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New Problem.  My 2046 Engine runs on new Fastrack but it sparks near the collector assembly.  I checked for loose screws and for metal shavings etc.  The rollers are in good shape and move freely.  After I run the engine for a while the rollers, roller arms, and the entire collector assembly gets hot.  I also think this problem sets off the whistle in the tender on occasion.

What's going on?  What's wrong here?

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Welcome to the wonderful world of open frame AC motors, the smell of ozone, and the delightful buzz of e-units ....making sure your 2046 is in proper tune, and the whistle tender are key....couple things to easily check, be sure the track, the rollers ( on both the engine & tender) are good and clean & lubricated....check spring tension on the arms,...you can put a tiny drop of oil on the roller pins, and the pivot pins of the collector....the arms should make good solid tension on the rails, loose or distorted arms make the rollers lose contact, thus the roller will jump around making sparks, and tiny little char marks wherever you go....so be sure to clean the track as well.....yes & no as to this problem making the tender blow inadvertently......dirty and or loose rollers, dirty wheels, can make a whistle “trip” on occasion....clean wheels, clean roller pickups, again, a small drop of oil is ok, and also a tiny drop of oil on the pivot points where the tender trucks meet the tender frame helps.....remember, the path has to go through the wheels, through the trucks, and through the frame....so that’s a few places contact can be lost and re-gained at any given moment....

Pat

Pat, On further inspection I THINK the front base of the front 4 wheels is "scraping" on the track.  I THINK there is a washer missing from the spring that is attached to this base.  (Sorry if I am not using all the correct terms.)  The spring is working but it is not holding up the base of the front 4 wheels high enough (my opinion).

There is about 1/16 of an inch of black paint scraped off in the bottom front of this metal base which indicates to me it is being scraped.

The larger chrome screw that holds this front 4 wheel base to the engine is tight but I wonder if it is missing a washer or two as well. I know these 4 wheels have to be looose and have some "play" to them but the "up/down"  play may be too much.  I know that if I added 2 washers the "up/down" play would be less.

I will look for a Lionel 2046 diagram of parts to see if my assumptions are correct.

Pat, I found the diagram--no missing washers??? Though I wonder if I should go ahead and install one or two washers to the central, chrome, screw that holds the assembly to the frame of the engine to "tighten up" the slack?

I notice that the middle brace of my collector arms is bent in (a little) so as to "clear" touching the track.

Not sure if this is normal or not.  The engine was worked on (tuned up?) a few months ago when a new smoke unit was installed.  I wonder if the "mechanic" did not have the correct 2046 collector arms and "adjusted arms" from another model to make them fit/work?

I placed a No. 2 pencil across both rollers, pressed down, and I think the springs of both collector arms would "touch" the track.  Maybe that is normal but unlikely to happen if the track is smooth and properly installed.

I wonder IF the middle brace on the collector arms is supposed to be "bent in" or is supposed to be flat?

Be careful adding washers; they can create a problem if not required. The 4-wheel front truck does not use a washer. Another thing I'm wondering when you speak of that front truck not riding high enough - could it be that the upper lip of the truck is not tucked in under the frame? On the opposite side of the screw, the truck has two lips or small "shelves" and the top one must go above the screw so there's an "above" and "below" the plate that has the truck attached to it. One more possibility on the sparking is that it could come from the brushes not turning freely in the brushplate; or the brushes may be too worn and need replacement, but  if they don't turn freely within the copper base the brushes sit it, that can cause sparking on the rollers and can wear one or both brushes down unevenly. Just a thought... 

@wizzer posted:

Yes, I cleaned all the track.  I cleaned the rollers and the wheels on the engine and the tender. The "Lionel" name plate between the roller arm springs was a little loose --being held in place by only 3 of the 4 tabs ---so I removed it.

Any improvements?......as Rob had mentioned, these things will spark some on fastrack, .....did you put a drop of oil on the rollers and the pivot pins of the arms?......this should make some improvements......let us know if you’re at least marching in the right directions....

Pat

Yes, I used a drop of oil in the spots recommended.  But I got interrupted and might not be able to give the engine and tender a REAL test for any length of time today.  It seemed when I ran it a long time the collector arms, rollers and even the "Lionel" plate got very hot to the tounch --hot enough to burn your finger tips.  That's when the horn on the tender would go off by itself most --after everything got hot.  I was afraid of buring something out the other day so I stopped running it.  I need to run it longer today to really check it out.

I will get back to you after I have time to do that.

@wizzer posted:

Harmony, I have yet to learn how to add pictures to this site.  I just recently found the on off button on an I pad...

In the "Add Reply" box at the bottom of the page, There is an "Add Attachments" in the bottom right corner. Click on that, Find the file in which you stored the picture, double click on the picture, Once it's done processing, click "Finish". It will be in your post. Also, start a new paragraph when you insert your picture, otherwise your sentences get all cut up.

Good Luck.

I am still working on how to send you pictures from my I pad and/or from my email address.

In the mean time I removed the front 4 wheels and the back 4 wheels from the engine and it still sparks so now I know it has to be coming from the rollers, roller arms.

The sparks are not coming from the outer rails.   So I do not think the engine wheels (that have been cleaned) are the problem causing sparks.

@wizzer posted:

I am still working on how to send you pictures from my I pad and/or from my email address.

In the mean time I removed the front 4 wheels and the back 4 wheels from the engine and it still sparks so now I know it has to be coming from the rollers, roller arms.

The sparks are not coming from the outer rails.   So I do not think the engine wheels (that have been cleaned) are the problem causing sparks.

We won’t leave you hanging buddy, but we’ll really need to see some pics from underneath your 2046 to get a better idea of what’s going on....Chris ( jayhawk500) outlined a how to upload pics ( couple replies up) so thanks Chris!..so hopefully we can get some pics...ADCXRob, or ...BMORAN4, I hope sees this, or Chuck Sator, they’re really some of the resident postwar gurus, and are always spot on with their recommendations...But again, we’ll see if we can muttle through this...

Pat

Cool!...great job getting the pics up!......now, to me, those rollers look like they’ve seen better days, .....you’ve got some pretty good grooves worn down on them,....my suggestion would be to replace them....BUT ...let Chuck, or Rob, or BMORAN4, or one of the Postwar experts have a looksie first before you go and tear things apart first.......get a couple of opinions, then make a move....

Pat

Those rollers are pretty badly worn... for sure.

I just fixed my 2046... looks like the same issue ...but, I could be wrong.  On mine the roller *plate*... the metal piece that holds the rollers was *not* secured tightly to the insulator underneath it.  Whether this is the correct fix or not I don't know... but, once I aligned my roller plate with the insulator... I pulled the roller plate out about an inch, wiped the roller plate and insulator with Q-tips and some alcohol (I did not go nuts with this... just got the grease off) and used contact cement to glue it back together.  Now it sits on there tight and the rollers do not wiggle around or get stuck when raised up towards the insulator.  She is a little BEAST!

I think I'm good for another 67 years (the 2046 was purchased Christmas 1953).

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

I sure miss the ol' Lionel 3 rail tubular track!  We ran the daylights off all the Lionel stock in the 1950's and didn't have any of the "touchy-feelie" issues of Fastrack!  Now I see why some guys still use and love the ol' Lionel tubular track.  I was going to sell all my old tubular track and 12 Lionel 22 switches on Ebay --but now I think I will keep it all for my grandkids to have.

Larry, I hate to have to say "I don't know"  I recently had a new smoke unit installed by "a trained Lionel mechanic."    He proceeded to tell me all that was wrong with my engine and I assumed he fixed it all.  I can't seem to find his receipt right now for "work done."  I will keep looking...but my gut feeling is it was not "tuned up."  On top of that the new spoke unit does not work so I am not sure I want to go back to him.

@TrainLarry posted:

One thing that has not been mentioned is, has the motor been serviced? A dirty motor (commutator, brushplate, brushes and springs) can draw more than normal current. Also, does the mechanism turn freely and is it well lubricated?

Any of these will cause excessive current draw through the rollers, getting them hot.



Larry

Yup... and, if you are going to buy new rollers, you may as well get some new brushes and any other parts that may be needed.  Remember to clean the commutator if you install the new brushes.  It's a pretty easy Loco to work on and gain a ton of experience with... oh, may as well clean the contacts on the E-unit as well.

Wizzer... you got the photos up!  You are now qualified to do your own repairs!

This is close to the 2046... Lionel 2026 O-gauge disassembly & repair...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVGNjpJRaTQ

More open frame Lionel motors...

Lionel #2025 Clean & Lubricate: Motor Removal-Part 01

Lionel #2025 Clean & Lubricate: Assemble Motor-Part 02

Lionel #2025 Clean & Lubricate: Install & Lube Motor-Part 03

And... 681 smoke unit repair ...different motor type but the smoke unit works the *same* way.

Lionel postwar smoke unit pill type repair/ Rebuild

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

I recently re-built a 2026 and am not an expert, but a worn and dirty motor can certainly cause excessive current draw and result in overheating. I would try and spray the motor with some electrical contact cleaner as a start and see if that helps. If you can get in there, I would also lube the motor.

The roller springs look "soft" and that can cause the engine to sag a little and potentially come in contact with the rails and cause sparking and overheating, as well.

Finally, I would check the drive rod assembly and make sure nothing is binding and clean and lube.

The botton line is that the rollers always have some sparks on all of the post war locomotives; and,

Worn rollers spark a lot. Your rollers, while nominally functional, have a lot of miles on them and need to be replaced.   I've seen this problem on many of the early F3s (growlers) , but not so much with steamers.

You my wish have your LHS  or a seasoned "post war stuff" friend do this one. Watch and learn, for the next time. Changing rollers not a repair for the faint of heart, especially the first time you do it.

Welcome to the world of post war 1950's stuff.  It's a whole different adventure, but lots of fun.

Success!  Thanks to all of you.  TrainLarry will be happy to know I took most of it apart--cleaned all I could as best as I could, was able to put it back together without any parts being left over, and it's running like a top.

In the process I even fixed the smoke unit ( the "activation" bar was not place in it properly and just needed to be put back "in the groves")  --now it works too.

Thanks to all of you.  Yes, I use to do this kind of stuff long ago as a young teen in the early 1950's --but time and technology have kind of passed me by.

My next project is to get the DU side (lever) to "zero out" on my ZW transformer (275 Watt) --purchased in the early 1950's.  But that project will have to wait for another day.

@wizzer posted:

I sure miss the ol' Lionel 3 rail tubular track!  We ran the daylights off all the Lionel stock in the 1950's and didn't have any of the "touchy-feelie" issues of Fastrack!  Now I see why some guys still use and love the ol' Lionel tubular track.  I was going to sell all my old tubular track and 12 Lionel 22 switches on Ebay --but now I think I will keep it all for my grandkids to have.

Wise move = my plan also = they will get an electronic set, but for their future = postwar early mpc.

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