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I purchased the motor unit recently to accompany a used power unit - loco shells were customized by Len Caparelli.  Engine runs fine in forward, but the reverse function will not operate.  The power unit appears to be very old, and though I have no diagnostic/ repairs skills, it appears that the control switch may be the problem.

I would appreciate any information concerning the problem




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If the switch below the engine is all the way forward, the loco runs forward with no problem.  If the switch is dropped back to the center of the pendulum arc (not sure if this is the  correct term), it will run forward and go into neutral, but not reverse.  If the switch is all the way to the rear, it stays in neutral all the time.  

I am running the loco on Atlas track powered by MTH transformer and TIU.  To get the engine to run it takes three stop to speed and back with the power handle on the Z4000 to get the engine to run forward.  I should note, that when the engine arrived from the seller it did go operate in reverse, but this lasted only for about 5 runs.



So, if it did operate in reverse when first ran, for 5 runs, and then ceased to do so.....   Sounds as if the E unit is wired properly (provided no wires have come loose) and as many have experienced, some E units need pampered after some years.  Acquire information on the PW E units (the reverse-neutral-forward mechanism) from all sources (the Forum, Olsen Trains, etc.) and, if you feel comfortable with it, remove and clean/inspect.  Be certain to note how it is wired, use the second PW F3 unit you have to reference.  Or, you could send off to be fixed/maintained as needed.  This is one of the best aspects of our hobby, learning as you go and grow within it's knowledge.  I was fortunate to begin working on, fixing PW Lionel trains at a pre-teen age.

Jesse   TCA  12-68275

If it moves fwd, but not rev, it is likely the e-unit's contact "fingers".  Clean the drum and under each finger....carefully.

(to check, cycle e unit until you hit rev. then very lighty press on the fingers. DONT bend them, they are delicate. They can be bent; sure. But it takes a light touch. Pressing usually makes contact; letting you know it needs a rebuild kit.

Last edited by Adriatic

It is your e-unit as others have said.

You mention you have no repair skills other than spraying contact cleaner that is plastic safe if that fails you need to get e-unit rebuilt.Some attempt to do repair themselves and open up a can of worms especially if one does not know how to solder as many times old wires start to come off from old solder joints and creates a problem as well.

So in short have someone rebuild e-unit with new drum and fingers unless you feel you can.

Good luck those are good runners.

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