Hoping you all can help me out with an American Flyer 561 that I just can't get right.  At this point I have 2 "running" motors.  The problem is that I have one set of side rods that connect the 3 wheels, and no matter how many times I try to reset the position of the wheels they want to bind of the rods.  This happens on both the motors.  I've tried so many times that I've actually started destroying the wheels pulling them off and putting them back on.  Since I'm going to run out of wheels soon I need some help.  I've seen jigs for the purpose of quartering the wheels and lining them up correctly.  I of course dont have access to that.  I simply pull the wheels with a wheel puller, align them on the side as exact as I can, and press back on.  By eyeing them, they look perfectly aligned, but when turning the motor they will bind on the rod.  Is there a trick to this that I'm missing?  Perhaps the rods I bought off ebay are the incorrect ones?  Pictures seem to match what I see on other 561 exampless...

Any tips would be appreciated.  I've restored 50+ postwar Lionel and Marx, but this is my first work on an American Flyer, and it might become the first train I've failed to complete.  Frustrating!

Original Post

The wheels need to be perfectly quartered on both sides of the locomotive or the rods will bind. This is where a press with the proper cups is needed. ''By eye'' is not precision enough. Find a repair shop with a press, and have the wheels put on properly. Been there, done that.



PortLines sell reproductions of the original Gilbert factory tools. There are pictures on their website, but they would not be accurate enough to make a 3D print. These are for the postwar engines but I do not know of any reason the Pacific tools would not work on the 561.


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