Lionel RS-3 dual motor conversion?

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  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Hopewell, NY
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Posted by ADCX Rob on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 5:44 PM
 philo426 wrote:
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.

Well, it looks like you're good to go!  As the front & rear power trucks are identical, the traction tires(& gear wheels too) will always alternate to the other side  when the truck is faced the other way.  Having all wheels powered, switching the unpowered truck from dead weight to helping out, makes a significant difference!  It's all good!



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  • From: Colchester, Vermont
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Posted by Kooljock1 on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 7:45 PM
I would LOVE to see Lionel up-date the RS-3 with die-cast metal trucks, couplers, & fuel tank, and of course twin CAN motors.

This engine would be a likely candidate for TrainSounds alongside the GP-38.

Jon Cool [8D]
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Posted by Garfield on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:21 PM

 cnjcomp wrote:
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.


Do you hapen to still have that part #? And do you mind me asking how much Lionel charged for that truck?

Thanks again,


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Posted by cnjcomp on Sunday, April 15, 2007 2:00 PM

I just looked at the dummy truck for my RS-3 and it does not have,nor does it have grooves to add traction tires to it.  The new motorized truck from Lionel was in the $30-$35.00 price range including shipping. Call Lionel parts and give them the Catalog number for your RS-3.  The trucks are available in several colors including gray for the UP RS-3.  Installation is a snap, and it is the best investment you can make for your RS-3.  If you are so inclined, it is possible to order the old style metal frame and handrails to replace the plastic one on your RS-3. I'm toying with the idea of doing this,since this is the engine I let my Grandchildren run.


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  • From: New England
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Posted by Jumijo on Monday, April 16, 2007 7:15 AM

I just purchased a Lionel NYC RS-3 this weekend ($80 brand new). I love it! It pulls fine and the paint and graphics are excellent. My only complaint is that the horn is a little too quiet. Is there any way to boost the volume?


Modeling the Baltimore waterfront in HO scale

  • Member since
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Posted by RS3hostler on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 10:02 PM

I noticed the same thing. The Lionel RS-3 horn is so quiet it can barely be heard above the noise of other trains running. I called the dealer and he told me the sound board may have an adjustment called a potentiometer, which will adjust the volume. Unfortunately I have no idea what it looks like. Apparently it can be adjusted with a precision screw driver. You might want to take it to a service center and have them make the adjustment. Let me know if you have any luck.


  • Member since
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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, April 19, 2007 8:46 AM

Wikipedia has some pictures of potentiometers that may be close enough to help you identify yours:


Bob Nelson

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Posted by FJ and G on Thursday, April 19, 2007 9:31 AM

removing the wheels to place the gears on would seem like a chore. Here's my dummy RS-3, which I've designated as a load until I have more time to figure it all out



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Posted by M. Mitchell Marmel on Monday, February 17, 2014 3:03 PM

This palaver interests me greatly, as the Crocodile uses a one-lung RS-3 chassis and has some difficulty getting out of its own way.  Are powered trucks still available from Lionel?


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Posted by krazykatz911 on Monday, December 23, 2019 12:28 PM

I know this is an old thread,  but I bought a Lionel John Deere RS-3 train set for my son for Christmas.   The issue is that it has trouble with traction and slows badly if over 4-5 cars.   I would love to install another motorized Truck assembly.    Lionel sells them $35.    Anyone get this to work?    

Also, how do you take apart the RS-3 in order to do the wiring?

Tags: john deere , RS-3
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Posted by Michael6268 on Monday, December 30, 2019 5:37 AM

I've done that to a few engines.  That is a Lionchief engine so you would need to solder chokes on each side of the motor and then I recomend wiring the motor in series.  Make sure to check the direction of motor rotation when you do.  You have to wire the new truck opposite the polarity of the existing truck.

  • Member since
    June 2020
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Posted by Ennex9100 on Monday, June 15, 2020 12:48 PM

I've always loved the Lionel RS-3's, great simple engines (and affordable, lol).   Did a TMCC conversion to a single-motor Southern Pacific RS-3 about 10 years ago.  Installed Railsounds and speaker into a 2nd one, then slaved it to the first unit with the TMCC board.  They run pretty smooth together, but never thought to add weight as others here pointed out.  Most I've tried was a 6-car consist, worked well.  I have the new John Deere RS-3 as well, and agree it's a limited puller.  But my 4x8 layout is limited to 3-4 car trains anyway, so not that big a deal for me.

Going to do a TMCC conversion on a dual-motor UP RS-3 #8805, will let you all know how that goes.

Tags: RS-3

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