Lionel RS-3 dual motor conversion?

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Lionel RS-3 dual motor conversion?
Posted by Garfield on Sunday, February 25, 2007 1:51 PM

I have the Lionel RS-3 that came with the Glaicer Route set.

Can this Loco be convertred to 8 wheel drive?

Is it worth doing?

It looks like it would only take a motor, a set of pick up rollers and 3 gears.

Thanks 

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Posted by sulafool on Sunday, February 25, 2007 3:22 PM
Don't see why not; I did it to an Alaska gp a few years ago. I bought a whole motor truck asm from Lionel. Easy to do, just switch the power wires to the new one so they both run in the same direction. Also, add about 6 oz. of weight and you'll have an engine worth running.
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Posted by steinmike on Sunday, February 25, 2007 4:00 PM
I have a Lehigh Valley RS-3 with dual motors and while it looks good, it's not a great pulling engine compared to my dual motor Williams diesels and Lionel GP's with magnetraction and a single "Pullmor' motor.  You can probably get the parts for the conversion, but I'm not sure that its going to be worth the expense compared to purchasing a new engine with better can motors and flywheels.
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Posted by chuck on Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:39 PM
You can do it. You need a motor, some gears, and a few "speed nuts" to secure the extra drive components.  You can also wire the motors in series and get better low speed performance.  The unit will never have the pulling power of a vertical can motored loco, but it will handle a fair number of modern rolling stock that has needle point axles and fast angle wheels especially on level track. 
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Posted by FJ and G on Monday, February 26, 2007 6:37 AM

I have the Lionel RS-3 (I actually bashed it, so "had" an RS-3). Pulling power was almost nonexistant. Play with weights over the wheels. It will pull 3 times more with the added weights. I also wired the 2nd truck for power, as it wouldn't even make it thru switches without stopping.

The gearing, fortunately, is in place in the 2nd truck so you just need to drop in a motor. Suggest taking it to a hobby shop with parts and a knowledgable person!

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Posted by philo426 on Monday, February 26, 2007 7:22 AM
It is easily done as the trucks are set-up to be powered all that you need are the gears and motor.I had my LHS add another power truck(along with a 3 position E-unit) to a construction zone RS-3 that I got for practically nothing.After re-painting in NYC lightning-stripe livery she can pull 20 plus cars with no problems.I would recommend adding a little weight. 
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Posted by FJ and G on Monday, February 26, 2007 7:24 AM

You've probably already seen what I did with my Lionel Construction loco:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut-6tM-siI8#GU5U2spHI_4 

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Posted by brianel027 on Monday, February 26, 2007 7:39 AM

Garfield, I'm surprised no one thus far has brought up this point. YES, it can be done, but you will need to have a wheel puller and also a very good vice grip to get the wheels back on. The entire non-powered truck will have to be taken apart, and both sets of wheels need to be removed inorder to get the gears on to their shafts.

You'll also want a wiring diagram from Lionel (or someone here can help?} as to where and what wires from the circuit board reverse unit go to what. I've never had one of those single motored units apart, so it could be Lionel uses a different circuit board for these units? Or uses the normal unit but removes the extra wires?

Yes, the unit will run and pull better with a second motor. Though you may need to add some additional weight to the unit and re-adhere traction tires. I too had the Lehigh Valley RS-3 (before I cobbed it for parts to make new loco types) and it pulled just fine and handled long trains with ease - but I added some more weight and used 3-M Carpet Tape to make sure the traction tires were not slipping. This made all the difference. If your traction tires are loose, they might as well not be there because either way they won't work.

And now to Lionel.... I understand the need to control costs, but these single motored diesels are a poor place to do it. They don't pull for beans as is - and I've heard Lionel Value Added dealers say as much. These budget priced locos are the business card to future buyers.... these are the products that your first time buyers will be purchasing. If they don't pull even a few cars, what makes anyone at Lionel think they'll buy anything else?? If you need to, raise prices on the newly developed and newly tooled scale items (which is where the price increases should rightfully be) and put two motors into ALL budget priced diesels. Lionel has lost sales to me and to others who buy other products that run and perform better for the same if not less money.

 

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Posted by sulafool on Monday, February 26, 2007 1:00 PM

Must  disagree with Brianel!

It is a snap to do when you replace the whole assembly. There are only 2 wires to the new motor, just connect them in parallel to the original (but switch them i.e. red-to-black so they will turn the same direction. The blue wire goes to the other blue wire, and yellow to yellow. No wiring diagrams needed, sheesh! It's very simple. In fact, they use wire nuts so you don't even have to solder anything.

He is right about the weight  I have the two Christmas RS3s, each with 2 motors. Even then they were weak until I added about 5.5 oz lead right over the fuel tank. Now I'd say they are comparable to a postwar geep--my test is how they pull up a standard Lionel trestle set.

The hardest part was coming up with a part # for the truck assembly. I believe it cost around 25 bucks, which is still cheaper than buying another engine. Also much easier than adding the gears, as Brianel said (guess I agree with him more than disagree, after all Big Smile [:D])

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Posted by philo426 on Monday, February 26, 2007 1:25 PM
No ,it is not necessary to pull the wheels.All Tom(My repair guy at my LHS) had to do was take off the truck and put in the gears and motor.He told me it only took about 10 minutes.
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Posted by sulafool on Monday, February 26, 2007 2:30 PM
Philo, your guy Tom has to be a magician. I'm looking at mine now, and I'll concede the possibility of pressing on the pinion gear, but there's no way a normal human can get the intermediate gears onto their studs without pulling the wheels--there's just too much wheel flange to get by Confused [%-)]
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Posted by chuck on Monday, February 26, 2007 5:53 PM
It may depend on the truck assembly.  I did this to a US Navy NW-2 and it did not require pulling wheels.  The motor with pinion gear drops in and the cluster gear with pal nut are installed.  It takes about 10-15 minutes.  If you can find a complete power truck, go for it.
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Posted by philo426 on Monday, February 26, 2007 6:49 PM
 
Well since I did not actually witness the conversion,I can only rely on Tom's word.I asked him if there were any problems when I picked it up and he replied:"Not at all just took a few minutes".Since I have known him for many years,and he has proven himself trustworthy,I'll have to take his word for it.It is possible that Lionel may have changed the truck design since I had it converted(Which was in 2001 I believe).The copyright date is 1999 so this may be true.
 
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Posted by sulafool on Monday, February 26, 2007 6:57 PM
Yeah, it must be different trucks. Mine has no pal nuts. The intermediate gears are retained by the wheels and pinion gear only. Less parts=cheaper to make I suppose, and to the Big Fiery Place with ease of service!
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Posted by brianel027 on Monday, February 26, 2007 7:31 PM

Lionel has been using the same basic design on these trucks since the late 1980's when the truck mounted DC can motored locos became the norm. I have yet to see an engine that was advertised with one powered truck and one dummy truck ever have the necessary gears included on the dummy truck. Remember, the dummy truck is there to save money and reduce costs, so they're not going to put gears in something with no motor. This was true of Lionel and K-Line locos with single motors.

The center pins that are part of the inner truck frame assembly are so close to the wheels that there's no way to get the gears in without removing the wheels. I suppose it is possbile that the wheels had enough play in the axle mounting that you might be able to wedge them in. But you still need to pull the wheels because the mounting holes where the motor screws in are directly behind the gears.

Also remember that when Lionel blew out their parts inventory years ago, many bought bulk loads of unusual parts and partial assemblies. It is entirely possible that there are dummy trucks out there with the plastic gears already in them. But you still need to remove this to screw the motor into place.

I do also suppose it is possible for a dealer to do this job quickly if he has all the proper tools ready on a workbench with a soldering guy on and ready to go. But getting everything apart can or could take close to 10 minutes depending on the loco. And provided there are pickup wires already in place and the Mabuchi motor has pre-soldered on lead wires. If these things are done, add in more time. It's certainly taken me longer than 10 minutes to do the job with hand tools and a hand held wheel puller. The K-Line S-2's for example have more to remove, like the circuit board and the weight screwed in over the truck pin and "C" clamp.

The wiring is easy for someone who has done this before. I'd was going on the side on sure, rather than sorry given inexperience. There was a thread recetnly from a guy who said the same colored lead wires were soldered backwards from truck to truck - ie: one truck with red on the center and the other with red on the wheels. If you assume they're correct and don't pull the motors out to see where the wires are (since many times the wires are soldered out of view from under the motor), that will slow the job down.

I was also add that some years ago I was talking to a Lionel tech who I knew on a first name basis, who is no longer with the company. I was inquring on some parts for some of the then new Lionel stuff coming from China. He told me not to assume anything - that one part would fit in something else - as more design work was being done overseas and that he didn't know what would work until the products from China came in.

As a general rule, whenever someone tells me something will take say 5 minutes, I'll assume 10 minutes. Not trying to be a pessimist, but a realist... just factoring in the unexpected, which can often happen. If it actually takes 5 minutes, I count it as a blessing.

I'm not discrediting anyone here. But I've done this job many many times and it's never taken a simple 10 minutes.

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Posted by steinmike on Monday, February 26, 2007 8:42 PM

Guys:

So the cure for the performance problems with my two-motor RS-3 is to:

(1) Add 5.5 to 6 oz of weight either in the vicinity of the fuel tank which is probably the most convenient location or split up the weight (I have .5 oz weights with adhesive backing) so that the weight is added as close to the trucks as possible.

(2) If low speed performance is a problem, wire the motors in series.  I'll probably do this on a "before and after" basis and post the results back regarding any change in voltage for a given speed.

(3) Any thoughts about whether going to TMCC from conventional might also help?

This is the great thing about the forum, you really get the benefit of other folks experience in getting the most out of your trains, thanks!

Mike

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Posted by chuck on Monday, February 26, 2007 8:54 PM

(3) Any thoughts about whether going to TMCC from conventional might also help?

No, TMCC will not affect the performance.

These are photo's of the trucks from a RS-3 from 1988-89 and an NW-2 circa 1994-1995.  Both use the horizontal can motors.  I didn't have to pull the wheels to add the second motor to the NW-2.  I purchased a motor with pinion gear, the cluster gear and the palnut.  The drive gears were part of the truck.

 

 

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Posted by Garfield on Monday, February 26, 2007 10:00 PM
 chuck wrote:

 I purchased a motor with pinion gear, the cluster gear and the palnut.  The drive gears were part of the truck.

 

 

That looks like my truck.  Can you tell me where you bought the motor and gears and or some Lionel Part numbers?

Thanks to evry one for the quick replys.

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Posted by sulafool on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 11:49 AM

My experience matches Brianel's; haven't seen a dummy truck that came with gears yet...altho they do have geared wheels on the axles.

Where is the friggin' pal nut? On the motor shaft? My pinions are just pressed on... 

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Posted by philo426 on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:26 PM
Okay I talked to Tom and he told me that the non-powered truck was identical to the powered truck except forthe deleted gears and motor.The gear-faces were molded into the back of the metal drive wheels,so all that he had to do was install the gears and motor,along with a bit of wiring. 
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Posted by chuck on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 5:53 PM

Motor part number is 8008-105

Drive Gear is 8010-116 (need two)

Cluster Gear 8040-118 (need one)

Palnut 8960-52 (need one)

Palnut is a press on retainer that goes on the shaft of the cluster gear which is actually a paired gear that mates to the pinion on the motor staft and the drive gears that mate to the gears on the back of the wheels.

Sources:

Brasseur Electric Trains in Saginaw, MI.  Very nice folks to deal with.

http://www.traindoctor.com/service/service.asp

Toy Train Parts in Kentucky.  Also very nice and professional folks to deal with.

http://www.trainexchange.com/ttp.htm 

I am looking for an article on wiring the RS-3 motors in parallel and possibly a constant lighting circuit.  When/If I find them, I'll post that as well. 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:46 PM

Wiring the motors in parallel is easy.  Just run a wire from each terminal of the original motor to one terminal of the new motor.  If the trucks try to run in opposite directions, swap the two wires.

Wiring in series, for low-speed operation, is not much harder.  Remove the wire from one terminal of the original motor and connect the wire instead to one terminal of the new motor.  Then run a wire between the now-unconnected terminals of the two motors.  Again, if the direction is wrong, swap the two connections to the new motor.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Garfield on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:28 PM

Thanks for the part numbers and advice.

I would guess one could install a dpdt switch and have parallel/series switchabaitly ala the K-line MP-15?

If i get around to doing it I will just wire in series, my layout will be pretty small if I ever get healthy enough to build it.

Thanks again 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:20 AM
The series-parallel switch would work just fine.  In fact, this is what prototype Diesel-electrics do.  The technical name for it is "transition".  Originally it was done manually; then later automatic transition came along.  With four traction motors, there are three possible configurations, but usually only two are used.  For switchers, the motors are all in series at low speeds and series-parallel at higher speeds.  For road locomotives, series-parallel at low speeds and all in parallel at high speeds.

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Posted by RS3hostler on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 1:46 PM

I've been following this discussion with some interest since I recently purchased a Lionel RS-3 [2006 NYC 8226]. I spoke with some experts at Engine House Hobbies and at the Wichita Toy Train Club. I also searched the web for any info I could find.

The Tinplate FAQ states that a loco with dual DC can motors should be able to pull up to 20 cars [Lionel data for my 44-Ton switcher claims 25]. This assumes new cars with needle point bearings. There was no data for locos with a single can motor, but there was a comparison between single and dual AC universals with worm gearing. A single Pulmor AC can haul up to 45 cars while a dual should haul up to 60.

The general consensus among the experts was that a conversion would not be worth the cost and would almost certainly void the warranty. My RS-3 does have geared axles on the dummy truck and pinions for the extra drive gears, but the wheels would have to be turned to accept traction tires. A better solution, I think, would simply be to purchase a second RS-3 and double head them. If you thought a conversion still worthwhile after the warranty had expired, you could swap out the trucks and have one powered RS-3 and a dummy. You could then leave the rest of the guts in the dummy RS-3 or canabalise them for spare parts.

I have also run several comparison test runs with my RS-3 and 44-Ton. If anyone is interested I will post them here.

PS: Website for Tinplate FAQ Part 4 is:

http://www.spikesys.com/Modelrr/faq4.html

The relevant info is about halfway down the page.

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 7:24 PM
 philo426 wrote:
Okay I talked to Tom and he told me that the non-powered truck was identical to the powered truck except forthe deleted gears and motor.The gear-faces were molded into the back of the metal drive wheels,so all that he had to do was install the gears and motor,along with a bit of wiring. 
 

Well, not quite identical. 

RS3hostler has it right.  You still have no traction tires on your newly motorized power truck, which will cause havoc with series wired motors(it would be like an open differential on ice) and less than satisfactory results in parallel w/o judicious use of weights.

The idler gears, if already on the dummy truck, block access to the two can motor mounting screws and will require removing the wheels from the axles & the idlers from their posts, which you will want to do anyway to get traction-tired gear wheels on the trucks.

Now, to be fair, with a puller, press, & wheel cups, it's a VERY quick job(no quartering required, eg.) which I have done on these locos just to get carpet fuzz out of all the gears & axles for customers as part of regular service.

So, it can be done, it is easy, & is much more economical if you already have all the parts, or if you swap out the entire motor truck assembly.

Rob 

Rob

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Posted by chuck on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 7:43 PM
The NW-2 unit with the 1994/1995 Navy set had a single motor drive.  Second truck, non powered, was identical except it was missing the motor and the "missing" gears and pal nut.  The non powered truck was equipped with traction tires.  I did not have to pull the wheels or do anything else but add the motor and slip on the missing gears.
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Posted by otftch on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:36 PM

A lot of people don't like the truck motored diesels.Except for the wobble problem which I fix with two small foam pads above each truck I like them.I even took two of them and and convereted two old Atlas "O" scale FM's with them.I cut a Lionel Alco (with metal frame) and spliced in a center piece to the right dimensions to which I added the center frame from the Atlas diesel.The Atlas body mounts to four projections on the fuel tank thus I used this part.I used two Lionel RS-3 trucks and 14 Ounces of wieght,.The engine pulls a dummy and fifteen passenger cars (Lionel shorties) with no problem.This conversion is three years old and is run constantly.I can't get my photos to uplaod to this site but there are three photos at:

                           http://community.webshots.com/user/otftch

                          Under My Motive Power,photos # 89,89a and 89b

                                                       Ed

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Posted by cnjcomp on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 7:24 AM
I added a second powered truck to my Pennsylvania RS3 last year.  Because I wanted traction tires on this truck I called Lionel and simply ordered a new powered truck which was easy to install. The original dummy truck has no option to add tires to the wheels and I felt that  adding a motor to a truck assembly that would just slip wouldn't work very well.  On a level grade my RS3 will pull fifteen modern box cars with no problems.  PS, I didn't add any weight to the engine. 
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Posted by philo426 on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 4:26 PM
 
Well both sets of wheels have traction tires,but the one on the front has them on the 2 left-sided wheels and the one in the rear has the traction tires on the right 2 wheels.I also noticed that the front motor truck has the gears facing to the left and the rear motor truck has the gears facing toward the right side frame of the power truck.All I can say is that the addition of the second power truck dramatically improved the pulling power of the loco.20-25 cars of mixed vintage and manufacterer are no problem with this Lionel RS-3. This was a very worthwhile improvement.
 

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