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Personally I despise rubber tires.  They eventually fail, requiring periodic replacement.  They limit electrical pickup by reducing the number of conductive wheels, and as they disintegrate they leave black residue all over the track.

I'm not sure what the product number of your GP-9 is, or what vintage.  My first recommendation would be to add a 2nd motor / powered truck.  This could be easy or difficult, depending on whether your existing powered truck also has collectors (pickup rollers), and how it is mounted to the chassis.  This will greatly increase tractive effort because now 100% of the loco's weight is on driven axles.  THEN add more weight, as low as possible in the fuel tank or chassis.

It's never good to add so much weight that the traction exceeds motor torque.  This is another reason I don't like rubber tires- running the loco above the motor's current limit, especially at slow speed, can burn out motors and circuit boards.  Some books will tell you to add weight to the point where the wheels just barely slip at the motors' full rated current.  Personally I wouldn't add more than about 10 ounces.

If your loco can't pull the desired train, look at each car and make sure the wheels rotate freely.  If not, put ONE drop of light oil on each car's wheel bearing.  Make sure the loco wheels AND your track are clean and free of oil.  Also make sure the loco's wheels are centered on the axle, and not out of round due to a manufacturing defect.

If your loco STILL can't pull the train, you will have to reduce your slope / grade, or do as the real RRs do, and add a 2nd powered unit.  With command control, a helper operation could be very interesting!  Hope this helps!


Last edited by Ted S

I suspect that the wheels can be changed out for wheels that have the grooves that can have traction tires..

I have a 1983 New York Central 20th Century Ltd set. It has a 2 motored AC A unit. Dummy B &A units: and seven aluminum passenger cars. It always had trouble on Atlas track. I had Mr Timko, of Timko's Repair Depot in Ohio, change some of the wheels to ones that can accept traction tires. Now the train runs fine (fully loaded) on Atlas track.

I suspect the Geep wheels and F3 wheel are comparable.


Very easy to do.  For Williams diesels without tires, I just stretch two over a pair of drive wheels on the same axle, and touch the seam with a drop of regular / water thin CA. Capillary action carries the CA around the circumference of the tire & wheel.

The weak shear strength of CA makes it very easy to just break off the tires & clean the wheels later if you need to.

The Stewart/Calumet 2505 Super Traction Tires seem to work best for this.

When traction tires first came out on Lionel products in the MPC era, I actually went the other way and converted those engines over to magnetraction so it is possible to go back the other way. In my case the axles, gears and wheels needed to be replaced. In your case just pull off the solid wheels and press a grooved drive wheel with the traction tire on to the axle.   Should be simple to do.

Last edited by Dennis LaGrua
Newt posted:

0D2CD28D-41C1-4C59-B781-AF3B932AB16DA48B9B52-3EA7-4983-9C4B-D97B590067A3Alright, I think I’m going to try to swap the wheels out for a set with traction tires. Can anyone suggest a wheel puller and where to get it? Also, where do I get the replacement wheels? This is a Lionel GP9 6-18879 with TMCC. Thanks for your help. 

I sent mine to Timko and he machined grooves in the wheels for traction tires.

Bull Frog Snot worked for my nickel tired 2025. You don't need much. Put the engine in a cradle and power it up at a slow speed. Apply a thin layer and let it run until it dries. It doubled the number of cars my 2025 was able to pull. Worth a try before buying special tools and sending it out or buying more parts.


Instead of pulling wheels, and possibly ruining two trains, I would look for an MPC-era rectifier, EP-5, or single-motored F-3.  They're so cheap nowadays you could steal the truck block and then get some of your money back selling the shell, e-unit, etc., on a popular auction site.  Or look in junk boxes at meets (remember those?)

Last edited by Ted S

No problem. If the locomotive doesn't have a die cast metal fuel tank you may want to find one of those as well. I have a late 90's Lionel GP9 with a Pullmor motor and Magnetraction like your locomotive. I added a die cast metal fuel tank and it'll pull 20 scale boxcars or 5 16 inch aluminum passenger cars with no problems on level, steel track. 

Newt posted:

Is it possible to add traction tires to a Lionel GP-9 (single can motor) with magna-traction? The magna-traction is dead on this loco and even if it wasn't, I'm using Atlas-O track (non steel track). Any thoughts on how to improve traction would be appreciated. Thanks. 

As Pete said, use Bull Frog Snot

It works very well, is easy to apply and isn't visually obtrusive.  WE've used it a l;ot at the HO club I belong to.  I've used it on a Lionel 1862 GHeneral that couldn't pull its own train, and now it pulls fine.

@ADCX Rob posted:

If you can source just the 222-107 grooved wheels, no cannibalization would be needed.

634 truck - Copy222-107

Also, a 8010-123 grooved wheel can be used as well with the gear section machined/ground off, and blackened to match as desired.


@ADCX Rob, let me take you back a bit to this post you made. My question is this: do the 222-107 undercut plain wheels, and the 8010-122 plain w/o gear wheels, and the 8010-123 undercut gear wheels all have the same inside (axle) diameter?

I’m working on an ALCO 213 project that needs some 222-107 grooved wheels, but they are not to be had anywhere. This little engine had a motor transplant in a previous life and received a 200 series Pullmor motor with two driven axles, but no traction tires or undercut wheels.

So, I found and bought some 8010-122B (the B is for blackened, per the seller) wheels. Now, these wheels are supposed to be just plain, grey, MPC era Zamac non-undercut wheels according to Lionel, and would be used opposite an 8010-123 grey, MPC era, Zamac, undercut gear wheel. But I could see in the ad photos that they were indeed blackened, and that they had traction tire grooves, or undercuts. So I bought a few to give them a try. When they arrived, I found they were blackened, and they did have the appropriate undercut, and they appeared to be new; no spline grooves on the inside diameter and no wheel wear marks.

The problem is the inside diameter is too large. The wheels wobble loosely and fall right off the splined end of the axle.

Undercut Wheels_Crop

When it comes to PW diesel engines, I (perhaps naively) thought Lionel made only three different diameter axles, one was for diesels with Magnetraction (stainless steel), one for diesels with no Magnetraction (steel) and one (skinny steel) for freight cars. Further, I thought that the splined axle ends on the first two (Magnetraction and non-Magnetraction) had the same diameter - that would be logical to minimize wheel inventory..

Hence my question, do the 222-107 wheels and the 8010-122 (and 8010-123) wheels all have the same inside (axle) diameter? Or did I buy some of Lionel’s PW mistakes that found their way into the retail world?



Images (1)
  • Undercut Wheels_Crop
@GeoPeg posted:
Hence my question, do the 222-107 wheels and the 8010-122 (and 8010-123) wheels all have the same inside (axle) diameter?

671-21 is the swedged/swaged/knurled axle part as given in the service manual for the 222, 671-25 is the non-knurled axle, all used from 1957-up & specified for the 8010 motor. The wheels should all be the same inside diameter using the diesel architecture introduced in 1949 & 1950 shared with the 622/6220/2343, and extending well into the LTI/LLC eras.

Last edited by ADCX Rob
@Lou1985 posted:

Lionel sells a drop in replacement truck for your locomotive with Magnetraction and traction tires. Part #1 on this list:

@Newt posted:

WOW, thanks LOU1985.

Part 6108879150-p MOTOR TRUCK & PILOT / GP-7 / 9 / BLK SIDES & PILOT is now at:

But is no longer available from Lionel.

@Newt posted:

Is it possible to add traction tires to a Lionel GP-9 (single can motor) with magna-traction? The magna-traction is dead on this loco and even if it wasn't, I'm using Atlas-O track (non steel track). Any thoughts on how to improve traction would be appreciated. Thanks.

Don’t hesitate.  Timco will machine the wheels and tires for 25 per axle.  They are in GA or PA.  2 week turnaround

Last edited by Bryant Dunivan 111417

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