Why the Heck is it doing THAT?!?!

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by SaphhireX, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. SaphhireX

    SaphhireX New Member

    Help! I'm a newbie and just trying to fix my son's train. I bought him a Life-LikeTrain set (item#8963) over 5 years ago. I moved after that and it ended up in storage for over 4 years. It was stored with the other electric toys in a blue plastic tote. I got it out the other day and put it together for him, but all the engine would do is "twitch"! Every time I would turn the control on either forward or reverse it would 'twitch' and then do nothing!?! I pushed down on the engine and it lit up and wanted to go THEN, but when I let go of it, it just,... you guessed it... TWITCHED and then NOTHING! :curse:

    I really want to get this running again for my son so I can get him some more track and may be a car or two for his birthday, but I'm at a loss as I don't know anything about trains! I can fix an XBox, so I'm hopeful that this is fixable too!:D Any suggestions or sites with instructions or pictures would be a great help! Thanks!
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:

    Sounds like your track and loco's wheels need a good cleaning. Get a pen eraser and rub it along the tops of the rails 'til they shine. A Q-tip dipped in alcohol will get your wheels. Any more than that will require opening the loco up.
  3. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Sounds to me like dirty/oxidized wheels and track. Try cleaning the track with a large pink eraser. Clean ALL of the track, and try that. Short of that, try getting a bottle of Goo-gone and get a few paper towels wet with it, saturate it pretty well, and since a Life-Like engine is usually front wheels drive only, lay the stack of goo-gone'd paper towles over a section of track (do this on the counter with a section of straight track connected to the power track and transformer on), and place the front wheels on the goo-gone towels and the rear just behind them, and while holding the engine, let the front drive wheels spin on he goo-gone paper towels to clean the wheels. Do this though after cleaning all of the track first. Try that and let us know if it helped, and if not, we'll come up with a plan B.
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yes, it looks like it all needs cleaning. "maitenance kits" are available as well to clean tracks and electrical contacts. basicly the track and wheels are exposed wires, and when something impedes electrical flow, it will slow down or halt the train.

    If you buy him a few new cars, i might suggest a low end Athearn diesel kit as well. These are usually cheap, but are fairly well detailed (or are set up to be detailed in the future) and have better motors, and all wheel electrical pickup, which mean better operation. make sure trains have compatible couplers as well. in the past 5 years, the old X2f "horn hook" couplers have gone out of style, and are replaces with knuckle couplers that cannot reliably work together.

    good luck and happy holidays!
  5. SaphhireX

    SaphhireX New Member

    Thanks for all the great advice!! I will definitely give the track and train a thorough cleaning! I really appreciate all the help and I will post my results when I get through. It will probably be a few days as I am currently out on the road (truck driver) but I will post it here when I'm finished. Thanks for the suggestion on the diesel, too! I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again!! :D
  6. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Hello and welcome. Like the others said, it is simply dirty is all.
    Keep coming back and asking questions :D
  7. SaphhireX

    SaphhireX New Member

    Thanks for the great welcome! And GREAT NEWS!! I fixed it! The train is rolling again! :D Now, anyone know where I can find more track for it? It's not the kind you mount on a board. It's the hard plastic track that can be used on any surface. I also need a do-dad so I can hook the cars to the engine again... Any suggestions??
  8. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Just went through teh same thing w/ my son's train set :). My dad bought it for him a year before he died and my son has been chomping at the bit to get it going.

    I did some research on the net, wound up here on this site ;) and boy am i ever happy for that, but before i did i bought an additional set as i foudn this the cheapest way to get more tracks for the power loc (that is what i think you have) tracks.

    There is a set going to 100bux on ebay now that i bought for my son to add to what my dad bought and it turned out to be a very good deal.

    It comes w/ sceery adn a working cross gate and tons of stuff to keep you and your son busy :).

    It will also help to keep him busy while you build out your layout ;) from snap track!!:thumb:

    some pictures of mine: http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Layout1/

    the green astro turn is where i started a month ago. The 2 loops in the front are the double train express kit. I took it all down and setup regular track.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If there is a hobby shop near you, you should be able to get everything you need there. Just be aware that the track with the built in plastic roadbed is made by Bachmann, Atlas, Lifelike, and Kato. None of it interchanges with other brands. If you want to add more track to your train set, you have to stick with Lifelike Powr-Lok. If you don't have a hobby shop nearby, there re a number of train shops that sell over the internet. I haven't used them, but if you do a search on the Gauge you will find reccomendations for the good ones and warnings about some that have less than satisfactory service. The "do-dad" you need sounds like a coupler. A few years ago the patent ran out on the Kaddee Magnematic Coupler, and all of the other train manufacturers started making Kaddee style couplers. I'm not sure if it was more or less than 5 years ago. If your coupler has a working "knuckle" with a steel trip pin hanging down between the tracks, it is a Kaddee style coupler. I would reccomend installing a Kaddee #5 coupler to replace the broken one. They are much stronger than the competitor's couplers.
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    actually, EZ-track will work with regular snap track with modification.
  11. SaphhireX

    SaphhireX New Member

    Hobbie Shops

    Thanks again for all the great information!! I will look for a hobbie shop around me. I don't know if Hobby Lobby would have anything like this. Anyone know?

    When I get home I'll take a picture of the engine that needs the coupler. It looks like you just need to snap something on the bottom of the engine but I get the pictures so it shows what I'm talking about. :)

    Would it be worth the money to switch the type of track? How much is track on average?

    Thanks again!
  12. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Caution with "Goo-gone"...

    Yes it works great, but do not let any go on the styrafom it will eat away at it. (This if you are using a styrafom bed)

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