Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I am fairly new to the model train hobby and have several old Lifelike and Bachmann engines. I have taken them apart and tried to clean the wheels and the pickups. After this basic service, I am finding that they have little pulling power (understanding they are entry level locomotives--limited in their ability/function). Before investing in a more expensive engine such as an Atlas or Walthers, I was looking to improve these locomotives by replacing the traction tires. This may be a dumb question, but which of the wheels on a truck can tires be installed? You can see where the old tires are installed, but does it do any good to add tires to any of the other wheels as well? I am unfamiliar with the tire concept (as kids, we just put them on the tracks and they ran). Any advice is appreciated. Thanks, marcumg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
I'm fairly new as well, but I've refurbished a few older locomotives. The traction tires only fit on the wheels designed for them. They have a little groove in them for the rubber band. You might try cleaning the old grease around the gears and journals on the motor and relube them. If the wheels are slipping, try new rubber, the old stuff may be too hard to give much traction. Otherwise you might add some weight to the locomotive.

What type of motors are in them? The pancake motors probably won't pull a ton of cars, but they should pull a few. And they can be silly fast

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,203 Posts
Note....you can’t put traction tires on wheels that pick up power, because then they won’t pick up power.....

Also, traction tires sit in a groove in the wheel, so wheels without that groove can’t be used for traction tires....

If it were me, I’d bit the bullet and buy better locomotives, ones without traction tires.....you’d be much happier with the result....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,391 Posts
Not neccessarily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,773 Posts
Generally, as Old Hobo said, you would need to put traction tires only on the wheels designed for them -- the ones with the grooves for them. Yes, you might be able to add them to other wheels, but you might not.

Traction tires are easy to replace. You can buy replacements, or use Bullfrog Snot (fancy rubber cement) or even orthodontic elastics for replacements, but the fact is that the traction tires probably aren't what's holding your locos back.

If your locos have been sitting for years, the lubricants have probably dried up. You should clean all the gears, motor bushings, and drive train components and relibricate them with hobby lubricants (common household ones may attack plastic). And then there are the motors themselves. Modern 5 pole can motors with brass flywheels work much better than the old pancake ones, but remotoring a loco requires a little technical know how.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
Cut you losses and, if you can, buy new, state of the art locos.. No matter how much effort you put into those oldies it's likely they will never run well anyway...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
Cut you losses and, if you can, buy new, state of the art locos.. No matter how much effort you put into those oldies it's likely they will never run well anyway...
They are hot and miss. I've got one that runs pretty well. It takes a good but of juice to get going, but goes well from there. Usually it just gets a little tap from behind to get it going. But it will run all day with 6 or 8 cars behind it. Actually I've got two in that category, although one is better than the other. Then I've got two that I can't seem to get running smooth to save my life. All of them are on kid duty and are great for starter trains. Now that my oldest has shown to be responsible with them and very interested, I've graduated him to a blue box upgraded with a genesis motor.

But I agree, they aren't likely a long term solution to much of anything. Good starters to Guage interest and to watch them go into warp speed.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for everyone's reply. I do plan to buy a better engine, but the reason I wanted to see if the old ones could run better is more nostalgia than anything else. The Bachmann I have ran on my train set in the late 1970s. The box still has the old price tag on it where I bought it from Murphy's Mart. Some of the Life Like engines my late Uncle purchased in the 1980s/90s. I noticed by looking at these Like Likes that they did not have tires on them. The wheels look almost too small (across). Has anyone tried to put a tires on them? I have the ones with the Pancake motor made in Yugoslavia-Chessie like the B&O 4810 below. (not my pic, but I have the same one--nice looking engine). Although it does not look like much, but this is my Bachmann (second one below) This one has the rubber tire on it and It wants to run, but I call it my "Drunk" engine because it has no grip at all to a clean track--and I have clean the wheels 2 or 3 times. The track goes one way--it wants to go the other. It is just "sloppy".
Image1.jpg



Image2.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I wonder if the Like Life B&O engine has the "groove" where the tire will fit on the wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,863 Posts
If you place anything thicker than about a sheet of printer paper over any driver other than the ones with the grooved tire, you will cause that tire to ride up higher than the others due to the increased diameter. In turn, it will probably, not absolutely, change the distance between the crank pins sufficiently that the steamer will develop a hitch in its giddyup. Yes, there is some slop purposefully designed into our toys so that they go around curves and uneven trackage quite a bit more forgiving than the prototype, but....I think you'll find the thickness of a traction tire will be too much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,391 Posts
Installing a traction tire on a wheel not designed for it is not good for electrical contact of the other wheels. As Mesenteria stated, the wheels will not ride at the same height.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,203 Posts
For other than nostalgia, old Life-Like and Bachmann locomotives are a waste of time, and money, in trying to get them to run like they should....I know, each to his own, but I’ll bet there are lots and lots of people here who agree with me.....

Now, newer Proto 2000 locomotives by Life-Like, and today’s Bachmann engines are a completely different story....excellent engines!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
For other than nostalgia, old Life-Like and Bachmann locomotives are a waste of time, and money, in trying to get them to run like they should....I know, each to his own, but I’ll bet there are lots and lots of people here who agree with me.....

Now, newer Proto 2000 locomotives by Life-Like, and today’s Bachmann engines are a completely different story....excellent engines!
Nah, like I said they are great starter locomotives for kids. My 7 year old has graduated up to nicer stuff, but the two and four year olds still play with the old pancake motor engines. I don't worries about them breaking it

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
marcumg, my honest opinion is, you are trying to push a rope....It jus t'aint worth it, what with the 40-60 year old design archaic, motors, mechanisms, and horn-hook couplers these engines have..
If you are calling yourself a toy train collector, then fine..But if you are calling yourself a model railroader you are starting out with very problematic equipment that potentially can cause you to give up on the the whole thing, believing this is the way it has to be when it doesn't have to be this way at all !!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
marcumg, my honest opinion is, you are trying to push a rope....It jus t'aint worth it, what with the 40-60 year old design archaic, motors, mechanisms, and horn-hook couplers these engines have..
If you are calling yourself a toy train collector, then fine..But if you are calling yourself a model railroader you are starting out with very problematic equipment that potentially can cause you to give up on the the whole thing, believing this is the way it has to be, when it doesn't have to be this way at all !!
You are probably right, but another issue I have is converting my box cars to Kadee couplings. Like my engines, my rolling stock is pretty old--with horn-hook couplers. I have looked a lot on Ebay, and I could have bought some new in the box locomotives, but because of the degree of difficulty of some conversions.....you have to be good with a drill. One conversion process was posted by DCCTRAIN
. I though this was kind of interesting. He still drilled a screw in at the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,303 Posts
If all of your stock are horn-hook, you only need to convert ONE end of ONE car to a kadee in order to pull everything with a newer loco. Fit one end of a car with a kadee coupler, leave the other with a horn-hook, and you can pull the whole train that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
If all of your stock are horn-hook, you only need to convert ONE end of ONE car to a kadee in order to pull everything with a newer loco. Fit one end of a car with a kadee coupler, leave the other with a horn-hook, and you can pull the whole train that way.
We have a mix of locos and I do this as well. Works great

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,516 Posts
Careful there, boys. I'm still running a lot of 40 to 50 year old RTR stuff on our railroad, and they hold up just fine.
Calumet traction tires are the way to go. Goody's bands won't last (trust me).
Most Mehano or Kenda-San , and some Kader, HO diesels can use the Calumet 505.
Tyco Powertorques use the 515.
Old MU-2 Tyco locos require O-rings. I can look up the size if anybody wants to know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,303 Posts
I have a 70's Mantua 0-4-0 that I converted to DCC and added wipers to the tender wheels, and that thing will crawl at low speed steps better than some of my brand new locos. I haven't even cleaned the motor since picking it up off ebay but the thing has been run so much that there is a groove cut in the drivers. If one of the cheapest locos ever made can still run that smooth 50 years later then there isn't the slightest bit of truth in the mantra that older locos aren't worth the effort.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top