PRR Legacy E8s - Round Two

Hi everyone,

I received my PRR Legacy E8s back today.  The dealer's repair department found the cause of the intermittent dead short (a wire had come unsoldered) and repaired it.  The repair slip stated that the technician ran the set for over an hour.  This afternoon I placed the set on the track and it wouldn't move in either direction.  The front truck was just spinning its wheels.  I took off the access hatch and saw that the rear motor was turning, so I took the unit to my workbench and found that the idler gear that drives the front wheels of the rear truck (the ones with traction tires, of course) was missing.  I found the gear in the box insert but not the pin.  I called the dealer and the person who did the repair had just left for the day.

Is this pin pressed in?   Does anyone know if this problem can be fixed in the field, or am I looking at sending the set back again?  (Not that I *have* the pin.)  I might note that the powered unit ran fine before, when it wasn't shorting out.  I knew something was wrong when today it couldn't move the same train I had pulled with it before.

Lionel's sounds can't be beat, but I'm frustrated, and with this experience I will have to think long and hard before I buy any more of their products.  I have never had trouble like this with my trains of other brands.  How are the rest of you faring with your Legacy E8's?





Johnstown, PA



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GRJ, are the motors wired in parallel?  I noticed that the rear motor was turning but I couldn't compare its speed to the front motor.  I would've thought the one power truck should be able to move my train on level track, but perhaps not.  I do know that the set had no trouble with my train when both trucks were pulling.

The repair tech mentioned that these units have twist-on trucks.  I can imagine how that works but I've never worked on a modern-era Lionel diesel.  Do the trucks literally twist off, twist on?  I don't want to void my warranty by working on this myself, and I have read on this forum that Lionel is quick to void warranties if an owner opens up their loco.

I always look forward to reading your posts, and I value your input on this.

ES44AC, yeah.  I was thinking a while ago that if EMD had this many problems with their locomotives, Alco and the other minority builders may have won the war!



Johnstown, PA



    I don't want to be the guy who says you should of done this or why didn't you do this. But here is what I do when I had a Legacy engine that had a out of the box issue. I went on Lionel's website got the contact info for their repair department which is excellent emailed them the issue recieved a RA sent it back to Lionel and they fixed it. Got it back usually no more than one week at Lionel.

     I don't know the dealer you used and unless it was Charles Ro and Marty was doing the repair or I knew the repair guy personally I would avoid the dealer repairs when the Lionel repair in North Carolina is so good dealer repair is not an option for me. My trains are now being repaired by Alex M who I know is a wiz with Legacy.

     Contact Lionel tomorrow by email or phone. You will be glad you did.


The trucks do indeed twist off, then you have to unplug the wires.  Also, there's a little link between the motor and the truck, don't lose it.   However, if you've never worked on these, I'd be looking for warranty repair.

One motor with the other one dragging would have very poor performance.

Superchiefer84, I like that idea and I will look into it.  My initial reaction that I blurted out to my wife was, back in the 1950s you didn't need ANY backup parts for a Lionel locomotive.

Electronics are one thing...I know that today's trains are much more complicated than those golden era gems.  But idler gears falling out of a truck?  After all these decades of manufacturing knowledge that has been gained, there should be no more chance of this happening than for a properly-maintained automobile engine to put a rod through the block.  (Or so I thought.)

Thanks to everyone for your input.



     Charles Ro huh, I doubt it was Marty he knows his stuff. I was in a hurry when I sent my first response. Hope I did not come of as a wise guy or a know it all. I did not mention it before but I have the exact same E8s lucky for me mine have had no issues. In fact tonight I was unpacking the passenger car that the E8s will be pulling at my clubs open house shows this year. Don't let these negitive guys bother you about Lionel quality. All the manufacturers have issues, Lionel, MTH, Atlas, even Williams. It just seems like some people on this forum love when Lionel has a issue. I am a true blue Lionel guy, I am confident they will take care of  your problem. Good luck with your E8s.


JohnB, I have no experience dealing directly with Lionel, but from what I've read I'm sure that they will take care of me.  What gripes me is that I have to pay return shipping each time.  Not to mention that my E8's have yet to run a revenue mile for my version of the PRR, which gives new meaning to the expression "non-profit."  Never mind the loss of use, the discounted price I got from Charles Ro is quickly disappearing when it costs me about $24 to ship them back.  I know it will never happen, but I think that after the owner pays return shipping for the first warranty repair, he shouldn't have to pay it again if there are further problems.  Yeah, dream on.

Please understand that I'm not just piling on to what the other say about Lionel.  I've been happy with the few Lionel locomotives I've had thus far, but to be honest, most of my locomotives are MTH and I've never had a problem with any of them.  Two problems with one set?  I think that Lionel NEEDS to be ashamed, not just SHOULD be.  It's so aggravating that they have the best sounds in 3-rail O, so they have me over a barrel.


1.   Is it possible that the current problem was caused during the initial repair work and is not a Lionel QC issue ?

2.   Was there ever an answer to the question of whether the idler gear pin was a press-in fit and could be remedied by the OP (with the correct pin) before sending it back ?

"Lionel's quality control (or lack of) is simply amazing. "

Do we actually know that this is true? What percentage of their complicated products are actually faulty? This sort of comment always gets made in one of these threads; does it carry weight? 

We will not hear about most of the units that worked just fine, as is to be expected. Where is JD Power when you need them?

Now - none of the above in any way minimizes the frustration, expense, disappointment, even anger of those experiencing these issues. RETINPA's E8 is the only one that matters to him, as is proper. I sympathize, which is one of the reasons I stay away from the later stuff (anybody's) in general. The main reason is that I have enough stuff.

BUT - I'm looking forward to my Lionel Legacy S2 Tinplate-inspired freight set. Here's hoping...first new-stuff order in years by me. Oh, boy - here we go.  

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Peter Araujo

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