Athearn Loco Problems

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Rusted, Nov 5, 2002.

  1. Rusted

    Rusted Member

    I have an Athearn AC44 and am having trouble getting it to run smoothly.

    At times, pairs of drivers will bind up and not turn at all as the other push them along the rails. I've tried some bushing break-in fluid followed by a flush and re-lube.

    I'm pretty new to the hobby - is there a tried and true method? Do you get a lemon once and a while?

    I have a few Katos and Proto 2Ks on the track and they totally put the athearns to shame - Advice?
  2. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Someone once told me that they used a toothpaste that has abrasive properties to smooth out gears. Probably was one of the brands for cleaning dentures?

    Sounds crazy but if it works who cares.
  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Hey, gears have teeth. Besides, who wouldn't want their gears to be minty fresh?
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!


    Welcome aboard to a fellow Minnesotan! As for Athearn locos, I run five of 'em without problems. Certainly there are better quality, smoother running engines that have superior electrical pick up and run at slower speeds but for mainline running they do OK by me for the price. Fortunately I've never observed the problem you describe. I wonder if you might indeed have the lemon of the bunch. If you try the tooth paste technique I'd be interested to hear how it worked.
    Best of luck!
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Sounds to me like there's some kind of misalignment problem or a piece of flash on a gear or worst case a broken tooth. Disasemble the offending gear set and see.

    I've never been a fan of wearing in gears with an abrasive. Thats not a substitute for proper alignment and lubrication.

    "Gears do not wear in...they only wear out" :D
  6. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    I have to go with Vic on this one. I had an SD45 a long time ago with similar problems. After I took it apart, I discovered that the hole in the side frame that accepted the gear shaft was not round--it apparently stuck to the mold while still hot and got "warped." This allowed the gear to wobble on axis and bind. In the short time I ran it this way, I wore some fairly pronounced flat spots in the teeth of some of the gears. I say take it apart and look for defects. Not only will this give you an opportunity to find and correct what is wrong, but it will start you down the path of knowledge so you can advise the rest of us of how to fix similar problems in the future...:D
    As to the toothpaste idea, it would work as a polish on the plastic, which wouldn't hurt but it would be important not to leave it there for long as it would accumulate other bits of crud which would be more abrasive. Also, make sure it is not a "whitening" toothpaste as these contain bleach or peroxide which could pit the surface of the plastic. My opinion would be to use the toothpaste after you take it apart and clean it thoroughly before putting it back together.

    Tom F
  7. hoyle

    hoyle Member

    Peral Drops tooth polish what it is called.Run engine 15 minuntes in each direction then clean the geers and lub them .
  8. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    The wife and I ran motels for 15 years. Wheneve a guest put a small scratch in the mirror, we used powdered teeth cleaner and it took the scratch right out and smoothed the glass. This also works on eye glasses so it might work for you.;)

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