Tweaks

Truck Tweaking

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"Grandma's Switcher" (Bachmann S4) and
little-yellow
Lil' Yellow (Bachmann 44 Ton switcher) never did run right.  

The S4 couldn't make it 3 ft without getting stuck (no power) and the 44 needed momentum (run fast) to get through crossings and turnouts.  Pretty frustrating.

So,…
After quite a bit of exploring and testing and examining I believe I found that the S4 trucks didn't have enough "play" to stay in contact with the track when encountering less that perfect spots (of which there are a few).
The 44 turned out to be bad wipers on one side of one truck, so that was a pretty easy fix.  Its running like a champ now!

The S4, more problematic.
I believe it's a poor design, although most every review reports how strongly these little switchers run.  Slow top end, yes, but strong.  Not this one.
I found the trucks to be held, rather tightly in place by a white plastic "clip" over the worm gear of each truck.  Each “clip” has a couple of “ears” that sit on top of the chassis.  This arrangement does not allow much “droop”, hence very little vertical “play”. 
Since the performance of the S4 was in the “throw away” realm I felt I had little to lose from drastic actions. So,…
I cut off the “ears”.  Results in a disconcerting “droop” of the trucks, but wow did it help!  Runs powerfully through even the worse of the “less than perfect” spots on the layout.  Still runs smoothly and quietly.
Might just be my favorite switcher now?