Cheap Steam Loco Needs Some Help

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bklynman01

Active Member
Okay, so I bought a $55 dollar locomotive at the Great Train Expo this past weekend knowing that it would need some help. After getting home, clearing a track and putting some power to it, nothing happened. I broke it down to bare pieces and cleaned everything up. It is definitely a little abused. The brushes looked pretty good on the motor, not very worn down. But the rest of the pieces makes me think this thing is older than me (not TOO old). In any case, it is running now, but not too well. It has hesitation as it runs, but I can't figure out why. Anyone have any ideas?

The layout construction only recently began, so please excuse the bare bones track on cork on wood. :D

[video=youtube_share;gWZ_0iR-rFk]http://youtu.be/gWZ_0iR-rFk[/video]
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
It's missing the drawbar, it looks like either the drivers are out of quarter or it has a bent axle, and that engine has been offered by Mantua and Tyco since the early 1950s. A little longer clip might help us diagnose it further.
 

bklynman01

Active Member
Please excuse my lack of knowledge, but what do you mean the draw bar is missing? Isn't the drawbar a measurement of pulling power? I will get a longer video to try and help, maybe one where you can see both sides of it? It is a Mantua, and I couldn't find a good manual for it (didn't look that hard either). Is there an exploded view or something out there that I can download to help with this?
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
On that engine, the drawbar would be the fiber or plastic piece that connects the engine to the tender, instead of just the electrical wire.
For a manual, you might be able to find a set of assembly instructions, though that is a very simple engine.
Here is a photo showing the drawbar in place:
 

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bklynman01

Active Member
I understand about the drawbar now. Actually, it's not missing, but broken. That is another question I have - can you buy these pieces individually (I imagine they need replaced frequently enough on any layout that has kids)? I will do some more research for assembly instructions instead of service manual, thanks for the tip.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
You may be able to get another drawbar from Yardbird Classic trains. If not, a piece of styrene plastic could be used to make a drawbar (must be insulated so there is no electrical contact between the engine and the tender except for the wire between the motor and the tender. I may be wrong, but I think the crosshead guide on the left side is not connected correctly to the cast part that projects out (on both sides of the chasis) to hold the stamped crosshead guide. The left crosshead guide seems to be jumping up and down as the loco runs. Another thing that may contribute to jerkiness is that the wheels may not be clean, especially the tender wheels on the left side of the tender trucks. Also, you may want to remove the tender trucks and lightly polish the bolsters on the tender chasis, where the truck bolsters contact the tender chasis. Also polish the contact surfaces on the tender trucks. You might want to see about buying or making some brass contacts that rub lightly on the tender axles, providing better contact than the wheels and axle points alone. You need to be sure the righthand locomotive drivers are clean. It is possible that the drivers are out of quarter, though IMHO this is less likely with Mantua locos, even old ones. Not unheard of, however. The only way to check this is with a quartering tool, but I would leave that until nothing else works. Be sure the worm is clean of old grease, and the bull gear on the driver should be checked for hardened lube and cracked or broken teeth. Be sure the commutator on the motor shaft is clean. You can do this by taking very fine emory sandpaper and folding a piece so you can fit it in to touch the commutator. LIGHTLY press the paper against the commutator surface while running the motor. It shouldn't take much. Also, check the brushes for wear. Also, look to see if the motor shaft is bent, which would cause the worm to provide inconsistant engagement with the bull gear. Hope this helps. If not, come back on line, and we'll see what else we can suggest...or do...to help.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Jerkiness on a steamer could be gear mesh problems in the gear tower, bent shafts in or on either side of the gear tower, axle that is bent, wheel wobbles on its axle and rubs against the frame of the loco for part of its revolution, a rod or part of the vale gear is rubbing, maybe sticking in the crosshead, or one axle of the drivers is out of quarter. I know, but a journey of 6 miles begins with the first step. If you can isolate the motor so that you can push the locomotive freely down the rails, if you feel a bit of a resistance, or it locks up at part of the cycle, it is a quartering problem, a rod rub, or possibly the bent axle and wheel rub phenomenon. If it runs freely when you give it a nudge, then it's the drive mechanism...somewhere.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
I would agree... remove the motor and run the loco chasis over a piece of glass or other very smooth surface. That will isolate the problem to either the bull gear/worm engagement or the mechanism itself. If the problem seems to be in the mechanism, I would remove the main rods and the crosshead, but leave the connecting rods attached to the driving wheels. (A great set of socket wrenches, size 00 through 2. The set I have was from J. I. Morris of Southbridge, MA, but they probably are available from Walthers.) If the wheels still hang up, the problem is probably in the driver/axle sets.
 

bklynman01

Active Member
Hey guys, sorry for not replying. My job sent me away for a few days, so I was unable to check any of this stuff. Thank you for the advice! I will certainly be working on this again tomorrow, will update after.

Thank you!
 

bklynman01

Active Member
First, let me thank everyone that replied. Although the problem was not suggested, the troubleshooting tips led me to find the problem, and so it goes without saying that I could not have done this without you guys. Retired Alex - Thank you for the link. I was able to find the part number for the drawbar, and a few other parts that could come in handy. Now I just have to find a place to buy them!

There were multiple problems. And I tried to take pictures of each one, but used my phone so sorry if the pictures are a little difficult (the wife is a photographer so we don't have normal cameras around here). The first problem was that when I reassembled the thing after it didn't work at all, I did not put the "Shifter Valve Gear" back together properly causing the aforementioned "rod rub" (thank you Selector).

20140124_190809.jpg20140124_190821.jpg
After fixing that, I was able to roll the lower section along the track with no rubbing or hesitation. So I put it back together, sort of. I only mounted the motor so that I can see the gears when I tried it again. Everything LOOKED okay...
 

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bklynman01

Active Member
So then I put the whole think together and placed it back on the track with some power. The unit just sat there and hummed. A humming DC motor seems like a short to me. To be sure, I tried a different locomotive (no real need, but I do like to see something happen every once in a while). So I took it back apart and noticed the black wire was tugging on the motor brush in such a way that the brush was contacting the body of the motor. So I made a "spring" out of a piece of solid copper wire to mimic the other side.
20140124_192946.jpg20140124_192954.jpg20140124_193444.jpg
After getting that together, assembling the motor again, it finally worked.
[video=youtube_share;PJdhOainBV4]http://youtu.be/PJdhOainBV4[/video]

Thanks again guys!!!
 
Glad everything worked out for you. I am in the middle of trying to get my old engines working again after 20+ years of being packed away. Some successes some disappointments but I keep slogging away. nice to see someone have success.
 




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