American Models SD 60 for repairs

Just what I needed, another project!  I picked up a pair of American Models SD 60s that need work, lots of work. Can anyone on the forum scan and send any manual or paperwork for these locomotives?

Thank you


Original Post

I would also like to add the SD60's came out in 2001 and there hasn't been a second run.  They've been sold out for quite some time.  AM located a small supply during their move, but I don't know about any parts.

It's best to contact AM to see if they have anything for the SD60's.


Since you are close ask Ed Goldin what he has. Although when I last talked to him he had about a 6 week backlog of upgrades to do, business was booming

Yes, I have dealt with Ed, a wonderful person to deal with, but what I am dealing with here is some missing and broken parts on a basic AC high rail engine, some of the springs that load the bearings on the axles are gone. I will contact AM to see what they have available. Does anyone have recommendations for replacements for the universals that AM uses? I have a few of their engines, including these SD-60s,  with noisy universals and would like a permanent fix. This pair will eventually be converted to TMCC so the reversing units will be available if someone might need them. I will also have the sound unit from an AC high rail AM B-unit that will have to go.


Ray - I too recently acquired a SD-60 which also needs work for me to be able to run it on my AC Hi-rail layout.  The unit I have is scale DC so it needs an AC reversing unit (so if you are looking to unload one of your reversing units, I'm interested - also a sound card if you have that) and the hi-rail wheel sets.  I've been exchanging emails with Ron Bashista at AM, who has been very helpful in answering my questions.  They do seem to have parts, like the reversing PCB, the wheel sets and AF couplers (which I also need), listed on their website.  Their site is pretty terse - hence some of my questions for Ron.

I don't know how far into your project you've gotten, but here's a few things I've found so far.  First, getting the shell and chassis apart is a bit tricky - especially without a diagram or manual.  There are actually only three screws holding them together, one horizontal at the rear of the loco just above the coupler mount and two (vertical) at the very front of the loco, partially hidden by the front truck.  Ignore the other screws you see on the chassis bottom.  There are also two pins - each about 2 mm long that stick out on either side of the chassis about mid-way that mate with two small holes in the shell - just above the fuel tank.  So you have to spread the shell apart (carefully!) to disengage the pins.  I also found I had to pull out one of the handrails at the rear of the loco as the chassis needs to rotate away from the shell at the rear in order to disengage the square block pin that fits in a mating slot at the front of the loco.

Once apart, here's what I observed.  First, the motor is double ended, so there are drive shafts and U-joints at both ends going to the front and rear trucks.  In my case, there is a front LED headlight - but interestingly, no rear light - though the lens and number boards are there at the rear - even the same lucite mounting block for the LED.  I don't know whether the AC reversing board supports directional lighting - hopefully it does.  The motor is pretty beefy with two brass weights as part of the drive train.  I fired it up with a DC powerpack and found that the wheels on the rear truck would rotate less than one turn and then lock up - interestingly the motor didn't stall and the front truck kept on truckin' - so there must be a slip clutch somewhere at the motor output.  So that meant taking apart the rear truck and after some messing around (literally, since there is a lot of lube in there), I found that both the front and rear axles had cracked gears - which no longer meshed with the gears in the drive train.  Since I need to switch out the wheelsets to hi-rail, this shouldn't be an issue, but interesting.  I don't think this loco has seen a lot of track time, so I wonder what would cause the gears to crack.  They are black plastic - perhaps its just old age...??

One other note - after pulling the wheels from the rear truck, I again applied DC power.  Its runs very smoothly and quietly from low to high RPM (all this blocked up on a test stand).   I look forward to getting it converted and on the rails.  Its a nicely detailed model - though it does lack figures in the cab.  In fact, there is a shiny nut that sits on top of the front truck gear box that one can see looking into the cab - I think I'll hit that with a little the black paint before putting it all back together.

If you or anyone are interested, I can post a few photos ...


- Rich


I do not know how quickly you would want the reversing unit, but yes it, as a matter of fact both reversers will be available, but this is one of my not at the head of the line projects. The pair I have do not have sound, the sound unit I do have is in an AC B-unit. I found the disassembly as you did by carefully removing the screws, I actually removed all of them from the bottom of the engine not knowing which were actually holding it together.

I had one truck that would lock up also, but on this loco one of the screws fastening the two halves of the gearbox together was stripped and the two sides were not tight allowing the gear train to shift thus causing it to lock up.  Lube! I was surprised to find the amount of oil and grease in the gearbox, when I am ready for the final reassembly they will be totally cleaned and re-lubed. From what I have read on the forum it is not unusual to find the gears split, fortunately for me none of mine are split. I need also to purchase at least one axle though, I don't know why but one of the axle bearings is extremely sloppy on the shaft.  I found the second unit was set to start in reverse, the motor lead was not soldered but just wound around the motor post. I do have one of the units running, it runs quiet and smooth as you stated, but the second needs more extensive repair and some parts that I hope I can get from AM.

I found the same as you that the engine has only one headlight so I do not know if the reversing board supports directional lighting. On my engine in reverse the headlight does not illuminate. You could always use an led, wired for dc, from Evans Designs, and attach to the motor leads for the rear light. 

Thanks Rich for your input, if you would want the reverse unit soon contact me off the forum, I do have a TMCC board I could put in the running locomotive. Before removing it I would take a pic of the E-unit wiring and send it to you.


Ray - I'll contact you off list regarding the reverser.  What lube do you use?  The drive train - at least the part you see from the bottom of the truck - is all plastic.  I don't know whether that affects choice of lube.  As an old (in both senses of the word) Flyer guy, I'm used to metal on metal...

The reason I said ignore all the other screws in the bottom comes from the same experience you had - namely I removed all the screws!

- Rich

Hi Guys,

The AM SD60's are a great engines and it is very rare that there are any problems with them. However with that being said, once in awhile when installing TMCC I have found a truck will have a binding problem. They can be taken apart cleaned and inspected and under very careful inspection, I have found cracked gears. Be careful on the reinstallation of these gears as they got to go back in the same configuration otherwise you will not be able to put the halves back together.

I recently installed TMCC in two SD6's and found both drive shafts warped so that is another place to look for problems.

AM does have replacement springs, universal joints and drive shafts. 

Yes the reversing unit will support both lights. 

Hope this helps and if you have any questions give me a call or email me.

Ed Goldin




Ed, Good to hear from you. May I ask, what ERR motor driver board did you install? Was it by any chance the Cruise Lite? May come back for some advice.


Ray, the cruise lite will not fit because of the R4LC and there just isn't enough room. I used a Mini II and if you want to install sound you will need to mill the motor mount and move the motor. This will then give you enough room for both boards but creates another problem---you need to make new drive shafts because this changes their length. It is not an easy project but can be done. Ed

Ed - thanks for contributing your expertise.  If I read your comment correctly, you are suggesting that one can glue the gears back together?  I would have thought that to be problematic, at best, given the amount of lube that's floating around in the truck (so cleaning the surfaces is really important) and the usual problem of trying to find a glue for this type of plastic (Delrin?).  Since I need to swap out the wheel sets anyway to convert them to hi-rail, I plan to go the route of purchasing new wheel sets, which I think would be easier all the way around in any event.

Do you have a recommendation for lube for these plastic-geared drive trains?

thanks much

- Rich

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