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I picked up the 6-8100 plus some matching passenger cars awhile ago last year. When I put it on the track however, it seemed that I was only getting static from the speaker (in retrospect I think this may have been a very early version of a steam sound). I spoke to the seller who assured me it worked when he sent it to me, and suggested I open up the tender to check for issues. Electrical items are not my forte but I thought I'd take a look under the hood and see if i could find anything. Nothing appeared broken, though I did fiddle with at least one piece that looked like it had bent. The board and metal weight bar apparently came loose during shipping, such that if you turned the tender over there was an audible "clack" from the board bumping the tender side. Put it all back together and put it all back on the track. This time the MSOS whistle worked. However the whistle now won't turn off, even if I turn off power to the track and turn it back on.

I was thinking of trying to upgrade with ERR but I realize I have a small piece of Lionel history in my hands, and that I'm probably happier buying a Legacy J-class instead of ERR upgrades. That being said, I'd like to fix the sound board on this thing but don't know the first thing about how or if it's possible.

Secondly, the motor in the engine makes a loud grinding noise during operation. I'm using a GW-180 power supply. Does it naturally have a loud grind noise, or is this the result of incorrect operation or needing maintenance.

Thanks in advance for your consideration

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@ADCX Rob posted:

Any loco purchase should be followed with, especially on these worm drive engines, a thorough disassembly & lubrication.  The motor shaft, worm & worm wheel, axle bushings & side rods are all pretty critical ares to service with modern synthetic oil & grease.

Hi, thanks for your help. I am new to the hobby, before visiting this forum or finding out about ERR, taking apart my trains wasn't something that really crossed my mind I should clarify that the grinding sound is less "mechanical"-sounding (like gears grating together) and sounds more like an intense electrical buzz.

That being said, do you have recommendations for oil and grease? I'm assuming the Lionel Maintenance kits aren't up to the job of maintaining internals. Thanks again for your input.

@0-Gauge CJ posted:

..sound is less "mechanical"-sounding (like gears grating together) and sounds more like an intense electrical buzz.

That would be the electromagnetic reverse unit and this is normal operation.

@0-Gauge CJ posted:

do you have recommendations for oil and grease? I'm assuming the Lionel Maintenance kits aren't up to the job of maintaining internals. Thanks again for your input.

I use Mobil 1 oil and Lucas Red 'N' Tacky #2 grease(replacing "Lubricant") for trains.

@ADCX Rob posted:

That would be the electromagnetic reverse unit and this is normal operation.

I use Mobil 1 oil and Lucas Red 'N' Tacky #2 grease(replacing "Lubricant") for trains.

Interesting, thanks. I saw a video on one of the layout threads around here of someone operating an MPC hudson - no audible buzz. Perhaps they turned the e-unit off, I will have to test.

You use motor oil for model trains? Honestly I've never thought of that. Does it make a difference which one I pick? And I've seen the Red 'N' Tacky grease mentioned around here but forgot about that - thanks for reminding me!

@ADCX Rob posted:

What transformer are you using?

I am using a GW-180, purchased new last year. Runs other conventional locos fine (eg, NYC L3a #3000 / 6-18009, etc.)

The buzz is the solenoid in the e-unit (reverse unit). Two things are happening that make it louder than it would otherwise be. The buzz is gets louder as higher voltage is used to run the train. Your train is probably running at higher than normal voltage because it has not been serviced in a long time, and is all stiff and gimpy. New lube and some running in will help with that. The second thing is that, if I am not mistaken, your GW-180 transformer uses pulse width modulation to control the voltage level (search that term on the forum for more information). E-units buzz much louder when run on transformers of this sort. Not much can be done about that, short of switching transformers.

As for the whistle, make certain that no part of the circuit board is touching the metal frame of the tender. Also make sure that none of the leads for the individual components on the board are touching each other (this can happen on these older boards, where the resistors, diodes, etc., are placed vertically).

I did another test run on the track. Whistle gets slightly louder when I press the "Whistle" button on the transformer, and slightly softer when I press the "Bell" button. I also played with the e-unit switch and discovered that there is indeed a mechanical grating sound, so off the track came the train and tender.

It took me a moment to figure out how to take 611's shell off but figured that out and realized I had no idea what to do. Didn't touch anything, put the shell back on. Photo without shell is attached.

Also attached is a photo of the MSOS board. I don't have a clue what's wrong with it.


Images (2)
  • 6-8100 - Detached Shell: Internal parts of 6-8100
  • 6-8100 - Tender Shell Removed: 6-8100 Might Sound of Steam board

Here is a primer on train maintenance. This goes into probably more depth than you will need, but it is good information.

Exploded diagram for your engine is here: Download "Supplement 1-9" from the drop down list, and see section 3 page 6 in that document. There is a diagram of your motor at section 3 page 52.

There are endless opinions on what to use for lubrication. For what it's worth, I use Mobil full 0W-30 full synthetic, and Red 'n' Tacky no. 2 grease. Note that R and T is not intended to be packed into an enclosed grease box; it should be put directly onto the gears.

To get to the gears, you simply pry out the grease cover (rectangular patch over the rear drive wheel). Remove the two screws in the motor mount (just behind the grease cover) and the motor will lift off and you can get to everything. I like round toothpicks to work the grease out of the gear teeth. Be aware that sometimes this old grease will get hard down in between the gear teeth, like mud stuck in the lugs of your boots, but not appear hard on top. When putting the motor back in, be sure you have the gears meshed. You should be able to turn the motor with your finger easily when the gears are meshed. It is possible to put it together where the worm is riding on top of the gear teeth. No bueno (ask me how I know!)

As for the tender: So the good news is that your whistle at least works! A short circuit somewhere is one possible reason why the whistle might sound all the time. To eliminate that possibility, you should first replace that decomposed foam rubber underneath the circuit board. Hardware-store foam tape is fine. The idea here is to make sure none of the solder points under the board touch the metal frame. Inspect each individual component and make sure that the wire leads for each do not touch each other on the top side of the board. Seriously: I had a board that did not work, and all it was was two of those component leads touching each other. Also, test the tender on the track by itself, to be sure the problem is not in the engine.

Hi 0-GaugeCJ

Your loco looks to have the same mechanism as the 6-18001 Rock Island 4-8-4, along with the same tender frame, or close to it.

I've read that the early production Rock Island units, along with its sibling 6-18003 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western units, had a problem with motor bushings in the Pullmor motors.  The bushing bores were mistakenly a little over-sized from the factory, and wore even more with use.  Unless fixed right away, the main drive gear would start wearing too, causing an even more expensive fix.  And of course, I understand they were quite noisy in operation to boot, with the worn parts.

My Rock Island unit I picked up a few years ago has good bushings in its motor, and even after properly relubricating everything on it here about a month ago, it still makes a little bit of a grinding sound as it goes around my layout.  Must be the nature of the beast.

My SSOS board (Static-y Sound Of Steam board ) was initially mounted on some double-sided sticky foam tape to hold it to the tender frame.  However, the foam was deteriorating, so I made some plastic standoffs to hold it away from the metal tender frame in order to prevent electrical shorts between the bottom of the board and the metal frame.  You might check your sound board and make sure the bottom side is not touching anything your steel tender frame.  Can't quite tell from your picture what it is sitting on.

My sound board still sounds every bit as good and loud as the day it was new.  In other words, to heck with a small piece of Lionel history - I'm gonna' put a decent sound board (ERR or similar) in mine the next chance I get!  To have a sound board not too far removed from fingernails on a chalkboard along with a horn? whistle? that sounds like a sick bull moose during the rut is nothing but pure torture.  My sound board has an on/off switch on the tender, and needless to say it spends most of its time in the 'off' position!

Hope this helps.

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