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I have an Lionel ES44AC (1933322) that runs 2-3 speed steps slower than all my other Legacy engines.  When run as a MU in a train it places substantial strain on the couplers and it makes the other engines work harder.  If I wanted to convert it to a non-powered DPU that retained lights, sound, smoke, etc, could  I just remove the LionDrive couplers or do I have to do more extensive changes?  

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In the simplest form, removing the couplers should do the trick.  The motors will still be trying to power the train, I might consider removing the power from the motor without the tach reader.  Don't unpower the one with the tach reader, it'll cause the electronics to be unhappy.

Will the uncoupled motors not be running at all if the dummy engine is “dead in tow” and not configured as part of the train?   I was thinking about putting it as a “pusher” at the end.  That way I could place it nose forward, but tell the dummy it was “running” in reverse so the reverse headlight would be on, but the motors weren’t running because it was not programmed to be part of the MU.   Thanks for your help.

I realize that if not part of the configuration, the dummy would have to be addressed and manual changes in sound and smoke would have to be made.  Certainly better to have all that done automatically as changes in the rest of the engines are made.  The trade off is having the end engine’s headlight on opposite the direction of the train’s motion.  I have always appreciated your expertise in answering questions of this type. Thanks for your time.

I removed the LionDrive couplings, but ran into an unexpected problem.  The engine does not "free roll" very well.  I used my trigger gauge to measure the force needed to roll just the now non-powered engine and it was about 12 oz of force on straight track (Atlas) and over 2 pounds on O72 curves.  The entire 16 ft autorack train only requires 8.5 oz of force to roll.  Running the engine as non-powered is worse than if I keep it powered even though it runs slower.  These ES44s have all 6 axes geared instead of the usual 4, so maybe the gear friction is too much to allow the non-powered engine to roll easily, especially on curves.  These engines have a minimum curve of O54.  The wheel gauge measures the same for all wheels:  1.070" +/- 0.002 measured back of flange to back of flange.  This dimension appears to be the same on other Lionel engines I  measured.  Anyway, removing the LionDrive coupling was a good idea, it just didn't work out for this particular engine. 

Bummer, I've done that to a few engines for people, but in that case I removed the motor. which includes the worm gear.  Since the worm gear is still engaged, I suspect that's supplying all the drag.  It's a back-driveable gear, but it's spinning at a pretty good clip.  The actual gears engaging the wheels shouldn't be much of a factor if that wasn't there.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Success!  There are 4 screws on the top of the truck that hold a plate in place.  Once the plate is removed I removed the pieces shown in the attached picture.  The engine has sound, smoke and lights.  It behaves just like a powered unit when configured in a train. The motors spin at the same speed as the powered engines in the consist.  I was a little worried that since the motor is missing the linkage at the bottom that it might vibrate, but it seems like the motors are secured to something inside the body. 

If I run it as a rear DPU and want to have either the forward or reverse headlight light, I don't configured it with the train, but address the engine separately to turn on which ever headlight I want.  The throttle on the engine in that case needs to be at least speed step 1 to turn off the cab light.  The ditch lights and ground lights can be turned off using the Cab2.  The sounds and smoke would also need to be set manually.

Thanks for all the suggestions.


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