Commodore Vanderbilt Same Old Story

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  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • 16 posts
Commodore Vanderbilt Same Old Story
Posted by golden lover on Thursday, January 25, 2018 10:30 AM

I sincerely appreciate all of the comments regarding my previous question regarding a Commodore Vanderbilt that I am resotring but now i've got another one.  I'm kind of picky about how my Marx collection looks, always trying to upgrade it.  The CV I am rebuilding has been an issue with drive wheels and side rods.  I'm looking for a pair of geared wheels with rods that are bright and shiny and they are difficult to come by.  I've exhausted several E Bay opportunities by purchasing wheels/rods that the sellers claim to be perfect, which they were not! Here is my question.  Will a motor from a Marx #400 fit the CV? It might be easier to start the search for a really nice #400 if the motor fits.  I am not trying to restore the CV to be factory-like or original since I repainted it and puchased domes, smoke bezels and CV side signs from Robert Grossman. Steve

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • 196 posts
Posted by Papa_D on Friday, January 26, 2018 10:13 AM

The last of the CV production was in ’48, however Mercury production lasted to ’52. They used the same windup motor. “400” production started in in ’52 and lasted until ’76, although not continuous during this time span. Given the overlap between the Mercury and “400” windup production, in all likelihood the motors would have the same form and fit given Marx’s manufacturing approach that focused on saving half-pennies per unit. The windup key location and front attachment screw location looks to be the same based on the attached photo of a “400” windup.  

From the underside, the motors look to have the same form and fit. I grabbed the attached photo off of eBay. 

Finally, I have a “401” windup. Never thought of the motors being interchangeable until reading your post. Just tried it. The only difference is the front cross beam for the attachment screws is narrower for the “400” (on the left) vs CV (on the right). Also, the CV uses a fine thread screws while the “400” uses course thread screws (back to that fraction of a penny stuff).  

Easiest solution would be to just change out the cross beams. My “401” motor runs longer per wind-up than my CV, I might just have to make a change. The wheels certainly look much better.

Papa D


  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • From: Northview, Missouri
  • 398 posts
Posted by JamesP on Friday, January 26, 2018 8:45 PM

Golden Lover: Are you restoring a windup or electric CV?  Since you mentioned geared wheels, I suspect it is electric?

I'm not well versed on the electric versions, but I do know that the 400 came with at least 3 different electric motors, including a normal reversing electric motor, a forward-only electric motor, and a DC motor.  I believe the DC motor had a unique mount that wouldn't be interchangeable with the CV.

Hopefully, others that are more familiar with the Marx electrics can chime in and correct or confirm the above info...

 - James

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • 42 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:42 PM

Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but I would imagine that most common Marx electric motors can be fitted into different models. I have a friend who bought a restored CV a few years back, at a show. Someone had fitted the shell with the motor from a Marx 1666. Aside from some custom metal fixtures, and nuts ‘n’ bolts to join them together, to fix the issue of making the front/cyllinder screw mounts line up with the shell. As a result, the locomotive can smoke, too! 


I would guess that an alternating current Marx motor, regardless of intended model, can be fitted to another model, if the right alterations are made. Then again, I’m not exactly a Marx expert, I’ve only got so much experience, and I would continue to seek out advice from others.

"If it don't work, then gosh darn it, get a' fixin!"

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?


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