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I recently acquired a postwar army 41 switcher.  This is a pretty significant departure for me as I typically stay away from anything with open frame motors except for the occasional original tinplate item. 

I lucked in one with a good body but known issues with the front coupler. 


I did a bit of research and decided to do an internal cleaning before anything else. 

For those who haven't taken one of these apart,  (like me), it's pretty straightforward. 20200528_171323

The end handrail stampings use no fasteners but are held in place by being captured under the cab body and on bosses on the ends of the frame. 


The typical problem with older pullmor is a dirty brush plate and lack of lube.  Both of these things were present here.


I finally figured out the coupler issue  that was dragging and causing a short, but I still want to replace the front coupler assembly.  Does anyone know how to get the coupler assembly of without destroying things?


Here's a test vid on rollers.

And one more, on the track and put to work.  I read these things were loud, but nothing prepared me for this.  Runs nicely though!

Now, if only it could made into a command engine with quieter operation.  Hmmmm.......


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Original Post

Those little switchers can be whisper quite. Be sure to get plenty of oil in the lower bearing, and grease on the drive gear. This is where a lot of noise comes from. The re-issues tend to run poor.

I put some red-n-tacky on the drive gears and the worm gear, but that doesn't appear to be nearly enough.  I am mostly used to can motors, not open frame,  but honestly it's too loud to even run for more than a few minutes. If you have some pointers on making it quieter I would love to learn more. 

@jhz563 posted:

I put some red-n-tacky on the drive gears and the worm gear, but that doesn't appear to be nearly enough.  I am mostly used to can motors, not open frame,  but honestly it's too loud to even run for more than a few minutes. If you have some pointers on making it quieter I would love to learn more. 

I have a couple of the PW versions and they are very loud. They certainly earned the nickname " Growlers "



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@jhz563 posted:

This one is pretty cool.  Are the tmcc reissues quieter or does it also make a mechanical roar?

Mine runs reasonably quiet, but the little vertical motors will never be like a can motor.  There is certainly that Pulmore growl as it runs.

You need to use oil, grease won't lube the nylon bearing. Be sure the axle bearing get some oil, too. and a little grease in the upper bearing, where the ball bearing is.

Both of my TMCC models run like a top, never saw any issues.  I agree, proper lube does make a huge difference.

PW Celebration Series; TMCC, E'couplers. I've had it for years and always actually "liked" the way it ran - considering its engineering handicaps. Actually has a gear ratio that allows it to run at less than light speed. Recently painted/weathered it.

Huge. Built like a tank. Still incredibly noisy. Who needs Railsounds?


I'll have to pop the body off again and give that shiny TMCC aluminum heat sink some flat black.



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If there is any room in the shell for a little piece of styrofoam it will absorb some of the sound....

I would not think so, and what little could be put in there would be ineffective, I am sure. Plus - per the visible heat sink on the TMCC version anyway - foam near the motor would tend to hold the heat in, not a good thing.

I have learned to embrace the sound; Pullmor-equipped Lionel equipment always had more in common with household appliances than model railroading anyway. Part of the "charm" and durability.  

Just think of it as a predigital sound system.  Anyway, quiet diesels are not prototypical.

I will actually sometimes run postwar F units with horizontally mounted motors just to get a "growl" fix.  But not endlessly.  Actually, my growling postwar engines can have the volume adjusted digitally.  You see, I wear hearing aids, and I can turn the volume up or down.


I picked a #42 up that looked like it had spent about 10 yrs. in a bucket partly submerged. The cab was intact and I decided the rust stains gave it a "weathered" appearance.  Took the cab off and freed up the screws to take apart and clean everything. Rebuilt the e-unit, replaced the disintegrated brush springs ( I never ran across that before). Cleaned the commutator and put new brushes in it. Oiled and greased where necessary. I had to replace the front truck due to rusting. It was quite noisy on it's first run. I found the axle bushings weren't getting oil as most of what I applied ran down along side the bushings instead of on them. After a couple of attempts, i got the oil where it should be and it ran quieter.  It looks like the wrath of what ever, but it was fun to resurrect and watch it run again. It now pulls the track cleaning car on the layout it's on and looks good doing it. 

Okay,  so I have another question.   With all this talk of motor noise, has anyone tried a can motor conversion in these little beasties?  I am actually thinking about some pretty radical surgery, enough that maybe I should look for one in a little rougher shape than the one I lucked into.   Btw the replacement truck came in from Hennings.  Hopefully I will have time to get to it before the weekend. 

@jhz563 posted:

Looks like a fun little project,  complete with drive rods!  I believe I spy some redecorated Thomas coaches there as well 😁

oh believe me it was, and actually those are lionel 1928091 branch line coaches, they are also part of the Thomas lineup, but come cast in color and undecorated save for painted door handles. i wanted some short passenger cars for my o27 inner loop and they do the job well.

@CA John posted:

Hi Arnold,

The #41 US Army switcher was also my first engine. I received it for Christmas some time in the mid to late 50’s. It was my only engine until the early 80’s. I agree with the other posters that it’s slow and noisy but that’s what makes it special. 


John, I, like the #41, am slow and noisy but I don't know if that makes me special.

Chris S.

Last edited by FireOne

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