Train suddenly grinding

Commander Zarkon Sep 24, 2021

  1. Commander Zarkon

    Commander Zarkon TrainBoard Member

    I have a Lionel Norfolk Southern in O gauge.
    It’s new and after a couple of days it just stopped and now makes a grinding sound in forward and reverse without moving.

    Any suggestions?
    Cant find disassembly instructions.
    Jen again it’s under warranty.

    Here’s a link to a vid showing the sound:
    RMartin likes this.
  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    I think I saw a third rail.

    Four seconds of sound is not much to go on. But it sounds more than a little like a locomotive sound system portraying a big, turbocharged diesel idling.

    Make sure the direction reverser (does Lionel still call it an E Unit?) is on and you triggered it an odd number if times, then try again to set it in motion. If that doesn't work, remember that part of the reason some manufacturers include warranties is that they want to know what caused the problem so they can improve their product.
  3. country joe

    country joe TrainBoard Member

    I would suggest contacting Lionel for warranty repair. If you open the engine up you may void the warranty.
    acptulsa likes this.
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Agreed. But first remember three rail Lionel traditionally has a "neutral gear", and make sure that's not what's going on here.
  5. Commander Zarkon

    Commander Zarkon TrainBoard Member

    Thanks everyone.
    I contacted Lionel and am awaiting a reply.
    They sent me two of that same set as a donation to the class, so I am grateful.
    My message to them though is that these locks have a terrible reputation for having really weak motors and that it looks kind if bad when kids see their product lasting about three days and then burning out.
    I’ll see what they say.
    If they say there’s nothing else they will do well that would be sad for their reputation regarding quality, but I’ll just take it as at least I got some rolling stock.
  6. Commander Zarkon

    Commander Zarkon TrainBoard Member

    Lionel wrote me back and are replacing the locomotives.
    They said the ones sent should have been checked and fixed, so maybe that means they fixed the issue with the crappy motors?
    We shall see when the new ones arrive.

    Very nice of them to do this!
    Hardcoaler and BoxcabE50 like this.
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Did they offer any explanation of the exact issue? I am curious. Let's all hope the replacements are problem free.
  8. Commander Zarkon

    Commander Zarkon TrainBoard Member


    This is the response I got:

    "I was under the impression these were tested/fixed. I spoke with CS Team and found some replacement engines I am sending you."

    So unless they have improved the motor design, I'm worried it will happen again.

    Let's see what happens. I am trying to find out if there are better motors that can be retrofitted to these engines. I'm not a big fan of Diesel: I like the steam engines, but I still appreciate Lionel sending me these. I just don't understand how something with such bad reviews and consistent poor reputation can still be produced. I really hope the ones they send have the problem corrected.
  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    In the video, it sounds like the motor is turning and gears are slipping/grinding.


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