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This oldie has been to three service shops , they fix it . I take it home and it still runs like the video. I have to repair a Lionel 2133560 , broken wire that killed a motor so I was thinking of rolling the dice on the Lionel 1666

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The E-unit is cycling because it's losing power.  It could be dirty track or blackening on the center rail, dirty wheels, dirty brushes or commutator.  Are the sliding pickup shoes (or their springs) worn out?  And for those on the Forum who have attempted it, how difficult is it to convert a 1666 to roller pick-ups, as used in the successor model 2026?

I think this is a combination of a couple  problems, the first being what David touched upon. The ZWL is a zero start transformer. So as David replied, your engine is beginning to move before there’s enough current to fully energize the E unit’s coil. So David is 100% correct on this. Second, possibly dust & debris on the track. To simply verify this issue, get the locomotive running in one direction or the other, and flip the lever to turn off the E unit. Observe its operation to see if you experience stalls that also make the headlight blink, or go out completely. This would indicate a loss of connection. Then suspect sliding shoes, dirty wheels, dirty/dusty track, etc. …..


Spring tension on the sliding shoes or a loosen e-unit lever.  I use a “L” shaped tool make from a coat hanger that is slipped under the contact spring, then a screwdriver is used to bend the end of the spring down so it exerts more pressure on the sliding shoes.  Likewise, a set of duck bill pliers ground down to fit between the coil and rivet to tighten the e-unit lever rivet.  Also, gargraves, fastrack and realtrax don’t have a raised center rail like tubular track which reduces the contact pressure on the center rail.

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