Model Train Forum banner

need help upgrading dc motor on old mantua mikado

8551 Views 36 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  tkruger
hi guys just joined up.. and about 2 weeks ago started getting into ho trains and old marx wind up o scales.. anyway ,,

I just bought a mint in box old style mantua mikado steamer.. it has the open brush motor and direct drive worm gear right to the drive gear.. I have ran it on my track for maybe 1 or 2 hours so far.. The problem Im having is it will not run at lower speeds.. and when I put my 12 cars behind it it has a problem running even at full speed and slowes it way down..

Im using a bachmann transformer and have bachmann ez track in a large approx 4x8 oval.. my little bachmann 0-6-0 will run it just fine at slow speeds .. but there is no weight to it to pull that many cars and slips.. Is there a new motor I can put in this old Mikado to make her run better.. right now I want to stay with dc seeing that my budget wont allow dcc as of yet.. Thanks a bunch for any help .. Im pretty new and figured some one on here would know how to fix this or at least point me in the right direction.
1 - 13 of 37 Posts
awesome! thank you for the info .. that is what it seemed like to me needed more juice.. .. I just thought all the transformers put out the same voltage.. that will give me another reason to put up some more track and have 2 trains going at once.. ;)

From what little info I have found so far about these old trains this has been the most helpful.. I had seen a retro fit kit motor on ebay for like $20 bucks .. but the motor looked the same.. im not sure how old this little sucker is but it was part of the 1860 general red box and had a piece of real wood as a spacer in the box between the cab and tender. I really like this engine, it's heavy die cast and just feels like a good quality train.. I can't wait for it to run like one too..

Thanks again and Im sure I will have a ton more questions. and hope sometime I can give someone some help out as well

Just bought a mrc tech II 1500 on ebay for 4.99.. hope this is the right one. it has a momentum switch.. is that the nudge?
That makes more sense now.. thanks a bunch for taking the time too explain it..

also here is the retro fit kit .. but Im not sure if this would even work on my model.. seeing that mine doesnt have a gear box on the chassis..

I have another question about this Mikado... The way the boiler shell mounts to the chassis, There is a long screw right in the smoke stack.. (plus 2 under the cab). I have a drop in Seuthe smoke generator.. any ideas on how to go about trying to make this work on this train?

I have a drill press and taps if I should have to relocate the front mounting screw.. Just not sure if I want to totally ruin this thing buy changing it that much .. but I really like the smoke look on these old steamers... And Im all for customizing but Im not sure seeing that this is pretty old and in great condition.

Any tips, ideas or insight would be greatly appreciated

See less See more
Hey thanks a bunch for the advice.. Im still mulling it over and not sure weather I wanna do anything to it .. But I will keep you guys posted on how it works out if I decide to add the smoker.. Break Free is great stuff I may have to try that.. for now everything seems fine with it .. I put some plastic safe oil on it I picked up from the Hobby shop for trains.. On all the driving rods and such..

Tried it out on the armature and it didnt like that.. so I cleaned it with some Mass Air flow electrical auto cleaner I have and let it dry and it worked great then ..No matter what I do though this thing is a noisy beast.. ON this ez track it seems to amplify it too lol ... I think Im gonna go get some thick felt and cut strips then hot glue it under the track bed.. I already cut peices of cork and laid in under it but the way this track is it is like a echo chamder on the underside..

Im hoping seeing that I may have 2 hours on it so far that the more I run it the quieter it will get .. .. Probally just wishful thinking though.. Im betting it is the open direct drive worm gear and open case motor..
See less See more
I found a walk through on how to add smoke if anyone else is interested.. Located here
Thank you guys for all your input and help. And yeah after doing some reading on google about the MRC tech II I got, I figured out what the momentum switch does. But thank you for adding it here too.. I went ahead and added the Seuth smoker I already had to it and it works like a charm. also added a moddified water tender that I added sound to, I pulled out the sound board from a IHC chug sound gondola.. It Sounds ok for now .. I had to use a really small speaker I robbed from one of my old cell phones.. I cant wait to find out more info on better sound boards or other options that work on dc.. This one just sounds like static but kinda gives the impression of a old steam engine.. It was a pain to mod the axle with the tiny peice of brass for the pickup but after some tinkering I finally got it.
See less See more
post a video of it running with that smoke unit. i'm curious how good it works.
Here ya go .. This will be the first time uploading any kinda of vid so hope it works.. Also Keep in mind this is still running on the stock Bachmann transformer at full speed so the smoker will probally work alot better when there is more current being pushed to it with the MRC tech II Im waiting for.. I like it .. It really gives a good smoke trail .. Im using MTH proto Smoke. all they had was deisel or BBQ sent.. so I went with BBQ lol man Im getting hungry for some ribs.
You young guys with your fancy, new, high-tech sound systems...

I've been running my trains with sound systems that are 5 and 8 years old. They kick out quite the chatter. The problem is, I haven't yet figured out how to turn them off. And ... I've gotta pay their way through college, too!


:laugh: Yeah I have some of those too... and yeah sometimes if only they had an off switch haha
it wasn't that hard really .. the hardest part was drilling and tapping too relocate the screw from underneath.. I went ahead and pulled everything off the chassis so all the tiny shavings could be cleaned out and re oiled.. and the smokers I guess don't ever do all that great at lower speeds, seeing that the voltage is dropped to everything on a dc track so the heating element gets cooler too just like when the lights get dimmer.. I bet someone could mod a smoke generator with some caps just like a constant on light setup., so that from 1-20 volts would still give the same output current... I think I'm gonna get one of the constant on light systems off ebay and give it a shot.. it may not work though because the led's don't take much voltage to begin with to push them and a heating element would draw alot more hmmm?? I'm getting way out of my league trying to figure out how to get the right combo of capacitors and resistors to put inline so that it would have a kind of step up converter to provide the seuthe smoker with a constant full voltage or sweet spot voltage to provide the right amount of smoke even at a lower engine volt/speed.. ahhh my heads gonna explode now :laugh: I guess that is why dcc is the easier but more expensive way to go for full on realistic smoke and such ..

Edit: one tip though .. when you go to drill out the smoke stack .. I started out with a small drill bit and then went up each bit size until I reached the desired ID of the hole needed to fit the smoke unit.. just to be safe and make sure I didn't break anything.. it was a little more time to keep changing bits out, but it removes smaller amounts of material at a time and didn't put alot of stress on the soft die cast.. hope this helps and thanks...
See less See more
And solutions. I am currently working on the restoration of several Tycos, and needing some parts I Googled tyco parts and founr Yardbird trains. The proprieter , "Dan" has been most helpful and can help you with your problem. One thing I have found with these older engines is lubrication, or actually lack of it. Most often the problem is solidified petroleum product applied several years ago. I use a silicon based product , breakfree CLP. It provides excellant penetration, and luberication. My power is an older Tyco PPack with relatively small output current availability. Egines that struggle to turn initaly come alive with this stuff. I use the 4oz. container with the tube applicator. Good luck
Awesome .. I have cleaned and oiled most stuff with the XL heavy plastic safe model railroad oil.. But it really doesn't like that for the contact points and I think it hampers it from making good contact.. So Im gonna go get some of this break free.. I usually have some for my guns but it is so good on them its hard to keep around.. Thanks again.......

and to X_doug_X :::
Yeah My little bachmann that I just started out with a few weeks ago when I started getting into ho trains.. I found out the hard way that when taking it apart you have to be so careful with the smoke unit wires they are ultra small and very easy to break.. And I have also read that even though I agree with you, they do smoke great.. I guess they are the worst smoke units out on the market because the ultra fine wires and if it goes with out oil and you run them they are very prone to break and not work anymore..

I do love the heavy duty feel of this old mantua though.. and Im crossing my fingers that when that MRC controller gets here it will make it run smooth at lower speeds.. I really want this to be my favorite train but I keep going back to my little bachmann 0-6-0,because it is so quiet and can creep around the track at a snails pace. It just wont pull very good because there just isn't enough weight to it.. But I do like watching the drive rods work and the mechanics of the wheels as it crawls by.. I have cleaned my track and all of the wheels too and yeah it does pull ok for a while but then goes back to slipping after about 10 laps.. I wish this motor was in the heavy mantua but it just won't fit lol .. maybe I can just drape the shell over it and pretend it isn't under there ...

Btw: This is not a new motor .. it is still the stock one from 1947-48
See less See more
oh, i thought you did the motor upgrade too. yardbird also sells a motor with a flywheel for these locos. that would give it the smooth low speed operation you want.
very cool thank you that is exactly what I was looking for too.. I just glanced on his page and after you said this I went and searched and found them .. awesome
Just wanted to touch base and let you guys know that I have been running the MRC tech II 1500.. And wow this thing has tons more power then the bachmann.. the only thing is that durring low speed this thing growls like a beast.. Im thinking it is the pulse because my super quiet bachmann engine also growls when I run it on it too?? after it gets up to a medium speed it stops and runs smooth.. Also I bought some of that CPL break free and man does that help, I just want to say thanks for the tip.. it was defiantly worth the trip to the store to get more...

I haven't bought the new motor from yardbird yet.. Still saving my pennies. But I have been in contact with them and have the one I want all picked out. It is the D8130 with the wormfly flywheel. This one is not a direct drop in.. he explained that you will have to clearance the inside loco shell a bit, too give room for the wormfly gear. But it is the better one for lower speeds.. They do sell a direct drop in can motor with brass worm gear too though and is also an improvement over the stock motor.

And to top things off.. I bought a constant on led forward and reverse light set and installed it on her.. it works great and is super bright...I ran the wires all the back to the rear of the tender and drilled a hole in the existing tender light mold to accept the led.. also I moddified the front headlight hole where the lense was to open it up and ran the led and lead wires from the outside of the engine back into the headlight hole and nested it right where the lense was. This was kinda a pain to do! I had to chuck up the led and use a file and sand paper to remove the bottom edge of the led bulb where the lip was so it would fit and all be the same diameter. it would have been tons easier just to replace the regular lamp with the led in its hole and let it shine on the lense.. but it wasn't bright enough for me.. now it works like its suppose too. and looks like a real headlamp.. Although a bit blueish. I may try to add some sort of transparent yellow paint to it to give it the true look of the older lights.

The only down side to this mod was that during the removal of the shell, I bent the wires too many times on my smoke genarator and broke them off right at the butt of it. I tried forever to re-soldier the wires with no luck then took it down to the hobby shop to see if they could do it and there was simply not enough to soldier too .. So keep this in mind if you do get a smoker. Now I have to replace that ... Yardbird also has these in stock now too.. Just a heads up to be extremely careful with the tiny wires.

And I have been busy making a mountian with a tunnel from scratch.. I used bamboo skewers and some scrap slat wood I had laying around with hot glue to build the skeleton of it.. then used a roll of paper towles dipped in a elmers glue/ water mix.. rang them out, then layered it over and over and let it dry over night. it worked like a charm. after it was good and dry I hit some of the obvious seems with some dap kwik seal caulk and let it dry and then shot it with some grey primer and flat white for the peaks. I Also went online and found a sweet huge panaroma mountian picture and downloaded it and used MS paint to do a mulitiple page print job on it and did a 11 page width by 2 page hight and used this for my background image..

So far
See less See more
1 - 13 of 37 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.