An Unholy Screech

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Cannonball, May 15, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I have a Lifelike engine just I won on eBay. The thing runs like a striped ape but it has a screech in the motor that makes my spine curl and the dog runs for the other room. I've pulled it apart, cleaned it, lubed it and put it all back together. It still has that high pitched screech that would make a Japanese schoolgirl jealous.

    I've got another Lifelike that runs nice and quiet with no problems and no screeching so this isn't a brand bashing thing. I just want to know how to get rid of that God awful noise.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    It still has that high pitched screech that would make a Japanese schoolgirl jealous.

    CB, I can not help you, but I love that descprition. Really gave me a good laugh.

  3. woodone

    woodone Member

    Did you get any oil to the motor bushings- high pitch noise sounds like a dry bearing in the motor.
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I pretty much saturated the entire thing and then cleaned off the excess.
    If there was a dry bearing in there, it shouldn't be now.
    Unless there's a bearing that's shot and it's not as new as the owner claimed.
  5. woodone

    woodone Member

    Can you remove the motor and test run- without it being in the frame- not driving anything- that would tell you for sure if it is the motor or something in the drive train.
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I don't know if I can get it out without killing it or not.
    I'll have to look at it again when I get home from work tonight or tomorrow morning.
  7. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    cannon what model is it?
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I have a Life Like Santa Fe diesel -- it too makes a screeching/whirring but it's at least tolerable. Mine has traction tires, so I'm not sure if that's part of the problem? Rob
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    It's Life-Like part # is 7841 and it's a GP-38
    See pic below

    Trainworld has them listed on a blowout for $19.99

    This one doesn't have traction tires.

    Attached Files:

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Does this have a "pancake" motor -- one of those things that is entirely contained in one truck? I had a few of those that would screech like mad until someone told me to lube the motor bearings. You need to get both ends. I spent years lubing and adjusting the gears train to no avail.
  11. woodone

    woodone Member

    any u-joints that you could remove and just have the motor run by itself?
    you need to issolate the drive train from the motor to see were the whinn is coming from. Don't kill it yet!
    BTW are we talking N scale or HO?
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member


    I have a strong hunch that it might be a pancake motor. The motorized part — that has the traction tires — is indeed in just one of the trucks while the other truck spins freely (i.e. not motorized).

    I'll either try lubing it myself or take it to my LHS -- one of the guys there is especially good at firing up or improving old locos. This Santa Fe diesel runs fairly well, but does emit a tolerable whirring noise.

    Thanks again! Rob
  13. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about, but here's a REALLY rough sketch I did in paint. I don't think this is a can motor but I could be wrong. It powers both trucks however.

    Attached Files:

  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    N scale and I didn't see any U joints.
    It looks pretty well attached to the frame.
  15. woodone

    woodone Member

    Well I have not had one of thoes apart- it looks like there should be a worm gear at each end of tha motor shaft- Is there some sort of cover at the tower were the worm would drive the gears to the wheels?
    There should be bearings (bushings) at each end of the motor- make sure there is some is some light weight oil on them.
  16. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Did that.
    I thought it had quit until I put the weights and the shell back on. After that, it went nuts again.
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    If it doesn't make the noise with the shell and weights removed, then it sounds as if the problem lies with either the shell or the weights. The body shell can amplify drivetrain noises, but I think part of the drivetrain may be contacting either the weight or the shell. Try it with just the shell on, with no weights. I'm not at all familiar with this loco, but some things to look for are: is the body shell facing the right way on the frame? Are the weights in the proper ends of the body shell? Were the weights glued into the shell? If so, has the glue joint failed, allowing the weight to drop down slightly, perhaps just enough to come in contact with the drivetrain? I know that some of this sounds pretty obvious, but locos can get assembled improperly at the factory.

  18. jesso

    jesso Member

    I had the exact same problem with two of those engines. It was so loud in fact that my wife ran into the garage to see if I was ok because she heard it in the living room. I called our club's engine guru and he brought the oil. He found it was the gears inside of the boxes. From your diagram, take the tops off of the two black boxes above the trucks (it is usually just taped on) clean out any dust and lubricate in there, after that the screech was gone.
  19. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I've done that and it's still whining like crazy.
    Of course, the weights sit right over them so I wonder if they are pusing down on the boxes and causing the gears to rub.

    Off to experiment some more.
  20. woodone

    woodone Member

    Were you able to get the covers off that cover the gear boxes over each drive trucks? See any dirt- grease or whatever- if you got the covers off look at the tops of the covers, the side that is facing the gear and see if it has worn marks in it. I think Jesso has got you going in the right direction for a fix. Keep us posted, You will get it fixed, just keep trying.

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