A Gilbert Prewar American Flyer 3/16" O gauge pictures and information thread

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Posted by Shiffy48 on Saturday, December 12, 2015 2:25 PM

Hi Gang,

I've not posted to this forum for a long time.  I was recently diagnosed with Parkinsons & can no long be involved with my trains, most of which are AF 316s O. 

that are meticulously refinished & customized.  Many were S that I converted to O by switching original trucks. Some are super original versions.  Assuming that this foum is not for the purpose of offering items for sale, can any of you provide me with information about dealers and or collectors to whom I might list what I have?

I am unwilling and unable to offer the many specific items via ebay & need to find

buyers who'd ideally want to buy groups of pieces.  By groups I don't mean

gaggles that I'd arbitrarily define.  The groupings would be defined by the prospective buyers.

 

Very fortunately I can again talk normally & type coherently.  Up until about a month ago I could not type.  Meaning, I'd have a clear thought, but when typing.

it'd come out so unreadable that even auto-correct wouldn't understand much or most of the corrupted 'language' Each day I'm taking cocktails of drugs.  They're

assisting meaningfully, especially controlling the tremors & messed up balance.

 

Thanks & happy holidays,

 

Art (Shiffy) Shifrin 

 

 

Some 

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Posted by tinplatacis on Saturday, December 12, 2015 9:46 PM

Shiffy48

Hi Gang,

I've not posted to this forum for a long time.  I was recently diagnosed with Parkinsons & can no long be involved with my trains, most of which are AF 316s O. 

that are meticulously refinished & customized.  Many were S that I converted to O by switching original trucks. Some are super original versions.  Assuming that this foum is not for the purpose of offering items for sale, can any of you provide me with information about dealers and or collectors to whom I might list what I have?

I am unwilling and unable to offer the many specific items via ebay & need to find

buyers who'd ideally want to buy groups of pieces.  By groups I don't mean

gaggles that I'd arbitrarily define.  The groupings would be defined by the prospective buyers.

 

Very fortunately I can again talk normally & type coherently.  Up until about a month ago I could not type.  Meaning, I'd have a clear thought, but when typing.

it'd come out so unreadable that even auto-correct wouldn't understand much or most of the corrupted 'language' Each day I'm taking cocktails of drugs.  They're

assisting meaningfully, especially controlling the tremors & messed up balance.

 

Thanks & happy holidays,

 

Art (Shiffy) Shifrin 

 

 

Some 

 

That must be a huge letdown for you. Sent you a PM as to what you could do.

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Posted by rack776 on Monday, February 29, 2016 8:42 AM

Shifty......My thoughts & prayers are with you, I hate to hear when forum members are sick, I hope the medication helps you manage your pain & illness.

I wish you Good Luck with your health & finding your train collection a new home.

-JasonSmile

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Posted by rack776 on Monday, February 29, 2016 9:12 AM

 I have found a box of rough 3/16" O gauge flyer at a train show a few months ago, everything is scratched dented or surface rusted so to be usable I will need to restore them.

I'm looking for some advise with the restoration process. (I have rebuilt a few postwar lionel & prewar flyer O gauge projects before.....Just not 3/16" O gauge flyer)

I  have 2 different 565 atlantics with chuggers a bunch of tin freight cars, 2 tin NH style passenger cars and an operating mail pick up car in dark green.   It looks like the I think I can make 1 good engine from the 2 (one has bad zinc rot), If I find another engine someday I can make a freight train as well.

I think I have enugh parts to build the set at the bottom of this catalog page.Big Smile

https://www.eliwhitney.org/catalog7/content/american-flyer-trains-1941-page-14

 

1st question - Are the driver wheels on the 565 comon to any other engines? I need 1 good driver to get my locomotive going.

2nd question - Is there a good way to unbend the tabs on the mail pick up car & chugger tender, I need to repaint the body shells and service the mechinisims in side, any tips to reassemble the cars  to make maintenance easier in the future? I'd hate to break the thin tabs off opening them a second time if I ever need to. Is there an easy way to secure the shells with the tabs un bent? Use magnets or tape?  Anyone done this when restoring these?

3rd question - Is there a source or paint code for the dark green used on the tin passenger cars?  I dont have a large enugh clean section of green to get a good paint match...my cars are all lightly surface rusted all over.

4th question - Anyone have a good photo of the inside of the mail pick up car or chugger tender?....I'd like to see how the wiring is done corectly, the chugger tender has most of its cloth wires hanging loose where the solder joints fell off.  I need a wiring diagram or photo of the insides of both cars...Can anyone help?

Thanks for the help! - Jason

 

 

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Posted by Major on Monday, February 29, 2016 6:21 PM

The metal tabs are a problem as they could snap with any movement. I have had to make new ones and soder them on.  Of course I have a tender on my B&O pacific that the remnants of the tabs just keep it in place, it has a chugger that works pretty well.

As I look at the chugger the motor is on it's side. The left (lower) field wire connects to the stud on the on/off switch. The right (upper) field wire connects to the left (lower) brush holder. Two wires connect to the right (upper) brush holder and they each go to a pick up on the each truck.

I have every 3/16th prewar engine except the northern and all the drivers are the same size.

I haven't been in either of my prewar mail pickup cars but assume they are similar to the post war ones except that instead of a pick up on the truck that wire goes to the spring on the side of the car that rubs the activation rail.

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Posted by Shiffy48 on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:44 AM

Advice for "customizing" N.H. four wheel passenger cars: 

1) strip off the bodies, polish off any rust

2) remove the window  inserts, strip the paint & remove any rust as per step 1

3) paint the bodies as desired

4) polish the window inserts then spray with clear lacquer (I prefer gloss).

5) then reassemble 

6) these window frames then simulate stainless steel!

7) for those cars lacking lights, use a base of an illuminated 'junker

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Posted by Shiffy48 on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 1:04 AM

This can be costly but the results are spectacular: replace the cheap tinplate tender with an art deco diecast one.

1) obtain INTACT Northern tenders (from O or S versions.) The later are much less likely to have 'metal rot'. Remove the trucks from the S versions.

2) obtain 6 wheel trucks (as I recall) from O Northern or Hudson tenders or 496 or 497 tinplate tenders: install as necessary

3) use trucks that have center rail pickups from the tinplate pullmans IF you want to have chugging assemblies within them

4) then drool over the substantially much more impressive E & T combination! 

 

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Posted by rack776 on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 11:15 AM

Thanks for the quick reply guys!

I found this write up on fixing the Chugger over on the Portlines S gauge repair site Here is a link incase it helps anyone else...Thanks Alot Shifty!

http://www.portlines.com/portlinesclinic8.htm

 

I opened my mail car and saw the wiring is very simple, 2 wires..ground to frame and power from the pick up spring, easy....Just have to find the correct green paint now.    I'll post some before & after photos once I have them all fixed up.

-Jason

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Posted by vintageflyer on Sunday, March 20, 2016 3:02 PM

Hi folks, 

   I was wondering if anyone here could help me with a "Gilbert" 3/16-0 set box question. That is, were the yellow trays glued to the bottom of the set boxes. I recently acquired such a set box and was curious if this was done at the factory or maybe by a previous owner. Thanks in advance. Glad I've found this forum!

The search never ends.
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Posted by Collegeville Bill on Monday, April 25, 2016 3:08 PM

Need help ID on this set.  Late 30s?  No number on the engine.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 6:08 AM

Collegeville Bill,

I'm sure that you realize that your photo didn't post.  Please try again. There are instructions posted on the home page for how to post photos if you need help.  If you post the numbers on the individual pieces, or describe them, someone here is sure to be able to help you identify the set.  

Welcome

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

"The Toy For the Boy"

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Posted by Mayor of Railtown on Friday, April 29, 2016 6:14 PM

Hi to all, found this thread yesterday.  I am a big fan of American Flyer O gauge and glad to know there are others out there.  Currently bidding on a couple items (hope not against you), a Royal Blue engine only and a 565 Atlantic engine.  My favorite engine in the train shed is a Green Diamond Streamliner.  Quick question on Royal Blue driver wheels, are they avaiable or does one need to buy several engines and salvage parts that are good to make a runner?

 I did some searching on the internet for parts and found a decal supplier and possibly some linkage parts for one side, not much else for the Royal Blue.  Thanks in advance.

Mayor of Railtown

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Posted by Mayor of Railtown on Sunday, May 22, 2016 12:30 AM

Hi to all, update to previous entry.  The information on this thread has been very helpful, thanks.

Now about 3 weeks down the road, I have purchased American Flyers, 561, 565, & a Royal Blue loco with chugger in tender, plus lots of spare parts$, my wife is very understanding, that is why I put her on the board of trustees at Railtown! 

As of today the 561 is back in revenue service, who knows how many years it had been in storage!  It needed some restoration, but not too bad.  I replaced pilot wheels and rear wheels, one flanged driver. Gave it a good tune up.  Over the years like many of you I have operated many model trains in many scales.  This engine is one of my favorites.  Runs smooth, great side rod action, good detail, classic Pennsylvania K5 good looks.

Now to work on the 565 and the Royal Blue and chugger that is not operating yet.  Please correct me if I am incorrect on this.  The 561, 565, & Royal Blue all use the same large flanged driver wheels.  This is a big help when locating solid used wheels on the internet.  Also it appears the 561 and Royal Blue use the same motor armature with a 1/8" input shaft and the 565 uses a 1/16" input shaft armature.  I mention this just in case someone buys a loco with a bad armature and sees a donor unit for sale and wants to get the armature from it.  Hope you all are having some fun with the worlds greatest hobby, until next time!  

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Posted by rack776 on Thursday, June 9, 2016 1:06 PM

I have had a few observations about the repair parts you mentioned above.   I had bought a box lot that had 3 565 engines in it, one had bad zinc rot but a good armature and the other was solid and nice but had a worn armature communtator, i figured i could swap the motor parts but had found out the following things about the 565.

 
The armature shafts and worm gears were slightly different to the point where the engine would not run with the replacement motor parts the friction would bind up the shaft when tightening town the plastic brush cover, there is a brown and black cover each has its own sized bearing hole in it. Could also be the frame swelled or shrank and bound up the motor but putting the original but worn armature back in worked and it now runs ok...it just has a scorred and scratched communtator.
 
The wheels are also different, some have a locator hole oppisite of the screw hole for the side rods, some do not,
 
If you press out the raised up pin on the rear wheels that fit the long side rod the hole will be too small to fit a screw into to use as front wheels.
 
I believe there is a prewar and postwar version of the 565, the early models have a ring arrount the top of the smoke stack, the latter models have a smooth stack and sometimes a plastic bell. Unfortunately i found 4 early 565 engines and they all had cracked boilers and or frames, i have 2 good 565 engines made from the parts of 6 bad parts engines both of them have the later style boiler.     I also really wish hennings or portlines would make more parts or at least the wheels for the 3/16 engines.
 
Also be carefull when using used wheels, they crack easily when installing them, also try to replace both wheels and axel as a set. I had a bad time getting the drivers quartered correctly with a used single wheel that already had splines pressed into it. I went and ruined 3 good used wheels to fix one bad one, i got lucky and found a 565 frame with 4 good wheels and a broken frame, saw an ebay lot of used wheels and i forgot to bid....dohCrying

 

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Posted by Mayor of Railtown on Thursday, June 9, 2016 2:50 PM

Hi Rack 776, I can identify with you on the challenges of getting all the parts to restore these wonderful AF 3/16" O engines.

Your right on how brittle those wheels can be.  One thing that has helped me when pulling a wheel with a battery terminal type puller is to put a thin wood popsicle stick (sold for craft projects) between the flange and the puller to spread the load over a larger area.  The wood also gives and softens the contact point to help avoid cracking a flange edge.  If there is room I use a standard gauge wheel puller which also has a larger area of load spread and can be adjusted to pull wheel straight up and not at a slight angle.

     Since my last entry where I shared on motor armature shaft sizes for the #561, #565, & #556, I have found there are variations.  In agreement with you there may be some variations between prewar and postwar models.  A second #556 Royal Blue I purchased had a different size motor armature shaft size due to variation or possibly someone switched a different model 6 driver wheel & motor assembly with the shell.

     You probably enjoy restoring an engine to life as I do also.  Those Royal Blues are the hardest for me to complete.  Had to fabricate a four wheel front pilot truck for one.  Now have two good runners minus some of the side rod linkage, but may have to bite the bullet and pay the $$$ for a nice complete one. I purchased two #565's with one to be a donor.  You guessed it, I ended up fixing them both.

     Glad to hear from another American Flyer 3/16" O gauge enthusiast!  

Mayor of Railtown

     

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Posted by LL675 on Thursday, June 9, 2016 3:51 PM

I'd like to pick up some O Gauge Flyer at some point. The zinc pest seems to be a problem with the Prewar stuff. Is it just the wheels, or does it affect the boilers? and are there replacement wheels out there?

thanks from an L&M guy.

Dave

It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by Mayor of Railtown on Thursday, June 9, 2016 7:01 PM

Hey Dave,

hope you do get a few O gauge Flyers.  Zinc pest can be a problem on both the wheels and the boiler shells. If you look carefully at the pictures on Internet sales, the bad wheels are easy to see.  Lots of cracks or flaking.  However on a Royal Blue I purchased the shell looked good in the pictures but the cab was badly warped.  I'm open now to paying more for one already in good shape, the nice thing is one can shop and choose what amount of fixing up if any one is willing to do.  Economically sometimes you are ahead to buy better condition.  No one makes replacement driver wheels at this time as far as I have found after much searching parts suppiers and forums (hope I am wrong).  Did get a new repro 4 wheel pilot truck that an individual sold on Ebay for a #561.  Repro rear truck wheels with axle show up now and then for #565 and#556 on Ebay , I've purchased three and a nice used front 4 wheel truck for a #565.  

Have a good one,

Mayor of Railtown   

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Thursday, June 9, 2016 7:10 PM

LL675

I'd like to pick up some O Gauge Flyer at some point. The zinc pest seems to be a problem with the Prewar stuff. Is it just the wheels, or does it affect the boilers? and are there replacement wheels out there?

thanks from an L&M guy.

 

There is no easy answer to this question.  Zinc pest can affect some boilers, but I would say if it is going to happen, it already has by now.  There are some replacement wheels available, but again, it depends on the specific wheel.

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Posted by LL675 on Friday, June 10, 2016 10:26 AM

I like fier uppers. I've done several Lionels from bare shells bought in junk lots. maybe not the best price wise, but i have plenty of ready to runs, and the parts hunt is half the fun.

Dave

It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by AF53 on Sunday, June 12, 2016 11:31 AM

Hello All,

Haven't posted here for a while but I do have a question. I recentley purchased a 490 Whistling Baggage Car. I have an O gauge fastrak layout. Using these newer Lionel transformers that come with the ready to run sets, will this make the whistle work? Also, if someone can shoot me a picture of the wiring on the bottom I would appreciate it as I need to rewire it. 

 

Thanks

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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Posted by Major on Sunday, June 12, 2016 2:09 PM

I have encountered zinc pest on Wheels and on the gears in Flyer switches. To make a working part without replacing I soaked the piece in a super runny super glue. It seams to keep the thing together. I also add J-B weld to make missing flanges on wheels, teeth on the switch gears and fill in any holes. I file the piece into shape.  This has worked will for me and I have yet to redo a repair and it has been 4-5 years on some of the fixes.  It ain't perfect but I know of no one making replacement  Flyer O gauge switch parts that were diecast.

 

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Posted by geeppe on Sunday, October 9, 2016 3:17 AM

Hi Guys,

Quite a while since I have posted here, but, knowing this is the place for AF 3/16 info, I'll jump in.  Recently acquired a black tin 564 tender in acceptable but not mint condition.  Four wheel trucks, each with a centre rail pickup, red rimmed connection socket on front, link coupler (link missing) and something large and heavy rattling around inside.

I guess it is a chugger unit, but thought the tender number would be 564C if fitted with chugger?  Perhaps 564C only appears in catalogs, not on the product?  I suppose the only way to find out is twist a few tabs and lift the top off.

Which loco would have pulled this tender?

Thanks.

Graeme, Scotland

Graeme, Scotland TCA 04-57743
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Posted by Mayor of Railtown on Sunday, October 9, 2016 3:57 PM

Hi Graeme, glad to hear you are doing some work on the AF 3/16 sector. I'll leave it to more knowledgable forum members to answer your question. Please let us know what you find inside the tender.  Hopefully more than a lead weight, but that might be the case.

have a good one, the Mayor of Railtown

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Posted by Gilbert O guy on Sunday, December 4, 2016 5:30 AM

I believe the 484 with the chugger chassis would date to 1942. Production stopped in May and sales stopped at the end of July that year.  On the production line Gilbert was using up remaining inventory.

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Posted by MAYBEWORNG on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 10:00 AM

Gray Cat

Please use this thread only for prewar American Flyer 3/16" O gauge trains manufactured by The A.C. Gilbert Co. as offered in the 1938-1941 catalogs. Pictures, stories, repairs, discussion, opinion.

(although some of these pictures are in Northwoods Flyer's superb thread I felt it was time to give the Prewar 3/16" their own space)

CHECK BACK OFTEN, I WILL BE ADDING PICTURES THROUGH OUT THE THREAD AS I ADD PIECES TO MY COLLECTION. I'M TRYING TO KEEP THEM ORGANIZED.

ALSO A THANK YOU TO THOSE THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED AND THOSE THAT WILL!

The thing that amazes me and surprises me is how little is known about these trains. They were really only manufactured for 4 years. They are not well known and not seen for sale that often. I would like to get this thread going with any pictures, information or discussion about ONLY 1938-1941 era Prewar American Flyer 3/16" trains..

I have been an American Flyer S gauge collector for more years than I care to remember. I've read "The Man Who Lives In Paradise" at least a few times and each time I do and as more time goes by I'm more and more fascinated by A.C. Gilbert and his accomplishments. Recently I discovered prewar AF 3/16" gauge trains almost by accident. I wanted a smaller layout to display some trains in a game room until I completed my large S layout room. I started out with a simple 5 by 9 layout and found that I just couldn't squeeze enough Flyer S onto it. SO I did the layout in O. First with Lionel.. that didn't last long as it always felt like I was cheating on a spouse or something like that. I moved over to Chicago Flyer since it was "American Flyer"  and although nice it just didn't have the same appeal to me as S gauge. Well quite by accident I stumbled upon a guy that had some prewar 3/16" Flyer for sale. I bought it and was instantly bit by the bug! It was the perfect fit. These trains were the granddaddy's to my S gauge. These are the hot shots that started it all. To date I have amassed a small but interesting collection of these early Gilbert trains and their operating accessories.

I truly look forward to any and all information concerning these trains.. Also

dose any one have a wiring diagram 1941 American Flyer 553, I have been

looking for something for over a month. If anybody has information I would

be very greatful for help My e-mail is walt53ford@charter.net .Thank you Tom 

 

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Posted by MAYBEWORNG on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 10:06 AM

rack776

 I have found a box of rough 3/16" O gauge flyer at a train show a few months ago, everything is scratched dented or surface rusted so to be usable I will need to restore them.

I'm looking for some advise with the restoration process. (I have rebuilt a few postwar lionel & prewar flyer O gauge projects before.....Just not 3/16" O gauge flyer)

I  have 2 different 565 atlantics with chuggers a bunch of tin freight cars, 2 tin NH style passenger cars and an operating mail pick up car in dark green.   It looks like the I think I can make 1 good engine from the 2 (one has bad zinc rot), If I find another engine someday I can make a freight train as well.

I think I have enugh parts to build the set at the bottom of this catalog page.Big Smile

https://www.eliwhitney.org/catalog7/content/american-flyer-trains-1941-page-14

 

1st question - Are the driver wheels on the 565 comon to any other engines? I need 1 good driver to get my locomotive going.

2nd question - Is there a good way to unbend the tabs on the mail pick up car & chugger tender, I need to repaint the body shells and service the mechinisims in side, any tips to reassemble the cars  to make maintenance easier in the future? I'd hate to break the thin tabs off opening them a second time if I ever need to. Is there an easy way to secure the shells with the tabs un bent? Use magnets or tape?  Anyone done this when restoring these?

3rd question - Is there a source or paint code for the dark green used on the tin passenger cars?  I dont have a large enugh clean section of green to get a good paint match...my cars are all lightly surface rusted all over.

4th question - Anyone have a good photo of the inside of the mail pick up car or chugger tender?....I'd like to see how the wiring is done corectly, the chugger tender has most of its cloth wires hanging loose where the solder joints fell off.  I need a wiring diagram or photo of the insides of both cars...Can anyone help?

Thanks for the help! - Jason

 On bending your tabs I found if heat your tabs with a soliderig iron

a short time before straighting them will save them from braking.

This works on most. hope this helps. Tom

 

 

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Posted by jblken on Sunday, March 15, 2020 7:24 PM

I have something to bring attention to a rather rare thing for 3/16 prear AF engines.  It is the ruber tire grove that some of the egines came with.  I had a prewar hudson (531) with rear wheels grove for a rubber band.  I let it go years ago before realizing  what I had was unique. Years later I was able to buy a prewar O/S 6 wheel motor with the rear wheels groved for the rubber band (still have it).  I was able to fit the post war wheel rubber bands onto the wheels.  Of all the many O/S engines I have none other have the grove

 

Ken Wilson

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