Breaking in locos

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gary S., Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Breaking in Locos : P2K broken axle gears

    I haven't actually run a train in about 30 years. I purchased two P2K GP30's and two P2K GP60's, all HO scale. I will eventually get my layout built and use DCC, but for now, I laid some track on plywood and bought a cheapy used DC transformer just to see if they would run.

    Both of the GP60's run like a dream right out of the box. I mean, at the low end, they will absolutely crawl. Seriously, fantastic, I mean CRAWL. And they have good throttle response, gradually gaining speed as I apply power, not a hitch, beautiful, quiet and smooth, I could not be happier with the performance of these two winners right out of the box. AWESOME.

    Now, the GP30's are another question. One of them acted like it was frozen up. It just sat there and hummed. I had to turn the flywheel by hand and it felt like something broke loose, after that it would run, but it is balky, it squeals, it is sluggish, and noisey as heck, just an absolute slug. I get the other GP30 out, and pretty much the sme thing, not quite as bad, but awful. Noisey and sluggish, like there is something in the mechanism binding it up.

    So my question is, will the GP30s get better as they get broken in? And why such a huge difference between the 30's and the 60's? The chassis and everything look pretty much the same, just the 30's are shorter than the 60's.
  2. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I'm not so sure, buti vaguely remeber there being an issue with p2k GP30s. the first thing you should check is how old yours is. You should probably clean and lubricate your locomotive again, and see if it keeps happening. It doesn't seem like a break in problem.
  3. max diyer

    max diyer New Member

    Generally, as a loco is broken in, it will run better. That is if you have a good motor. Personally, I don't take a loco out of the box and run it around the layout. I take the motor out, spin it - by hand, lubricate the bushings, then hook it to a power source and run it at 1/4 to 1/2 speed for half an hour. I check the trucks out, and lubricate them. All lot of people tell me I'm crazy, but I have quite a few engines with a LOT of hours on them, with no problems.

    I would try to isolate your problem. Take the motors out and see if they are binding, hook them to the track or power souce and see how they run. If they check out ok, take a look at the trucks. I've seen motor cans twisted out of shape, where the bushings are binding on the shafts or the armature is touching the magnets or can. I've seen trucks twisted or a manufacturing glitch, that caused them to bind-up. I hope this helps you.

  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well the bad news.I spect the GP30s are older models so,here is my good/bad news.The good news they can be fixed.First clean out the grease in the gear box and LIGHTLY relube it.The bad news..BEFORE you lube the gears follow these steps.

    Then your GP30s will be smooth runners.Also note the P2K line of engines are slow runners from the box.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    didn't life-like have a problem with broken axle gears?

  6. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I know I've had this problem with my P2k GP7, all I did was find a newer dummy Athearn at my club, just as easily at a show, and switch out the gears, a perfect match, but don't push them in all the way, you want the wheels to turn! ;) Hope this helps, good luck on your geeps! :)
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks everyone for the help, and Brakie, thank you for the link, I am certain that this is the problem, one of the 30's was making the clicking sound as described. Looks like I get to try my hand at loco repair, something I hadn't planned on doing, but I may as well giver her a go.

    alternatively, it seems that LifeLike should have something in place to help those of us who bought these, or perhaps the LHS where I bought them can help?

    I think the GP60s are a recent release? Hopefully they won't end up with crakced gears, because right now as I mentioned, they are WONDERFUL.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I took the axles out of one of the GP30's this morning. Two of the axle gears are indeed cracked, the other two are not. I hooked the wires from the DC power supply to the trucks, and the loco ran fairly smoothly without the axles in. Then i put in the two axles that aren't cracked, they ran okay. Then I put the two cracked ones in, and they jumped around and were noisey. So, looks like the problem has been isolated. I'll check the LHS for replacement gears.

    I suppose I should replace ALL the gears, not just the ones that are cracked?
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Dismantled the other GP30 and it has one cracked axle gear.

    These must have all been cracked at the factory, this is the first time these locos have ever even been on the track.

    I put 4 good axles into one of the locos, it definitely runs better, low end is excellent, but there is still some squealing at higher speeds. Hopefully that will clear up upon break-in?
  10. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Gary i had the same thing with several BL's trying to get parts from either LL or Athearn for me is like pulling teeth:( did the same thing you did got 2 out of the 3 running just parked the outher on the rip track:(
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Here is a follow-up on this problem of broken axle gears on Proto2000 GP30s:

    I went to the LHS and inquired about the fix for the broken axle gears, he had a bunch of the athearn gears, 40 cents apiece, I bought 8. Replaced the three broken ones, and both GP30s are in running condition. They still squeal a bit at the upper end of the speed range, I assume this will go away after the breakin is completed.

    As for low-end speed, I am impressed, these GP30s will crawl.
  12. ChadYelland

    ChadYelland Member

    The last engine i got was a steamer, it came with breakin instructions, few min half speed fwd, half that time rev, fast, slow,, put it to work, all seems good, When they say "break-in" i prefer less of the "break" part. how about "run-in" lol thats better

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