Trying to resurrect old set

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by chief, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. chief

    chief New Member

    I have be given an old HO train set and want to get it running good again. Most of the set is from the mid 1950s. I have set an oval layout up to test and I have gotten one of the locomotives(diesel with geared drivetrain) to work, but its loud. It sounds like something is dragging across the railroad ties, but there isn't.

    The second locomotive(diesel with rubberband drivetrain) isn't working well at all. If I put power to the electric motor it will run but when I connect the rubberbands it either hardly moves or doesn't at all. I have cleaned the motor but it hasn't helped.

    I am running off of all the original components. (track, power supply, cars)
    I have read a couple tutorials and forums but just need some help.


  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Do you have the original box to give us a brand name for the set? If it is Athearn, the gear drive may be noisy because the engine mounts have partially pulled out of the frame allowing the motor to vibrate against the body. If the rubber band drive is Athearn, the motors sometimes lose magnetism in the fields. Replacement motors are available from Athearn and are very reasonably priced.
  3. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    For the most part, the older locos aren't nearly as good as the newer ones. I have several that I put back into operation, but not to run very often. An Athearn rubber band drive makes a very nice shelf display.

    Ah, but the cars may be very neat. Most would probably benefit from new trucks and wheels as I have done to several older 50s and 60s cars that are on my railroad. Indeed, I have a train made up of some deceptively heavy old cars. I keep it together for those who come in with an engine "...that'll pull anything." Yeah, right. Most can't pull this 6 car train up my 2.5 percent grade! I love it!

    Resurrect the old, but pick up some new power. You'll enjoy the hobby much more.
  4. chief

    chief New Member

    I belive it is a Gilbert HO Train Set (1955-1957).
  5. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Chief, on the one that sounds as tho it is dragging on the ties, are the wheel flanges too big and rolling on the ties?
    As far as the rubber bands, if the bands are twisted in the wrong way on one end, the wheels will try to turn in opposite directions.
    I have one of each kind and find that they look beautiful sitting on the shelf.

  6. chief

    chief New Member

    I will have to check the wheel flanges tonight, but I know the rubber bands are turned the right way on the other one. I think the motor has just lost some of its magnetism and isn't strong enough to pull a load.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Have you lubricated anything? You need plastic compatible oil and grease (should be at your hobby shop; don't know any other source). A drop of oil where the shaft comes out of the motor, a touch of grease where the shaft goes into its support. Very little oil where the axle ends are supported. A small blob of grease on any gears.
    I just took an old diesel apart (same era) and cleaned and oiled all the moving parts and it went from sluggish to quite a pleasant runner.
    There is another problem on trains that old: metal fatigue, especially in white metal or zamak castings. This shows up as cracks or bits turning to dust. Unfortunately, it's uncurable.
  8. chief

    chief New Member

    I ended up taking the noisy diesel apart last night to clean it. i found a nice size hair ball at each wheel and in most of the gears. havn't finished yet but i think this will fix my problem

    quick question: how do you remove the wheels? i thought i read somewhere you need a special tool. so i didn't try to remove them.

    also what is the effect of using sand paper to clean rails. i think the previous owner clean the track with sandpaper
  9. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    You have probably found the major problem. Those furballs will really slow them down. I agree about the lubrication, and make sure it is a LITTLE oil and grease.

    I have used sandpaper on tracks and it cleans them good, BUT, use only 400-600 grit. I also use just a large regular eraser if the tracks aren't bad. It also smooths the tracks if I had used sandpaper first.

  10. chief

    chief New Member

    i contacted a manufacturer about the rubber band loco, but they said gilbert never made a rubberband loco.

    is it common to place the shell of the loco on another frame/motor

    the shell looks like a Gilbert ALCO DIESEL A UNIT - New Haven
  11. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I just checked my locos, and the gear driven one is a Marx, orange color Union Pacific. The rubber band one I always thought was Athearn, but ????? I looked inside, and the shafts coming from the motor go thru rubber couplers. One of those on mine is slipping. I don't have bands on it, but I do know from past experience that if only one end of any loco runs and the other is supposed to but doesn't, it will move very slow, if at all.

    If needs be, I'll try to post a picture of the inside if it will help at all.

  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    you shouldn't have to remove the wheels from the axles. You would only want to do this to replace a gear.
    You might want to remove the whole axle assembly. This probably requires taking the truck apart. This will vary with the truck.
  13. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    If it is a Marx loco you are trying to take the wheels off of, you must disassemble the complete truck to do so.
    There are 4 metal tabs on the top of the truck (under the motor on the rear truck) that must be straightened out (and they usually break).
    This will allow you to pull the bottom off the truck and remove the geared wheels.
    If you need to pull the wheels off the axle, I would recomend a NWSL Puller to do so.

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