Constant amazement to me that you wizards can fix these types of things.!
My solution is always to write it off as an unlucky purchase, and pitch it in the round file. :-O
I think that if someone routinely posted on the Want to Buy board, that they are looking for non-working Lionel accessories for Free, I would send them a small box of things every year.
Would you ship them too?
Glad you were able to get this sorted by your friend. Real surface pumping units are much easier to work on than that and many rely only on a timer or relay contactor to work. Some have no electronics at all and use the well's own produced gas to run a prime mover, like the second picture, a small 'one lung' Arrow c-46 engine provides enough grunt to keep it turning.