American Flyer 300-307 wont run just buzzes PLEASE HELP

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Edavillenut, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. Edavillenut

    Edavillenut Member

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    :confused: i have never seen these trains run but i am fixing them up for my father i have cleaned them all up oiled the but when i put them on the track they just buzz and dont move want is buzzing it the reverser in the tender. the thight in the front is not comming on either the motor wont spin. please help
  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

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    Unfortunately I don't know very much about postwar S gauge Flyer but I'll tell you what I do know. The reverser tended to be problematic, and is likely the cause of your problem. I know that for more reliable operation Gilbert disabled the reverser on all of its trains on its displays at its Gilbert Halls of Science. You might try disabling the reverser (assuming there's an easy way to do so--sorry, I'm no help there) and see if it starts running.

    I've never tried to clean or repair a Flyer reverse unit (I'm into O scale) and don't want to give any bad advice on it. If you have a Lionel repair shop anywhere nearby, they are likely to be able to fix it, since Lionel has owned Flyer since 1969 and parts are still available, mostly.

    You might try the Classic Toy Trains forum over at www.trains.com for more advice. I know some Flyer fans lurk there. Or the S-Trains group on Yahoo, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/S-Trains . The S-Trains group on Yahoo is very active.
  3. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    What I would do, is before putting the engine on the tracks, bench test it by placing the engine up side down on a soft cradle and aply power directly to the pick-ups with power leads. Get it to work on the bench first. Take it appart and get the thing to run bt putting the power to it starting from the motor and going back. Check for shorts and weak connections with a multimeter.

    Loose wires, cause fires.

    TrainClown ;)
  4. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi Shawn:
    The 300 and the 307 are set up differently. Which do you have? The 300 has the four step reverse unit in the boiler. The 307 has the reverse unit in the tender. My wife is scanning a couple of diagrams of these and i will post them shortly. Do you know how these reverse units work? They are also called "e-units".

    Flyer used a four step e-unit. Applying power and cutting off power to the train steps the unit through the phases. They are, forward, neutral, reverse, neutral. In each phase, if you have a headlight, the headlight should be on. Is your headlight bulb good? If your headlight isn't on, and the bulb is good, then you're probably not getting power from the tender to the engine. Both these engines have their power pickups in the tender. Get your VOM or circuit tester out and see if you are getting power on the engine side of the plug located in the cab. These are often teh weak link.
    More in a sec.
    Regards,
    Ted
  5. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Shawn:
    Another thing. These e-units are set up to run on AC power. They don't work properly on DC. I expect you're using AC since you hear a buzzing, but wanted to check.

    Ted
  6. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi Shawn:
    Got a couple diagrams for you. "All the usual disclaimers re: copyrighted material".

    The first one is the 300 and the second one if the 307. The wiring diagrams at the bottom should help you figure out how to trace the circuits. Open up the tender and look at the e-unit. When the solinoid is powered the e-unit cycles and rotates the drum changing the points at which the contact fingers touch the contacts on the drum. This changes the flow of electricity through the motor. If when you apply power to the tender, the drum is not rotating freely figure out why and fix it. Couple of general rules. It's not a good idea to oil the e-units except on the contract drum axle bearing points. And then only the smallest bit of oil should be used. The flap or arm below the solinoid, that is actuated by the solinoid should freely drop back into place when power is turned off. If not, fix it so it does. You can add a small square of foam, 1 pound stuff like is used in pillows, below this arm to help spring it back into place. Play with this a while if you choose to do it to be sure it works reliably.

    Other tips from the K-Line book. Check the finger units (32) on the e-unit (31) to see if they are making proper contact or are burnt. If dirty clean the e-unit using a tuner cleaner, radio shack is good. Is the drum pitted or worn? Check the pawl on the e-unit to see if it is in good shape. All these parts are available from Joe's Train Repair or Portlines. Once you've got a reliable e-unit and juice to the engine then check out the motor for worn brushes, dirt in the gears (get ALL the old lube off the gears) and make sure the steel "tires" all securely mounted to the white plastic "wheels" as these "wheel" insulate the drivers from the track.

    Let me know what you find.

    Regards,
    Ted

    Attached Files:

  7. Edavillenut

    Edavillenut Member

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    well i have both the 300 and 307 also have the 343. i found out what the problem was. my grandfather let my cusins use the traind and they decided to rewire them. so i cut all the wires off and wired it corectly. the motor works fine replaced the brushed and springs. cleaned all the old lube off and reoiled it. now i cant get the e-unit to work. is there a way i can pull that apart because it has 50 years of dirt in it and the contaces are green and black.
  8. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi Shawn:
    A lot of the folks who work on these say not to pull the e-unit apart. Just take it and hang it over a container of some sort and spray the gunk out of it with a can of radio shack tuner cleaner. It'll disolve most of the old stuff and the next spray will carry it off the unit. This works well as long as all the contacts on the barrel and the fingers, are in good shape, i.e. not worn through. This will also provide all the lubrication you should need. It is helpful to take the e-unit off the tender if you are rewiring it, but is not neccessary. Just makes clean up a little easier.

    The 343 will smoke stronger if you reroute the wires to the smoke unit's coil directly to the plug where the tender connects to the engine. Normally the smoke unit wires come off the engine and so the voltage isn't as strong, and so the smoke isn't as thick.

    Glad to hear you've got 'em running.

    Regards,
    Ted
  9. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi Shawn (part two);
    Just remembered the other thing i did to clean an e-unit without taking it apart. Used some brass cleaner on q-tips and also on a thin piece of cardboard shaped like an emory board. The thin piece of cardbord was like cerial box stock. I peeled the shiney surface off both sides. Then applied brass polish to both sides and slid it in between the fingers and the drum. Worked well.

    Regards,
    Ted
  10. acflyer322

    acflyer322 New Member

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    Hello Ed

    The reason the tender is buzzing is because theres current being applied to the reverse unit. More then likely the fingers in the unit are either dirty or worn out and the reverse drum is dirty with no current being transfered from one finger to the engine. Also if these engines have been sitting for a long period of time there may be dirty connections at the jack panel or even broken wires going into the jack panel. Just so you know these engines won't work properly if you try and test run them upside down , the reverse unit uses gravity to operate and will not cycle upside down. Also if the tender is perfect you may have a dirty armature or a broken or a stuck brush in the brush tube. There is a varity of things that can be the problem. Best thing is take the engine and tender completely apart clean everything as though you were going to eat off it. Make very sure when assembling that connections are clean soldered and do NOT use copper wire ! the wire you want to use is superflex 22 gauge this is the correct wire to use. Clean the commutator real good and becarefull how you handle it and what you clean it with. If the engine has a smoke unit , make sure you clean and rough out the chugger ( cylinder and piston) if you have the graphite style piston becarefull this is graphite and will chip easy. These engines aren't hard to repair just use caution when handling 60 year old parts , if I can be of any help to please feel free to email me. Good luck!