Good day, this is my first post on here, I searched for my issue but admittedly I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for.  Growing up my dad got me a Lionel Coca-Cola 1463 train set, we used to set it up around the Christmas tree and it was something I looked forward to every year. Fast forward 25 years I decided to do the same for our grandkids but I’m having problems with it. I bought all new track and set up a simple oval on a 4x8 sheet of OSB. The locomotive seems to be running b poorly, it’s been in storage for a quarter century so I cleaned the wheels a little and I’m wondering if it’s safe to clean the motor with electrical parts cleaner? Also I believe I may be using an HO scale transformer (which would explain the great amount of heat it’s producing).  I tried using the transformer that cane with the kit but it didn’t work great either (the arm felt sloppy).  I believe I’m in need of a new transformer but since it’s such a simple track and will only be used a few weeks out of the year, can anyone make a recommendation on an economical transformer I could pick up?

 

 Thank you in advance,

 

 Dave

Original Post

There's no reason that a 1970s-vintage loco with sentimental value can't be made to perform as new.

I wouldn't spray the electrical cleaner in there indiscriminately.  Put a little on a Q-tip to clean the wheels, the rotating copper commutator surface, and the brush wells- this should help performance.  Disassembly is pretty straightforward, or you can search some YouTube videos of how it's done.

The wheel bearings might need a drop of oil, and the worm gear on the motor shaft might need fresh grease.  If the old grease has hardened in place, you might need to dig it out carefully with a small screwdriver or toothpick.

The motor on this loco could take up to 2 amps so you should be running it with an AC transformer rated at least 25 watts, minimum.  If the wheels and rollers are oxidized you'll see a lot of sparking at first, but as you run the train it should burnish off.  If the rollers are heavily grooved, they might need to be replaced- an inexpensive maintenance task.

Good luck with your Coca-cola switcher!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Thank you all for the replies! I’ll search for a replacement transformer and while I wait for it to arrive I’ll get to work cleaning the locomotive as suggested. I really appreciate forums like this where people are willing to share their knowledge with guys like me.

 

 Thank you all again!

 

Dave

Second update:

I was running the train with my grandson this evening and what started out as nice and strong has now become less than stellar. The transformer is the newer style Lionel brand with the orange power lever and the three buttons (direction, horn and bell I believe). When the switcher starts doing the hesitation thing the green light on the transformer starts blinking. I just pulled the switcher off the tracks and there’sa lot of resistance when I try to turn the drive wheels by hand. 

When I cleaned it I used goo gone on a q tip and cleaned it off with alcohol on a separate q tip. I put a small amount of red bearing grease I had on the wheel gears too. I guess I’ll dissemble it again and see if there’s anything obvious.

I’m not sure which transformer you have.  Some CW-80 types are unsuitable for use with trains of your switcher’s vintage.

The fact that there’s resistance when you try to turn the wheels isn’t unusual.  In fact, I don’t recommend trying to turn the wheels by hand on that loco, because you could strip the main gear which is made of a tough nylon.  But you should look for carpet fuzz, pet hair, or debris lodged in the gears that connect the wheels.

I don’t know which transformer you have, or what the green light means.  It could mean an overload, or it could also indicate an open circuit.  Is it possible that some of your track sections have worked their way loose from fast running?

Other causes of hesitation are worn motor brushes or worn rollers that pick up current from the center rail.  This would cause an open circuit, rather than a short.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

drossman76 posted:

...The transformer is the newer style Lionel brand with the orange power lever and the three buttons (direction, horn and bell I believe). When the switcher starts doing the hesitation thing the green light on the transformer starts blinking...

If you have A PowerMax(30 watts output) or a PowerMax Plus(40 watts output) you are at the edge of what the set needs to run right. If you have a CW(80 watts output) then there may be a mechanical issue. When the blinking starts, it is entering the "foldback" mode - limiting power to 2, 2.5, & 5 amps respectively for each of the otherwise identical looking transformers(the CW has 4 binding posts instead of 2).

Rob

I just checked and I have the powermax plus 40 watt transformer. I think there is something mechanically wrong. I meticulously cleaned the motor, brushes and gears again today and regreased the gears and it’s still running very poorly. It sounds like the motor wants to run but something is holding it back. When cleaning it this time I did find some hair wrapped around there the axle between the truck and the gears so I pulled as much as I could out with a pair tweezers I ground down to fit in the gap. I found a truck and motor assembly from another switcher that looks identical to the one that’s on there so I ordered it. I figured for $30 it’s worth a try at this point. 

I’ll update again once that post comes in, it’ll be a few days

Ted S posted:

Is it possible that some of your track sections have worked their way loose from fast running?  

I don’t think think that’s possible. Every piece of track has six screws in it (two in each tie).

I will try to find a new set of brushes, since I’ll be replacing the motor it’ll be a good time to put them in any way. 

Thank you for the advice.

drossman76 posted:
Ted S posted:

Is it possible that some of your track sections have worked their way loose from fast running?  

I don’t think think that’s possible. Every piece of track has six screws in it (two in each tie).

I will try to find a new set of brushes, since I’ll be replacing the motor it’ll be a good time to put them in any way. 

Thank you for the advice.

Just a little helpful advice.  One or two screws per section is plenty.  No need for six.  

Also be very suspicious of “new” brushes.  Somewhere along the way Lionel greatly increased the brush resistance, to the point where I no longer regard them as a compatible replacement part.  I’m not sure how to tell these new “bad” brushes from the older good ones.  If your brushes are worn down and really short, steal the brushes from a vintage junker (a similar donor loco) with low run time.  In my experience it takes a lot of running to get to that point.

Also make sure your brush spring tension is correct.  This is the darkest of the Dark Arts.  Too much and the motor won’t turn freely.  Too little you’ll get sparking and intermittent operation.  When in doubt replace the whole brush plate with one from a low run-time unit.

When I change brushes, I don’t even mess with the springs.  I put the brushes back in their wells from the commutator side to avoid stretching the springs.

It won’t hurt to try the new power truck, that’s good troubleshooting.  But personally I would have spent that $30 on a more powerful transformer from the 1950s or 60s.  I think your transformer is the culprit!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Well I’m at a total loss, I replaced the power truck and nothing. I put the original truck back on and it ran for about a minute then went back into the fold back mode. After that I swapped the brushes from the replacement truck into the original truck and nothing.... lastly I connected the original transformer that came with the kit, still nothing. I have a couple hobby shops around me but they both have extremely limited train stuff so even getting a new locomotive is proving very difficult. Now I have two grandkids that want to watch the train go around the Christmas tree and they don’t understand why it doesn’t work! 

I do truly appreciate everyone’s input. I’m going to try to find a new Loco that I can get shipped in a hurry.

ADCX Rob posted:

Disconnect this lug from the brushplate screw and leave it hanging free, & test again.

Original

Way back in the '80s I converted some two position E-Units to three position, or was it the opposite.  I can't remember why I walked into a room let alone something 35 years ago.   With apologies to the original poster, would you refresh my memory on the conversion wiring ?   Thanks in advance, Rob. 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:

Way back in the '80s I converted some two position E-Units to three position, or was it the opposite.  I can't remember why I walked into a room let alone something 35 years ago.   With apologies to the original poster, would you refresh my memory on the conversion wiring ?   Thanks in advance, Rob. 

 See this page of the service documents compliments Olsens:

 

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The Allen screw is a thrust play adjustment for the armature.  When power is applied, the reaction torque between the worm gear cut into the armature shaft and the worm wheel down in the truck causes the armature to want to rise up.  That Allen screw prevents excess movement.  There should be almost no play.  Tighten the screw down gently, and then back off a half-turn.

IMO that isn't the problem, unless BOTH of your power trucks had excess thrust play in the armature.  I also can't imagine that both were wired wrong (unless you put the old white nylon brushplate with its existing wiring on top of the new truck assembly.)

I have no experience with a PowerMax transformer, but these older locos are current hogs.  I bet either power block would run just fine with a 1033 or a more powerful transformer.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

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