I tested a Williams Anniversary 408 loco which I had bough and was perhaps never run. In great cosmetic condition but the loco barely moves. I oiled (wd 40) it just a tad and gave it some encouraging pushes. It made about seven or eight rounds on the track very slowly at full power from a 75 watt transformer. Does not E-reverse either. All lights work. Is it defective or does it need to be broken in? What is the experience of other owners of this loco. I have another Williams 408E loco that runs like a champ. Please, your thoughts. Thanks in advance. 

Ash Standard

Original Post

How easy do the wheels turn? It may be that you need to oil the axles and wheels and turn them by hand until they free up more.  I would think that they should spin freely if properly lubricated.

I would use something other than WD 40 as a lubricant.  Something like 3 in 1 oil or a similar light oil.  Personally, I use a light oil that is made for dental tools.  

I know I have a JAD Hiawatha that has never been run.  I bought it in 2012 at Cal Stewart and the wheels turn so hard that I know it needs a lot of attention (oil and turning the wheels by hand to get the oil into the bushings) before I would ever put power to it.  


Just out of curiosity, is there a label between the pickup that says McCoy or Lionel, as I have seen a few of these with a block of aluminum drilled for axles instead of a motor.  It could mean it was powered with an older motor than the cab.  I am by no means an expert but 75 watts might be a little on the light side for a break-in period if the motor has been sitting for a while.  I would look for dried or caked grease wedged between the wheels, gears or armature assembly and clean this out and lube as others have pointed out. Also this 408 may not have a reversing unit if it is powered by the dual can motor power unit which was manufactured by Williams. 

If one wheel is cracked, the others are probably swollen.  This is very common with the Williams units.  Mine was from the collection of Ward Kimball.  The body is perfect, but the wheels have decomposed.  One of these days I will probably swap in MTH power trucks.


Kirk Lindvig, USA Track LLC

F&G RY posted:

WD-40 is not oil. WD stands for water displacement. Grease the gears with something like Red n Tacky or a number of other automotive greases. Oil the motor with train oil. LaBelle 103 would work well. Then you should be fine. 

Correct--developed in US missile program for that very reason. Helps to loosen things BUT clean and lubricate after. Grease for gears, oil for axles

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