Assessing the Locomotive’s Condition


The Alco MT-2 has a reputation for being a nice looking locomotive with mediocre construction quality.  This model is also notorious for having a very poor gearbox.  As I will describe below, this model had more than its fair share of problems.  But first things first, I needed to get rid of the all the old paint before I could see what needed to be repaired.


I stripped off all the old paint using Jasco paint remover, then I bead blasted everything to clean up the brass and remove the last traces of the old paint.  After looking over the locomotive I began to see what would be turn into a long list of quality problems.


In addition to the obvious broken pilot, the solder joints holding the frame together were cracked in three different places.  In the back the cab mount had completely broken free from the frame.  In the front the cylinder block mount was cracked along one side.  Both of the crosshead guides were twisted and poorly soldered, and both were just about to fall off.  A couple of the wheel spring castings had broken off and were missing.  Two or three of the brake shoe mounts were cracked and loose allowing the brake shoes to flop around.


On the boiler a lot of the piping and handrails were just hanging on, with numerous cold or broken solder joints.  On the engineer’s side piping the pipe couplings were unsoldered and slid freely back and forth along the pipes once the paint was removed.  The Nathan injector had broken off and was missing.  One of the number boards was crooked, and electrical junctions boxes had been installed on the handrails such that they were blocking the number boards.


The tender was not in too bad of shape other than the trucks that turned out to be a hopeless cause.  The first problem was that the tender had a 15 degree list to one side due the bolsters not being parallel to frame of the tender.  On the trucks themselves the wheel sets were not perpendicular to the side frames, they were off on an angle.   One of the steps was also missing from the back of the tender.


As I would find out when repairing all these problems, the general quality of the soldering on this model was very poor.  When working with the model about a dozen other small items broke loose and needed to be re-soldered.  I finally went over the whole model looking for any additional poor solder joints and touched up all of these with a resistance soldering iron.



Page 3 - Last updated January 22, 2004


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