Wheels Spinning

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Pat314, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. Pat314

    Pat314 New Member

    Hello all, first post so be gentle :).

    I used to have a bunch of trains, and they've been sitting in storage for the past 10 years or so. I opened them up, and the engines (locomotives) wouldn't run at all. they'd move some, but not a lot. I figured hell, these things are old, i wouldn't be surprised if they engines were bad.

    So I went down to the local hobby store, and purchased a new Athearn Chicago NorthWestern (more than I wanted to spend,but I liked the way it looked). This runs great (almost). The engine never looses power like my el-cheapo brand ones. but the wheels just turn and turn and turn. They don't actually move anywhere. First off, I checked to see if the wheels were actually on the track (they were). Second, I cleaned the old track with a paper towel, then a kleenex, then with an alcohol wipe. After all three of these, still just spinning. The track is sitting prefectly level on my living room coffee table, and I also tried it on the carpet, and tile floor.

    I've searched the boards up and down and haven't found anything that I think would solve my problem, but I'm just starting anew, and was hoping for any expertise that could be offered.

    My final goal is to put together a small layout in HO scale with my girlfriend. She used to do a lot of model planes, and when I mentioned this it sounded fun. I loved reading the older posts, especially the ones involving animation.


    One additional note- I have no idea what track radius means, but I noticed that my new engine had the wheels spaced farther apart than my original one, but it still fits well on the track. To check to see if maybe the turns are to tight, I tried to get it to work on 3 straight sections, and still had spinning wheels.
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I really have no idea of the problem you describe. :confused: :confused: I assume you have no carraiges hooked up to your loco? And it sits in the one position, doesn't move at all, and the wheels spin?

    How many wheels does your loco have? When you say the wheels "spin", I assume you mean ALL the wheels? Are any of the wheels NOT spinning? When you lift the loco off the tracks, do the "non-spinning" wheels move freely, when spun by hand?

    And what scale is your loco and track? HO? N?
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Oh... Pat....

    Track "radius" is a term used to measure how sharp your curves are. Just like the "radius" of a circle. The "radius" is 1/2 the "width" of a circle.

    So if your track curve has a radius of 20 inches, if you were to make your track into a complete circle, it would be 2 * 20" = 40" from one side of the circle of track to the other. i.e. you would need a table 40" wide to fit the circle of track on.
  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge Pat
    Sounds wierd but do all the wheels rotate in the same direction? There must be something conflicting to prevent the loco from moving while the wheels are spinning.
  5. Pat314

    Pat314 New Member

    Just checked. None of the wheels spin freely. The thing is that the train will go for a little bit (very very little) as in 1/2 track section. It feels like a pretty weightly piece of machinery. A lot heavier than I would anticipate just from the looks.

    After reading more troubleshooting guides, I take it that when none of the wheels spin freely that means they all have power to them.

    Its a little late tonight, but I'll check tomorrow to ensure that the sheels are all spinning in the same direction. If they're not i'll take it back to the store and have him turn them around. :) Thanks for the quick replies and i'll let you know how it turns out.

  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    sounds like that one of the trucks might have a loose drive shaft i had one athearn pa that had a split u joint
  7. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Take the loco off the tracks and turn it upside down, and get the two wires from your controller, and touch a wheel on each side with each wire. One wire each side. See how that goes, and note which wheels spin. Also try touching each wheel on each side and all combinations thereof. i.e. while holding one wire on the first wheel on one side, touch the other wire on each and every wheel on the other side. Then the second wheel, and each and every wheel on the other side etc.

    Does your loco run quite freely doing this?
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    A loco, sitting in one place with the wheels spinning...........A coupler pin is caught on the track?, the fuel tank is sitting on the rails?, a wheel cover (bottom of truck) is not seated, and is rubbing on rail,or tie? one truck is not getting drive from the motor? If wheels are spinning, something is keeping the loco from moving. while the wheels are spinning try moving the loco in the direction it should be going, is there any resistance to motion?

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