New Lionel Snowplow not running properly

Bought a new Lionel rotary snowplow 6-18498 off e-bay 12/05. I can barely get the engine to start running. I have tried both my new 80w
transformer, older 40w transformer, small old style track layout and new fast track. When I first got the engine, it would start but stutter as it ran with the 40W transformer (lights on rolling stock would flicker). Took engine shell off and looked for loose connections / wires. I had better success with running with the 80w but now after not running for a month can hardly get it to start running. I did verify transformer outputing 18 volts at maximum. This is my first experience with an engine not operating properly (and I am not very mechanically inclined). I have the maintenance kit on order which includes the grease and oil - time to maintain my other engines. Any chance my new engine problem is as simple as needing lubrication? Any other suggestions, I think I am out of luck with warranty since purchased on e-bay.
JCPZero
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First check the wheels and roller and clean them. If it sort of runs, it is usually dirt. Make sure your track is clean. (DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL). Isopropl alcohol or Goo Gone is fine. Use a scrubbing pad if there is a great amount of dirt on the tracks. Use a qtip on the wheels and roller.
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Fasttrack is only a couple months old, and engine was brand new when I received it. The maintenance set comes with track cleaner - I also have some goo gone already. Will give it a shot alone with oiling the wheels etc.
JCPZero
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Do not oil the wheels!
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Charles Kimbrough spake thus:

Or in any case, don't oil the treads. You can oil the axles, though I doubt this is the problem.
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There's no info on Lionel's web site about your specific unit yet. But, except for replacing the old mechanical E-Units with an electronic one, they haven't changed much over the years. The web site does have some info an an earlier unit, 6-18446, with an electronic E-Unit that should be useful.
You can download the .pdf file containing an exploded diagram of this unit from the Customer Service area of Lionels web site. Click on the "Parts List & Pictorial Diagrams" link on this page, then enter 6-18446 as the search criteria. That should take you to the page where you can download the diagram. You can also use this number to get an owners manual from the "Owners Manuals" link on the Customer Service main page.
Some, not all, mechanical possibilities, in no particular order:
1. Check that the impeller drive pulley on the extended armature shaft wasn't pushed too far down. If it is, it could be binding against the brush plate assembly.
2. Check that the worm gear end of the armature shaft is properly seated in the thrust bearing located in the hole in the chassis. If it's not, the armature windings can jam against the field coil.
3. Check that the worm wheel on the drive axle hasn't been pushed to one side of the axle. If it is, operation will be erratic. More so in one direction than the other.
4. With the drive belt off, check that nothing is binding in the impeller assembly.
Some, but not all, potential electrical possibilites:
1. The 104 electronic E-Unit (PN: 610-8446-256) got zapped at some point, and is flaking out.
2. One of the insulating washers (PN: 610-8049-076) used to mount the E-Unit motherboard is damaged, creating an intermittent or hard short.
3. The Collector Insulator (PN: 600-0041-026) is damaged, creating an intermittent or hard short between the collector assembly and the chassis.
4. The primary power feed wire, attached to the tab of the collector bracket that pokes up into the chassis, may be coming loose or have a cold solder joint.
5. One, or more, of the wires in the wire harnesses that plug into the motherboard may not be seated properly in the plug.
And never forget, there's nothing that says there can't be more than one problem at the same time!
Len
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Thanks for the tips! I had the shell off previously but did not know what I was looking for, so I'll try again.
Also to others thanks for the clarification of oiling the axels vs wheels. I did mean to say axels.
JCPZero
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There's a #671 "S-2 Turbine" that's nearly 60 years old running on a display layout in the Raleigh, NC area.
It runs 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, except for a 30 minute lube, and clean wheels & P/Us, break once a week (the shopping center courtyard is a pretty dusty enviroment). Oh, it also stops for fresh motor brushes twice a year.
Are these service breaks what you call not running?
Len
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