Motor blocks

David Ayre

Registered
25 Jan 2017
9
2
37
Manchester
Having 5 playmobil old style electric trains, two of them the double motored 4052, I need to learn how to dismantle and service the motor blocks to make the trains run more smoothly. Two of the engines are a little jerky, I've cleaned the tracks and picks ups but no improvement. The newest of my engines run smoothly so I guess it's the motors. Do I just go a bit crazy and wd40 everything? Any tips greatfully received, even if just being pointed in the right direction. A photo walk through would be the dream!
 

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,375
264
58
UK
Country flag
Definitely DON'T "WD40 Everything". Remember WD40 is not actually a lubricant, it's for freeing up rusty bits and protecting from moisture.

You say you cleaned the track and pickups, did you clean the wheels - the treads and the backs? There are pickup strips running from the skates to the backs of the wheels, these may need cleaning and adjusting.

The blocks aren't difficult to open, just a couple of screws on the bottom and a couple of plastic clips where the pickup skates are.

[edit] Hmm... attachments seem to be playing up, will try and sort it....

....No idea what's gone wrong with adding the attachments, they seem to have vanished, but here's the original thread that has the same photos..
https://www.gscalecentral.net/threads/tcs-t1-decoder-in-playmobil-motor-block.52103/

[/edit]




The good thing is you don't have to worry about keeping the wheel quartering correct as there are no rods between the wheelsets, even on the steam locos.

You may find old hardened grease on the wheel bearings and worms - that can affect the running so worth cleaning it away and applying just a tiny amount of new plastic-safe grease - sparingly!! I've seen many locos in the smaller scales gummed up by over-oiling.
 
Last edited:

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,964
3,951
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Just be very careful if you pull it apart, there may be a Thrust Bearing (very small ballbearing) at each? end of the Armature Rod. You certainly do not want to loose these if there are any. Suggest you pull it apart on a Tea Tray so that any loose parts cannot just roll off the bench/table into oblivion.
JonD
 

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,375
264
58
UK
Country flag
Good advice Jon. Looking at the photos in the thread I linked to above, there aren't any thrust bearings but there are greased round flat plates that the shaft ends can bear on.
 

David Ayre

Registered
25 Jan 2017
9
2
37
Manchester
Cheers for the tips guys. A good start. I'll keep running the jerky 4052 in a bit and see if it 'smooths' up a bit. I also found a very cheap 4051 on eBay which if runs ok can swap the block over (although both motors on the 4052 seemed to be stuttering). If not I'll take it apart (carefully) and have a play.
 

James Day

Guano Corner Rly - Runs weekly - Guano permitting
6 May 2012
1,727
347
Warwickshire
David,

I think the advice that you have been given earlier is sound. When my PM locos begin to run in a jerky manner, it is usually because one or more of the wheel wiper strips has become dirty, or just lost contact with rear of the wheel.

As has been said above if you are careful, this is easily fixed:

It you apply flying croc clip leads carrying power to the underside it is easy to spot which wheels this has happened to by process of elimination.

Fix one croc clip to one of the sliders and touch the other one on the wheels on the other side in turn. Then swap over to the other pick up and other wheels. This will clearly show which are collecting well, not at all, or intermittantly.

Take the block out the loco and turn it upside down.

If it is a block with cylinders and rods take these off first!

Unscrew the keeper plate and then unclip it above the sliders.

Once this is off you can remove the wheels in turn and clean and tweak the wipers and clean the wheel backs.

When you put it all back together make sure you connect that wire bit leading from the motor with the wiper and that you get the sliders back nested in the springs correctly.

James
 
Last edited:

James Day

Guano Corner Rly - Runs weekly - Guano permitting
6 May 2012
1,727
347
Warwickshire
Cheers for the tips guys. A good start. I'll keep running the jerky 4052 in a bit and see if it 'smooths' up a bit. I also found a very cheap 4051 on eBay which if runs ok can swap the block over (although both motors on the 4052 seemed to be stuttering). If not I'll take it apart (carefully) and have a play.

David,

Just one more thought:

As supplied there is no umbilical electrical link between the tender and the loco. All mine have had these added. A pair of wires runs between the two with a plug and socket in the middle. This helps spread the current collection over a longer length and makes them even less likely to stutter or stall.

James
 

David Ayre

Registered
25 Jan 2017
9
2
37
Manchester
Just an update. Finally got her down again. Separated the two and found it was just the tender that was stuttering. So took the motor out and just cleaned the wheels and contacts with white spirit and a cotton bud and hey presto, good as new. One of the pick up shoes is badly bent but doesn't seem to be impacting too badly. Next job will be to take it out and try re bending it. I'm guessing they don't have a huge bend tolerance before they break?

Fortunately I did spot some new bagged ones for sale on eBay so snapped them up just in case. If you pardon the pun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,964
3,951
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Just an update. Finally got her down again. Separated the two and found it was just the tender that was stuttering. So took the motor out and just cleaned the wheels and contacts with white spirit and a cotton bud and hey presto, good as new. One of the pick up shoes is badly bent but doesn't seem to be impacting too badly. Next job will be to take it out and try re bending it. I'm guessing they don't have a huge bend tolerance before they break?

Fortunately I did spot some new bagged ones for sale on eBay so snapped them up just in case. If you pardon the pun.
I have found them to be pretty robust. Have had to bend many of them to stop shorting. Just make sure that you use a Vice and a good set of Largish Pliers.
JonD
 

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
24 Oct 2009
25,618
3,745
63
Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
Country flag
I would suggest you replace them - running will be better especially over point frogs. When the wear groove gets deep it creates a lip which has to bounce over the crossing rail which can ultimately cause a jam.
 

David Ayre

Registered
25 Jan 2017
9
2
37
Manchester
Well I'll have a go and replace if it misbehaves
 

James Day

Guano Corner Rly - Runs weekly - Guano permitting
6 May 2012
1,727
347
Warwickshire
Well I'll have a go and replace if it misbehaves

David,

Good news all round! Playmobil shoes are solid Nickel Silver, which is very maluable, so don't be scared of bending them back into shape. If you place a small flat balded screwdriver behind the shoe and use it as a lever, it will release the shoe. Putting them back with the spring in the right place on the shoe and the wiper strip is the final step.

Hope the loco is running well now. Don't forget the option of electrically linking the loco and tender with an umbilical. This will turn the loco and tender into one long pick up unit and will make the running even more smooth.

James