The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
3440
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The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby 3440 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:00 pm

Or rather the lack of it.

If theres one peice of advice I wish I had recieved when I first started modelling N gauge I would have like to have been told "Never buy Grafar". Whether or not Id have been sensible enough to follow that advice is another matter entirely.

I have 8 grafar locos. 3 of them work, more or less. 3 of them died of old age and thats fair enough I spose: theyd had a long hard life before I got them! 2 however were rather newer, a pair of 57xx tanks that are in perfect condition apart from that brittle central driving gear that breaks on every single one.

Getting in touch with the company was the first obstacle, after a couple of years (this was around the time bachmann took over: the chaos that results from a takeover can have an adverse effect on customer service I spose) they emailed me with a phone number, and then answered when I rang it! I ordered two sets of the central driving wheels with the gear and coupling rods. Simple eh?

The ease of actually ordering a part from them at this point must of frazzled my brain. God forgive me but I thought for a moment they'd actually send me the right part. In fact it (or they) ARE the right parts. but it quickly became apparent that they didnt fit. Puzzled, I sat down and started comparing the old and new parts.

The first thing I noticed were the crank pins. On both my previous 57xx's these were attached directly to the coupling rods so they would simply rest in the pockets on the other driving wheel sets. This is no longer the case. I spose on the face of it, this is an obvious change: all other farish locos had the crankpin on the wheel and just a hole on the coupling rod and theyve brought the 57xx into line with this.

Unfortunatly they didnt think to mention this change when I spoke to them. I wasnt asked which of the various versions of the 57xxs driving wheels I would require, nor was I told that one wouldnt be compatible with my existing wheelsets. Thanks guys.

However I was wandering if there was a way round it. A quick search through the spares box revealed two wheelsets the right size, and with crank pins fitted! Perfect! Not. Still didnt fit. Theyd got something else wrong: now everyone knows that the coupling rods on steam locos are offset by a quarterish turn. On my locos this seems to be consistent: when one side is at the 12oclock position the other is at 3oclock (whilst facing away from you.) Problem is that the new sets are exactly half a turn out (ie at 9oclock!), so even if I didnt have to worry about the crankpins issue they still woulnt match up with any of my existing wheels!

I stared at both new wheelsets in disbelief. And spotted a third problem. The counterweights. Now I could be wrong here, but IIRC loco wheels are supposed to have a counterwight directly opposite the crankpin. The crankpin socket is not supposed to be drilled through one end of it. Only a cosmetic issue I spose but still a stupid one.

On the bright side the gear itself looks thicker and hopefully stronger than its predeccessor. And its still bloody useless!
Rest assured Ill be calling bachfar tomorrow and will be trying to get this sorted, however for now I just wanted to vent!

Thanks for listening, Rant over.

Think I might mail order a couple of terriers from Dapol...

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silentwake
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby silentwake » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:41 pm

I have a Terrier and it is excellent - but beware some Dapol locos have big problems.

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upnick
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby upnick » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:54 pm

Hi 3440,

For Grafar spares give Bob at Br lines a ring really helpful bloke & a lot of the time things arrive next day post
http://www.brlines.com/
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Grahame
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby Grahame » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:09 pm

It does rather sound like you have the old Farish Poole era products. They ceased production over 10 years ago now and the company was brought out by Bachmann. Initially the models were re-released using the old Poole mouldings but with a new interim chassis (for diesels) or tweaked one (for kettles). Since then Bachmann have started introducing a replacement better quality 'Blue ribband' Farish range of all brand new models - new accurate mouldings and all new DCC friendly chassis'. These are more reliable than the old Poole stuff, which quite frankly has had it's day - it's time to upgrade. And you can be sure that the latest Farish/Bachmann products are as good as anyones elses these days.

G.

guinnesskid
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby guinnesskid » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:49 pm

silentwake wrote: - but beware some Dapol locos have big problems.

Seconded - my pair of 14xxs are still struggling to pull anything.
I'm thinking of becoming an alcoholic - It's cheaper than N gauging and not quite as taxing on my brain.

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silentwake
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby silentwake » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:25 pm

guinnesskid wrote:
silentwake wrote: - but beware some Dapol locos have big problems.

Seconded - my pair of 14xxs are still struggling to pull anything.


It is strange with the 14xxs as they have a wide range of pulling abilities. I have had a few of these and some are reasonable pullers and at least one could hardly pull itself along!

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blooregard
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby blooregard » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:47 pm

My 14xx is sweet and pulls hard, but it only ever pulls its autocoach and a milk tanker.
Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate.

3440
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby 3440 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:01 pm

Ill try Br lines then. The bachmann line seemed to be closed today. :evil:

I already have a 14xx and I really like it, it runs smoothly and looks pretty. However I reckon its a reincarnation of the old 00 Airfix one (Ive got one of those too!) which was noted to be unable "to pull skin of rice pudding!" as the magazine review said! Two coaches is the limit of its power...not a problem as two coaches is the maximum my railway can handle at any one time!

Its down to the light weight and lack of contact betwixt rails and wheels! Most of the locos weight seems to be right over the trailing wheels, which wont help. Im expecting the terrier to be slightly better due to the extra set of coupled wheels.

As to regards my farish fleet: Ill keep the remaining three running as best I can (theyre all to big for the branchline anyway), if parts for the two 57xxs cant be found I'll have to consign them to the bits box. And other branchline motive power sought.

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ASFC
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby ASFC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:11 pm

3440 wrote:Ill try Br lines then. The bachmann line seemed to be closed today. :evil:


Funny that, because like most manufacturers, they are shut until 4th Jan 2010.

If I remember correctly, it was never Bachmanns job to service old Poole built locos anyway, they gave that to BR Lines. Perhaps you have been barking up the wrong tree all along?
My New N gauge layout thread 'Chinley': viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41038

My Old N gauge layout thread 'Ollerton': viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32899

3440
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby 3440 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:10 pm

Oh well...

Perhaps I have.

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Karhedron
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby Karhedron » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:26 pm

silentwake wrote:
guinnesskid wrote:my pair of 14xxs are still struggling to pull anything.


It is strange with the 14xxs as they have a wide range of pulling abilities. I have had a few of these and some are reasonable pullers and at least one could hardly pull itself along!

If anyone has a bad hauler 14xx then try loosening the screw that holds the pony truck in place by about a quarter turn. Having this too tight can lift the rear of the loco and reduce pulling power. Ideally you want a bit of slack in the pony so that the weight is being carried by the driving wheels for maximum adhesion.
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To a pessimist, a glass is half-empty.
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bsa77
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby bsa77 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:03 pm

Have a look at one of the videos on my layout page - 14xx pulling lots!

ClayDigga
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Re: The sheer awesome and win of grafar/bachfar

Postby ClayDigga » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:15 am

TLDR except for the first few paragraphs, but;

Old Grafar = awful.

New "bachfar" = awesome.

The 66, 37, 08, 47, 24 and most of the DMUs are exceptional in terms of both detail and running quality, and represent an enormous leap for UK N gauge.


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