Making them run...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by 77railer, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Hey gang,
    I recently discovered some old boxes at my folks filled with HO/S trains. My Athearn Super Powered Diesel 9760 lights up like a christmas tree with the brightest light Ive seen yet, and when you give it a little nudge it spins the motor a little but fails to move under its own power. Any suggestions. I sure dont want to mess it up. It might sound funny but its one of many family herloms.

  2. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Railer, I'm not sure what you mean by "light's up like a christmas tree" , but if the loco has been in storage that long, all the lubricant is gone from the moving parts. All those parts will need cleaning also, so I'd start by carfully disassembling, cleaning and lubricating all the moving parts. I'd also clean the wheel treads, reassemble and see how it runs then. HTH
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    While you have it apart, see if the motor runs when you apply power, or if it starts when you spin the motor shaft. If it won't start repeatedly, you may have a burnt out motor; this would require a new motor.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Sometimes those old Athearns just need some running time and lubrication. I revived my dad's Athearn diesels with a little attention--cleanup, lubrication and a few runs around the track and they run like champs again.

    Also--clean the wheels. Sometimes that's the deciding factor.
  5. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Thanks will give it a try and get back to you. Is there a site I might find with instructions or diagrams on how to take apart and reassemble athearns, bachmanns, and tyco diesels. I really dont want to mess anything up as these are valuable at least to me,lol. I want to do it myself just a little worried without knowing how.
  6. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    From someone who started with a blank mind, this is my idea of where to start. Pick the lousiest looking diesel you have, which is probably the Tyco. If you ruin one of them you haven't lost much. Study it to see how it comes apart, (shell off, etc.). Gradually start disassembling piece by piece, and lay parts in a line. When you think you have reached your limit, just put it back together. If you can do that, you've got it made. Take it apart again, and this time clean and lubricate it, remembering a little goes a long way. Most of the older diesels are alike with only slight variations. From there on, it's all downhill.

    Hope this helps you out some.

  7. vilefileman

    vilefileman Member


    I too am in the same boat.
    I have started taking a few of the cheaper ones apart, and I have noticed a few that light up, and you hear the motor running, but it doesnt go anywhere. this is what I found, but remember I am also a newbie forum member.
    Some of the older engines have these flywheel/gears assembly, with a single wire going to them.
    If you look at both sides, one side will have 2 or 3 toothed gears. the smallest one, toward the top comes loose or pops out on 3 engines I found so far. I pushed it back in, and now they run, but after some time they pop out again. I cannot get any further into the engine without removing the casing, which would probably detroy it.

  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Lynn's got the best idea---start with the least valuable and just be careful. My trade secret is a muffin tin with numbers in the cups. As you pull it out, keep it in order, then just reverse the sequence to put it back together. The REAL fear comes with steam loco valve gear, after 30+ years in the hobby, I still sweat bullets.
  9. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Thanks gang Im gonna go tear (take) one apart.
  10. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Keep us advised as to how you make out. I believe you will find piddling around with "guts" is fascinating after you learn how.

  11. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Well I tore into my athearn, which so far is my favorite. I work well under pressure and figured if I was gonna go for it I might as well do it on my favorite. I know I know this is backwards from what you guys advised but now Im not scared to break any of them open except my american flyers...gonna let a pro handle those puppies if they dont run. I took the athearn apart as mentioned and cleaned everything. When power was applied the motor would spin briefly moving the loco on if I helped it move along. Reverse seems to work better than foward but both need alot of help. The light goes out at some points of the motors rotation. Think I might need a new one? I also discovered that the motor mount pad is broken and plan to fix that if I can get the thing running. Time to jump into a bachmann. Talk to yall later....will keep you informed.
  12. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    That light blinking at points of the motor rotation kind of threw me. Normally the light will blink because of bad track and wheel connections. Dirty track and/or wheels wil cause not only lights blinking, but REAL lousy running, too. While it's apart, touch the wires from the power pack to the motor terminals and see if things are good. If so, backtrack out to the wheels. I hold them upside down and do this before going to the track, and generally narrow it down to one thing. Then fix it.

  13. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I pulled an old HO diesel engine out of storage this Christmas. It hadn't been run since 1980 and it did the same thing that yours did. It lit up like a Xmas tree on the track but wouldn't move a bit. So I purchased some Electrical Contact cleaner at Home Depot thinking this would do the job. No such luck; after two attempts at taking it apart and cleaning it twice, I would test it on the track again and the little light burned on high beam but it still wouldn't run. Finally, I remembered that I repaired some household fans that quit running with WD-40. It says on the WD-40 can "Frees Sticky Mechanisms;" so I took the bull by the horns and sprayed the motor shaft where it exits the motor--just like I did on the household fans. Then I put a buffing wheel on my Dremel tool and used the Dremel tool to spin the motor. There was no way I could move the motor with my fingers as I did with my household fans. You know what? It worked. That little diesel engine is pulling 9 cars around my wifes Chistmas Village. I think the lubrication on motors just dries up or gets all gummy after a while and it takes a little WD-40 to stops the squeaks, protect the metal, loosen rusted parts and frees the sticky mechanisms just like it says on the can.
  14. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Well I took my athearn And tried the wd-40 trick. I also took the motor loose from the rest of the parts and wired it direct. With the transformer maxed I spun the motor and it in return spun on its own. Not as fast as I think it is supposed to though. Everytime I put a little pressure on the motor it would die quickly? Any suggestions. I dont think the motor is strong enough anymore to move the car. Thanks for everyone's help so far.

  15. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Try carefully taking it completely apart (gotta learn sometime ;) ), right down to the armature and brushes (careful...them 'lil boogers can fly :eek: ). Check to see if the brushes (those fat pencil lead lookin' thingies with the springs in the motor) are worn. Buff the shaft and commutator with a pencil eraser---no steel wool as this will short out the windings. Clean everything with a toothbrush and contact cleaner or rubbing alcohol. A light lube and reassembly should set you back on your feet again.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    sometimes Athearn motors lose magnetism in the fields and the power seems to go away. A new replacement motor is readily available from Athearn and priced at less than $5.00 I think. The white nylon motor mounts are also available.
  17. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Would anyone mind giving me instructions as how to do this or maybe point me towards a website that contains the information? I found out how to hard wire the thing but as far as disassemblying it I have yet to find anything. Thanks for everyones help and keep the suggestions coming....

  18. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Thanks russ I didnt see your post until after my previous. That might be my last resort to get this thing running.

  19. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Piece o' cake...the motor is held in by two plastic mounts. Carefully pull up on the motor while holding the frame---at times I push the plastic nubbins thru from the botton with a small Phillips screwdriver. The motor is held together by the two brass/copper clips top and bottom. Everything pulls aparts from there. When you reassemble it the bottom clip is the one with two finger like projections that contact the frame. The bottom of the motor is where the plastic bearing supports have the cast in holes.
  20. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    I believe there is a book out there about Athearn locomotives/trains, how to maintain them, curing common problems etc. Maybe check a local hobby shop??

Share This Page