Need opinion on Athearn SD70M..

UPCLARK Apr 24, 2013

  1. UPCLARK

    UPCLARK TrainBoard Member

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    Need some opinions on the Athearn SD-70M as far as performance is concerned. Also how good is the lighting? It appears you can see clear through the cab and usually that means it has a "flashlight" stuffed in the cab shining through the front window glass! Shoot me your opinions before I jump off the cliff and buy a couple.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

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    Detail wise they aren't a Kato BUT!!! if you want a train to pull with 5 units The Athearn SD70M will pull out stumps. they are kind of geared on the high side... Others will have different opinions and this is just mine. Not intended to start any rants etc...
     
  3. N-builder

    N-builder TrainBoard Member

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    I have six of them and they are nice locos, unlike Katos the ditch lights don't light up. As for the lighting in the cab they have a shield behind the cab so the light does not shine into the cab. They run great, quiet never had issues with any of them.
     
  4. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

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    Good engines, highly underrated. They are good pullers, and ignore the comments about the too thick windows unless you're looking at them within 6 inches when you run them.
     
  5. UPCLARK

    UPCLARK TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys. I didn't know about the ditch lights. That's kind of odd but I can fix that with some fiber optics if I can't find anything else to do.LOL!
     
  6. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising In Memoriam

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    There are four of them on the sub quietly earning their keep. I added ditchlights using Sunrise castings (wish they were still around!) and 0603 LEDS, VERY happy with their performance. If I needed them I wouldn't hesitate buying more...Speedwise they are closer to FVM or Atlas than to Kato - at least mine are, but they are speed matched in DCC anyway so other than initially it doesn't much matter to me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2013
  7. ATSF5078

    ATSF5078 TrainBoard Member

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    I have a few and have sold one. They run ok but can be difficult to install DCC depending on what run they're from, there's three frame versions. The molding detail is ok but not as fine as Kato and as said non working ditch lights though the painting and color accuracy is very good. I've decided to sell the rest of mine and stick with the Kato SD70M which is far better, I'm even working on detailing and painting a flat radiator UP version.
     
  8. sundowner

    sundowner TrainBoard Member

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    They are crap, stay away form them. They are noisy, run like crap, and are out of scale compare to Atlas, Kato, FVM and IM locos. I had six and sold them because I could not get over how i put one next to aN Atlas SD60m and it look smaller and out of scale plus the running quality left a lot to be desire for. If you do buy them do not pay more than $50 for them new.
     
  9. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, not my experience at all. My Athearn UP SD70M runs every bit as well as my Kato UP SD70M. Looks just as good, too (hell, better in some ways).

    http://www.spookshow.net/loco/athearnsd7x.html

    -Mark
     
  10. sundowner

    sundowner TrainBoard Member

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    From my experience on two different runs they were inferior to the Kato model and the similar Atlas SD60M from the out of scale shell to the coke bottle window glass. They were a huge disapoiment compare to what Athearn did with there Genesis Sd70m. And no the Kato SD70Ms are way better than the Athearn version.
     
  11. ATSFCLIFF

    ATSFCLIFF TrainBoard Member

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    I have three Athearn SD70M engines. They are passable and comparable to Atlas or InterMountain. These models can pull but the motors are not as smooth as Kato.
     
  12. UPCLARK

    UPCLARK TrainBoard Member

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    Well I got on on the way off Ebay last night. I'll find out myself the 1st of next week.
     
  13. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    I just never could get past the coke bottles. I could ignore them at 6 inches, but not at 3 feet....guess I need to hurry up and get older so my eyesight will lie to me. ;-)
     
  14. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising In Memoriam

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    Good luck! Hope all goes well. Bear in mind if these are new, they WILL need break in. I didn't care for mine for about the first four months but suddenly they ran really well. Never had to break in a loco like that before...
     
  15. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

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    Both my Kato and Athearn SD70's have been disappointing..........the Kato couplers were poor, and the lack of articulation pushed the first car behind it off the track, and both couplers were at the wrong height (one high. one low). The couplers were fixed with MT's. But there was also the problem of it just falling over at various points on the track (but never the same place twice, which made it very hard to trouble shoot). Fiddled with the gauge till that went away. It does run smooth and looks good.

    The Athearn looked good and ran nice....right up until it didn't. The motor went south after a few months of running.......it went into the "fix-it" drawer while I looked for a motor, which I never found. Sat there for over a year......just pulled it out a couple of weeks ago and stripped the drivetrain out of it.....it's now tucked in the middle of 3 Atlas SD60's as a dummy 4th loco. At least it looks pretty.
     
  16. UPCLARK

    UPCLARK TrainBoard Member

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    The jury is in and the one I bought last week is on her way back where she came from. Sounded like a coffee grinder! I ran it about 50 scale miles and called the seller to send it back. Fortunately, they gratiously offered refund my money(less shipping obviously). This was very disappointing. My FP-45, Challenger, and Big Boy are all great runners and quiet as a mouse when the sound is off. LOL!!!! I hoped for more with this Athearn piece. Such is life.
     
  17. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

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    Athearn mentioned on their facebook page that they'll be rerunning these. I hope you give another one a chance. They're quality isn't as consistent as Atlas or Kato, and out of the 5 I have one is louder than the others, but I'm happy with mine. Who knows, with a new factory making their stuff, maybe the next ones will be better?
     
  18. raysunt

    raysunt New Member

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    I know, this thread is a few years old but thought it necessary to jump in anyway. I have Kato, Athearn, Atlas and FVM locos and have had fewer problems with the Athearns that any of the other manufactures. The Athearn locos do not look smaller nor run badly next to any of the others. I do consist mine with any of the others and they pull their load!

    Now for the reason I was looking around. I'm in need of instructions of how to replace the trucks on an Athearn NS SD70M, #10721, build year 2004. Yes, one of the 4 I own has a bad truck, also have a Kato SD70M with the same problem and will need the same instructions for that one also.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ray
     
  19. luigi-55

    luigi-55 TrainBoard Member

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    The Kato is far better running engine than the Athearn. They also look more to scale and the color (Southern Pacific anyway) is much closer to the original prototypes color. Also the trucks, dynamic fan, working ditchlights, lighted number boards, LED lights, and correct size numbers on the cab, are all pluses.
    Typical Kato has the wrong or no specific detail parts from the prototype. Athearn has the correct front hand rails, sunshades, rear fans (color), painted handrails, as well as some interior cab details. I have two Genesis engines, and outside the wrong front hand rails, they are beautiful. I would love to see Athearn put a little more effort into N-Scale. FVM makes the best looking engines in N-Scale with details out of the box. Kato and Athearn have room for improvement.
     
  20. u18b

    u18b TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have two and think they are a good buy. Detailing not as good as Atlas or Kato, but mine are smooth runners.

    HOWEVER................!

    There have been FOUR chassis variations to date. Please read Spookshow's presentation of the information I presented in an article a few years ago.

    Check yours when it comes in by taking the shell off. Hopefully you got the fourth version.

    I like the EMD lease versions. CSX has these and I patched them accordingly.

    http://www.spookshow.net/loco/athearnsd7x.html

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