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Old 03-27-2019, 10:48 AM   #1
Canadian GP
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How to get old locos running smooth?

I have several 45 year old locos that run but are in need of attention. Any tips on maintenance would be appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:21 AM   #2
MichaelE
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New five pole motors and lubing the gear train should fix them right up.

You'll have to figure out if the cost is worth it.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:31 AM   #3
Dennis461
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Originally Posted by Canadian GP View Post
I have several 45 year old locos that run but are in need of attention. Any tips on maintenance would be appreciated.
Did you search the internet for clues? This question must have been answered at least 100 times.

The simple answer is clean them.
Inside and out, top to bottom, wheels rails, electrical connections, pickup wipers, clean out old grease/oil.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:41 AM   #4
Stan D
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What are they? Are they all wheel drive/ centrally mounted motor w/ flywheels? If they are, and they run at all, I'd suggest cleaning and lubing them. Dirt and carbon can make it hard for a motor to give it's best. And don't ignore the wheels. They get dirty just as easily as track does. If you do a decent job of cleaning and lubing, you should see improvement. Then, you can determine if that is smooth enough, or go the route of a new motor.

Of my fleet of 12 locos, 6 are Athearn Blue Box machines from the 70s/80s. Kept clean and lubed, they run fairly smooth. I do have a newer Bachmann of the same style, and it does run smoother than the BB's, but the BB's are still my favorites.
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Old 03-27-2019, 03:11 PM   #5
DonR
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As Michael inferred, early HO motors run rougher and
draw much higher current than those currently sold.
New motors are available for replacements.

However, taking the gearing out, removing the
old, likely gelled, lube and replacing it, would work
wonders. Always use plastic friendly lubes and oils
such as those sold by LaBelle's.
Check to see that the plastic gearing is
not cracked.

AND CLEAN THE WHEELS.

Don
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:52 AM   #6
J.Albert1949
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If the repair efforts can succeed with mostly "elbow grease" (along with some real oil and grease), it -might be- worth it.

But sometimes, the "old stuff" is better left "in the box" or used as static displays.

This is particularly true if you have old dc stuff, and are now using dcc.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:01 PM   #7
tr1
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Arrow Can anyone produce a list to follow?

What steps must be taken to insure trouble free operation of "ho"rolling stock?
Once in the basement with the train layout, I get easily side tracked.

Thank you,
tr1
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian GP View Post
I have several 45 year old locos that run but are in need of attention. Any tips on maintenance would be appreciated.

Inspection, cleaning, lubing. In some cases, stripping and repainting if you want them to look newer, but really old stuff will have few details anyway.

Watch for zinc pest in metal shells and frames. You'll see grainy white stuff instead of homogeneous metal.


Also, clean the brass or copper 'wipers', or 'pickups'. Insulation on old wiring between the pickups and the motor could be really iffy. If you get shorts because of that, you'll have to replace the wires.


As one gentleman suggests, sometimes it's simply better, and more rewarding, to start afresh and to have the fun much earlier. That's not to say you can't ever go back, fiddle with one of the old ones at a time, convert it to DCC if that makes sense, and enjoy an old friend.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:42 AM   #9
HOfabricator4$sless
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6-19-19 10:10 p.m.

I am primarily an HO modeler, but I repair everything.

I have a variety of things I do to get HO locos up and running.

1) I apply low power (3 to 6 vdc) directly to the wheels on a loco to see if I can get it to run. If the loco will not run, I remove the shell to access the motor.
2) Again, I use low power to check if the motor will run. If the motor does not run, I look to see if the commutator segments are coated with carbon (Repair: clean commutator surface with a pencil eraser / xacto knife / file - I may also use a specially-ground v-shaped razor blade to clean between the commutator segments), the graphite brush surfaces are glazed (Repair - gently scrape / file the surface of the graphite brush to break the glaze, a wire lead has broken free from a commutator segment (Repair: solder the wire back in place), a weak spring (Repair: bend spring as needed), motor felt pads / bushings are dry (Repair: Use the smallest amount of light oil lubricant on armature shafts which interface with bushings in the motor).
3) Fit up of worm gear on motor to crown gear on driver axle. Repair: I spend quite a bit of time trying to get gears to mesh properly. I generally use various thickness brass or pasteboard shims under the motor get the proper gear engagement. On motors, think of the front of the motor case as a pivot point. Try to pivot the motor so that the gears engage properly. This takes some fiddling to get the loco to run at the same speed in forward / reverse.
4) There are many issues associated with older locos. Mechanism binds (Repair: Remove the motor, lubricate axles and running gear, roll the wheels and chassis back-and-forth on a sheet of newspaper or a catalogue until the mechanism rolls freely then reinstall the motor and test the loco.
5) Electrical problems. Many steam locos have insulated wheels / axles which pick up current on one side of the tender only. Make sure that the conducting wheels have not gotten turned around and are on opposite sides of the tender. (Note: I think American Flyer HO steamers have conducing trucks on opposite sides of the tenders by design.) The steam locos have driver wheels which are conducting and insulated. The conducting wheels on the steam loco (opposite to the conducting wheels on the tender) pick up power from the opposite rail to the rail which provides power to the tender. Loco will not respond (Repair - make sure all electrical connections are clean, make sure soldered connections are in good condition, re-solder connections as needed. On Mantua / other locos, make sure that the truck frame-to-tender baseplate connections are clean and free of oxidation, clean the wheels thoroughly, lubricate the axle points in the truck frames). Brass locos are tricky because they have insulate drawbars. The drawbar must be insulated from the chassis or the loco will short out. This will take some explaining, so write back for more details.

See if any of this helps. I have plenty of other tricks up my sleeve.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:24 AM   #10
Old_Hobo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tr1 View Post
What steps must be taken to insure trouble free operation of "ho"rolling stock?
Once in the basement with the train layout, I get easily side tracked.

Thank you,
tr1
You should really start your own thread on this topic, instead of always hijacking someone else's thread....you have done it multiple times....
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