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I have just purchased a Lionel 6-39548 Neil Young Signature Line Pennsylvania Railroad PRR 'Trail Blazer' F3 Legacy Powered B Unit. It has some dry-rotted traction tires.  I am having a problem replacing them. I dug out my AA unit manual and it had these instructions:

During the course of normal operations, the traction tires may become worn out. To
replace the traction tires, remove the side frame screws from the underside of the trucks and
lift away the side frame. Remove the worn tire, then slip the replacement around the wheel.
Reposition the side frame on the truck and secure it with the two screws.

The problem is I have the loco on its back and I see no screws and no easy way to remove the side frame. The same was true for the AA powered unit.

Would someone who has replaced traction tires on this model please advise me of what I am missing? Most likely it is just something I am overlooking, but a picture showing the location of the screws would sure be useful. I have replaced many steam engine traction tires, but this is my first Lionel Legacy Diesel and the A powered unit has not needed tire replacements yet.

Thanks in advance

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Larry - Since your model was released in 2013-14 it may not have screws to remove the truck side frames. If that proves to be the case the simplest way to change the traction tires - in my opinion - is simply to use paper clips. For illustrations of how to do this do a Search on this Forum of 'Changing traction tires made easy, simple and quick with right tools, new video'.  It requires some patience but it works because I've done it with my older F3s that don't have the removable side frames.  😊

Right you are John. I am guessing I will have to figure out how to drop the trucks unless I can get the paper clip method to work.    It looks like there are screw heads on the top.  I am disappointed in Lionel for listing the wrong method in the manual for the AA set, but I am certain I or this group can figure out the best way to drop the trucks. Then it will be easy.

I am finding this unit most interesting. So far I have not found a proper way to remove the shell. The four screws at the ends do not appear to hold anything except the step, but they do not want to turn anyway. You tube has nothing obvious. I will keep researching. There has to be something fairly obvious I am overlooking.

I have found a guess on how to drop the trucks from one of John 's old answers, but he does suggest removing the shell as well.

I also need to try the paper clip method mentioned above to change the tires.

Certainly a chance to learn something new.

I am happy to report this issue is resolved.  Many thanks to gunrunnerjohn for many tips.

I was not able to figure out the paper clip tools suggested by PH1975, even when I found the videos.

I ended up dropping the trucks from a tip by gunrunnerjohn in another column. Once the trucks were down, it was easy to remove the sideframes and replace the tires. Getting the trucks back up was another issue. I was never able to remove the body.  The problem was getting the vertical motors stabilized so the screw holding the trucks would go in. I took a 6 in metal ruler and bent it into a tool to hold the motor still and it went just fine. I did find out the hard way the trucks can be over-tightened.

I have the entire A-B-A set with 4 motors working well, at least for now.  Sometime I will want to figure out how to remove the body. Motors occasionally need to be serviced.

Hard to believe you can't get the shell off, there are six small screws, two near the front, and four toward the back.  After that, the shell should lift right off.

One thing that troubles me.  AFAIK, it's impossible to over-tighten the motor mount screw, what you're seeing suggests something misaligned.  This alone is a good reason to take the shell off and see what is happening.

Gunrunnerjohn, you have a good point about a misaligned motor. I dropped the rear truck again and I am working on the issue.  My tool does not work on the rear motor like it did on the front. I am suspicious of the screw coming all the way out now when it did not before, but that is something I need to work through. The unit is not working properly again, but I have not seen the cause yet. A missing lock washer is possible.

I like the information about the front and rear screws, but I do not see them. The only screws I see are the two front and two rear holding the step plate. I thought there might be something under the step plate, but the screws seam to prefer disintegration to removal. The other screws (four front and two rear) hold switches. Are those the six screws you are referring to?

I am posting pictures of what I see (two from with the truck in place and one rear with the truck removed). Your experienced eyes may see something I am missing.




Images (3)
  • FRONTA-IMG_0322
  • FRONTB-IMG_0320
  • Rear-IMG_0319

Well, Lou1985, this is an example of why I am balding in front with a flat forehead. I looked at your posting and the unit. I slapped my forehead and said "How could I be so stupid." I looked over the top, sides and bottom  multiple times. I stupidly never looked at the ends. Two simple screw removals, slide the shell a little, and it comes right off. The problems with the ABA are not fixed. The B unit works fine by itself, and then can jam for apparent reason. The powered A unit was jammed when the B unit jammed. I can remove the shell and turn the motor by hand. However, the A unit now jams frequently without the B unit when powering a long heavy consist.

I do not have all the answers. I will take time working with these two units and studying and figure it out. It could be simple (like screws in the end doors) or more  complicated. Most likely cause was locking up when traction tires came off when I tried to run a lashup.

Between Lou1985 and gunrunnerjohn I  think I have what I need to know to tackle it.

I also have a separated wire from the coupler. I will need to get a better soldering iron with a fine point and improve my skill, but not having the coupler is a minor inconvenience compared to having the unit jam and stop.

The traction tires are functioning just fine.

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