dept a couple times and never had this problem , even on locos that were over a year into production . I always talked to the lady in charge there , and if there was a problem , she always made it possible to get my old loco back with the new one so I could change the shells . I then sent the un-needed parts back to them . They will work with us if we give them the chance . From what I've read at TRW the OP is going to repair the loco himself and upgrade the sound system too . So yea , it's a PITA , but in the end I bet he has a better running and sounding locomotive .
     

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