Lionel #50 gang car problem

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cjy
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    January, 2011
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Lionel #50 gang car problem
Posted by cjy on Sunday, January 30, 2011 7:47 PM

Hi, I have two Lionel # 50 gang cars and both have the same problem, they run smoth and strong in one direction but wen they change direction they spit and sputter and hardly move. I cleaned them, installed new brushes and springs, lubed them, and rewired one of them. this helped them run even better in one direction but in the other direction they don't go. Has anyone else ran into this? any help will be greatly appriciated.  Thanks!

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Posted by AudioChris on Sunday, January 30, 2011 9:58 PM

I'm having a similar issue with my #50 gang car. I have found that the the bumper doesn't completely lock in one direction causing it to vibrate and lose contact while running. Not sure if it's the same problem you're having but worth looking into. I haven't found a solution for this yet.

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Posted by arkady on Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:14 PM

When you say you "lubed" them, what exactly do you mean?  I was lubing mine just by putting a drop of oil on the upper bearing, till it started showing symptoms similar to the ones you describe.  The cure was to pull the armature altogether, lube the worm gear with grease and put a couple of drops of automotive oil on the thrust bearings.  It was oiling the thrust bearings that finally did the trick for me.  Runs like new, now.

 

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:18 PM

They have a neutral position, when the bumper hits soft, or not all of the way, they'll hang up.

Unless, you already know about the half (neutral} position, then something else is wrong.

Unfortunately, I am unable to give you any help.

Ralph

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Posted by cwburfle on Monday, January 31, 2011 4:21 AM

The most common problem with gang cars is a missing ball bearing. There is a small ball bearing that goes into the armature shaft hole in the brushplate. They often fall out and are lost. This ball bearing acts as a thrust bearing in one direction.

As far as the slide hanging up: I find this is caused by:

1 - past lubrication of the slide has gotten gummy

clean out all the old lubrication.

2 - someone increased the tension on the slide contacts

adjust the tension

 

 

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Posted by jsonova99 on Sunday, November 20, 2011 9:05 AM

Does this thrust bearing sit up in the hole where the armature shaft sits in the brush plate?  My gang car struggles in forward with the transformer turned way up and a lot of sparking from the track pickup.  I get nothing at all in reverse.  I just rebuilt the whole thing with new armature, brushes & springs, and thorough cleaning and re-lube.  It's wired properly and I just can't figure out why it barely runs.  I've rebuilt a lot of post war engines successfully, but this thing is throwing me for a loop.

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Posted by jsonova99 on Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:57 AM

Does this thrust bearing sit up in the hole where the armature shaft sits in the brush plate?  My gang car struggles in forward with the transformer turned way up and a lot of sparking from the track pickup.  I get nothing at all in reverse.  I just rebuilt the whole thing with new armature, brushes & springs, and thorough cleaning and re-lube.  It's wired properly and I just can't figure out why it barely runs.  I've rebuilt a lot of post war engines successfully, but this thing is throwing me for a loop.

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Posted by bfskinner on Sunday, November 20, 2011 11:45 AM

Try this link. I don't think it shows a ball-bearing, but there may have been variations and/or repairs.

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/searchcd31.htm?itm=488

edited to provide better link. 

 

 

 

bf
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Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, November 20, 2011 3:11 PM

bfskinner

Try this link. I don't think it shows a ball-bearing, but there may have been variations and/or repairs.

The ball bearing is shown on page 2 in the original Lionel service station manual, in the little box showing the 1955 brushplate. For some reason, the page shown in Olsen's scan does not include this information. I guess there must be variations in the service manual. (The pages were dated and revised from time to time)

As far as the Gang car goes; there are variations in their construction, but as far as I know, all variations use the ball bearing. The only possible exception would be the early version with the two piece horn centered on the brushplate.
The ball bearing goes into the armature shaft hole in the brushplate.

Please reread my much earlier post above. As I wrote then, a missing ball bearing and the reversing slide binding up are the two most common problems. If the slide is moving all the way back and forth, and the ball bearing is there, then there are more advanced issues to look at.

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Posted by jsonova99 on Sunday, November 20, 2011 3:19 PM

Slide moves fine, but bearing is missing.  Seems like it is binding a little in forward, and binding completely in reverse, just buzzes.  This makes sense I think because when you manually move the wheels in reverse, the armature is popping up (no ball bearing to prevent this?) and causing the worm gear to bind.  Seems reasonable.  Still doesn't explain the problem in forward.

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Posted by TrainLarry on Sunday, November 20, 2011 3:51 PM

  There are a number of things that cause poor performance of the Gang cars. A worn worm wheel on the drive axle can cause poor performance in one direction. A worn armature gear can also cause poor performance. To properly service these units and insure good performance, you must completely dis-assemble the car down to the bare frame. Clean all old grease and oil, and lightly oil the axle bearings, making sure the drive axle bearings are not worn. Clean the reversing slide assembly, grounding spring, contact spring, and contact plate. Make sure all electrical contact points on these parts are clean and not pitted. Reassemble the reversing slide, lubricating the frame where it slides on. Make sure the grounding spring makes good, positive contact, but not excessive pressure on the slide. Likewise with the  contact spring and contact plate. Push the slide back and forth, insuring ease of movement, and that the spring contacts are making good contact. Check both sets of field windings with an ohmmeter to insure that you don't have one open winding. Reassemble the motor, lightly greasing the bearings and washers. Some units had the extra thrust ball bearing in the brushplate. It can do no harm to install one if it is missing. It will insure even wear of the gears. Wire it up, and give it a go. It should run smoothly in both directions. If it does not run in one direction, and the motor hums and tries to turn, chances are the gears are worn. If the motor does not try to turn, you probably have a bad field winding if all other electrical connections are good.

Exploded view here: http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/cd/opcar%5Cacc50p2.pdf

  By the way, NEVER oil the contact roller(s) on any item. The oil attracts dirt and causes bad contact and sparking, along with heat to the roller and rivet.

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Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, November 20, 2011 4:51 PM

In my experience, the axle bearings are likely to need replacing before the worm wheel.  Unfortunately, the wheels need to be removed to replace either the axle bearings or the worm wheel. Hopefully the original poster's problem will be addressed by installing the ball bearing in the brush plate.

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Posted by Train-O on Monday, November 21, 2011 10:26 AM

This may be the missing ball bearing part and part #50-102, from Olsen's Parts Lists:

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/cd/OLSNPIX/0030.pdf

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/partsbybin/bin028/page.html

Turn the armature's 'Brush-Plate Cover' #50-59, upside-down, place the ball bearing in the armature drive shaft hole of the cover and hold the ball bearing in place with light grease, so's when the cover is turned right side-up, to reassemble the unit, the grease should prevent the ball bearing from dropping out and getting lost.

Keep a magnet and a magnifying glass handy!!!!!

Ralph

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Posted by nickaix on Monday, November 21, 2011 11:56 AM

Could it be that the outside edge of one of the axle bearings be worn, due to the worm gear attempting to shove the axle to one side when running, to the point that the wheel binds against the frame? Similar to the problem on postwar Berks?

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Posted by cwburfle on Monday, November 21, 2011 12:46 PM

nickaix

Could it be that the outside edge of one of the axle bearings be worn, due to the worm gear attempting to shove the axle to one side when running, to the point that the wheel binds against the frame? Similar to the problem on postwar Berks?

Absolutely!
I didn't want to bring this up in earlier responses because I didn't see the need to discuss more serious problems before eliminating the minor ones. 
Sometimes, when I run into this I pull the wheel and put one or two 671M-23 washers on the axle, and then reinstall the wheel.
You can get away with this if there isn't too much play (wiggling) in the axle.
If there is a lot of wiggle, the fix will still work, but replacing the bearings will result in a much better running piece.
Some folks say they have used either horseshoe washers or c-clips to fix a rubbing wheel without removing it. I have never tried this.

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Posted by cwburfle on Monday, November 21, 2011 12:47 PM

nickaix

Could it be that the outside edge of one of the axle bearings be worn, due to the worm gear attempting to shove the axle to one side when running, to the point that the wheel binds against the frame? Similar to the problem on postwar Berks?

Absolutely!
I didn't want to bring this up in earlier responses because I didn't see the need to discuss more serious problems before eliminating the minor ones. 
Sometimes, when I run into this I pull the wheel and put one or two 671M-23 washers on the axle, and then reinstall the wheel.
You can get away with this if there isn't too much play (wiggling) in the axle.
If there is a lot of wiggle, the fix will still work, but replacing the bearings will result in a much better running piece.
Some folks say they have used either horseshoe washers or c-clips to fix a rubbing wheel without removing it. I have never tried this.

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Posted by Train-O on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:38 AM

cwburfle,

Thank you for the helpful info.

Ralph

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Posted by Train-O on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:40 AM

TrainLary and all who have given useful info.,

Thank you all for your helpful info.

All is needed, when various problems arise.

Ralph

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Posted by Tooth Fairy on Sunday, January 25, 2015 8:12 PM

I have a #50 Section Gang Car that only runs forward.  I cannot find or see an Armature Shaft Hole in the brush plate.  I do have the ball bearing.  What am I missing?

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Posted by TrainLarry on Monday, January 26, 2015 4:11 PM

Welcome to the forum!

First thing to do is to dis-assemble the motor and clean the copper commutator segments on the armature, brushes, springs, brushplate, wheels and roller pickup with hardware store naphtha. Clean out any old grease on the wormwheel and lower armature shaft using the naphtha to soften it if it is hardened. Oil the axle bearings, put some grease on the worm wheel, and reassemble the motor.

Does the motor attempt to turn in the opposite direction, or is it completely dead? See here and here for the service manual pages of the Gang Car. You may need to service the mechanism to insure the contact spring is making contact on both lugs of the contact plate.There may also be a broken wire from one field winding to the contact plate.

If the motor trys to run in the opposite direction but the wheels do not turn freely, there may be worn axle bearings, a worn worm wheel, or some of the armature shim/thrust washers may be missing.

Larry

 

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Posted by Tooth Fairy on Monday, January 26, 2015 8:56 PM

The motor does attempt to run in reverse.  It is interesting that the service manual doesn't show the ball bearing.  The armature shaft gear does not appear to be worn, nor does the axle drive gear appear to be worn.  Of course, my assessment has to be suspect, considering my lack of experience.  I can manually spin the drive wheels in both directions, but the motor does not. I will disassemble the unit again and clean it up better.  How are the wheels removed from the axles?  Is a miniature gear puller necessary?  

 

 

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Posted by TrainLarry on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 8:30 AM

Can you manually turn the armature in both directions and get the wheels to turn in both directions? Make sure the armature does not have too much vertical play, just enough to be free to turn. The armature should also spin true under power, and not wobble, indicating worn motor bearings.

With the armature out, make sure the drive wheels spin true by hand, and that the axle bearings are not worn. There should be no forward and back, or up and down play in the bearings.

A wheel puller is needed to properly remove the wheels, and a wheel press with wheel cups is necessary to properly re-install them.

Larry

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Posted by Tooth Fairy on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 6:29 PM

When the drive wheels are turned manually in both directions the armature turns freely with no wobble and it doesn't appear to jump up and down when viewed from the bottom.  The drive wheels appear to spin true, but I will take the unit apart again and check for wheel bearing wear as you have described.  The sibling who had possession of this set before turning it over to me, probably because it was perceived as having become junk, claims that the section gang car was running fine the last time it was used.  I would love to get everything working again.   

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Posted by TrainLarry on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 10:26 AM

The next thing to do is check the motor to see that it will physically run in both directions.

Remove the contact plate assembly from the frame. Connect a wire from one lug of the contact plate to ground and power up the unit, and it should run. Disconnect the wire from the lug of the contact plate and connect it to the other lug and the unit should run in the opposite direction.

If the unit runs in both directions now, you have a problem with the slide plate grounding spring not making good contact with the contact plate. If it does not run, either you have a bad motor winding, or a mechanical issue.

Larry

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Posted by Tooth Fairy on Saturday, January 31, 2015 8:50 PM

Got it running right, now Larry.  Thanks.

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Posted by colo Carl on Sunday, January 07, 2018 7:40 PM

I have same problem- light cleaning all especially contacts and ligh toil helped - However I do not know where the singular "Bearing" mentioned is suspose to be??? I do see the small shaft thrust "several bearings-bearing plate". Is that what folks are refering to?? do olson and the train tender carry those?

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Posted by rtraincollector on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:00 AM

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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