BLMA Tropicana Reefers

Trashman Oct 19, 2013

  1. Trashman

    Trashman TrainBoard Member

    Good day to the Group

    I wanted to know has anyone had time to review the new Tropicana cars BLMA just rolled out with. I would like to know what others think of the item.

    Not being a master model railroader, I have purchased a few of these cars. They look great, and are highly detailed as you would expect from BLMA. I will admit I have had problems with the coupler platforms falling off. These models appear to be exact replicas of the ARMN, and CEFX reefers except the logo.

    Tracking: as a member of Keystone N Trak, I took the cars on a test run on the layout. They do not run well at all. The wheels look great, and add much to the detail of the car, but during test runs with the ARMN cars, I had to swap the BLMA wheels for Micro-Trains 36" wheel sets. I will make that modification. I was also thinking of trying Intermountain metal 36" wheel sets. They fit in place and roll easier in the BLMA trucks.

    My thoughts for using the Intermountain wheel sets are, because I'm looking to make a sound car out of a Tropicana Reefer. I need metal wheels to do that. I'm not sure if the Intermountain wheel sets will work, but I will keep you updated.

    I would love to hear other revies of the model, and what if any modification you have made to make them better performers.

    Peace be with the Group.

  2. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    I have all of the BLMA Refers and I have had no issues at all with them. Sometimes in shipping, the wheels can get knocked slightly out of kilter. Did you try removing them and resetting them in the trucks?
  3. webskipper

    webskipper TrainBoard Member

    Just by popping out wheels and trucks always frees them up pretty well.

    Another way is to run your new cars around a simple oval with one or both straight sides built with the tightest recommended curves. This will surely break in the new parts. You'll detect coupler issues pretty quickly.

    Are the wheels concentric? Does the car wobble?
  4. GaryHinshaw

    GaryHinshaw TrainBoard Member

    What kind of tracking problems are you having specifically? I had a few ARMN reefers that had somewhat tight trucks that would cause derailments, but once those were loosened a little bit, they were fine. The narrow tread wheels can be unforgiving on Ntrak setups, so you might also want to try the wide tread Fox Valley wheels.

    As for a review: I give the ARMN and CEFX a 10. :) (I don't have any Tropicana ones.)
  5. Trashman

    Trashman TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the comments. The tracking issues are that the cars will derail at different locations. Let me be clear, the club, and show layouts are groups of modules that are individually owned. With that said, every section of track may not be the best. Not to mention you can't say its a problem when your the only one having issues. However there are no problems when Micro-Trains wheels are used. I'm just not understanding the science behind. Micro-Trains wheel sets are as hard as metal. Not like Atlas or other plastic wheel sets that bend.

    I have not thought of a test track to break the cars in, but the cars roll freely out of packaging. When I first got a set of ARMN reefers I went to set up. A not her member asked if I changed the wheel sets to Micro-Trains. I said no. Well not listening it took me some time to get the cars up and off. I know every layout is different.

    Thanks for the advice.
  6. SknarfWl

    SknarfWl TrainBoard Member

    I was having the very same issues as you, BUT with my BLMA Spine Cars. I switched all mine over to FVM wide tread wheels. In doing the switch I also went through and freed up a few of the truck centers so they would swivel better. At a Ntrak show this past weekend I set up 26 spines as a test, other then a set of 3 that had a truck issue they ran flawless for 3 hours.
  7. webskipper

    webskipper TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, sometimes you really need some serious wheel articulation to get through an Ntrak module. Always one guy that uses a dozer to ballast. I'm not perfect either.

    Check the track and wheels with a gauge. Maybe someone pounded a track nail too far and the rails are out of gauge.

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