old lima diesels: how good are they?

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jackshepherd
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old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby jackshepherd » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:29 am

hi everyone, im planning to collect some lima diesels for a little project of mine. just a quick question, are lima diesels good runners? and did lima make a 08/09 shunters? the 4 main diesels im after are a 47, 37, 31, 08.
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luckymucklebackit
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:47 am

In one word - no! no! no! (OK that was three). The older models particularly, the brass wheels attract dirt very easily, the traction tyres compound that and typically on a Co-Co there will only be two wheels picking up on either side, I spend more time cleaning them than running them. If you can afford it go for Bachmann, I have a fleet of Lima diesels dating from the days when that was all that was available, I realy wish I had the money to replace them all with the Bachmann equivalent.

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SRman
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby SRman » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:57 am

Running qualities are extremely variable; get a good one and it will delight you but get a bad one and it will frustrate and annoy you. Electrical pickup is not brilliant on most, partly because most bogie diesels used a diagonal split for pickups (one rail picked up from one side only of the motor bogie and the other rail only from the opposite side of the trailing bogie). There were exceptions, such as the later class 59 model which had pickups on both sides of the trailing bogie but still only on one side of the motor bogie.

Most also had brass wheels which needed to be cleaned very regularly to keep them running smoothly.

All the ones I can think of, including all of the ones you mention, used their 'pancake' 3-pole motor.

They produced a 30/31 with very good body mouldings - quite a few modellers prefer them to the newer Hornby offering, although that has a much better mechanism fitted with 5-pole motor, flywheels and all-wheel drive and pickups.

Their 37 was reasonably good but didn't have the tumblehome along the lower edges of the main part of the body. Lots of liveries released, though. Bachmann do a better model with a better mech.

The 47 was also reasonably good but has been bettered by Bachmann and ViTrains.

Finally, they did produce an 09, often sold as an 08. This at least bettered the older Triang/Hornby model by having outside frames, although both Bachmann and Hornby now have much better models available now, done in both 08 and 09 forms.

All of the above is my own opinion, of course, and others may agree or disagree. 8)

Edit: I forgot about the traction tyres on most as well! I'm inclined to agree with Jim (when I started typing the post, he hadn't submitted his!): if you can afford it, go for the Hornby and Bachmann offerings - even the Heljan 'Tubby Duff' 47, while overwidth is a much, much better runner (probably the best runner of all, in my opinion).

Bigmet
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby Bigmet » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:00 am

If this is for operation, bite the bullet and go for the current product. By the time you have bought the s/h Lima which are now often touted at very inflated prices, and then the parts to improve them to get better running out of them, you can easily have spent more than a current new product purchase; and the Lima will still be an inferior runner.

It is no coincidence that when all of Bachmann, Heljan and Hornby started producing heavy centre motored both bogies driven diesel models, Lima went out of business. And the new product prices are not outrageous if you shop around, the only one likely to prove difficult is the 31 with current Hornby pricing.

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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby Metr0Land » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:08 am

As mentioned by others they were very variable though I seem to have been very lucky.

I've had three 31's which were all fine (one growled quite a bit but the others were ok). It's generally reckoned to be the best body and as also noted, experienced modellers have been known to mate a Lima body with Hornby chassis. (See Jim S-W's Birmingham P4 thread for one such modeller).

I have a 37 which performs ok, albeit a bit noisy.

I have two Class 121 bubble cars and one Class 101 and these are a delight (but I've known people say they've had examples which are dogs)

My Lima 20 is a strange one. When its been laid down it tends to hibernate and be very jerky until its been run in again, when it's a real sweet runner.

The pizza cutter wheels aren't THAT noticeable from a normal operating distance BUT are dirt magnets. If you have one that's a sweet runner take good care of the wheels, and view it from above (unless you're happy changing them)!

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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:01 am

Jack,
think very carefully before outlaying money on the Lima locomotives as their seemingly low start price is a trap. Lima locomotives are generally in the GBP30.00 - GBP50.00 range (limited edition versions can cost far more). My last new purchase Bachmann class 37 red stripe BR freight livery bought less than three months ago cost me GBP49.50 from Rails. Other boxshifters had similar deals. For that money you get reliability, all wheel flywheel drive and directional DCC ready lighting.

The later Lima class 47 versions have dual pickups on the unpowered trailing bogie so are relatively good at power pickup assuming the wheels are clean. It also has better plated wheels as do the class 40 models. I like the 40's and 47's.

As stated previously Lima locomotives 'suffer' from infrequent use. After storage they really need a few minutes running to settle down to relatively reliable operation. I have a class 33 that if not used for just a few days becomes a dog next time it is run.

Generally with the Lima you get flaky armatures, corroded brass wheels, poor power pickup and generally unreliable operation. I like the Lima locomotives and have more than a few but am probably a little masochistic. Instead of buying cheap Lima locomotives, rationalise your roster and purchase a single Bachmann diesel for each two Lima you may have considered purchasing. You will derive more pleasure from your hobby.


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Old Man Phil
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby Old Man Phil » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:32 pm

Since Jack has been very vague as to the reason why he is looking to collect old Lima locos, you cannot simple say...Forget it, buy new stuff (for 3 times the amount you are likely to pay for Lima). I have, in the last year bought several 'old' Lima locos which were brand new, never been out of the box, and, of course, in pristine condition. I can look forward to many years of running them, before they become 'old'. Lima stuff is now getting on for 35 to 40 years old, so the fact that it is still running is not to be sniffed at. Relative to other stuff that was available back then that's not a bad record. And the scale was not bad either...... how many British made locos made back then were as accurate as Lima, the 08 from Hornby and Triang is attrocious. Hornby were years behind Lima as regards quality and accuracy, and even today they still make, in my opinion, childrens toys...only the price has kept up with competitors. One of these days someone is going to twig it and say, 'hey we can make this stuff cheaper in England instead of shipping it off to China'. !!!!! :D

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stuartp
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby stuartp » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:48 pm

Jack hasn't been that vague, he did ask if they were good runners so I suspect they aren't going in a cabinet.

I have a few Lima deisels and I love them to bits, but I keep them only because they were the first deisel conversions I did, from 33s into 26s and 27s before even Lima thought of it. They are being refurbished now with lots of filing, filling, Shawplan goodies and High Level drive trains but the only reason I'm putting so much effort in is for sentimental reasons. If I was looking for 26s and 27s now I would be going straight to Helijan even at twice the price.

When the Lima 37 and 47 appeared they really were streaks ahead of the opposition, at least in terms of looks, but unless you have a modern chassis lying spare looking for a new body there are better options these days.
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skyblue
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby skyblue » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:52 pm

I know that a lot of people don't like Lima models but I've found my two Lima diesels (47 and 52 Western) pretty good. The detail is obviously not as good as today's models but I find that the motors are powerful and reliable. The only problems I have had have been a loose connection on the 47 and the Western's seemingly endless appetite for oil. I have also in the past ran a Lima 20 and 60 (both borrowed from a friend who had no layout), both of which were good runners, especially the Class 20, which was heavy (lots of traction) and very quiet. I know that others may have horror stories of Lima models but overall I have found them to be OK.

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Metr0Land
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby Metr0Land » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:29 pm

Another point that may have been overlooked re the running qualities is not only to keep the wheels clean, but use Electrofrog points. Nearly all my points are Electrofrog and the lack of pickups on the older models hasn't generally been an issue, but getting a realistic slow crawl across Insulfrog is more tricky.

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glencairn
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby glencairn » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:52 pm

I have no problem with Lima models. Mine seem to run okay.

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Old Man Phil
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby Old Man Phil » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:44 pm

You're all basically saying the same as Me...or should that be I. Back then, 30-40 years ago they were good by comparison. What would the state of the industry be today if there had been no improvement by other competitors? Of course a modern Chassis and Motor will do a model a power of good .... that's called Progress. If you dont believe it, I have a 1964 Ford Anglia for sale 18,000 quid.

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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:58 pm

Old Man Phil wrote:You're all basically saying the same as Me...or should that be I. Back then, 30-40 years ago they were good by comparison. What would the state of the industry be today if there had been no improvement by other competitors? Of course a modern Chassis and Motor will do a model a power of good .... that's called Progress. If you dont believe it, I have a 1964 Ford Anglia for sale 18,000 quid.


Totally agree Phil, when the Lima models came out, there was not cries of woe, it was sheer delight. After years of Hornby's poorly modelled limited ramge (08(?),25 & 29 (both belatedly),31,35,37,47) we suddenly had a 33 that could left as is or be carved into a 26, a far more accurate 09, 37 and 47, a 50 and a deltic, closely followed by 20s, 40s and others (including the first decent DMU). Modelling the Scottish diesel scene pre Lima was nearly impossible, suddenly it was the region to be modelled. But as you say, continuous improvement and age renders these old stagers very long in the tooth and like me - nearing retirement!

Jim
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby 6C » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:01 pm

Lima locos, especially the diesels at the time of production - were as good if not better as any other manufacturers then.

The only real issue is spares as they are out of production.

Isn't the brass wheels thing a red herring - the only one I have is the Western - my 20, 31, 50, 09, Deltic and my 2 Lima steamers all have steel wheels.

My Class 20 is my only late-production Lima and the drive mechanism is excellent - with both bogies driven via Cardan Shafts and loads of traction due to its weight (easily outpulls my Bachy 20), in fact Hornby tooks this mechanism over for their version after their purchase of the Lima remnants.

All run well - you just need to ensure that you don't buy a tired one...
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jackshepherd
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Re: old lima diesels: how good are they?

Postby jackshepherd » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:19 pm

thanks everyone, i may go instead for other companies diesels instead of lima, but saying that i do have a lima GWR railcar which runs well and i did have a lima class 50 that was brill, it was able to put 10 coaches on my friends layout with ease, the only thing stopping it was a big curve at the end, i added 1 extra coach and the 50 was on the curve and couldnt move a bit. thanks everyone
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