Help- Identify motor in Alco F Unit KMT Kusan

Yesterday I purchased a Kusan Missouri-Kansas-Texas Alco F-A. When he sold it, he told me it “doesn’t run but it hums” when he put it on the track”, I’ve purchased from this gentleman before. Basically I need help identifying the type of motor and if there’s an issue with the gears. You can read more or just skip to the pictures.

At he price he was selling and considering it matched my dummy I bought it assuming I could fix the motor. Unfortunately, it’s a motor I’ve never seen before. I think it might be a DC motor, but I’ve run DC units and their motors don’t look like this. I know Kusan sold their Alcos F1s and EMD F7s with an AC/DC Pittman motor. Some had the ability to switch between the 2. Anyway, I think the problem might be more with the gears(unless the seller tested what may be a DC unit on AC power). 

Motor Casing. Very strong magnetic pull.A34F4647-C603-4B0D-BDF1-9A8A1AFE5199

Motor removed from casing.


Gear box without the motor gear 


Gearbox with the motor gear


Truck underneath motor


Contact bars attached to metal wheels on rear truck


Full shot of the very sparse inside



Any and all help is greatly appreciated!!! 


Photos (8)
Original Post
The magnets are the usual give away to dc. If it doesn't spin on dc, it likely needs the comutator/brushes cleaned or the armature rewound by someone. For testing an unknown, dc is safe. Ac motors on Dc power is ok 99% of the time. But Dc motors on Ac power can cook a motor quick; cross your fingers it's ok. (The motor sticks in place and only one armature section is "on", the field never changes, the brush timing cant shut it off and the section overheats a wire...poof. The magnets replace the field coil.(just an electromagnet). I don't know if the magnets can be recharged or replaced... you'll just have to look. (marking magnet position for poles as you disassemble ) Great Grandpa collected Kusan. I never learned a whole lot about them because his never seemed to need work.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


@D&H 65 @Adriatic @Shawn_Chronister thank you so much for your help. I think that the person who sold it to me used AC and in the process burned the motor. I get sparkswhen I touch the contacts with alligator plugs or the wheels(on the same side) but the motor doesnt rotate and the gears don’t move. Gonna try to find a replacement because I’ve done all I can do at this point. Again, thanks for the help everyone

Just a note, if it seems to be a Kusan, look at the roof. It may be an AMT too, but AMT has a hump on the roof.

 You can possibly have that one rewound. Checking out what is wrong is also a good way to learn more, even if you go with a replacement.  (Maybe give Frank T. at Timco a call and see if there are adapter plates for a Pittman or other motor..?  I do see those old ones on the Bay at times though)

  If the timing of the brushes is right, you may not have to take it apart to know whats up; an ohm reading off of each of the motor poles might be possible at the brushes...? (each section should be equal ohm measured alone, no continuty to the shaft. plate unable to shift on the shaft. Gaps clean of brush dust.  That is all there is to a motor...electromagnets and timing which pulls when)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


Oh The pictures didn't all load earlier.  Measure that armature from pad to pad for a balanced reading and 0-ohm to the shaft.

Is it going to remain 2r? Rectifier for ac? 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


Thanks so much @Adriatic I’ll check at least one of those methods out. I’d like to make it AC so I guess I need a full wave bridge rectifier? 

And @D500 is correct. However, I have the dummy unit of this loco. The dummy has the KMT in the oval on the side, this new powered unit does not. I know Kusan put KMT on their Alcos, and I know that Kris’s Model Trains did not. Possibility that this was early Kusan before the KMT oval? I 

Stopped by my LHS- was going to pick up a DC motor and gears. But I changed my mind and might just have my repair person handle it since it would involve soldering some soldering. I’ve been out of work on worker’s comp since January due to a head injury and don’t think I’m up to the task- yet.

That said, can I run a DC motor on AC with bridge rectifier on 3 rail but the engine is still 2 rail? That is, nothing changes regarding the trucks, axles, or contacts- but an AC bridge rectifier is put in between the pick ups and the DC motor?

 On E vs F, bumbs, etc.. I haven't had a Kusan in front of me in many decades. Even my reading up on them well was a while ago. 

  On exacting loco I.D., it is things like trucks, panels, number of fans and where, etc.. I'd just as likely count rivets unless I learn it 'naturally' or hands on  (have at it though ) 

  On diesels, the draw is more about style for me than anything else so I've never really tried to learn them. I like them all, but I might rather have a model of the motor if you take away the style, because that's all that's left that matters to me.

 So I see E or F "carbody's" more as a cool shape, even after the return to traditional frames; ALCO vs EMD; etc.  they are all still "carbodies" to me for the shape. The older the better too. I liked the demo/ TA nose rake and smaller consists best. BL2s, Deltics, Little Joe, etc. all fall into that niche or me 

Soldering isn't really hard (unless there is some motor skill issues).  It just takes some practice and a hot iron or patience to wait for heat transfer.  Most issues are simply trying to use plumbing solder, dirty metals (flux cleans it if bad) or not enough heat. 

  Or rarer, far too much heat (like near red hot, metal changes color, etc.)  The fact is, solder moves to the heat. Any issues you had were likely from not enough heat, and the solder wanted to climb back onto the iron because the brass, copper, wire, etc. wasn't quite hot enough. Close, but not enough. When hot enough, solder flattens. Too cold, it forms beads, too hot it forms beads and sweats "dirt" (and maybe changes color of metal) .


   Using the F as 2r on 3r track depends on the track type.  There is actually a lot to be considered. Loops without turnouts are much easier.

  Speaking of easy, converting to 3r can likely be done and removed without a trace. The wheel wipers can stay. You would only change where one sides wire connects inside the train. (where varies by final choices)

They had a switch under other versions for  2r /3r or maybe ac/dc... point is you could also add a switch for 2r/3r if you wanted.   Unscrew the roller(s)and unplug (add plug) then throw the switch for 2r...


  You'll need all of the left or right outer rails to be isolated from each other. GarGraves and Ross come this way (wood ties). Tubular track needs isolation fish-paper insterted into one side of all rails, between tie and rail , so that one outer rail is isolated electrically, just like our center rail. This rules out many turnouts. GG or Ross turnouts would be needed too, or every turnout would also likely need modification too, if it can be done to that type. 

Plastic roadbed track takes clipping the bands that connect the outer rails together, and doing plastic turnout mods too, if they can be done...??? This is new territory. I've not been inside newer turnouts to know how hard or easy it may be.... my optimism isnt as high on these tracks.

So yes it can be done, but converting to 3r is easier.

  A bridge rectifier on the engine will turn AC to DC , but alone on the train means forward only. You will also need an e-unit or reversing board* if reversing is important to you (I'm happy just looping anymore...guilty of being easily amused )    The forward only method will cost you more in labor than the part (under $5... grab an extra )  B.R.s in the right package style can accept push on crimp connectors if that thought appeals to you.... no solder, just wire nuts and crimping.

  If a board is the choice, it must handle the amps of the motor new or old. The amps can be measured pretty easily. Or ask what others with Kusan read off thier motor and assume yours is the same, or has slightly higher draw just to be safe.

  Do you have a volt/amp/ohm meter? We can do this stuff step by step if needed.  If you feel embarrassed about anything, private contact is ok by me too. My mail is listed, and Im unable to work as well, so I'm pretty available too. Click my name and look around my profile for the address. And fyi, I wouldn't have guessed you had a recent injury if it's any consolation. I can relate somewhat too. I think I had heat stroke about 10 years ago.

  An alternate method, mount the B.R. near the transformer and add a toggle to choose AC or DC going to the rails.  A second toggle can then change DC directions when needed.   

  For 3r conversions you would remove one sides wheel wire inside and connect it to the other sides wheel wire. The new roller wire would go where the removed wheel wire used to go. (or to the reversing unit of choice if one is used, etc.)

*Worth noting, a reverse board may have a rectifier built in.  The only problem has been the large amp total used by O many older motors has kept these limited to being used on new trains equipped with small can motors until fairly recently. 

   I'd also consider a search at, or call to DALEE to price a high amp, ac to dc rev. board.

  I hope this makes sense.  I had to fight this composer for 4 hours to get it this clear ... whole paragraphs vanishing or moving , backspace creates two cursors and erases on 2 lines at a time, etc etc.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


The sticker on the side of the motor would have "WILSON OF CLEVELAND" if it were still on the motor.  The windings do not look burned but they heat up more on the inside near the iron core so looks may be deceiving. Sniff it, can you smell burn?

Shawn_Chronister posted:

You can see its dc by the plastic axle between the wheel and the wipers on each side picking up ground and power separately.

That is a sign that it runs on two rails not that it is DC. AC powered motors can run on two rails, but not in this case. 

The magnets in these were not very strong to begin with and trying to run on AC weakened them some and pulling the armature from the motor case weakened them a little more. However, if the windings are good it will still run on DC. I think Adriatic pointed out if you have a volt ohm meter you should read the same reading between all three commutator pads reading two pads at a time and that with a wire clipped on the shaft you should have no continuity to any of the pads.  If that is the case it should run on DC.  If you have a short to the armature frame it will have to be rewound. Do the brushes have good spring pressure against the commutator?  These three pole motors are VERY easy to rewind since the windings do not overlap one another. As long as the wire is not burned in two after carefully removing the  windings you can see any burned insulation varnish  take some steelwool and burnish the burned area then recoat with some polyurethane paint. Motor varnish is better but I'm guessing you won't have any. If you want to contact me my email is on my members page I will send you my phone number and can talk you through the process of rewinding. It's a piece -o-cake. I did not read all the posts. Do you have a soldering iron or gun ?    j

I thought I should add.  Once the armature is out leave it out till it is repaired. Don't keep putting it in and out of the case. Each time you do you drag out a little more power from the magnet.   If you did reinsert it back in the case leave it there till you are ready to rewind.               j

Guys, thank you for all the advice! It's proven to be very helpful.

After careful consideration, I decided to let this engine set for a bit as I returned to workk half time this week which is great but also has created or revealed some previously unknown issues regarding my head injury/TBI/concussion. But just like with this 2 rail, Kusan DC, I'll work through it.

Anyway, I've kept the motor in the casing as suggested. Took it to my LHS after a doctor's appt today and was hoping to catch the mechanic who works on my trains, just missed him but the LHS owner put me in contact with him.

He gave me some more info about the motor and what to get if I'd want to replace it. I'd need a Pittman DC-71, which is produced by Bowser. This gentlemen, who has been fixing trains for years, said to get to the website soon because today he was told Bowser is closing- which isn't too farfetched considering their recent factory closures over the last year.


Regardless, he asked me if I was sure the motor was dead. So my LHS tried his leads on it and it ran for about 5 seconds! I think that the problem is two-fold:

1.) One of the magnets is not in full contact with the commutator. After reading these posts and then researching I definitely know that magnet . doesn't "look" right, i.e. theres space in between.

2.) I have been using a Lionel 7 volt power pack. My LHS used a 12 volt DC power pack. Apparently these motors require a good amount of Direct Current(from what I read) so I just might not have enough power, in which cash I'll just pick up a stronger DC powerpack.

3 rail conversion is still an option, but I'd like to try 2 rail first. Will keep y'all posted





Add Reply

Likes (0)
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653