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Hi guys,

I’ve had a Lionel Vision Line GS-4 that came with a motor problem since the day I’ve got it (January 2021). I’ve finally had enough and I want to open up the shell of the locomotive and take a look for any pinched wires or anything out of the ordinary.

I’ve checked the manual and can’t seem to find where the body screws are (I’ve only worked on diesel engines in the past), and I was wondering where these body screws would be on the locomotive.

Thank’s for reading,

- Lisa

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Update: I was able to get the shell off thanks to this post by Ryan: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-photos-and-findings

Unfortunately I took the shell off and came face to face with the main board of the engine sloping down making grease get near the electric boards as well as the worm gear having to bridge a very long gap.

I’m not quite sure what to do; it’s so unfortunate Lionel’s quality control is at such a low standard.

- Lisa

Attachments

Images (1)
  • The Slope of Doom

Well, I only had mine (a GS5) apart for a short period in order to fix smoke unit connections that were reversed and the attached photo is one of two I took. I did not find the main board sloped as yours is, or any pinched/rubbing wires, but just discernible in the photo (lower right corner) is a screw near to where the boiler speaker screws are, which appears to fix the board to the chassis. Do you have a screw fixing there or is the screw missing? It appears to be on the opposite side of the board from the side your photo is taken.

IMG_2677 2

I agree that the assembly quality of these is not what you'd expect from a VL model.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • IMG_2677 2
Last edited by Hancock52
@Hancock52 posted:

Well, I only had mine (a GS5) apart for a short period in order to fix smoke unit connections that were reversed and the attached photo is one of two I took. I did not find the main board sloped as yours is, or any pinched/rubbing wires, but just discernible in the photo (lower right corner) is a screw near to where the boiler speaker screws are, which appears to fix the board to the chassis. Do you have a screw fixing there or is the screw missing? It appears to be on the opposite side of the board from the side your photo is taken.

IMG_2677 2

I agree that the assembly quality of these is not what you'd expect from a VL model.

Hey Hancock,

I looked all around on the board and all screws were in place. I saw a community post on YouTube from Eric’s Trains, it was a picture of the GS-4 with its shell off. Eric’s board looks slanted as well. Perhaps the GS-4’s are designed with this type of slant? But upon further inspection of the photo the worm gear is much closer and looks normal compared to mine.

Thank you for taking the time to respond and help me figure out what’s going on with this train.

- Lisa

FWIW, while I haven’t seen that particular video by Eric S., there’s been a series of threads on opening theses VL GS series engines. Probably the most comprehensive is this one by Bruk although it is of of GS1:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ybrid-with-surprises

Ryan S. also posted pictures including of inside a GS4:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-photos-and-findings

In these cases, I don’t see the same degree of tilt or angle yours has, although there appears to be some, and I’d really wonder if the screws in yours have not been installed properly or the threads have been stripped. Mine does not have that issue, and I was on the lookout for what people had noticed about the Bluetooth module being very close to the drive train.

@Hancock52 posted:

FWIW, while I haven’t seen that particular video by Eric S., there’s been a series of threads on opening theses VL GS series engines. Probably the most comprehensive is this one by Bruk although it is of of GS1:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ybrid-with-surprises

Ryan S. also posted pictures including of inside a GS4:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-photos-and-findings

In these cases, I don’t see the same degree of tilt or angle yours has, although there appears to be some, and I’d really wonder if the screws in yours have not been installed properly or the threads have been stripped. Mine does not have that issue, and I was on the lookout for what people had noticed about the Bluetooth module being very close to the drive train.

Woah, that post by Bruk is very informative, thank you.

I believe Ryan’s post showed a picture of a GS-5 with its shell off and I’ve never seen a GS-5 with the type of slant my locomotive has, but Eric’s GS-4 looks very similar to mine. I just can’t quite put my finger on what I can adjust to fix the issue.

I put a picture of mine and Eric’s GS-4’s as a side by side photo.

Edit: Upon further inspection, it appears the board isn’t sloping down, it’s actually that the motor is angled more at a 90 degree angle rather than at a slight angle pointing downwards.

Not sure how to fix it since all the screws seem to be in the correct places and tight.

- Lisa

Attachments

Images (2)
  • Eric’s train
  • Slope of Doom
Last edited by LisaL_O_Gauge

I now see your point about the motor angle and that is a real, complete puzzle to me. Maybe @Bruk can help as this is way above my competence level.

I have a Legacy FEF-3 that had a flywheel issue because the chassis was slightly bent (probably in shipping), which I managed to resolve, but this is something else - assuming that it creates operating issues.

I agree the motor angle is a little flat... BUT the easiest way to fix it, is you can pull up on the back of the motor to bend the mounting bracket to align the drive back up. Don't be afraid of it. It may take some force. I do this all the time.

I put foam under my board to push it up off the drive shaft. That heat shrink rubbing on the shaft is covering the Bluetooth receiver.

The lower frame and how the electronics in the GS locos are arrange are nearly identical. I had a GS-4 apart a few weeks after I posted my GS-1. I saw little difference of installation and layout.

If I still had mine apart, I’d look at how the motor is mounted to see whether there’s anything obvious about how it can be moved, or whether it was screwed in place correctly to begin with, which seems to be an issue with these particular models. However, what Bruk has described is similar to what I had to do with my FEF-3 - although the adjustment was on one side rather than the angle. I did not apply a lot of force all at once and it took several efforts before there was even slight movement. Eventually it moved enough.

Incidentally, you didn’t specify what your motor problem is but I assume it has to do with the drive gears engaging properly.

Last edited by Hancock52
@Hancock52 posted:

If I still had mine apart, I’d look at how the motor is mounted to see whether there’s anything obvious about how it can be moved, or whether it was screwed in place correctly to begin with, which seems to be an issue with these particular models. However, what Bruk has described is similar to what I had to do with my FEF-3 - although the adjustment was on one side rather than the angle. I did not apply a lot of force all at once and it took several efforts before there was even slight movement. Eventually it moved enough.

Incidentally, you didn’t specify what your motor problem is but I assume it has to do with the drive gears engaging properly.

Hey Hancock,

I read Bruk’s response which was greatly appreciated. I tried pushing the motor up a little bit and it only very slightly moved, not enough to realign the drive shaft (the drive shaft is very misaligned due to the awkward angle of the motor). I tried pushing the motor up just a little more but it seemed like I might be bending it a bit too much.

Also the motor problem is when the engine is in reverse it jolts at slower speed steps (1-5), sometimes even stops which is followed by a loud motor buzz and the infamous single blinking cab light.

- Lisa

I think (based on p.43 of the manual) that the only diagnostic blinking on these models is for a main drive issue, which you have plainly got.

At this stage, I personally can’t recommend more without photos of the drive mounts and, if possible, the gears. I do wonder if the screws holding the motor in place have been stripped (possibly through being driven in too hard with a powered screwdriver) and it is “floating” up - a problem not unique to Lionel steamers in my experience.

Subject to that I can’t second guess Bruk’s recommendations but looking at how the motor is currently held in place could help.

Last edited by Hancock52

One other thing to check, lately I have found some of the dogbone ears fit tightly in the drive couplings. If the motor is not aligned with the gearbox it will bind. You might be able to check if thats the case here if you loosen the set screws on the flywheel and see if can move back and forth on the motor shaft. If not that could be part of the problem. The fix is to unbolt the motor mount from the frame and pull the motor back far enough to free the dogbone. Then just lightly file the ears down so they slide easily in the coupling. That and aligning the motor should rule out motor binding as the problem.

Pete

Last edited by Norton
@Bruk posted:

Just because the motor isn’t perfectly aligned wont cause that much of an issue.

Spin the flywheel by hand and see if there is any binding.  Wheels must spin all the way around. If the motor is buzzing. There may be a short. Make sure the motor wires aren’t pinched in the frame.

Thank you all so much for your help.

The drive gear is in place, the flywheel spins perfectly, just a little misalignment with the motor.

The motor looks very fragile and it’s angling more towards the left rather than being in the center.

Could I continue to bend it towards the desired direction or will this cause harm?

- Lisa

Attachments

Images (1)
  • Motor angling left

I’m happy to say the train is fixed.

Thank you everyone who helped. I can’t wait to see the look on my grandsons face when he sees his fixed engine!

Hopefully this thread helps someone else out it the future facing similar issues to my engine.

- Lisa



@Hancock52 posted:

Excellent! I like a happy ending. Should not have to do this with a VL product, though.

Actually we shouldn't have to do this with ANY engine, and certainly not with a VL one at that price point.

@BobbyD posted:

Actually we shouldn't have to do this with ANY engine, and certainly not with a VL one at that price point.

All too true. The experience of getting a new engine should not be filled with fear, trepidation and a high risk of frustration. But I have already commented elsewhere on what I think the main cause is; the solution seems very elusive.

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