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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Walthers gp 9 mainline and not impressed with the Life like movement. WellI was looking at trying to upgrade it was looking for tips on how make it less life like
 

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Well if it's an older LifeLike model, and it's been sitting around for a while, it may need motor/brush cleaning, or probably wheel cleaning.
Remove the shell, and look for worn motor brushes, and general gunk you can clean off with a model-safe cleaner.
Wheels and track have to be clean. Apply power to the motor, and hold a rag soaked in alcohol on the wheels as they rotate. Chances are, the rag will get very dirty.
Clean your rails with alcohol as well.
 

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Is this an old LifeLike Proto2000 model?

If it is, chances are that one or more drive axle gears may be cracked (there are YouTube videos that explain this), and (if you've never cleaned them) the worm gears and gear boxes are probably "gunked up" with old grease that now looks like peanut butter.

You'll have to pretty much disassemble it completely to get at this stuff.
But don't be put off by this -- disassembly is not all that difficult -- I'd been out of the hobby for 40 years, and was able to make a go of it.

Got everything back in order (I used Athearn pre-assembled wheel sets and Labelle 208 plastic-compatible oil) and my Proto2000 GP's are among my best runners. Use 91% isopropyl alcohol (with a toothbrush) to clean the parts.
 

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I have a Walthers gp 9 mainline and not impressed with the Life like movement. WellI was looking at trying to upgrade it was looking for tips on how make it less life like
Walthers sells a GP9M Trainline loco which I bought about 3 years ago and it runs very well. Is that a Life Like product or do you have something different?
 

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The issue is the Train-line is a entry level locomotive. That being said, I have a train line gp9 with a digitrax decoder that makes it run much better. I put some work in their Train-line F40 Amtrak engine, and it runs pretty good. Walthers Main Line is a much better running locomotive. DCC helps in their running characteristics...cheers
 

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Walthers purchased LifeLike in 2005. For a couple of years after that, they sold products under the "Walthers LifeLike" brand and kept the nomenclature. In 2008 (IIRC), they rebranded, so Proto 2000 became Walthers Proto, Proto 1000 became Walthers Mainline, and basic LifeLike became Walthers Trainline.

The Proto and Mainline locos use the same mechanism; the details and features are different. Not so with the Trainline, which uses a cheaper motor and drive train (as well as being still less detailed). You first said that this loco is a Mainline, now in your last post, you said Trainline. Makes all the difference.

I have 6 Mainline locomotives, and they're all silky smooth runners, so I'm betting that what you have is a Trainline. I have two of these. One runs very well, the other is problematic. While a good cleaning and lubrication may help, and you should give the drive train a thorough inspection for burrs or other issues, the only real solution is to upgrade the motor and drive train with higher quality ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks for the info, how easy is it to upgrade the mainline motors? this is my first Walthers engine and have not much experience with them
 

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Walthers mainline uses the same as Walthers Proto line (premium line). The train line model won’t accept the Walthers mainline motor....
 

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The Walthers Trainline GP9M is not a Life-like derivative. The Trainline GP9M was the flagship of the Trainline series in the mid 90's. It's derived from a Cox model that Walthers bought the tooling for, but AFAIK, its has upgrades to the shell tooling and Walthers own drivetrain. I've got two Trainline GP9M's and two other Trailnline locos and they are all smooth runners. Not today's state of the art super-slow of course, but I wouldn't describe any as jerky.

Based on all that I'm going to take a different tack and suggest that there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with the design that would make them "life-like". These locos should not be running rough. Have you opened it up and cleaned and relubed it?

If you have cleaned and lubed it, there is probably something broken in the mechanism. Walthers still lists them in-stock, so I would think that they either can offer replacement parts or suggest an upgrade.
 

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Thanks for the information.
Right back atcha sir! I didn't know the Mainline and proto shared the same drive.

For those interested in the history of Trainline, there's some good stuff squirreled away at the old site of Tony Cook who now does "HO Collector".
tycotrain.tripod.com/walthers-locomotive-resource/id201.html
Scroll to the bottom for a bit of history and the side tab has info about some of the other early Trainline locos.

It's a sprawling and slowly dying resource -not all pages are active or connected to each other- but those who like these sort of cheap trains will find alot of good info here.
tycotrain.tripod.com/index.html
 

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Walthers mainline uses the same as Walthers Proto line (premium line). The train line model won’t accept the Walthers mainline motor....
You would have to research a compatible motor at someplace like Northwest Short Line and replace the Trainline one.
 
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