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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Try as I might I could not find any good pictures of Bild-a-loco motor disassembly. So here is my pictorial with some of the more salient observations.

Slide1.JPG

The motor I have has a type 4 pickup which is easily removed by loosening the thumb screws on either end.

The center rail power is applied through the connections shown in the next two slides.

Slide2.JPG

Slide3.JPG

Disassembly starts here.

Slide4.JPG
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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You spelled Build wrong. :p

Do you have the shell for this motor Bob?
The wheels look great for their age. Do you know it's age?
Did you put it on the rails and give it power after you got it back together?

Your right about not being able to find pictures of this motor apart. I tried.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you have the shell for this motor Bob?
The wheels look great for their age. Do you know it's age?
Did you put it on the rails and give it power after you got it back together?
I have a #10 shell (posted elsewhere) that needs paint. I now have a #10 frame that also needs paint and couplers.

Unfortunately I have no Standard Gauge track. YET!

You may not have seen it too well from the brush plate picture but the one brush is pretty small so I will wait till I get brushes before testing (it did run before I operated!)

Slide8.JPG

If you look closely at this picture there are two little levers that can rotate to hold the brush springs retracted while you install the armature, pretty neat!

This is a type 1 Bild-a-Loco motor because it has a drum type commutator. Lionel changed this to a disc type commutator for the type 2 motor, but I don't know the year. (disc commutator gave more space and allowed a larger field and armature windings that drew more current and created other problems).

According to a recent post (TJ or T-man) the pendulum reverse did not see production till 1928, so I guess my motor can't be before then.
 

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I seem to remember you did show it when you first found it?
I can't find any reference about it.

Buy a loop of track?
Maybe just a few straights, for testing?
 

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For someone that has one your pictures can help a great deal.
Thanks for a nice thread and taking the time to put up those pictures.
 

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Ohhhh ...

TJ just had an ah-ha moment ...

I'm just seeing that the commutator is a cylindrical type; rather than the 3-segment flat type that I'm used to seeing with other Lionel motors.

Fascinating thread, Bob ... so glad you've documented all of this so nicely for others. Thank you!!!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm just seeing that the commutator is a cylindrical type; rather than the 3-segment flat type that I'm used to seeing with other Lionel motors.

TJ
According to Greenberg's book (pge 240) Lionel redesigned the Bild-A-Loco motor in 1933 to have a disc type commutator (Type 3 motor)that we are all familiar with in O motors. Whether this was simply to standardize parts or to gain clearance in the motor I do not know.

If I had the book it might say? Unfortunately I just have copies of pages available on the internet.

Too bad Teledoc hasn't chimed in, I believe he has the book!
 

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Bob, What is the reference to ??Page 240??, from the Greenberg Book. The one reference I can find, is from Greenberg Guide Vol. I, Standard & 2 7/8" gauge, page 33, that states that the original motor introduced 1928-1933, used the DRUM Style Commutator. The motor was changed to the DISK Style Commutator, in 1934-1939.

One other reference Book that I have, is Greenberg Guide to Lionel Trains, Vol. I, edited by Christian Rohlfing, (copyright 1988), on page 112. I will quote directly from the book:

1 BILD-A-MOTOR:1928-31, Three speed reversible motor, 5-1/2" x 3" x 3", red or black base and trim on main pulley wheel, nickel-plated motor sides, converts to 0 motor, came in box marked No. 1 Bild-A-Motor/ Trademark Patents Pending.

2 BILD-A-MOTOR:: 1928-31, three speed reversible motor, 7" x 3 5/8" x 4", Converts to Standard Motor Red or Black base.

043 BILD-A-MOTOR GEAR SET: Converts 0 Gauge No. 1 Motor to No. 2 "Bild-A-Motor for Standard gauge.

There is No explanation as to why the change from Drum to Disk Commutator, was made, in either book.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Teledoc,

I read a post of yours not long ago that referenced the Greenberg book. I googled it and went to the Amazon link where I saw that the book was too steep for me, but the main image had a caption that read "see all 9 images." of course I had to click on that, and that's where I got that page.

Must be a later/different version of the book.:dunno:

https://www.amazon.com/Greenbergs-Lionel-Standard-Gauges-1901-1940/dp/0967890551
 

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The book you referenced is Greenberg's newest edition, which is more comprehensive than his earlier editions. I do not have any Standard Gauge or 2 7/8" locos, so that edition, is of no use to me. The price was another contributing factor, as to why I didn't buy that book. Bruce Greenberg is presently working on his next edition, which will cover the 1928-1942 time frame, which is the next book that I will be getting. It isn't set for release until some time in 2020, though.

I had a chance to think about these motors, and Lionel's marketing strategy, covering different time frames. Lionel's early years, leading up to the 1930's, dealt mainly in Standard Gauges, and larger "0" scale. The majority of the Standard locos (Electrics), used motors, very similar to the Bild-A-Loco motors, that all would have used the Drum Style Commutators, with Brush Plates that were similar in design. Lionel (along with A/F, bought out Ives, in 1929), and starting in 1930, Lionel started to produce lower cost trains, which is what we now call "027". This was mainly due to trying to survive the Depression, and to be able to sell cheaper trains, compared to their earlier sales of high end items, of the Standard Gauge. The majority of the early 1930's locos, used armatures, with the disk style commutator, but a lot of the 027 units lacked a reversing unit. It wasn't until 1933, that Lionel finally redesigned the E-unit, from the Ives original design, that would replace the earlier Pendulum style reverse units, (which were big and bulky). Using the newer style motors, with armature/commutators having the disk style, simplified the manufacturing process, which all took place in 1933-34. By 1936, Lionel moved away from the Standard Gauge trains, and relied more on the "0" & "027" gauges, to stay competitive. Prior to 1936, most of the trains were actual "Tinplate", but in 1935-36, Lionel started producing Die Cast bodies, which were better built. They were cheaper to make, and could be mass produced in larger quantities, which kept Lionel afloat, leading up to WW II.
 

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Are the reverse units really difficult to repair ? I would think going to all the trouble to install another style E Unit, couldn't the original one just be repaired at that time ? The E unit appears to be a Marx style ?
I fully understand the importance of how these locomotives are constructed, and how to repair them is vital to antique Locomotives. It goes back to my discussions about BENZ TRAINS. Bypassing the E units. Ben has destroyed countless Locomotives by modifying or bypassing or removing E units. Now he has moved into Lionel trains with the same type modifications. I full understand that it's his trains, but at some point someone may buy the estate of Ben, thinking they are getting original good running Marx trains, only to find out he bought Lionel trains with Marx motors, Marx trains with no E units, really a worthless pile of junk IMHO.
My PERSONAL opinion is, if you take the time to figure out how to disassemble a locomotive and how things work, why not just REPAIR it and keep it original. I just do not understand that.


Dan
 

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Dan, The main question from Rkenney, had to do with the commutators that were used in the early & late version Bild-A-Loco motors. The earliest commutators had a Drum style commutator, which was part of the armature shaft, and extended past the laminations. They were replaced in 1933, to the Disk style commutator, which were the flat copper segments, on the armature face, common to late Prewar & early Postwar motors, that most are aware of. The earliest reversing units on the Standard Gauge & “0” gauge motors, were the Pendulum style, which have a similarity to the Marx units. With patience, and correct parts, these reversing units, plus the more up to date E-units, can all be repaired with success. BENZ just came up with a quick & dirty method to get older “junk” motors to run, without using a reversing unit. This method forced the locos to only run in forward. As you stated, anyone obtaining locos from BENZ TRAINS, won’t be getting original designed motors. Bottom line is they are “his” trains, to do as he pleased.
 

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Teledoc;
I completely agree. My only concern 9is eventually Ben will be gone, and if you watch his videos, you will soon see, that his collection is best described as Americanmarxlionels. Which will most likely be listed as good running Marx and Lionel trains. Which they will not be. That is why I advocate to leave stuff original. Ben was mainly working on Marx trains, now that he has branched out, he is combining Lionel and Marx parts into Lionel trains. I think the Model railroad community would discourage that practice vocally. No one has to take it personally, but I'm sure that a majority of hobbyists would not do that, I would just like to see that reflected in our threads. I agree, they are HIS trains. I once again am only concerned with someone that will on good faith obtain the Frankentrains from his estate.

Dan
 
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