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I'm looking to add the S line to my collection... I've already got N, HO and O. Actually, I started out with S (American Flyer Champion steam engine set) as a kid but that set is long gone, almost completely forgotten as to the details. My question regards the motor of the American Flyer S engines... are they of the "pullmotor" variety (brushes and removeable armature) or can (completely enclosed). If both, is there a general rule as to what year they were one and then what year they switched? While I know many have an affection for the pullmotor, I really do like the smoothness and quiet performance of a can. Thanks all!
 

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DrJAB, newer or recent American Flyers are can motors. The ones from the 1950s are what is called
universal motors. They will run on AC or DC. They come apart very easily to replace brushes, springs,
and armatures. Nothing sealed about them. I like can motors also. There are adaptable can motor kits
for the 1950s locomotives.
 

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All postwar Gilbert engines were made with 3 pole, open frame series wound motors. Some 0-8-0's and some 4-8-4's were made with AlNiCo permanent magnet fields for DC only operation. All others are universal motors that can run on AC or DC. PullMor motors, introduced in 1954 simply use larger armatures with matching fields for more torque. They are sometimes called "big" motors.
Lionel began making S gauge engines in 1979. Lionel introduced can motors after the start of production but continued with some poorly designed reversing units. Over time the Lionel production engines improved and went all electronic. In 2005 they made the first TMCC S gauge engines.
 

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Flyer pulmor motors are different than Lionel pulmor motors. I won't buy a Lionel pulmor motored locomotive. That's just me.

Welcome to the S forum DrJab.
 

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American Flyer engines from the 1980's to the present use can motors. No American Flyer trains were made between 1967 and 1979. All American Models engines as well as SHS and MTH S gauge engines use can motors.
 

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Tom is pretty much on it. I have a 1981 AF diesel that is not can motor. It is an open frame AC motor.
Pretty much a piece of junk. I would say mid 80s on would be can motors.
 

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Mopac, I do not recall the exact year of the changeover. The three big sets (NP, UP, MP) had can motors but they were made in 1990. The SP daylight and the Erie did not, they were 1981&1982. I think everything after 1983 had can motors.
 

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Ok, I did some research and have the facts. American Flyer by Lionel released the first S gauge cars in 1979 but the first engines were made in 1981. These 1981 engines used an open frame motor but it had a double wound field like Lionel motors. As a result it required an E unit, not an S gauge reverse unit that works with single wound fields. Gilbert never made double wound motors for use in engines. The electronic E unit Lionel used is problematic, the fix is to rip it out and replace it with a modern Dallee unit.
According to the literature all motors beginning with 1982 production used can motors.
 

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Thanks for the real info Tom. Good to know. My 1981 diesel had the electronic reverse unit. it did not last very long at all. It released the magic smoke and that was that. I removed the reverse unit and wired motors direct to the trucks. Now it only runs in forward, but that is fine. I do not want to spend more money on the piece of poop right now.
 

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So the B&O and SP were both made for 1981? Portlines has a couple of repair clinics for the Erie diesels, but not for SP which implies they were different. So, does the B&O have open frame or can motors?

Gilbert Gallery says B&O and SP in 1981 (presumably open frame), Erie in 1982 (first can motors) and B&O again in 1983.

I agree the the E-unit for the SP was bad; mine failed in one direction after about 20 minutes of running. With an electronic reverse unit and rewired to use only one field it runs fine.
 

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I do not personally own any of the early 80's diesels, probably a fortunate thing. Supposedly the 1981 B&O should be open frame and the 1983 should be a can motor, but it would be nice to physically verify that.
Mopac, sounds like you have the most reliable solution as long as all your stations are pass through tracks.
 
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