Restarting an Unused HO Engine

On 8/12/2009 6:42 PM Christopher A. Lee spake thus:


Since the loco is only 20-something years old, I'm willing to lay odds that it uses the modern drive arrangement (shafts w/u-joints) rather than the old-fashioned rubber-band drive.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 18:26:42 -0700, David Nebenzahl wrote:

When I first saw Athearn and rubber bands my thoughts sprag to the over-40 Athearn ATSF freight scheme F7 with the lopsidededly applied cigar band, that when retrieved from a long lost storage box had totally deteriorated (more apt word than degenerated, however spelled) rubber bands that certainly kept it from moving - because they were part of the drive train.
What did they call that, Hi-F drive?
see this: http://cgi.ebay.com.my/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item 0332416866
Somebody paid over $20 for that! I guess they really wanted a shell with that paint scheme!
--
Steve

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I didn't. Somebody else suggested it and the OP asked a question. Notice I said "some" older locos.

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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 18:26:42 -0700, David Nebenzahl

Nobody here jumped to that conclusion. Everyone said to check for it. Why did YOU jump to that conclusion?

He did. No bands. -- Ray
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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 17:54:57 -0700, "W. eWatson"

Office supply shops have them. Usually they are a split eraser. Pencil type on one side and ink type on the other. The ink type is the gritty one.
The bands are rubber and do degrade with age. Look closely at the drive wheels to see if there are any groves cut in the flat part the touches the track. If so, replacement bands can be purchased from hobby shops. The wheel diameter and band width must be known to order them. Break out the micrometer!
You can also make your own in some cases by using medical rubber tubing. A dowel and single edged razor blade can provide you with a lifetime supply from a single length of hose. The rubber has to be stretched beyond belief to get it on the wheel so experimentation with the cut will be necessary. Half the fun of getting to the destination is the journey. Enjoy. -- Ray
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On Thu, 13 Aug 2009 09:14:05 +0800, Ray Haddad wrote:

Has anybody tried Frog Snot?
--
Steve

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Saw a review of that recently in one of the rags. Reviewer was a "name" in the hobby and, of course, I can't recall who. Anyway his conclusion was that it Works. Some of it is coming back to me as I type - may have been in O Scale Trains.
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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 18:36:29 -0700, Steve Caple

Is that the stuff that holds those cover CDs to computer magazines? That stuff could allow you to drive your car upside down on a bridge. Well, almost. -- Ray
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No.
The bands he's referring to are not traction tires but actual rubber bands that looped around both the driveshaft and the axles of older Athearn diesels, forming part of the drive system. They rotted away very quickly as they sat right next to the open-framed motor that filled the diesel's shell with rubber-eating ozone every time it operated. The bands also didn't provide much in the way of gear reduction, which is why those early Athearn diesels were known for their ability to run at scale speeds approaching 200 MPH.
There was also the "BOIIIING! phenomenom" which occured during rapid throttle movements, when the rubber bands would stretch and release several times; causing the loco to speed up and slow down several times before finally stabilizing at a given throttle settting.
~Pete
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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 22:08:17 -0700 (PDT), Twibil

Yes, those are the bands I was referring to. -- Ray
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W. eWatson wrote:

In connection with the other thread stemming from my post, I think through some combination of erasers, scrubbers, and such the track and (metal) wheels will be taken care of. The engine makes it around the track fairly well after the use of sandpaper to the rails.
This train set and layout is 22 years old, and has set idle for 99.9% of that time hanging from chains in our former and present garage. I'm in the process of selling it. It never connected with my kids when they were 12-13. Perhaps 10-12 would have made a bigger impact. They were caught up in sports and the dawn of the personal computer age. When I was that age I was well into trains, but bowed in by the time I was 14. Fun and useful to my life, but I moved far away from those interests. All technical and science. I sill occasionally happen on big layouts in various communities to note the changes. They are going digital now.
If after all this time there's something to worry about, I think it's lubrication in the gears and such under the body. I saved the exploded diagram of the engine, and it looks like there are key points that might require a spot of light oil. I'll take care of that tomorrow.
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I had a similar problem with a loco that had been in storage for about 15 years - Seemed the oil or grease applied in the factory had 'gone off' in some way - I was in luck as a friend had an ultrasonic cleaner (usually used for jewelry) which got a surprising amount of dirt out of the chassis/engine - Used a little sewing machine oil to re-lubricate and it ran better than when new.
Mike
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First off, the engine is making noise so it is picking up power from the track quite well. Older Athearn engines used a rubber band drive where the shaft of the motor is extened over the drive wheels and a rubber band goes from the shat down to the wheels. The axles on the wheels were large diameeter (almost as big as the wheels themselves) and that was how the engine moved. Later engines (if you have the SD9 - 6 axles on the loco) you will have the gear drive which is easy to work on although a bit harder than the earlier band drive, and the gears themselves can run dry although some light application of grease whon't hurt them. Be sure to use oils and greases that are suitable for plastics as cheap 3 in 1 oil isn't. The motor does need a drop on each bearing as does the top shaft of the trucks which take the power from the motor. For an aid in testing the loco, there is a metal piece that goes from one truck across the top of the motor and to the other truck and this is one side of the track power. The other side of the track power is the frame and if you connect one of the power wires to the frame and the other to the bar across the top, you will be able to make the loco run. I'll also note that if the loco is overloaded with cars, it will just spin the wheels and not really go anywhere but you will see the loco shaking in such a case. Athearn parts are available from the factory. Some of the plastic gears have ben known to split and that will stop a loco so inspect all of the gears for a spider crack from the center out.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Bob May wrote: ...

See <
http://drop.io/hxcjky6/asset/ho-engine-jpg for an exploded view of the engine.
What oil should I use? Light oil of some sort? How do I get the body off the supporting chassis? Use a think straight edge screw driver to pry it off? I don't see any screws.
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On 8/16/2009 3:49 PM W. eWatson spake thus:

Yes. Best would probably be LaBelle, available at a local hobby shop if you're lucky enough to have one nearby (a diminishing breed), or online at several places (f'rinstance, http://con-cor.com/lablubes.htm ).
If you can't find LaBelle, use any decent light oil, like 3-in-one (yes, Virginia, it's safe to use on model railroad locos) or sewing machine oil.

No screws. You need to gently spread the sides of the body at the center away from the frame. If your hands alone don't do the trick, try to get something thin in there, like a knife blade or thin piece of metal. Not all that hard to do.
--
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Good. Thanks. I pried it apart. Pretty simple inside.
I hope the exploded view provided above clarifies some of the mysteries other respondents were probing.
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W. eWatson wrote:

...
Just to make sure I'm doing the right thing, take a look at the exploded view in the link. A part of the diagram show the motor, fly wheels, and so on. Starting on the left, I would think I should put a small drop of oil on the worm bearing, worm & shaft, coupling?, and worm gear at the right end. The worm&shaft look like they are covered with the housing shown in the diagram, so maybe it would be difficult to get oil in there. Maybe the L-shaped light bracket can be detached, so the housing can be removed? The bracket is resistant to finger tugs, so maybe a long nosed plier.
The diagram doesn't show enough details of the motor, but the left end has about a 3/8 to 1/2" copper shaft, 1/4" dia?, that spans the distance between the motor and flywheel. A 1/8 or so, band encircles the copper cylinder. There are electrical contacts on the top and bottom, so I would think there's no need to oil anything there.
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On 8/17/2009 12:41 PM W. eWatson spake thus:

You could lube those points. However, I seriously doubt that lack of lubrication is the cause of your loco not running properly.
Think about it: the gears really require little or no lubrication, as they're made of Delrin or some equivalent plastic that's pretty much self-lubricating.
If you do use oil, remember that just enough is too much. Really. Just a tiny drop on a toothpick is all you need.
I'd concentrate more on the electrical pick-up from the wheels to the motor. One thing I really do not like about the way Athearn and other similar locos are put together is the iffy electical contacts, which rely on nice tight, clean connections between parts. I replaced this haphazard system with soldered wire connections on a few of my locos. Not saying you should do this, but do check all the electrical connection points, particularly from the trucks to the motor. This is another good reason not to over-lubricate and risk getting oil on the contact surfaces.
--
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I agree with your assessment on the need for oil on those parts even not knowing they are made from Delrin. The simplicity of the chain of parts and virtually no lubrication suggested it doesn't need much, if any, lubrication.
Actually, I haven't gotten to the "proof" for the need for anything. I've only run the engine. The layout has been solidly assembled for 22 years and suspended a huge majority of that time from a ceiling in tow garages. My kids didn't take to it, and I figured some off spring might. None that I care to wait for.
Proof. Here's what I need to do rather than concentrate on the engine assembly as discussed. I need to start adding cars to the engine, and see if it makes it around the tracks. It used to make it fairly easily. If that shows some difficulty, then I need to, I think with your suggestions above, check electrical connections.
You mention trucks to the motor. What does that mean? Wheels? I was told by a local shop owner to use sand paper on the wheels to the engine, but that's not so easy. They are tiny, and getting a good grip on them while sanding is not easy.
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W. eWatson wrote:

The 'truck assemblies' are ---- The wheels, axles, the castings that contain the wheel/ axle assemblies, the gears contained within, the decorative 'side frame' castings that ride 'outside' the wheels. These assemblies pivot to allow the wheels to track around curves in the trackage.
'Sand paper' a BIG NO-NO. Usually a pencil eraser is course enough, an ink eraser if more abrasiveness is needed.
Chuck D.
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