I recently bought an Athearn UP 1943. The locomotive ran flawlessly for a couple of weeks, until it started to lose power connection mid run. I tried to clean the wheels on the unit, but have had no luck as it will not receive any power from one truck on track power. Does anyone have an easy way to clean the wheels on this unit without taking it apart or buying any other special wheel cleaner? I use a method of putting alcohol on a paper towel and putting one of the trucks on top of it, which usually cleans the wheel sets. I will post a video soon.
I know the problem shouldn’t be my track because all of my other locomotives run fine on it.
Your method for cleaning is fine. Are you using DC or DCC when having issues?
EDIT: Try cleaning that section of track again.
I am using an NCE powercab DCC. I cleaned the section of track, no luck yet.
It may be ….. some Athearn diesels have a known issue with the power pickup wiring at the trucks, causing problems like yours …. right out of the box. All of my engines are Atlas …. so I cant help (sorry) …. look around on the internet HO modeling websites, people have done different modifications to the trucks.
I hope it is something more simple for you.
I can't tell what track that is? If it's the Bachmann black roadbed with track, the rails need constant cleaning. Nickle silver is the way to go. Also running cars with plastic wheels gums up the rails. I only used metal wheels when I ran HO.
I used to use a pencil eraser to get the wheels clean when I was young. I don't run HO anymore but I still have some laying around. Our grandson has a train set with that cheaper black track w/roadbed and it acts up on him as well. I have him use an eraser as he's too young for chemicals.
For track, I am using Atlas code 100 with Midwest Cork roadbed. I only have on car with plastic wheels and it hasn't been run in a while. I also just cleaned my rails with 50% alcohol.
I would guess that the alcohol is good at removing grime. I would guess that an eraser is better at cleaning the wheels for electrical conductivity. I would lay the engine on it's side and try applying power to the wheels.
If you could borrow or buy the roller stands made for cleaning, it might be easier. Maybe there's a broken lead to one of the trucks making this engine more sensitive to the track?
I would pull the shell and test directly if there's no warranty .
Again I don't do much with HO stuff anymore and I'm way behind what's going on there. I'm forced to maintain my G and O scale engines regularly and I feel that the issues must be similar? The old Athearn blue box engines I had ran fairly well. I remember adjusting a metal tab that rubbed another above each truck for power pick-up. Other than that, I really don't know what's inside a current model!
Check to see if the feeder wires on the trucks haven't broken off. I've seen this happen on other engines and lighted cars.
sorry I couldn't really help here. Did you get it running? Send it back?
I have not sent the locomotive back, but am looking into making or ordering a wheel cleaner first.