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Quiet ticking from Proto 2000 GP20 and GP30 motors

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Quiet ticking from Proto 2000 GP20 and GP30 motors
Posted by fieryturbo on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 1:12 PM

So I bought a pair of locos from someone over the weekend, the premise was that they had cracked gears.  No big deal, use locos need a tune up anyway.  The GP20 was completely frozen with old oil, so I completely cleaned out every crevice in the trucks and body with alcohol and swabs. I replaced the cracked axle gears, and now they run fine, though the motors make a little bit of a ticking noise.  This is coming from the actual motor and not the trucks, as I disconnected the trucks and ran the motor with alligator clips attached, and it's noisy.   I tried cleaning and lubing the commutator as Labelle instructs with 107, this really didn't do much and left a black streak on the commutator again.  Is this the normal behavior?

At higher speeds (about 1/2) it's more of a quiet buzz.  I lubed all the moving parts of the drivetrain with a drop each of 102, and the gearboxes with a dab of 106 grease during the tune up.

Both engines are still DC with the original boards in them.  I'm running them on a 34x56 loop of Bachmann EZ-Track, with an MRC Railpower 1350 power pack.

Do I just need to run them more, or what?

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 2:29 PM

Maybe check out the brushes.  Just be careful, and not let one of the tiny springs go flying, while taking it apart.

Just an idea.

Mike.

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Posted by Soo Line fan on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 3:34 PM

I would look to see if the drive shafts are rubbing on the weight or wires. Not a lot of room in certain areas on these units.

Jim

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Posted by Eriediamond on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 5:03 PM

Good point Soo Line. Also I would disconnect the drive shafts from the motor and see if that clicking sound stops. My first thoughts are that maybe since the loco had cracked gears that at some point a universal joint became out of phase and that may be where the noise is comming from.

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Posted by fieryturbo on Thursday, March 17, 2016 9:25 AM

It's still making the noise.   Is it safe to leave a loco unattended running in a circle for several hours? I could let it run while I'm at work.

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, March 17, 2016 12:13 PM

Are those from the batch that had cracked gears? 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by fieryturbo on Thursday, March 17, 2016 12:28 PM

riogrande5761

Are those from the batch that had cracked gears? 

 
See my first post.

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by gatrhumpy on Thursday, March 17, 2016 12:34 PM

What about getting another motor?

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Posted by fieryturbo on Thursday, March 17, 2016 12:52 PM

So, what I've found so far is:

The motor vibrates when unloaded.  A buzzing noise comes from it.  But it seems to not vibrate when attached to the drive axles and frame (loaded.)  It's then very hard to tell if it's the motor or trucks making the noise.  Can the motor spindle be removed? The flywheels seem to be machine-pressed on.

The trucks rattle when power is directly applied to the motor and the trucks aren't touching anything. The wheels spin for awhile and then stop, then start again.  Do the wheels disengage when no power is applied? Do I have a chipped gear tooth on one of the non-axle gears? I didn't see one when I was cleaning the trucks, I'd think such a thing would be obvious if I was examining them one at a time.

There is at least a flange worth of side-to-side slop in the wheels.  They are correctly spaced acording to my NMRA gauge.  I don't know if this is the source of the noise, or even important at all.  The gears are new, the bronze bearings are new, the wheels are old but were checked for "no-go" and a micrometer, and still match the new wheel width of .110.

 

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by beartracks on Thursday, March 17, 2016 6:15 PM

you get some buzzing with open frame motors.  Is the armature (too) loose in it bearings so it is bouncing? Are the gears square on their shafts? is there slop in the drive train? if so use some washers (Kadee coupler will do in a pinch) to remove excessive side-to-side or back & forth (worm) motion.  Also  a drive shaft U-joint could be split or worn or not tight on its shaft (the reason the wheels spin stop spin).  Are the sockets in the truck frame for the gear axles worn oblong?  Can you try running the truck with a better motor?

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Posted by beartracks on Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:13 PM

I looked at you initial post.  I have Proto 2000 GP7s & E7s that run very smoothly,no buzz or ticking when running on DC (you are not using pulse DC, right?) Clean the commutator again and the brushes. Do NOT remove the armature out of the motor (magnetic field poles). Clean the slots between the armature pole segments very caerfully using a wooden tooth pick.  DO NOT put any oil, grease, etc on the comutator (or brushes).  Make sure the curved brush face seats on the comutator.  apply only a small amount of oil to the bearings being careful not to get any into the comunator area.  It is very possible that the motor bearings maybe worn out allowing the amature to bang around inside instead of smoothly rotating in the bearings.  Since these locos are used, how hard & long they were operated, maintenance, etc is not known, it is possible the trucks and motor may be worn out.

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Posted by fieryturbo on Friday, March 18, 2016 9:24 AM

I've removed Athearn brushes before - you just have to do it slowly so the spring tension isn't released all at once.  Can the brushes be cleaned?  Also, Labelle actually recommends using 107 on the commutator because it's conductive.  I *did* do that and it didn't seem to help anything, but didn't add any noise either.  The loco isn't stalling, just has a slight buzz.  Removing the board and alligator clipping the wires together did get rid of some odd pulsing that it was doing on some sections of the track.

I am using a Walthers Trainline GP9 as a comparison.  It has no noise at all, just the swoosh of the wheels on the tracks and the clicking going over joints.

The GP9 has little to no wear on it as far as I can tell.  The GP20 and 30  may have a lot of hours on them.  Judging by the wheels, I'd say they do, so motor noise may be an issue.

If worse comes to worse, it's probably something I can live with.  I plan on putting sound decoders in them anyway, which will drown out noise at this level.  I hate masking problems though.

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, March 18, 2016 5:15 PM

fieryturbo

The trucks rattle when power is directly applied to the motor and the trucks aren't touching anything. The wheels spin for awhile and then stop, then start again.  Do the wheels disengage when no power is applied?

If you have power continuously applied to the motor, the wheels should keep spinning.

Henry

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, March 18, 2016 10:21 PM

Yup, Henry is right, so, have you checked the worm gear that connects to the trucks?  If a thrust washer is missing, you'll also have a "ticking" or jerky motion.  There should be one on each side of the worm gear.

And, with no weight on the trucks, kind of suspended in air, like you described, the wheels stop and start, even leads me more towards the worm gear, and how it contacts the gears in the truck.  There is not much tolerance.  It doesn't take much to disengage the worm gear from the truck gears.

Just one more thing to check, if you haven't already.

Mike.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Friday, March 25, 2016 12:06 AM

Try removing the brushes and spinning the motor shaft by hand. Does it still make the noise? If so, the bearings are dry or worn.

If not, the noise is coming from the commutator, and the plates may be slightly uneven and catching on the brushes ever so slightly. This will cause a buzzing noise and wear the brushes out quickly. Speaking from experience, it's not an easy problem to fix.

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Posted by fieryturbo on Friday, March 25, 2016 3:21 PM

The thrust washers are on there for sure.  do they wear out? I was very careful to replace them both when reassembling each truck.

Julian

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, March 25, 2016 3:35 PM

I would have lubed the Armature shaft bearings/bushings while I was doing greasing of the gears. Not very easy to get at on some motors....but they do dry out and will get noisy, also make the motor run warmer. Also check drive-line connections, at the fly-wheels.

Good Luck! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by dano126 on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:56 PM

hello, I have a GP 30 I just picked up from ebay, it was listed as new.  After I've had it for a few weeks I finally get time to inspect it.  I put it on the rails, only to have it sit there and buzz.  I tried to move the flywheels, but the movement is limited as well.  After a couple tries, they start moving, and I can see the drive shafts moving.  Set it on track, power it up and its moving, only with a clickity click!  Check to make sure its railed ok, and it is.

In other replies on your post, I've read something about cracked gears.  Is this something that is common with Protos, or is it with a few models?

I'd like to keep this loco, but since I just got it a few weeks ago, I have the option to attempt to return it to the seller (I hope), and either have them exchange it or refund my money .

 

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Posted by mvlandsw on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 11:54 PM

It very likely has cracked gears, a common problem with Life-Like four axle diesels.

See earlier posts for possible solutions.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, January 10, 2019 6:04 AM

I've had older Life Like GPs with cracked gears so bad that it inhibited rolling by quite a bit, like severe binding.  That's probably the problem.

Also, LL used to put an excessive amount of peanut butter colored grease in the trucks, which is probably rock hard by now.  Hard grease in the trucks and truck towers can cause binding also.

I would remove the trucks and clean them by the the methods listed above (also, don't underestimate the value of placing them in stream of really hot water from the faucet), and replace the axle gears.

If you're interested in the first part of the thread, in my experience, older LL GPs accumulated oil and schmutz everywhere.  If you're not averse to taking the loco apart, I would solve odd noise issues by simply running the trucks and motor/drive under the hot water faucet.  No kidding.  

Clean out the obvious goop that you can see, then let the rush of hot water clean out the parts you can't see.  Make sure the tape on the bottom of the motor (top of the frame) is secure or replace it.  More than 50% of the time those non-gear related noises went away after a simple hot water flush. 

I would generally just blow out the water in the motor hard and reassemble and run the loco right away, but my official advice is to let it dry overnight.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:28 AM

 While you may have gotten away with it, I would never recommend putting the motor itself in water. The universals come apart easily enough, and then all of the gearing can be washed out. In fact I'd suggest soaking the gears in warm water with some Dawn type dish soap, rather than using runnign water - would really had to have a gear get flushed down the sink. Once they've soaked for a while, usually you can just clean off the grease with your fingers, but a soft toothbrush would help. If the loco is one of the Geeps prone to cracked gears, don;t even bother witht he wheelsets and the axle gear, just pull the wheels off and get a new set of Athearn gears. Dry it all off, then reassemble and use a SMALL amount of plastic safe lubricant like Labelle. The grease on the gears, the light oil on bearing surfaces. It only takes a SMALL amount, no need to try to pack the whole gear tower the way it was from the factory.Too much will drip out and make a mess - I've dealt with some Bachmann locos where it was just shear luck the oil didn;t get on the body shell, but the bottom of the packing and the bottom cover on the trucks were just totally greasy with oil. Wiped the loco off, and cleaned out the box, and in a short time the bottom cover was once again oil soaked. Only stopped after taking it all apart and cleaning it all and then applying sparing amounts of fresh lubricants. Gotta wonder sometimes. I think I prefer to mimic the oil and grease stains down the center of the track with paints, and not actual grease and oil dripping from my locos. 

                                             --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by NVSRR on Thursday, January 10, 2019 8:24 AM

It sounds like these were heavily used and a worn really good.  Like it was a moving display.   Mulitple problems at the trucks and motor.   Sounds like the cracked gears went unattended for a long period.   Causing alignment issues to develop through the entire drive train.   Most likely wear on the gears shafts has them out of round along with thier bearing points and worm

gear thrust washers and bearing worn.        As everything in the gear tower runs out of alignement, it throws the drive shaft out wearing those bearings. Of course that wears the commutator uneven too.     Wouldnt surprise me other parts are damaged.    

from the list of problems you mentioned,  i would say they are off a display and never saw maintenance or repair

That is the impression i get.   

Wolfie

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, January 10, 2019 9:20 AM

rrinker

 While you may have gotten away with it, I would never recommend putting the motor itself in water. The universals come apart easily enough, and then all of the gearing can be washed out. In fact I'd suggest soaking the gears in warm water with some Dawn type dish soap, rather than using runnign water - would really had to have a gear get flushed down the sink. Once they've soaked for a while, usually you can just clean off the grease with your fingers, but a soft toothbrush would help. If the loco is one of the Geeps prone to cracked gears, don;t even bother witht he wheelsets and the axle gear, just pull the wheels off and get a new set of Athearn gears. Dry it all off, then reassemble and use a SMALL amount of plastic safe lubricant like Labelle. The grease on the gears, the light oil on bearing surfaces. It only takes a SMALL amount, no need to try to pack the whole gear tower the way it was from the factory.Too much will drip out and make a mess - I've dealt with some Bachmann locos where it was just shear luck the oil didn;t get on the body shell, but the bottom of the packing and the bottom cover on the trucks were just totally greasy with oil. Wiped the loco off, and cleaned out the box, and in a short time the bottom cover was once again oil soaked. Only stopped after taking it all apart and cleaning it all and then applying sparing amounts of fresh lubricants. Gotta wonder sometimes. I think I prefer to mimic the oil and grease stains down the center of the track with paints, and not actual grease and oil dripping from my locos. 

                                             --Randy

 

I take old noisy Proto GPs apart. I set the light board aside.  Trucks down to the gears and individual parts.  Motors separated from the frame.  Drive lines taken off the trucks and motors.  

Everything gets scrubbed with alcohol and mineral spirits to degrease the water-based schmutz and the oli based schmutz.  

I then put in the sink drain screen and wash everything with running hot water, soap, and a tooth brush.

I let the stream of hot water get into the motor bearings, armature, and even the spun wire core. 

Everything gets flushed with hot water.  The motor get high pressure air (from my mouth) to blow out any water.  Everything else rests on a towel to dry.

Loco gets reassembled (almost immediately) with a small dab of labell in the truck tower gear, and CRC tuner cleaner on the motor bearings.

Loco becomes quiet as a mouse in most cases. I run it long enough to warm up and dry out any possible moisture.

These are simple DC locos.  I wouldn't think of doing that to a DCC/Sound loco.

I've been doing this for years, but understand it could be intimidating for someone seeking advice.

- Douglas

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, January 10, 2019 9:29 AM

I figured you were just talking about the gears and gear towers, but the motor too?

I suppose, as long as it gets completely dried out.  Maybe the air compressor from the air brush, or a can of the compressed air might help get all the water out.

I've never done that.  Good luck.

Mike.

 

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, January 10, 2019 9:37 AM

Its just metal and plastic and a simple wound motor..  The water isn't really going to short anything out after most of the water is removed.  Its not like I'm running current through it under a sink.

Heck, I've run those things with water drops spinning out of the motor as I increase the throttle. (I run them without the shell for a while)

My only concern is that there might be some surface rust if the loco is stored in non open air conditions, so I usually wait a few days before putting the shell back on and keep them where there's good air circulation.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, January 10, 2019 10:24 AM

 Surface rust forming on the iron core and the magnets is my main concern. Also, depending on where you are, deposits from the water forming on the conducting surfaces of the commutatot and brushes. Using tap water here where I am would be probably not a good thing. Distilled water, or DI water, would be better, but gettign it under pressure would be difficuly. Alcohol, that may work. Years ago there was a contact cleaner that was non-conductive (of course it uses chemicals now known to be really bad for you, and so it not available) and it was actually demonstrated by dunking a whole locomotive (metal shell and frame, no plastic) in a glass full of the stuff AND APPLYING POWER.

 While there are plenty of examples of the gearboxes coming from the factory with far too much grease, I don't think I've ever come across a loco where the motor bearings were over oiled. Dirty commutators can be cleaned with an eraser. 

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, January 10, 2019 4:40 PM

I'm not concerned about sediment, my tap water isn't that dirty.  I do it only once when rehabbing the loco for the first time after purchase. Its not regular maintenance.   I find used ones at train shows and rehab them.  Its part of the hobby for me. Fix handrails, weather, sell on ebay so someone else can enjoy it. 

I assume any LL GP bought at this point is going to be previously owned, (like the OP suggests) but yeah, its not something I'd do to a NOS LL GP.

You'll be amazed by what people have done to their locos.  Thick axle grease packed into the worm gears causes terrible binding, and oily fingerprints all over the things.  I'm sure oily dirt has gotten everywhere in many cases. 

- Douglas

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