American Flyer 1948 302 - Reverse only!

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American Flyer 1948 302 - Reverse only!

  • Hi all.  I just inherited my dad's old 1948 American Flyer 302....but with one long standing glitch.  The loco has only been able to go in reverse.  I've taken apart most of the assembly to basically just check wires and everything looks intact.  Smoke, lights, everything works fine but again, only in reverse.  Tried new transformer and no change.  I am still using original AC transformer as well....everything is original.  However, only one "professional" maintenance ever.

    Any suggestions???

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  • First of all,

    Welcome to the Forum !   Welcome

    It is always good to have additional American Flyer enthusiasts on board.

    There are more expert members on this forum than me when it comes to troubleshooting American Flyer equipment, but I will take the first shot at this since I have had similar problems in the past when I first took my old American Flyer out of storage after 40 years.

    Mine is a 1946 #312, so there may be some differences. However, from the problem that you indicated, the problem is most likely in the reversing unit which is found in the tender (coal car) behind the engine. 

    There are sets of copper "fingers" that make contact with a copper drum to cycle the engine through the forward/pause/reverse/pause sequence.  At the end of each copper finger is a spoon shaped end that touches the drum.  Over time and use, the spoon develops a small hole from friction and wear and tear.  When the hole gets big enough, the finger is no longer effective and must be repaired or replaced.  In my experience, replacement with a new set of fingers is the solution.

    In your case, if everything else works fine, but the engine does not run forward, those fingers on the reversing unit are the first and foremost culprit.  Back last winter, when I first started to rehab my engine, that was my first problem to solve.  I bought replacement fingers from a great vendor called Portlines who caters to American Flyer guys, and replaced the fingers myself.

    Good luck.

    Rich

  • Does it run in reverse every time you turn on the voltage, or just every fourth time?

    Bob Nelson

  • diremaker,

    I think Bob is headed in the direction you should start. The switch on the bottom of the tender may have the locomotive locked in reverse.

    I would first play with that switch to see if that is the issue. Then try moving the pawl on the reverse unit manuallly to see if the drumis frozen.

    George

  • Couldn't you force it into Forward by simply swapping the motor brush clips? That would be easiest. Who wants to go backward anyway Smile, Wink & Grin

  • hectorgonzales:
    LOL  I'm thinking about by-passing my reverse units for the very reason you humorously but sagely quipped.  On the huge Flyer layout I'm building, I will only have one switch.  Alls I need is one switcher to make that work.  All the rest of the mainline warriors only need to go forward.  I may also pull the AC fields and pop in DC fields.  They should run smoother at slower speeds that way AND those DC fields are vintage parts-is-parts!
    Regards,
    Timboy 

  • How about a Cab Forward Locomotive type setup?

    http://www.toytrains1.com/cabforward.htm

    Just gotta move that tender to the other end.

    Rich

  • Thanks Rich, just noticed the 'hole' in one of the copper fingers.  The reversing switch and drum look good, so I guess i found my problem!  Thanks for the advice.

  • diremaker

    Thanks Rich, just noticed the 'hole' in one of the copper fingers.  The reversing switch and drum look good, so I guess i found my problem!  Thanks for the advice.

    diremaker,

    Let's hope that's it.

    Once you replaced the fingers, let us know if that solves the problem.

    Rich

  • Did you make sure the locking lever is not locking the lever, maybe I over looked your response

    Jim

  • It was the fingers....but the E-unit still sticks from time to time....but I also got it smoking again, thanks to the forum's help!

  • diremaker

    It was the fingers....but the E-unit still sticks from time to time....but I also got it smoking again, thanks to the forum's help!

    Get a can of Radio Shack Contact Cleaner and spray the reversing unit thoroughly.  That should free up sticky parts, especially the metal pawl which can stick on older reversing units.

    Rich

    P.S. Don't call it a "e-unit".  That is a Lionel term which will incur the wrath of Timboy.

  • richhotrain

    P.S. Don't call it a "e-unit".  That is a Lionel term which will incur the wrath of Timboy.

    Rich:

    Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh  No one here cares too much about that! Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh

    Timboy, The American Flyer Nerd