That moment when you realize your heirloom is crap.

Cackalack Jack Dec 15, 2016

  1. Cackalack Jack

    Cackalack Jack E-Mail Bounces

    4
    1
    12
    Trying to get Dad's post-war Marx 999 to go 'round the Xmas tree.

    Replaced the power cord to the transformer. Thing wouldn't work at all. Asked about fixing it at the local train shop, was told to toss it on the scrap heap. Purchased a new Lionel 40 watt transformer. Couldn't get the train to budge.

    Worked on restoring the loco, discovered it was either burnt out or siezed up. Got a replacement off of EBay. It tested out good in forward and reverse, headlight worked. Put it on the old track, it groaned and struggled. Went back to train store and bought 16 pieces of new Lionel O 54" track to make that ol' Tannenbaum Loop. Train just lurches and balks, barely making it's way once around.

    So this replacement loco runs pretty smooth when I connect it directly to the transformer with alligator clips, but once I place it on the track it refuses to run much at all. Please save me from going to the train store again. Might there be something that I overlooked?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    2,684
    2,541
    63
    LOL

    Sorry. Just love your headline. I read it, and wondered if clicking on this would pull up the name Marx...

    That steel track doesn't conduct as well as copper wire. Even in the old owner's manuals it recommends running wire to several places on the layout and using connectors each place. If it runs better near your connector than elsewhere, consider doing that.

    Are the connectors new? Are the pins between track sections new? New pins are pretty cheap. If you already have new pins, though, try to avoid taking the track apart and putting it together. Old connectors will serve, but clean up both the contacts where they connect with the rail and the contacts where the wire taps in.

    What are you connecting with alligator clips? The motor leads? Some running is likely to be required to get rust (or other oxidation, depending on the metal) off the electrical contact points. This includes much of the drive wheels, the flats, the flanges, and depending on where the wipers are, either the inside edges or the bearings where the axles turn in the frame. The center rail contact is an even more likely source of trouble. If it has a solid brass wiper, make sure it is springy enough to make solid contact with the center rail. But don't get carried away with that--too much springiness can cause running the train to wear that piece of brass away! If it has a roller (hopefully) there could be dirt between the ends of the rollers and the sprung widgets that hold them. The springs themselves could also be too weak to hold them firmly against the rail, or the hinges could be too gummed up to let the springs hold them firmly against the rail.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  3. Cackalack Jack

    Cackalack Jack E-Mail Bounces

    4
    1
    12
    Great advice. I spent more effort cleaning the contact surfaces of the drive wheels and replaced the spring under the center pickup and noticed some improvement.

    The loco can make it around the tree with some effort now but there still appears to be some electrical contact issues. If I lift up on the rear of the loco, it spins like a champ, however when I drop it back down in the track, it struggles to budge.

    I shot a quick video so you could see what's happening:




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    2,684
    2,541
    63
    It seems to back up fine. It also seems to have an E-unit. Is that right? Did you reverse it by reversing polarity on the power pack, or did you just interrupt power (causing the E-unit to reverse it)?

    If it's DC/the power pack reverses polarity then it might be binding a bit, meaning it isn't a lack of current getting through but enough resistance in the driveline in forward motion to overwhelm the torque of the motor. But that isn't terribly likely. I think it has an E-Unit (you push a button which interrupts power and it "shifts" to neutral then to the other direction). The E-unit is a metal frame about an inch square with a cylindrical solenoid on it and a wheel it engages that has gear teeth on one end (I'm describing a Lionel unit, Marx units may vary). Follow the wires, you'll find it. The wheel has metal on bakelite and there are metal wiper brushes contacting that wheel. These metal surfaces may need to be cleaned. It may be running better in reverse because the reverse contacts are cleaner than the forward motion contacts.

    See what you can do with that tidbit.
     
  5. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    4,543
    1,736
    83
    I would also look into trying to clean any old grease/oil from around drivers and motor.
    It's possible that old lube has things gummed up some and won't let the locomotive run.
    Would also try, if you can, without parts flying everywhere, remove brush holder and clean
    the brushes and commutator. Checking brush springs as well.
    Agree with other suggestions also!
    Good luck.
     

Share This Page