Marklin Loco doesn’t run – solidified oil.

On April 18th I attended the monthly meeting of the ETE’s Eastern New England Chapter. I purchased about a dozen Marklin Primex locomotives that were made over 25 years ago, and had never been opened. I’m sure that you all know what that means! “Jim bought a bunch of locomotives that won’t run because the lubricant used at the factory has solidified”. Well you’re right, they won’t run, the oil is like superglue, but so what it is an easy problem to fix. There are people who collect unopened items, but Primex items are fun to run, and with the reasonable cost they are actually great items to add to a working railroad. That said, here are the steps I take to make them run as intended:

1.) Since the boxes were all still factory sealed I carefully remove the label from one end. It can be slowly peeled off and usually in one piece. I then stick that to a piece of Wax Paper, and then using a small flat blade screwdriver I open the end flaps.

2.) When the locomotive is out of the box I put it on my test track and give it some power. If it runs (none have so far) the job is 99% done. The required maintenance is then to just remove the body, and put a drop of Marklin oil into the oil resevoir at each end of the armature shaft. Reinstall the body, turn it over and put a drop on one of the drive gears (it will work it’s way through all of them). I also oil the wheel bearings too.

3.) If the locomotive does not run remove the body.

4.) Using a finger gently try to turn the drive gear that meshes with the armature shaft (do not try to turn the locomotive wheels, they are pressed onto the axles, and if they are loosened the locomotive will not run properly).

5.) At this point I remove the Motor Brushes from the plastic brush plate and set them safely aside.

6.) Loosen and remove the two screws that hold the brush plate to the frame.

7.) Being careful not to break the wires gently pull the brush plate and field coil away from the frame. Just enough to expose and remove the armature.

8.) At this point check the ends of the armature shaft, using a soft cloth moistened with alcohol clean to remove any solidified oil.

9.) Set the armature aside and using alcohol put a drop on into the bearing surfaces of the locomotive frame and of the brush plate.

10.) Put a drop of alcohol on each of the gears. Let it run between them, and get to their support shafts.

11.) Let the alcohol evaporate and then repeat. When that also evaporates try again to turn the gear that meshes with the armature shaft. It may be stiff, but it should move. Apply alcohol again and again until you can move it easily with your finger.

12.) At this point oil the gear shafts and axles of the locomotive. Give it a few more turns using only your finger. Make sure everything turns freely through 360° of motion.

13.) Put a small drop of oil on each end of the armature shaft, and reinstall it in the frame. Reposition the field coil and the brush plate, being careful to keep the wires in their proper positions.

14.) Insert and tighten the brush plate screws.

15.) Install the motor brushes and the body, and you’re done.

It’s not a difficult job, just takes a little time. If you have questions or need help please contact me.

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