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I found this forum while searching for a possible fix for the problem my old HO scale Army Train has. I got this train many years ago when I was a small child, it was given to me by my grandfather who recently passed away. I had it up and running yesterday on a test track made from EZ Track. I was testing some of my old trains that day. I had almost no luck with most of them. But this one was running almost perfectly, far better than the others, but then at some point it just stopped. Now all it does is make a buzzing sound. It still lights up which I suppose is a good sign. I admit I was running it at full speed, mostly because I couldn't get any of my trains to move unless the power supply was set to the max speed setting. The track is old too, but it seems to be in very good condition. When I picked up the train after it broke down to look for issues with it, I heard something moving in it, like a loose or broken plastic gear. But I am not sure if that's what it is. Can anyone help me figure out what's wrong, and how to repair it if at all possible? I've never had to do repairs on any of my HO scale model Trains. I've only ever managed to just barely repair an old battery-operated Thomas Track Master train, but that's an entirely different and much simpler machine to work with. I know my grandpa's old army train is missing a lot of exterior parts, I'm not worried about replacing them yet. I just want to find a way to make this train work again. If it helps, I uploaded a video of it running up until it broke, and a little bit of problem after it broke. The video is on my train themed YouTube channel. I can share the video with you if you want me too. The test track is on the floor in my bedroom, probably not the best place for it, but at this time it's the only place had room to put it. I also had to replace an EZ track piece with a different track piece which fell off a few times, so I tried to support it by placing a plastic road thing under it. I have a few photos of the train, one of them shows the train with the lights on after it broke down, when it started to make the buzzing sound and no longer moves. The other photo is before breaking down, and the last one was of it running at full speed. It didn't crash or fly off the tracks. It did slightly derail a few times however, but only just barely. It never actually left the track. Anyone have any ideas as to what could have caused the issue?
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There are two related causes: the low quality of the piece to begin with, and age. The former may mean you will never get any of those locos running again. However, if you work on the effects of time on the locos, some or all may be salvageable. Give it a try.

The first thing you need to address is the track. It may appear to be in good condition, but after being stored for a while, it's not. Black roadbed indicates that you have steel rails, which are no only poor conductors of electricity, but also oxidize rapidly into a compound that is not conductive. Take a rag, wet it with a solvent (kerosene, WD-40, CRC, mineral spirits, isopropyl alcohol, and many other things work) and vigorously rub the rails until no more crud comes off of them.

Now pull the shells off of your locomotives and clean every single part of the drive train, from the wheel surfaces, wipers, gears, driveshafts, and motor bearings. Relubricate them with a tiny drop of plastic-compatible lubricant (Hob-E-Lube and LaBelle's are good, widely available lubricants designed for model trains). DO NOT just use any old oil -- some will corrode plastic -- and use it sparingly. Ideally, use grease on the gears and oil on everything else. Wheel axles should be lubricated with dry graphite. This may get many of your locos running again.

Good luck.
 

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The internal cleaning CTValley mentioned should be done before heavy duty, high speed running after so many years….but I guess that advice is too late now….things may have been damaged to the point of no return….
 

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I’m going to guess that the gear indeed cracked. The hum you hear is the motor & driveshaft spinning. The gear is certainly plastic, old, and wasn’t high quality when new. It likely became brittle, combined with hardened gear grease, and snapola.
The good news is, if you can get the gear out you may be able to count the teeth and shaft bore. Armed with that info you can get a brass replacement gear from North West Short Line.
 

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If your visual like I am got to Youtube and look for a site call SMT Mainline.
He has 15-20 min clips on how to take loco's apart diagnose then clean moving parts to get it moving again.
I have an HO loco that has the same problem as you by the sounds of it, I just don't have the onions to take a shot at taking it apart. At the very least if I leave it alone it has a fightin chance.
 

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No locomotive is exactly hard to take apart until you get into some of the steam locos and needing to re quarter them but that’s a story for another day. It can’t get more broken than it already is so why not give it a whack
 

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That would be my advice….give it a whack….with a hammer…..but since it has sentimental value, just make a nice presentation track, and put it on display as a static piece….my wife’s cousin was the last Engineman on this GSL locomotive, so made a nice wood base, put some track on it, and made a small engraved plaque….

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Yeah that's an old Model Power GP9...and those have the old plastic gears which sounds like its cracked or could be clogged up with debris. Its that old just take the shell off and visual inspection of your drive/gear..GTW son has a great point...go to YouTube and checkout SMT Mainline...from Canada this youngman makes lots of How To video's and they are a Hoot...very informative!!
 
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