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Hi folks,

I recently found an original 1935 Flying Yankee which needed a motor.  Luckily, I found one relatively quickly and on the weekend I went to try it out.  It powers on, but will not move.  I'm assuming it's the e-unit.  I'm new to prewar so although I'm sure it's relatively simple, I don't know anything about it.  Any advice on what I could try / do before having to send it to a Lionel repairman? Thanks in advance.  I can take pictures or add a video if that's helpful.  

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Educate yourself in the operation of the mechanical e-unit. The Lionel Service Documents (available in Greenberg Publications, Aurotech Publications, LCCA/HSL) has an excellent section devoted to the theory of operation and that it cycles through F-N-R-N. Ensure that the e-unit lever is in the electrically engaged position so that it will cycle the e-unit drum. Ensure that the e-unit drum and fingers are clean (CRC 2-26 or similar contact cleaner is great for this). Also double check the wiring, that it is intact and follows the traditional field armature series motor.

You cal also wire the motor bypassing the e-unit like so to test the motor functionality.

This should nudge you in the right direction, and please ask clarifying questions as I know I didn't go deep on everything mentioned.

Excellent video! it sounds like the e-unit may be working. The colored wires make it seem like the e-unit has been "serviced" and given new fingers/plates. At the end of your video, it looks like the bottom set of fingers is not positioned properly - it should be level. A better picture/investigation is warranted.

Typical 3 position e-unit wiring diagram (Ignore the smoke unit):

E-unit wiring

At this point, it can't hurt to take the brush plate off and remove the armature for testing. There are many different types of the armatures that Lionel used, all differing in wire gauge, length, turns, and whatnot. We are going to look for equal resistance values in the 1.2-3.0 Ohm range.

Set your multimeter to ohms and then test each combination of the 3 commutator faces. The reading should be essentially the same (and somewhere between 1.2 and 3.0 ohms).

In other words, the measurements of A to B, A to C and B to C should all be about the same and within spec.

Then test A to Shaft, B to Shaft, and C to Shaft. All of those should be essentially infinite Ohms (no continuity).

This procedure can be used on most any Lionel armature, however, the specific expected ohm reading varies from model to model.

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