Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I offer this possible solution to poor or non running Baldwins. I have heard all the stories of how poor Baldwins were and that most become "shelf queens". A friend of mine has one, shelf queen that is. But I never had one and felt I needed to add one for my collection. I ended up with two. You may have seen them, got them recently on Ebay. Two 355's, not running for parts or repair. Got them, one had the four position E unit, the other two position. Aside from the typical crack around the screw hole the were amazingly clean and in good shape. I started with the oone with the four position E unit first. The E unit was clean, the fingers were excellent and it cycled perfectly. The motor tried to turn but did not without a little coaxing from a toothpick pushing on the armature. Still, it would only turn a few revolutions and stop. I cleaned the commutator in place with electrical contact cleaner and pipe cleaner and oiled the bushings, still not running. But I did notice the bushing at the armature end trying to turn with the armature. I took the end frame (I am calling it an end frame because that is what it is, Am Flyer calls it "brush & bearing cap - XA14B162-ARP) off and the brass bearing fell out. I took some very thin, 0.0015 stainless shim stock, made a shim and reinstalled the bearing (really a bushing). Okay I thought, should work. No, bearing still trying to turn/work itself loose. This time I cemented the bearing with the shim in place with JB Weld making sure the bearing was perfectly flush in the frame. Put the motor back together the next day but still not running. Took the motor apart again. Holding the end frame in my hand I put the armature into the bearing and immediately noticed the armature was not perpendicular or parallel. It was angled up at a pretty high angle. So when assembled would put considerable side stress on the bearing. I figured I had nothing to lose so I took a machinist drill, #29, which is slightly larger than the armature shaft and drilled the bearing inline. By hand by the way, no need for super accuracy I figured. Over the years I built many car and motorcycle racing motors and learned that things that were too tight were much more detrimental than things that were too lose. Put the motor back together, the armature seemed to spin much easier and the thing ran beautifully!! Ran smoothly and quietly in both directions, more importantly reliably. Hooked up 4 weighted cars and a caboose and ran it for an extended time. Ran great, didn't seem to be overheated and ran reliably the next day and the next! Found the same issue on the other locomotive, did the same treatment with the same result! Only the bearing was still tight in place but again, out of alignment. I suspect that the plastic end frame distorts from heat, causing side stress on the bearing, which compounds things and eventually things completely break down. My hope is that after 65 years the plastic end frame has settled and will not continue to distort. So far so good. And no need for expensive can motor conversion. If this works for you feel free to forward this post. Thanks and good luck.