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I had posted this in the Lion Chief and other R/C Systems area. I thought it might help some other S gauge folks if posted here also.

 

I had purchased the American Flyer Polar Express set when it was first announced. After a wait of somewhere beyond two years these finally did show up. I was quite happy with this train and it seemed to be pretty dependable for the most part. After running it for quite a while I started to have problems where the train would stall, it would stop with a loss of power and start up again, without being touched. I attempted to find the problem and it seemed to no avail. I added additional power pick-up to the trailing truck on the engine and that seemed to help a little but the stalling continued to happen periodically. I tried to compare the assembly of this engine to the Nickle Plate engine which I also purchased but did not notice a difference at first. After struggling with this for a couple of weeks. I did a closer comparison of the two engines and did find the discrepancy. The difference was in the assembly of the trailing truck to the engine. The NKP on the stud which runs through the draw-bar and the truck below the cab had one flat washer above the E-clip, where the P.E. had the E-clip above the flat washer. This would cause the binding of this stud on the P.E. and the wheels on the trailing truck to lift from the track and cause loss of power for a short time but long enough to stall the engine. By making the assembly on the P.E. the same as the NKP, moving the flat washer above the E-clip, the binding problem was corrected and power loss was eliminated. I am sharing this because there may well be others whose P.E. locomotive was assembled the same way. I hope this may be of help to some.

Ray

Original Post

Ray, like Francine, my Polar Express set did not seem to have the same issue as yours did, but I will definitely save your solution for later reference.  However, my set did have a stalling problem, but it was caused by a weak transformer. 

 When I received my set last fall I set it up around the Christmas tree and placed just the engine on the track.  When I powered it up it ran fine until I cranked the control wheel past the halfway point.  At that the engine abruptly stalled and then restarted.  When I added the cars it would stall after turning the wheel only 1/4 turn.

 As it turned out the transformer included in the set was just too under-powered.  If I recall it was 32 watts.  I bought a 72 watt one and that solved the problem.  While I was waiting for the new transformer to arrive, I took a 15B transformer, located a salvaged power supply from some broken electronics I had long since discarded and that had a cord with a connector on the end that fit the FastTrack plug, cut the cord off and attached it to the 15B and ran the set with that.

 Toward the end of the holidays it did stall a couple of times, but cleaning the track was all it took to fix that.  I packed it away after the New Year, so when I pull it out this fall I'll check to make sure the draw bar is properly oriented.

 Thanks again for the info!

 Dean

I realize this is an old thread, but I was hoping I could get some help. I purchased the American Flyer Polar Express set for Christmas this year. Ran for two weeks and somehow one of the connecting rods got bound up causing the train to stop, but you could hear the motor "buzzing" as it was still trying to run. I tried to turn it off as soon as it happened, but within a second or two it was almost like a breaker flipped and all power shut off. I was able to disassemble the wheels and connecting rods to straighten them out. My problem was, I was so upset I did not pay as close attention as I should have to put it back together. Particularly the leading and trailing trucks. I got it back together the way I THINK it is supposed to be, but I was hoping someone could confirm. Could someone either provide a picture or a detailed description please? In particular, the two screws on the front truck, and the forward screw on the trailing truck. I was wanting to know how the spring and metal ring are oriented on the front truck. And between those three screws there was a flat metal washer I need help placing. The reason is, the locomotive will turn on, but it barely moves at all before it makes a "shorting" sound and turns off. Sometimes just the locomotive shuts off, but sometimes it trips the whole power supply to the track. I want to make sure it is put back exactly how it should be before I contact Lionel for service.

Ray

I have finally given up on the Lionel Polar Express HO I bought last year, it just stalls all the time. I have cleaned the track, lub the engine, cleaned wheels and measured the voltage on every piece of track and it still stalls. I run any other HO engine on the track and I have no issues. With BT the stall disconnects and have to wait for a reconnect. When it does this in the back part of the track against the wall I am stuck. If you tap the second car will often get power again. If you have solutions could you also show pics?? Terms might not be so familiar to me.

JIM

DrumPharmer posted:

I realize this is an old thread, but I was hoping I could get some help. I purchased the American Flyer Polar Express set for Christmas this year. Ran for two weeks and somehow one of the connecting rods got bound up causing the train to stop, but you could hear the motor "buzzing" as it was still trying to run. I tried to turn it off as soon as it happened, but within a second or two it was almost like a breaker flipped and all power shut off. I was able to disassemble the wheels and connecting rods to straighten them out. My problem was, I was so upset I did not pay as close attention as I should have to put it back together. Particularly the leading and trailing trucks. I got it back together the way I THINK it is supposed to be, but I was hoping someone could confirm. Could someone either provide a picture or a detailed description please? In particular, the two screws on the front truck, and the forward screw on the trailing truck. I was wanting to know how the spring and metal ring are oriented on the front truck. And between those three screws there was a flat metal washer I need help placing. The reason is, the locomotive will turn on, but it barely moves at all before it makes a "shorting" sound and turns off. Sometimes just the locomotive shuts off, but sometimes it trips the whole power supply to the track. I want to make sure it is put back exactly how it should be before I contact Lionel for service.

Hi, I am new to the forum & just posted some info about my experience with AF PE. Don't know if it will help you. Wanted you to know it is there. RodRocket

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