I have got a bit of a soft spot for Japanese brass. For years I had looked in envy at the adverts in old magazines. And every time I see one in the flesh I am usually amazed at the quality of them.
The detail on models 30 years old is often superior to what we get on modern ready-to-run models.
But the difference is that I can sometimes now afford to buy them if the price is right.
I saw a Balboa GS4 being advertised and put in an offer and to my amazement I won!
The Balboa GS4 is admittedly not a rare model. they were churned out in their thousands by the likes of Katsumi or Samhongsa.
Balboa imported their GS4's from both manufacturers but my particular model is a Katsumi model.
Mechanically it was in pretty good order. The wheels were fine with near perfect plating. The gearbox was perfect but the motor was drawing 1.5 amps!! I didn’t particularly wish to set fire to my layout and so I decided a new motor was in order.
I actually don’t mind this. There are some people who would be horrified at whipping out an original motor, but the improvement in running qualities from such a simple project almost always makes it worth doing.
To start with, the old motor had to come out. This really was a monster.
Instillation of the new Mashima motor turned out to be simple enough.
There was loads of space.
I have taken to sticking the motors down with a silicone adheasive. its really ideal for this application PROVIDING THE SURFACES ARE CLEAN.
It gives a nice cushion for the motor to sit on and gives a beautifully smooth quiet ride.
I chose to use a NWSL cardan shaft to drive the gearbox. fairy simple to install and again, it isolates the gearbox from the motor giving a much smoother ride.
The slight misalignment is nothing like enough to cause a problem.
The only other thing to concider is that in the origonal instillation, the gearbox was held vertical by the plastic universal joint. So a brass torque bar was made to take care of that.
After a quick test run, I was amazed at how nicely this loco crawls along. Almost silent. All wheels are sprung on this model and with an almost silent transmission it just glides along the rails.