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  • athearn tune ups

    Well,I thought I would share with you the way I tune up my Athearn drives.So here goes.

    1)I start by turning the drive by hand using the flywheel to check on how smooth it turns.I check the metal contact strip at this time to see if it is making good contact,if not I gently bend it into place or hard wire it*.

    2)I then proceed to use 1 small drop of oil on the shafts of the flywheels Again 1 small drop!!.I then turn the flywheels by hand to work the oil in place.

    3)I then proceed to use 1 small drop of oil on the drive shafts at the joints,then I again turn the drive by hand to work the oil in.

    4)I proceed to the trucks.I use 1 small drop of oil on the truck bushing,and gears.Again I turn the drive by hand using the flywheel in order to work the oil onto the gears.

    5)I then turn my attention to the shell.On the inside top of the shell I add 4-6 pieces of A-Line stick on weight.This cuts down on the shell chatter,where alot of the Athearn noise comes from.

    6)I then put the locomotive in a box lid that I turned into a engine holder upside down.I then put alligator clips on the drive and let it run forward for 30-45 minutes.I then reverse it and let it run another 30-45 minutes.this is done at slow speed.I then stop the locomotive,put back in forward and let it run at high speed for 30-45 minutes,then I reverse the locomotive and let it run at high speed again for 30-45 minutes.After this time I remove the locomotive and put the shell on.I then test run it on my test track.It should run smooth and fairly quite.

    *As a option I may or may not hard wire the pick up.You choose the way that is best for you.

    If you choose to try this the main thing to remember is use 1 SMALL DROP OF OIL-NO MORE!!!

    I may do another topic on how to body mount Athearn locomotive couplers.I may also do one on Athearn car kits.

    If you have any ideas or opinions that you use(no remotoring please as this is basic Athearn 101 and meant for beginners)

    I will state I have use this method for years and find it works well.

    brakie

  • #2
    Thanks for the 101 Brakie! The only thing I would add is to cut the brush springs in half. Makes for a smoother start up by providing less initial friction to overcome. Helps SOME Athearns.

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    • #3
      One of my tricks to fine tuning Athearn's is to remove the bottom clip from the truck. I'll then fill the truck with "Pearl Drops" tooth polish replace the bottom clip and then run the engine in each direction for about 30 to 45 minutes. After this run time I'll remove the trucks and completely clean and relube them. I use Woodland Scenics "Hob-E-Lube" #HL657 White Grease inside the trucks. What this does is polishes the gear faces and removes any burrs.

      I also remove some length from the brush spring.

      I also hard wire the motor top and bottom.

      Another trick is to check on the fore and aft play of the worm gear and add shims if needed, there should be very little play if any, but worm should freely rotate.

      You should also remove any fore and aft play from the motor as well, you have to careful here as you will be taking the motor completely apart.
      Dan



      Happiness begins with dessert.

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      • #4
        Yea Brakie,

        Knowing how to modify Athearn Couplers would be nice! Look forward to that info!

        Drew
        Drew Toner



        Chief / Sawyer

        Ashcreek Lumber Co.

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        • #5
          Drew, this business about Athearn's and couplers is quite a topic. My rule of thumb is:

          A. With switchers, use the provided Athearn metal coupler box clip to secure a 30 series coupler with a number 5 spring. I use the 30 series on switchers as those couplers have an insulated shank.

          B. All other units recieve a 6, 7, 8, or 40 series coupler in the provided Kadee coupler box, secure with a screw. The mounting pad needs to be drilled and tapped for a 2-56 screw. Mounting the coupler in the provided Kadee coupler box takes a bit longer than using the provided Athearn plastic coupler box cover, but improves coupler ops dramatically and will save one many hassels in the future.

          One final point, before mounting any coupler, I check the mounting pad against the Kadee coupler height gage. That helps me determine if I shall require an offset shank coupler to obtain correct height.

          Edited by - tankertoad70 on 04/29/2002 19:27:41

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          • #6
            Good info! Thanks TT70!

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            • #7
              Thanks to all for the Athearn tune up info. This page was printed and now sitting on the work bench!!

              Any other tips regarding Athearn loco's?

              Drew
              Drew Toner



              Chief / Sawyer

              Ashcreek Lumber Co.

              Comment


              • #8
                Drew:

                I just posted a list of magazine articles on Atearn diesels in the "3R's" section of General Forums. Check them out.

                Dan Raitz

                Escondido, CA
                Dan



                Happiness begins with dessert.

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                • #9
                  quote:



                  Thanks to all for the Athearn tune up info. This page was printed and now sitting on the work bench!!


                  Any other tips regarding Athearn loco's?

                  Drew



                  id=quote>id=quote> Yep! Have fun trying to wear it out! It'll still be running long after the "Energizer Bunny"!

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                  • #10
                    Yes,One more thing.If you use the greasey kids stuff,make sure it is the thin type of grease and put it on sparelingly! I found that Athearn drives don't need all that much grease or oil.I have clean more then my share of Athearn drives that had heavey grease or way to much.As Bucks said have fun trying to wear them out! Can't be done! Also remember Athearn is like a Timex watch,it takes a beating and keeps right on ticking!

                    brakie

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                    • #11
                      Hi everyone.

                      I have an Athearn U33B that is new. I turned the flywheels a little and it seemed fined. So I put a little oil on the shafts. Then grease on the gears in the trucks. Then I turned it by hand again to work them in. That is when it tightened up and made a little clicking noise. Then it was free again. I turned it more and it was fine. Then I turned the other way and it tightened up and clicked again. Sounds like it is coming from the front truck. Is this a problem? Is it serious? Any suggestions?

                      Thanks

                      Ted
                      If the builders plate doesn\'t say ALCO.

                      Its not a real locomotive!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        all excellent tips.have been using these for yrs.while i have the loco all apart i use a wire brush in my moto tool or a regular drill and i polish the small metal plates on each truck,the part that contacts the frame.also polish the truck frame where the frame sets on the trucks.i might add some people use to much oil.(been their done that)that oil will be thrown up on the frame and truck where the metal meets metal and you will end up with oil between these contact points which will lead to poor electrical pickup.i generally clean the oil off using denatured alchol.other chemicals can be used also.th in kansas.........

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