Problems with the motor of a MTH/Lionel Corp. 263E (traditional)

I've had another thread going about this engine. I had wheel slippage ever since I bought it and finally got a handle on it. Most of the solution involved adding more weight and removing the Bull Frog Snot I had on it. Anyway, tonight it was running and pulling real well. Until it didn't. All of a sudden, it seemed like the e=unit ceased functioning. Couldn't get it to move. But then I realized that if I pushed it, it would move, but slowly. I had no choice but to strip it down, remove the e-unit and motor and try to solve the problem. 

Here's what I found........the e-unit cycles properly and I do get full voltage readings when I put my meter leads across a brush well and ground and the opposite one when I try to reverse. I have to push the wheels to get them to start moving. I took the brush plate off and cleaned the brushes and the commutator. Added lube (but that was done when I worked on it last week).  I checked for loose or broken wires and can't find anything amiss.  The e-unit gets pretty warm, but most of them do when run for awhile. I don't notice anything charred or shorted on the motor or wiring.  But the motor suddenly lost it's power and after 4 hours down there, I'm out of ideas (at least for tonight).

Any suggestions will be appreciated


Original Post

Try using a soldering iron to heat up the point on the armature segement where the wire is attached. It might be that running it hot may have melted the solder and you have ended up with a dry joint. In fact run the soldering iron all of the terminations .

If your readings are correct, there is a lot of resistance on one winding of the armature. Like UKFlyer said, remelt the solder on the commutator solder lugs. The other thing I would check is the brush springs. They may have weakened from the heat of a overworked motor.


I will try the remelt on the lugs. As for the springs......they don't seem weak at all. In fact, the brush plate on this motor is very strange. The brush spring wells are mounted UNDER the brush plate and the springs are at the bottom. Every pullmor I've worked on has the springs at the top. The tension is much lower when on top. So, for awhile I thought the plate was upside down. Pushing on the brushes while the motor was running did not really effect it's operation. 

It's definitely those lugs. I could see carbon around the 2 gaps in the commutator plates between the plates that had high readings. The numbers started out around.....2, 84, 84.  After I did the remelts, it was.......2, OL, OL.  So, it made it worse. 

I would have a go at taking each wire off it’s commutator tag and removing as much solder as possible from it. Then wrap the wire back around it and get some needle nose pliers and just squeeze it tight, then run some new solder back on again. I have just done this to a similar problem on a Flyer PA diesel armature and it ran fine again.

While you are at it make sure you clean any old oil/carbon gunge from the commutator slots as this will cause problems as well.

Do you have any pictures so we can have a look at it?

You have nothing to lose if it went faulty.


I’m not familiar with the armature but do you have the armature out of the motor?

You mentioned you had put a soldering iron onto the tag(s) and it didn’t work, does this mean that you don’t have much space to put the iron on the tag and just wind off the wire?

is it possible to post a picture of it?


I had to try it with the armature in the motor. It's got a gear on the end (which if this was a cheap PW engine, I'd pop it off with a screwdriver). Not going to take this one off without the proper tool. But I just spoke with the Motor Doctor and he's capable of rewinding the armature (and increasing the winds for more torque) and possibly do a rewind of the e-unit if required). So, rather than go new armature or new motor, I'll go that route. Aside from it's looks......I'm not really liking this engine. When you give up the Proto 2 or 3 to go "modern" you give up all pulling power and traction. It is what it is.

ROGER1 posted:

I just tested the commutator with a multimeter. Between 2 of the plates, I get close to 2 ohms. The other two combinations yield a value of 17 ohms. Do I have a bad armature?

I was about to check on your traction progress.

Check to be sure it isn't 1.7 ohm. But I agree it is armature time. There should be about 2ohm on each. The more equal, the smoother it can run. There should be no contact from plates to shaft as well. (echo)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


ROGER1 posted:

I just tested the commutator with a multimeter. Between 2 of the plates, I get close to 2 ohms. The other two combinations yield a value of 17 ohms. Do I have a bad armature?

 This is a pullmor motor ? I am not familiar with the motor on the 263e however reading resistance on a big stack pullmor from a Hudson through the brushes it reads about 2.2 ohms the field reads 1.1 ohms since they run in series the static resistance of the motor would be around 3.3 ohms.  Try this,  connect one end of the field to one of the brush wires or to the brush guide. Now connect a wire from a transformer to the other end of the field. Then set the transformer to 9-10V then touch the second wire to the second brush guide. Let us know what happens.  if the field and armature are good and the brushes are clean and sliding freely in the guides the motor should run. Something I was unclear about in your description was it sounded like the spring was between the commutator and the carbon  brush.   I'm sure you know that is not correct.  I often wish this site had a sketch pad.        j

Below are three photos of the strange brush plate on this engine. The first photo shows what looks like a normal brushplate, with the brass brush tubes on top (you can see the springs. The next two photos show it in it's mounted position.....upside down. The springs are pushed upward by the brush but it's opposite from every brush plate I've ever worked with. No other way to mount this plate. IMG_0932IMG_0933IMG_0934


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I did not know that, Chuck. Thanks for that info.  And as far as the armature goes.....yes, it is clean. 2 reasons.....the engine doesn't have alot of use and secondly, I cleaned it up after the dismantle to troubleshoot. It may be clean, but no longer works. It's on it's way to be rewound. 

Ok brush plate is like an O-27 steam loco just upside down, so to speak. Wires the same way.  Can you get a continuity reading through the field coil ? Make sure the commutator plates are clean, brushes also.   Disconnect the e-unit for now and hook the armature and field in a series like my drawing. If all your windings are OK it should run.  Remember to note how the e-unit connects.   One side of the field may be grounded so the frame will be the connection point to the transformer. You will have to determine that.          j



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