Help identify this Marx wind up train-Update

I just put this on my Xmas layout for some "beauty" shots.  But, I really know nothing about this little Marx set.  Would you tinplate experts give me a little history on this windup train set?  I have no key of course.  Thx for your time and trouble. Ted

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not sure if you have an actual set, but the train appears to be led by a (994) locomotive which is usually found in sets with the (941) 7" tender and the larger 7" cars.  this was also the locomotive painted up for the Disney sets.  in red you'd have an exceptional find, but in basic black and unnumbered, it is the most common version.

you have a (951) wedge tender, but please turn it around.  some Marx tenders are tough to figure out, but when you see coal, chances are it should be facing forward.

the rest of the train is three pretty common 6" tin cars.

if you want to check out the motor, you can wind it by rolling it backwards.  keys in these motors can be made from square bar stock, but frankly a small screwdriver will usually do the job in a pinch.

good luck with it.
cheers...gary

overlandflyer posted:

not sure if you have an actual set, but the train appears to be led by a (994) locomotive which is usually found in sets with the (941) 7" tender and the larger 7" cars.  this was also the locomotive painted up for the Disney sets.  in red you'd have an exceptional find, but in basic black and unnumbered, it is the most common version.

you have a (951) wedge tender, but please turn it around.  some Marx tenders are tough to figure out, but when you see coal, chances are it should be facing forward.

the rest of the train is three pretty common 6" tin cars.

if you want to check out the motor, you can wind it by rolling it backwards.  keys in these motors can be made from square bar stock, but frankly a small screwdriver will usually do the job in a pinch.

good luck with it.
cheers...gary

Gary,   Doofus mistake on the tender.  I hope I know better, just a brain f.rt.  I appreciate the info.  Wasn't thinking it was anything special. Has been in the family for years, but I didn't know anything about it.  Will try a screw drver to see if it will wind up a bit. There are a few sections of track to lay down. Thx again

sncf231e posted:

I assume my set with the same clockwork 994 locomotive is a correct set; tender and caboose are for the Nickel Plate Road;  the box mentioned 10000. It is shown here running in the first part of the video:

Regards

Fred

Fred, set 10000 should have an electric 994 style loco. Yours looks like a correct set in a wrong box.

Steve

 

Steve "Papa" Eastman

Yorba Linda, CA

Left Coast, Home of the lunatics

Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:
sncf231e posted:

I assume my set with the same clockwork 994 locomotive is a correct set; tender and caboose are for the Nickel Plate Road;  the box mentioned 10000. It is shown here running in the first part of the video:

 

Regards

Fred

Fred, set 10000 should have an electric 994 style loco. Yours looks like a correct set in a wrong box.

Steve

 

Steve,

Oops. I searched for the box and indeed that mentions electric train set; than I had a look at the locomotive and  it is an electric locomotive. A case of too much locomotives?

Regards

Fred

Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:

I have seen the 994 style clockwork in a few sets with the wedge tender and six inch cars, not out of the realm of possibility. They usually had the reversible clockwork though.

Steve

i know better than saying 'never' when it comes to Marx. 

cheers...gary

The 1951 Monkey Wards catalog shows a set similar to yours, except it also includes a side-dump car in addition to the tender, boxcar, tankcar and caboose.  The 933 loco would have had a forward-only ratchet motor w/ sparker.  Unfortunately, I don't know what the set number would be.  I have a gap in my MW catalogs from 1952 to 1954, so I don't know what was offered for those years.  I believe that the 933/943/933M (all windup versions of the electric 994) were probably only made in 1950-'51... but again, never say never with Marx!

51mwcatp202-cropped1 

EDIT: It looks like a similar set was also listed in the 1950 Sears Wishbook (Christmas catalog).

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

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overlandflyer posted:
Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:

I have seen the 994 style clockwork in a few sets with the wedge tender and six inch cars, not out of the realm of possibility. They usually had the reversible clockwork though.

Steve

i know better than saying 'never' when it comes to Marx. 

cheers...gary

Is there something I can take a picture of on the locomotive that would give you a better idea?  Or is the engine even worth the trouble. Just for kicks I did wind it up to run for a bit but it wont pull it's own weight.

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Ted

James (windupguy) would be best to answer the performance issue. In your video, the sparker wheel is only turning intermittently so there may be some gear issues. First thing I'd do is clean off any old grease and oil and get a fresh start. Be careful not to get any cleaner on the abrasive sparker wheel. Once clean, oil all the axles and shaft ends with a very light oil. Make sure that no oils get into the governor, that's the round drum.

Steve

Steve "Papa" Eastman

Yorba Linda, CA

Left Coast, Home of the lunatics

Your locomotive has the forward-only sparking ratchet motor - same as shown in the 1951 MW set I posted above, as well as the 1950 Sears set.  Steve is right on the money about cleaning and oiling being the first step to getting the locomotive running well.  I would suggest getting either a repro key from Grossman's Train Parts or make one from 1/8" key stock.  Using a screwdriver to wind it up a little just for a test is OK; but you don't really want to use a screwdriver to wind it up all the way as a matter of course.  That can cause the die-cast mainspring hub to crack around the journal area that passes through the sideplate, and if the cracking is severe, it can cause catastrophic failure of the spring hub.  A proper square key distributes the winding forces throughout the stronger part of the mainspring hub and makes them less prone to cracking.

The lack of movement on the sparking wheel appears to be due to a slipping gearset.  Marx used a lot of gearsets made up from a larger stamped steel gear that was swaged onto a smaller pinion.  If it wasn't swaged securely at the factory, the stamped steel gear will slip on the pinion.  It appears to me that the gearset located on the bell stud is slipping between the pinion and larger gear.  It's not a common issue, but I've ran across several Marx motors with that issue.  The quick and dirty fix is to clean the gearset with alcohol and let it dry, then c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y put a drop of red Loctite where the stamped steel gear is swaged to the pinion.  Let it cure for 24 hours and it will probably hold just fine.  Be very careful not to get the Loctite between the pinion and the bell stud, since that will lock up the motor.  The alternatives are to (1) Don't worry about the sparker and run it as is, or (2) completely disassemble the motor and re-swage the gearset.  I tend to run most of my Marx windups without the sparker anyway, so it wouldn't bother me in the least to run it as-is.  Disassembly and re-assembly of a ratchet motor is a challenge that I wouldn't recommend unless absolutely necessary.  

Marx ratchet motors are a strong, reliable windup motor... it should pull your train without any problems!

1950SearsWishbook1crop

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

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good point about using a correct key, James.  i should have added that the screwdriver would be useful to check the soundness of the mechanism, but it certainly shouldn't be taken as a long-term solution.

one thing i noticed in the video, and it might have to do with the lack of a proper key, but the spring doesn't seem to be wound very much as i cannot see it expanding as it winds down.  that might be the cause of the pulling power you see lacking.  held in air, the last few windings will spin freely, but on the track, the locomotive will typically slow to a stop as the spring winds down.  of course you want to be careful not to overwind a clockwork motor*, but i have a feeling in your case, the spring needs to be wound quite a bit more than you have shown in the clip.

cheers...gary

* i should probably add that i've wound up Marx motors many 100's of times and have never broken a mainspring.  being kid-tough was apparently a high priority in their design.

Gary, James and Steve:  You guys are exceptional.  Thx so much for your time and trouble.  I'm gonna try to get this little train running.  It deserves at least that much.  I ordered a key from Grossman's, although not the "Whimsical Windup Key, hand made at the Gobbler Forge Blacksmith Shop, non-original" $10.   I'll re-read your suggestions on oiling and cleaning. I did drop the motor out and put some light oil on points I thought would matter. I was afraid to wind up very much as the inside of the key hole started to give way from lack of surface contact.  When the key comes in can you really crank hard on the windup?  Seems the spring gets pretty tight in 7-8 "half turns". I suppose it's kind of a feel thing.  Again, thx for your time. I'll come back if there is something else, or if you need somethin additional, let me know. Ted

Edit:  Took motor out and shot short video of the gear that runs striker.  Exactly right that it is not tight to small gear. 1. Do I(if I think I can) put the loctite where the red arrow is or yellow arrow or neither?  2.  All the gears look dirty.  Do I do the best I can to clean with cotton swab and alcohol? Or will swab leave strands on gears?  Better cleaner and tool? TW

Edit 2:  Grossman did not have the handrails that are missing.  What to use for replacement.

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Good pictures, Ted; put the Loctite where you have the Yellow Arrow. Grossman will have handrails, but they will be listed under the electric train parts for the 994 (part #339, $4.50).  Cleaning the motor is a bit of a challenge... cotton swabs are helpful, but they do tend to leave fibers behind.  I usually do my best with WD-40 and compressed air, then use an old mechanic's rag to wipe down what I can, and blow it out with compressed air again.  The grime on the gears isn't super critical, so don't worry if you can't get them squeaky clean (Edit - except where you need to put the Loctite, the cleaner the better).  I would concentrate more on the bearing areas, anywhere a shaft spins in a hole.

Gary is correct about the spring needing to be wound up all the way for good power.  With the square key, you should be able to wind the motor between 14-16 half-turns.  When you get past 12, just go carefully; you will feel it when you hit spring bind.  It is ok to carefully wind the spring all the way until it binds, but just don't wind it any further.  I usually like to count the number of turns when I wind any of mine so that I approach spring bind very carefully, or stop winding just short of spring bind.  

Marx liked to tout their trains as having a "Strong spring motor that cannot be overwound".  That was true enough for a brand new motor with a child winding it; but on a nearly 70 year old motor with an adult twisting the key, the mainspring or die-cast hub can break.  Just be careful about winding all the way to spring bind, and it will be OK.

I do remember having to have my parents wind up my Marx train when I was young (4 or 5 years old)... I just didn't have the strength to wind it all the way up!  I got better at it as I got a little older... 

 

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

So today I got the windup key and the handrails from Grossman's.  Am disappointed though, as after inserting said key and three half turns this happened.  Didn't seem to be hardened stock.  Broke like wood.  Hmmm, is this unusual?  Guess I'll email them to see what they say about the key. Did get the handrails installed.  That went pretty well as was pretty straight forward install with the two supplied cotter keys for the boiler stanchions.

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A stiff artist's brush or cheap metal handled "thow away" from a hardware isle/autos are great for getting deep into gears and crevices when cleaning.

On the cheapies, you should check for solvent reaction with the plastic bristles though. Like many things today, the production quality can really vary from order to order

I'd avoid any solvent on the spark wheel until one of these "Tin Pro's" can comment on its abrasive adhesion quality.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





It is very unusual for a key to break; that key must have been defective from the factory.  I've ordered multiple keys from Grossman, and have never had one fail.  I also have multiple original Marx keys (which are slightly less robust than the Grossman keys) and have never had one fail... and I suspect I probably run windup Marx trains as much or more than anyone else in the country. 

Perhaps if you call or email and explain what happened, he would replace it - if not, just let me know and I'll be happy to mail you a replacement myself.

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

WindupGuy posted:

It is very unusual for a key to break; that key must have been defective from the factory.  I've ordered multiple keys from Grossman, and have never had one fail.  I also have multiple original Marx keys (which are slightly less robust than the Grossman keys) and have never had one fail... and I suspect I probably run windup Marx trains as much or more than anyone else in the country. 

Perhaps if you call or email and explain what happened, he would replace it - if not, just let me know and I'll be happy to mail you a replacement myself.

I was pretty surprised to have it break like that.  But, not wanting to give up I cleaned up the surfaces of the stub with a small file, and, could wind up the motor, then re install it in the shell and run it.  Not the best, but it does pull the train for a few seconds.  This may be all I can expect from the old girl.   Any more ideas I would appreciate it.  Ted

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It should make a few laps around your layout with that train... something still needs some TLC.  

Drag is the enemy of windup trains.  Anything that causes friction between the moving parts of the motor or wheels must be addressed.  Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what the problem is.  Look for carpet fibers or hair wound up on the axles or shafts in the motor.  It can get wrapped up between the wheels and sideplates, causing quite a bit of drag.  I know you have cleaned and oiled the motor already - and it seems to work normally in the first video of the motor that you posted back on the 7th - but I am wondering about the back wheels on the motor.  The one wheel appears to be a bit close to the sideplate, so make sure that it can't rub and drag, too.  If the wheels have been loose and repaired (a common issue with Marx stamped steel wheels of this vintage) they can be wide on gauge and cause excessive drag between the flanges and rails.  Another thing that can cause drag is the sparker.  Sometimes the flap that holds the flint will be bent so that when the motor is mounted in the shell, the tab is pushed up against the inside of the top of the boiler, causing a severe loss of power.  Try running and trouble shooting just the motor outside the shell - I think it should easily make at least 4 or 5 laps around your track by itself without any problem.  If it runs OK, try putting it in the shell and make another run.  In addition to the sparker flap, I've also seen the rear motor mount bent so it contacts and drags on a rear wheel.

If you can get the loco running a few laps around the layout by itself, it will be time to turn your attention to the cars.  The tin frames are easily bent out of shape, and can drag against the wheels.  Any little drag that might seem insignificant to an electric train can cause a big problem with a windup train.  Of course, the axles need to be oiled where they pass through the frame, too.

I looked through my videos, trying to find something to give you an idea of what to expect from your locomotive, but apparently I don't make many videos of my off-the-shelf Marx windups!  But, here are a couple for your amusement...

First, the Marx Clockwork Train Race.  Not really a race, but will give you an idea of how long a locomotive should run if it is just pulling a tender:

 

Next, a video of a couple of Marx locos converted from electric to windup.  The motors themselves are stock, so it will give you an idea of what kind of performance to expect from a typical Marx windup train:

 

Finally, a video of some of my modified Marx windup locomotives; "Windup Trains on Steroids".  Proof that windup trains don't have to be weaklings:

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

TedW posted:

So today I got the windup key and the handrails from Grossman's.  Am disappointed though, as after inserting said key and three half turns this happened.  ...

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holy cow!

never have purchased a repro key, but have never even come close to deforming a key like that myself.  the small kink (shoulder) in the key is put there so stop the key at the frame and preventing the bow from hitting the shell while you're winding it.  my guess is that the square stock used had a small defect or nick, perhaps even caused by the press, making an exceptionally weak point where it snapped.

i'm sure if this was a chronic problem with Grossman keys it would have surfaced long before now, so i'm willing to bet they will send you a replacement.

by the way, nothing wrong with adding them, but "without handrails" was one of the valid factory original configurations for the (994) clockwork locomotive.  the only caveat would be from a collector's perspective where, at times, the handrail holes will have original paint left inside which is sometimes a motivation to keep it in original condition.

cheers...gary

overlandflyer posted:
TedW posted:

So today I got the windup key and the handrails from Grossman's.  Am disappointed though, as after inserting said key and three half turns this happened.  ...

IMG_2567

holy cow!

never have purchased a repro key, but have never even come close to deforming a key like that myself.  the small kink (shoulder) in the key is put there so stop the key at the frame and preventing the bow from hitting the shell while you're winding it.  my guess is that the square stock used had a small defect or nick, perhaps even caused by the press, making an exceptionally weak point where it snapped.

i'm sure if this was a chronic problem with Grossman keys it would have surfaced long before now, so i'm willing to bet they will send you a replacement.

by the way, nothing wrong with adding them, but "without handrails" was one of the valid factory original configurations for the (994) clockwork locomotive.  the only caveat would be from a collector's perspective where, at times, the handrail holes will have original paint left inside which is sometimes a motivation to keep it in original condition.

cheers...gary

Hmmm, didn't know that.  Presumed because the holes were there, they were installed originally.  Oh well, has them now.  Thx for the info, will check first next time before ordering.  Just wanted to save on shipping.  Have emailed Grossman's, will see what they say on key.  TW

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 EDIT:  Based on your info, my curiosity got the best of me.  I looked at the engine, and see wear marks at the handrail locations noted in the photos.  Am pretty sure it must have had them at some point due to the marks on the shell.  Once again though, is very good to know.

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That is the governor, which keeps the engine from running too fast.  The weight is made of Zamac (a soft zinc alloy), so there will almost always be a gray ring around the inside of the governor's drum where it rubs.  I wouldn't worry about cleaning it unless the locomotive runs so fast that it flies off the curves.  If it does need cleaning, a Q-tip and alcohol will generally do the trick... just make sure not to leave any fibers behind when you are done.

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

Do you mean the 400 or the 401?  Marx windup 400's are most commonly found as "puffers" which have a variation of the ratchet motor in Ted's 933.  However, windup 400's can sometimes be found with reversing motors (another ratchet motor variation) and also with riser gear motors.  The 401 Marx - the plastic body locomotive without any number on the cab which is a bit homely - is almost always powered by a riser gear motor, although there is a hard-to-find puffer variation with the same basic ratchet motor as a 400 puffer.  Regardless, most of the ratchet motor variations are very reliable, as are the riser gear motors.  The main shortcoming with a ratchet motor is the stamped steel wheels, which tend to come loose on the axle.  The die-cast wheels are very robust, and the later stamped steel wheels with hubs are fine, too.  If I had to pick one, I would give a small advantage to the riser gear motor over any ratchet motor, due to the simplicity and slightly more robust construction of the riser gear motor.  However, the riser gear motor is taller than the ratchet motor, and might be harder to fit in the 1588.

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

I have the opportunity of a plastic 400 with a bad body, but the motor seems intact.  From your response, the 400 motor would be the better fit, to wedge into the 1588 shell, that I have.  Since our conversations with the 1588, I was able to obtain two complete running 1588 locos, and have since added the freight cars, and passenger cars, that would comprise the Lionel Outfits 1548 & 1549.  I would like to work on the 1588 shell, and fit a Marx motor into it.

Of course, I have another problem with the another Lionel Windup.  I have the 1511 Commodore, with (You guessed it!!), bad motor.  They winding mechanism doesn't lock, when wound up.  I haven't got a clue, as to how to remedy the problem, and the design of the body wouldn't be able to substitute a Marx motor, in place.  I just keep searching for a Lionel 1511 or 1508, that may be found cheap enough.  Thanks for the reply on the 400 motor.

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