Kato number 4s

John Moore Sep 21, 2021

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have only two number 4 unitrack turnouts on my layout the last installed just about 2 days ago. The newest one started causing derailments today with the turnout aligned for the main. After careful study I noticed that it kept trying to go onto the siding. Well I remembered the fix posted here a long while back so out came the files and diamond coated very small bits for the Dremel. Slightly notched the fixed rail and tried it again with no luck.

    Then I happened to observe the manual switch tab was resting all the way home against the end slot it moves in. What if I lengthen the notch the manual switch tab rested in allowing it to go a bit further. What have I got to loose. Well it worked and rail nestles tightly against rail now. So we seem to have another fix for the unitrack number 4.
     
  2. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    @John Moore Super! I'll be checking that out when I get that far.
    Thanks!
     
  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    That may have been the problem all along with the turnout that on some the manual switch tab may have prevented a full seating in the main line setting. Would assume that the powered ones would have the same issue.
     
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the tip John. Like @Grey One , I'm not yet at the stage of my build where I'm laying track, but I'll probably have some trouble with my Kato #4s as well and this is good to know. I bought two #4s to mess with and one is derailment-prone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    It may be a quality control issue in how the turnout is assembled With the mechanism not lining up right with the slot for the manual tab. I Lengthened the the slot less than 1/64th of an inch on the end which was not getting fully seated.
     
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  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well the number 4 started acting up again and the more I messed with it the worse it got. Well I am too daggone old and crochety to keep fooling with it so it got the deep six in the circular file 13. Looking at the track layout I realized that a wye would work well in that location so one has been ordered. I may have got a bad number 4 but regardless I am through messing with number 4 unitrack turnouts.
     
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  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    As I've aged, I've come to have less patience with poorly performing items too. My track plan has No. 6s on all mainline turnouts, but No. 4s in the yard and spurs to save space. I won't escape troublesome No. 4s, but hope to lessen the aggravation when they act up. Thomas The Tank Engine had his Troublesome Trucks to deal with and we have Kato No. 4s. :unsure:
     
  8. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    It's rather good to read of the issues that I may run into when, and if, I get back into it. It should help lessen the frustration.
    After dealing with new modified electric bikes I need the help.
    Thanks guys,
    Rich
     
  9. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am so glad ALL my turnouts are Kato 6's.
    Wheewwwwwwwwwwww..dodged a bullet there eh ? :D
     
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  10. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    "...I'm getting too old..."
    Growing old sucks
    But
    It beats the alternative.

    I own way toooooo many #4s so will be doing my own experimenting.
     
  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    One of the two #4s that I bought to mess with had the same problem as @John Moore 's did (points wouldn't close on the rail) and I couldn't find a good solution for it either. I hacked it up pretty well trying to engineer a fix which wasn't successful.
     
  12. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well I tried the notching the rail fix and then my increasing the manual throw range for the black tab slot. I even went as far as filling the movable point even sharper. In nine out of ten passes the loco would derail when the turnout was thrown to the mainline straight through. Surprising that no issues were encountered when the turnout was thrown to the siding. My reason for trying a number 4 was the compact size of the turnout as compared to a number 6 and a little sharper angle of departure. I suspect that the issue may lie with the strength of the spring that holds the rail tight. I have one left that is in a area where space is at a premium and I may do some study towards replacing that turnout.
     
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    In wanting to keep the mainline with all No. 6s, I'm going to have to customize a bridge with a portion of a No. 6 turnout on it. It'll be a challenge, but worth the effort in reliability I think. Glad that Kato's crossover has a good record, as I'll have one at the back of the table and not much fun to access. From what I understand, the crossover has four No. 6s.
     
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  14. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    I I have also had trouble with Kato #4's, despite many people's claim of Unitrack being "bulletproof". I haven't had any trouble with the Atlas #4's that I have, and they are actually basically a drop-in replacement for the Kato #4's. Of course, you do have to add roadbed and you have that big honking switch machine on the side, but if those issues don't bother you an Atlas #4 makes a great substitute for a Kato #4. The Atlas also has a plastic frog, so if you have any locos with bad electrical pickup that's something to be aware of, but the frog is short and I don't have any issues with any of my locos. I am using Unitrack for a "semi-scenicked" staging yard and will be using some Atlas #4's.
     
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  15. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am going to use a Kato unitrack wye in place of the number 4 since it is also power routing. One leg of the wye will continue the main line while the other will feed the port. I wish that Kato would make a curved turnout because that would be ideal for my situation.
     
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  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm surprised that Kato hasn't re-engineered their N Scale No. 4s by now, as most of their product line is first rate and the No. 4s are a distinct departure. Certainly they know about it, given the amount of discouraging posts that have been made about it over the years.
     
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  17. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Yes! I used curved Shinohara turnouts on my previous N Scale road and they were of excellent quality and allowed me to extend passing siding lengths.
     
  18. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    Tomix makes curved turnouts m(and it's not hard to mix Kato and Tomix).
     
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  19. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am looking at Tomix track right now as a replacement for the number 4 that remains.
     

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