Why you should check a new-to-you engine, inside and out.

There are all sorts of things that can happen to an engine during assembly and shipping.  You should always check a new-to-you engine inside and out.  With a used engine, you need to verify it is clean and doesn't have problems from age or abuse.  Too often today we must double check the assembly quality.

I recently purchased a Williams 4-6-0.  New in the box.  Original tape on the Williams shipper box.  It had never been out of the box since it left the factory about 11 years ago.  

First I checked the tender.   Opened it up and one of the 2 boards was flopping around inside.  The board had a holder.  For whatever reason it wasn't snapped in.  I put it in the holder and it snapped right in and the board was held tight.  A short and fried board averted.

Next the engine.  Often only a little dab will do you amount of grease is used on the main gears.  After 11 years, it may have dried up. So off comes the boiler to make sure there is enough, viable grease on the gears. 

First thing I found was the can motor was a little floppy in the mount.  The mounts seemed tight, but it was not correct, the motor could spin in the mounts.    

Next some wires had been routed to keep them from hanging out and rubbing on the wheels.  Problem was they were not pulled in tight enough and would still rub on the wheels.

Took off the gear cover and found a double reduction gear.  One of the gear cover bolts was loose to begin with.   Good gears, only a tiny dab of any grease on the top gears.  The bottom gears were dry.  I added good grade grease to both.  Brass gears don't need a lot of grease but they do need some. 

Took the can motor out to check it out and to access the area where I needed to zip tie the wire bundle a little better.   Got the wires fixed.  Then I carefully put the can motor in the mounts, snug then tighten sequence and now the motor is mounted well.   No flopping around now, which helps gear alignment. 

Spun the motor to get the wheels to turn complete revolutions 3-4 times.  Found an area where the linkage was binding.  Deburring and then oil fixed that.  

Oiled the axle bearings the instructions showed to oil. One drop goes a long way.   Also DID NOT oil the pickup rollers.

Put the shell back on the motor and tested.   The draw bar kept letting go of the tender.   Some minor bend adjustments to the draw bar and that was fixed.

After about 20 minutes of break in running the engine started popping, then stopped.   Found one of the rear drive wheels was loose and the linkage was getting out of synchronization.  The wheel was a slip fit. Aluminum foil used as a shim on the axle and vibra-tite shaft lock together to lock it back on.   Running again.

The engine runs smooth, no gear or motor noise, horn and whistle work well.  It pulls well also.   Many reviews stated it is a good engine and I see that the design is.  It would have been a different story if I had just put it on the track and run it.  Shorted boards, wires and gears missing lube along with motor misalignment can cause problems in a hurry.   The pre-run check is often the difference between a good long lived engine and one with problems.

I expect this engine will run happily for many years.

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Last update July 6 2023