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I just bought a 400E on Ebay and realized it probably has a pendulum reverse. No big deal, if it works or proves fairly simple to figure out. But, IF it doesn't work, it would be nice to have a neutral. Is there a later drum style E-unit that fits in the Bild-A-Loco motor and more-or-less "drops in"? 

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I'm sure they do but I'd like to stick with the old electro-mechanical drum style E unit. 

I'm wondering if a 385E or 392E E-unit would work (or even a late 400E, duh!)


Looks like this is what I would need, just wonder if there's a bracket or something that would go with it.


Last edited by Frisco Chris 1522

I bought a Dallee 4 amp reverse unit for my 400E. I just used the double sided foam tape and stuck it on the inside of the frame of the Build a Loco motor. Works great. Tested it for 1/2 hour with 4 large passenger cars. works great. No E unit lever to mount. Motor goes in and out as before. Simple. Easy. Works.

Chris:  I know where you're coming from (I prefer mechanical myself - I can fix them). I'd try MTH first, they had made conventional e-units for their earlier products, which are pretty much the exact replacements you wanted. Failing that, I'd give Jeff at the Train Tender a call. I'm sure he would either have something or know where you can get it.

It shouldn't (and I wouldn't even consider it if it did) because all 400Es made after 1933 should have drum E-units and they don't have slots.

Normally a 400E's E unit is controlled by the lever in the cab, along with the chugger (if a loco is so equipped), correct?

I am pretty sure the retrofit E units have a lever that hangs down in the rear of the motor.



Last edited by Frisco Chris 1522

We normally would use a Lionel 'E' unit from a post war diesel loco w/ the arm pointing down. They can be mounted very easily to the inside motor plate. The 'e' unit has mounting holes in it's lower frame where it normally mounted on a diesel bracket or frame. You need to drill 2 holes in the loco frame, to line up w/ the existing 'E' holes, and then secure the 'E' unit with 2 #4 self tapping screws, same as originally mounted in diesel frame. You will want to also use 2 pcs.  1/16" spacers between the loco & 'E' frame so as not to bind the 'E' drum on the motor plate. Make sure the 'E' handle doesn't protrude down so far as to hit the collector.  We have done this very successfully for over 50 years.  Harry

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