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Aurora & Portland Owner
Do we have a resident Mantua expert here that knows how to take apart a Mikado and repair it? It has been sitting for at least 50 years, it runs a little bit, but I'm sure the grease is hard by now.

I have no experience with steam engines, afraid I'd get the drivers all out of round if I tinker with it. Any help would be appreciated and compensated for.


Well-Known Member
Yes, bring a piece of track and a power pack. Those old engines don’t repond well to dcc out of the box.
Absolutely! Applying DCC to a DC motor will burn it out fairly quickly!

NOTE: Have a small box and perhaps a tray with a lip to catch the little screws that will otherwise fall to the floor or flit into the unknown! :eek:

First thing is to clean the metal wheels on the tender trucks. Rubbing alcohol is a good solvent. May be easier to take the trucks off.

Next, clean the drivers...same way. BE CAREFUL not to get the cleaning fluid on the very thin insulation (white) between the hubs and the rims on the left-hand drivers.

Remove the lead and trailing trucks...makes it easier to get to handle the loco without having them flopping around. WATCH OUT THAT YOU DON'T LOSE THE HELICAL COIL SPRINGS THAT SIT BETWEEN THE TRUCK AND THE BOTTOM OF THE BOILER. (Frankly, I have had better luck by getting rid of the springs, but that is for you to decide when you get it running.)

To remove the boiler, unscrew the two screws under the cab. Turn the engine rightside up and remove the long screw inside the smokestack. Be careful with the wire going to the headlight. It probably connects to one of the wires on the motor. It may just be shoved under the spring wire holding the commutator brush.

Now, the question is what gearing arrangement the engine has. Does the motor shaft have the white helical gear directly on it, which contacts the bull gear on the driver? If so, simply removing the motor (screw in the underside of the frame) will allow you to free the drivers. The screw is just behind the bull gear. If there is a gear box on the top of the frame, over the bull gear, you will need to remove it to free up the drivers. You will need a fairly small screwdriver to remove the four screws holding the gear box to the frame. The motor drive shaft will connect to the gear box shaft by some type of flexible connection. Some of these are hard rubber with brass collars and setscrews on each end to hold the flexible shaft to the motor shaft and the gearbox shaft. The motor on this setup will be held by a screw further back on the frame. The open-frame motors will probably have to have the commutator cleaned. Probably the best way to do this is to use VERY FINE emery cloth pressed LIGHTLY against the commutator while the motor is being run.

At this point I would see if the drivers can roll without binding. Best way is to disconnect the tender, set the drivers on a smooth surface (a piece of glass or other very smooth surface, or a piece of track long enough so you can push the frame for at least one or two complete turns of the drivers. If the wheels turn sluggishly throughout complete rotation, then you may have to remove the cover plate on the bottom of the frame and clean and LIGHTLY lubricate the axles and the brass bushings the axles ride on. On the other hand, if you have periodic binding as the frame rolls, you may have some real problems with the driving rods. Check to see that none of the side rods have gotten bent so they are hitting the adjacent rods. You will want to check that the hex head screws are tight and the eccentric arm isn't slipping. If there are more binds, you may have other problems that will have to be addressed. Hopefully not.

bnsf971 will help with this process. There are all sorts of possibilities for upgrades to Mantua/Tyco steam locomotives. You can probably find gearbox assemblies on ebay if the engine has the direct driveshaft. You can then replace the motor with a can motor. There is plenty of room in the tender for a decoder and speaker to convert to DCC. Complete valve gear and drivers, etc. can possibly be found on ebay. Four-wheel trailing trucks can be had to convert the 2-8-2 Mikado into a 2-8-4 Berkshire. If you are a glutton for punishment and want a 2-10-2 or 2-10-4, "all" you need is another locomotive boiler and chassis, a hacksaw, and plastic steel. o_O Mine will even go around 18" radius curves!

Good luck. Stay well!


Aurora & Portland Owner
A huge thank you to Terry for being a very patient man and teaching about the inner workings of an old Mantua Mike. Spent the afternoon with him and his family, was a most enjoyable afternoon. thank you again Terry!!

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