Surging Loco

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Iddons, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. Iddons

    Iddons New Member

    Recently purchased an Athearn PA-1.
    Unlike the similar Athearn SW9 I purchased recently, the PA1 surges and will not run smoothly.
    Problem seems to be in the gearing in the trucks - occasionally they seem to catch, like there is a wrong size cog inside and occasionally the gears need to overrun in order to reset.

    Anyone else had this problem of know of a fix ? I really like this loco and dont want to take it back....

  2. George

    George Member

    Hello Grant, and Welcome Aboard!

    Grant, of all the problems I've ever experienced, or heard about with Athearn locomotives, surging has not been one of them.

    I'm a big fan of Athearn, but like everything else, nothing is perfect 100% of the time.

    Over the past ten years, there has been an article, each in RMC and MR regarding minor problems with Athearn locomotives. The solution offered in both magazines was to dismantle the unit, and examine the plastic parts for flash from the mold process which may interfere with operation.

    Many times, Athearn gears suffer from small bits of flash which must be removed using very fine files. It is a time consuming task, but not difficult.

    Try this first. I hope it helps.:)
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Welcome fellow Australian


    Welcome to a fellow Australian to The Guage! The 2nd Australian (that I know of) besides ME!!! :D

    Can't help you with your Athearn problem, other than track cleaning. I have used Athearn motors in some loco kits (Sams workshop kits) and haven't had any problems yet.
  4. Iddons

    Iddons New Member

    g'day !
    You mean there are only 2 of us ? !!!

    Will try the gear smoothing trick and see if that works !
  5. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Two is pretty good when you consider that the population of Australia isn't that much bigger than the state of Texas! What do y'all do with all that extra room down there? :)

  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    What do we do with all that space? Build very long railway lines!!:D You know, one cattle ranch up north IS the size of Texas!!:cool:
  7. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    500th post!


    You are priviledged to have the pleasure of my 500th post to The Guage! Even though I've got nothing to say..... 'cept,

    YEP! You and me outa 250 members of The Guage. YEP.... It's a good forum, with plenty of chat and assistance.

    YEP! I have a webpage and you can check out at

    Hoo Roo.
  8. LC

    LC Member

    Welcome to TG, in regards to your problem w/Athern PAs, I found that the eletcrical connections sometimes were at fault. You can remove the long copper connections on top of the motor and weld a wire going to the forward and rear supply to the gear boxes. I found this often clears up problems of "jerking" etc. A word of caution. In the center where the power goes out there is a very small spring, it will jump out and you could loose it so becareful, you still need the spring even though you have removed the two copper strips.
    Hope perhaps this helps. Most of my power units have been converted this way, Athern or not.
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Grant, welcome to the gauge.

    Getting back on the topic.

    It would appear that there is flash inside the gears or that metal strip that is used to make contact isn't working properly. Take the metal strip off and solder a wire across to the metal strips on the bogies also the headlight will have to be dealt with in a similar fashion.
    If removing the flash and the metal pickup strip doesn't do the job, then there is a fault in the motor it's self, check the brushes are seated properly.


    NARA Member #24

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