New member, wiring help with older Lionel diesel from the 70's

Greetings all,

I'm a new member here.  I'm also brand new to O-scale stuff and especially to A/C based trains.   I never had a Lionel layout of my own when I was a kid, just HO and all D/C based.  

Anyway, I've bought a bunch of stuff over the last few months and one thing I got was an old 70's era (as far as I can tell) basket case diesel engine.   One truck has the motor and the other side of the diesel has the reversing solenoid.  When I put the engine on the track, the lights turn on on the engine but the reversing unit buzzes like crazy like its going up and down constantly and the drive motor does nothing.   The wiring on it looks like someone before me at one time attempted to try to get it working and was unsuccessful.  The wires are twisted onto the solder tabs and so on.  Totally amateur repairs.  I'm assuming that the buzzing is because the solenoid is wired to two pre-transformer wires instead of post.  I'm not really sure, I'm used to A/C being converted to D/C via a rectifer but not sure how it plays into these engines. 

I'm good at wiring and soldering and following diagrams.    Can someone point me in the right direction? 




Original Post

the older Lionel used E units to change the direction of the ac motor. to reverse a ac motor you have to change the field coif In relation to the armature winding. I suspect you have a bad e unit and they can be replaced and or repairs all the parts are available! send us some pictures when you take the engine apart so someone here on the forum can help you!

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these are not the exact parts you need depends what you Lionel engine number is just tying to give you an idea what they look like!

check out the eBay web sight!



Photos (1)

Another thing to look for is that the e unit may be locked out in neutral.  There should be a silver e unit switch sticking out of the engine on the top or bottom, try flipping that switch.  The e unit buzzes on those it may be normal without hearing it I can’t say.

Steve Mills



that's pretty much all original wiring...that's how they were wired by MPC Lionel...….looks like it may have been sitting up for a while judging by the frame condition......blow a little WD-40 down on the contacts in the bottom of the reversing the lever a couple times, and she should rip tater chip....then clean er up and lube her....looks to be intact....

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

The red and white wires coming off the eunit coils, is that feeding the headlight? The white one looks ok on the left side of the loco but the red one its hard to see if that is on the same wire connector as the coil wire or somdered to the frame for ground. The standoff on the right side of the e unit should just have the eunit coil wire attached. The handle sticking out the bottom contacts that and groubds the eunit coil to enable it to cycle or disconnects the coil to have it always run in the last direction that was selected.

The contacts are delicate; be gentle.

The e unit is going to vibrate, some more noticibly, at 60hz(only voltage is knocked down from 120v, the 60hz fequency of waves per second remains.   However, if the coil is "dropping out" there may be an issue. The switch is an on and off for the coil, nothing more. The coil moves the pawl that ratchets drum switch around one step per power appliclication.

  A multi-meter ohm/volts/amps is your freind in this hobby. Habor Freight usually offers a freebie with any purchase; not a pro level tool but adequate for general use.  A test lamp at least? 



"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


bobotech posted:

... I'm just brand new at this Lionel stuff and the a/c part is a bit confusing to me.  But its all good, this board is a huge wealth of info. 

Here is the wiring method to test the motor without the reversing unit. Switch the connections to the brushes to reverse the motor direction.

One Direction Wiring - Motor Test



Photos (1)

Thanks for that diagram!  And thanks to others who provided other info and diagrams!  I'm excited to work on this engine this weekend.  Would be fun to get it up and running.  I really want to build a simple layout in my basement just for running these trains now!



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