The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rebuilding a S-C 4-6-0 by Mr. Pierre

I have a number of models by Pierre Bourassa, and this recent eBay purchase was certainly one of his engines that came south to the USA when he sold his layout.

The price I paid was a steal and it looked like a great model as it had a can motor—it looked like a model that had been run recently! So this Scale-Craft model gets here and there are some problems. Hooked up to a transformer it would turn over wheels but only barely due to a couple issues. One was one driver had separated from the axle which is no small problem, but also the drive he worked out was sort of a mess really. He connected a small can motor to a cut down S-C gearbox and even when I got things lined up perfectly and on a different frame it was clear the motor did not have enough “oomph” to even move the engine down the track! Which was especially sad as Pierre added lights and some nice details to the model. I don’t think he was pleased either with the drive.

I will spare all the ugly details, but where the engine is now is it runs fine! I converted it back to a vintage S-C motor connected to a rectifier, a vintage installation that came to me from yet another eBay purchase. (seen in updates III and IV to this article). It is also rolling now on Nason trucks, with the bronze sideframes, which are operationally an upgrade from S-C trucks -- important, as all power pick-up is from the tender trucks.

The process was instructive for me for sure. I ended up getting out and resorting all of my S-C 4-6-0 parts and motors and projects. I now have things set out again to build up two more models over time and also a 0-6-0 (which uses the same motor and tender setup).

One part of the process was trying to bench test the motors I have, which worked better connecting them to a rectifier mounted in a tender than the method in this article. One bottom line of that was that some S-C motors I have just don’t work, even if they look OK to me visually in every way. My theory is something not visible is messed up in the windings after all the years of storage and variable handling.

Anyway, the big vintage motor is very smooth and powerful, if somewhat noisy and the four big wires are not real pleasing visually either (and, in the last two photos, the drawbar is not hooked so the enlarged distance between the engine and tender is enhanced). Still, I have improved my skills with these models and will keep plugging away at rebuilding others over time. It is a pleasure to see a nice vintage model running again. I will plan to touch up the paint a bit (noting that he must have lightened his black paint to a gray), and one final tip: it is a good idea to change out the lead truck wheelsets, change them to HO 36” plastic. As now seen on this model. Eliminates problems.

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