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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

This is my first post, as I said in my intro I have a post war set given to me by my Uncle. I myself have had the set for about 30-35 years. When it was opened after sitting in storage for many years it was found the battery for the whistle was left in and naturally it leaked.

When I first started to set it up temporary everything worked, I really didn't get into and didn't have the room. At one point later I messed with it a little and the engine didn't work. I have some pictures I will post, I have replaced a few wires since they were brittle and loose but still no luck. I found a few links from T-Man about the E Unit and I will look at that tonight since some of the symptoms described are similar to mine.

Couple of questions- Should I be able to turn the wheels when I am holding the engine? When I have the motor out I roll the wheels and it goes so far and locks then I roll it back and goes so far and locks again is that right?

Here are a few pic's of the engine as I was taking it apart, you can see it was in bad shape compared to the dummy unit. I took some gel gloss to it to clean it up and it looks much better. I have a bunch of other stuff with it but I haven't taken it out yet because I knew the engine needed work.
 

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The wheels on the powered truck should turn freely with the motor off the truck. If the wheels don't turn freely, check the gears on the side of the truck. One of them may be broken or damaged.
 

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Or you might have picked up a piece of metal in them?
 

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Yes, the magne traction magnets will pick up metal. And while we are at this, DO NOT EVER USE STEEL WOOL TO CLEAN TRACK. You will be very disappointed how it works out with your magne traction locos covered with steel wool hairs. Use a ScotchBrite pad to clean the rails. Do not use sand paper or you will sand off the plating.

Bruce Baker
 

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JRT,

Good to have you onboard. I use Goo-Gone along with some Q-tips and a soft tooth brush to clean out gunk from old axles, gears, armatures, etc. (Though make sure the Q-tips don't leave stray cotton fibers in the gearing.) If done with care, a soft wire brush spinning on a Dremel can help, too. Be extra gently around old wires, though, as the covering can be brittle, and you also don't want to damage the thin coating on armature and field windings. Use a light grease (lithium, or a purpose-made loco grease) on the gearing.

If you're ambitious, you can remove and clean the motor brushes and springs, and perhaps even remove the armature itself to clean it's contact face. Those together should help improve motor running significantly.

Here's a link to service specs sheets for that 2023 ... you can view each page as a pdf ...

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/2023.htm

E-Units warrant a more detailed discussion ... post back if/when you have specific questions there.

Good luck,

TJ
 

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TJ,
The last loco I had a real problem cleaning was a 2333. Someone had put grease in the gearboxes, and it had hardened. I used WD-40 to soften it and Brake Clean to clean it out. I have used the Brake Clean on other things, also. I haven't used Goo Gone yet. The last motor I had apart I used a ScotchBrite pad to clean the commutator. It worked well. I clean the commutators and brushes and then oil the commutator with 5W-20 motor oil. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it really works well. I oiled the 2333 about a year ago, and it never had a problem, and it runs very smooth. I can't recommend other lubricants than the 5W-20 because I haven't used them. I oil everything and don't use grease at all. I've done it this way for 45 years with good results.

Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone's valuable information!
I ended up going out last night so I didn't get to do anything until this morning before work. Sure enough I looked this morning and there was a little piece of solder in the gears so I was able to get that out and they now turn freely.
Then I did the E Unit test and sure enough the wheel start to spin so I was very happy with that. I needed to order a new battery bracket but I thought I would wait until I figured out everything I need so now I will order them.
Hopefully a new E Unit will get it going so I will get back once I repair the loco and get a few things setup.

Thanks again,
Jeff
 

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Thanks everyone's valuable information!
I ended up going out last night so I didn't get to do anything until this morning before work. Sure enough I looked this morning and there was a little piece of solder in the gears so I was able to get that out and they now turn freely.
Then I did the E Unit test and sure enough the wheel start to spin so I was very happy with that. I needed to order a new battery bracket but I thought I would wait until I figured out everything I need so now I will order them.
Hopefully a new E Unit will get it going so I will get back once I repair the loco and get a few things setup.

Thanks again,
Jeff
Most of the time if it go and stops, it's either a chipped gear or a bent gear or you picked up a piece of metal in the gears.

This is the third time on different forums with this question, I have seen it turn out to be a piece of solder in the gears.:laugh:

Why do you need an e unit if yours is working?:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Most of the time if it go and stops, it's either a chipped gear or a bent gear or you picked up a piece of metal in the gears.

This is the third time on forums with this question, I have seen it turned out to be a piece of solder.:laugh:

Why do you need an e unit if yours is working?:confused:
I thought because the E-Unit wasn't working properly that something was broke.... I didn't test it on a track afterwards.

Does the unit just need to be cleaned or lubed?

Another question... when I was looking for some E-Units (100-15) which the manual shows I have I see some with a long bent lever sticking out of them but the one on my train doesn't have that. Is that a different kind or is mine missing it?

Thanks Jeff
 

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Jeff,
The E units are all the same except for the levers. If your sticks out the hole in the top of the loco, all is well.

If the E unit is working, I wouldn't bother to change it. They are very reliable and last a long time. I have only had one failure in 60 years, and I was able to repair it without parts.

While I am on E units, let me make an interesting comment. When my E unit failed, it failed due to a finger that was not making good contact with the drum. Things got hot and the plastic that the drum is made from melted and distorted. It turns out there is a simple fix for this: Take a pair of pliers and gently squeeze the drum back into shape. One of the guys on trains.com did this and posted a note about it. I would not have believed it would work without this guys note. Anyway, I bent the side plates of the E unit until I could get the drum out, fixed the drum, and put it back in. I cleaned the drum and the fingers so the problem wouldn't occur again for another 60 years. So far, so good, and I have about 40 hours run time on the loco.

Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jeff,
The E units are all the same except for the levers. If your sticks out the hole in the top of the loco, all is well.

If the E unit is working, I wouldn't bother to change it. They are very reliable and last a long time. I have only had one failure in 60 years, and I was able to repair it without parts.

While I am on E units, let me make an interesting comment. When my E unit failed, it failed due to a finger that was not making good contact with the drum. Things got hot and the plastic that the drum is made from melted and distorted. It turns out there is a simple fix for this: Take a pair of pliers and gently squeeze the drum back into shape. One of the guys on trains.com did this and posted a note about it. I would not have believed it would work without this guys note. Anyway, I bent the side plates of the E unit until I could get the drum out, fixed the drum, and put it back in. I cleaned the drum and the fingers so the problem wouldn't occur again for another 60 years. So far, so good, and I have about 40 hours run time on the loco.

Bruce Baker
Thank you Bruce.

I will look at the unit tonight, the only thing is the battery acid leaked in the engine many years back and it has effect some of the metal of the EU.

Just to be clear my loco doesn't have a lever sticking out. My EU doesn't have a lever like some of the pics I have seen. Is that because it is button controled from the trtansformer?

Jeff
 

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If you E unit doesn't have a lever, it is not going to work. The lever provides a ground for one side of the coil when you have the E unit turned on. I can't tell from the pictures if the lever is on the E unit or not as it should be on the side facing away from the camera in your pictures.

Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you E unit doesn't have a lever, it is not going to work. The lever provides a ground for one side of the coil when you have the E unit turned on. I can't tell from the pictures if the lever is on the E unit or not as it should be on the side facing away from the camera in your pictures.

Bruce Baker
Thanks Bruce,

I can tell you there is nothing on the one side, I took more pics but I forgot the flash drive at home.

Can I solder a piece of wire to the center and run it to the frame of the engine?

Jeff
 

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Jeff,
The E units are all the same except for the levers. If your sticks out the hole in the top of the loco, all is well.

If the E unit is working, I wouldn't bother to change it. They are very reliable and last a long time. I have only had one failure in 60 years, and I was able to repair it without parts.

While I am on E units, let me make an interesting comment. When my E unit failed, it failed due to a finger that was not making good contact with the drum. Things got hot and the plastic that the drum is made from melted and distorted. It turns out there is a simple fix for this: Take a pair of pliers and gently squeeze the drum back into shape. One of the guys on trains.com did this and posted a note about it. I would not have believed it would work without this guys note. Anyway, I bent the side plates of the E unit until I could get the drum out, fixed the drum, and put it back in. I cleaned the drum and the fingers so the problem wouldn't occur again for another 60 years. So far, so good, and I have about 40 hours run time on the loco.

Bruce Baker

When the finger wasn't making good contact with the drum why would that cause anything to heat up?
 

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Gents,

A few comments in regards to points above ...

1. Several guys here on the forum (though not me) have touted the use of brake fluid to clean out old grease / gunk. I've never tried it myself.

2. My understanding is that Lionel had a few basic e-unit designs (standard drum-type with fwd-neutral-reverse-neutral; Scout-type with fwd-reverse), but a long list of available e-unit assembly (part) numbers. The latter "long list" was often simply due to the length of wire that came pre-soldered to the e-unit pickups. The hardware itself (for the drum type) remained essentially constant and unchanged.

3. I've rebuilt a couple of e-units now with good success. One was a thorough clean and realignment of the contact fingers (with drum removed and things opened up), and the other needed a drum replacement ... the original drum was chewed up a bit, and had one of its "axle nibs" chaffed away such that it didn't turn properly. In my limited-experience opinion (and I stress that point), servicing e-units is not too complicated, as long as one makes a careful map of where all the wires go during disassembly / reinstall.

Cheers,

TJ

CORRECTION ... Re: e-unit differences ... the length and orientation of the lever distinguishes various e-units, too.
 

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Can I solder a piece of wire to the center and run it to the frame of the engine?

Jeff,

I'll defer from commenting on your question directly, but I will offer this:

On some locos, the e-unit flips the direction of current running through the armature. This is the more common Lionel approach. On other locos, the e-unit flips the direction of current running through the field.

So, in terms of e-unit wiring, you need to understand the logic path of what the e-unit is doing, before redirecting any wire leads. Did the 2023 specs sheets in the Olsen's link give a wiring diagram?

TJ

UPDATE -- I looked at the wiring diagram for the 2023 ... the e-unit flips the current running through the armature, with the field current (always in the same direction) downstream of that. The "input" to the e-unit is the center "hot" rail, and the far downstream end of the field is grounded to the frame and the outer rails. (That's the "typical" Lionel setup.)
 

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TJ,
Brake Clean and brake fluid are not the same. NEVER use brake fluid to clean anything. It will take paint off so fast you won't believe it. Brake clean comes in an aerosol can and it pretty benign stuff as far as paint is concerned. I have used it to clean gears and bearings and commutators on engines, and it works well.

I think the fwd neut rev neut E units are all the same except for the lever and the length of the wire. To my eye, they all look the same.

You are right about the E unit sometimes flipping the direction of the current in the armature and sometimes in the field. If the E unit flips the direction of the current in the field, the field will have two windings, one red and one green. I have some single motor diesels with vertical motors that have the dual field coils. The earlier diesels all had a single field coil. I don't know when the change occurred.

I agree with you that rebuilding an E unit is not too difficult.

Jeff,
The center where the lever was mounted is already frame ground. On the insulating board where the lever was mounted, there is a small rivet. It should have a wire going to it from the coil. Solder a wire on this rivet and ground it to the frame of the loco and your E unit will be energized all the time.

big ed,
When an electrical contact does not make good contact, it has a high resistance. This resistance may only be a fraction of an ohm but it is much larger than what it should be. A good contact should have a resistance of less than 0.01 ohms.

The current through the contact heats up the contact according to power = current squared times resistance. If the current is 3 amps, and the resistance is o.2 ohms, the power dissipated is 1.8 watts. I will tell you for sure that an E unit contact will not dissipate 1.8 watts without getting quite hot. And the hotter it gets, the more things corrode and the resistance gets even higher. This is one reason that switches and relays have current ratings.

Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wanted to report I was able to get the engine going. The screw that holds down the E-Unit bracket was sticking out and grounding out against the contact. The screw must have been switched at some time.

Is the unit suppose to to go forward then when you stop and apply power it switches and then doesn't move then when you repeat the procedure it goes reverse and so on? I thought the reverse button on the transformer was for that.

Also would someone be able to let me know the part number for the black 4 ply wire they use for the remote on the uncoupler? Mine is very dry rotted.

Thanks for your help,
Jeff
 

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Jeff,
The E unit is a 4 position device: fwd, neut, rev, neut. Every time you interrupt the power, the armature in the E unit drops and then when you reapply power, it is pulled up by the coil and turns the drum one position. The black button just interrupts the power.

It definitely sounds like someone put the wrong screw to hold the E unit. The screws are usually very short.

For small amounts of wire, I have purchased clip leads at Radio Shack and cut off the clips. The clip leads have different size wire and so you would need to check the wire size before you bought them. The other alternative is Skycraft in Winter Park, Florida. www.skycraftsurplus.com You would have to call them or email them. Most of what they sell is not on their web site. They probably have 100,000 parts in their store.
Bruce Baker
 
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