Sad Days Indeed - Intermountain Frame Rot

DCESharkman Apr 1, 2022

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  1. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've had issues of 'zinc pest' for some older Intermountain units and Atlas units. I believe the issue was caused by an imprecise mixture of the metal alloys. The temperature and humidity would only make the problem more acute.

    I have hundreds of Intermountain and Atlas locomotives which I have not run or inspected recently for the zinc pest condition. I might be unpleasantly surprised when I look at them closely. I have not seen any issues with Kato, Athearn, MRC/MP, Bachmann, Lifelike/Walther or BLI models that I have. They are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment... but a poor alloy mixture would not keep disaster away.

    Very likely a particular Chinese factory that made the Intermountain and Altas units was at fault for most of the poorly made chassis.
     
  2. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Intermountain has always done 'right' for their customers when there has been a product issue. That said... it has been several years since I've contacted them for anything. Hopefully this topic won't become a major issue that would change their customer service.
     
  3. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    David has contacted IM. He posted what IM told him. I am sure he has proof that he was more then willing to provide to IM. Zinc Rot is a well known problem with IM locomotives. David doesn't need to post proof of anything here on TB. Perhaps read the whole thread. BTW...a written false statement would be called 'Libel' not 'Slander'.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2022
    Carl Sowell likes this.
  4. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just a final thought here. David doesn't need anyone defending him. That being said he is a good friend and I felt a need to jump in here.

    If you had bought just (1) IM locomotive years ago for lets say $100.00 and stored it and took it out of storage years later to find the problems David has stated I am sure you would be 'upset'. David has found close to 150+ IM locomotives to have the problems he has stated. Do the math. At that price point I would not be 'upset'...I would be 'LIVID' too !!!!

    I'll step off my soapbox now and go run my trains. Thanks. (y):whistle:

    .
     
    Carl Sowell likes this.
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As already noted, the correct term might be "libel", if actually applicable. Such WILL NOT be determined here on TrainBoard.

    Also note- David has NO obligation to provide anyone with "evidence", other than possibly the manufacturer involved, should such a situation arise.

    Now, let us all get back to enjoying our railfanning and model railroading. (y)

    TrainBoard Administration
     
  6. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hello all. I'm baaack... from my Lent penance and have been looking into my own Intermountain locomotives as a result of this thread.

    I spent most of last night and today looking at ALL of my locomotives regardless of the manufacturer. I've looked at hundreds of my models searching for this zinc pest. Included in the search was about 75 Intermountain models of various types. So... good news and bad news as to these Intermountain locomotives. I found two (so far) which have self destructed with zinc pest. They are a couple of the first run of Southern Pacific EMD F3A units which were released about 2005. These two are from the same batch... so it appears to be an isolated incident at the factory. I have earlier FT A/B sets which are just fine... almost 18 years after they were released in 2004.

    The SP SD40T-2 (short nose) version was fine. A later released Santa Fe SD45-2 was also fine.

    20220419_021657.jpg

    20220419_022141.jpg

    So far no Atlas or other brand has disappointed me.
    Unfortunately I have a couple of large bins of SP and DRGW locomotives to sort through... and many are Intermountain varieties.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
    Doug Gosha likes this.
  7. johnh

    johnh TrainBoard Member

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    Dang, hopefully replacement frames are available.
     
  8. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    It looks like one side of the chassis has degraded more than the other. By chance, does your other damaged model have a good opposite frame half? Maybe you could salvage one undamaged model from the two chassis (as long as you don't have two exploded shells).
     
  9. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Both shells are in the same condition... cracked on the back bulkhead. If I can somehow remove the shell without further damage, both shells might be salvageable.
     
  10. JBrown

    JBrown TrainBoard Member

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    The only one I had a couple years ago was a F3 also from 2005.
     
  11. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    By any chance was it an SP F3 unit? Both of mine are SP units from the same run 69102-01 and 69102-02.
     
  12. stritarja

    stritarja New Member

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    Grandpa Joe's pictures are very helpful. IM acknowledged some time ago that they had a bad early batch of F3 frames, but no one has reported such a large number (and percent) of frame problems for other IM models as has David. We may never know what he actually saw in the more that 200 with "swollen frames," since the Administration has ruled that he "has NO obligation to provide anyone with "evidence", other than possibly the manufacturer involved."
     
  13. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I have a very large collection of over 1500 locomotives. They are all stored in Banker boxes inside the house in a spare room with constant temperature and humidity. The reason I have so many is not germain to this discussion. I chose to share photographs with Intermountain because it was an issue between me and Intermountain. If they had done the right thing about the issue, I would not have said a word. But they didn't do anything but tell me that they did not have parts to replace and wouldn't until the locomotives were run again. And at that time they would sell me the drive units, but that does nothing about the bad shells. And the remark that I would just need to but the locomotives again as they were released was just a bit too surly when I was trying to be reasonable. This was more about their attitude then the bad locomotives.

    Calzehpr, thanks for the photo, I have Funits from that same release too. I just have not gotten to that box yet.
     
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  14. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I sampled my fleet this week (during our Snowmageddon event and the 48 inches of snow that came for the ride), and none of my tunnel motors seems to have it. I only have 10, so it's not nearly the loss that others are facing. I didn't remove the shell of the F7s I have, and now looking at Joe's images, I think I need to look under the hood. I bought them around 2006/7. That all said, I live in a dry climate and my fleet is stored in temperature-controlled environment indoors. Maybe the humidity has something to do with it?
     
  15. johnh

    johnh TrainBoard Member

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    And yet you still want to keep bringing it up. I have seen plenty of pictures of the problem with the tunnel motors in other posts around the internet and I accept that it has happened/exists. This subject seems to be the only one on Trainboard that has drawn your attention. Do you have a connection with IM?
     
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  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Folks - please cease meta discussions and stay on the specific topic of thread. Staff has already stated our position.
     
  17. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hello again.
    The problem of zinc rot has 'bitten' me again. This time another of the early F3A units in the Northern Pacific Mainstreeter scheme. This is a painful one since I was hoping this model run was 'after' the original run... apparently same run. I have two of them... the other one still looks okay. The shell on these units are not cracked (yet?)... but concerned it will happen if I don't get the bad frame out.

    20220421_153402.jpg

    Just thinking how many more F3 units are in the large storage drawers for SP and DRGW I have yet to look at. I'm estimating another 6 or 8 may be compromised... Yikes!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
    Doug Gosha likes this.
  18. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    DCESharkman...
    I commiserate with you... number of units is not germain to the issue... and my collection is quite large as well. The large drawers I have not looked through have numerous F3A and SD40T-2 units from early releases. I can't get to those bins yet... but will have to at some point.

    As you know, there is a global supply chain issue and Intermountain is badly caught up in that debacle since the chassis and decoration is done in China. Intermountain used to do the shell molds and gears in-house... but I'm not even sure they do that anymore. I think Intermountain needs to supply the replacement chassis without charging... it was their manufacturing oversight not the modelers doing. They always used to stand behind their products... but... we are in unusual times now.

    I am so far disappointed in Intermountain from your experience with them... but... we are both in this together.
     
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  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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  20. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Please let us all know what surgery you perform to get those frames out to try and salvage the shells...TIA
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
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