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The K4's issue was the worm gear (not the worm) was moving horizontally and falling off the edge of the worm.  The issue for the Decapod and the L1 is the worm itself runs out of threads due to motor armature end play, the worm and worm gear remained in alignment horizontally.

I think we need another diagram from Pat showing the different issues.

John, I understand that the worm gear in the K4s moved laterally causing it to disengage with the worm.

However, full disengagement didn’t happen until either the teeth wore down OR the super small intermediate shaft spacer ground into the chassis bearing.

While it was still working though, why didn’t K4s owners experience lockups like L1 and I1 owners?

Was it because the motor shaft in the K4s had less throwout? Or maybe it’s worm threads were cut all the way to the end?

Last edited by rplst8
@rplst8 posted:

While it was still working though, why didn’t K4s owners experience lockups like L1 and I1 owners?

Was it because the motor shaft in the K4s had less throwout? Or maybe it’s worm threads were cut all the way to the end?

Correct, the worm wasn't mis-aligned in that dimension, if the worm gear didn't walk away on the shaft, the K4 wouldn't have any problems.  A vast majority of the locomotives have a similar arrangement, it's a total mystery why they didn't cut the worm properly for these new locomotives.  Lionel keeps reinventing the wheel, but they keep coming out with square wheels!

Pat,

Your feedback has been really helpful, and now I believe I understand exactly where the shim should go. i am going to open the engine and look for myself.

Thanks for your comments regarding the paint color. Just as some of you guys are into the mechanical details, I am into the graphics. I do have a contact/friend at Lionel who was aware of the color issue and was quite receptive to the comments of both me and my son Steven. We sent him lots of color chips, photos, and finally purchased a Pantone color book for ourselves so we could suggest accurate colors. Keep in mind, this is just for the railroads we model...PRR/PC/CR and a few others.

I would suggest you share you comments about the gearing and shims with Lionel which may bring this issue to and end. Furthermore, I will share this thread with him and see if he is ok with you contacting him directly.

Still not sure if the problem with my engine is limited to that particular engine or to lots of them. My short tender one works fine, and no one else has said they were having problems, so I just don't know for sure.

If they want to get a hold of me, that’s fine, …..also got to give Norm the plug too, ….as I’ve said, it’s his graceful approach that’s made the job tidy & professional looking….

Pat

Correct, the worm wasn't mis-aligned in that dimension, if the worm gear didn't walk away on the shaft, the K4 wouldn't have any problems.  A vast majority of the locomotives have a similar arrangement, it's a total mystery why they didn't cut the worm properly for these new locomotives.  Lionel keeps reinventing the wheel, but they keep coming out with square wheels!

https://youtu.be/Gr6GbKciNCY?feature=shared

@romiller49 posted:

If Pat is showing actual parts from the unit why couldn’t you just lengthen the bore into the worm. This would allow the worm/shaft to slide up the motor shaft farther.

Rod, if I’m smelling what you’re cooking, the problem with that approach would be you’d have to pull the worm gear off the motor, and that’s a risky business…..with parts always up in the air, the absolute minimalistic least invasive action is to just shim the motor back. One slip of the gear puller, one cockeyed movement, its curtains …..

Pat

With all these problems, I'm not going to get a second one. I had wrestled this a bit yesterday before deciding enough of this. Maybe I'll see about finding an MTH version on the secondary market or whomever has also made them. Regardless, this just is a terrible thing.

Can’t say I blame you one bit Dave, …..I’d sure like to see them hit a home run.

Pat

@harmonyards posted:

Can’t say I blame you one bit Dave, …..I’d sure like to see them hit a home run.

Pat

Yeah, Eric of Eric's Trains had said some time back in one of his early videos that exact thing. That is to.see them succeed in delivering a good quality product. This was in reference to I believe the Empire State Express set not having figures, and Eric said he'd rather not have the figures if it meant they spent the money elsewhere on the product or production. It made perfect sense to me because if you need to cut costs, go with something that anyone can do.

So, I will just have to satisfy my railroad needs wherever I can find them, even if that means getting modifications to older models to turn them into one of a kind masterpieces.

@Stinky1 posted:

For those who don't have access to 3D printers, and don't mind spending some money and supporting a small business, Etsy.com has multiple sellers that will do custom 3D printing.

It's actually very easy to just cut a shim from Styrene sheet stock.  Pick the thickness desired and use the motor mount to trace a pattern.  It took me maybe 5 minutes to make the shim.

Picked up my new Lionel PRR Decapod from my local dealer.  I noticed after a very short time running, there seems to be some serious noise coming from the drive train.  Of course, it is most noticeable with the sound turned off.  Does not seem to be present at slow speeds.  But is present in both forward and reverse.  Should I have lubed the locomotive before using?

Thanks

Jake

Picked up my new Lionel PRR Decapod from my local dealer.  I noticed after a very short time running, there seems to be some serious noise coming from the drive train.  Of course, it is most noticeable with the sound turned off.  Does not seem to be present at slow speeds.  But is present in both forward and reverse.  Should I have lubed the locomotive before using?

Thanks

Jake

Check out this entire topic. Especially how the worm is going off further than what it should because of the gearbox design. This is not like the Pennsylvania K4's as that was the worm gear going for a walk.

Guys,

I'm the one who started this post and no one else has reported this problem on here, so I'm not sure if if affects lots of them or just mine. My short tender version works fine.

The L1 has the same design gearbox and the same complaints. It's not "every" loco, but probably more than just a few.

It doesn't seem likely that forum members would coincidentally get all of the bad ones. I look at the forum as a small " test slice" of the total production.

There have been multiple complaints about the L1. Mine is border line, no lockup, but a bit noisy although getting quieter over time.

I'm guessing even when working correctly. These " cheaper" designed gearboxes will always be noisier due to the fact the worm gear is not isolated from the motor. Any gear noise/vibration gets transmitted right to the chassis through the motor mount.

There's your lockup complaint, and the noise complaint above on the I1. I've also seen a noise complaint from a well known YouTube o guager.

I think alot of folks have yet to receive these decapods like myself due to the large amount of products dealers are shipping at this time.

Gearboxes used to be the last place to find a failure in modern Lionel. They were designed better. This is a direct result of Lionel switching to a Lionchief like "cheaper" gearbox. I.E. a smaller motor mounted directly to the gearbox. Instead of a larger motor mounted independently of the gearbox with a separate driveshaft.

After my I1 gets delivered, no more new Lionel for me. It's strike 3. The H10, the L1, and now this I1.

On the bright side. This gearbox debacle has probably increased the value of the MTH L 1 and I1.

Last edited by RickO

Neal, I agree with Rick. Some of the engines out of the box showed no signs of anything happening. Which Pat had said something about on the L1's. It is just a matter of time as Rick had said on the K4's.

You guys may be right on target. I really don't know. I just don't want to be passing on any incorrect information. Would like to get feedback from anyone else who has purchased one.

Last edited by PRRMiddleDivision

Guys,

I'm the one who started this post and no one else has reported this problem on here, so I'm not sure if if affects lots of them or just mine. My short tender version works fine.  But you may want to consider that before cancelling your order.  If you do buy one, let us know how yours is running.

I’d drink to that, let’s pray yours is an isolated case.

*edit : that I hope you get resolved

Pat

Last edited by harmonyards

Lionel L1 Mikado Tales from the Harmon Shops

Neal, I don't know if you had a chance to see this topic, but that's where most of the gearbox issues are talked about, just the L1's. There is quite a bit of discussion that's for sure.

I did. It's a long thread and I'm working my way through it. Got through the first page. Thanks to your posts on this thread, I now understand what the mechanical issue is. Considering all of the scratch building I do on my layout, doesn't sound like cutting a shim out of styrene would be a big deal. Can you suggest a thickness in terms of hundredths of a inch since that's how all of my abundant supply of Evergreen styrene is labeled.

Last edited by PRRMiddleDivision

I did. It's a long thread and I'm working my way through it. Got through the first page. Thanks to your posts on this thread, I now understand what the mechanical issue is. Considering all of the scratch building I do on my layout, doesn't sound like cutting a shim out of styrene would be a big deal. Can you suggest a thickness in terms of hundredths of a inch since that's how all of my abundant supply of Evergreen styrene is labeled.

There’s a cool conversion calculator on google, but for a baseline, .5mm ( or half a mm) is like .020” ….should put you in the ballpark you can add or subtract shims from there,….



Pat

Neal big thanks to you and Steven for getting this some attention at Lionel. I got the postwar cab numbers 4262 and 4521. The DGLE is acceptable on these ‘full dip’ versions (no roof or deck FCC paint). I see these were built in September of this year while the L1s were assembled in May so you must have been heard in the nick of time.

My two engines play nice so far and initial stall tests did not cause either to go into lockup in reverse. The pickup rollers are not floppy and can traverse my #5 crossovers without hanging up.

I had an issue with 4262’s sounds. The tender had poor ground and only worked erratically if it was picking up ground from the drawbar. I chased out the ground wiring and made sure the ground lugs were tight. The new chipset they are running makes good sound.

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Last edited by Norm Charbonneau

Neal big thanks to you and Steven for getting this some attention at Lionel. I got the postwar cab numbers 4262 and 4521. The DGLE is acceptable on these ‘full dip’ versions (no roof or deck FCC paint). I see these were built in September of this year while the L1s were assembled in May so you must have been heard in the nick of time.

My two engines play nice so far and initial stall tests did cause either to go into lockup in reverse. The pickup rollers are not floppy and can traverse my #5 crossovers without hanging up.

I had an issue with 4262’s sounds. The tender had poor ground and only worked erratically if it was picking up ground from the drawbar. I chased out the ground wiring and made sure the ground lugs were tight. The new chipset they are running makes good sound.

IMG_5801

Thanks for the feedback Norm. I was hoping that you would post about your experience with the engines. Steven and I have put a good deal of effort into getting this color situation resolved and Lionel was receptive to our input. I got in touch with Lionel not long after the Mikados were released. In truth, it was that horrible green PRR SD-45 that really got me worked up.

With regard to the Decapods, now that my long tender version is lubed, it is running fine, but we shall see how long that lasts.

If you and Pat could get in contact with Lionel regarding the shimming issue, and suggest a better design for future runs based on your input, that would be extremely helpful.

I too like the "dipped" color. Nice change from the usual tuscan cab roof and tender top.

I did. It's a long thread and I'm working my way through it. Got through the first page. Thanks to your posts on this thread, I now understand what the mechanical issue is. Considering all of the scratch building I do on my layout, doesn't sound like cutting a shim out of styrene would be a big deal. Can you suggest a thickness in terms of hundredths of a inch since that's how all of my abundant supply of Evergreen styrene is labeled.

Yeah, glad both Pat and Norm got the answer you needed Neal. I have no dog in the fight as far as how to fix, I just know where most of the posts have been.

My son and I did work with Lionel regarding the color, and these are much better than the Mikados. Still think they could be just a shade darker, but if one was not aware of the prior color issues and didn't put the things under a microscope to check the color, I doubt most people would even notice. Now they just have to get this gearing problem fixed for once and for all! Will be calling for my RA on Monday!

Opening mine now, and the color is close to perfect. Agreed that it could be a hair darker, but it's miles ahead of recent offerings and is comparable to the CC2 I have.

I still think the lettering is too "yellow," but that's another battle for another day.

Thanks for the feedback Norm. I was hoping that you would post about your experience with the engines. Steven and I have put a good deal of effort into getting this color situation resolved and Lionel was receptive to our input. I got in touch with Lionel not long after the Mikados were released. In truth, it was that horrible green PRR SD-45 that really got me worked up.

With regard to the Decapods, now that my long tender version is lubed, it is running fine, but we shall see how long that lasts.

If you and Pat could get in contact with Lionel regarding the shimming issue, and suggest a better design for future runs based on your input, that would be extremely helpful.

I too like the "dipped" color. Nice change from the usual tuscan cab roof and tender top.

If you and Pat could get in contact with Lionel regarding the shimming issue, and suggest a better design for future runs based on your input, that would be extremely helpful.

pretty sure they can read, and the L1 thread made it crystal clear the shortcomings on this gear box design. It should be the other way around, THEY should want to get a hold of us. Not only to thank Norm & myself for saving their back sides, but they should send us some token of their appreciation…..If ( and I mean only If ) there’s an issue with these I1’s, this will be locomotive # 3 that we on the forum have identified, analyzed, and developed an infield repair for. The Legacy K4 thread ran some god only knows pages long, and not a peep from Lionel, not a peep,……Although the K4’s were clear out of warranty, We had identified numerous other models with the potential for a gear box failure, and to date, I’ve fixed close to 100 models now. That’s a lot of pulling them out of the fire …..no?…

and we also need to thank Dave ( Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 ) as he sent me his brand new L1 on his dime, and took the leap of faith joining the warranty voiders anonymous club so we could figure out what they did wrong…….So we were able to identify, & implement a repair procedure early, early in the game ……

I appreciate your enthusiasm Neal, and again, fantastic work on the PRR colors, I’m sure a lot of people are excited thanks to your efforts, ….but they should get a hold of us, not the other way around, ….they know who the players are, and they could knock out home run after home run with just a simple reach out IMO, …..

Pat

I had an issue with 4262’s sounds. The tender had poor ground and only worked erratically if it was picking up ground from the drawbar. I chased out the ground wiring and made sure the ground lugs were tight. The new chipset they are running makes good sound.

My one complaint with the new RS board is it has no connection for the battery.  Many of the engines with small tenders have sound dropouts on some switches which I have to fix.  I add a capacitor to fix this, but I shouldn't have to do that.  It would be nice if they'd address stuff like this.

Yeah, I'm not chasing them around. All I want to do is buy a nice train once in a while. The best thing about this current corporate iteration of Lionel is their service department. They better take good care of their service people. The rest of them are blowin' it!

Agreed Norm. You would imagine if there is a buzz about something a few years ago, that some testing would happen. Well, I would suspect that was the case for the K4's, as there was a little fix that did occur. However, that leads us to where we stand yet again, issue with the gearbox. With the L1's getting some buzz, do we think that it was enough to get them looking at least sometime this year? Possibly, but not in time to fix anything new coming out of the pike as it were.

I suspect that if there is going to be any sort of bigger fix, that will take some time and a whole lot of buzz. Until then, we can only mess about and see what we can get. I just went to eBay and got an MTH version of this engine. Yeah, I'll have to get it fixed for Legacy/TMCC, but at least I know it will work out of the box.

My one complaint with the new RS board is it has no connection for the battery.  Many of the engines with small tenders have sound dropouts on some switches which I have to fix.  I add a capacitor to fix this, but I shouldn't have to do that.  It would be nice if they'd address stuff like this.

John, explain the process with this capacitor. We have a few Legacy steam engines (and diesels) with pickup issues that I’d really like to take care of.



I’ve also thought about using wire tethers between units, but a capacitor would be less visually intrusive and less inconvenient.

Last edited by Steven Michael

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