I am new to AF. I just purchased this engine. It cycles good, runs forward good but reverse not so good. My track is clean. This engine has 3 traction tires and 2 power pickup shoes. Can anyone give insight on this engine and any of its particular problems.

Original Post

We need some more info, engine type, Gilbert or Flyonel, new or has it been run much?

If it is reasonably new or un-run it may need some break-in time, check in gear area, is grease hard and caked? Lube the axles and clean the wheels.

Can you attach a video of operation?


Ray - I looked this up in the Bubeck/Garrigues book and 8458 is a GP-9, offered in 1984, with Southern the only production road name.  The brief history write-up in the B/G book says that Lionel started using can motors in AF locos in 1982, so its likely that's what the 8458 has.  I think your suggestion about giving the gearing, etc. a good cleaning and relubing is a good place to start.  Luckily (well, maybe) the can motor eliminates having to fool around with an old open frame motor (e.g., brushes and commutators and ...).  Did locos of this vintage still have the old rotating drum reversing units?  That could also account for reverse not working as well - dirty contact surfaces on the drum and fingers, etc.

- Rich

As it turns out, if you type in 8458 in eBay's search box - someone is selling an 8458.  Doris, that's a nice looking engine - a good find.  It also turns out - as luck would have it - that someone else is also selling the instruction sheet for the GP-7, GP-9 and GP-20 diesels sold by Lionel (aka LTI or "Fundimensions") that year.   Reading that sheet via the zoom feature on eBay, the reverse unit is electronic - so nevermind my earlier musings about the reversing unit.  However, there is a sliding switch on the bottom of the chassis that is the 'lock-out' switch - designed to lockout the reversing sequence - so if it doesn't want to run in reverse at all, it might be that switch - or it could be dirty and making poor contacts internally.  You could try moving the sliding switch several times and/or give it a squirt of contact cleaner.  I think the switch wants to be in the 'forward' position (meaning toward the end of the loco with the 'short hood') to 'unlock' the reverse sequencing.

Last edited by richs09

Lionel/MPC Flyer locomotives are a mixed bag.  Decoration is very well done.  However, some run great, others don't.  It all depends on how well the power truck was assembled.  Quality control was pretty iffy on 1980's Flyer production.


I have an number of engines from that era and laterbut never had a problem except the ones from the first year that were sort of like a Gilbert motor, but with a double wound field.  The can motors are all a little different as they progressed.  The earlier ones are noisy a were growlers to a degree.  I have never had one of the can motors fail.  But I probably have less than 50 hours on all of them. 

The plastic worm on that series & many years after split after aging regard less of the amount of use .  The gilbert worm will work or find replacement plastic worms . AM have some gears that have split also . 

 Bob G.

These 1984 Southern 8458s were decorated in Mt Clemens but assembled in Mexico.  The Mexico move was a failure and the locomotives did not function well.  Production was quickly moved back to Mt. Clemens in time to make the 783 Hudson....and maybe the 8404 Turbine.  I have always like the Lionel/AF HARR Southern 8458 and matching cars and I am proud to own the set.  

AF Southern HARR 8AF Southern HARR 9AF Southern HARR 10


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Last edited by Mike W.

So, just to go back to the OP's question (basically, the engine runs fine going forward but not in reverse), are there any insights into why this might be the case and what could be done to fix it, besides it being a QC issue writ large?  I assume this has a single can motor powering one truck(?).

The problem has solved thanks to everyone’s help. A good cleaning of the contacts and the track with alcohol did the trick.

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