A while back, I encountered a very worn out motor on one of my NW-2 switchers, the worst part of the wear being the bronze axle bearings and even the stainless magnetic axles. They were so worn that the gears would almost completely disengage and would occasionally bind. So I broke it all down figuring “What do I have to lose?” I took some measurements of the axles near the middle where there was no wear, and also measured the frame opening hole to see which ball bearings sets might fit. I purchased a few ball bearing sets (with flanges) that would be as close a match as possible – purchased right off the shelf based on my measurements, so I knew in advance the fit would not be perfect … but awful close! Sadly, this motor was not worthy of the expense of custom made bearings!!

 I opened up the bearing holes in the aluminum frame a mm or two, and got a great fit for the new roller bearings – loose, but not very. My plan was to use JB Weld (metal version) to secure the outer portion of the bearings directly to the frame. That went well.

Then I slipped new (used) axles in place thru the inner portion of the bearings. Right away I felt some weirdness – the axles were ”sucked in” through the inner section of the new steel bearings - not too surprising considering the axles were magnets sliding through a steel bearing. Somewhere about half way in, the attraction changed to a slight repulsion – then as I pushed them all the way in, things just sort of stayed in place.

I did the other axle, then mounted both of the non-gear wheels and used Loctite to bond the axle to the inner portion of each bearing. The reason for the Loctite is that the axles are undersized to the inner bearing, just enough to allow the axles to spin, while the inner bearing remained stationary – I wanted the ball bearings to do their job instead of just mimicking Lionel’s bronze sleeve bearings. Insuring that no Loctite got squirted into the ball bearings, things went remarkably smooth here.

After things had set up for 24 hrs, I gave the wheels a quick twist. That’s the first time I felt what you can see in this link to a VIDEO of the action. For a portion of each revolution of the wheel, things are silky smooth – then I encounter resistance. Not the kind of resistance you feel when a wheel is dragging on the frame, but a “springy” resistance. In fact if you twist the wheel a bit more and then release it, the wheel bounces back! Clearly a magnetic effect I would think.

So here’s the question: can someone explain the dynamics of what I am seeing/feeling, and is there a simple fix where I could, for example, remove one wheel, then rotate one of the axles (say) 90 degrees, and everything cancels out? And then I have the silky smooth rolling effort of a real train? Or could this even be the work of some strange geometry when it came to the loose axles being glued in place to the inner bearing sleeve? After all, what could possibly go wrong when disassembling a soft aluminum frame, prying it apart, drilling new holes and then expecting everything to be nice and square upon reassembly?

 I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has knowledge in the dynamics of this form of magnetism!

George

Original Post

Can't explain the dynamics of the magnetism.  BUT - you need to check the alignment of the bearings in the aluminum frames.

Get some metal axle material that is an exact slip fit for the bearings.  Insert it in one of the bearings, and slide it over to the other bearing.  Does it hit the other bearing exactly centered?  Or is it off a little?

Try this with all bearings.  If any are off even a little, this would be a problem, and needs to be rectified before working on a magnetic theory.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

Well...somehow with all your rubbing  you have created "like poles" of magnetism. So two parts having the same polar magnetism push away...and remember "opposites attract" which coincides with why i like to chase Mrs. Red Jimmy!    Seriously, i believe that you've got something along the lines of like poles, or perhaps magnetized dust or shaving giving you trouble...good luck in sleuthing...

C-57D  Pilot

@Mixed Freight, I used the "other end" of a drill bit that fit near perfect, the alignment was very good.

@redjimmy1955 and @ADCX Rob - your comments make sense - I guess I'll have to break one of the axles loose tomorrow and see if there isn't a sweet spot. That's the practical side of things. I still don't understand how adding those little bearings can propogate attraction or repulsion over the distance between the axles - seems like that's just too great a distance, and yet... a believable answer would be that there is a magnetic flow through the frame, but then the frame is made of aluminum! 

I guess I'll just break 'em loose tomorrow and give it a try - thanks for the suggestions!

I agree with Mixed Freight.  A sloppy fit with gaps filled by JB Weld doesn't guarantee the precise alignment needed for smooth operation.

Red Jimmy and Rob might be right too...  What kind of track are you using, and how many cars do you need to pull?  I'm not personally convinced of the benefits of Magne-Traction.  Lionel marketing schmaltz that American Flyer couldn't easily duplicate.  It's great for picking up ferrous debris near the tracks.  If this were my loco, I would end the frustration with a 5-second application of my old VHS tape bulk eraser.  Then it would have NO magnetic attraction, period.  The wheels wouldn't stick to each other, the frame, or anything else.  I'll always trade a little pulling power for smoother operation.  By the way, what are  your idler gears made of?  Are they specific to this type of truck?

"Great performance without gimmicks, it just runs better because it's made right."

riki posted:

Aluminum frame. Bronze bearings all non magnetic.

Should of bought plastic bearings. But they are expensive.

Exactly what I am thinking, don't know about any plastic bearings though.  Also note, bearings are not a close enough fit type application, they are precise from fit to alignment.  The tiniest thing being off when your in the thousandths of an inch tolerance range and you get binding issues.  I would try the axles without the magnets and see what you get, if no binding then your good.  It could be a mix of issues with the magnet, metal bearings, and binding.

Ted S posted:

I agree with Mixed Freight.  A sloppy fit with gaps filled by JB Weld doesn't guarantee the precise alignment needed for smooth operation.

Red Jimmy and Rob might be right too...  What kind of track are you using, and how many cars do you need to pull?  I'm not personally convinced of the benefits of Magne-Traction.  Lionel marketing schmaltz that American Flyer couldn't easily duplicate.  It's great for picking up ferrous debris near the tracks.  If this were my loco, I would end the frustration with a 5-second application of my old VHS tape bulk eraser.  Then it would have NO magnetic attraction, period.  The wheels wouldn't stick to each other, the frame, or anything else.  I'll always trade a little pulling power for smoother operation.  By the way, what are  your idler gears made of?  Are they specific to this type of truck?

"Great performance without gimmicks, it just runs better because it's made right."

Precision alignment was certainly an issue going thru my mind at assembly time. To that end, shortly after applying the JB Weld, I inserted the axles to aid in the alignment before the epoxy had any chance of setting. I then set the whole affair on its side to reduce any weight affects during the "setting" process. This was a VERY low budget operation, so... I have no access to a drill press or any other precision tooling, so I just had to make do. When the epoxy was cured, the alignment felt really good - each axle spun freely when inserted one at a time.

As far as Magnetraction's effectiveness, I believe it does improve pulling power. I certainly own plenty of Lionel engines that don't have any magnets at all, and they do spin the wheels easily. I like traction tires too, simply because they improve pulling power. Both methods have well discussed drawbacks, so I won't go into that here, I just want to keep my Magnetraction, but solve this tiny mystery.

As to your last point, the pinion gears are plastic/nylon/Delrin/non-metal - they came with this old beater motor, so I don't know if they shipped from the factory in this configuration. I have about 20 or so new pinion gears on hand that came from at least three different sources. I tried them all for fit and smoothness - in the end, I chose to put the plastic ones back on - they seemed to fit and mesh the best. The wheel gears, the drive gear, the worm gear and the worm are all metal. 

Update: Problem solved, and it had nothing to do with magnetism - it was as many of you stated, binding of one axle. When I disassembled both wheel and axle assy's, it was kind of obvious the way the red Loctite had pooled on one side of the inner bearing sleeve. So I think with each revolution the misaligned axle and bearing probably flexed the aluminum frame just a miniscule amount - enough that I could feel the resistance anyway. And then the nice smooth ball bearings allowed the flex to push the wheel/axle assy back in the opposite direction. So after a good cleanup I reinstalled everything as it was, however no Loctite was involved! Very smooth now! Actually good to know since I simply couldn't believe that the interaction of those two axle magnets could span a distance that great without having some iron in between - aluminum just doesn't play with magnetism.

Many more lessons learned today - I continued on to reassemble the motor, and it seemed like everything that could go wrong - did! The NOS brush plate turned out to have an armature bearing that had a discernible lean toward the front, which created instant binding of the armature when either one of the brush plate screws was tightened - this thing was NEW, had no solder on it! Then I discovered that the armature I was using didn't really belong in this application - the wire wound onto each of the three poles was scraping the top of the worm gear - ouch! This one is an 8855-225 I think (green wire wound on only one pole plus a different commutator) instead of the needed 600-125. And finally when all was reassembled, I attempted to slip the motor into a 602 Seaboard frame, but alas - a no-go. Not all aluminum framed motors will fit wherever you want them - this one is too long and the frame smacks right into the e-unit. 

Anywho, the motor now runs with borrowed parts, and does so quite smoothly - when placed on my static mat for good traction, and with power jumpers applied, plus fingers restraining the engine motion a bit, the armature spins smoothly and with minimum buzz or growling. Now to figure out where this one goes - probably an ALCO 200 series...

Thanks for all the feedback! I totally enjoy the repair process as much or more than watching them go in circles for a couple of hours  So all of your ideas helped to solve this mini-mystery!

George

 

 

Oh man!  This whole time I thought you were working on one of the early postwar 622s.  The later 600s are lightweights; the power truck suffers from cost-cutting and several well-known issues.  Glad you solved it, but remember, Magne-Traction works best on track with a high ferrous content like vintage Lionel O gauge tubular.  On some modern track systems, it doesn't work at all!  If it's already there I leave it alone, but it's a gimmick and not worth the hassle IMO.  Locos without Magne-Traction are generally made of better materials (steel vs. aluminum, etc.)  My $.02.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

ADCX Rob posted:
GeoPeg posted:

Update: Problem solved, and it had nothing to do with magnetism

OK, good.

Now, can you tell us your source(s) for the bearings should somebody want to take on a similar project?

Thanks.

 Right here for the axle bearings and Here for the worm gear shaft bearings - nope, didn't attempt the worm gear shaft cuz I assumed I would have enough problems with the axles to keep me occupied for a while 

The original Williams are great engines until you need parts.  Painfully learned that lesson during the last two years.  The two sources for parts that everyone including Bachman pointed me to were Charlie Philips (RIP) and Frank Vacek ( whom I haven't seen at York in the last 2 or 3 meets at least).  I have no experience on the Williams by Bachman engines.

rockstars1989 posted:
RoyBoy posted:

I would just dump it and get a Williams NW-2. Looks the same, but runs MUCH better and pulls a LOT more cars.

But that's just me.

That is my vote and they are very inexpensive. Nick

This really isn't about the train engine as much as it is about the motor, and my personal enjoyment of repair. The motor doesn't even have a home yet  And I do own some Williams, a couple of Geeps and something else I don't even recall, and they are indeed lusty pullers with cheap prices. 

Just doing this for fun 

GeoPeg posted:
rockstars1989 posted:
RoyBoy posted:

I would just dump it and get a Williams NW-2. Looks the same, but runs MUCH better and pulls a LOT more cars.

But that's just me.

That is my vote and they are very inexpensive. Nick

This really isn't about the train engine as much as it is about the motor, and my personal enjoyment of repair. The motor doesn't even have a home yet  And I do own some Williams, a couple of Geeps and something else I don't even recall, and they are indeed lusty pullers with cheap prices. 

Just doing this for fun 

I hear that.

The satisfaction that comes from bringing a broken wing bird back to life is pleasurable and real.

RoyBoy

riki posted:

I used vxb bearing.

Did you use their plastic bearings? What size(s) did you find to work?

I'm certain that somewhere the specs for the Magnetraction axles must exist, but I could not find them. So using both Craftsman micrometers I own to hopefully give valid readings for the axles and old bearings I was using, this is what I used to find new bearings:

Original Lionel bearings O.D. = 0.437" 

Original Lionel bearings I.D. = ranged from 0.312" to 0.320" (oval shaped!) so I just used 0.312"

Magnetraction axle O.D. = 0.308" measured in center of axle, a non-wear area

The bearings I chose were, of course measured in metric, so for the axle roller bearings, I used F678ZZ Flanged Ball Bearings 8x12x3.5mm. This meant I had to drill/ream the aluminum side plate just a bit to allow these bearings to fit in place. The axle then slid inside the bearing with some play remaining, which is why I tried the Loctite - never again, Loctite is NOT a gap filler 

Given that this motor was manufactured in the mid to late 20th century during the great age of English Units of Measure, I'm fairly certain that the correct bearings would most likely be O.D.= 7/16" and I.D.= 5/16", and the flange O.D.= 1/2" Had I searched for and found something like that, I may not have had any problems, but everything I saw on the old interweb was listed in metric units.

The interesting measurement is the magnetraction axle - obviously Lionel intended for that axle to spin freely within the bearing sleeve, so it had to be something less than 5/16" (0.3125"), but how much less? When I measured the axles I have (in the center where there was no wear), they all 4 came out right at 0.308" or about four and a half thousands less than the 5/16" sleeve into which they fit. As far as I can tell, there is not "standard" value for that number, but  0.308" equals 7.8232mm, or pretty close to the 8mm figure which appears to be a standard value for many of these bearings. Which brings me back to my original issue of how to secure a metal shaft within the inner sleeve of a ball or roller bearing - I don't think you just let it slip within the inner sleeve, should be a press fit IMO, or a very close fit with maybe some Loctite? I'm out of my depth here, got any machinists in the crowd?

George

Bearings should always have a firm press fit, never loose.  They should also not require a lot off force to fit either.

One option as opposed to metal and would work is delrin which is a type of plastic.  It works well for bushings and as machinable.

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