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@Mallard4468 posted:

Another thought - if Chuck is a member of LCCA, try contacting them for advice, since they have become very intertwined with Lionel.  Maybe they have some suggestions, or can contact someone at Lionel on the customer's behalf.

I’d drink to that...Our dear friends at Lionel should should step up to the plate and knock one out of the park!..here’s a little tyke, newbie to the hobby, just what this hobby needs, ....and he’s left holding the bag!...c”mon Lionel .....do the right thing!!!...

Pat

While it might be understandable that a self-propelled handcar would have a smaller can motor, I don't understand the use of these smaller motors in locomotives that will be pulling a load on them. I've stayed away from the newer locomotives that use these smaller motors like the Dockside and the 0-8-0 starter set steam engines because I have heard too many stories of these motors prematurely failing. Even the first motor used in the Polar Express locomotive was too small and was eventually changed by Lionel to a larger motor.

I haven't had nearly the problems with the standard round Mabuchi motor that has been used in so many starter type Lionel (K-Line and RMT) locomotives since the late 1980's. Of all the engines I've had, I've only had 3 motors fail, but because it is such a standard part, I've had no trouble getting a replacement. I personally recommend folks go with a slight older pre-Lion Chief starter set, just for reliability and availability of parts.

To Lionel's credit, what I think they did here was utilize the same truck and frame assembly that will be used for the LionChief Plus version of this engine. The larger LionChief Plus motor probably drops right into the hole. Whereas the smaller starter set motor doesn't. Which is why you see the mounting bracket on the LionChief version here, with the smaller motor. But that doesn't justify putting such a small pair of motors in a locomotive.

I'm not an electrical expert on motor specs, so whether a smaller motor is akin to less quality or pulling power, I can't say. But from what I've read on the forum, it does seem that larger motors do better in train engines. They can fail too, but I don't read as many posts about motor failure with larger DC can motors as I do with these smaller worm gear drive locos.

Whether the loco would perform better with just a single larger vertically mounted motor of the LC+ style, I don't know. But starter sets are the calling card to the future. And while I understand controlling costs, there's a certain point where cost control becomes detrimental. Not to mention - and I noticed it months ago - that the small motors for these Tier 4 engines are not in stock.

Personally, I was disappointed with this Tier 4 locomotive. But that's what happens when you put scale guys in charge of designing a traditional product. And I wouldn't consider this a traditionally sized locomotive. It's over 16-inches long which is more akin to a MTH Imperial type locomotive. If it does run on a 31 inch curve (as the Imperial does) it going to look pretty goofy doing it, as does the MTH Imperial one. MTH did a better job with the proportions of the early Railking Dash-8 and SD90-MAC, both of which were just over 14 inches in length. Also notice that MTH has gone back to the Railking/Rugged Rails versions in their starter sets.

Good luck to you Chuck in trying to resolve this issue in hopefully what will be a satisfactory solution for this young newcomer to the hobby.

 

@Bill T posted:

Once MTH turns out the lights Lionel's bean counters will go crazy reducing expenses.

Bill you say this quite frequently. I think it's worth pointing out that in the last few decades, Lionel is the only 3-rail train company considered worthy of purchase by an outside investment firm.

During the legal wranglings with Lionel, it was reported that an outside buyer was considering purchasing K-Line, but it fell through. Yeah, with the 5 million dollar preexisting debt K-Line had, no surprise that happened. And most of that debt was probably from doing too much expensive new scale product tooling without the necessary normal retail level sales to recover that investment in a satisfactory time frame.

Weaver tried to find a buyer to continue the company as was. That didn't happen so the tooling was split between Lionel and Atlas. S-Helper, though not 3-rail, was purchased by MTH, so as an independent company, it was no more. The UMD Industrial Rail tooling was purchased by Atlas, supposedly damaged along with the rest of their 0 scale tooling during the Sanda Kan upheaval, so who's what has happened to that tooling, who knows? It may not even exist anymore. 

And there are other companies too. And then there's smaller niche companies and retailers, who have had to shut their doors because no one was interested in buying the business. Or because they didn't think they could make the investment back by purchasing the company.

And if anyone bothered to watch or pay attention to the TCA museum presentation videos, you would have heard Mike Wolf imply (around 6-7 years ago), that MTH was loosing money. What he said was that he had lots of ideas for new products, but every time he suggested one, Andy would tell him "you're going to put us deeper in the hole." That sounds to me like they weren't making money. And it would certainly explain the lack of new product tooling. And it might explain why no one has been interested thus far (as much as we know) in purchasing the company. What "savvy" investor wants to buy a company that is losing money, or performing marginally at best.

Look, I'm not knocking MTH here or any other firm. But there is a reality to being in business, and it means there has to be a profit made. Just as there is a reality to be a consumer: How many times have we seen threads about the best place to find for the lowest price on such-and-such a product? Sorry, there are a good many train buyers who are bean counters too. Or how about the folks buying Menards stuff (which is not without defects and quality problems) because it is priced so much lower.... welcome to the bean counter club And also worth stating again, Menards is NOT a train company: It is a home improvement chain that is contracting to have stuff made for them. They don't have any assets or tooling.

And Lionel has continued to do new product tooling, which is expensive. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Lionel recently spent $100K to retool the scale reefer car. How are they going to make that back? They should raise the list price on those at least 50%, but people are complaining now about scale product rolling stock prices that in many cases are only $15-$20 more than a traditional product. I laugh when I hear the complaint "$90 for a scale box car?" That happens to also be the price for a traditional one that has a licensed name on it. 

Where is the new product tooling from Atlas 0 and MTH? (Yes, MTH did do the scale 44 ton switcher, and on average it takes 4-5 years just to recoup tooling investment costs... no profit til that happens).

Well I could say a lot more based on things I've heard inside the industry, but I'll say it again, just be thankful an outside firm saw fit to buy and continue Lionel as a company. I'm not defending everything Lionel does, as with the point of this thread. But there are a bunch of other companies who didn't have such good fortune to find a buyer.

 

Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

Bill you say this quite frequently. I think it's worth pointing out that in the last few decades, Lionel is the only 3-rail train company considered worthy of purchase by an outside investment firm.

During the legal wranglings with Lionel, it was reported that an outside buyer was considering purchasing K-Line, but it fell through. Yeah, with the 5 million dollar preexisting debt K-Line had, no surprise that happened. And most of that debt was probably from doing too much expensive new scale product tooling without the necessary normal retail level sales to recover that investment in a satisfactory time frame.

Weaver tried to find a buyer to continue the company as was. That didn't happen so the tooling was split between Lionel and Atlas. S-Helper, though not 3-rail, was purchased by MTH, so as an independent company, it was no more. The UMD Industrial Rail tooling was purchased by Atlas, supposedly damaged along with the rest of their 0 scale tooling during the Sanda Kan upheaval, so who's what has happened to that tooling, who knows? It may not even exist anymore. 

And there are other companies too. And then there's smaller niche companies and retailers, who have had to shut their doors because no one was interested in buying the business. Or because they didn't think they could make the investment back by purchasing the company.

And if anyone bothered to watch or pay attention to the TCA museum presentation videos, you would have heard Mike Wolf imply (around 6-7 years ago), that MTH was loosing money. What he said was that he had lots of ideas for new products, but every time he suggested one, Andy would tell him "you're going to put us deeper in the hole." That sounds to me like they weren't making money. And it would certainly explain the lack of new product tooling. And it might explain why no one has been interested thus far (as much as we know) in purchasing the company. What "savvy" investor wants to buy a company that is losing money, or performing marginally at best.

Look, I'm not knocking MTH here or any other firm. But there is a reality to being in business, and it means there has to be a profit made. Just as there is a reality to be a consumer: How many times have we seen threads about the best place to find for the lowest price on such-and-such a product? Sorry, there are a good many train buyers who are bean counters too. Or how about the folks buying Menards stuff (which is not without defects and quality problems) because it is priced so much lower.... welcome to the bean counter club And also worth stating again, Menards is NOT a train company: It is a home improvement chain that is contracting to have stuff made for them. They don't have any assets or tooling.

And Lionel has continued to do new product tooling, which is expensive. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Lionel recently spent $100K to retool the scale reefer car. How are they going to make that back? They should raise the list price on those at least 50%, but people are complaining now about scale product rolling stock prices that in many cases are only $15-$20 more than a traditional product. I laugh when I hear the complaint "$90 for a scale box car?" That happens to also be the price for a traditional one that has a licensed name on it. 

Where is the new product tooling from Atlas 0 and MTH? (Yes, MTH did do the scale 44 ton switcher, and on average it takes 4-5 years just to recoup tooling investment costs... no profit til that happens).

Well I could say a lot more based on things I've heard inside the industry, but I'll say it again, just be thankful an outside firm saw fit to buy and continue Lionel as a company. I'm not defending everything Lionel does, as with the point of this thread. But there are a bunch of other companies who didn't have such good fortune to find a buyer.

 

I don't know many people that can afford $90.00 freight cars. I can't and wouldn't if i could. If that's the new normal than this hobby is doomed.

Strange that both motors were burned out.  Makes one wonder what happened to this loco, no?  These motors, as others have mentioned, are ubiquitous in hobby products.  I've seen many of them in airplanes and other R/C toys.   I don't think the problem is likely the motors themselves (given both failing simultaneously) but either the implementation of the drive train or accidents that occur with usage.   As in some extraordinary load, mechanical (most likely I'd guess) or electrical.  You cannot build a product that some consumer won't manage to destroy, for one thing .

I agree that appealing to the LCCA or, most usefully, Lionel directly will likely result in a happy resolution.  Chuck, as a former Lionel staffer, may be aware of who to contact to get results.  I don't think Lionel wants deeply disappointed customers, even if "user error" was one possible cause.  Whining and complaining about what Lionel might do now that the always faultless MTH is leaving the scene is unproductive and boring, in my view .

Someone get this kid a Postwar era set of 2343's or other diesel!  Bet you can find a decent pair AND a postwar transformer to handle running it for less than this cheap *** set cost originally.  If I had a spare engine, I would gift it to the child for nothing!   This is the kind of crap that ****es me off at these companies.  You go cheap, even on starter sets and expect these kids to have a good experience and stay with the hobby.  That is NOT going to happen with crap like this being sold to kids.  Lionel tried this with the later Scout sets and we know what a total POS those are.  Now the early 2-4-2 scout style engines had nice spur gear motors in them.  Heck, even the LTI era steam starter sets had better motors.  So sad to see this.   AD

@Landsteiner posted:

Strange that both motors were burned out.  Makes one wonder what happened to this loco, no?  These motors, as others have mentioned, are ubiquitous in hobby products.  I've seen many of them in airplanes and other R/C toys.

$50 R/C toys at Walmart maybe, but if you spend $399.00 on an hobby shop grade R/C toy you get better motor (s)

 You cannot build a product that some consumer won't manage to destroy, for one thing .

This is true, but this is by far one of Lionels worst/cheapest efforts at a "durable" product. There are plenty of examples of their better efforts.

Its hard to believe, but at some point.  A poorly made product, just "might" actually be Lionels fault.

 

 

To Lionel's credit, what I think they did here was utilize the same truck and frame assembly that will be used for the LionChief Plus version of this engine. The larger LionChief Plus motor probably drops right into the hole. Whereas the smaller starter set motor doesn't. Which is why you see the mounting bracket on the LionChief version here, with the smaller motor...

Interesting theory.   I couldn't find an exploded parts photo for the LionChief Plus ES44, I don't think they've been posted yet. 

One of the newest LC+ diesels I could find was a GP7 from 2018, product number 84108.  The motor has restricted availability.  It's a round RS-385 with what looks like an obviously multi-threaded worm.  Probably back-drivable, and consequently a taller (faster) gear ratio too, which is acceptable given the greater torque of the larger motor.

If it's true that Lionel has gone to back-drivable gearing in its LC+ diesels, that's a worthwhile improvement.  Unfortunately it won't help this boy because there's no way a worm with that pitch will match the worm wheel in his truck.  Changing worm wheel is probably a bugger; easier to change the whole truck.  So if and when the LC+ parts become available, you could "repair" it by replacing both trucks, both motors, and probably the electronics board stack.  He would have his grandfather's axe with the head and handle both changed!  

Don't assume a later version has the same gear or motor. Recall from Alex's post about the first generation Lionmaster Big Boy. That also had a unique gear and motor that is NLA. The newer release has a different gear and can't be used to repair the older engine. 

With all the white elephants Lionel is producing they will have to establiah a special park or maybe landfill where they can end their useful life.

Pete

Last edited by Norton
@Landsteiner posted:

Chuck, as a former Lionel staffer...

@PaperTRW posted:

Did I miss something here?

No, never was employed by them. However, have been representing the company through service since 1976.

Thanks, Chuck. I was beginning to think there was a story I hadn't heard before...

And besides, why would a former Lionel employee want to hang out here anyway?

TRW

Last week a young enthusiast and his mom came to my shop. In hand was a fairly new Lionel Lionchief / bluetooth  ES44 diesel engine. Only ran a few times since new. Popped the shell and I got a surprise! The 2 motors are like the light duty handcar motor. My first thought was the circuit board. Put some leads from muli-tester. Nope, getting voltage from the socket for the motors. Wiring looked good, so checked the motors with a ohm reading.  Both of them with open circuit. No good. Checked Lionel's website. Motors are not available.

 The young lad and mom were waiting and broke the news. Both motors burn't out, and no replacements available. needless to say both were extremely disappointed. The set was gifted to him. Now I told them, it may be only be temporary out of stock, or the motors may never be available again.

It is this type of situation that tends to turn first time customers return or forget about the hobby.IMG_0426IMG_0427  

A lot of great discussion concerning Lionel and their sets and various motor issues.

I believe we need to get back to the issue at hand,  are there drop in motors available to repair this engine?

If so where can they be obtained so Chuck can repair this engine - even if its with the same scrap DC motors.

There are some real experts on this Forum who can answer this question to some degree.

Lets see if we can as a group get the job done.

Chuck, 

Do you have better photos of the motors in question and their part numbers?

Do you have a photo of the motor out of the engine so we can see the spur gear?

It would be a good start in hunting something down. 

Last edited by Allegheny
@Norton posted:

BTW that isn't the only engine with that tiny motor. The starter set 0-8-0s and Docksiders have a similar motor and I believe some on the Lionchief versions had that same small motor carried over.

Pete

I have a Lionel 2032030 0-6-0T LC+2 on pre-order.  I was wondering how they make a decent loco for only $250, but it looks the same as the docksider which went for $100.  Hope the motors in the $250 version are better than what I see here in this thread.

I don't know what Chuck's shop rate is but fixing it could get expensive real quick.

If the engine was replaced: (Based on a Lionchief+ GP38 pricing)

1.  Could existing handheld remote be transferred to new engine? Otherwise a universal remote has to be part of the deal.

2.  What level do you have to get to eliminate the cheap motor? There seems to be the street price $315-350 and now a version at about          $190. Both without remotes included. (I'm thinking the $190 version may have this same cheap aspect.)

3.  Youngster would probably take to the Bluetooth app like a duck to water. Therefore, a transformer wouldn't be my choice for him.

Update: talked to Lionel today. Talked with Katie who was cordial and professional, as usual. I asked her what the status of the motor I need. ( gave the number to her) she came back and said that their stock of replacement motors has already been depleted. Guess I'm not the only one with this problem with this engine. She said to call back late October and she would have a better idea if the motor is in stock/ will be available/ permanently discontinued.  Drat. I guess I need to figure this out for myself.  A couple of light bulbs went off in my head. The first picture compaires the locomotive motor to a handcar motor. The locomotive motor was about 10% larger. Speaking of which, you can't remove the plate as it will not fit over the worm gear. So the handcar motor is out. Next was John's (Lionel Parts) suggestion of a 8060 4-6-4 motor. Close, it may have worked, but the mounting holes were way off on the mounting plate. See pix's. one is blurry, but you get the idea. Can't upgrade the motor much, as a round motor will not fit, it needs flat sides as the motor sits in the narrow truck frame. Next I checked a series 2 dockside motor. ( Last pix )IMG_0428IMG_0429IMG_0436IMG_0437IMG_0442 Just about perfect, mounting holes line up, fits in the truck frame, I guess it is the same basic motor, and there is more than enough room in the body shell for the flywheels, something that the original motor did not have. Half the battle won. Now the challenge is removing and replacing the worm gear without ruining the motor or gear, or both.

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Chuck, if you don't have a puller that will work, a Great Planes gear puller will get the gears off. Just google the name, lots of hits at varying prices. Having done a few of these let me suggest drilling the replacement out to fit the shaft. Then use retaining compound or CA to hold it in place. Trying to press it on can be risky especially if you don't have a basket of motors.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Glad you made some progress Chuck!

Everyone says that Frank Timko is a wizard when it comes to removing and installing worm gears.  Maybe he would entertain a phone call or chat, and offer you some advice?  Honestly I wish someone would invest some quality time shadowing him, or even make a video.  I think the worm gear swap will become a very important repair skill in the years ahead.

Also, if you really needed to use the 8060 motor from the baby 4-6-4, couldn't you just drill new holes in the mounting plate a little further apart, that match the 8060 motor?  Thanks for sharing, we're all learning from your struggles!

Last edited by Ted S

I will close this out by saying SUCCESS! After looking some motors over, I decided on the motor for the 4-6-0 Harry Potter Hogwart Express. The screw holes aligned with the screw holes in the mounting bracket. And it had the shortest worm gear to pull. And it had the small benefit of a couple of brass flywheels. Pulling the worms off wasn't as nasty job as I expected. I laid a hot solder iron on the worm gear on each motor for about 3 minutes this expanded the gear enough to quickly use a thin narrow punch while it still hot and knock the gear off the shaft without damaging the new motors. After everything cooled, I was able to tap the worm gears from the original motors on the new motors. Just little taps at a time and the gears went on without bending the motor shaft. Maybe a little luck was involved there. Remounted the motor assemblies with a little new grease. Wired the motors back up and crossed my fingers. To my amazement it worked and ran smooth. YEA!  I know of a couple of people that are going to be excited tomorrow!    I'm not going to charge them a whole lot, the time I spent on research and repair time I'm taking as a personal challenge to see if it could be fixed with the parts I had on hand. I enclosed some pictures of the new motor with the new gear on and the original motor, and after every thing was back together.  Now I just hope these motors will last longer than the originals! Thanks for your support and reading this...................out.IMG_0456IMG_0458IMG_0459IMG_0460          

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Last edited by Chuck Sartor

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