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Discussion Starter #1
I started tearing down the 336 last night and I gathered a little list of questions pertaining to the Northern.

  1. What is the finish on the handrails? I don't know if mine are tarnished/corroded but the finish is very rough and a dull gun metal color.
  2. What's the deal with the brush springs? Both the brush springs were a combination of two springs intertwined. The brushes did measure 5/16" so yes, they need replacing. However, is the double spring a band-aide for the worn brushes of is that a large motor thing?
  3. I am not familiar with how the whistle operates. Is it triggered when the reverse unit is in the neural position?
P.S. I cleaned the body and it looks absolutely amazing!






 

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I thought the body might clean up. You got a deal.
Not sure what the deal is with double springs. I have
not had my large motor apart yet.
 

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To operate the whistle you will need an Air Chime Whistle controller. It is a black button with either a metal or cardboard tube mounted to the top of the button. The tube contains a fancy vibrator. The controller must be wired between the transformer and the track.
The handrails are just shiny metal. They look pretty close in the picture. There should only be one spring in each brush tube.
 

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Here is a repost of two of my Like New condition Northerns. The handrails from the factory are bare metal but not highly polished. Definitely not gunmetal in color

F4207787-7D4C-45A5-8515-6C6C819FB7D0.jpg

6E284388-954C-4AAC-9CFD-1BCDC4E26A70.jpg
 

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I have an air chime whistle activator that worked when I last tested it a couple years ago. I don't need it and plan to put it on ebay. But I would be happy to sell it to you for cheap. If interested, you can email me at [email protected].
 

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All engines made by Gilbert, including the 4-8-4 Northern run on the standard 20" track radius. In these modern times that old 20"radius track is sometimes called 19" radius.
 

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Thankyou i was just wondering if they need the wide curve because of all the wheels going around curves. Thanks again

Al
 

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I have started buying the wide curves. They will run on original Gilbert track but you
can tell they would rather have wider curves. I bought 4 wide curves today. That
will give me 27 pieces. I would like 36 pieces. They are not all over the place. They
just pop up every once in a while. I watch ebay a lot. Twice I ran across sellers with brand new
wide curves. They were too rich for me. 10 bucks a piece. I passed. They did sell. I am
willing to pay 4.50 to 5.00 each piece for decent condition.. Takes 12 to make a circle.
Passenger cars look better on the wide curves also.

The northerns have only 2 driver wheels with flanges on each side. The 2 middle drivers are
what is called blind drivers (no flanges).
 

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Here are a couple of pictures you may find interesting. The first picture I took on a layout using all Gilbert 20” radius track. The significance of the picture to me is I received those two engines as Christmas gifts 60 years apart, and they both run on the same layout! The Hudson is from my first train set.
In any event even the 23” long 4-6-6-4 Challenger will run fine on 20” radius track even if it looks awkward.
The second picture is from overhead of the Challenger on a 30” radius curve. Even at that radius it still has some overhang.


4376A952-6284-4D46-A726-976A3DEF479F.jpg

9D8D306A-4F61-471F-88CE-678B20CCECC8.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does anyone use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean their parts? These things will change your life...I promise. For those who aren't familiar, ultrasonic cleaning is the process of using ultrasound to agitate a fluid. These sound waves create scrubbing actions that get in the smallest of gaps and crevices. When combining distilled water and a light dish detergent, such as Dawn, an Ultrasonic Cleaner is a great option for really getting down into those hard to reach areas of any American Flyer part safely.

2.jpg
 

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I tried putting an armature in my wife's ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, I received clear direction from her that was not an acceptable use of her cleaner. The one you have is designed for cleaning our kind of parts.
 
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