old train won't run

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by mrcedar, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. mrcedar

    mrcedar New Member

    :cry: I have an old American Flyer steamer and havn't used it for a while when I put it on the tracks it ran a little but the front wheels of the tender were sparking so I cleaned them off and put it back. no more sparks but no movement either just a buzz and the headlight shining down the track.
    Any suggestions.
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Dale: these old trains have a sequence reverser -- when you turn the power off it cycles through fwd, neutral, rev, neutral, fwd...
    They also have a lever (Lionel has a lever) that locks the reverser in one position. Yours may be locked in neutral. Or it may have shifted when you had it upside down (you did turn it over to clean the wheels?) and stuck (it is old). I can't say precisly as I haven't run any AF for decades. A gentle tap might shift it, but check the other bit first. Also, the lever may be loose and not making contact -- my reverser cutouts were just on-off switches.
  3. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Welcome Aboard the Gauge Dale !!! Im in agreement with David about the "sequence reverser". A tap just may be the ticket. If you feel inclined to open the unit up, gently clean its insides and lightly lube and moving parts. Hopefully this wil do the trick
  4. mrcedar

    mrcedar New Member

    It moves

    :) Thanks for the help! The leaver was locked. and the inside was dirty. It runs now but not every time. I have to tap it. I saw the copper contacts were black in places. What would be the best way to clean it up? I see their is lots of room inside the tender. Could a person put a DCC unit in it?
  5. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Dale Im glad we could help . To clean the contacts, take a mildly abrasive emory board and gently polish the contacts. You could also chemically clean the contacts with a product that Radio Shack sells, "contact cleaner", or a product that the CRC company sells, it is also a contact cleaner..I would stray away from chemically cleaning them though. These products cause Cancer only in California ( who knows why only there) lol, and also the cleaner may cause problems with paint and plastics...
    As far as retrofitting the unit with DCC, I'll have to refer you to someone more familiar with DCC. I cannot comment on this question..
  6. mrcedar

    mrcedar New Member

    Thanks Michael
    We are thinking big we hope to expand to 6 trains and 300 ft of track so the grandchildren can all play.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The American Flyer trains are ac powered, not dc, so I would guess that dcc isn't available unless a Lionel dcc system would fit in it and work.
  8. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Clean it with some radio shack tuner cleaner. Spray it well.
  9. Bird

    Bird New Member

    You might try Goo Gone. I have had great luck cleaning track and contacts with it. I bought several little engines off Ebay that were said to be dead or dying and brought them all back to life by cleaning the wheels and contacts with this stuff. It's been magic for me. Anyone else had any good or bad experiences with it?

    Good luck, :)

  10. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    I forgot to mention this which is very IMPORTANT. Make sure the chemical cleaner is thouroughly dry before using it on any electrically live equipment. I forgot what i had been using to clean all the contacts inside of my pinball machine, but i turned it on, and the pinball machine turned into a broiler in my basement... Thank God the fire went out. You talk about a panic situation. whew!!!
  11. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    Careful with those "black" places. Some (The nice square black ones) are there as insulators to keep current from flowing to the wiper & to the motor. Just clean the ones that might have worn into the "coppery" areas of the drum and leave the others alone or you'll ruin the unit.

    Gus (LC&P).
  12. mrcedar

    mrcedar New Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions
    If the spring is weak that holds the contact on the track would that cause a problem
  13. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    It most certainly will dale .

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