Locomotive repair; seeking Ray Marinaccio's input.

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Dave Pollard, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    I am new to the model train world. It is best to assume I know only what Andrew and Russ have contributed to my other thread, "How do I determine the gauge of my train?", because, that is literally all I know about model trains.

    I am trying to repair a locomotive and tender which worked fine last Christmas. This year it will not run. Please refer to my other thread for details. The short story so far:

    1. Trucks on the tender are ok... not rotated out of positions.
    2. I get resistance with an ohm tester on the tender, but, not the locomotive.
    3. When I push the lever to energize the track and use my hand to push the
    locomotive, the locomotive headlight comes on but, the wheels do not turn on
    either the tender or the locomotive.

    Can someone help?

    Andrew informs me that Ray Marinaccio is good with locomotive repair. If you are reading this, Ray, please help.


  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I am sorry that I missed the note about it running last Christmas... I didn't realize it was that recent.

    In that case, it is likely that a good cleaning will go a long way to making it run better. See my comments in your original thread. DOn't forget too to clean the track! If it is brass or steel, it has likely accumulated enough oxidation to stop the train from working reliably. Start with alcohol on a lint-free rag. You can use metal polish as well, but generally try to avoid anything abrasive, like sanding the rails. Alcohol can also be used on the wheels of the loco on a cotton-swab.

  3. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Hi Dave,
    After reading the original thread I am going to guess that what you have is one of Tyco's tender driven locos.
    Does the tender look like this?

    Attached Files:

  4. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    Ray's reply; tender-driven locomotive.

    Hi, Ray!

    Yes! Tha's exactly what it looks like.

  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Well, until I saw that it was a tyco tender drive, my thoughts would have been on a driver out of quarter. But since it is tender drive...

    does the engine hum at all when power is applied to the tracks? You said the lightbulb lights, but does the motor try to turn? It so, your problem is likely mechanical (cracked gear, etc. If the motor makes no attempt at turning, it may be as simple as a broken wire leading to the motor.

    hope this helps,
  6. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    Kevin's reply; does the locomotive motor hum?

    Hello, Kevin!

    No, I do not hear any 'hum' from the motor or any indication that the motor is trying to turn. Looking forward to Ray's comment on this. Sounds like we may be narrowing down the problem.


  7. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I don't try to compete with Ray M., but to start troubleshooting, I just narrow it down. Start at the bottom of the tender and touch your power leads to the wheels. No response, locate the pickups (brass "feelers") touching the wheels, and toch the leads to them. Make sure the leads are on opposite sides. If no response then, take off the shell so you can see the motor. See where the wires lead to each side of the motor and touch a lead to each side. If still nothing, talk to Ray. I've just hit my dead end of knowledge.

  8. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    Lynn's reply; checking with the testors.

    Hi, Lynn!

    Thanks for your input. Yes, when I use the ohm testor on the tender wheels, the meter indicates resistance. My next effort will be to remove the shell as you and Andrew have suggested and I will test therein.

  9. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Dave, you've passed me on that ohm tester bit. I don't know how to use those modern new-fangled gadgets. All I can do is turn my power pak up and use the leads from it.


  10. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I had a few of these laying around so I opened up one to get some photos.
    The tender shell comes off by prying the sides out slightly to release the 4 tabs on the chassis.
    Removing the screw on the drawbar helps get the shell out of the way.
    As said before check for loose wires.
    The white wire in the first photo could cause the light to light and motor not to run if it is not connected.
    If power connected directly to the brush covers will not make it run then most likely the brush springs have lost their tension or the brushes and commutator need cleaned.

    Attached Files:

  11. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Here are a few photos and tips if you need to dig into it further.
    There are a few different styles of brush holders but the procedure is similar.
    I find the easiest way to work on these are to completely disassemble it.
    Unsolder the 2 wires to the locomotive noting which one goes where.
    Remove the truck side frames. One has a screw that needs removed then unclip them from their frames and remove the wheels. (2nd photo)
    Remove the wires and C clips from the truck frames and remove them. (3rd photo)
    The 2 screws on the main frame are removed and the motor block removed. (4th photo)

    Attached Files:

  12. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    The brush covers are removed. On this style the end is lifted to clear the retaining stud and slid out carefully. (watch the spring, it may fly out) (1st photo)
    The other brush cover plate is held on by one of the cover screws. remove the screw and slide it out. Remove the springs and brushes and set them aside. (2nd photo)
    Remove the other cover screw and remove the cover. (3rd photo)

    Attached Files:

  13. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    If the small gear on the armature is mounted securely (they have a habit of slipping and coming off) do not remove it and clean the commutator with the armature in the motor block. I clean it with alcohol and a Q tip to get any oil off and then clean it with a pencil eraser. (1st photo)
    Clean off the cover and brush holder tubes with alcohol.
    Check for signs of over heating.
    Notice the brush tube on the right, it is showing signs that it has overheated slightly. (2nd photo)
    I put a small drop of oil on the bearing and reinstall the cover. (3rd photo)
    These next few photos get a little blurry. (sorry)
    The 4th photo shows a brush spring on the left that has lost it's tension. The spring on the right is one I re shaped. It should measure 1/8" tall.
    If your springs are not salvageable the brush springs from an old Aurora thunder-Jet slot car can be used. They can be found at an LHS or on line.
    Clean the brushes with alcohol and clean off any burnt carbon by rubbing them on a piece of Masonite or wood. Clean the brush cover plates with alcohol and a pencil eraser.
    Install the brushes in the brush tubes, then the springs, then push the springs down with a screwdriver and slide the brush cover plates in place. (5th photo)

    Attached Files:

  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    amazing that Tyco found this a cheaper and simpler way to motorize these engines than a worm gear in the locomotive driving a driver and transmitting power through side rods. Interestingly, this is the same engine as the IHC consolidation- but the IHC is not tender drive and runs very well.

  15. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Although they aren't the best way to drive a loco they got the job done.
    I have never seen one of the IHC consolidations run and wondered how they ran.
    One of the things I do to these Tycos is to replace the 2 drive wheels with ones from a Tyco diesel adding 2 more pickup wheels to the tender.

    Attached Files:

  16. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    Ray's photos and detailed instructions; incredible.


    Thanks so much for your beautiful photos and instructions!

    I performed some small maintenance on the tender which I will describe below. Being new at model train repair, I was really proud of myself until seeing your excellent reply. I realize now I may have done far too little. I have never done any soldering/unsoldering, so, I will need to read on that, get materials, etc, and figure it out before attempting it on the tender. In any event, I plan to go to my friend's house at noon and see if my small efforts are enough to encourage the tender to drive the locomotive. Here's what I did last night:

    1. Went to the hardware store and consulted with a clerk about my need for light oil
    on a model train. I found a light oil. The clerk said a customer who repairs old
    clocks uses it. But, I'm not sure about the 'plastic compatible' part. I also found
    a synthetic grease that might work for gears.
    2. Removed the cover from the tender. Found some corrosion on the connection
    toward the rear of the tender. Removed the screw. Cleaned corrosion on block
    and copper clip. Reattached clip.
    3. Used tiny portions of oil (used a sewing needle) near the gears (not on the teeth,
    but allowed it to seep under). The gears began turning easily. I was concerned
    about putting the grease on the gears. Thought it might just gum-up things, but,
    from Ray's description, sounds like I should have done this.

    So, I may have used the wrong products and, perhaps, I have done far too little. But,
    this is a start. I will continue to update on all this. I am anxious to see if the tender works at noon.

    Thanks much!!

  17. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    You may not have to go as far as I have shown.
    sometimes what you have done will bring a loco back to life.
    I posted the photos and discrriptions just in case so if you need to go in that far you will have an idea what your in for.
  18. Dave Pollard

    Dave Pollard New Member

    Ray's reply, I may not have to go further to repair.

    Ray, I saved your instructions and pictures just in case I need them. I consider your input extremely valuable and I believe this model train circumstance may have triggered an impetus for a new hobby for me. I am seeking learning materials as we speak for soldering. You never know, I may need it for other things as well.

    Thanks, again!

  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Since I "volunteered" you for this help session, I also want to say thanks...! ;) :D

    As always, you provide great information in a fashion that all of us can understand, and include great pictures as well. :thumb: :thumb:

  20. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    That kind of mechanism is the notorious "pancake" drive used by Bachmann, Tyco, Life Like, etc. for el-cheapo toy trains. It's cheap to produce, and rumor has it it's designed to fail after 40 hours of running. :curse:

    The reason why these pancake motor drives are loathed is because 1) they are unreliable and maintenance intensive, and 2) since the armature is geared directly to the driving axles without much reduction, it is prone to jerky running and flying starts. Plus 3) the lack of reduction means the engine is not very powerful, and requires traction tires which decreases the number of wheels available for electrical pickup.

    Personally, I would just retire that pancake motor engine and keep it for sentimental/display purposes, and get a more reliable worm-driven loco.

    Ray's herculean effort to keep them running is to be applauded though! :D

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